This semi-interior quasi-reliable narrator’s perspective on the acts and attitude of a kid from Strasbourg with something resembling a dream is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Rhine. May the powder of his cervical bones form the Glue of Progress that many younger athletes so richly require.
Probably appropriate for a moment of silence here. Ten bells or something. We haven’t figured out how to superficially grieve over something that happened to a borderline stranger for others’s benefit yet. Others will expect flowery words about how good a man he is/was, maybe even a teardrop or two if they’re REAL extra. Hard to pull off convincingly in this case. They hadn’t exchanged word one in the 7ish months they’ve occupied the same promotion. Might as well ask someone who had never seen Harry Potter to shed some tears over Robbie Coltrane. FLAMBERGE did, of course, because even though he’s a Slytherin, he respects Hagrid’s ability to commandeer great beasts and bend them to his will. We’re getting away from the point here, kid. Rhine’s gone, a potential roadblock for you is out of the way. Fuck the crocodile tears from the rest of the roster. I bet they didn’t REALLY know him either.
FLAMBERGE would train the kid, though, if Nora wants. He knows what it takes to craft a killer – he went through it himself.
Can’t give Henri credit for that. The fucker. The mongrel.
CTRL+Z this idea, let’s reframe it.
FLAMBERGE would train the kid, though, if Nora wants. He knows how important it is to beat up daddy when he’s been bad. There it is.
He understands where he thinks Paxton Ray is coming from, but if Phil Atken taught him one thing, it’s how to extend your usefulness forever and all times. THAT’s how he’ll earn a paycheck in 2042 if his in-ring career is in question. Glue-making is an evergreen industry.
No one tells you when you break your nose how much harder it is to get comfortable sleeping.
FLAMBERGE had a good thing going for 22-odd years…two firm pillows on a firm mattress, roll over to your left side, maybe an earbud or loose headphone over your right ear playing your jams, and before he knew it he had 8 hours of REM-heavy goodness under his belt. Brandon Youngblood fucked all that up at the post-ULTRAVIOLENCE presser.
Goddamn him. GodDAMN that man.
Youngblood talked shit and, to my mind, deservedly got hit. Rather than scurry away like a good little doggie being trained to not shit in the house, he came back swinging too – and now, FLAMBERGE’s nose. His GLORIOUS nose. It’s been altered, hopefully not forever.
Everything’s puffy, he’s got bruises around his eyes, and he can’t breathe right. He’s got his pillows, he’s on his left side, IAM is softly playing in his right AirPod – and FLAMBERGE can’t get comfortable.
Shit sucks. You’re so tired, you’ve had a long few months, you need to rel-WHY CAN’T YOU RELAX, JUST RELAX! Ok, deep breaths, the more you think about not sleeping the more you’re going to not sleep, you need to clear your mind. Make it blank. Yes. Goooooood. The Void. Nothing here…Nate Colton doesn’t live here, Brandon Youngblood doesn’t live here…juuuuuuuuust relax. IAM’s pretty good, huh? Good choice on that theme music, by the way. You really nailed it. Fans love it. Dream of big pops…main events…championship golllll-
OW FUCK OW GOD DAMNIT SHIT FUCK OW OW OW OW
grrrRRRRRRR. THIS FUCKING NOSE. YOUNGBLOOD. GOD.
Snoring is the mind killer when your nose is broken. You might not even realize you’re doing it on a normal night other than the moments you roll over and realize your throat is sore…in FLAMBERGE’s case, he imagines it’s like his nose became a pepper grinder and the outside air becomes a granulated mess in his nasal region whenever he breathes wrong and it just SUCKS. GAWD.
Roll over to your other side and try there. Probably a similar result, but worth a shot. You’re healing, believe it or not. Should be squared away by the time ReVival 17 hits. Channel this anger. Bottle it up. Store it. You’ve had plenty of reasons to be angry lately, but you’ve got plenty of capacity to carry anger, don’t you, you hateful prick?
Look at that…even your subconscious is slamming you. Hell yeah, subconscious. Throw logs on that fire. Self high five.
What time is it? 1:35am. Fuck. Even if you can unleash some real ragey shit down the line, you need to be well-rested to do it.
Is it JUST Youngblood that’s making you toss and turn and waste prime snoozlin’ hours? Look at your phone again.
Open it, don’t just look at the lock screen, you turned off notifications there, you need to see something.
Facial recognition…fucking sucks when it’s night and you’re black. Passcode it is. *****x – try again, fat-thumbs. ****** – good job. Masterful.
Now who do you think has texted you 27 times since you last took a look at your messages?
Hey bud! Just settled the suit and am traveling back to the States!
Would love to reconnect!
Sorry for calling you “bud” there – Mr. Lavigne!
Sorry for calling you Mr. Lavigne there – FLAMBERGE! The snack himself!
I’ve missed you, friend!
Brets is actually interested in re-investing!
Can you believe it??
I thought we were dead in the water, but it turns out – BIG misunderstanding!
I heard they wanted to use you and Nate Colton in a joint deal
They told me you refused it
I would have advised you to TAKE it, but I also hear Nate said no too
We can make it work!
They brought up a good point after litigation ended
You in the ring with me at your back – you were unstoppable!
Big ol’ winning streak!
Then you ditched me, and joined the Glue Factory, which is FINE! I hold no grudges! I get it!
But you’ve lost more lately, haven’t you?
Dropped way, WAY out of the top 10?
I understand why you may bristle at this, but just sleep on it
What if we brought the band back together? Eh?!
You and me! And Brets Chips backing you too! We wouldn’t be able to tell them about the ME part, but still!
Seems like a real opportunity at big dollars if you ask me
I love you, man.
Ignore that last text – I hope to hear from you soon and I hope we reconnect on our business dealings! Sleep tight!
1:41am. Well NOW you aren’t sleeping!
3:21am. You’ve tried stretching, you’ve tried repositioning your body angles, you’ve messed with the pillows, it’s just. Fuck. It’s hopeless, isn’t it.
You’re thinking about Daniel Darby. I can’t believe you, FLAMBO. You’re REALLY thinking about the messages he’s sent, aren’t you?
Here’s the worst part about all of those texts, though. The period. The FUCKING period at the end of “I love you, man.” Doesn’t he understand how powerful punctuation is in text form?? He might as well have whipped out his digi-dick and asked for commentary!
But there’s some truth there too, isn’t there. You’ve fought hard, you’ve had the world heaping praise, saying you’ve gone toe-to-toe with Rezin, with Colton…
…it’s been your eyes looking up at the lights, hasn’t it. Praise be damned, this is not how you are wired. Star ratings aren’t your jam. Critically acclaimed feuds where you lose aren’t the thing you signed up for, are they? You’re here to hurt. You’re here to carve a new path. Henri Lavigne did you a thousand disservices in your life, but one virtue he instilled that you chose to retain is your uncanny ability to concoct a chip on your shoulder out of thin air.
Maybe this is how you can sleep, if even for only a couple hours. Use that juju.
Ooh, your opponent is/was a Blackberry. Is there something there?
No, don’t. That’s just…it’s low hanging fruit, black and berry and darker berries and sweeter juices and whatever. You can do better.
Fact is, you HAVE to do better. If you don’t, everything Phil Atken stood for, everything you signed up to stand behind with the Glue Factory is meaningless. His championship run that got snuffed out before it really got rolling, Youngblood busting your face open, Colton filling your beloved car with pennies AND THEN ALSO WINNING, WHAT THE FUCK, HOW DID YOU LET COLTON BEAT YOU…
Breathe. Use your mouth more right now, your nose is fighting you, so pick your battle for once, you fuck.
Oh no. That’s it, isn’t it.
Your power reservoir that you’ve relied on for so much, which is to say, your ability to immediately despise everyone around you and wish to see them turned into a pink mist…the spread is too wide now, isn’t it.
You don’t hate Coral Avalon, right? The reservoir is there. The shaken-up Diet Coke bottles are right there to spray hither and yon all over sixteen people if you let it.
Check the time. 3:35am. Oy.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, FLAMBO. From me to you. The inner deep worm that’s chomping on the cerebellum part that’s given you fits ever since you had memories. You’ll probably forget this, too, because it’s 3:3…..3:37am, now, and the delirium is real.
Ready for it? Try to remember it. You won’t, probably. Try? If you can?
Learn to appreciate delayed gratification.
Your magic list of five will be there for a long time. YOU, will be here for a long time, if you want to be here. Turns out that a lot of the bigwigs around here secretly like you! And you get just so hyper focused on these moments, these perceived slights…you get so turnt about it all that you sprint 80kph in a 30kph zone and pay the price.
Are you listening? Hello? You’re – oh. The phone screen is lighting up your face. PLEASE tell me you’re not re-reading the texts from Darb-you are. You’re re-reading all 27 texts from that man. Cool. COOOOOOL.
Just – ohhh wait. Is that my man snoozlin’? Is he?
Ok, reader. Hush now. Don’t make a FUCKING peep. FLAMBERGE has accidentally found a sleeping angle, and it looks like he’s not snoring either.
STOP YELLING AT YOUR SCREEN TO WAKE HIM UP, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE
8:45am. FLAMBO figured out a way to get some hours, which, frankly, is kind of a miracle. It wasn’t ENOUGH hours, but he can survive today. Maybe that’s enough. He’s got about a week before he’s supposed to wrestle again.
Gonna need an espresso for that one, hang on.
FLAMBERGE: “Hey, Siri. Nearest espresso to me.”
Siri: “Ok, here is what I found for nearest espresso.”
A third of a mile away, that’s not too bad. Grab a hoodie. It’s fall and the desert sucks.
Didn’t take too long at all. Barista was cute, but don’t tell her that yet. You’re an Aries, you’ll bull rush her if and when you feel like it.
You need to take a sip and a second.
Good sip. Take another.
Goooooood. Excellent. Let the warmth spread. Let the caffeine fight the terrible night of sleep you had. Deep breath. Settle on the sights around you.
Oh, BIG one, Julien! Your cup’s almost empty! Do you think you need a second one? No? You sure?
You’re remembering what your mother taught you. She taught you to stick to the routines that gave life. A morning espresso? That’s life-giving. Two? That’s grasping. Don’t grasp. Listen to mama. If you need to sleep more, save it for later. Let the day itself speak to you throughout, but don’t buck the trend too soon. For instance, next? Normally, if you were acting healthily? Next would be a reflection on the hurdles you face. Not a judgment, not a fight, just a meditative understanding of the hardships to come.
You’ve skipped this too much since you came to the States, haven’t you. Idiot.
You haven’t been healthy for a while…at least mentally.
Knowing is half the battle.
You can save the second half of that battle for later, can’t you.
You can save it for Brandon Youngblood. The man who thinks he runs this place. The man who would have the whole roster believes is in charge around here when Mommy Troy is away.
The fucking prick.
Here’s the thing, FLAMBO. You’re not fighting Youngblood this week. You’re fighting another man.
In many ways, to you, it doesn’t matter who this other man might be. In your mind, this is a perpetual buzzsaw moment where you are sure that Wrestler X will be the chum that lures the Youngblood shark to your circle.
The real problem is that chum doesn’t expect to be that thing. They expect to have their own hand raised.
It’s your job, FLAMBO, to let the entire roster know that Coral Avalon’s biggest mistake wasn’t wearing a shitty fruit mask and parading around as a Blackberry, and his biggest mistake wasn’t crafting some complicated conglomerate of six different Armaments with the notion that he’s set to conquer the landscape of this wrestling company with mOvEs…your job is to let him know how Don Quixote ends.
This man from a bygone era, this man tilting at windmills…your job, FLAMBO, is to teach him the difference between a windmill and a buzzsaw.
We’ve seen hints of it before. We’ve seen moments of wrath. No more dilly-dallying, FLAMBO…if you’re going to watch one tape, it’s this one.
Nick Stuart: This is…
Moments pass. EMTs are flooding the ring. Blueberry flashes across the screen, but that’s not what FLAMBO is staring at.
Paxton Ray: For Nora.
What a fucking man. THAT’S how you bottle hate for a year. THAT’S how you become Public Enemy #1 in PRIME.
Lest you forget, FLAMBO – that USED to be YOU. Back when you pulled the ropes back, remember? When you cost Youngblood the title and cemented yourself as a Glueman? Remember when it was that easy to be super-loathed?
The game has changed around here.
Escalations create escalations.
And failure begets failure.
So here you are. Not where you want to be – not where you IMAGINED you’d be several moons ago, though you’ve had some time to process that shit. You’re being doubted again. Once, the passive-aggressive shit from the office came in the form of your match against Rezin being non-title. Once, the passive-aggressive shit from the office came from your PPV debut being against one half of a shit-failed tag team that understands love the same way Joey Chestnut knows restraint. Youngblood is surely cackling in the way only he can in the background, that coq gobelin.
…..the espresso is empty. Get another. Come on, man. Read your own room.
Good. Refilled. Take a sip.
……………… that was the whole cup. Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.
FLAMBERGE: Coral Avalon is a man who finds himself in the wrong place in the wrong time. And if you have ever, EVER believed the FLAMBERGE when he says he will throw the man into the moon, I insist you look into the eyes maintenant.
Puffed up, bruised, bandaged, and all – the Frenchman stares down the barrel of the camera lens.
FLAMBERGE: Coral Avalon will be un message. This old fuck, this man who should have been converted to glue years before the Rhine…other wrestlers have failed at this task, and so it is my solemn duty. Avalon will be the one and done in the PRIME. He will be suplexed INTO SPACE. And I hope the Suplex Daddy watches very, VERY closely – for it is HIS doom I endeavor to create.
His phone lights up once again.
It’s not a text this time – but a call.