BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
The camera pans to the entrance ramp as “Sing Me No Hymns” by Lucero begins to play over the loudspeaker. The reaction to Solomon Richards emerging from the curtains is one of tepid applause. There is a small contingent of Solomon fans located near the front of the ramp who begin to cheer for the man.
Solomon comes to a rest at the top of the ramp, shaking hands with a few of the fans as they reach out towards him. There are no smiles tonight. Solomon doesn’t appear ready to compete. He’s wearing an old, white pair of tennis shoes, a pair of blue jeans, and a plain blue t-shirt, messily tucked into one corner of his jeans.
After acknowledging a few fans near the front of the ramp, Solomon begins to make his way down towards the ring. He strides with a purpose until coming to the apron. He hops onto the Mat and steps through the center ropes. Once he settles into the center of the ring, he pulls a microphone from his back pocket.
Solomon Richards: When I signed my contract to PRIME, I thought that I was getting a fresh start. I believed that, after all these years, if I could step into a new place I could begin to forge a new legacy for myself. I could be whoever I wanted to be.
Solomon leans forward, resting his left hand on his knee. He heaves a large sigh and hangs his head towards the Mat, his golden curls hiding his face from view.
Solomon Richards: I thought I could be a winner here. I thought that I could come out, guns blazing, and I would make everyone see that I was every bit of the competitor that I’ve always told the people back home I was. Unfortunately for me, I fell into the same pitfalls that ran me back home from SHOOT Project with my tail between my legs.
He goes silent for a moment. After a few seconds of dead air, Solomon flips his head back up, brushing the hair out from in front of his eyes.
Solomon Richards: When I was a child, my father would preach his brimstone at the church, but it didn’t end there. I remember a time when I was supposed to be watching my cousin. We were young, I was maybe a boy of 12, him not more than 8. But I was in charge. My home had a large Oak that stood at what, at the time, looked to be at least two or three houses tall. Now from that tree, my father had hung an old tractor tire. I was pushing my cousin, round and round. He giggled and laughed as he asked me to push him higher! Faster! So I did…
Solomon brings the microphone closer to his face.
Solomon Richards: I remember the snap I heard in his arm when he flew from the apex of his swing. It sounded just like the snap of the switch my father brought down on me as he preached the gospel of being thy brother’s keeper. Eternal damnation surely awaited me for allowing my kin to injure himself when he was in my care. But that’s just the way it was. Father would preach, mother would cry, and I would shrink into the corner. I shoved that deep inside of me for years. Then I arrived in SHOOT Project.
Richards begins to pace uncomfortably in the middle of the ring, never coming to rest in one place for more than a few moments.
Solomon Richards: There was a man in SHOOT Project. And when he spoke, he spoke with the timbre, the same cadence of my father. And when I came face to face with him, I did what I always did. I shrank. I shrank so small that it sent me right back home. Right back to where it all started. It was supposed to be different here. But every night, every match, there he was. In the background, preaching his vitriol to everyone that would listen. And, again, I started to shrink.
I was in both of my matches, but something felt off. In the back, I knew he was waiting for me, waiting to remove me from another opportunity. I’ve watched my back ever since arriving in PRIME, and I’m tired. The time has come for me to face my demons. It’s time for me to stand as tall as the Oak in my father’s back yard, and twice as strong. It’s time for me to put the devil that is Jacob Mephisto to bed. So that I can finally be free of that shame, and be the man that I am destined to be.
The lights go black, the crowd instinctively begins to boo. There’s a long moment of silence until…
TIIIIIIIIME… IS ON MY SIIIIDE…YES IT IS!
The lights strobe violently for a moment before flashing to normal and Jacob Mephisto is standing at the bottom of the entrance ramp, flanked by Patience and Decius Montgomery. He stares up at Solomon with a smirk on his face that never quite reaches his pale, grey eyes.
Mephisto climbs up into the ring, followed by The Twins. He pulls a microphone from his waistband.
Mephisto raises the microphone to his lips, smirking. The crowd gets loud and he lowers the microphone.
He looks out to the crowd, smirking all the way. He raises the mic again, and again the crowd boos louder. Mephisto laughs, lowering the mic.
Solomon stands there, resolute, looking at Mephisto with a mixture of wariness, anger, and a deep seated resentment.
Mephisto raises the mic once more, shrugs, and IMMEDIATELY steps forward and SPEWS black mist into Solomon’s eyes!
The crowd boos wildly as Solomon instantly recoils, clutching at his eyes! Mephisto drops the microphone and tosses his head back in a cackle. The Twins climb out of the ring and each of them find a steel chair, rolling back into the ring with their weapons. Mephisto taps Solomon on his forehead lightly and the big man swings wildly, missing by a mile like he’s punching at ghosts.
The Twins hammer Solomon on either side of his head with their chairs, causing the big man to crumple to the mat. Mephisto’s smirk vanishes. He steps back to a corner and then SPRINTS across the ring, delivering a quick shining axe kick to Solomon, cold cocking the big man.
Mephisto stands again, composing himself. He picks up his microphone again and stands over Solomon Richards.
Jacob Mephisto: Be careful what you wish for. You might not like the results. Run home, boy.
Mephisto places a foot on Solomon’s chest and holds up his fingers.
The Patriarch of The Family tosses his head back in laughter as we cut away.