The stories have been told countless times: U.S. Army men and women performing above and beyond the call of duty, fighting valiantly for some noble cause. Petey Esdee will tell you right from the very beginning that each and every one of these tales are a bunch of bull****. There was a time when he bought into all of that propaganda. Now he knows better.
He was told once, possibly in high school, that every deed ever done was in and of itself a selfish act. As he sits in the dark and dirty alley outside of an MBE training facility wearing the same clothes that he has worn for the past 6 months, he thinks back to how when he first heard that philosophy he had originally tried to prove it inaccurate. He smiles, thinking of how valiantly he led the classroom discussion against such a destructive theory.
His mind focuses on the teacher. By society’s standards this man was creepy. Undoubtedly a pedophile, the teacher constantly showered the underage blonde girls with disproportionate amounts of attention… some would call it affection. A particular incident involved the teacher blatantly telling a girl that he had one hundred dollars and would be at his house after 7PM. He followed it up by telling the girl to swing by. Petey recalls those as “the good old days”.
His mind races back to the here and the now. How long has he been daydreaming? Ten minutes? Ten hours?
He glances at an old, cheap digital watch he picked up when he was in Basic Training years ago. It reads 1:36AM.
“Good,” he thinks, “I’ve only been out for about half an hour.” For Petey, that’s a short amount of time.
He doesn’t remember when he started fading from consciousness on a regular basis. He knows that the periods of time he is out aren’t caused by drugs, though, as he has never tried them. When he was in the Army, he approached his first line supervisor about these troubles. All that he got in return was disdain from the man and even more disapproval from his unit when they found out about it.
According to a military doctor, Petey suffers from an extreme case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known by the acronym P.T.S.D. In Petey’s case, the disorder stems from three very eventful combat deployments to Iraq. When the doctor reported these findings to Petey’s unit, the chain of command initiated separation paperwork and eventually cut him loose.
To his commander, Petey was a piece of garbage who couldn’t hack it in a real man’s Army. To his first line supervisor, Petey was the type of guy that complained and used every excuse to get out of deploying to a combat zone. To his friends, Petey was a good guy that very suddenly went over the edge.
Nobody took the time to think about their opinions. Nobody thought about the fact that Petey had been through THREE combat deployments before exhibiting any signs or symptoms of P.T.S.D. Nobody thought about the fact that symptoms started showing about a year before his separation from the military and progressively got worse. Nobody paid any attention to his previous accomplishments before he went over the edge.
Instead, everyone was content to cut there losses and send an already broken man to his certain self destruction. Would he kill himself? Would he kill others? These questions were of no concern to these people. They only wanted him out of their hair.
So here sits Petey Esdee, former accomplished military man and war veteran, outside of an MBE training facility. The alley is dark and dirty, but no more so than Petey, himself. The only thing on Petey’s mind when he is perfectly conscious is the last thing he remembers that Army doctor saying to him:
“Find an outlet for your pain and confusion, Petey. Beat this thing by making it fight you on your own terms. Get into street fighting, wrestling, or some form of mixed martial arts. The Army isn’t going to help you anymore so you need to start helping yourself.”
Petey knows that he is no longer a good man and that the past eighteen months or so have left him with much to atone for. He holds onto the doctor’s words as hope that he can turn it all around, beat this thing, and start onto the path of redemption. He might have to do a lot of bad things along the way to get there, though. In the end he hopes that he can make the ends justify the means.
He picks his foul smelling carcass up off of the ground and makes his way to the door of the facility. There is a piece of printer paper on the door, encased in a plastic sleeve for protection from the rain. On it are these words:
MBE TRYOUTS JULY 4, 2007 AT 9AM!
A man walks into the alley and seeing Petey standing there reading the sign on the door asks, “So, big man, what time are they holding tryouts?” Unfortunately, the person to whom he addressed the question to is no longer the man who anyone wants to speak with. Petey has reverted back into his stressed-out flashback mode. This is the side of his malfunctioning personality that he is trying to beat… but it hasn’t been beat yet.
He turns around to strangle the life out of the Iraqi that just snuck up behind him. In this state, that is exactly what he sees when he looks at the man… an Iraqi.
“JESUS!” exclaims the unsuspecting man as he stumbles backward, more out of fear than any self-defense training he might have ever received. The man trips over a bag of garbage, but doesn’t stop there as he continues to roll backward and then onto all fours before standing and sprinting away. Either Petey realized what he had just done or he believed that he finished the job, because he ceases pursuit of the man and curls up to sleep in a small puddle in the alley.
This is your commander speaking, General Mayhem. Now listen up maggots, and listen good!
I have joined MBE to whip you all into shape. Not just physically, but mentally as well. Now, most of you may have what it takes when it comes to your bodies, and I intend to find that out in due course, but if I find that any of you are using steroids, I will be forced to inflict severe punishment.
But the area I am most concerned with is your intelligence, your desire to win, your ability to give ONE HUNDRED PERCENT sheer blood and guts! It is that which will turn you into men your mothers can be proud of!
Now the first grunt that I am charged with whipping into shape is, appropriately enough, an ex-American Army man, one that appears to have been unable to cut the mustard.
Petey Esdee, you may claim to have PTSD, and those god damned quacks on Civvy Street might fall for your sorry sob story, but we military men know full well that there's no such thing and that it is a convenient excuse to cover up your desire to leave and throw the greatest opportunity you have ever been given straight back in our faces!
So what was your real reason for quitting?
Was it that you were a weak kneed liberal and did not agree with Iraq? I tell you this boy, your forefathers sacrificed everything they ever had. Their money, their children, their wives, their friends and of course their lives, simply because they knew that they had to defend freedom against evil bastards like the Nazis or Communists, and how do you repay them? You spit on their graves!
Was it the fact that you kept firing on your allies? I can understand this to an extent. If there's one army that needs to teach their incompetent soldiers to fire at the enemy and not their comrades, it is the American. But you DO NOT solve your problems by walking away from them! No, you stare those problems right in the face until you see the whites of their eyes and you say "I AM A MAN AND I WILL OVERCOME YOU NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!"
Or was it that you just did not have the proper motivation? Well you finally came to the right man! I, General Mayhem, specialise in teaching discipline. So what if it means that you have to do some nasty things like beat up children who are throwing stones? They needed proper respect for their elders and since their parents were not up to the job I did it for them. They hate me now, but one day they will thank me for preventing their children from becoming suicide bombers!
And so too, will you, one day. You will thank me for putting your life back on track and giving you the opportunity to make something of yourself.
But for now, it's time for you to check into boot camp!
It was as simple as that. Somebody liked what they saw in Petey and gave him a shot in the wrestling organization known as MBE. He couldn’t help but wonder what in the world they could have possibly seen that they could like, because on the rare occasion that he has been in his right mind he has had a hard time finding something that he liked about himself. Either way, he got his shot and he would have to make the best of it.
Petey returned to the MBE training facility where he had been able to show his stuff. This time, he went there in order to find out whom he would be facing off against at the MBE event that had such a ridiculously long name. Somebody had called it “TIN HAT”, which was a loose acronym for the event’s true name. He liked that name better, as it was short and sweet and he was sure he didn’t have enough brain cells left over after all of this mess to be bothered with remembering such a long name.
Thinking about that damned name was starting to piss him off. He knew that he had better start focusing on something else before he broke something… or somebody.
Immediately, he scanned the room for the match list. There it was, plain as day, over by the main desk. He walked over to the list with the first ounce of anticipation he had possessed in close to two years. His name was located a couple of lines down on the list.
And finally, two newcomers with a similar background take to the ring to try and prove themselves in Message Board Entertainment as the brash Brit General Mayhem takes on Petey Esdee in one on one action.
British? General Mayhem? This had to be somebody’s idea of a sick joke.
“What the ****!?” Petey angrily exclaimed.
Deep in his mind he thought about how he had been trying to escape that type of moronic atmosphere. He knew in his heart that facing this guy would only make him revert further into this terrible state of mind that he was in.
Then it happened.
He thought back to his combat deployments and the lack of support the United States had gathered from their “greatest ally”. He thought about how many soldiers were suffering in similar ways as he had been, simply because of this lack of support. Then, he thought about something even better.
He thought about the rank… “General”. This guy was a General!
It all came into focus with a crystal-clear certainty. Petey knew what he would do. He would break this guy in half. He would make this guy suffer as he had suffered. He would send a message to the Army brass; all of which thought it was smart to cut him and others like him loose to suffer in silence.
His mind started twisting and turning, thinking of the different ways that he would bring pain upon this man. He started realizing that maybe this wasn’t a sick joke after all. Maybe this was a present. Maybe the person or people in charge of MBE knew, understood, and sympathized with him.
After all of the thinking he had just done, Petey started noticing something else. He was hungry. With no money in his pockets and a belly full of air, he recalled that a young family down the road had looked like they wanted to give him money before they finally decided to enter their home instead. Maybe he would go and collect that money… one way or another.
I can guarantee you, Petey, that your life is no sick joke. This is what can be called divine intervention. You are someone with a major malfunction and I have been chosen to fix it. And fix it I will, with good old bulldog spirit.
The first thing I will take aim at is your contempt for your allies. Great Britain was the only important nation to stand by you regardless of ungrateful world opinion, significant minority opposition from cowards and cost. But yet you have the sheer nerve to whine about lack of support on the battlefield.
The second thing I will sort out is your lack of interest in educating yourself. Those who study hard and memorise things such as long words are fine men and are not "nerds" who should be beaten up. That is part of the problem with your country today!
And finally, I will turn your moral compass the right way up! I do not give a damn whether or not you are hungry, there is NO excuse for stealing from someone. If you want to eat, you bust your arse and you get money legitimately!
I look forward to this upcoming campaign. It will be the first of many victories on the MBE battlefield, and after all the smoke has cleared, I will have successfully brought another lost soul back from the brink and given them the chance of a new start!
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