Crash comes to focus inside his hotel bathroom. The scent is fresh. The steam is strong. His tattooed body glistens with the last droplets of a surely satisfying shower. A strong smile flashes over our whimsical hero’s face.
I look like a real Broseidon.
That strikes that weird nerve you get struck by when nobody says anything or something nowhere near relevant. Crash spasms. He hates that type of shit. Let’s swear a lot.
It’s not because he wants to swear. He doesn’t fuckin’ do that shit a lot. He likes to play nicely. But he does swear like a sailor.
“Goddamn fuckin’ minx! What the Hell am I supposed to fuckin’ do with this shit when I have two fuckin buddies and have to fuckin’ fight a goddamn reborn hercules motherfucker? I’m really not tryin’ top fuckin’ swear but – JEEEEEEEESSUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSS – I’m fuckin’ pissed, right now.”
It’s surpassing, bro. There’s real love. Then there’s forced love. Crash hadn’t felt this kind of affection – let alone for two dudes – since he’d played high school football. Eddie. Max?. They’re his fuckin’ boys. How in the Hell is he supposed to do this? It’s nice having friends. It’s been the fuckin’ best.
Then there’s that… other… kind of love. The sexy kind. The make you FEEL ALIVE kind. Crash really has a weak spot and – well, ladies are, like, the top twenty six out of twenty – and now, it’s becoming a problem. Bat an eye at the hornball and he’ll move in yesterday. It’s kind of sad – pretty sad – but he’s working on it, okay? That brush with glory last week where VP gave him a taste of her love pillows really made this thing hard to judge. He’s ready to referee sooooo hard.
– – – –
We all want it. Some of us get it.
None of us feel it.
Unless they’re lucky enough to be bred into that world.
I know I wasn’t.
Too many scars to pretend.
– – – –
Early December – Buffalo, NY – 2004
We find ourselves in a family home in Western New York. The house is filtered with family photos, knickknacks, and an unhealthy amount of Buffalo Bills merchandise. The Elf, on that shelf, is wearing a #12 Bills jersey because Jim Kelly is God in this house. This is the Jackson house, where Jason and Kim raise their only child, Jason Junior.
Jason, a blue-collar man who runs his own landscaping business around the greater Buffalo area, pours his wife a glass of wine before doing himself the same while wearing a 1990’s style Buffalo Bills Jim Kelly jersey because he, as we’ve said, is very religious. Not the same way Rob Williams is learning to become but a way that gives him purpose. If he does his daily good deeds, Jim Kelly will be reincarnate on the football field and once again rise from the blackness in the form of a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl Champion. This is the way.
Kim, a socialite-type lady, turns from washing off the Brussel sprouts and smiles. She’s wearing a green and white Chrismtasy dress, wayyy tooo overdressed for a night in and cooking at the same time. She is wearing an apron though, sequined, and very red. She raises her glass.
“What a day, honey. Here’s to when we-”
The front door slams. Both of their eyes look toward that part of the house. It’s their son, Jason Jr., who’s coming in after a few hours at his buddy’s house. They share a favorable glance, Kim looking at her Bulova before rolling her eyes. Jason, however, maintains his shinier disposition and clinks her glass. She grins.
PLAY. IT. COOL.
Kim quickly shifts her posture and approaches her little dude. He hugs his Mom like he wants something. They let go and she looks him up and down. He freezes.
“Hmm. Did you already eat, dear?”
“No, only chips and salsa and tacos and rice and beans and that stuff you get after dinner that’s like a cinnamon crispy thing. I didn’t eat a lot though.”
His Dad steps forward with a grin as his mother does that scowel-smile thing. The youngest Jackson looks over to the kitchen and sees all the food being prepared. He slunks his shoulders a little, not sure is his full belly offends his Mom or not, and looks at his Dad.
There’s a clear pause. This sends Kim towards her glass of wine while letting out an audible scoff. She grabs her glass before looking back at this kid she doesn’t even think she knows. That’s when Jason Jr. Cocks his head, hard, to the right. Her eyes go so wide they’re like a fuckin’ soccer net. She slams some wine down to forget how this little shit is treating her right now.
Jason Sr. steps forward and pats her arm. His reassuring grin is enough to let this slide – for now – as he high fives his son.
“What’s up, sport?”
Jason follows his son through the dining room to the front hallway into the living room, where he watches his son immediately turn and point to the TV. He looks up, under his snow jacket hood, and with some serious puppy dog eyes.
“Dad, can I watch da wressling?”
Jason turns, curious if he’s been followed by his wife, and looks back at his kid. It’s so hard to say no. He takes a few steps toward the other side of the house, hoping not find any spies, and looks back at his son with a curious gaze.
“I’m gonna turn it on for you but, if your Mom comes in, switch it to baseball. Our secret?”
“Yeah, Dad! I saw dese guys doin’ fipps and den dey smash into udder guys and den dey win gold tidle bewlts!”
Jason Sr. Moves on, knowing he’s probably making a mistake, but he’s got a 9 year old who wants to have some fun. He nearly gets to the kitchen before he notices the sound of the TV going silent. Then there’s a thud and then he puts a pause on his gate enough to hear another thud. He turns his eyes over his shoulder to notice small dark waves of shadow float over where you might see the Christmas tree lights.
He turns into the living room to see his son, smiling, and panting.
“Dad, watch this!”
Little Jason Jackson Jr. Points to the TV. His Dad follows his attention to where he spots the tube. It’s paused. His little boy figured out how to pause it and, as fate would have it, he un-pauses it when his Dad’s eyes meet the screen. It’s Brandon Youngblood completely dismantling some peon. The elder Jackson actually feels some pity for whoever just died on screen.
His eyes dart to the sound of many, many little feet making their way towards him. Little Jason does an incredible spear on Big Jason and they both fly into the floor. Jason Jr. looks up, very proud, and looking for some sort of validation. Without getting it and mostly watching his Dad clutching his ribs, he jumps up, looks back, and bounds onto the coffee table. This little wild maniac bounds onto the couch, then the arm rest of the couch, and performs a flawless Frog Splash. His Dad’s eyes go super wide before he gets crushed and lets an audible groan.
Little Jason wraps his arm around his Dad’s leg, pulling it up, for the pin. He kicks out. Dumb move.
“Sorry, buddy. Not that easy!”
Dad rolls over and uses his weight to hopefully avoid a concussion or another broken rib. This is what Jim Kelly would do. He rolls off his kid, knowing it’s time for a breather for both parties, and rests on his elbows.
“What’s happening in here, Jay?”
Jason Sr. lowers his head and closes his eyes. He lets out an audible sigh. Jason Jr., however, doesn’t hear the call of the Mother and continues on his rampage of living room wrestling glory.
“We were just pl-”
Jason Jr., full of vigor, grabs his Dad by the bottoms of his pants and drags him toward him. He pulls him up, drops him down with a drop toe hold, and puts the ole Armbar Crossface on him. His mother shrieks with fear before they both let go and laugh.
“We’re just foolin’, Hon’.”
That’s about the moment Jason Jr turns and points to the Christmas tree. That’s when everyone notices the fallen tree – top end in the fireplace – and the obsessive flames spewing to the ceiling. The fear on Kim’s face is enough to send her toward the nearest phone and dial for help. Jason Sr scrambles to his feet, running for the fire extinguisher.
Little Jason backs away from the melting merry decorations and flames right before his Dad runs in and spreads a cloud of white dust in spurts. The flames go away but let’s get real, it’s way too late. Firemen are banging on the door already and they’re ready for some shit. Jason Sr yanks Junior out of the way before they destroy their loving home with a high-pressure water gun.
– – – –
You know what, Rob?
I like you.
Let’s burn these fuckin’ ships.
Where am I gonna go? Back to nowhere, working Carnivals, and grinding for a chance to wrestle?
Hell. Fuckin’. No.
Where you gonna go? I, honestly, don’t like where you’re headin’. But that ain’t my worries, Winters Bro.
You’re here for a reason. You wanna resurrect yourself. You wanna get to be a born-again bro, right, broseph?
I’m here for a reason too. You’re the guy who had it. I’m the guy who wants it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super stoked to get a chance to step inside the ropes with a vet such as yourself, old bro. But I’m not gonna slow down because you’ve got some sort of longevity clause.
Now we get a chance to do what we both wanna do. We get to kick off Colossus ‘24, Big Boy! You bring A game and I promise that we’re gonna put on a show they’re gonna talk about.
We’ve got a chance to show everyone exactly what we wanna be.
You asked for a burnt offering?
I’m on fire, bro.
Come and get it.