Private: Solomon Richards
He could hear the buzzing in the back of his head. At first it sounded like the soft feedback from a television that had been left on overnight. Solomon never had cable when he was growing up. It was a “Luxury afforded to those who worshiped the Devil” as his father would say. So every night around midnight the local church station that operated out of the old fellowship hall in his father’s church would stop broadcasting whatever rapture theory about Israel that they had that week.
There was no “Off Air” or “Goodnight” image that would flash across the screen. Just the bright white light of the scrambled fuzz of his Father’s rabbit ear antenna desperately trying to find something else to hold onto so the tubes in the television didn’t burn out. All that was left was the soft buzzing of feedback.
Buzz buuuuuzzzz buuuuuzzzzzz
Solomon’s eyes were blank as he stood at the head of the single lined steps of the First United Baptist Church of Kermit. His father founded the Church in 1986 when he first came to Kermit. “This town is full of God’s grace, just waiting to come out, It’s just a flock that needs a shepherd,” his father would always say when Solomon would complain about why they had to live in such a place. It wasn’t much of a building, to be sure. The stairs led to a large open sanctuary. Two rows of pews sat, five columns deep. At the front was his father;s pulpit. There were no flowers, no stained glass. All idols that took away from the tru meaning of worship. God did not need window dressing, for he was the way. He was all the beauty that the elder Richards needed.
Beside the pulpit was a single chair. It was not for his father, but for him. This was the seat that he had taken throughout his childhood and well into his adulthood. It was the seat his father chose for him to watch as he preached his fire and brimstone to the people of Kermit. Solomon learned from an early age that the best way to show the grace of the Lord was to teach the people that, at any moment, he could end their existence. But he chose not to. Out of love,
Pushing and shoving me
Pushing and shoving me
Pushing and shoving me
Pushing and shoving me
Pushing and shoving me
The buzz was getting louder as the congregation began to file into the sanctuary. Solomon was to stand at the door and hand the stack of handwritten programs that his mother would painstakingly create every week for the congregation. There weren’t many to his father’s flock. Thirty at best. A few families with children. Solomon would attempt to smile as the kids walked past. Sometimes he would manage a hair rustle as one of the younger boys would walk past. He could see how bored they were. He could hear the buzzing in their heads as well. He had heard it since he was a small child. It only grew louder as the years went on.
Push me somewhere I dont wanna be
Put me somewhere I dont wanna be
As Solomon grew to be a young man, he could recall his father telling him what his place in the world would be. He would take over as the pastor of the church. It was time for his father to finally start enjoying the of the fruits of his labors over the years. Imagine the look of pride on the old man’s face when he could finally look to the pulpit and see his young son leading his new generations of Warriors of Christ in the battle against the heathens of the world? Wouldn’t that have been a sight to behold? As the years went on, the only sound that solomon was able to keep in his head to drown out the unwieldy and lofty aspirations and expectations of his father was the buzz. At this point in his life it had become akin to the buzzing of locusts. A plauge, as he could recal his father describing them. For so many years Solomon would consider these thoughts to be a plauge brought about by God because of his willingness to stray from the path that had been laid for him. His divine mission as it were.
Solomon knew that he had no place here. He had no place in Kermit. He was no prophet. He was no leader. These people, primed b his father for the coming battle for the souls of the world would soon look to Solomon to be their leader. Solomon the Wise. Solomon, the builder of the first Temple. His father wanted him to be the leader of the last temple as well. Solomon was no leader of men. He choked up simply trying to lead the congregation in song. Let alone leading them in a battle for the souls of the righteous.
That;s not to say that Solomon actually believed in the rapture, but when it was all that was fed to him, it was hard not to. He had to get away. He had to run. Solomon knew that he needed an outlet.
He found it in High school. Coach always knew that he would struggle. His tall, farm boy frame was never well suited for the technical science that was ameatuer wrestling. But Solomon would train, and he would win. As the weeks turned into years Solomon’s skill on the mat would grow exponentially while his confidence behind the pulpit would sink to an all time low.
It wasn’t long until he knew that it was time for him to leave. Despite the warnings from his father about the dangers of the world, Solomon would strike out on his own to find his name in the world of professional wrestling. He would make his way to Las Vegas. He would make the Richards proud that Solomon was their son.
For a time the buzzing would stop.
But not all stories end happily.
~ ~ ~
I’ve been here before. I’ve seen the lights of Vegas shine in the darkness like a false beacon of hope to the hopeless. I’ve seen men squander their lives savings at the tables for one more chance at the glory that they feel there is no other way to win. I’ve seen love blossom at the slot machines and culminate in front of some overweight Elvis impersonator in a “chapel” dedicated to the frivolity of human excess and debauchery.
I was never one to stay on the strip for too long. The highs and jubilation were always short lived, but the lows were enough to last a lifetime. The broken and downtrodden, thrown from the casinos into the street. The first face they would see as they would look up from the Hell that they had led their lives to being some fellow in silver face paint pretending to be a robot. Everyone had their hands out. Didn;t matter if your very last dime had rolled away from you at the craps table. They wanted more.
They always wanted more.
That’s about what my career had become.
I gave everything I had to professional wrestling. I had some great highs in the SHOOT Project. I was a champion. Did you know they sold T-shirts with my face one them? I never would have guesses as a small boy that one day there would be people in the Epicenter chanting my name as I made my way down a ramp towards a wrestling ring. I never could have envisioned that I would get paid to wrestle?
But the highs always come at a price.
I paid that price more than once. I was the Rule of Surrender Champion. I made my name making people submit to me. Finally I was known for something other than my size, or my family, or my name, or my town. I went toe to toe with the best that a professional wrestling organization had to offer.
And. I. Made. Them. Submit.
For those of you who don’t know how that story ended, I’ll give you a short little lesson on the Song of Solomon.
It ended with two losses. I couldn’t do anything. I had two chances. The Sin City Championship Series. After losing my Rule of Surrender Championship and languishing on the card for a while, I had an opportunity to prove that I still belonged in this world of warriors. I had the chance to prove that my name meant more thant “Poor bumpkin from Kermit.” But that’s all I was. That’s all I was ever going to be.
Jacob Mephisto made sure of that.
He made sure that I had no place in the SHOOT Project. He made sure that the people wearing my face on their T-shirts would shed a tear for the person that they thought I was. What wa I really? An imposter. Just a kid way out of his depth. A boy playing at the men’s table.
I was devastated. I was broken. So I packed up my bags and I went home. I thought it was forever. I thought that I had put this life behind me. But here we are. There was the letter sitting on the front steps of my Father’s church. It was an invitation to the Almasy Invitational Tournament. A federation named PRIME. Not a new place. But one wanting to be reborn. A federation that had lost its way in the desert and was looking for a light to follow on their way back home.
I’m not going to lie. The first thing I did when I read the letter was crumple it into a ball and toss it into the trash. I was done with this life. It was a good thought, really. Make your way in the world, prove to your family that you are more than they ever thought you could be. Stuff it in your dad’s face that he was wrong. I don’t have a lot of friends or peers, but I imagine that the feeling of post-teen rebellion is a thing that happens pretty frequently.
It was a good thought.
But I failed. For the longest time I thought he was right all along. It wasn’t that I didnt have any fight left in me. I did. According to him, it wasn;t that I wasn’t good enough. Of course he gave me some spiel about God’s plan for me, and where I was supposed to be, my place in the world, all of that.
I knew the truth,
The church is not where I belong. The small town, staring at the walls, just waiting on Sunday to come so I can lead the choir in song, then go back home to do it all over again. I thought it was a phase. I thought that my chance had come and gone. Then I got the list of wrestlers that had signed up already.
It was meant to be. Another chance. Another opportunity to show the world that I belong here. That invitation couldn’t have made its way back into my hands fast enough. It was destiny. Las Vegas. PRIME. I was worried that no one would remember me after all of these years rotting away in Kermit. But someone saw me. Someone thought that I may have just enough left in the tank to at least make a good show. To that person I only have one thing to say.
You may not know it, but you saved my life. You’ve given me purpose again. Jacob Mephisto has given me purpose again. It’s not about my father. It’s not about the plan God has for me. Its about me, proving to myself that I am still good enough at doing what I love to have people want to wear my face on a T-shirt again.
It’s about making the noise quiet again.
The tournament is long. The talent is vast and storied. All of you have stories that I have never been a part of. But here I am. My name is Solomon Richards. I am ready to start this chapter of my story.
It starts this week against Rezin.
Just another name in a long list of names that I have never seen. Faces I have never seen staring across me in the ring before. He has his own story, his own list of accomplishments that would make any man proud to have on his resume. It’s not going to be east. He’s fast, he’s unpredictable. He’s dangerous.
A man that fights like he’ll never die is a man that fights with no fear. That is a man that does not like to submit. He’s a man that does not like to give up. He’ll make me earn my way into the next round the hard way. He’ll make me hurt,
What a pleasure. To feel again. Something other than the bland walking nightmare that my mundane life had become. The same old same old every day. I wanted out. I wanted adventure again. I wanted excitement.
Rezin is excitement and adventure in the form of a man.
Revival 1: The revival of PRIME. The return of PRIME. The Revival of Solomon Richards. After so many years away, PRIME is going to be setting up their residency at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The Revival will be Broadcast, live and in color. The first step in a long journey back to where I really belong. Fighting. Bleeding. Win or lose, I will look up to the lights and I’ll know.
I am Home.
~ ~ ~
If when I say I might fade like a sigh if I stay
The buzzing was a scream now. The reverb from a microphone held too close to an amplifier. His father begins his sermon with his signature clearing of his throat. Solomon’s brow slumps downward as a heaving mop of curly blonde hair covers his face. Like a stone falling into a lake he drops into his chair next to his father. “To the lamb led astray…” his father begins, looking towards Solomon.
You minimize my movement anyway
Squelching now. The congregation goes from individual men, women, and children into one blob of humanity. A faceless mass of flesh. Solomon could tell they were staring at him, but with what? Their eyes were busy watching God, but he could still feel the judgment in their stares into his soul. He leaned his head back and tried to crack his neck, tried extending his jaw to pop his ears. Nothing. Screech. Buzzzz.
His father was now pounding on the podium. His voice was reaching the deepest depths of the range of his baritone scream. Solomon could smell the brimstone in the air. The Hellfire was licking at his toes. The lake of fire was opening beneath his chair.
The congregation stared.
His father was preaching directly towards him.
The lost lamb.
Led astray by the temptations of the world of man.
I MUST PERSUADE YOU ANOTHER WAY
Pushing me shoving me pushing me shoving me pushing me shoving me…
Jesus loves you. He wants you to come back to him. Don’t be fooled by the promises of Satan. Theres nothing for you out in that world of sin. Return to the Lord or be damned to spend your days as a pillar of salt. Just as Lot lost his family, The Richards too would lose their heir apparent to the debauchery of the modern world. Repent now, Solomon. Come back to the light of the lord or be thrusted into the fires of Hell.
Solomon drops his head into his hands and attempts to pull the sounds from his ears. Shaking his head, he can feel the immense weight of his small world crashing down on him.
THERE’S NO LOVE IN FEAR….
Reaching into his pocket, he thumbs the edges of the plane ticket sent to him by the staff of PRIME. His match was in ten days. That’s ten days left to prepare. Subtract days for travel and he doesn’t have much time left. He can’t be wasting time trying to fight a battle that had been lost years before he was even born. He had to get out of there. With his right hand still fingering his ticket he takes a deep breath. The world slows to a standstill. The faces begin to dissipate from their amalgamous blob and begin to individualize once more. His father is speaking in his normal cadence and pointing towards the congregation. No one is looking towards him.
No one cares.
They’ll be alright without him. They’ll be better without him.
He had to strike out again. Had to get out again. Had to find a way to make the buzz go away for good. This wasn’t his place. This wasn’t his life. Without saying a word, he heaves his body out of the chair. Steadily he glides his way down the center of the pews and back towards the entrance. Everyone stops. They watch as he walks down the aisle. The buzzing slowed. The screeching had stopped.
He knew it was all in his head, but he could hear the cheers. He could feel the hands slap against his bare back as he made his way to the stairs. The ring.
As he made his way out into the world.
This was his chance, he wasn’t going to waste it. Solomon was Ready.