We shoot at Game B.
A happy pixelated version of our dog Bucky wanders into view, his tail wagging, his nose to the ground. A short catchy ditty plays as he takes a few sniffs before leaping into the tall grass. Two equally pixelated owls appear from opposite sides of the screen and begin to flutter about like the annoyances they ultimately are. Like most games, it starts easy. Unless you have the reflexes of a tortoise, you can shoot Athena’s bastard relatives down pretty easily. Yet it will get trickier as they get faster and more erratic with their flight patterns. And woe be unto the shithead who dares to shoot the dog out of frustration. We’ve programmed some shenanigans just for you.
This is Anna Daniels’ Owl Hunt. Coming soon to the PRIMEporium and being played right now very late at night on our television screen. Partly for a final test before revealing it to the world. Partly to help with the random thoughts that plague us.
You see, we have just realized we never had heroes when we were growing up.
Never had them as individuals before we were forcefully shoved into the abyss. Never had them when we became the Multitudes. And the vessel? Forget it. That thought never had a chance to enter her head before we did. We would say that having somebody to model your life after, someone whose values you copy whole sale is little more than a silly human thing. But we would be lying. Truth is our broodsiblings had their heroes too, albeit painted with the delicate brushes of propagandists. Everybody and their mother had heard about Rassilon building our society and the sacrifice of Omega, but never about the shading around both.
We could never cleave ourself to such blind loyalty of mythos. At most, we just thought someone was neat. We’re Marge Simpson and the potato she holds. We wonder if we missed out on something somehow. Would our life be better if we did have a role model? And if we could have such a thing, what would they look like? Not physically. Mentally. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the dumb bullshit we annoy ourself with in the middle of the night when we can’t sleep.
The vessel’s eyes flicker to one of the horrible birds and our itchy finger presses on the trigger. There is a satisfying click with the compression of the spring inside the zapper and an equally beautiful bit crunched KA-POW as the owl falls closely followed by another click-POW-splat by getting the other. Bucky celebrates, holding the fowl by their necks as they glare disapprovingly-yet-glassy eyed at us through the screen. Yeah. You go on and glare. Cunts.
Two more of the feathered clones come out to play, begging for death. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re stuck following the whims of PRIME Minister Lindsay and her faux-frustration over the madness of her promotion. Secretly, she loves it. She must. It wouldn’t keep happening without her hidden blessings, lest it looks like the inmates are actually running this asylum. Never mind that we think she might be the tulpamancer.
And many of you are shaking your heads. “But Anna! You’re not supposed to talk about that!” You’re right and because we have a little bit of self-restraint, we’re not. However, she never said we couldn’t give a thought about her and Cecilworthless potentially being co-conspirators in causing more bullshit for her own company. Thus why we say that secretly she loves it. Probably jills herself off to endless repeats of ludicrous attempted murder when Wade falls asleep. Our little lizard friend barely dodging vehicular manslaughter must’ve got her hot in the fun way. Which, hey, we’re not going to completely kinkshame our chainsmoking pseudo-twin. But she is getting one hell of a side eye from us. Should she wish to try to charge us of a thoughtcrime…well, we’re already training against her winged hounds anyway.
Click. POW. Thud.
Click. POW. Thud.
Anyway, where were we? Ah. Yes. Role models. Okay. What would be the criteria for such a thing? For one, they must be a hell of a shot. If you can’t murder an owl in cold blood, what good are you? But there has to be more to it. We guess that the next thing would have to be longevity. Because does anybody realize how many “people” we’ve outlasted since PRIME re-started?
Forty-one. Give or take.
From the re-start of PRIME to the current day, our total is roundabouts forty-one. The only reason we even say “roundabouts” or “give or take” is because some are a question mark for reasons. Matt Ward may or may not pop back up with a titanium knee. Don’t laugh! We’ve seen it happen before in a different ‘verse with another guy and it took a loser must retire match to get his ass to leave. Violet Samuelsson’s future–whoever she is–is forever up in the air with a maybe. Is Jack Owyns technically still here? We honestly don’t remember. Unlike the other two, he didn’t get an announcement saying maybe. We double checked news and notes. Admittedly, we might’ve missed his murder.
But even with all those question marks and the possibility of old gods resurfacing, forty-fucking-one is a hell of a number. Even in an entire year and six months. Something something buzzsaw factory. Insert eye roll emoji here.
That’s not the only thing, is it? One must have the mental strength to endure a good amount of bullshit. Mainly because when you look around, all there is is bullshit. It isn’t just the dumb PRIMEverse wrestling stuff either. The everyday chaos also counts. To have the ability to keep even the smallest part of one’s sanity when under pressure at all sides is a wondrous gift. As well as rising when you inevitably fall. If we were the type to have heroes, that would be one of our main draws.
Click. POW. Thud.
Click. POW. Thud.
Eight owls. More than enough to pass Round One. But we only need two more to come out of this with a perfect score.
And that’s our problem, isn’t it? A person could have all of these qualifications, even the arbitrary shooting one. But we still wouldn’t be able to look up to them in any way, shape, or form. We can respect them and as mentioned, we can even find them neat. We’ve just never had it in us to be converted into starry eyed standom for anyone. So now the onus lies with us. Are we missing something here?
Yes. The fucking owl.
Click. POW. Thud.
There’s always something missing. Enough is never quite enough. Even if there is a bazillion year old vampire who could snipe you from the other side of the world and has endured the wars of many ‘verses, there will always be the barrier. Our assorted logic would always find something that will taint the whole damned experience. That is why we never had role models or heroes. That is why we can never see ourself that way. It’s clear that others see at least a glimmer of it. Ria sees it. Or at least she used to. Eddie sees it too, though he has yet to be foolish enough to say it. Nobody’s just the right amount of perfect to be our hero. We definitely aren’t the right amount of perfect either.
…okay. We have our moments. But that was just Round 1.
So close and yet so far.
That’s the story. The real deal. We finally got a belt, finally got a shot to skullfuck you bastards to absolute death with our boots and gloat about it. We had an entire vision in our head. After we proved ourself at Tropical Turmoil, we would proceed to break the Intense title. We would crash it into the steel steps. Throw it into the ring. Kick it all the way down the ramp. And we would keep doing it until either somebody had the balls and the will to take it from us or the PRIMEverse set itself on fire. Whichever came first. It would’ve been something you never expected. It would’ve been glorious.
Then we broke one of our own fucking rules and ruined it for ourself. Shouldn’t known better. Never wrestle on a boat, yes. But also never put your hopes on a vision of grandeur either. So here we are again. At the bottom. Again. And now to get anywhere worth a damn, we’ll have to cause more trauma to Justine Calvin by being added to the long list of people who have tried to kill Jared Sykes.
And make no mistake, Jared. We will try. At least we have the common courtesy to tell you up front.
It’s not because we hate you because we don’t. Too many people have put you on the brink of death more times than we cared to count because they utterly hate your guts. However, let’s be fair. You’ve been doing the same in retaliation, so it’s not like you’re innocent. Honestly, if this was another place in another time, we would be best buddies with secret handshakes. You’re a little bit dumb, but you’re smart where it counts. You’re not so dumb to the point where we want to beat the dumb out of you. Does that make sense?
(We’re rambling, but fuck it.)
There’s also a certain kinship here because you know the whole so close but so far thing just as well as we do. You were so close to being number one contender. You outlasted two young men with the world at their feet, your friends. You outlasted that crazy bayou fuck which wasn’t a surprise given his little fuckery behind the scenes. Plus you did beat his ass before. Least importantly, you outlasted Cancer Jiles and nobody really gives a fuck about Cancer Jiles. Yet in the end, it was the craftiness of Alexei and Ivan…being Ivan that sealed the deal. It wasn’t through lack of effort on either of our approaches. You chose a forklift. We chose a car. We both lost and now we’re here and we can’t help but wonder if it’s fate.
Who is the heart of PRIME? Many people would say Youngblood. Maybe Avalon. Maybe even Lindsay Troy herself. But if we were to place money on the one member of the roster that personifies what PRIME truly is here and now, we would place our bet on Jared Sykes. Because you’ve been damn near every element in this cosmic game. The conquered and the conqueror. The silly and the serious. An eternal champ and an occasional chump. Dionysus and the crucified. You have been the martyr for your beliefs more than the rest of the roster combined and somehow, you’re still here. You have ample reason to flip everybody off and live in something resembling peace but you’re still here.
You must be the heart of this place. Because the only alternative to that is you being both immensely stupid and unbelievably lucky and we refuse to entertain that notion for a second. You fit the criteria. Two-thirds of it, anyway.
That’s why we have to beat you. Fuck. At this point, it’s not even a have to. It’s a need to. I NEED TO BEAT YOU, ROCK. I NEED TO BEAT YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EV–
We need to beat you, Jared, because we pride ourself on being one of–if not the–best that this business has to offer, bar fucking none. We know that our work here alone shows that. Yet it also shows a lot of so close and yet so far. Do either one of us really have time for that? No pun intended.
You know what? Let’s raise the stakes. In the course of PRIME’s current history, you have only been pinned twice. Either we make it three or we shouldn’t even be within sniffing distance of any title. If we cannot put a bullet through the heart of PRIME, ban us from contendership. We don’t want it if we cannot beat Jared Sykes. That is what we’re willing to put on the altar. That is the price we wish to pay. Either Berry boi goes down or we don’t climb up. It’s that easy.
So put on your dancing shoes and your bulletproof vest. Or don’t. We’re going in for the kill either way.
“…did we just say that?”
“Did you clear that with Prime? Or PRIME?”
“And Sykes doesn’t know a thing about this.”
“He will eventually.”
“And we’re actually going through with this?”
“Well, it’s kinda too late to back out, don’t ya think? No reward without risk.”
“AND NO RISK WITHOUT REWARD!”
“For fuck’s sake, Firebug.”