Your recommended auditory companion: SWANS
April 1st, 1984
“Okay, Louise, you’re doing great! We’re almost through this!”
“Fuck, if I knew it was gonna hurt this much, I woulda moved to another fuckin’ state and gotten rid of the damb thing!”
“I can see the head… with me now, let’s give it one more big PUSH…”
“Congratulations, Miss Black! It’s a… um, ‘beautiful’ baby boy. Official time of birth… twenty past four in the morning.”
“Uggghh… this is just an elaborate April Fool’s joke, right?”
“Would you like to hold the baby?”
“Oookay, um… we may have to hold him overnight, because he’s barely at five pounds, and… uh, ma’am? This is a hospital. You can’t smoke in here.”
“Yeah, and you can go fuck yourself. Gimme another hit of that morphine…”
April 1st, 1989
“I think it’s my birthday…”
“…shit, you fuckin’ serious?”
“Damb, coulda fooled me. Well then, happy birthday, sweetie.”
“Thank you, mommy…”
“…what? Why do you keep lookin’ at me like that?”
“I… just kinda sorta wanted cake and ice cream.”
“Yeah, well, I kinda sorta wanted to be at least twenty-five before I shat out my first kid, but here we are kiddo. How ‘bout some life advice in place of a birthday present: Give up on any bullshit notion you have that you’ll ever get what you want in this life. No matter how hard you work or how hard you hope, you will always disappoint yourself, Erik. Expect nothing, want nothing, and just be happy to be breathin’. Now, fuck off back to your room and enjoy the rest of your birthday with your little wrestler action figures, cause Mommy just popped another Quaalude, and she’s waiting for this shit to kick in.”
April 1st, 1991
“It’s my birthday…”
“I think I’m seven.”
“Seven years I’ll never get back… are you gonna cry about cake and ice cream again?”
“No… but would it be okay if I went out and played wrestling with the kids down the street?”
“You have friends?”
“Um… I think? I mean, I don’t think they really want to be friends with me, cause they say I’m a… ‘bass turd’? But they let me play because they say I’m small enough to body slam.”
“Well, that makes sense…”
“Fuck, you’re still here? What now?!”
“What’s a ‘bass turd’?”
“You are, son. Now shut the fuck up and go away.”
April 1st, 1994
“I smell smoke! What the fuck are you burning out there?!”
“Um… I was just lighting my birthday candles?”
“Jesus fuck, the birthday thing again… wait, we don’t have candles.”
“You used MY CIGARETTES?!”
“I mean… only a few!”
“‘A few’ my ass; You have TEN in there, you little shit! Fuck, are you ten already? Whatever… the point is, that’s half a pack! Now run out and get me another, or I’m tossin’ your scrawny ass in the closet again!”
“…but… Mom… I’m a kid. Who’s going to sell cigarettes to a kid?”
“Fuck, then just run down to Curly’s and get a pack from the machine they have there.”
“Curly’s is a bar. I can’t go in there.”
“Fuckin’ says who?”
“Says… the sign on the door?”
“You’re gonna let a sign tell you what to do? Fuck that. Curly won’t give a fuck.”
“Okay… can I at least have five dollars?”
“You waste my cigs, and now you want money? Fuckin’ ome up with it yourself! Steal it, for all I care! Now fuck off and hurry back… and throw that stupid fucking cake away.”
April 1st, 1999
“Yeah yeah, hang on… I’m comin’.”
“Miss. Who the fuck is this?”
“This is Mr. Newell. I’m a guidance counselor at the school. I’m sorry for disturbing you today, but we needed to speak to you about an incident at the school today involving your son, Erik.”
“Jesus fuck… what’d the little bastard do this time?”
“Well, a staff member happened upon him smoking marijuana in the boys’ restroom. Allegedly, he was giving himself a ‘birthday present’.”
“…okay, and? You woke me up to tell me that?”
“As you should know, we cannot tolerate this behavior on school grounds. He is facing suspension.”
“Fuck that noise! I don’t want him around here anymore than he already is!”
“I should also point out, this is just the latest in a series of incidents involving Erik. He’s already accrued several unexcused absences, and been involved in a number of fights with members of the athletic team.”
“Meh… shoulda let him join the wrestling team then.”
“Furthermore, according to our records, he’s had a long history of disruptive and antisocial behavior for almost his entire life. We believe he may have ADHD or some other undiagnosed condition. It’s a shame, because he excels academically, but I fear his education may be compromised should this behavior escalate into something worse.”
“…and what, you’re saying it’s my fault? Fuck you, buddy! Go find the sumbish that knocked me up if you want to put the blame on somebody, cause it all started with that prick!”
“Miss Black, I’m afraid this matter is serious. If Erik doesn’t get help soon, his future will be in jeopardy. Aren’t you at all concerned about your son’s well-being?”
“Goddambit, fine… I’ll get my robe and shoes on and pick the little fucker up, if it gets you shitheads off my back…”
“Well… there’s just one problem with that.”
“We don’t… um, we don’t actually have him here.”
“Well, we were holding him in detention, but it would appear that Erik somehow slipped out.”
“…so he escaped?”
“That would appear to be the case.”
“Well, good riddance. Sounds like your problem, not mine.”
“Aren’t you worried about his whereabouts?”
“Ehh, he’s probably off jerking off in that scrap heap with those other delinquent fucks, hitting themselves over the heads with lighttubes and setting themselves on fire, or whatever.”
“Miss Black, this matter needs–”
“Go fuck yourself.”
April 1st, 2002
“Fuck, what now?”
“Out of what?”
“I mean, I’m out. Like, out of this place. Got my bag packed and everything. Figured now that I’m eighteen, I’d do you the courtesy of getting out of your hair.”
“Oh… shit… birthday… right…”
“C’mon, you knew this was happening sooner or later. There’s nothing for me here in Buttfuck, Indiana… so I’m going to follow my dream to become a professional wrestler. I don’t really know where to go or what to do… but I’ll figure it out.”
“Thinkin’ I may move to Japan. Gotta good scene out there, I hear.”
“…well, sayonara then.”
“That’s it then? I figured you’d be popping the cork on the champagne bottle.”
“Meh… I wasted eighteen years of my life that I’ll never get back, but what the fuck do I care anymore. Only reason I never dumped you into an orphanage was because I got more food stamps claiming you as a dependent. Not anymore…”
“…I don’t even know why I bothered. Whatever… goodbye, and go fuck yourself, Ma.”
“You can go fuck yourself! Worthless shit like you ain’t cut out for that world. Swing by Curly’s and pick me up a pack of cigs after you puss out and drag your sorry ass back here.”
April 1st, 2006
“You seem… troubled today.”
“Really? Ehh, I guess I got a lot on my mind. It’s my birthday today, or whatever.”
“Oh! Then I must wish to you a ‘Happy Birthday’, my brother and comrade!”
“Thank you, Ivan, but I don’t really celebrate.”
“Why is this?”
“Just a lotta bad memories is all. That, and it has this habit of getting lumped in with the whole ‘April Fool’s Day’ thing. Makes me feel like my whole life is a joke.”
“What is this, how you say, ‘April Fool’s Day’?”
“I would describe it as an ancient American custom of being a dick to other people for your own personal enjoyment.”
“That… is a strange day.”
“Tell me about it. I can do that shit, like, any day of the week, let alone on some bullshit pseudo-holiday. Anyway… you ready to light this fucker up?”
“I… think so? By ‘light this fucker up’, you mean we wrestle match?”
“I mean light this fucker up, dude. Hit this shit.”
“…Erik, match begins in two minutes.
“…anyway, you ready to light this fucker up?”
April 1st, 2012
“Who is it?”
“It’s, uh… it’s me, Ma. Erik.”
“They gave me some time off for my birthday, so I figured I’d drop in.”
“Kinda caught me off guard when they told me you were in here. Hope you don’t mind, I’m crashing back at the house. Figured you’d at least want someone keeping eyes on it until… well, I was gonna say, ‘until you got back’, but… well, nevermind. Point is, I’m stayin’ there. Thanks for not clearing out my room, by the way.”
“Are doin’ alright, Ma? Are you in any pain?”
“…does it look like I have money to give you?”
“I’m not here for money, Ma. I just… figured I’d come see you. Heard about the cancer, and–”
“I don’t have no fuckin’ will, and I don’t have a penny to give you anyway.”
“…Ma, I said I’m not here for money. I got a job for that.”
“As what? The clown in the dunk tank?”
“No… I’m wrestling for a place called Empire Pro.
“Jesus fuck, Erik, I always knew you’d turn out to be a worthless asshole.”
“Fuck you, Ma. I can make a living doing what I love.”
“You love being a clown.”
“You love being seen. That’s all. Except the only time anyone every gives enough a fuck to see you, it’s to point and laugh. Because you are a fuckin’ clown. ‘Got a job.’ Big load of bullshit.”
“…hang in there, Ma. I’ll see you again.”
“Whatever. Gimme ‘nother hit of that morphine…”
April 1st, 2022
“Heartland Savings and Loan, this is Frank Wherely. How may I help you tod–”
“Yeah, I got the money.”
“For the house in Lebanon. The Black estate. I got the money to pay it off, or whatever.”
“Ah, yes… is this Mr. Black?”
“…no, this is… this is his legal representative. I’m just calling you in his place to tell ya I got the money, so you can stop trying to sell off the house or whatever it is you’re doing.”
“Ah, I see. Well, we’re pleased to hear this. When can we expect to see him in today?”
“…wait, whaddya mean?”
“For the deposit? We are still open for at least another three hours.”
“Well I can’t be there by today! I’m in Vegas, dude!”
“Oh, I see… am I correct to assume that Mr. Black is there as well?”
“I mean… YES. Look, can I just wire the cash to you?”
“I’m afraid it’s a bit more involved than that. We need your client here for his signature before we can review the deed to–”
“Okay, look, I know it was supposed to be there by the end of the month, but cut me some friggin’ slack here! I free-based a tube of Icy Hot and it knocked me on my ASS for like a whole week!”
“Look, man, you have no idea what I had to go through to get this! It’s practically a miracle I even came up with it! Literally NO ONE had money on me winning my last match–not with Nova involved! So the odds were WAY lopsided! Made a killing just by betting on myself!”
“Sir, I’m afraid we’re at the point where we have to begin considering some other offers.”
“FUCK that noise! Dude, just wait until this next match and I could pay you TWICE as much as I owe! Believe me, this is REAL SHIT! Pay Per View event, with the fuckin’ FIVE STAR CHAMPIONSHIP on the line!”
“I mean, yeah, there’s bound to be some stiff competition, but so was the case for the last match, and that didn’t stop me! This time, there’s gonna be even MORE people in the ring! You have any idea how CRAZY that shit is gonna get?”
“…sir, can we–”
“Trust me, when the shit gets CRAZY, that’s where I SHINE, dude! Literally EVERYTHING I do is CRAZY! ”
“YOU JUST GIMME ONE WEEK! One week, and I–or, uhh, ‘Mr. Black’–will march right into that bank and dump every last dime right at your damb feet! That’s… wait, how much did I owe again?”
“THAT NUMBER, TIMES TWO!!
“…sir, if you had reached us a day ago, we may have had–”
“Okay, look here, I’ma just gonna say it: It’s my birthday today, alright?”
“I’m fuckin’ serious here! This ain’t no April Fool’s shit; it is LITERALLY the day of my birth, and EVERY YEAR on my birthday, this universe always finds a way to piss in my eye! And wouldn’t ya know it, this year I got YOU pissing in my eye, telling me I’m gonna lose the house that I–err, MR. BLACK–grew up in!”
“Look, man, I know I’m a fuck-up. You think the world doesn’t remind me of that every day I wake up and look in the mirror? I know it doesn’t make anything better by just telling you ‘I don’t know any better’, but that is literally the long and short of it…”
“I know I’m shit at managing money, and I always have been. Cause for me, wrestling was NEVER about the money. I HATE money… fuckin’ HATE the very concept of it! I was happy for years doing work for a handshake and a hotdog. I just wanna be in the ring, man… it’s my zen place.”
“But shit’s changed, and now I find myself in a place where I actually NEED money, so you can understand how much it’s fucking with my head, cause I feel like I’m betraying a part of myself and being very, very non-PUNK ROCK, and I hate that I have to tell you I’m on my knees here, but I am, dude. I can’t lose that house… I can’t.”
“Can you just give me until this show?
“…okay, Mr. Black. I will abide another week. But after that, you will need to take up the matter with the highest potential bidder.”
“…who is the highest?”
“That would be a… uh, give me a moment here. Mister Dak… Mister Davka? Mister…”
“That’s it. A Mr. Dalkichev of a… ‘Crimson Corporation’. Are you already familiar with him?”
“Mr. Black, are you there?
April 2nd, 2022
Schedar. Caph. Navi. Rukbat. Segin.
No, these are not magic words. Wrong fed.
These are the names of the stars we are looking at right now. Five stars, arranged into a crooked W shape, making up the constellation Cassiopeia.
Just imagine: It’s November 1572, and Danish nobleman and astronomer, Tycho Brahe is looking at these same five stars, when he notices what looks like a sixth one has just appeared overnight.
And it’s bright.
It outshines not only the other five stars, but every other star in the night sky.
It was a moment that would mark a turning point in the development of astronomical science. Aristotle’s model of the perfect, unchanging cosmos was no longer relevant. Not when new stars were popping up seemingly out of thin air.
The heavens were shattered. And mankind saw the signal to look further and find more.
Tycho’s observation coined the term that would forever be associated with new stars:
A constellation of five stars brought us “nova” the word, much like the Five Star Championship delivered Nova the man unto the world.
Beneath these stars right now, however, in the blackness of night, is a man who is regrettably not Nova.
“Let’s just go ahead and say it.
“I know I’m not wanted here.
“But be as it may…”
A Zippo lights up. Rezin’s face appears in red. He lights the tip of the spliff held in the corner of his mouth and takes a hit.
“Here I am.”
He exhales a large cloud of dope smoke.
“I sorta hoped that a win over a PRIME legend would have been something of a breakout moment for a ‘new star’ such as myself.
“They wanna say I somehow ‘stole’ this from poor ol’ Nova.
“Coulda fooled me.
“I thought the point of professional wrestling was to win matches.
“And regardless of what any of you think, a win is a win.
“I don’t think I should have to remind you of this.
“And that win is as legit as the ones that brought y’all here.
“Fact is, if it had been literally anyone else other than Nova, nobody would be saying shit.
“Let’s not bullshit ourselves here into thinking there was some sort of ‘right way’ of doing things in any kind of match with that many bodies between the ropes.
“Shit’s always gonna get off the hook in those situations.
“It’s gonna get that way at Culture Shock. I guaran-goddamb-tee it.
“But what separates the winners from the losers in these battles is knowing when to strike, and when to stay the fuck out of the way.
“Which is exactly what I did at ReVival 5, and so I’m here.
“Nova made the mistake of thinking I was the weaker of two threats, and so he’s not here.
“Who among you will make the same mistake this time around?
“If Nova ever gave enough of a fuck about me to want to settle the score, he can name the time and place.
“I’ll gladly give him the chance.
“As for the rest of you?
“I guess you get to deal with ol’ Nova’s fuck-up.
“I can understand if you didn’t want me here.
“And I can understand why no one is pulling for me to win the Five Star Championship.
“This is nothing new to me. This world has been rejecting me from the very moment I was brought into it.
“Which is exactly why I rage against it.
“PRIME is proving to be no different.
“But if you honestly think I don’t belong here…
“You’d only be fulfilling your worst nightmare.”
Even through the dark, we can see the sneer of reprehension on his face.
“Let me be clear…
“I spent half a lifetime clawing my way through the sludge of existence just to get to this point in my career.
“I’ve worked, suffered, and committed myself to this craft just as hard as anyone y’all.
“Dare I say… harder?
“Unlike y’all, I ain’t got anybody in my corner, patting me on the back and giving me attaboys for a job well-done.
“There’s no rock for me to lean on. There’s no manager or mentor or loved one to pick me up when I’m down, or to give me the good advice, or to feed my ego by telling me everything I want to hear.
“I’m all alone here in PRIME.
“But I’m used it.
“Always been a FOOL, fumbling through the dark.
“Constantly searching… never seeing…
“This world has tirelessly tried to lock me away for life into a prison of scorn and exile.
“All for the crime of existing.
“But… I don’t despair.
“Having nobody in this life, other than myself…
“That’s what made me strong.
“Strong enough for a dumb, scrawny kid from Indiana to make it all the way here…
“Competing for one of the most prestigious titles in wrestling history.
“I’m stronger than love.
“I’m stronger than friendship.
“I’m stronger than family.
“I’m stronger than fuckin’ gravity itself.
“I’m stronger than any of you.
“And believe me…
“I’m strong enough to carry that big Five Star Championship.
“So after I win that title…
“And you normies proceed to bitch that this Goat Bastard doesn’t truly deserve it…
“I’ll be glad to finally leave all this multi-competitor fuckery behind and show you bitches what kind of champion is made from a life of constant rejection.
“I can’t say you’ll want it, any more than any of you wanted me in this match…”
His devilish grin appears.
“Which is exactly why I must give it to you.
“I want all of PRIME to feel the disappointment I constantly feel.
“Cause if I can’t be happy…
“Then neither can any of you.
“And just be happy that I leave you breathing.”
Fade to VOID.