He twists Julien around for the inverted double underhook facebuster, but before he drops his feet out from under him, he looks into her eyes.
He sees happiness dancing inside her pupils, a mystical dance of hope. It’s something he’s never seen before, a moment where he holds the key to unlock it.
And suddenly hope of a better future isn’t a pipe dream anymore.
He doesn’t waste another second, because he knows how precious each second is. He kicks his feet out from under him, he allows his strong, merciless, upper body strength to push down on his opponent’s torso and send the man’s face crashing to the canvas.
He’s done it! He can feel the sense of life immediately sucked out of the Frenchman’s body.
He turns himself around and, in the process, he rolls Julien over, too.
He hooks a leg.
The count is made.
The bell is rung.
She bursts into the ring, leaps into his arms and they hold each other tight.
The onlookers… tears run down their faces. Everyone within the arena knows they are witnessing history, they are captured in the moment.
“I love you,” she exclaims, tossing her hair back in a wild, animalistic nature. “You proved your love through wrestling!”
The truth is he always loved her; this was clear. However, now notching his second straight victory, he’s starting to show how deep his emotional waters run.
They will carry him through everything.
“And I fucking love you,” he states boldly. He holds her face, he grabs her ass. He swings her around the ring like the man she wants him to be! No longer demanding, because she has finally received her wish. He has all the confidence in the world, as he takes a brief second from the corner of his right eye to realize…
FLAMBERGE hasn’t moved.
And back to her. She wraps her legs around his waist, she’s perched up on his chest, with her head slightly higher than his as he spins, spins, spins in a circle! It’s something out of the ballet. Dancing on ice or beyond.
Floating inside the squared circle!
Tag team championships be damned, this is his true calling.
Singles competition, the real Hallmark Journey.
“I’m going to devour you in love!” He shouts, wanting the world to bear witness to their inner desires.
She opens her mouth, she can’t even speak. This is a first, she always knows what to say. But now she is no longer needed to carry the flag.
They both will.
Never before has he felt such a rush. He places both hands on her cheeks and he brings her in close.
“I love you!” He commands.
And then he wakes up.
EVERYTHING’S COMING UP CONVOY
A true love story
An honest friendship
What’s that saying… “the brighter the picture, the darker the negative”??? Sounds kinda fucked up, no?
— — — — —
Meth Rehabilitation Outpatient Check-In Program
September 6, 2022
“I can’t do it, I’m sorry.”
Jonathan-Christopher is having a nervous breakdown. It’s one of many and, in all honesty, this one isn’t nearly as bad as his last. Or the one before that. In fact, at one point in time there were so many intense emotional breakdowns, he needed injections in order to lose consciousness. There was no other way around it in the mental health ward, he was a danger to himself and others.
“Yes, you can,” she reminds him. She doesn’t get too close because she doesn’t really know him. Jonathan-Christopher has only been coming to the outpatient program for a few weeks now. Three, to be exact. Three sessions, three weeks.
He’s barely said a word.
Dora, the only person he’s befriended, attempts to comfort JCH by sitting beside him on a park bench outside. With only four minutes before their program begins, Jonathan-Christopher is in no shape to discuss the troubles and challenges of life.
“I want to use again,” he says a half-truth. The reality is Jonathan-Christopher Hall is not addicted to meth, he’s addicted to something else… someone else.
And he needs her back.
She left him. This seems to be the only piece of the puzzle that is clear, although it’s been kept very quiet. Darin Zion, Jonathan-Christopher’s “best friend” is aware about Vickie’s displeasure with her husband, as JC’s first PRIME run didn’t go exactly to plan.
JC broke down and was institutionalized. As a result, Vickie couldn’t handle it and subsequently took a break. Now, with Jonathan-Christopher seemingly doing better, to the point of being released from the inpatient unit, he is vying for her return.
She hasn’t officially returned.
Therefore, he’s finding other coping mechanisms like this rehabilitation program.
“You have the strength not to use, Jonathan-Christopher,” Dora reminds him. She leans forward, her arms on her knees, positioned like the former wrestler. “You said you have been clean for one month. That’s amazing!”
Additionally, Dora’s had a hard shake in life. At 17-years-old she was kicked out of her home when her mother’s new boyfriend abused her. She struggled on the streets for years, finding various drugs to numb away the pain. To this day, she doesn’t know how she was saved but at the age of 34, she’s made some real strides. It started approximately five years ago when she worked herself into a low income job. Since then she’s relapsed but never once let it affect her job or her new priorities. She’s a good person who was dealt a shit hand and is stronger than she could ever let on.
Jonathan-Christopher continues to sob, he can’t seem to pull himself together. By now the rehab session is well underway. Between the Forever Man’s loud cries of shame, you can hear the group saying “hello” to whomever it is that introduces themselves.
“You don’t have to go in,” Dora reminds him. “And I am quite okay with staying out here, too.”
“It’s so, so hard,” he lets out a whimper. It’s amazing how a sentence or two can prep someone else into speaking their mind, no matter how strong of an anxiety attack they are going through.
Dora gives Jonathan-Christopher space, although it takes the Folsom native a while. Again, from inside the community building, you can hear the “Hello, James” reply from the group in attendance, before James works into his own introduction. How he’s 45-years-old, been a “meth head” since he was 12 when his dad would leave drugs out on the table at night and James would start using them.
“I can’t give it up,” Jonathan-Christopher mentions. While he has stopped bawling profusely, there’s the odd weep in-between. It makes it hard for Dora to hear. “Meth has been a part of my life for so long now. Sometimes I feel like I can stop, and then maybe I do. Only to use again…”
Dora’s good natured spirit takes over.
“Relapse doesn’t mean you’ve failed, Jonathan-Christopher,” she reminds him of what they’ve learned in the program. “Relapse is often part of the process.”
“But for how long!?” He responds immediately, lifting his head and looking at her. His eyes are bloodshot, his nose is runny. He’s an awful mess but Dora is able to see through it. She’s been there, she knows what it’s like and how hard making these choices has become.
She wants to reach out and place a hand on his shoulder but she is conscious of keeping a physical space between them for his comfort.
“I wish I could tell you how long you will have to battle these cravings,” she replies. In a way, it depresses her to say this but it’s true.
Jonathan-Christopher stares blankly into her face… and then he places his head in his hands again.
“I don’t want to go in,” he reaffirms.
“Then we won’t go in,” she reminds him. “Whatever you want, okay?”
And they continue to sit on the bench, while the session goes on behind them.
— — — — —
New Orleans, LA
August 20, 2022
[events leading up – last scene here]
[[BLOCKED FROM MEMORY]]
— — — — —
Can you hear me God? It’s me, Jonathan-Christopher.
I hope this doesn’t become a weekly thing. First of all, thank you for hearing my prayer two weeks ago and helping me defeat Adam Ellis. I really needed that win, a loss would’ve been too much to handle after everything I’ve been through.
Speaking on this topic, it brings me to my second point, would it be possible to ask for another victory, please?
FLAMBERGE. Look at him. Natural talent. I wish I had natural talent.
He’s really good, he has a great record and I’m scared of what he can do to me. He is confident and brash and oh goodness is this horrific.
I don’t dream often but now I find my mind wandering. Praying a Hail Mary comes my way and I can withstand this man’s abilities.
Did you know I’m familiar with him? Jeesh, of course you do, you’re God. We were in DEFIANCE’s BRAZEN. I never talked to him because he was imposing. I’m not sure if Vickie conversed with him, I would be heartbroken if she did.
In addiction rehab, I learned to submit myself to you. I need you, God. You can show me the way.
Please let me beat FLAMBERGE this week.
I need this. I really, really, really need this.
I know I keep saying it. I’ll continue to say it because it’s true.
Please please please.
I can’t get a hold of myself. I don’t know what’s coming next but I know this is the most important test of my life because if I lose I might lose my marriage.
My marriage is everything.
I don’t even like wrestling, I wrestle for Vickie. She’s my life blood.
My marriage is everything.
I know I keep saying that, too.
I’m sorry if I continue to repeat myself, God. I’m a desperate man and you can help me, okay? You helped me get my mental health back together when I was in shambles. After I received Vickie’s ultimatum, I found the Twelve Step program.
Look at me, once again trying to tell you what I’ve been through. This is silly; I apologize. You’re aware, you’re the all knowing entity.
I need this win, God.
FLAMBERGE can lose. He’s established a good win-loss record. In today’s time he’s known around the world. He isn’t BRAZEN talent anymore.
I am BRAZEN talent or less.
But the heart inside of me is world caliber. World caliber for my Amazing Life Partner, you see.
God I want my dream to be true. I don’t have to hit my finisher. A roll up would be nice. If Darin Zion interferes again I’m OK with that. I’ll take anything!
If FLAMBERGE loses he will be fine. He defeated Nova last week and he previously held the Five Star Champion.
He beat Rezin for that belt and now Rezin is the Universal Champion.
OH MY GOD what am I getting into?
I’m hyperventilating!! I don’t know what to do!! Oh God, oh God, oh God!!!!!
Breathe through my diaphragm. I remember this will calm me down.
I am relaxed.
OK don’t tell Vickie but I know Darin and I are not the Tag Team Champions.
I’m sorry. Look, if you let me beat FLAMBERGE I’ll drop the Tag Team Championship act. I’ll let Vickie know it isn’t the right thing to do after the match. We shouldn’t be acting like we won.
Funny thing is she wants to focus on the singles division anyway.
Maybe one day I can become the Five Star Champion. I can’t get there if I don’t beat FLAMBERGE though.
OK so hear me out. No more stupid stuff. I’ll talk to Vickie and express how it’s wrong we call ourselves the tag title holders. I’ll get her to relax on the news retractions, too. I can do this if I win because she’s going to be so invested in the Hallmark journey.
I never had a journey here. Every first step I took I ran into a brick wall. Almasy Tournament and Tag Team Survivor. I didn’t have one chance to celebrate with my baby.
I know I’m not the best, I’m not good at anything. If I’m going to be honest with you God, when it comes to my match this week…
I don’t know what to do.
He’s so unreal. I’m nothing but I need to win.
I’ll fix my act.
Is it pathetic I’ve begged for this long?
I can’t emphasize it enough but I can give you a few lasting impressions to award me the victory.
One, ReVival is in New Orleans and I’m a Louisiana native. This is my home ground so I might be cheered! FLAMBERGE is from France. I’m American and born in Folsom. It’s only an hour drive to NOLA. Would you want my hometown fans disappointed?
Two, I wrestled in DEFIANCE for a short period. NOLA is DEFIANCE’s home so most of the fans will be familiar with me. I know FLAMBERGE also started in DEF but it’s not really fair he’s considered since he’s so entrenched in PRIME.
Three, what a redemption story this would be! I stayed in the Homewood Health inpatient unit a couple miles north of the Smoothie King Center. What better way to prove how I’ve overcome my in-ring demons like I did my mental demons last summer.
Sorry, once again I’m probably telling you things you already know. Or maybe I should have led with these points and forgot about the rest.
I’m a loser, I don’t know how to navigate. Please help me become a winner.
I’ll do anything if you let me win.
I am at your mercy.
Thank you in advance, God.
— — — — —
New Orleans, LA
February 16, 2023
You ever had the feeling of walking into a situation you know wasn’t going to end well?
At this very moment, Jonathan-Christopher is feeling it in spades. They exit the plane and into Louis Armstrong International Airport as Vickie yawns and stretches, although she seems off put by their first class trip. Finances run deep in Vickie’s family but full disclosure, still not as deep as she would like. There’s no private jet for the Hall’s, no VIP shuttle service from the airport. As a result of taking what she refers to as “common transit”, the in-flight experience was below average and frustrating. There wasn’t the ideal amount of legroom and the service was shotty. She had seen every romantic movie offered on the flight and was appalled to realize violent movies such as The Batman and OG Avatar, and painful, offensive comedies like Mean Girls and Superbad were also potential selections. Mind-numbing stupidity, she can’t believe how these movies are so available and widespread. She complained to the flight attendant but felt like she was ignored. She had hoped Jonathan-Christopher would stand up in her defense too, yet he was in no headspace to do so. The Timid Tiger spent most of his time trembling, unable to sleep or even close his eyes. He hasn’t returned to New Orleans for almost six months since the time he left the inpatient unit. Furthermore, he hasn’t stepped foot in the state of Louisiana for three months, since he left outpatient support altogether.
He didn’t want to come back, it’s a cruel trick the world’s playing on him.
He won’t blame God, he’ll blame Lindsay Troy instead.
She’s a narcissist, after all.
“Hurry up, my dear,” Pretty Pink scolds as she walks much faster ahead while Jonathan-Christopher holds his carry-on bag and hers at the same time, trying to find a way to manage both. Her backpack is extremely heavy. She wanted to overload it because she needed so many items. It’s tough enough to drag her backpack, let alone his own but Vickie enjoys being pampered and thinks it’s very masculine of the guy to carry the belongings. It’s old fashioned and Jonathan-Christopher will abide without a peep.
Even if his is feeling-
“C’mon, Jonathan-Christopher, let’s get going,” once again she beckons. It’s not like The Forever Man isn’t trying, the airport is busy and he’s navigating through a truckload of flyers. “I hope our check-in bags arrive ASAP!”
Jonathan-Christopher’s heart skips a beat. He will have to find a way to put both carry-ons around his shoulders and pull two large suitcases behind him if he wants to ensure his woman is being taken care of.
With each step they take, Jonathan-Christopher sweats more. Yes, FLAMBERGE occupies his mind. This was enough. He knows he’s going to die, he’s walking straight into the fire.
He’s prayed, yes, he’s prayed a lot. He prays every night for an hour while Vickie is sound asleep. She hasn’t caught him leaving their bed yet to connect with God and Jonathan-Christopher is thankful for that. He isn’t sure Vickie would understand.
Hall bumps into a man while trying to put both bags around his shoulders. He’s told to “fuck off” but he doesn’t have time to acknowledge, apologize, or show that ferocious side of him Vickie requires, a fire directed in response with a “FUCK YOU!” of his own. Vickie is so far ahead of him now, she’s approaching the escalator. He has to catch her!
But FLAMBERGE and chasing Vickie aren’t the only things weighing on his mind. The man from Folsom can’t help but think about the time he spent in New Orleans. This is where he met Vickie Hall and wrestled for a year in DEFIANCE’s minor leagues.
His mental health absolutely deteriorated in New Orleans, too.
But he rebuilt it on the same grounds.
Finally, Jonathan-Christopher is on the escalator. He sees Vickie at the bottom of it, tapping her foot and looking at a watch she’s not wearing.
“You could have walked down the escalator to arrive quicker, my lovely,” she scolds playfully, clearly with a hint of truth. “Now don’t be lazy.”
She tilts her head back and lets out a wild and free chuckle, while she takes the lead again, even though she’d rather her man do it.
“WELCOME HOME, HALL’S!” She booms into the airport; nobody pay’s attention.
They walk towards baggage claim and carousel six. Passing by the first five ramps, Jonathan-Christopher doesn’t see anonymous travelers claiming their items. Instead, he witnesses Brandon Youngblood pick up the Universal Championship and make his exit. He sees Rezin find an oversized bag of weed and begin a roll. Tristan-Crispin reaches a carousel and finds nothing… oh, wait, no. He found himself a self nuzzle!
Jonathan-Christopher double takes. He holds his eyelids tightly closed for a moment. Then he opens them to realize none of what he sees is real, nobody from PRIME is there. These are average people, taking their average belongings.
Hall lets out a sigh of relief as he scurries after Vickie and the sixth carousel.
JC’s shocked to find FLAMBERGE beside him! The Vow of Virtue nearly pisses himself in fear when the Frenchman strolls over to the ramp and picks up a decapitated head. Julien easily passes by the Hall’s without a care in the world.
“HONEY!” Vickie snaps her fingers in front of Jonathan-Christopher’s trance. He notices the truth, it wasn’t FLAMBERGE, just a random person who picked up his duffle bag. “Be on the lookout for our things, okay? I’d like to leave here as quickly as possible so we can break-down FLAMBERGE’s skills and create a game plan for the match.”
Jonathan-Christopher’s heart palpitates. He can eventually escape these intrusive thoughts but soon, in his HOME, he won’t be able to escape reality.
FLAMBERGE will be flesh and bones.
Regardless, Hall abides by his ALP and scans the conveyor belt. Upon seeing both pieces of their luggage, he promptly marches over to take them, while fumbling the two backpacks he already has in the process.
He readjusts and collects the items. He lifts his head in Vickie’s direction.
But he doesn’t see her.
…He sees someone else.
“Hi Jonathan-Christopher,” this person approaches in a very friendly manner, as JC tries to blink the image from his mind, knowing what he sees isn’t real.
“You don’t have to be here if you don’t want to.”
And he doesn’t. Jonathan-Christopher knows he will be the first to fail from the new and improved LOVE CONVOY. So why do this?
For Vickie, of course.
“Go away,” he says in reply, tears forming in his eyes. “Leave and do not return.”
The person he initially saw now vanishes and Pretty Pink reappears with a confident and righteous look on her face.
“Come along!” Vickie demands, leading the path to exit the airport.
“WELCOME HOME, HALL’S!” She bellows again.
Welcome home Hall’s, indeed.