Private: Miles Lucky
It’s a wasteland to the cosmos. Barren, with pockets of water found every few years to make humanity’s headspin. Rocks that you can kick up and watch float as it becomes dust and scatter softly in an atmosphere impossible to breathe. It’s the only sure thing within the grainy reception of the feed we’re receiving. Everything we see, we see in black and white.
We’re coming at you live from the moon.
Where a lone astronaut sits, and stares.
He’s fashioned a soft rock boulder into a moonstone bench, where he sits up straight. Casually out of place. A flag with a single Pigeon is next to him, unnaturally flying. The suit is puffed and sci-fi apocalyptic; worn, but not ripped. Peppered along are different emblems and patches sewed and ironed onto it. They are without pattern. They are without a theme. Unmandated: stickers along the helmet that protects him from the harshness of space, but not time.
Time is an everlasting enemy that he could never push against or avoid. The constant fear of his approaching and evident morality isn’t the suffocation in question, not this time around. Simply, he’s frozen with the possibility of loss. He can’t pick at his skin. His legs don’t shake quite as they should in the no-longer-sterile confinement of his suit.
So, he just sits. A permanent marker spells his name, black against the crinkling and dreadfully fragile fabric that was once what. Haunted, a walking tomb, a bag full of skeletons, described like always as Miles Lucky.
“I don’t know where to start,” he begins, because he must begin eventually. This is hard. You can’t see his blubbering face, but this is hard. His voice comes out like the static that plagues the two of them. “Can you tell me where to start?”
His question hangs in the air, devastatingly so. It floats in the separated seas of the stars that hang above him and he watches it go. He watches it mesh with infinity, to live forever in the same way that he has always wanted to. He could just sob. “Please tell me how I’m supposed to start. Please tell me what I should say. Bryan, I could really use some advice. I really need-”
Miles cuts himself off, shaking his head. He slaps at his helmet, trying to get himself together, trying to get himself to speak right down from under his gut; but he’s full of sickly hearts that beat in his chest, his guts and veins. He has nothing to offer but sincerity.
“I still don’t know why you chose me,” he says to his mentor directly, the radio feed hiccuping the same way he does. “I don’t know why you decided to take me under your wing, but you did. And, Bryan. It meant and it still means everything to me.”
“I was a dirty, scared kid. The world flipped my life upside down three times over as it tried to put me in the dirt. I fought against every shadow that presented itself. I didn’t have any dreams. I didn’t have any goals. All I ever wanted in life then, was to see just a little bit of everything.” If you weren’t around then, just know, it’s been a long two years. You’ll hear about it eventually. The bodies, the monsters, the clicking horrors, and the animals of folklore. He’s not a hero. He’s buried them under the skin in the same way that Bryan Williams has buried everything onto the surface of the moon. Under the rocks, under the dust and the cheese, the mystery. “And then you found me. Shaking with wide eyes. Everyone who could ever remember our meeting is dead, but I know your head still rings from the hit. I know you hated that kid.”
Miles laughs, and it’s so peculiar. It’s so broken. It’s so thankful. “I knocked you in the head and onto your ass and you forgave me, back when I needed forgiveness from anyone, for anything. You accepted me with open arms to tell me that I could do more than just see everything, I could have it all.”
He looks up toward the nothingness and the unknown. It’s breathtaking and crushing and beautiful. Overwhelming and heartbreaking enough to nearly throw him into a panic. I should have had this prepared. I should have found the perfect words. But this had been it from the very beginning.
Bryan Williams taught him everything.
“You taught me everything.” See?
The stars begin to descend from the expanse, ever so slightly making their way down to him. He doesn’t notice. He’s losing his edge. There’s desperation dripping from his words, his demeanor. Something pathetic, something wet. He leans forward, jerkingly, testing his suit, testing his sanity. “You taught me to survive.”
Shifting plates. Roaring volcanoes and cracking skyscrapers. The sun swallows up the moon, Bryan Williams showed him how to avoid the hungry shade. He taught him how to properly burn, open flesh feeding a flame of fats and oils until he combusts again and again in his sleep. “You taught me how to dig and dig and dig. How to get down to the very bottom of everything as I grovel, as I weep. You taught me how to rip myself open and spill everything I’ve got into the ring because the day that I stop having anything more to give, is the day that I should quit.”
But he’ll never quit. Miles Lucky will always find himself in the corners of challenges and invitations and tournaments and scrambles. There’s a fuel within him that will never die out, a will made of iron, sliced right into his shoulder and out there by Bryan, where there will always be a chip. Where there will always be the need to surpass him, and all at once need him.
“You taught me how to be a champion.” He had been looking down at the footprints on the moon’s surface, none of them belonging to him. All of them belonging to Bryan, meshed with those that were brave enough to step upon the surface and be swallowed whole. He looks up from the ground and sees the stars.
They had floated down majestically and softly, like snowflakes, like beings meant to comfort him. His eyes widen behind his helmet at the spectacle before he rises. He begins to take slow steps, walking through the field of burning, beautiful gas. Too hot to touch, too hot, you will always feel it. He feels the heat on his skin despite his protection. He speaks, regardless of the awe, regardless of the observation.
Nearly out of breath. “Bryan Williams, Delusional Savior, Unfeeling Leviathan, you can be as cold as the surface of the moon where you slumber, where you wait, where you are able to breathe freely, but no matter how much I say otherwise, I already know.”
He already knows. He already knows that the look of indifference is forever stuck on the features of the man he calls a mentor. He already knows that Bryan Williams cracks and buckles and reshapes. He already knows that Bryan Williams knows the things he hasn’t said, but he’ll say it anyway. As he pushes the stars out of his way on the surface of this rock, that pulls the tides and steals life, he’ll say it. The brightest star in his sights, he moves toward it.
“You help me through my emotions, you knock me back down when I feel overwhelmed, you check on me every day, you worry, you make sure I’m healthy and you beat the mess out of me to remind me exactly that this has been what I’ve always been missing. And I crawl to you with bleeding palms and knees to that Warehouse where you wait for me, I do it every time.”
Miles reaches the brightest star, floating suspended above the ground, high enough to just grab into his hands. Slowly, he touches it.
“Bryan Williams, you came around when I needed you most.”
He grabs it and cups his hands to look upon it as it glows and rests against his gloves. He admits it once to the star, and after this, he will never admit it again:
“I owe you everything.”
Suddenly, an explosion. The star becomes blinding and bursts in his hands with such a force that it sends him flying across the landscape of the moon. Bits of his suit rips, the glass of his helmet shatters and he floats down onto his back.
He should be a goner.
His face should swell up like a balloon and pop. He should be turning blue, his tongue should be swallowed and his skin crystallized, and any other sort of televised myth that should result in his gruesome otherworldly death, but it’s just another set of expectations that couldn’t be met.
Miles Lucky, as always, lives.
For a moment, he lies there, and we can finally see his face as he stares at the stars that hover just slightly above him like fireflies. Miles looks smaller than we could comprehend when faced with the terror that he is. He looks human, and it’s just a reminder. He wants control, and he can never get it. In the same way that he got this match, and no longer wants it.
“You asked me,” he groans. He shifts, testing his body, his bones and muscles scream and he gives up on moving for a second longer as he sighs. Some of the glass from his helmet has cut at his face, the look of shivering realization on his face morphing into an ugly, terrified grimace. “You asked me if I was ready for our match.”
His eyes are wide as they stare into the void above him, a chasm without the stars to fill it, the stars at his shoulders and his feet and his side, drowning him in slowly in a Leviathan conquered sea. Deep, endless, deity blue eyes that hunger for freshness and challenge, that are a soothing gray within this visual. Easily blinded and sharp. They have the same eyes.
Miles knew it when he first arrived in the City. He saw them dart suspiciously, and introduced him to the Warehouse nervously. Full of judgement, amusement. The subtle worry and annoyance when Miles is covered in mud, covered in bruises or cuts. When Miles was sitting on the curb and sobbing in clothes stained with blood, when he was grabbed by his collar in the alley, this fury, this understanding.
They were the same. Bryan feels responsible over him, and Miles feels a sense of responsibility to never disappoint him.
“No,” Miles sits up with a grunt, slowly climbing to his feet. “I told you that I was, but I lied. I’m not ready to face you. I came into PRIME because the doors were opened and I could hardly resist fresh faces to peel off. I didn’t think I would get you my first match here. The way everything has been working out, I never thought I’d get you anywhere.”
Miles finally puzzles into a stand, taking a deep breath through the broken glass even though the universe has nothing to give. He lets his shoulders hang and sighs once more, grabbing a hold of his helmet as he speaks.
“And I guess, I got comfortable with that.” Miles slides the helmet off of his head, his messy curls slicking up messingly and sticking from the lack of gravity. “I got comfortable with the idea that you would always be in my corner in some way, and not on the other side. I think this is my first match since we’ve known each other where you didn’t teach me something new, where you didn’t offer up any real words of encouragement. Where you didn’t have me run it again and again and again until we figured out what was wrong.”
Miles shakes his head bitterly, something building inside of him. “You’ve always been there. I could lose a million people, but you’re always there and you’ve been there from the beginning. There would be no Miles Lucky as he stands without Bryan Williams and I feel the weight of your absence. I haven’t stepped foot in the Warehouse all week. I don’t know know where to fucking start and I’m not ready!”
He’s screaming into emptiness and lightyears away someone asleep will feel it in their dreams. Miles growls in frustration pulling at his suit, attempting to trash before the brightest star once again catches his eye once again. It never moved from its spot after propelling him. Miles is exhausted and feels defeated and angry, but he begins to trek toward the star again with measured steps. “Because you taught me everything, and I never said thank you.”
And how could he ever? It always felt like it was too late or too soon. His belts came and went. All of the companies he thrived in closed. He eats shit in Japan regularly, and he’s beginning to unravel in front of the masses. “I always fall eventually. I always end up right back to where I started, another beginning, another genre for Miles to sift through. I disappoint and I fall short when it matters, and I know it, but you pretend you don’t anyway. You told me once, that you’re proud of me. And I haven’t been able to exist the same ever since.”
His eyes are wet from tears that float and suspend in the air, leaving a trail of tears behind him with each grueling step forward. The star he is approaching is already burning hotter than before. Still, Miles presses forward. “I carry that with me into every match I wrestle. I know that despite my two shortcomings, I’m good. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that I’m already one of the best out here, but you see, what everyone else said never mattered to me. Nobody had ever been proud of me before and that never fucking mattered. But when you said it, it did, my heart swelled and I broke and vomited and hated you for it because to me, you’re the greatest competitor I know and I carry you on my goddamn back.”
The stars begin to move all around him, swirling as they follow his journey toward the brightest of them all. “You’ve done it all five times over and you’re nowhere near finished. Wherever there’s a new challenge, you will be there ready to accept it and maybe that’s where I learned it from. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all of your accomplishments. I can stand here and say that I’m not on your level and when you’re dead and in the ground, the shadow that only I can see will still be around for me to say, I will never be as good as you. How dare you say you’re proud of me, you asshole. I never gave you a fucking reason to be.”
Miles has stepped up to the star, glaring at it. He wants to swing, bite and attack it, he wants to take out all of this misplaced sadness within him that only ever comes around in the face of change. Miles Lucky hates the inevitable, he hates the things he can’t control, and he knows that after this match, nothing will be the same.
And so, he knows, there’s nothing left to do, but fight. He frowns at the star. “So, I can’t do anything other than give you a reason to be.”
He grabs a hold of the star again, letting it hover in the palms of his hands. He can feel the heat on his face as he looks at it, his vision spotting. He squints and stills speaks to it through it all. “Bryan, you taught me everything I know, and now it’s time to use it against you.”
Miles covers the star now, attempting to crush it with his hands. There’s a sudden wave that comes from the two of them and pushes away all the other stars. The brightest once begins to expand in his hand and float toward space. Miles doesn’t let go, not even as his feet leave the ground. It’s stubbornness and folly. He attempts to kick his legs with force to bring it back down, but it carries them upward.
Miles has said it before.
We’re falling up, straight to the moon.
And now we’re falling even further.
Miles stops fighting it, and starts to behold it all. The moon gets further away, and the world is revealed. A vast Goliath, he’s speechless for a moment. From the heat of the star, he doesn’t feel the cold of space. He’s filled with an endless warmth as he takes in the view. He’s never felt so insignificant, and vital all at once.
“You’re pretentious sometimes,” he says in a near whisper. “You’re condescending, you are capable of being wrong, no matter what you say. You think everyone needs your help, you think everyone needs to be saved, you believe this industry rests on your shoulders and you love the way it breaks your back. For every stroke of brilliance and experience you have to offer, you have a closed mind and a dismissive shrug to tip it back. Yet, still, I value it all. I have only ever wanted to live up to the expectations you inspired me to have for myself. This is the most important match of my life. And with you knowing me like the back of your hand, this will be my hardest.”
Miles swallows and shakes for a moment. “But I promise you, Bryan. I will give you everything I’ve got.”
“I’m ready now.”
“I’m going to make you proud.”
He lets go of the star, and begins to slowly float back down. He watches the star, his heart erratic from the separation, from the sense of ground he was given when he hung on. He reaches out to touch it once last time, but it’s already out of his reach. He’s destined for the moon. Miles calms himself, and lets it go.
On his way down, it all leisurely walks through his mind. Diner arguments about newspapers, overcoming ludicrous paranoia, the basics of forging, hey, are you paying attention, come on. This attempt to bring him into a family, to instill within him a sense of order he never had before. Coffee, movies, what do you think of this? Have you seen this before? Can you show me this move, can you give me a ride, Bryan, I hate everyone. Okay, Miles, what’s new?
Miles smiles when his back touches the surface of the moon once more. He stays laying there, piling his hands behind his head as he watches all the stars rise back up to their place. “A couple of years ago when we first met, we got into an argument about whether or not the moon landing was real. When you listed out your points, I pretended I didn’t care about a single one of them and continued to argue my side. I just didn’t want you to think you were right.”
Miles huffs out and stands, right back in front of his lunar bench. He dusts himself off. “I didn’t believe it from anyone else, but when you said it, I believed it right there and then. And if you think I’m worth anything at all, I’ll believe you. If you think I’m a monster, then I’ll give you the fight of your life. If you’re proud by the end of all of this, then I will be too, no matter what happens.”
Miles picks up his helmet, shaking it as best as he could before looking at it. Looking at all of the stickers, a manic episode brought about by hundreds of sheets. “I’ll say it, Bryan.”
The flag is grandly beside him as Miles puts on the helmet once more, we can see his grinning face behind the broken glass. “They put a man on the moon.”
“And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything. Happy Pigeon Day, Bryan.”
Suddenly, everything comes to life in color as the scene is called to a cut. A camera and crew made of skeletons are in immediate motion to take the strings off of him. Miles steps off of his moon landing set, dust kicking up behind him. He doesn’t look back at the spectacle, losing his gear and hunching his shoulders before taking toward the exit. He trades the astronaut helmet for a biker’s, and walks into the fire.
Do I really have to tell you? Watch the fucking match.