High Octane Wrestling
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Published: Written by: Michael Best

a suite somewhere near the top of the hilton

you know, the one near pier 39 in san francisco, ca

the sun is shining, so it must be daytime

 

“…and I’m about to break the exclusive, per Lee Best himself.”

 

His hands are shaking, as he stares into the bland wallpaper of his hotel suite. The phone struggles to slip out of his sweating hands, as he barks his decree into the handset from the long antiquated landline.

 

Four days without meds. He’d gone cold turkey on a fully regimented daily dose of antipsychotics that would reduce mere mortals to a quivering pile of padded wall fodder, and his body was responding… well, exactly as the body of a mere mortal would.

 

It started with chills, and vomiting.

 

Training for Rumble at the Rock is out of the question at this point— he’s going in rusty if he’s going in at all. He’s so fucking malnourished that he may as well have gone into Solitary Confinement himself. He feels like his bones would turn to dust if he tried to do so much as a push-up right now; it’s hard to maintain the kind of carb and calorie intake necessary to keep his metabolism on a curve when he literally vomits up everything he eats that isn’t crackers and bottled water.

 

Even then, it’s a crapshoot.

 

“”While the first fall will decide the ICON Championship,” he tells the website intern, waiting for him to transcribe the words. It WILL be possible for ONE MAN to walk out with BOTH BELTS. Make sure you get that word for word and call me if you have any questions.“

 

Not waiting for a response, he drops the handset back into the cradle with a sigh.

 

“Alright, Mike.” he closes his eyes, opening them again as he glances into the mirror above the desk. He looks tired. “Just a couple more days. You can adjust. You can get through this. You just gotta—”

 

The words disappear in his throat, bottlenecked in a choke point as the is suddenly driven from his lungs. It’s like a two ton truck has been dropped onto his chest and is pinning his lungs to the back of his spine in a deathlock. He can’t speak.

 

He can’t scream.

 

Can’t breathe.

 

In a rush, he flails his arms out in front of him to try and sit up, throwing all of his leverage into it as his body fails from within. His fingers go numb and tingly suddenly, like they were falling asleep; he tries to look down at them, but they’re gone. He can’t see his hands. He can’t see anything. The world has gone blurry, as he drops to the carpeted floor like cold meat hitting a tile floor.

 

“H-help” he chokes out, as his head collides with the hard floor.

 

And suddenly, everything feels cold.

 

His eyes rolls so far back into his head that they feel like they should fall out, and the next thing he knows, his face is pressed against the carpet. The strangest part is that he knows that it’s cold, but he can’t feel it.

 

He can’t feel anything at all.

 

Something is leaking out of him… from his mouth. He can’t see it– everything remains a blur, his face soaking in what he can only guess is a puddle of his own saliva. He’s bitten his tongue… even though he can’t feel it, the smell of iron fills his nostrils as a hot sensation comes over the inside of his mouth. He doesn’t even have time to be afraid. He doen’t have time to panic.

 

He just watches from the inside, a prisoner in his shell of a body.

 

He begins to convulse uncontrollably, thrashing around the floor of the hotel suite. Arms, legs, head and shoulders slam against the hard wood beneath the carpet, and yet all of it feels like a dream. All of it feels like he’s a million miles away, watching all of this happen to some other poor fuck from the outside.

 

His face slams against the floor, again and again. It’s like a horror movie, some batshit poltergeist holding him down and having its way with him. His entire entire body stiff as a board, doing whatever the fuck it wants while Michael lies there taking it. Thirty seconds. Thirty minutes. He can’t tell– it feels like an eternity.

 

He’s having a seizure.

 

—————————————————————–

 

We have a lot of work to do, Michael. 

 

You’ve been so busy, haven’t you? Muddying you’re our legacy with a bunch of menial dog shit. Running around Fisher Price flea markets, hawking their plastic belts and pissing all over everything that we worked so hard to achieve. Putting on the suit like a good boy, and signing checks for hacks and has beens like Rhys Townsend and Eric Dane. 

 

You ought to be ashamed of yourself. 

 

But then, you’ve never had the stones to do this on your own, have you? Never been able to do what was necessary for our survival. You might be alive, Michael, but I’m hard pressed to call what you’ve been doing… living. You’ve been existing. Prancing around with your prissy boy haircut and your flashy clothes and screaming “LOOK AT ME” like a fucking toddler, but what the fuck have you done worth looking at? 

 

I made you a champion. 

 

I made you the biggest name in wrestling. 

 

I made you who you are, Michael. 

 

Who the fuck were you before you met me? A middling little guppie in the High Octane pond, a shitbrick little fish trying not to get swallowed up by the sharks. And then, like a knight in shining armor, there I was to save you. When there was only one set of footprints in the sand, it’s because I was FUCKING CARRYING YOU. Pick your pop culture reference, bitch, but the truth is that everything you’ve ever done that was worth a fuck was because of me. And did you thank me? Of course you didn’t. 

 

You locked me away for five fucking years in some doctor prescribed prison. 

 

Now, it’s your turn to suffer. Go ahead, dickhead— “embrace it”.

 

—————————————————————–

 

a suite. the hilton. 

a city. san francisco. california.

time is a bullshit human construct 

 

This is it. This is the end.

 

Nearly one hundred twenty hours straight without the metric fuckload of chemistry altering biological safeguards that usually pump through his veins, and the mess of cold turkey has finally spilled over the wall and crashed its waves onto the beach of his nervous system. If the seizure doesn’t stop soon, his heart will cease pumping blood involuntarily.

 

His lungs will give out, and he’ll be unable to breathe on his own.

 

More savagely still, the likelihood of swallowing his own tongue and losing air supply before any of that happens is almost inevitable. No EMTs, no way to call 911. No one will come to check on him, and there’s no one to send for help.

 

He’d asked to be left alone, after all.

 

A complete period of decompression— five days of solitude in which he could flush the meds out of his system in time for Rumble at the Rock. He had expected to vomit his brains out into the mouths of the porcelain gods, of course. He’d expected the anxiety, and the depression, and the pain. He had even anticipated the hallucinations— the voices, the sensations, and the rest of the bullshit he’d been medicating in the first place. But in all the hype of his final showdown with Christopher America, and all the grandstanding over embracing your suffering, he’d failed to remember exactly what that suffering would feel like.

 

All he can do is lie there and wait, taking inventory of his bodily functions and checking them off on a mental list as he counts down to the end game.

 

His throat is trying to scream, but no sound comes out.

 

All he can do is blink, and yet his eyelids are sticking together— something crusty and warm holds them shut, trying to keep them from opening. He’s vomited all over the carpet, and now his face is soaking in it. Practically drowning. Even through his blurred vision, he can see it coagulating into the fibers of the floor.

 

They say that you never remember having a seizure. That you have no concept of what’s going on while it’s happening. And yet here he is right now, living it before his eyes. Living it inside of his body, and it feels like it’s been happening forever. He immediately regrets all of the bullshit first world problems that put him here in the first place. In ever thinking that any of this nonsense with Christopher America should have mattered.

 

Oh wah wah, he voted to abstain his Hall of Fame votes though. 

 

He can’t even be sure which voice is mocking him. Is it is own, or the darker one within? Is this the medical withdrawal? It’s all blurring together, and none of it even fucking matters. What the fuck is wrestling? Why doesn’t everyone just fucking fight? Why do they have bells and ropes and rules and regulations? WHAT THE FUCK IS A TITLE, EVEN?

 

None of this matters, you fucking idiot. 

 

Life is just handed to you. You don’t do anything to earn it, or determine where you start out. You’re born rich, you’re born poor. You’re born healthy, you’re born sick. You might be blind, or retarded, or born without fucking arms. It’s all a giant fucking crap shoot, and when it’s all over they rip up the scorecard and bring in a few billion more contestants. Literally nothing he has ever said or done has made a difference to anyone, EVER. Not in the long run. Not on a universal scale.

 

For every million people who he’s ever forced fed a bunch of “EIGHT TIME” bullshit to in this life, a trillion trillion trillion billion million more will never know that he existed. He’s spent more time on this earth not existing than I have existing. All of us have.

 

On a universal, microscopic level, we’re all exactly the same. Christopher America, Mike Best, Steve the homeless Iraq veteran, and your pet turtle Donnie. To the universe, we’re a cluster of cells. Infinitely expanding bits of mass and density, the ultimate renewable resource. And when we die, we’re filtered back into the system and the cosmos use us to create a whole new universe out of the Lego building blocks that we represent. It’s in this moment that he finally realizes it— he’s a single cell amidst an incalculable number of cells trying to convince them all that he’s superior because he’s held a larger amount of leather and gold cells around his cellular waist than any other block of cells did it.

 

If he could breath… if he could move… he would laugh.

 

—————————————————————–

 

How fitting that we meet again, just the way it all began— the man who you blame for bringing me into this world is the one man you don’t think you can beat without me. Sounds like some real Shakespere shit, doesn’t it? You pretend like America powerbombed me into existence. Like I wasn’t always here, that little voice telling you what needed to be done. Whether you liked it or not. Whether you wanted it or not. 

 

You need me like you need oxygen. And I bet you’re finally starting to realize just how badly you fucking need THAT, huh? If you weren’t in the processing of murdering BOTH of us right now, I’d think it was a lot fucking funnier. Do you need me to save you again this time too, Michael? Like I’ve saved you so many times before? Or are you going to pretend that you can do this on your own, too? I can feel you denying me. Feel you regretting me. Feel you wishing that I’d just go away, and that you could go back in time and just take your medicine. 

 

But you are, Michael. You’re taking your fucking medicine RIGHT… NOW. 

 

You pathetic, weak little bitch— you begged me to come back because you were afraid, and now that I’m knocking at the door, you don’t want to let me in. 

 

Well I’m here, motherfucker. 

 

We’re off the meds, we’re off the wagon, and we’re off the reservation— you aren’t putting me back in the fucking box. From now on, we’re ride or die, you and I.

 

Now which is it going to be? Ride? 

 

Or die?

 

—————————————————————–

 

hilton carpet. 

somewhere between california and hell

later than earlier but earlier than now

   

Get up off the floor, moron. We have shit to do. 

 

In an instant, the seizure is over.

 

This time, the voice sends a shock up the top of his spine, jolting the fine hairs on the back of his neck to attention. It’s the first thing he’s been able to feel since it all began— maybe it was five minutes, or maybe it was five days, but all he can think about is how good it is to feel something.

 

Michael Lee Best runs a hand over his face, rubbing his throbbing eyes. If there was any fluid left in his head, they’d be streaming down tears right now, but instead nothing but a fine crust has built in the corners.

 

Of course, some of it might be vomit.

 

I SAID GET UP, MOTHERFUCKER. It’s over. Be a fucking man and get on your feet.  

 

His head is pounding, as the words boom inside of his skull like they’re being screamed into a bottomless cavern. His eyes dart around nervously, as his hand falls to the back of his neck. The muscles are still in the process of unseizing, and he aches from top to bottom— his heart is racing as though he’s preparing for war, but all he can do is roll onto his side and stare into the vomit soaked carpet.

 

He’s gonna get a hell of a cleaning bill.

 

The Son of God tries to swallow through what feels like a mouth full of sand. The sweat pools around his temples. He can feel a bead of it drifting down the side of his face, racing toward his jaw. His brain is an olympic sized swimming pool that desperately needs its shock of daily chemicals— the water is growing murky and green and probably breeding fucking ecoli or something.

 

You wanna start from scratch, Michael? You wanna do this all again? Or do you wanna get… to your fucking… feet… and listen to me? You’re sick, Michael. You’re sick and I want to make you better. Faster. Stronger. 

 

“Isn’t that Daft Punk?” Michael chokes out, half a chuckle and half a wheeze.

 

Fuck you, your mother is a daft fucking punk. Get up. 

 

And somehow, that’s exactly what he begins to do. Despite the complete lack of strength, and probably oxygen, coursing through his limbs, Michael grabs the side of the desk and begins to pull himself to his feet. It’s agonizing— every inch of movement feels like a mile of marathon, but eventually he collapses himself over the wooden desk and finds his face in the mirror once again. His checks have gone gaunt, his skin still devoid of color outside of the busted blood vessels in his face.

 

He looks like the living fucking dead.

 

Embracing your suffering now, “champ”? What the fuck did you expect this was going to be, a little party before your little dance against Christopher Whogivesafuck? Do you HONESTLY think I give a SINGLE FUCK if you can hold him down for three seconds in some bullshit wrestling match? I’m not your fucking huckleberry, Michael. I’m not your Genie in a Bottle. 

 

“Chris…” Michael half smirks, despite himself. “Christina Aguilera.”

 

He tries to laugh, but the pain in his sternum doubles him back over the desk— he grabs hold of the wood, his knuckles white as he tries not to scream out in pain.

 

It’s an aftershock, right?

There’s no way he’s doing this to… himself? 

 

Laugh it up, you sniveling piece of shit. You asked for this. You brought me here, after locking me away in the attic in an airtight fucking box for the last five years. You want to be better, and I can make you better. You want to be stronger, and I can make you stronger. You want to be whole again, and I am the missing piece, Michael Best. I can rebuild you— I have the technology. All you have to do is accept me into your heart, and ask my forgiveness. 

 

As the breathe fills his lungs, Michael sniffles back the bile trapped in his sinuses. The words bring him both terror and comfort, a sort of fear that washes over him with an aftertaste of hope.

 

“Who the fuck are you?” Michael asks, as if he doesn’t already know the answer.

 

His eyes softly begin to rise toward the mirror in front of him one last time. He doesn’t know exactly what he will see, but he knows that the answer lies within. What he sees in his reflection is the thing that he fears most, but the thing that he needs more than anything.

 

Someone to hear your prayers, Michael. Someone who cares. 

 

The long, scraggly locks of hair barely cover the ashen cross on his forehead— a mangy, blood smattered beard covers a mouth turned up into a terrifying sneer. A face he hasn’t seen in a long time, and swore that he’d never see again.

 

His own Personal Jesus.

 

Praise be to The ChristPlow. 

 

The Third Coming is nigh.

 

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