Private: Cyrus O’Haire
Cyrus O’Haire lay naked on the shower pan, clutching his head and crying out. He was contorted in a way that covered all of his parts when his wife, Alexia, ran into the bathroom. Immediately, she raced to the shower wall and turned off the running water, then collapsed next to her husband. She didn’t care that her business skirt and white blouse were getting soaked. All that she cared about was her husband and his guttural screams that were resonating through the house. She grabbed a hold of Cyrus’ head and made him focus on her. The harsh screaming started to slow and quiet as he made eye contact with his wife.
His fear was nearly matched by hers. When the screaming stopped, Alexia held her husband’s wet, cold body to her own. Cyrus wrapped his arms around his wife…
* * *
Alexia stood in their kitchen, wearing a pair of leggings and a midriff Washington Huskies sweater. The 6’3” woman towered over the kitchen counter, cutting up lettuce for a nice salad that she had planned for herself. Cyrus, now clad in a black band t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, sat at the island bar watching his wife from behind. Alexia sighed quickly, rubbed her brow with the back of the hand holding the knife, and set the knife down on the cutting board. She picked up a short glass of water and turned around as she took a sip.
The two of them stared at each other for a moment. Cyrus’ heart started to race and his chest tightened. His eyes dilated and retracted when she set her glass of water back down beside her. Alexia crossed her arms over her chest and sighed again.
“They’re happening more often, Cyrus,” she said softly.
Cyrus exhaled deeply, rocking back on the stool he sat on. He looked anywhere but Alexia’s eyes.
“I know,” he said matter of fact. He cleared his throat, and finally locked eyes with his wife again.
“This is getting dangerous. You fell in the shower today, Babe. What if you got hurt? What if you hit your he-…”
Cyrus cut her off, “But I didn’t. I didn’t hit my head.”
Alexia slapped the counter she was leaning against, not liking that answer.
“No! You didn’t, THIS time. But what if you did? Huh? What then? What if you have another episode in the ring? You’re unable to protect yourself and you end up living in a hospital bed for the rest of your life and what? I have to take care of a vegetable, all because you won’t take care of yourself? All because you’re too ‘big’ to go to a doctor and get new meds? Because you’re afraid people are going to find out that you TAKE meds? That cat is out of the bag, Cyrus.”
Again, Alexia crossed her arms over her chest. Cyrus gripped the island’s edge tightly, grinding his teeth behind closed lips. ‘She’s right,’ said the voice in his head. Cyrus exhaled through his nose once more before his grip loosened and he stopped grinding his teeth. He stood up slowly, put his hand into his pocket and pulled out his pill bottle. Cyrus studied it for a moment before putting it down on the island in front of him. Cyrus turned away from his wife and walked out of the kitchen, leaving her with the pill bottle.
“You better be going to get more!” She yelled at his backside.
Cyrus walked to the front door of their home, and quickly made his way through it, slamming the door in the process. Alexia, furious, exhaled deeply, walked to the side of the island, and swatted Cyrus’ pill bottle across the kitchen. The pill bottle exploded and the few remaining pills spilled out onto the floor.
Alexia looked at the door, frustrated.
* * *
I walked into the psychiatrist’s room quickly. He followed me and shut the door behind us quietly. I’d been seeing this shrink since we moved to Vegas so Alexia could start with the SHOOT Project, but he still irritated me from time to time. He was a short, pudgy guy – that wasn’t what irritated me – what irritated me about the guy was that he never just…listened to me. He was always taking notes. Always writing. Always judging. I hated his graying handlebar mustache. As a matter of fact, I hated everything about him from the…what are those, Aviator glasses? I don’t know what they’re called. He looked like a sex pest with those glasses. He was in his mid-fifties, I’d suspect. We never really talked about him during our visits. I was too busy to get a new doctor, and this one would do for the time being. He was just as quick to write out a prescription and send me on my way as he was to take notes of what I was saying. I hated hearing him talk.
“So, what brings you in today?”
He asked me, as if there wasn’t really only one purpose for me being there. God, the question pissed me off. I did a good job of hiding it. I shifted in my chair and cleared my throat.
“The panic attacks…they’re getting worse and more frequent, Doc.”
An irritating ‘hmm’ followed from the mouth of the supposed doctor sitting in front of me now. I gripped the arms of the chair snugly, turning my knuckles white. He didn’t notice, he was too busy notating. He spoke to me without so much as looking up from the paper.
“Does anything seem to trigger these episodes?”
I thought about it for a moment. I examined his face from the angle it was at.
“People. Same as always.”
His tone was sharp, not quite mocking me but it sure felt like it. My grip remained strong on the arms of the chair.
“Yeah, you know, people. Just…being around them. Feeling their eyes on me at all times. Judging me. It makes my skin crawl. I hate them.”
The psychiatrist finished writing his sentence on the pad of paper in front of him and sat back in his chair. He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at me for a moment. I grew anxious just having him look at me like that.
“What?” I barked at him.
He sighed, scooting his chair closer to his desk, maintaining eye contact with me. I swear I saw his eyes go black between blinks. It startled me a little. I…I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t risk being locked up anymore, not with PRIME in the picture. I adjusted myself in my chair. He studied my movement for a moment before leaning toward me and speaking.
“How did your cousin do in his match?”
My…cousin? Dan? Of course he meant Dan. I cleared my throat and responded, agitated.
“He won, just like I did. I’ve got a match in a week, too. When are you going to ask about that?”
The shrink nodded and his hands on his desk.
“Redirecting, I see.”
He leaned back and turned his head to look at his desk drawer. For just a nanosecond the skin on his face was gone and all I saw was his skull. I blinked repeatedly. I must’ve been seeing things. The shrink pulled out a binder and slammed it down on the desk in front of him.
“Your paranoia is getting worse, Mr. O’Haire. Are you sure you’re not taking any recreational drugs?”
“Am I sure?”
I looked at him, dumbfounded. What did he mean, ‘am I sure?’ I snottily responded.
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
As he put a pen to the open binder, I realized he was writing another prescription. Old fogey doesn’t use the computer to send them to the pharmacy. He spoke while writing.
“Dan just had a baby recently, did he not? He seems to be living a dream right now. New family, strong career, doting fans.”
“Fuck the fans.” I snapped. “And fuck Dan Stein.”
The shrink stopped writing for a moment and looked at me just above the rim of his glasses with black eyes. Black eyes? No, they were blue. Blue eyes.
He tore the prescription out of the binder after signing it and handed it to me. As I reached across the desk to take it from his hand, I felt a tentacle slither up my arm. Tentacle? No. No tentacle. I took the prescription and stood up. I didn’t care what drug it’s for, just give me something to stop these episodes. He stood up behind the desk and gestures to the door, which I felt creep slowly open. Must’ve been the wind.
“Tell the front desk I want to see you in two weeks, unless anything changes.”
I nodded and stepped through the door and toward the front desk. I heard the doctor call out to me, though it sounded a million miles away.
I stopped in my tracks. I hate this guy. I turned on my heels with closed eyes. As I opened them, the shrink stood there with tentacles coming out of his clothing, his mouth opened supernaturally wide, his eyes turned black. I froze in shock. It sprinted at me extremely fast – like you see in movies. In a panic I jumped back.
Alexia shoved me. Alexia? She’s not at this appointment.
Again, she shoved me. I closed my eyes tight. When I opened them, I realized I was lying in bed, drenched in sweat. She had a hold of my head and was staring into my eyes.
“Nightmare. You had…a nightmare.”
I nodded to her. She let go of my head and collapsed back onto her side of the bed, adjusting the pillow. I took a deep breath. I can’t sleep after that. I threw the covers off of me and hopped out of bed.
* * *
Cyrus stood on his patio, looking up at the moon. Wearing just pajama pants, Cyrus sipped from a glass of water that rested on the patio ledge. The moonlight shone on his torso highlighting his muscular frame. Over his shoulder, Alexia appeared in the sliding glass door, throwing on a bathrobe to cover her pajama clad body. The door slid open and she stepped out. Cyrus spoke over his shoulder to her.
“I’m sorry I woke you.”
Alexia yawned and walked over to her husband, wrapping her hand on his shoulder. She leaned in, put her head on his opposite collar bone, and sighed.
“I can’t do this much longer. These episodes.”
Alexia kissed his collarbone.
“I know, Baby.”
She rubbed his upper back slowly, looking up at the moon.
“I hate Teddy Palmer. I hate everything he stands for. I hate his friends. I hate how good he is in the ring. I hate how he jokes about everything. I hate him… I can’t wait to get my hands on him.”
Cyrus took another drink of the water. His eyes fixed on the moon with his wife.
“He doesn’t take this seriously. Any given moment could be my last in a wrestling ring, and he’s in the back with his buddies lighting casino bars on fire. Winning the Universal Championship might be the last major thing I do in this sport. He’s nearly lost it all himself and keeps treating it like it’s guaranteed to be there.”
He put his hands on the patio rail and grips it tight.
“I want to be the one that shows him that nothing is guaranteed. I want to be the one that ends his run in the Almasy Invitational. I want to powerbomb him, repeatedly, until he coughs up blood. I want to feel his bones turn to dust.”
Alexia stood up, turned her husband and looked him in the eyes. Cyrus spoke to her.
“I want to bathe in his blood and write my name on the ring with it. I want to scare him. I want him to look over his shoulder for me every minute of every day. I want him to have panic attacks in the shower. I want him to break down in the middle of the match, like I did. I want him to remember what I’m going to do to him so that he never lets it happen again.”
Alexia rubbed her husband’s arms. A single tear fell from his eye
“I don’t want to be the only one in pain any longer.”
Alexia nodded, unable to formulate words to make it better. She grabbed her husband’s hand and put it to her mouth, kissing it gently.
“I know, Baby.”
Cyrus pulled his hand away softly. He turned back to the moon, staring up at it.
“You don’t know. Nobody knows how it feels. Not this pain. But, I’m going to show him…”
“I’m going to show everyone.”