Private: Bryan Williams
Somewhere between desperation and despair (on the outskirts of Las Vegas).
A man walks into a bar, seemingly just as “normal” as any of the other patrons there already. This man tries to keep to himself, as he sits at the bar and calls for a drink. The bartender brings the man his drink, oblivious to anything and anyone he might be. This man sits there at the bar, with his drink, doing his best just to blend in. The man takes his time, nursing the cheap whiskey in front of him. He looks down at the glass, rolling it around as he watches the brown liquid turn in movement with the glass. This man looks to be in no hurry, he’s nowhere to be and anywhere he’d rather be than right here.
He’s lost in his own thoughts, his own mind.
His hair is scruffed, and his right eye is blacked. Anywhere else and he might have stood out, maybe for his looks or at least the way his face was looking. His ripped shirt and bloody jeans could have made him stand out anywhere else. But in Vegas, he was just another guy. Another bad day on the strip, to anyone else that would even give him a look. This man knew that being here he would be able to get away. These people didn’t care, nobody gave any kind of attention to him. They were all caught up in their own thing, their own problems that they had to deal with. This was the perfect place to be, right now. The best place to let this all play out, and cool over. On the television, in the corner of the bar, a news report about an incident at the MGM Grand plays out.
The man sighs, as the news report plays out for the audience. He furrows his brow, rubbing his temple. The video plays out, like if he wasn’t there. Like if he was watching it for the first time, this experience happening all out in front of him.
The man sees himself on the screen. He looks around, checking to see if anyone else notices.
Maybe they don’t care, the man doesn’t think about it too much. He seems to be in the same boat. Apathetic, just ready for this all to play out how it needs to. He’s already desperate for this to end.
We see banners and all sorts of advertisements for an upcoming event, something called PRIME. There is a whole stage set-up, several people stand on the stage as someone talks into a microphone. The man watches as the camera pans around the audience, and then back to the stage. It’s a modest set-up, it looks like whatever this conference is was a secondary one to whatever the big one could have been. A small stage, a few people, some lighting and that’s about it.
Still, this is definitely the kind of thing you don’t want to mess up. The man winces every time the camera pans around the people standing up on the stage.
The patrons in the dive bar don’t notice or seem to care when the man is shown on the screen. He sits there, watching himself appear on the small television. Everyone talks over it, no audio from the event can be heard.
Which, in this case, is an extremely good thing. For him, and everyone else involved.
The man continues to watch, as another man bumps into him. Seemingly on purpose, this lanky man seemingly goes out of his way to agitate the other fellow. The man takes a sip, he watches himself on the screen. Unable to control the actions of his past, the television continues playing it out like it was taunting him. The rather lanky fellow appears to be crying already, and the man doesn’t look like he’s in any kind of mood to deal with this. Words are exchanged, and in a heated fashion, the lanky dude punches the man.
All captured on camera.
It’s a brawl, a real ruckus that turns into quite the commotion. The man hangs his head in shame, as it continues to play out without him watching. Along with the chaos on display comes a text banner that appears at the bottom.
BRAWL AT PRIME PRESS CONFERENCE
The man shakes his head, as more text accompanies the news story. ‘Bryan Williams and Miles Lucky fight at the PRIME press conference, more at eight.’ Days before they’re supposed to face each other in the ring, and they’ve already come to blows at a semi-important press conference.
Or at least that’s what Bryan thinks.
Viewing the television from any other patron would show a different view of the events that happened. The brawl at a PRIME press conference became just a press conference for PRIME, their upcoming event at the MGM Grand. Bryan sighs, and takes another sip from his drink. We’re all caught up now, and Bryan desperately wants the day to end. He wants the week to be over, and the month to be canceled. Might as well throw the whole year out with it too.
In his head, he’s low.
He’s ruined an event that he’s been waiting on. But the reality is much more boring than that, he’s having to wait. He has to wait for Miles, there wouldn’t be any scuffles between them yet. His mind has put together something just to let him cope.
A fight with Miles, there would be no avoiding it.
He looks down at his hands, and across the bar at a mirror. For self-reflection, it’s not the most ideal thing in an unideal location. Whatever mess he got himself into before coming here, he may never know.
Miles is on his mind.
Bryan sinks as far as he can into the barstool, which isn’t very far. He finishes his drink and asks for another. It was going to be a long night, and there was going to be a lot of self-reflecting.
Time to go to work.
And just like that, we break from the bar. The camera settles to a spot just outside of the bar, encompassing the whole area. A wide-sweeping angle, the outside of the bar facing us and the Nevada desert. The bar sits there, stuck right in the middle between the dirt ground and the empty night sky. Light pollution from the city prevents us from really seeing the stars, keeping what’s out there to stay hidden from us.
The scene glitches for a moment, video artifacts tearing through the scene as the image jumps and skips for a moment.
A haunting neon moon hangs in the distance, just for a brief moment. The front door bursts open, making the whole scene go back to normal. Bryan stumbles out of the bar, still looking just as disheveled as he did on the television. He pauses for a moment, before running his hands through his hair to calm his nerves.
He staggers down the steps, noticing the camera in front of him. The scene is already set, tourists and people are swept away to avoid crossing through the scene. It’s just Bryan by himself now.
He exhales, as he sits down on the last step. The camera doesn’t zoom in or move up to center Bryan in the shot. It stays far away, keeping him at the bottom of the scene. “I remember the first time I saw you.”
Bryan chuckles, thinking to himself as he pauses for a moment. He pats around his pockets, fumbling for something that isn’t even there. After a few moments, he gives up, returning his attention back towards the camera.
“Miles. My protege, and sometimes awkward friend? I’m still not quite sure, but the first time I saw you it was a trip. There you were, waiting to be trained by me. You were wearing jeans and a t-shirt like you had no idea how to even present yourself properly. An uncoordinated mess of a man, arms so long I swear you could touch the floor while standing up.” He states, all while chuckling to himself yet again.
In the distance, during the lull of Bryan’s speech, you can hear the city going through its motions deep in the background.
We are miles away from it all, away from what just happened a few hours ago.
Bryan continues on, telling his story just like he remembered it. “There was no way this kid could make it in this business, I thought. The first outburst nearly made me quit, I haven’t had anxiety like that since then.
And yet – I guess I saw myself in you that day. There were a lot of differences, things that we would never match on. Two different people doing this for completely different reasons. You couldn’t understand me no matter how hard you tried.”
Bryan grows quiet.
“I couldn’t figure you out, I still can’t.” He says, with a shrug and a dismissal.
“Maybe in another life, you were the second brother I was supposed to have. Mom never liked to talk about it, and I don’t like talking about Mom. But shortly after my younger brother was born, there was supposed to be a second child.”
Bryan sighs, standing up during his drunken rambling. He staggers for a moment, before catching himself as he steadies against the nearby railing. It doesn’t stop him, as he continues to speak.
“Another boy.” A quick pause to step down onto the ground, walking towards the camera.
“Mom was older, and it hit her harder when she lost the pregnancy. Dad didn’t bat an eye, the house felt a little bit colder. Life went on and I did everything I could to leave that situation. I found where I belonged, and eventually, I turned into the person that you’re watching right now. I became Bryan Williams, only by the moments and events that played out in my life. These things always seemed to just make me stronger. I became better from the chaos that seemed to stick around no matter what I did.
So Miles, when I met you and discovered all of the horrible things that surrounded you, I was taken aback. I knew that I had just found someone who was just like me, somebody who wasn’t my blood but lived the same way that I did. They had the same kind of passion that I had, and the same desire to be great like I did.”
Above Bryan the night sky grows, the camera lens adjusts to the brightness of the light pollution in the city. It takes a moment, but the stars in the sky begin to come out. Bryan looks up, almost like he’s manifesting them himself.
He stares up at them, just for a moment.
“I had to teach you, I hope you understand. I had to take control and make sure that something was going to come out of this embodiment standing before me. You were a brilliant mass of concentrated chaos, and untapped skill that was just waiting to be shaped into anything. It’s funny because sometimes I feel like how the great artists did when they came up with their amazing pieces. Each one on the verge of discovery, standing there at the precipice of their creation. It all comes out before them, unraveling itself into a glorious work that everyone can appreciate.
I think they’re starting to appreciate you, Miles. I think they’re finally understanding what I saw in you two years ago. It took very little time for you to grasp what I was trying to teach you. You already had the basics down, but you took to what I had to say so quickly. It was like dealing with somebody who’s had half as many years as I have in this business, but you were brand new.”
The moon appears faintly again in the sky, this time in the frame and completely normal. No tricks, or weird glitching this time.
“So where did that lead you?” Bryan asks the camera, asking Miles.
“All of this hard work, all of this time becoming champion in several places and beating some of the best in this business. Where did that put you in the grand scheme of things?” Another question, with no answer expected.
He pauses for a moment, before shrugging again.
“It gave you the ninth seed.
And I had the eighth.”
Bryan chuckles again, before speaking up. “It’s funny how things work out, you can put all of your efforts into becoming great and still things can become so random. Life will decide another path for you, and that’s where everything changes. I don’t know what brought you here, I don’t know if it was the same kind of desire that I felt when signing up. Knowing that you were stepping foot into something completely new, something so foreign that you had to find out for yourself. I don’t know if you’re here to test your abilities, or if you’re just that fucking bored with your life.”
Bryan’s demeanor changes, he isn’t thinking about the past anymore. There isn’t a nostalgic glaze in his eyes anymore, he’s different now. His eyes are piercing, full of callous anger we haven’t seen from him yet.
“I do not, and will not know.
And I don’t care, either.” Bryan says, shaking his head.
“I don’t care because I decided that I needed to be a bit more selfish this year. I needed to take just a little more, for me. What I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished before, it’s not quite enough. I haven’t reached the point that I’d like to be at. Doing so requires change, it requires me to step out of my comfort zone and venture to places that I haven’t been before. I have to face people that I’ve never stepped into the ring with. Winning a tournament like this is exactly the kind of thing I want for myself.
So of course, you have to be here.
You have to show up, and try to ruin all of that. I know this because we’re the same. If I was in your shoes I would do the exact same thing, I would do everything I could to knock my mentor down a couple of spots. You’ve been wanting this for a while, you’ve been waiting for your chance to punch me in the mouth.”
Bryan sticks his chin out towards the camera, we can see the bruising on his face from earlier. From whatever fight it was, the damage is definitely there.
“I’m only going to give you this one chance.” He says, seething. Almost talking through clenched and gritted teeth.
“Here’s the time to act, and to show me everything you’ve learned up to this point. Take everything I’ve ever taught you, and throw it all my way. Please, I really want you to try. Because I’m ready to crush your dreams, Miles. I’m ready to put the hopes and weight of everything you carry right underneath my heel. I’ve done all I can to prepare you for this kind of world, and now I need to be the one that tries to take it all away from you. It’s only right, only fitting that it would be me standing here. No championships involved, nothing on the line but a chance at pursuing greatness. We’ve really stripped this down to its rotten core, and I love it. I was a bit conflicted when it was first announced, knowing where we’re headed now. This match needed to happen, but even just a few days ago I wasn’t sure that it should. I was worried, worried about everything that could happen. But another part of me was happy, it was glad that the match was made. I can’t help but feel pride knowing that you’re ready for this to happen. I feel like I did such a good job teaching you that it’s almost a reward for me now, having you here like this. Make no mistake, this is of my doing here. My teachings, that’s what got you to this spot. I worked hard to make you somebody who would be ready for a match like this to come your way at any time.”
Stopping, a sudden realization dawns on Bryan. He stands there, quiet, for just a moment. Just thinking about it all, almost brings him to tears.
But he holds back.
“But you are – you’re ready, Miles.” He says, nodding his head in agreement.
“Whether I win or lose, you’re prepared for everything that will come from this. The emotions, the memories that will stick with you, the choices that you will make.
This is all for you now.
As much as it is for me.”
Everything comes crashing down for Bryan, as his demeanor changes yet again. He’s softened, weakened to the idea of what’s to come between them. Almost like the reality of it all has finally hit him in a massive wave.
He clenches his hands together, as his head drops and looks towards the crowd.
“I really tried for this to happen a couple of times. A year ago, back when we were in Union, I tried so hard to wait and get my chance at defeating you. Holding onto that championship, I waited until I thought you had everyone out of the way. I wanted you fresh, I wanted nothing else to grab your attention. But we both headed into that night not realizing we were about to be losers, we both lost our championships. You lost the reason I had to face you, and I lost the means to be able to do so. Fate tempted us again, over in Murderhaus. We were getting close, but nothing was set in stone. Nothing close like Union, it was more of a tease than anything. I guess that hurt more, knowing what could have been. Rather than, well … you know.”
He’s nodding again, his voice growing softer as he speaks. “But that’s okay – As I said, things always happen for a reason and we’ve found our reason now.”
His hands come up to his neck, in frustration. These emotions, and memories won’t leave his mind. No matter how much he speaks, he just cannot get rid of them. Nor can he get rid of the weight that this match will carry on him.
“Here we are, standing face to face now. Our time has come, and our place inside of the ring will finally allow us to do what we should have done a long time ago. This place will be good enough, it will be what we need to get our goal accomplished. We have a lot to work out, Miles. A lot of emotions and feelings, words that we need to get out of our minds. This will be the place.”
“This works.” He says, finally accepting it all.
Looking out to the night sky yet again, Bryan stops speaking for a moment. He looks out at the moon and smiles. The moon glitches again, and for a brief moment, we see Bryan wearing the mask.
It doesn’t stay.
Instead, he looks back towards the camera, heading back to the steps of the bar.
“Either way, I’m ready for whatever comes. Whatever happens, however, this turns out, I’m ready to take the outcome and use it to make me better. I know you’re going to do the same, you’re going to learn from this. No matter what, you’re going to use this to make you better.” He says, this time with a bit of hope in his voice.
Ready to take his mind off of everything again, Bryan starts to head back towards the bar. Quietly, with his back to the camera, we hear him say one last thing before he steps through the door.
Before he’s finished with this all.
“I don’t think I could be prouder of someone.”
The camera tilts up, as Bryan steps through the doors. We can see the night sky again, the stars are brighter than before. The scene glitches again, turning the stars into neon green spectacles. They multiply, jumping around the screen as it glitches and artifacts over and over again. They continue to multiply until everything cuts to black.