Cecilworth Farthington was still making his way in the world of PRIME, faces constantly passed him by and in times of strife, he always ended up finding himself homebound to Farthington Manor.
One thing that had caught his attention in his short time with the company though was the blood lust that just the name UltraViolence seemed to drive a vast majority towards. It started with Arthur Pleasant even before Tropical Turmoil had finished airing and seemed to continue on as things got wilder and wilder. Shock collars, Tsonda and Gamble trying to murder each other with Wile E. Coyote plots, innocent family members being corrupted out of the wazoo.
The red mist seemed to descend and it didn’t show any signs of lifting up the final bell rung at the end of Brandon Youngblood and Ivan Stanislov in the UltraViolence cage.
If this had just happened once, it would be a curious tale. Yet, while watching from the comforts of his Manor, Cecilworth had seen the UltraViolence Madness grip the roster last year too. He watched in agony as the smell of copper got up the nose of The Eggman and The Bathtub, which may sound like a disappointing morning zoo duo, but were actually the two men to end the career of PRIME’s Universal Champion at the time. They were not bitter enemies, they had not been at each other’s throats for years, the name UltraViolence seemed to do all the work as Jiles and Julian bettered their odds. Phil Atken was slain so Cancer Jiles could dance sexily to the ring with an entrance that had a cost somewhere around the GDP of the small island nation.
Farthington had been the shadowy figure supporting Phil Atken’s return to wrestling. He provided the time, he provided the facilities and of course, he provided the finances. Yet, no money, no resources, no connections… none of that could stop what he witnessed that night. All he could do was sit and stew. Just like he had when Max Kael was LITERALLY MURDERED on live Pay Per View.
Wrestling is supposed to be just that. A sporting contest to assert dominance over your lessers. Now sure, it might get a bit aggressive, body parts and limbs may snap, crackle and pop in the ring. People may lose themselves for the briefest of moments and go hog wild on an opponent in a manner that may seem unsporting but the impact of UltraViolence… it created something different. The culture seemed much more brutal, the assaults more devastating. A gear had shifted in a lot of the brains of the roster and Cecilworth could sniff the fuel.
For the PRIME’s Shiniest Champion, he’d seen this all before. He’d seen where action without thought goes. Twice now, he’d had a deep sense of helplessness, of being defeated, of grieving – whether that grief be for a life or a career.
It felt very fitting that the upcoming show was in Chicago. The home of taking wrestling outside the ring, the home of ruining lives, the home of ending lives. He’d seen it all as Rome burned down around him. The kind of product he had grown to loathe, the very reason he funded Glue… it had gripped PRIME.
The smell of UltraViolence was nauseating.
Cecilworth closed his eyes for a few moments, clearly overwhelmed by his return to the city he once called home. He felt he had failed. The mission had failed. Sure, he was a champion, FLAMBERGE was a champion… that should have given them the biggest bully pulpit yet no one was listening. They gave more weight to the words of a man like Hayes Hanlon who seemed a big fan of tarring every person who didn’t follow his unique moral compass with the same brush. To an angry Hanlon, a small little beat down to establish dominance ONCE, and coming out to watch your peers wrestle, well, boy howdy, that’s just as bad as sexually menacing female roster members or trying to bite the flesh out of your colleagues.
Call Farthington a simple man but to him, biting a man seemed like grounds for termination if it was not in a consensual assault situation.
Farthington’s frustrations with how he and his compatriots were viewed was sending his body into surface of the sun like temperatures and he knew he needed to reign it in. He didn’t want to join the ranks of those in murder mode after all. Closed eyes and gentle breathing, that’ll cure what ails our pal.
After a few moments our precious Five Star Friend reopened his eyes and found himself, quite surprisingly, in the study of Farthington Manor, which was very confusing because he was just in a car in Chicago like three minutes ago. He looked down at the manila folder that was flopped open in front of him, as he sat at the head of the table. He looked down and flipped through a few pages of “The 2023 State of Glue” document – product numbers looked strong, the graphs all went in the up pointy direction that Cecilworth was assured over the years was a good thing. He wasn’t sure how he ended up here, but the situation provided comfort to him.
“Nate Colton was tough, he thought he knew how to stand on his own. The young ones always do, I don’t blame them. They see their elders spunk their futures up the wall and that is definitely going to leave an impression. It’s okay though, we let him sow his own oats and when the time was right, after everyone else turned their backs on him, he knew he could come to us.” stated a voice that felt very reassuring to Farthington. A voice he had heard many times in the past. A voice he knew he could trust.
Cecilworth was a little lost and confused as he slowly looked up from the documents in front of him. First of all, he was certain Nate Colton had shown no interest in aligning with the Glue Core Values. Sure, him and Colton had managed to have a normal sporting contest in a world gone wild for the Five Star Championship, but last he saw, Colton was too busy trying to save his own pride by going through a stained glass window
Cecilworth could not blame him at all. The Five Star Champion had often considered jumping through windows himself if he saw Vickie Hall on the horizon, it seemed like the only sane decision to make. What’s a few gushing wounds if it helps you to avoid the Love Convoy, Cecilworth had avoided being nuzzled for his whole life so far and he was very much planning to keep it that way thank you very much.
Still, that didn’t explain the information just presented to him. He continued to listen, casually flicking through the pages until he stopped dead at the list of “Internal List of Glue (Active and Inactive)”.
No Joe? No Sid? No screaming noise from the abyss that consumes Cecilworth’s skull when he tries to remember if there were other members?
Farthington saw his own name, insultingly listing him purely as an “Outside Consultant”, and after everything he’s done this year to help? Maybe this was an old document from before Culture Shock, but surely he would’ve remembered that Nate Colton was aligned to the Core Values of Glue, even if it was for a brief period of time.
Farthington finally looked up and gave the speaker his full attention. Phil Atken was standing above him, next to an old overhead projector.
Phil Atken was standing.
That’s definitely not right.
“Now Cecilworth, I understand your concern, Colton snubbed us before, but me and FLAMBERGE can’t be holding this entire thing up ourselves. I’m getting older and carrying around a 20 pound Universal Championship every week is starting to ruin my back. Me with the Universal, FLAMBERGE as the Pride of Intensity and Colton as our Five Star Future. You gotta say I’m paying this investment back…”
Cecilworth shifted around in his chair, uncomfortable with this unreality he found himself in. The amount of thoughts rushing through his skull was akin to the results of a New York Marathon starter’s pistol. He tried to catch on to one of the thoughts before it jogged off but just as his mouth became agape, he was once again cut off by a rather jubilant looking Atken.
Or what passes for jubilant for a Scottish man in his 50s. Which means a slight smile and a colourful tie.
“I know what you’re going to say C-Money. Don’t worry, I’ve made sure that Hank will get plenty of pool time! In fact, I think he’s already earned just such a reward, come on, let’s boogie!”
Cecilworth looked back at the happy Atken, and all he could do is mutter “let’s boogie?” back to himself. By the time he tried to stop Atken in his tracks, everyone had already departed the room.
Trying to make sense of the world he has found himself in, Farthington took a moment to survey the gardens of Farthington Manor.
The Hedge Maze is fully grown.
That definitely isn’t right.
There’s only one thing for it. Time for a little eye closing once more.
Surprise surprise, FLAMBERGE! Winning’s the greatest feeling, nobody denies…it’s laughter, love, and necks in disguise…the unpredictable. That’s the surprise, you see.
Surprise surprise, PRIME. That’s eleven necks pour ton garçon.
Does the roster hear me, do you think? Can their ears grasp the middle fingers in my voice, or the existential doom I’ve given yours? You see how hard they rail against the inevitable, like swimming atop blocks of ice, watching you plank on chairs or stare at walls all while failing to understand that the Lizard King lets those around him see what they want to see. They sense a change in you, but at every pass they cannot grasp the full power of your mirage.
Phil was taken from us, and so I activated your mind. Weeks and months passed with no word from Phil, and so I claimed your heart. Cecilworth Farthington, a man next to whom you sat in a reclining pool chair to watch dearest Hank spin around like a big little doll in the water, DEBUTS FOR PRIME PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING COMPANY INCORPORATED ENTERPRISES, and kept it from you – and so I corrected your spirit.
It’s elegant, now – what you’ve become. And they can’t see it because they think you’re Big complicated. They never see that deep down, at your core, you’re so very simple and so obvious – you’re Phil Atken’s fucking sword. Le FLAMBERGE, specially crafted by French malaise et existentialism to butcher the necks out of everyone in the way. In his way.
Titles, wins, new records, the top of the ranking ladder – fine and dandy and all, even if it was a little predictable. Just like PRIME’s greatest threat Phil Atken’s victory was an inevitability at ReVival 13. That same night, you made your choice (also was a guarantee to happen as soon as the opportunity came, for the record, you poor attention-starved little pupper) (what, you’ll jump at anything that looks like positive reinforcement) (it’s why you like your mom better, she coddled you), and I for the record think your choice has gone swell.
Yes, you’ve been a very good boy, yes you have. Good scritchums are in your future, my friend.
Blink. Your eyes are dry, you haven’t blinked in two minutes. Blink. There you go. Good boy. Forgot I have to do that sometimes. Usually, it’s just when you’re a little on edge…let’s see here. What’s causing the brain lag…OH! That’s right!
That little carrot you kept dangling in front of yourself to find an excuse to alter our arrangement from back in April, but that’s fine! I get it. They’re not going to let you compete for the Universal title as long as you’re Intense champion, and I certainly plan to never stop never stopping you from hoisting every neck they want to waste upon your mantle, so…long way of saying it, but yeah. You’re Numéro fucking Un. An unbeaten year.
Go ahead. I give you permission to finally read that letter from what’s her name. Julia. Mommy dearest.
2 avril 2023
### Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Bonjour ma petite épée !
J’espère que vous allez bien. Depuis combien de temps es-tu en Amérique maintenant ? Cela fait déjà plus d’un an ? Je n’arrive pas à croire combien de temps s’est écoulé – la prochaine fois que je te vois, je cuisine, tu apportes le vin, et tu me dis à quel point tu es triste en Amérique et que tu aimerais être à la maison (hehe, je plaisante – Je suis tellement fier de ce que tu fais, poursuivre tes rêves).
J’ai regardé vos exploits à la télévision américaine ces derniers temps – mon voisin est doué en informatique et m’a montré un site Internet sur sa machine qui me permet de regarder PRIME ! Vous avez eu beaucoup de succès dans votre sport, mais vous n’avez pas l’air de sourire autant que je me souvienne de vous. J’espère juste plus que toute autre chose que vous êtes heureux. Vous parmi nous méritez tous d’être heureux, je pense :).
Les choses sont pour l’essentiel les mêmes ici, calmes, paisibles – même s’il y a une chose que je dois partager avec vous. Avant de continuer, permettez-moi d’abord de vous dire que je ne veux pas que vous vous inquiétiez, il y a environ 98 % de chances que le correctif soit une procédure d’entrée et de sortie, en moins d’une heure, et je continue ma journée. Votre cœur sera au bon endroit lorsque vous le ferez, mais ne paniquez pas.
Dans quelques années, lorsque vous aurez 50 ans, vous constaterez peut-être que les médecins aiment vous faire subir des tests beaucoup plus effrayants, et bien, c’est juste ma chance que les médecins pensent avoir trouvé quelque chose. C’était probablement ma faute si je leur avais dit que je me sentais plus fatigué ces derniers temps – honnêtement, j’aurais dû leur dire que je m’entraînais pour quelque chose, mais je n’arrivais pas à penser à ce mensonge assez vite – de toute façon, il y a de fortes chances que ce soit le cas. s’en va facilement. Je te connais juste, mon fils, et je sais que tu serais très en colère contre moi de “ne pas te le dire assez tôt”, même si rien ne se passera probablement. Au fait, j’adore ça chez toi.
De toute façon! Écrivez quand vous le pouvez. Dès que j’aurai la confirmation que les nouvelles sont bonnes, je vous écrirai à nouveau.
Oh, oh dear. I see. That’s a lot to unpack, isn’t it.
Mom loves you, she misses you, she figured out how to watch you wrestle even though she is so bad with tech that she’s scared to buy a cell phone, and oh by the way maybe she’s dying. Ha! Naw, no, that was not a laugh, really. It was a reflex. Don’t get heated on me now. Cool blood, lower heart rate, think about your eggs. It’s fine. Mom, yeah, she sure sounds panicky, doesn’t she.
I mean, I technically don’t have what you might call a “traditional mother” given my nature but that doesn’t mean my imagination runs any less wild. Everything I’ve ever seen after the words “don’t worry BUT” usually spells catastrophe.
98% chance that it’s probably nothing, did she say? That’s pretty good odds. Two percent is pretty damn unlikely.
But I know that’s not the math you’re doing. You’re doing the comparison thing by turning it into wrestling and making everything about you and how great you think you are. A one on one match, 50% chance of winning, that’s WAY less than 98%, isn’t it…huh. 50% win, and then 50% for the second win, going back to back in PRIME is already a glum oh my lordy lord you did a speedrun straight to the end, your current actual win streak is 0.049% likely in theory but oh god you’re inevitable and oh god if 0.049% is inevitable, what does that mean about 2%, AND BREATHE! Breathe, FLAMBERGE, breathe.
Wow. Big ol’ rollercoaster and are we still on it?? FLAMBO, HEY! I’LL BLOW A SHARP WHISTLE IN YOUR HEAD, STOP! I’ll do it, I swear – you know what? OK-
FOCUS, MUTT. Listen. Ok, look. I’m going to take you back in time. So far back in time, in fact, that it was mere minutes ago.
Mirages, remember those? The things you’re so good at creating? You’re at risk of losing yourself into a few, yourself, if you’re not careful…the mirage that if you go back home with cash spilling out of your pockets, you’ll magically make up for your so-called lost youth. Or that anything in the combat sports world for you is about “passion” anymore. A passionate person is a tryhard, you know that. The Coltons, the Youngbloods, the Anglues, the bitchiest version of the Three Musketeers I ever saw, those are passionate people. Hayes Hanlon and Jared Sykes, those are passionate people.
Don’t let this letter make you think you’re a passionate person too. You’re not like them.
As Phil Atken’s sword, as a weapon, there are no burdens that can weigh down your heart because there is no longer a heart there. All you have to do is trust the wielder. To trust me.
To trust Phil Atken.
It’s ok to wonder if you and Phil could travel back in time to ReVival 13, knowing what you know now, and maybe Phil’s not in a wheelchair. Maybe he’s the one by your side instead of Cecilworth. You and Phil would be getting ready to show Hayes Hanlon and Jared Sykes what it truly means to commit yourself into becoming putty for the greatest sculptor on the planet right about now.
No matter. Cecilworth’s here instead. And need I remind you, It’s been gangbusters so far.
Snap out of these worries and concerns about your mother, or your teammate, or anything other than the bottom line:
Hanlon and Sykes owe you a neck. We’ll take both if they’re available.
Farthington opens his eyes once more and is reassured to see the beautiful bald skull of Hank sitting in front of him, hands gripped to the steering wheel, eyes on the road. He looks to his right and sees his Brother in Glue, who seems to be coming out of his own personal mind stew. Both men lock eyes for a second, there’s an awkwardness in the air, but that’s typical for these two. Farthington is the first to break the silence, splurting out the first thought that occurs to him.
“… I was just thinking about sending Cancer Jiles a thank you note.”
Even as the words are spat out, dryly, syllable by syllable, Farthington regrets them. No matter his own imposter syndrome, he cannot lose sight of the vision, the one thing that keeps the thin thread of glue bound. To spit on Atken is to spit on their purpose.
False alarm, everyone – FLAMBERGE was not, in fact, out of the stew. It’s a longer reboot process with some of these newer models. A bullet may have been dodged because FLAMBO clearly does not seem to register the dangerous grounds his partner besplurted. Many have come to expect this from the Frenchman of late – it’s like his brain tries to pay for his thought process with Bitcoin, it usually can’t be done. He blinks and turns, clocking the very large driver.
“Bonjour Hank, ça va?”
Hank, who may have been driving the car for about an hour at this point, turns around to give the Intense Champion a cheery thumbs up. Cecilworth at the same time appears to be thanking various gods that the brain rot uttered from his skull was left unheard.
“I really have no idea what the issue with us is, my French friend. Do you think the heroes covet our precious belts? Otherwise, if I was them, I’d be off solving that whole sexual menacing thing that seems to keep happening in this company. Or do you think Hayes’ skull is so pickled in gin he don’t get any of the good thoughts, like us?”
“They surely must covet our shinies, for they are not working avec the local authorities to track down the man who committed the home invasion and the assault and who has criminally menaced his estranged family, and thus their focus is for the glory of rare metals.”
Farthington nods as if he was provided a message from the Gods themselves, the words of FLAMBERGE reassuring. Their own mirages never came to pass, a future of what could was a fantasy.
No turning back, a supernova in the psyche of a master.
Do you feel it now?