Four Weeks and Eight HIGH-kus
Posted on 04/29/23 at 8:28pm by Rezin
Event: ReVival 27
The weed is potent
But the lungs can’t hold the hit
Life is a harsh toke
“You were very lucky tonight.”
Dr. Astrid Fihlguud is confident she’s said these words at least a hundred times in the past year alone.
But then, being a medical practitioner for a combat sports organization is a true labor of love. A Sisyphian effort, where one is constantly being compelled to look after the best interests of people who are hellbent on destroying themselves.
“I ain’t feelin’ all that lucky…”
Erik Black is one such person, as well as her last patient of the night.
The now former Universal Champion of PRIME Wrestling lies face down on her exam table, his heavily lacerated back under the light. The catastrophic drop through the top of the cell has turned his once battle-hardened mural of tattooed skin into a ruinous mosaic of cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds, marked with numerous tiny souvenirs that were picked up on the way down.
Wielding a set of forceps with calm precision, the PRIME medical director delicately removes the foreign bodies one at a time. Next to her, one of the medical assistants hurriedly sutures the larger cuts while toweling off the excess blood.
“Mind you, this is still bad,” she remarks. “But it’s remarkably better than, say, a broken neck. So count your blessings. And maybe stay a bit closer to the ground in the future.”
Erik, a man whose entire life revolves around the notion of getting “higher” than where he currently is, scoffs at this suggestion. He takes the treatment with all the indignance and impatience of a man visiting the dentist’s office.
The dour grimace of realized defeat hasn’t left his face since he was stretchered in several minutes ago.
“So am I cleared for tomorrow?”
Astrid grunts. She and her team were burning the midnight oil patching him back together, and here he was already looking for the next opportunity to throw himself into the thresher.
“Can you even walk out of here?” she countered.
If he could shrug without interrupting the work of the medical professionals, the Goat Bastard would probably do so. Instead, he hisses as another hook-shaped bit of wire comes out, soon joining the blood-spattered handful of its metal brethren in the nearby bowl with a clink.
“Pretty sure I can shuffle, and that’s good enough for me,” he says more out of spite than confidence, plucking a joint into his mouth.
A second later, it finds its way into the trash can, courtesy of the doctor. She flashes him a scolding glare while pointing at the clearly posted “No Smoking” sign.
“Given your condition, I highly recommend taking the night off to recover. I’m sure Ms. Troy would be okay with one less body in tomorrow’s battle royal. In fact, if I heard right there might a substitute on hand for–”
“I ain’t backin’ out,” he stubbornly interjects. “Not after what happened tonight…”
Astrid sighs. It’s late, and she’s tired. The evening was a marathon of treating cuts, concussions, and hyperextensions, and she’s acutely aware there’s still tomorrow to get through. She’s in no mood to deal with yet another grown adult using juvenile rationalizations to insist on putting himself into further danger.
“Let’s wait until tomorrow, and make it a game-time decision.”
A true labor of love.
Even for those that don’t deserve it.
“So on a scale of ‘one’ to ‘Paxton Ray victim’, how would ya rate me right now?”
If he’s trying to be funny, then Dr. Fihlguud does not see the humor in this. Images of the wheelchair-bound Jonathan Rhine are still fresh in her mind.
The forceps crimp the last visible tiny barb of metal in her patient’s back, sticking out right between the eyes of the goat’s head tattooed between his shoulder blades.
She gives it a good yank to pull it free.
Erik yelps in pain.
Her work finished, Astrid peels off her bloodstained rubbers, and nods to her assistant to finish with the stitching before dropping them into the trash where she earlier deposited the joint.
“Barely a seven.”
The mind gets higher
As the body falls to earth
Dank gravity, bruh
I knew what she was really sayin’.
With how fucked up I was on both the inside and out, survivin’ that battle royal was a lost cause.
What little luck I had that weekend was wasted puttin’ all my eggs into the night one main event basket.
Be as it may, the world had just watched me lose the Universal Title followin’ a sixteen-foot drop through the roof of a cell that likely woulda killed any ordinary chump.
It was no longer just about gettin’ my belt back. At that point, it was a battle for relevance.
Most of PRIME was ready to move on long before my reign as ANTI-Champion came to an end. And I had just gifted them the perfect reason to write it all off as a fluke.
One quick trip through a chainlink ceiling, and suddenly I’m under the glass one yet again.
A statement needed to be made.
With or without that title, so long as this ol’ dopesmoker is breathin’, then he’s still swingin’.
Unseen stoner stands
At the top of the mountain
He’s hidden in smoke
“…everything’s gone to Niflheim, Erik! My life is absolutely ruined!”
The horns on Olvir Arsvinnar’s helmet are practically drooping. He sits slouched at the end of his cheap motel room bed, wearing only a tanktop and boxers, looking like a shell of the once proud and gallant Norseman he used to be.
“Becky won’t return my calls,” he bemoans. “Won’t let me see the boys, won’t let me near the house… won’t give me an Odin-damned thing! I don’t know what to do, Erik!”
Erik Black is leaned up against the room’s dingy kitchenette, impatiently biting his lip. This visit was only meant to be a quick in-and-out to follow up on the name he passed along a couple weeks ago.
He is woefully underprepared in dealing with a friend in a dire situation. Usually, it’s the other way around.
“It’s a horrible state of affairs, my dude…” Erik replies, peeking through the slit between the room’s drawn curtains to confirm the cab outside is still waiting. He’s trying his darned best to sound sympathetic to the situation, but lifting low spirits has never been the Goat Bastard’s forte. “I mean, I’m sure she’ll come around in time. Ya know, after she gets over the shock of discoverin’ that the father of her children is a legendary viking porn star and all that.”
The erstwhile “Butt Dominator”, reminded once more of the gloriously debaucherous source of his current familial issues, buries his face into his hands and weeps.
“But that’s not ME anymore!” the Norseman blubbers insistently. “If I could erase the sins of my past, I would do so! Faster than the battle-axe cleaves the head of a Christian infidel! I still don’t understand how that stuff even got on the web! Didn’t you destroy the last of it?”
“Absolutely!” Erik lies, nonchalantly glossing over the fact that he had in fact sold his own private stash to a shady pawn shop dealer close to a year ago for a fat suitcase filled with cash. “But I mean, dude, it’s the innernet. Errything has a way of endin’ up there eventually. I mean, if there’s a silver linin’ in this, at least you’re trendin’ again, right?”
The despondent berzerker crumbles into yet another fit of sobbing.
Black stifles another groan. He doesn’t have time for this. In an hour, he has a very important meeting with Lindsay Troy on the subject of his continued employment, and he’s anticipating a stressful and contentious affair.
He even went the whole nine yards of taking a shower, grooming his beard, and splurging on a black set of slacks and jacket in an effort to make an impression. To show that for once, he was taking shit “seriously”. It’s one of the rare occasions anyone’s seen him in business casual.
That being said, there was no way the department store was going to allow him to return this drip.
“Ollie, I can’t stand to see ya this way,” he says. “And sulkin’ around this shitty hotel ain’t gonna change anything. So put some pants on, and let’s take a ride.”
Erik pulls said pants out of Olvir’s open suitcase on the dresser and tosses them for the viking to catch. The bereft Arsvinnar doesn’t even bother lifting his arms; his drawers instead end up draped over his head and helmet.
From beneath the veil of denim, Olvir’s sobs finally taper off. “Where are we going?”
“The PRIME offices,” says Erik. “See, I got these pesky contract negotiations to get through, and I figure havin’ somebuddy good with numbers would be good to have in the room. Just to make sure the brass don’t fuck me over, like they did last year.”
The Norseman’s face doesn’t show much immediate interest. Obviously, crunching numbers is the last thing on his mind. Fortunately, the Goat Bastard knows just how to sweeten the deal.
“Then maybe afterwards, we hit up Applebee’s?”
At last, the Olvir seems to perk up. The prospect of drowning his sorrows in deep-fried appetizers and not-so-lovely Suzie’s not-too-shabby cocktails is the best news he’s heard in a long while.
“Okay, Erik…” he says with a sniffle. “I’m in your hands.”
I am straight fiendin’
For chicken wonton tacos
Let’s go wreck that shit
I never got the appeal of havin’ a family.
Domestic life always looked to me like a prison of empty commitments and obligations.
Birthday parties. Anniversaries. PTA meetings.
Fuckin’ kids’ soccer games.
A buncha distractions, to keep someone from bein’ their true self.
Course, I could just be full of shit.
After all, the lonely life of crustpunk scumfuckery doesn’t exactly lend itself to a rosy outlook on the normie lifestyle.
Maybe I’m just bitter. Missin’ out on the good life that deep down, I wish I really had.
Maybe I’m resentful for not bein’ able to relate to other people in a way that seems natural and human to errybuddy else.
Maybe I just wish I could understand the pain of loss, instead of always feelin’ numb to it.
But dwellin’ on pain ain’t done me any favors lately.
I just keep movin’.
Cause there’s strength, and even peace, with acceptin’ solitude.
Bein’ less of myself without someone else in my life is a weakness I can do without.
The Wife got ya down?
Remember Rezin’s advice:
“Smoke til ya forget!”
“Ollie, I’ve been thinkin’… and I have a proposal for ya.”
As if breaking out of a trance, Olvir blinks awake and finds himself in a new, unfamiliar setting.
“Wait a sec, where am I?” he asks in confusion.
The voice of Erik Black answers.
“…we’re in New Orleans, dude.”
“WHAT?! What happened to Applebee’s!?”
He can’t remember anything past gorging on a plate of Neighborhood Nachos, but now finds himself sitting on a couch in yet another hotel room. One that’s much nicer than the one he had been living in the past two weeks.
“The hell ya talkin’ about?” replies Black. “That was like last week, dude.”
Make that three.
“LAST WEEK?!” the viking balks, aghast, finally coming around to notice the assortment of bongs, grinders, and rolling papers scattered about the suite. “By Frigga’s heaving bosom! Erik, how much did we smoke!? I have no memory of the past seven days!”
From his own nearby loveseat, the Goat Bastard shrugs, and lights up another spliff. Cradled next to him is yet another (although non-affiliated) championship belt.
“Yeah, Four-Twenty’ll do that ya,” he replies nonchalantly. “Ya get used to it when ya realize that time is just a construct, or whatever. Now, back to this proposal…”
The Norseman isn’t hearing him as he shoots to his feet and begins fumbling around the room in a panic.
“Where’s my phone?! I need to get back to Vegas! Becky could have called! How in Jotunheim did you get me halfway across the country!? I was in YOUR HANDS, man!”
In a state of complete calm, Erik savors the first drag, and loses himself in the nebulous cloud of smoke that fills the air off the exhale.
“Ollie, my man, you’re bein’ very un-viking-like right now,” he says. “Granted, it has been a pretty wild and crazy week filled with massive amounts of weed consumption. And whiskey. And shrooms. And acid. And hookers’n’blow. But mostly weed. I’ll own up to that, but dude, I feel ya needed it. It was just depressin’ seein’ ya sit around that room feelin’ sorry for yourself. Ya weren’t bein’ you, know’m’sayin’?”
“That’s easy for you to say!” booms Olvir. “There are responsibilities that come with having a family, Erik! A freeloader like you can’t possibly understand what that’s like!”
“True,” Black sullenly admits with another ponderous puff. “But I can still say I know the feelin’ of losin’ something precious. And while that feelin’ may suck, ain’t anything is gonna get done by dwellin’ on it. Sometimes, it’s best to just pick your shit up, and move on.”
Erik’s hand came up.
“Ollie, as your friend, I’m tellin’ ya that the only thing she needs right now is time and space, and ya can’t force that.”
Fists defiantly clenched at his sides, Arsvinnar wants more than anything to refuse this statement. But logic ultimately prevails after a moment, when he begrudgingly realizes that his friend is absolutely right on this point. Anger and passion run thick in his Scandinavian blood, but even he understands that neither will make the situation any better.
Defeated, he falls back into the couch, and likewise back into his near-catatonic state of gloom.
“I am unworthy to enter Valhalla…” laments the former viking pornstar.
“Nonsense, my dude. What ya need right now is purpose, more than anything. And maybe I can give ya one, if ya listen to this proposal I have for ya.”
In a flash, he’s up, foot propped on the corner of the coffee table. He leans in, eyes growing wide with devious excitement, palms rubbing together.
“I’m fixin’ to build a team,” he teases with a rather Faustian twinkle in his eye. “A collective of specialists, who can help me become the best damb wrestler I can possibly be!”
His finger points down to the seated viking, a hash-stained fingertip inches away from his nose.
“And I want you to be a part of it, Ollie!”
The Norseman takes it in, and lets out a sigh of uncertainty.
“I don’t know, Erik,” he says halfheartedly. “I’m not sure I can keep up with a life of constantly being on the road, and… all the acts of anarchy and memory loss that would probably come along with it.”
“Which is exactly why I need you!” Erik rebuts. “Cause you’re the one and only goddamb reliable sum’bish in my life right now! And, let’s face it, I fuckin’ suck at managin’ myself. But with someone responsible nearby to keep me anchored and rollin’ along the right path, I can maybe stop shootin’ myself in the foot at erry opportunity! We’d be UNSTOPPABLE!”
Arsvinnar sighs again. To agree to this would almost be like making a deal with the devil.
But on the other hand, Erik is correct about his need for a purpose. Something, in the very least, to keep his mind off the troubles back home.
Besides, what more did he really stand to lose at this point?
“Fine…” he finally relents. “Against my better judgment, I’ll go along with this ‘team’ idea. But when Becky calls, I’m out. No questions asked.”
The grin spread across the Goat Bastard’s grows even wider.
“Welcome aboard, my dude!” he proclaims. “Here’s our first point of order: we need to get something nice for Dr. Fihlguud! Partly to thank her for the patch job she did for me a few weeks ago, and also because I feel she’s in for a headache at the next show, considerin’ the opponent.”
Grumbling at the prospect of his upcoming face to face meeting with the Intense Champion of PRIME, Erik grabs his battlevest and heads for the door.
“Wait, where are you off to?” inquires Olvir.
“Gonna go get the gift,” states the aerial arsonist. “Like a fruit basket, or a vintage Stooges record, or whatever. Some classy shit, ya know? Anyway, be back in a jiffy…”
Black swiftly exits, leaving smoke and confusion in his wake.
Alone again, Olvir ponders over what he inexplicably just agreed to.
Rezin, with his own team?
Who else could possibly be involved with such a scheme?
A gravelly voice comes from behind the viking. Arsvinnar turns, and sees the not-so-lovely sight of Suzie suggestively leaning in the doorway to the adjoining bedroom, clad in poorly fitting red-lace lingerie.
“Youse ready for round two?”
Olvir’s jaw hits the floor.
“By the LOINS of LOKI!!”
Suzie’s a class act
Competent behind the bar
Magic in the sack
Here’s the thing, Pax…
I ain’t gonna pretend I’m even half as dangerous as someone like you.
But believe me… I’m a FUCK. TON. ANGRIER right now.
Cause if there’s anything that pisses me off more than losin’ that belt, it’s knowin’ that I’ve now lost five of my last six.
Shit ain’t PUNK ROCK right now. Ain’t been for some time.
But I’m willin’ to endure whatever fucked up shit ya plan on throwin’ at me, if it means turnin’ the tide back my way.
Think ya can break me?
Nothin’ has yet.
Not cages. Not battle royals. Not even failure.
I always come back stronger.
Championships will come and go. Something I understood long before I came to PRIME.
But I don’t need a belt to be the reason to fight like hell.
I just need a badass muthafugger standin’ across from me in the ring.
Up from the hashes
The dopesmoker is reborn
“Send in the next inmate, please.”
An alarm buzzes. The reinforced door unlocks and swings open.
A force enters the room, closely followed by a man in a guard’s uniform.
A panel of old, white men sit in a row on one side of a long table. The prisoner, an ancient bear of a man in a faded gray jumpsuit, takes the open chair before them.
“Inmate number one-two-seven-seven-five-two six, could you please state your name to this parole board?”
“…how about your date of birth?”
The director checks his medical record again, wondering if perhaps he overlooked hearing loss along with the other, more obvious physical impairment.
Despite the apparent communication barrier, he awkwardly clears his throat and elects to move on.
“Sir, the purpose of this hearing is because the state of Missouri has recently passed new cost-cutting legislation within the state prison system. Long story short, certain inmates within the corrections program who fall under specific conditions and circumstances are being made eligible for parole, in an effort to make space within our already overcrowded facilities.”
“You were first incarcerated here in the ’91 on charges of kidnapping, assault, and attempted homicide. However, given your time served, and your prevailing physical handicap, you are one of few candidates eligible for early release, provided the board deems that you are no longer a threat to normal society.”
“Sir, in the best estimation of yourself, would you say that you are still a danger to society?”
Finally, the prisoner lifts his head…
Were he able to look him in the eyes, he would.
But all the director sees staring back are two black, soulless patches.
Yes, you read that right. The prisoner has two eyepatches.
And when his voice rolls out, it comes with all the poise and pitch of a rumbling mudslide
“Arr ya fuggin’ blind!?”
A storm is brewing
Like all things eventual
We all fade to VOID