(High Flyer winced in pain, clutching his ribs in agony as he attempted to stand up from his seated recliner. There was no one to help him out anymore in his daily life ever since his wife of three years left him shortly after Cyberslam. And his constant touring of fWo to "return" the spark to his career had sent him down quite the spiral, physically, mentally, and even professionally. Graphic Violence used him, USED HIM, to send a message to his foe, destroying his ribs that were originally hurt by Craig Miles. Well, moreso by himself when he fell off the TRAVIS-Tron and landed with an empty THUD on the entrance rampway. It shattered a rib, and with Keith Scott Zimmerman and Graphic Violence showing no mercy, there was literally no time to heal.
Every time he got a little bit better, someone else would make him return to the hospital for X-Rays.
And yet, he kept fighting, even though it was painful even to get up to get himself a bottle of seltzer water. Maybe that's why he took up smoking. Maybe that's why every night of the past two weeks has been spent with Token Weed, bar hopping from one sleazy joint to another.
Maybe... but probably not. We all know the mind of a self destructive person.
Create situation. Destroy it. Repeat.
An endless loop hardly seems like a life full of possibilities and choices.
Which was interesting, because an endless loop of “Wish We Never Met” by Kathleen Wilhoite continued to play in the background ever so subtly.
Flyer finally pulled himself to his feet, groaning as he did. He bent over, even that was a chore, to pick up the letter, sent from the CSWA head office. Written in bright red ink and bolded was his next opponent, Dan Ryan. Inside a manila envelope contained a few tapes for study, sent by someone besides the CSWA officials. He tossed it down on top of his small thirteen inch television set as he walked from one room of his single floor apartment to the next.)
Flyer: Dan Ryan…
(He took a sigh, and stood there for a second, biting his bottom lip.)
Flyer: I honestly don’t have much if anything to say at this current juncture. I honestly don’t know much about you, and you probably know even less about me. All that aside, we’re going to go into Primetime and beat the living hell out of one another. So much so that the dead hell inside us awakens and then we’ll beat THAT hell out of one another, because I have an inkling, just the SLIGHTEST inkling, that you want to be CSWA Unified Champion. So do I. And that’s where our conflict of interest starts. That’s where our war starts. Because from what I do know about you, you seem to be a smart, determined individual, and that’s exactly what I am. And whoever does wind up losing our match, the other’s going to hold a grudge. I’m telling you I will. Not personal, no, but business related regardless. And once two men start to hate each other in any aspect, well, it’s all downhill from there. I’m sure you know this. I’m sure of it. And hell, I’m sorry Dan, maybe we coulda been friends, maybe we could have been strong allies together, but I just don’t see that happening when we both have very strong reasons that drive us forward, strong desires and goals to win, to be the best. You see, you’re probably looking for revenge. Why bring it up if you aren’t? I remember those words coldly stated by you in a promo directed at Radar-Boy, and if you’re seeking vengeance, and I’m seeking vengeance, well… one of our quests are going to have to falter… and, well, am I painting the picture well enough for you? Am I coloring inside the lines well enough to show you that both of us are similar men manipulated and motivated by similar objectives, with only one of us being able to succeed?
(Flyer lowered his head, and shook it, taking a few final drags from his cigarette and slamming it into the ash tray that rested on top of his television set.)
Flyer: I don’t have anything against you Dan, and I bet you don’t either, but after we face, one of us will, and who knows what will come from that. But personally, I’m just looking to get past you, to head to the Rebirth show, to make my mark 17 years after this promotion started. One step at a time Dan… one step at a time.
Oh, and I promise I won’t call you Danny-Boy. If I give you a nickname, it’ll be way cooler than that.
(Flyer continued to walk toward the kitchen area, slowly but surely.)
Flyer: So Dan, this is the part where I would usually threaten you, and talk about violence and what have you, but we both know the drills. I’ll wish you luck, but I honestly don’t mean it. Not right now. I have too much at stake to leave it up to the fates. And I’ve never won the lottery, so you can see why I lack trust toward the heavens. I’ve never been struck by lightning though either, so I don’t know what that means. Maybe I am lucky. But I am lucky enough to survive, but I don’t just want to survive here. I want to win, I want glory, I want my vengeance, and much like you, nothing will stand in my way.
We’re at a stand still Ryan. So, just realize that the pain we inflict on one another is merely a temporary means to an end. And that I by no means hate you as a person. But if you beat me at Primetime, you better go all the way and win that belt, and you better grant me the first opportunity, because I’m looking to be champion sooner than later, and well, I’d be willing to do the same. Sort of a preemptive strike in case the loser DOES feel the need to issue a violent retaliation. I’d rather the tournament end with no discrepancies, and I wouldn’t want BOTH of us to wind up screwed in this tournament because the loser can not stand losing.
But anger, fury… violence? It’s… it’s hard to control. And I’m sorry if I step out of the lines, but honestly, I’m really not. I need this title. I need this to prove that my choice was just. To get back at the man who…
(He trailed off, opening his refrigerator door and pulling out a water bottle. He lowered his head and placed his hands on the counter, and winced his eyes shut. He rubbed the tears that had slowly been forming away, and looked to the camera with a slight sniffle.)
The travel schedule was brutal. Contracts can be a ***** though, and unfortunately a flight between Japan and Portland, Oregon was one of the downsides.
Dan Ryan unpacked in the executive suite of the Governor Hotel. The flight had not been kind, but nothing a few well placed hours of sleep couldn't erase.
The dossier mailed ahead of him was placed on the desk in the main room of the suite, courtesy of one of his personal assistants.
On the front, a polaroid of High Flyer was paper-clipped.
He sorted through the first few pages of the paperwork, smiling that smile of recognition.
An old 'friend' of Craig Miles. What a popular guy, that Craig.
Ryan dropped the papers and closed the manila folder, walked to the balcony and stepped out. The sun was beginning to set, the mountains in the background.
One thing left to do before rest.....
Dan Ryan stands leaning with his back to the balcony of a hotel suite, sunglasses pulled over his eyes. Light streams in from off-camera, casting a sideways light on the scene.
Ryan: "I've seen your file, Jack. I like to be as thorough as possible given the circumstances."
"We've no history to draw upon, as you say. We do seem to have some common threads to our lives, our careers. We both love Craig Miles as a brother, and I say that with all of the sarcasm that a statement like that is due."
"I noticed some other similarities while reading up on you. It seems an explanation for your somewhat erratic behavior rests in the loss of your parents, the disconnect felt from loved ones too far away to offer the moral support a man needs in times of trouble."
"Times like this..."
"Times like when Craig Miles used your ribs for some sort of therapeutic release of his misery. Times like when Graphic Violence exacerbated the problem by following up."
"By now you must know that all emotional attachment to my past was lost long ago. In your reading I'm sure you know that long ago I sacrificed my duties as father and as son to become the best."
"You may know by now that I achieved the goal I had been striving for by winning the World Championship....the same night I got the news that my only child and my parents were snuffed out by a drunk driver."
"You should understand that emotion is irrelevant in the ring, Jack."
"You're wrong, in so many ways."
"We could never have been friends. I don't have a friend in the world that I don't consider family. I don't see how you could become family, so I'm afraid it just wasn't in the cards win or lose."
"There will be no grudge on my end either. This is a match, nothing more and nothing less."
"What it represents is another step in a possible quest to right a few wrongs, to continue a legacy that never should have been interrupted."
"For you, there are other questions. You have personal vendettas to attend to, and that suits me just fine so long as your vendettas doesn't require you pinning my shoulders to the mat. If it does, then I'm afraid our plans conflict."
"I'm a complex man, Flyer...not a man you'll ever be likely to know well enough to understand but a complex one nonetheless. I waver from day to day on what my motivation is. Today, it may be what is standing right in front of me - an unknown, a competitor from a place I've heard all too much about but would never step foot in willingly. You may represent a challenge to me, a way to tell myself that there are still obstacles to cross, chasms to leap."
"Another day I'm consumed with retribution, the overwhelming desire to display for all to see the sort of result gained when a man like Stephen Thomas takes it upon himself to play God."
"There are so many variables to this match, my friend. So many possibilites and only a twenty minute television window to fit it into."
"But I can guarantee this one thing and it only - when the bell has rung and the world around me has melted away, that's when I feel most at home. It has always been the constant in my career and will always be."
"I've accepted who I am and what I do as unchangable. This business consumes me because it must. It is who I am because what I was before can never be again."
"So....shall I wish you an empty good luck as well?"
"Shall I continue to talk about the vagaries of love and hate and how we're the same and a part of the great wrestling circle of life? Perhaps offer to start up a 'wrestlers with dead family members' group therapy circle for after the match?"
"I think Jack, that I will instead walk to the bed on the other side of my suite's living area, lie down and catch about five hours of zzz's that I missed as a result of a ten time zone plane ride."
"Then I'll wake up......and decide how to tear you apart at the seams."
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