There’s an elephant in the room.
Okay, we’re lying. There is no literal elephant in the room. However, there is a tree near the electric meter. That doesn’t sound as catchy as the tried and true trope, but it is very truthful. It’s also one hell of a problem whenever it comes to lawn care. Let us explain.
Our electric meter is just off of our back porch at Casa Daniels. You step down, you turn to your left, and there it is. It is sandwiched between the shadows of the porch’s canopy and the back corner of our home. And below it is the beginnings of a tree. When we first saw the growth, we were hoping that it was going to be a bush or something manageable. But no! It’s growing straight up, has bark, has two branches with leaves, and is standing about a foot or so high. There’s no doubt that this is a tree. Small and scrawny like Charlie Brown’s, except much healthier. And if we leave it growing for a few months or years, it’s going to hit the meter or screw up the house or its roots may just crack the foundation.
This is a problem. We know it’s a problem. We know what must be done.
We just don’t want to do it.
We are staring at this plant, weedwacker in hand, and we do not want to cut it down in its youth. There is something about the fact that this tree is growing here in the one place it should not be. The soil it is in isn’t even optimal for a plant like this. The soil is all rock and gravel, a piss poor place for a weed. Let alone a tree. It could be growing anywhere else in the backyard, yet it chooses to sprout through stone in defiance! This is one of Mother Nature’s many middle fingers to modern living and we cannot help but respect that.
In fact, we’ve always kinda dug signs of Nature’s rebellious streak. Driving past abandoned buildings being consumed with plant life. Animals gnawing through their foot to escape a trap. Meteorologists being forever baffled by the signs off of their Doppler radar. Despite everything you throw at the old bitch, she always finds ways to survive, thrive, outlive, and occasionally give you a quick reminder that she’s far from dead. When you’re in the midst of the struggle, it can be a pain in the ass at best and deadly at worst. But stepping outside of the circumstances for a moment, we are in awe of the bounce back in spite of all the punishment.
Regardless, we can’t allow this tree to live. It’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. We bow our head for a moment of silence. The sun beats down upon us warriors. The winds lightly caress bark and flesh alike. We look at our gentle foe and see all of its potential…
and then we start the wacker to cut it down to size.
The cut is easy even as the branches, now detached from their mother, try to fight back against the hastily whipping cord. The wound from the would be trunk is green inside and screaming. We have sadness at the sight before us and we’ll be feeling it for the rest of the day.
Does anybody else with power have these feelings? Maybe not to every single thing they destroy. But surely, a warmonger must occasionally look down at a city on a map, envision the innocents there, and feel a certain degree of regret. However, we also know that when we fall asleep and wake up again, we’ll forget all about the potential colossus.
Life will go on because it must.
For our money, there isn’t much better than smacking somebody in the skull with a steel chair. There’s just something about winding that bitch up, following through, and feeling the impact rumble through metal. The sound is sickening to many. But to us, it is a beautiful music note. Now, that might be because that wasn’t happening to us. It was happening to somebody who everybody would say deserved it.
We came into that ring knowing exactly what people thought. It wasn’t news to us. We could hear Richard Parker being an absolute idiot on commentary. We could feel the shift in the arena as Paxton Ray wandered his ass to the ring. As easy as it would be to summon up our ego and call him nothing more than an inbred swamprat, we won’t. After all, you don’t stay a killer in this game by being a dumbass. He walks that slow for a reason. He knows his reputation and a small part of it is to let it beat you mentally before he even steps in the ring. Many fall into the trap. Few have risen above it.
Us? As you all may or may not recall, given that you have the memory of a goldfish for things that have nothing to do with your golden children or the latest murder of the bi-week, we wanted to fight him. To us, this match wasn’t about us versus The Crippler.
(in retrospect, we shouldn’t call him that considering the last person we heard of with that nickname had the brain of a dementia patient and unalived his family/himself. let’s not put that hex on Nora.)
As far as we were concerned, this was a match of equals in the bloodspilling department. But of course, he didn’t know that. Do we blame bad teaching or his arrogance? Either way, his mistake was looking at us with that smile on his face. At this point, it’s well documented we have a love-hate relationship with being underestimated. At this stage of our career, we feel deserving of at least a small percent of respect. Never mind our accomplishments elsewhere. Our work in PRIME alone should make you think twice. On the other hand, being underestimated leads to us rattling your skull and almost winning the title within the first five seconds. So it’s not all bad.
Paxton Ray beat the hell out of us. He didn’t make it easy and we sure as shit didn’t expect it to be easy. This was an Intense title match and in a ‘verse where nothing makes sense, something has to. It might as well be the brutality of man and gods alike. You live to die, the timeless times you, and healing begins with pain.
So when we started swinging that chair, it was with a purpose. At that moment, we didn’t see Paxton. What we saw was the personification of all your doubt and bullshit. What we saw was Richard Parker and people just like him. We saw the disappointment and the roster’s lack of meaning and the potential of the PRIMEverse dissolving into dust. And we swung. And we swung. And we fucked his head with our boot. We didn’t do it for you. We did it for us because we’re the one that matters here.
Even as we posed on the top of the ramp holding the gold, there was a momentary urge to take this belt and destroy it so we can reconstruct the whole damn thing over again. Make it look like the chaos it’s in.
Going back through the Argyle position, there was no celebration. Nobody patted us on the back. We had slain your biggest dragon and it barely made a blip on most people’s radar. The few people that have a chance of mattering congratulated the morning after and you wanna know the funny part? We expected that. We keep expecting it.
Keep undermining us. We dare you.
Once upon a time, there was supposed to be an infant named Lucky Murder.
A funny little name, Lucky Murder. The type of name that only a junkie mother and a psychopath father could conceive, but still a name. First and last. Even though his parental lineage wasn’t going to be the best, the junkie mother made it her mission to at least try. For him. She went to rehab in an effort to kick the habit and dove head first into this concept of motherhood. This wasn’t just a passing fancy either. As the days and months rolled on, she dedicated her entire existence to getting her shit together and being the best damned mother in the world. It’s a hell of a motivator, bringing life into the world…
Until she lost it.
At the seven month mark, things went wrong. Lucky Murder died. His body was extracted from his mother. And his mother went batshit insane. Most people would bury their stillborn infant or cremate him. His mother refused to do either. A part of her brain refused to believe by any stretch that her new found dream, her reason for living, would be sniped away without even so much as a thought. But what could you do? The child was dead! His corpse would decay!
The father, feeling a certain degree of sympathy for his fuck buddy, decided to take a third option. He put his son in a pickle jar and preserved this child. It’s a strange idea, but a well meaning one. This way, at least the mother could see her child. See that little face and maybe over time, come to terms with his death.
Spoilers: she does not get over it. At all. Not even close. Instead after talking to the child and having full blown conversations with him, the mother wakes up and decides one day to shove the child back inside of herself. Jar and all. And when that fails, she cuts open her stomach to do it that way instead. Psychopath comes home to his flesh and blood in a pickle jar covered in blood and the former-junkie-turned-crackpot bleeding out. She dies with this honest urge and desire for something in her life to go right.
The psychopath then keeps the baby in the jar, opens up a wrestling promotion, and puts the kid up as a prize for a multi-man ladder match. You can’t make this shit up. Somebody wins the child as a pretext for calling his shot to a title later on. Promotion folds, psychopath disappears into the abyss, and now this guy is wondering what in the fuck can he possibly do with Lucky Murder?
And giant idiot that we are, we said “Can we borrow him for a day or so?”
Because while the people who fought in that match only saw Lucky as an odd little representative for their championship ambitions, we saw potential. We saw all that he could’ve been and all the possibilities that came with him. We were transfixed by it and when given the opportunity to light that flame, we took it. We couldn’t resurrect his chemical doused body, but…we cooed at him. Apologized to him. Made grand speeches as we took a small part of Lucky’s flesh, bone, and brain and wove him back to life. Somewhat.
His name was L.M. Daniels. A living man from a dead baby. A haunted abomination who picked up everything around him lightning quick. Eager to learn, eager to devour, eager to conquer. And we loved him. We loved to see him grow, change, develop into his own being. Jacky and us, we taught him how things worked. When he wished to get into the family business, this business, we led him. Our boy, little Lucky Murder, won the major belt of a fledgling promotion against all odds on Match Number Three.
Just as quickly as he shined, he burned. You think we would’ve learned from the multiple ex-boyfriends we would see the shining around and would actively help to propel them. But once again, we got blinded by the potential and hyped by all the possibilities. We fell for the trap of believing. Out of all the times we fell for the trap, this was the one that hurt the most. Because never did we want to be right so much as with him. We wanted him to live. We wanted him to defy the odds. We wanted it for him…and he didn’t.
The promotion died quickly, as most do. His belt is still on the kitchen counter right where he left it. We’re looking at it right now. We are mesmerized by the words Combat Sans Frontieres etched on the gold and our hearts ache for what could’ve been, should’ve been, and can never be.
Which brings us to Flamberge.
At the beginning of this revision of the PRIMEverse, you were a shining star. A young gun with talent and a certain it factor hindered only by an idiot father who mooched off of your talent. Everybody here was so certain that once you got rid of that sack of shit, you would blossom, grow, and perhaps become Universal Champion within a snap of your fingers. Then you got rid of him and…that didn’t really happen, did it? Oh sure, you got the 5 Star for two-point-five seconds. However, even when you’re back in contention, you haven’t really gotten anywhere close to getting it back. That poses a problem because
(correct us if we’re wrong, oldheads, for we are rolling on our interpretation of the titles here)
the 5 Star Champion is supposed to be the one that everybody from the curtain jerker to the Universal Champ himself should be keeping an eye on. They are both the workhorses and the biggest threats to the biggest prize. The 5 Star–and by matter of level, our Intense title as well–are supposed to be the signifiers of who the baddest motherfuckers here truly are. The weak may call them secondary belts. But holding these belts are supposed to be a sign of the hungry nipping at the heels of the rich. Then again, given how much of a clusterfuck the Universal scene’s been? We can’t fault anybody for having second thoughts on that part of it.
Our point is you haven’t been hungry in a while, Flambo. We won’t completely roast you on this. We have our moments where we just cannot find the motivation for the life of us and it’s just a matter of slogging through until daybreak. But your affliction is worse. Even with us spoiling your half baked dream of smacking up someone “notable”, the promotion of this match should be obvious. Neck collector vs. Soul taker. However, whatever you could’ve been has been replaced by a dead-eyed lizard man with nothing to live for. Once again, our princess is in another castle.
Ultimately, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you are willing to give to be champion. Not you and your dad or you and Phil or you and the facade of The Glue-whatever-you-call-yourselves-this-week. You. What are you willing to give? What are you willing to take? How much are you willing to suffer? Because that’s what this belt is all about. Tom, for all his flaws, was a good Intense Champion because he was willing to do whatever it took. Paxton was and remains a wrecking ball. All we have is a limited amount of fucks to give and an everlasting death wish.
You know what we find funny, Flim-Flam? You and us were christened with potential when everything started. Both of us have fallen below expectations. Yet some delusional people still believe you have it. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that potential is a mirage. Staring at these dueling belts, at Lucky’s and at ours, we come to the realization that we will never, ever fall for that trap again.
(And we know what people are going to say. “Anna, what about Eddie Cross?” We like Eddie. He’s willing to work, willing to learn, and isn’t a complete moron. But we’re not so damn dumb as to say he’s the Next Muse. We’re not going to kiss his ass, stroke his dick, or fluff up his ego. We doubt he’s big on those first two things anyway. If he’s meant to last in this business, he will. If he washes out, that’s on him too.)
This Pier Six brawl is a chance for you, Flambo. A chance to prove to your master and your fellow servants that you’re not a dead weight. A chance to finally collect a neck, lowly as you may think it is, and mean something for about five seconds before the PRIMEverse’s collective goldfish brain kicks in again. Scales of the cold blooded stare blank eyed together. Whoop-de-doo. We don’t have that pressure on us. You’re a walking corpse of a man, a self-aborted soul, and we could easily turn this fight into something that’ll bring you back to life if only for one match.
But we won’t. We learned our lesson. Instead, we’re going to help your outside match your inside.