Can you hear me, Anna? It’s me, Jonathan-Christopher.
I have to be honest with you. After all, we preach honesty in the Hall household.
I have quite the little crush on you.
No, not like that.
I have eyes for only one woman, silly. She is the love of my life. Of course everyone knows.
Anna, I have a crush on your wrestling skills.
I wish I could wrestle like you. Challenge like you. Win like you. I watched Anna Daniels from the other side of the bracket in the Almasy Tournament. Funny, for an event taking place well over a year ago, here I am, still talking about it. That’s what trauma does; gives you the belief it happened yesterday. I saw you, a no-name, someone Vickie told me isn’t worth our time…
Slowly start to take it up.
After your first round victory, Vickie jotted down your alias. A second round W meant you were placed in our file folder. When you drove Teddy Palmer to the brink of elimination, you received a red flag.
PRETTY PINK©, that is. Gosh Vickie loves pink.
Nevertheless, I watched, wished, dreamt.
Why couldn’t Anna Daniels be me?
You have challenged for titles. Won them. Displayed your abilities at the top of the organization.
Anna, I’ve wanted to switch places with you for a very long time.
It’s tough to be the weak one. Knowing I’m letting the love of my life down. I take a few steps forward but, alas, I take a few steps back, too.
I am born anew!
Goodbye Rocky de Leon.
Get out Cancer Jiles.
Buh-bye Hayes Hanlon.
I am learning to channel my trauma. Finding inner strength within my sorrows has been vital to my recent success. I’m not a push-over anymore. Jonathan-Christopher Hall is becoming a force.
Exactly how my woman envisioned.
Do you see Nate Colton? He allowed us to take him in. Can you believe it? The LOVE CONVOY & “the nicest guy in the locker room”, together. Forever?
Ball’s in his court.
Rather unfathomable if you considered this opportunity presented itself last year. Now, however, we have provided a haven. False prophets such as Jacob Mephisto and Arthur Pleasant have empty propositions, we are the true nurturing environment. It starts with Vickie and carries itself through me when the bell rings.
I mean look at me, Anna! I recently defeated two former Universal Champions!
So yes, oh one I admire, I envy your abilities. I think very highly of you. At times wish I WAS you. And until we cross paths next week, that won’t change. But when the bell sounds, Anna, this time…
All bets are off.
— — — — —
QUIT PLAYING GAMES WITH MY HEART
A true love story
An honest friendship
The Muse should’ve known from the start
— — — — —
March 17, 2002
Wait for daddy.
Like a dog at a windowsill, propped up against the glass, a seven-year-old boy switches between patience and anticipation. So focused on the outside world, it doesn’t matter what’s happening inside the structure he resides. For example, if the boy was to tune into his immediate surroundings, he would hear harsh screaming, no doubt by his mother and her longtime friend. Except this seven-year-old boy has never seen this aforementioned longtime friend before today. In fact, it’s the first time he heard of the name Jake.
It doesn’t matter. The boy stares through the glass, as it is more than just a barrier between him and the outside world. Every day he comes to this location, the window offers the greatest feeling of all.
He is careful to watch the cars zoom by, in the event one of them slows down, puts its blinker on and most importantly turns into the driveway. It would be even better if the car was brown, small and rusty. Then he would know for sure.
Do the days get harder, resting by the window? He’s been doing this on and off for six months, while his father is elsewhere. Going away on business usually places a hard working man who wants to put his family first in a tough position. In order to provide for the two most important people in his life, sacrifices are made.
This was the ultimate form of such a notion.
Was the decision hard? Yes. The boy felt the brunt of it as he was yearning for a reunion. It was the reunion he was promised. As a result, he’s spending his time at the windowsill; he’s hoping this is the day his father truly comes home. The boy cannot concentrate on the arguments inside the kitchen. Actually, he wonders if they joined him at the windowsill, maybe everyone would feel better.
Hope can be a beacon of light in the darkest of times.
So he sits and waits. He could watch the trees bend with the wind, or he could witness the beautiful sunset. He could even go outside and play, perhaps get a picture perfect look at the street cars ahead. However, he prefers to contemplate from this exact spot, the same spot where his father walked away. The same spot the boy wants to be upon his dad’s big return.
But it’s getting harder to focus on the outside world and pebble stone street. It’s getting much harder.
It’s the yelling. The yelling is so loud.
Can barely hear himself think.
Why is his mother screaming? Why is she slamming her hands against the kitchen table?
The boy tries to redirect towards what matters.
A car, zooming down the street.
It looks like a brown car.
Is it slowing down?
It is slowing down!
But it’s not pulling into the boy’s driveway. It’s finding the path adjacent.
Damn. Back to the well of hope. He needs to stay at the window. If he walks towards the incoherent disagreements, he will be told to go to his room and he cannot see the street from his bedroom window.
He will stay firmly planted here.
The boy really misses his father. While some of the memories have faded, others remain strong. His dad used to show him how to play guitar. They would play together. Frequently. All night long. Well, the boy didn’t think he was very good at it but his father was. His father was unbelievable! It always made them smile. His father enjoyed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The boy also thought they were great bands. Sometimes the boy would even write his own songs. He wasn’t sure if these songs were any good but his father remained astounded at the boy’s capabilities-
It’s impossible to focus. The shouting inside the kitchen has reached its peak. The boy is about to move from the window when…
A car is slowing down.
It IS pulling into the driveway!
He can’t believe it! He always knew this would happen! He waited for SIX MONTHS and it’s finally paid off!
The boy LEAPS from the windowsill, ready to grab a nearby blanket, wrap it around himself and head outside.
Hold on a second. This car is yellow.
“Your mother’s a real piece of work, kid,” Jake says in passing, as he stumbles through the hallway, almost knocking the boy over. “Some St. Patrick’s Day ‘fun’.”
In one easy swoop, Jake opens the front door, slips out and SLAMS it shut in the process. The boy races back to the window and with a tear slowly forming in his eye, he watches a wobbly “longtime friend” fall into the backseat of the yellow car.
It reverses out the driveway.
“Why are you awake?” A slurred speech fumbles out of his mother’s mouth, as the boy cocks his head and sees her leaning against the kitchen entrance. “Go to bed.”
Similar to Jake, she struggles to remain upright. But she isn’t going out the front door tonight. Instead, she’s finding her way through the mess of a home, up the stairs and into her bedroom. As she passes by her son, her eyes scan the scenery. She realizes why he was there in the first place.
A young boy, with a glimmer of hope dangling within his pupils, refusing to move away from the window.
The mother mutters an inaudible frustration while giving her head a shake.
“Jonathan-Christopher,” she scolds. “He’s not coming back.”
The boy clutches his blanket a little tighter. His eyes narrow further down the street, in the hopes he can spot cars coming from a greater distance. He refuses to allow tears to mount in his eyes. He’s keeping a brave face; he’s staying strong.
Because how can his mother know this?
When that’s not what his father had told him.
— — — — —
The Young Family Manner
Minot, North Dakota
August 19, 2015
He grips the wheel tightly. Perhaps too tight. The tips of his fingers are a dark shade of purple. His extremities clearly aren’t receiving the blood flow they need.
She, carefree and calm. She has placed her head on the back of the headrest, eyes closed, mouth open and long blonde hair dangling freely in every single direction.
“Can you feel that, honey?” She asks in a rhetorical fashion, insinuating he isn’t supposed to answer. Not that he would, he hasn’t been known for talking her ear off for the two and a half months since they’ve dated. “The air here is so crisp and cool. Gosh golly, do I love it!”
Again, he hasn’t let go of the wheel, even though they’ve come to a complete stop. It was a rolling stop, yet the rolling went on for quite the while. The truth is he, the boyfriend, was praying she would change her mind, as his foot was already hovering over the gas pedal and the car was still in motion. It would’ve been a very quick and easy get the hell outta there.
Not the case. She didn’t waiver for a second.
He looks up at the structure in front of him. Indeed, it does not convey a home. At least not one he’s used to. This is one of those mansion things, out on its own, away from the commoners, just like she reported. Three stories high but as wide as fifteen or twenty, just like she reported.
She SHOOTS her eyes open, finds the door handle and bolts out of the car.
“I can’t wait for you to meet him!” She exclaims, quickly changing her tone to one of importance. “Now you know, he’s extremely judgmental.”
She’s gone. Running down the driveway, towards the ominous structure while he remains in the driver’s seat, hands on the wheel. Tightly, on the wheel.
“God,” he mumbles to himself. “I hope she’s wrong this one time.”
Knowing it’s too late to go back now, he slowly releases his grip. The initial rush of blood flooding back into his fingertips actually feels amazing. The rush of blood to his head, however… the complete opposite.
He exits the car and slowly makes his way down the path. By now, the front door has already opened and a man is seen walking towards her.
“DADDY!!!!” She screams. It’s a gun slinging cry, one that sends shock waves through his body and an additional dose of anxiety.
“My favorite bunny,” the man responds, as she leaps into his arms and they swing around together.
Meanwhile, the boyfriend approaches.
The father’s eyes are closed as the two of them sway. However, when the third party finally arrives in front of them, as if practically on cue, the father opens his eyes and immediately finds his intended target.
“You’re Jonathan, is that right?” The father asks, changing his tone to disapproval.
“Oh, daddy,” she slowly removes herself from his arms. “It’s Jonathan-Christopher!”
The father studies Jonathan-Christopher from head-to-toe. It’s as if the father is preparing for a test and will be quizzed on the exact specifications of JCH in mere minutes.
“Two first names?” He asks with a sense of uneasiness.
The blonde haired daughter giggles, rolling her eyes at her boyfriend, as if she is embarrassed for her father’s behavior.
“Dad, you promised to be nice.”
It’s taken Jonathan-Christopher this long, but it’s never too late. He extends his hand.
“Hi, sir,” he begins in an apprehensive manner. “Nice to meet- meet you. Vickie never stops talking about- about you.”
Again, the father continues to study Jonathan-Christopher. He hasn’t taken his eyes off him since initially looking in his direction.
Finally, the father nods.
“Good build, wide frame. You’re a lot stronger than you probably give yourself credit for, am I right?”
At first JC doesn’t know how to respond. But he sees Vickie out of the corner of his eyes. She’s trying to encourage him to nod yes.
“Of course, sir,” Hall replies and nods to Vickie’s approval.
“No need for sir around these parts,” the father responds sharply, although his overall demeanor suggests he has lightened up. “You’re in North Dakota, not a wrestling ring. Call me Reed.”
Yet Reed can’t take his eyes off Jonathan-Christopher. By now, the father is studying the boy’s jawline.
“It is wonderful,” Reed says out loud, although neither Vickie nor Jonathan-Christopher is exactly sure what he is referring to.
“Father!” Vickie hops in the middle of them, ensuring their extremely long drawn-out handshake is released. “Why did you close New Brood Wrestling!? I lllllliiiiiiiiiikkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeddddd it!”
She stomps her feet in an attempt at an “adorable” child-like temper tantrum. Although in the back of Jonathan-Christopher’s mind, he can’t help but think this ‘minor’ temper tantrum isn’t just for show. She means it.
Reed laughs, patting his daughter on the head.
“Honey, the name sucked.”
Young places an arm around the boyfriend.
“I’m thinking of going with rebranding, or a reboot altogether. I see the name jOlt is open for copyright. Perhaps I will bring back PIW. Nostalgia! That’s where the money is!”
Vickie scoffs by kicking her feet lightly against the ground while mumbling “well you certainly have lots of it.”
Her father doesn’t hear a word. Instead, Reed smiles an eerily wide grin, and with his arm still around Jonathan-Christopher, he steers his daughter and her boyfriend towards the massive Young estate.
“We can talk more about this inside, okay?”
It’s clear Vickie didn’t get the answer she was looking for, but she walks beside the both of them, regardless.
“Tell me,” Reed keeps his attention focused on JCH. “Vickie says you love music…”
“I wouldn’t say that, sir-” Jonathan-Christopher catches himself in the process. “-Mr. Reed. It’s okay, I guess.”
Vickie giggles, revealing she’s moved back from mild frustration to playfulness.
“There’s not much that interests Jonathan-Christopher, daddy,” she declares. “Sometimes he’s a blank slate.”
For a moment, the look on Reed’s face makes Hall rather uncomfortable. JC’s not able to put it into words, he doesn’t even know why. Upon reflection, Jonathan-Christopher will attribute this uneasy feeling due to his own anxiety. Needless to say, he was horrified to meet the rich and famous man moments ago.
“Jonathan-Christopher,” Reed begins, patting him lightly on the back as he continues. “Any interest in athletics?”
The three of them walk up the wooden deck and head inside the mansion.
— — — — —
Hall Penthouse Suite
Las Vegas, NV
August 19, 2023
Jonathan-Christopher has spent the past two hours staring at himself in the bathroom mirror. This is a frequent location he goes to before his full day of reading scouting reports, workouts and debrief sessions. The morning officially begins at the crack of 6am so, lucky for him, he has five minutes left.
Usually these moments consist of a nervous JCH, one who is seemingly inconsolable, fearing the worst ahead. If it wasn’t for Vickie, Jonathan-Christopher wonders how he could even feed himself.
Lately, however, the worst hasn’t jumped into the picture.
He stares into his cold blue eyes. Those same eyes that watched Hayes Hanlon remain motionless on the canvas after Jonathan-Christopher connected with his finisher. Yes, Hall was stunned. He was in disbelief. But he performed the double underhook facebuster. You can say whatever you want about what led Jonathan-Christopher to this moment but he was still the man who deployed the DEFINITIVE maneuver.
Yes, every morning Hall will look into the mirror and ask himself if he has it in him. Sometimes he wouldn’t know the answer.
Times are changing. Nate Colton, a beloved figure in the wrestling industry has taken Vickie up on their offer. Therefore, the Hall’s will continue to provide Nate with a safe space, in the hopes their relationship can blossom. Additionally, Hall now understands how to answer his doubts and insecurities. He has been channeling a new emotion and with each passing victory he gets a better handle on it.
Jonathan-Christopher has gone through too much and, at times, he’s caused Vickie immense pain. He is using this to channel a novel strength inside him.
And outside the bathroom, into the bedroom, Vickie is sound asleep. She will normally wake up at 8am, sit across the kitchen table from her man and quiz him on wrestling.
But as of this time, Mrs. PRETTY PINK© herself is not found to be in a deep slumber. She isn’t resting at all. She simply appears to be. Instead, she’s tucked away, curled inside her blankets, with one eye opened.
She’s fully aware of her Amazing Life Partner’s location. She knows he won’t come out for another five minutes. Jonathan-Christopher is like clockwork. He always tries to please her, so if 6am is his start time, he will be prompt.
Even if she’s sleeping.
Which, in fact, she isn’t.
She is doing something else entirely…
— — — — —
Hi Anna, it’s me again, Jonathan-Christopher. Please forgive me, I wanted to close with a couple of vital thoughts.
I said you are talented and you most certainly are. Until now I’ve worshiped your craft. But talent can only take you so far, dear opponent. It is who you are inside that takes you the furthest.
Allow me to explain.
PRIME has been open for a year and a half. I have seen wrestlers shuffle in and out in a hurry. Extremely skilled athletes but they didn’t have anything else inside. See, I have lacked talent. To some extent, I still do. From day one I haven’t had the hard skills to put the best wrestlers down.
Then I hit Hayes with my finisher.
He didn’t get up.
He is very, very good, Anna. And he didn’t get up.
I have taken the previous heartaches in my life and I am starting to concoct a magical formula with it. One that is going to bring me to the top of the PRIME mountain.
Simultaneously, you are floundering. Lost to blueberry guy (been there). Lost your title. I can only predict we’re going to see what you have inside yourself very soon.
Which leads me to my main point…
Do you even know who you are?
You once believed you were a puppy.
This is all very silly, Anna. Very silly, indeed.
Love is not silly. Love is the most real emotion in the world and I’m using it to my advantage because when I get a closer look at you, I no longer want to hold that wrestling crush. You have no idea who you are. You blabber on about nonsense.
Anna, you’re mentally unstable.
I met people like you when I was institutionalized. I got better; they didn’t.
I hope you can find who you are come Friday. Because on the other hand, I’m starting to understand who I am.
And you’re not going to like him.