Eat Your Heart Out, Jack Woltz
A crackling thud. A downshift in emotions. The MGM Grand has seen so much in the year 2022, but nothing, nothing like this night. Nothing resolved. Everything left to simmer, to stew, to boil over. In the history of PRIME, the good guys had many long nights before the breaking of the dawn. The fun times couldn’t last forever. Burning offices, bad Taco Bell conspiracies fueled by lord knows what, Survivor, and an ever muddying of the battle lines within the entirety of the organization were starting to show.
A Great Nightmare, made in and for America.
Brandon Youngblood’s knee is in a massive compression sleeve, crutches under each armpit. He is ambling down a hallway in tremendous pain, gingerly trying to get to his dressing room. He’d spoken of carrying the weight of being the Universal Champion on his shoulders. Now? What use was he? Some frail, bloated, sweating thing, made a mockery, and pounded into an oblivion. His hubris is now legendary, as is the glowing red target marking his left knee. The Championship belt droops on his shoulder, hanging comically low, a status for the supposed standard shown for all.
Opening the door to his dressing room is a challenge. Once he manages to get it open, the real fun begins.
The proceedings had eGG Bandits written all over it. The furniture is a mess. Tossed. Pizza boxes and pepperoni matted into the fabric. Soup bowls tossed about, a mixture of split pea, potato, and vegetable (because who needs something without carbs, I’m sure Bobby Dean would argue). Brandon’s street clothes are strewn about in a disgusting matter, egg shells splattered all over them in heaps. And propped up in the center of the room, as if it were some trinket to be taken by Indiana Jones before some large boulder came to crush him, a rather large Halliburton briefcase barely holding on with the clasps.
Grunting, the Last Diamond powers as best as he can to the spot, flicking it open. It’s almost as if it is springloaded. A shock of blood is, though, sputtering over his chest, toward his mouth. He closes his eyes on the impact, and when he opens them.
Oh no. Not a mountain of the powder. Wrong Al Pacino vibe. You have to go back a few years. A thousand or so miles up north.
A horse head. Severed somewhere at the neck. There is no comically large bone, no weird drawings or glasses or anything. Its tongue droops lifelessly as the flies circling its rigor locked ears. And the horse he rode in on, its name was Death, and Hell followed with him.
Cancer Jiles had rode his steed into battle at Culture Shock, metaphorical and in some ways, literal. But just as Balaam had disadvantaged him by crushing his larynx, the old war horse had done so in so way or manner before his great bout with Brandon Youngblood in the Almasy Invitational Finals. Such failures are not to be tolerated. The fury in the face of the Last Diamond is riotous. And on the wall, in front of where the Halliburton is, is the message. Loud and clear. Painted red across the cream colored wall.
It is more than the Universal Champion can take. Grabbing the head of the horse, his crutches fall to the ground. Grunting, roaring, yelling, he launches the head into the wall in front of him, the words smearing, a dent in the drywall, a seething, breathing beast, with fluid filling his left knee, is stark raving mad, spittle falling from his goatee. He can’t control his breathing.
ReVival 8. First Blood match.
An offer Brandon Youngblood can’t refuse.
As long as his knee can hold up.
But can it and he hold the weight of PRIME on its shoulders?