“Remind me: Youngblood, Impulse, Hanlon, Scott, and Daniels on July 1, 2024.”
“Okay, your reminder is set for July First, 2024.”
FLAMBERGE looks at his phone for a moment.
“Is this stupid? …no, no. It only belongs to me.”
He places the phone in the pocket of his faux-leather jacket before stepping into the once-battered-and-bruised, now-fresh-and-fly FLAMBOrghini. There’s just…wow. A lot to think about.
He didn’t expect to be booked on Great American Nightmare. To be frank, the only times that members of the roster had thought about him at all had been to make a buck, make a joke, or ride a coattail, but there hasn’t been a real blood feud yet, has there?
Could be one with Jiles one day. Fuck that prick.
Use the clutch. Shift. Pull out. You know all too well how dusty and brutal the roads outside Vegas run. Maybe put the roof up? …nah. Nothing in this car breaks until I let it break myself, and we’re going to have a time. Vivre tant que tu es vivant.
Two years should be enough. Right? Is that too soon?
“How soon is too soon to become a top star in a major wrestling company?”
…Google Map results for, ‘Top Star’.
FLAMBERGE was not interested in the location of nearby auto repair shops, interior designers, or weird gyms, so he decided to put his phone back in his pocket.
Of course, it was foolhardy to expect the genius-brick that sometimes works as a telephone to be able to put two and two together. But two years felt appropriate. Why? Hard to say – he’d lived two years 11 times by now, and so far, every two years he felt very different than the two prior. Maybe two years from now, he wouldn’t feel like a motor without a car, a treasure map without an X. Either way, putting words to goals has always seemed to help – especially when words were hard to come by.
Youngblood. Impulse. Hanlon. Scott. Daniels.
Is two years enough time to surpass all five? Hard to say, if you’re a coward. FLAMBO can probably do it. Even if Brets follows through on that cease-and-desist letter they sent to him and Darby – FLAMBO likes more than one snack, you know. The chips are just the tip of the fucking iceberg. Imagine the cesspool of money grubbers that will latch on when he dips a soft pretzel into some god dang cheese goo. Off the charts! Soft Dough/FLAMBERGE 2024.
Remind me: Bobby Dean is Soft Dough, tomorrow morning.”
“Okay, your reminder is set for Seven A. M., tomorrow.”
FLAMBERGE chuckles to himself before shifting up a gear and pressing on the accelerator.
Oh, to be young, dumb, and full of…well. You know.
How do we describe Daniel Darby in this moment. My god.
In another world, this is comedy. Bloodshot eyes with heavy bags underneath them, shirt and tie disheveled, cigarette butts overflowing on the tin near his desk, one hand acting as if on its own running through his red-and-gray mop of hair over and over, the other hand clutching his own “genius-brick” plugged into a wall charger.
Pretty messed up, other world, for considering this to be potential comedy. Shame on you. This man needs help, and surely YOU’RE not the one to provide it, are you?
Though, it’s easy to imagine the wish to call out to Mr. Darby and let him know that the glowing screen he’s holding perilously close to his face doesn’t have the answers, either. It’s easy to actually feel warm at the sight of this man – this leech, to be fair, or this parasite – struggling some more…but he sucks.
He sucks eggs.
Either way, one imagines that a good night of sleep and sobriety might be useful to Darby. As the camera pans around behind him, bringing the iPhone screen in view, we understand why that good night of sleep is escaping him.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
BRETS CHIPS FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST SHAM WRESTLING MANAGER
Riding the FLAMBO is fun. If 12-year-old FLAMBERGE could see ten years into the future, and he could see what he was doing now, he would say he has accomplished his entire life dream.
Funny how that works, the vision of ideal life we have for ourselves at different ages; especially looking at the 22-year-old self. A man, sure, but not to everyone. Certainly not to everyone in the PRIME locker room. Hell, you could have 10 years of experience in pro wrestling and be considered a Young Boy in PRIME…two years?
Two, to surpass the current top five?
Is this a fool’s errand?
Eh. 12-year old me thinks I could do it.
There’s a buzz. Buzz. Buzz. FLAMBERGE looks over from the driver’s seat of the FLAMBO and sees that his phone screen reads: “DARBY – PROBABLY SOME CRAP”.
It’s important to start this off by saying that every doctor who has ever crossed paths with Henri Lavigne, though the reasons for the visits may vary, have found one shared conclusion:
All the same, the first keystone line of the Hippocratic Oath always rears its ugly head whenever he comes around: “First Do No Harm.”
Would be real cool if we COULD do harm, though. Not all the time or anything. Just, sometimes. For special occasions.
Like this asshole, who has three doctors in all their white-lab-coat-glory in his hospital room.
“Alright Henri, I don’t know what else to tell you – your nose was broken, we’ve realigned it, at this point all you need is rest.”
“I cannot believe from the three of you there is no more of the diagnoses…I was HARMED! BATTERED! Surely my orbital needs l’attention? The dentals? Non?”
All three doctors could not have timed their shared huff if they had planned it.
“You’re fine. Go home and rest, and avoid pressing your face on things.”
There’s this urge that should probably leave you when you’re not a kid anymore, let alone when you’re in your mid-50’s. Someone tells you not to do something, so ipso facto, every fiber in your being calls out with…
“…but what if we did?”
And we see Henri’s face squelch up as he flinches at headbutting one of the doctors, before pulling back and grimacing.
“You are the positive that there are no other concerns?”
Henri angrily puts his pants back on and gingerly puts a hand on his face for a moment. The docs step out of the room and he pulls out his phone. He scrolls to a saved number, and dials.
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
“DAD – IGNORE”
FLAMBERGE thinks to himself – it’s a shame he chose this highway to break the FLAMBO a few months back – it’s actually a pretty pleasant drive, all things considered. Lots of open space, plenty of opportunity to explore his own headspace…what a strangely peaceful thing. Not a lot of desert in France, come to think of it.
“Turn on Do Not Disturb.”
“…Do Not Disturb is now activated.”
Fuck Cancer Jiles.
…why did that thought keep creeping in? Wrestling your first main event is a big landmark moment, no one had expectations of victory – ah. There it was. Rubber ducking expectations.
If you’re FLAMBERGE, if you’ve been primed for success with privilege and lifelong training and singularity of mission, expectation is the end all be all. Where you should be is where you SHOULD BE, full stop. If you’re not where you should be, you’re not where you SHOULD BE. It’s gross. I hate it.
FLAMBERGE hates it too.
Hating things doesn’t mean getting to escape things. Things can be given and taken for reasons just or unjust and there’s part of it that’s life and there’s part of it that means it’s time to stand up and do something to fight it, and in those moments in time, it can be very fucking hard to figure out the actual thing that should be done.
FLAMBERGE, in defaulting to “try to do a thing”, has received many-a-beating. And so, we see the full cycle of his learned experience; expectation, success or failure, repercussions, rallying against repercussions, more repercussions.
Why did the thought of Fuck Cancer Jiles keep creeping in? He’s not even the opponent at Great American Nightmare. Why is this the thing that’s messing FLAMBERGE up?
Lo and behold, it’s a scorcher in Nevada today. FLAMBO keeps the top down and doesn’t seem to care. Something about reliving how close he came in his first main event match against a big name star was saturating him. Darin Zion? Can’t be harder to wrestle than Cancer Jiles, right? And Cancer was just a hair’s…breath…away…
We white out from FLAMBERGE’s driving to get a new view of…FLAMBERGE’s driving. Because Henri is gone. Darby is gone.
So we now own our own story. We now wrestle the way we know we do best. We fight all challengers, we accept all confrontations. When we succeed so hard that management decides we MUST appear in order to boost the pay-per-view buys, we accept failed singles attempts by wrestlers who failed in their tag team, because now it is the time to showcase what WE can offer – dangerous, DANGEROUS submission grappling.
…after we drive for a few more hours.
Desert sunsets are pretty cool.