SICK OF IT ALL
We return from commercial to the backstage area.
Jared Sykes hasn’t showered or changed since his match with Darin Zion. The closest thing to making himself presentable was the removal of the athletic sleeve from his left arm and pulling on a well-worn tee shirt with a long faded green and grey logo.
Given tonight’s outcome, it would be reasonable to expect him to be in a better mood, but there is no winning against the Love Convoy. Not after what he endured almost a year ago at their hands. There was no justice at Colossus, there was none tonight. Every victory still rings just as hollow as a chocolate rabbit.
But there are other matters to attend to, which is why he moves through the corridors with purpose. He moves towards a small gathering and pulls the towel in his hand over his head, as if it will somehow prevent the group from recognizing him. In truth, knowing these idiots, it might.
The Troy Boys – all six of them – are quick to catch on, and begin to slide into formation behind him. It’s just as they start snapping their fingers in perfectly synchronized rhythm that Jared puts a hand up and turns around. This is not the night for backstage Broadway dance numbers.
Jared Sykes: Not tonight guys, alright?
It’s more a command than a question, but one that’s quickly heeded. Nevin and Devin – that would be “What if we blended pro wrestling with MMA?” Troy and “I’m keeping all the ninjas in the divorce, Tyler!” Troy respectively – look a little forlorn.
Jared resumes his walk, but then pauses and turns back around.
Jared Sykes: Hey…
And suddenly, there is renewed life in the world of the intellectually challenged. A collection of bright, eager eyes stare back at him waiting for instruction.
Jared Sykes: Have any of you seen Nate or Hay-
Six different people point in six entirely different directions. It’s all Zephram can do to not grab a limb and try putting one of his own people in the Koji Clutch.
Lance points at a nearby trash can, which is just rude.
Jared Sykes: You know what, I think I’m good.
Speaking of trash cans, further down the hall, Sykes spots the frame of his soon-to-be tag partner, Hayes Hanlon, doing his best to salvage his black dress shirt that he recently tore off his body during his face-off with the Glueminati. Realizing the shirt is, in fact, effed, he chucks it into the trash with a grumble. Taking a breath through the nose, he turns his head and spots the Dragonslayer, and can only offer a snort and a disgruntled glare.
Jared Sykes: Hey, was looking for you.
He advances down the hall despite the obvious warnings that it might not be the best idea. He also doesn’t bother sugar-coating the message.
Jared Sykes: What the hell was all that out there? Five people and their cardboard mascot… Be honest with me, how did you think that was going to end?
Hayes Hanlon: (Throwing up his hands) I dunno, dude, probably with Sid powerbombing me into the Earth’s core or something, but that wasn’t the friggin’ point, man.
Jared Sykes: Okay then, humor me. And keep in mind I’m probably this company’s leading expert in “poor execution on bad ideas.” What do you gain from starting something with all of them at once? Sure, Sid might toss you around, but Farthington has a rep for putting people on the shelf. You want to get things back on track. I get it. That doesn’t happen from the sidelines when you’re trying to heal a busted arm. So yeah… what is the point?
Hayes Hanlon: I don’t feel like fucking explaining myself, dude! I just…
The Event Horizon takes a sharp breath, pushing both hands in his hair, taking a moment, lest he explode.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m just…sick of it all.
They share a pause, Jared giving the young man a chance to put the words together.
Hayes Hanlon: I’m tired of all these assholes messing with my shit. Our shit, dude. Ivan cost me the title the first time I had to defend it. The Love Convoy pissed all over our match last year. And these pricks? Farthington and the rest? Pissed all over my match with Youngblood, nevermind messing with my shit and costing me a match against JC fucking Hall.
Hanlon makes a move to punch the wall for emphasis, but it’s a half-assed attempt, and he pulls back.
Hayes Hanlon: This shit keeps happening, and no one wants to do anything about it. I’m tired of taking the high road, man. All these pricks need a punch in the goddamn nose.
While still visibly frustrated, Hayes calms a bit, and spits to the side.
Hayes Hanlon: Maybe I thought getting a few swings on them would get me on the right track again. Or maybe I needed another ass kicking. I dunno, you tell me.
Jared Sykes: I understand the frustration. I’ve been there. Been there pretty goddamn recently, in fact. But if there’s anything I’ve had to figure out over my own career, it’s that this shit is endless. Someone’s invariably going to do something shitty, and then it becomes a matter of what the right next step is, because there’s no getting even. It all moves too fucking fast for that. They cost you a match. So what happens next? You do the same to one of them. Great. You’re one-and-one. But everyone involved is still here. The cycle just keeps moving, and no one is any the better for it.
He pauses for a moment, careful to choose his next words.
Jared Sykes: There’s no fixing it, so we find other ways to cope. Some of them can be pretty self-destructive, like marching into the ring and daring a bunch of people to take you out. Don’t get me wrong, I know I probably seem like a big ol’ hypocrite for doing the same thing. I’m not blind to it. But weird as it sounds I also know that it’s not the way.
A few feet away, the Troy Boys – notorious for eavesdropping these last few weeks – decide that it’s probably for the best that they steer clear of this one, and scamper off in a different direction.
Jared Sykes: And you know this. You know it. Because a year ago after the Convoy had tried to take me out twice you and I stood in a hallway like this, and you told me that this was exactly the same as the PRIME you remembered watching. Find the tape if you don’t believe me. None of what goes on here should be a surprise to you anymore, Hayes. Not a single goddamn bit of it. And I can’t fix it. I wish that I could. The only thing I can try to do is make sure that when I’m done that I’ve left it a little bit better than I found it. That’s all.
Hayes offers a reluctant nod, though its sincerity is questionable.
Hayes Hanlon: Yeah. Well. I guess you got to come in and save the day, right?
Those particular words carry a sharp edge, and Hayes is quick to recognize his faux-pas, thanks to the sudden shock in Jared’s face. Behind his dark eyes, there’s an urge to retract and apologize. Unfortunately, he does not.
Hayes Hanlon: But hey, thanks for that. Didn’t have any plans for UltraViolence anyways.
Jared Sykes: Are you… Did you actually just…
The frustration is palpable. It’s all Jared can do to keep himself from lashing out and escalating the situation. He pulls the towel from his shoulder and draws it the length of his face, biting his lip behind it so as not to scream. He needs to compose himself. Recenter. Getting angry right now does nothing. But by the time he opens his eyes again Hayes is already gone, moving down the corridor at a clip that suggests it’s best that no one follows.
Well, awk, we got to go to another area backstage…