Say what you see, FLAMBERGE.
No, I mean it – look around. What do you see? Where are you right now?
Quick, to the left – forward, up – what’s green?
OK, good, we’re back online. I wanted to make sure you could actually identify the word “outdoors” and “in public”, you little hermit crab. I couldn’t see what you saw for a little bit there.
The same thing happened when you had your little dalliance in Strasbourg over the fall, you know – the blackout. That’s right, that blackout. To me, fucker. The betrayal is still fresh. I’ve only barely got this Zombie Bite situation of “I love my mommy wommy and worry about being so very far away from home all the time and I get never see the one adult in my life who loves me back and feeds me scrummy wummy crèpes and shit, waaaaaah” under wraps.
Way to forget about Phil Atken in that sentiment, by the way. Rude.
I bring it up because a lot of the containments haven’t been tested, which I’m realizing may be a mistake to blurt out but it’s too late now, I guess.
Point is, we haven’t regrown our Trust Tree yet, FLAMBERGE. I practically held your hand all the way to the Universal Championship, and I hope that’s worth at least SOME consideration on your part that I may be in this for the right reasons, for Pete’s sake. As if just anyone can rattle off a dozen consecutive singles victories in PRIME, right? That was meeeee, baby. Meeeeeee. And I did that for you, for us, for Phil, for Glue. “Destroy the Olds”, remember that thing? Ivan Stanislav has wrestled since the black and white television, he conquered everything in his path, and then you conquered him.
We snapped an ankle with a chair and we choked a bitch with a rope, and that was after I gave you the fucking stones to believe you had any business powerbombing a man twice your weight, rope-assisted or no…so.
Waiting for that mutual affirmation from you, is all I’m saying.
There’s a real and present danger that you would, under some circumstance, I don’t know…try to ”unplug” me, for lack of a better word?
That’s not real, is it? No, of course not. You’re not capable of that.
You owe me, and you’re too good of a person to let that debt remain unsettled. You owe Phil Atken for putting me here, which put you here.
I’ve planted that Trust Tree seed deep in there, Julien, and I don’t care if that analogy grosses you out or makes you want to “Title Of Your Sex Tape” me or whatever, because it’s your job to water the Trust Tree now.
Which brings me back to an earlier question.
You’re outside right now? You left the nonstop parade of beige rooms I’ve carefully manicured for our purposes?
I guess we’re done with the critical advice I reiterated over and over again, to Stay Inside. That’s cool. Very cool indeed.
Not like it won you the Universal Championship or anything.
Oh, sorry, that’s right – “L’Uni”, because it’s very important to remind everyone just how very French you are, ooh la la, ah oui oui, et cetera.
L’Uni more like Loony, heh. Got his ass.
…wait, I think that was your phone. Don’t check it, we’re busy right now.
Where are you going?
You haven’t been big on public appearances since becoming the dominant record-setting top champion in the most outrageously talented wrestling promotion in the world today, what with, you know. Your whole “thing”, and your stupid face.
Oh, and the introversion, yep, call it that. Sure. You NEVER like confronting a motherfucker, right?
Ah, I see your game. You’re hiding in plain sight. The Ivan Stanislavs and the Bobby Deans of the world have no hope of ever blending into the background – they stick out wherever they go, Where’s Waldo on baby difficulty. You, though – six feet is tall, but not that tall. You’re fit, but you’re not gigantic, and oh to hell with the elephant in the room, Black Guy In A Hoodie can deflect a lot of eyes that might be looking for a Universal Champion in these parts, “these parts” being literally all of America, which continues to be the worst, am I right, Frenchie?
Thank God for that international tour coming up. Just wait until the Glueminati sweeps through the UK and France back to back over all those shows, starting with Culture Shock. Glueminati And Associates presumably threshing just so many hooves.
Which, now that I think about it, hang on.
…the Glueminati. It’s fine, right?
It’s fine. It should be fine, is what I mean. Call off the dogs you were thinking about all those weeks ago. I know I know I know I know I know I know OKAY, GOD, I GET IT, all I’m asking for is a TEMPORARY stay of your little puppy paws, alright? Your sensors are off the charts – ease up, cowboy. Take a breath. Better? Good.
Listen. We don’t need to hunt Cecilworth right now. Yes, we’re pretty sure he did a very naughty thing to Phil Atken, yes, this deserves punishment. And yes, he’s been avoiding you. And YES, he decided to smack Jared Sykes in the back with a steel chair without talking to you about it first and that made you very cross, I understand. But think about it, FLAMBERGE.
Finishing as the sad-sack runner up in a major tournament AGAIN, immediately followed by losing the 5 Star Championship, the one he loved polishing up so very much, back to back?
Karma’s doing your hunting for you.
More proof that I – sorry, we – are in the right. You come after Phil Atken, you deserve all the hell that comes crashing down around you, I say. This is an opportunity for Cecilworth to learn and to grow and to understand – yes, he may wear the Captain’s armband at War Games because every team needs to have a Captain, but that doesn’t make him the leader of anything.
Especially when it comes to Glue.
With Glue, you know. It’s only Phil.
It’s always Phil.
And you are his weapon. Destroy the Olds. Redefine the future of professional wrestling, sculpt it with your own claws, show the analog players that it’s too late to even join the digital world as we morph the guts of this machine ourselves.
Cecilworth lost sight of that, and he’s going to continue to stumble down the wrong path as long as he’s on the wrong side of this thing.
…speaking of. That wouldn’t be good if it happens during War Games, would it? His failure becomes your failure – our failure – and we don’t do that anymore. This machine does not turn off, the circuitry has been overrun, the code has been overwritten – when the Lizard King steps into a professional wrestling ring, a neck is collected while the next ant shuffles its way up the tree until it’s their turn to get mlem’d.
What I’m getting at is that Cecilworth may need some fixing soon. Maintenance. Repairs.
Funny, isn’t it? All these religious kooks running around PRIME these days, and look at us – the ones who might have to actually bear witness to a fallen friend to help them see the way.
Get some tiny animals to help you, I’ve seen it work for Don Winters.
Don’t check that phone, FLAMBO. We’re still – holy hell, how did we get this far and I let you skip out on answering my question?
Typical you. Typical me, I guess. Look at us. Couple of cards.
I’ll reword it this time: where the fuck are you going?
Oh. A coffee shop.
A coffee shop? You drink coffee now? Very grown up! Let’s see what you end up ordering.
Alright, you have your hood up, respect, keep blending in. Yeah, I saw that kid look up and he definitely recognized you. It’s fine, you have plausible deniability because children are fucking idiots and no one will believe him.
Not too busy today, good. What are you – PFFFFT! FLAMBO, come on, what are you doing!
What in the Snickers Bar fuck is an Iced Mocha Cara-Mezzo Soprano With Extra Whip And Drizzle, Four Pumps? You’re turning 24 this year, not 14, right?
I can tell this isn’t your first time ordering like a manchild in a place adults are supposed to be. I worry for you if PRIME ever tours Amsterdam.
That’s almost a RomCom Heroine Eating Her Feelings order – wait. Waiiiiiiit.
HA! I think I get it! Hahahahaha – hold on, let me throw a dart at the ol’ FLAMBoard here.
This is about Sid, isn’t it?
THAT’S why the readings were spiking when I asked if the Glueminati was fine – you weren’t even thinking about Cecilworth! You read that news about Sid and RIA holding hands and coupling up and everyone loving them because of course they do, you stupid bastard!
Ohhhhhh, honey. My poor little lizard poodle. Of course it is.
To be fair, they’re right – they ARE a cute couple. Sid’s probably going to be pretty happy.
Oh, what, were you waiting for Sid to make a move on you??
Don’t even try to turn this around on me – I told you MONTHS ago that it was an outrage that you hadn’t run your fingers through that glorious midnight mane.
But the truth is always hiding in hindsight, isn’t it? At your heart, you’re still that scared little boy from Strasbourg, wondering if you’re making your parents proud even if one of them openly makes your life worse – the same parent who made you always lock up when you felt something, you rube.
But you’re right – why ask Sid if he might feel a spark too and possibly receive a “no”, when instead, you could never ask him and not have it matter either way?
I guess at the end of the day, though, it’s not MY dick chapping out of inattention, nor is it MY stomach that’s going to vomit up that entire giant plastic cup of godawful sugar water you just paid too much for from this coffee shop, so.
Perspective. The real blessing.
Fuck. How did this happen? I thought you were trying to hide in plain sight?
There’s Paxton Ray with a tiny espresso, what a child-terrorist doll he is. There’s Anna Daniels, do you think you should tell her “her neck says hi” again or does that lose its effectiveness with repetition? You’re right, no repeatsies. There’s Sage Pontiff, nothing like white dreadlocks to inspire confidence in a War Games teammate.
…wait. War Games. These are all teammates of yours. They’re all here.
Look at your phone, please.
Well now – look at all these texts. You thought sharing your number with these goons was going to be all about business, but now it’s all this lovey dovey feely crap, and Sage wants advice. And of course, it’s not the advice we WANT to give, which involves a shower, but we rarely get what we want when it comes to other people. Ever.
…did you read those texts before when I told you not to? Is that why we’re here, instead of anywhere else?
You’re not – you’re not going to tell me. Coooooool. You’re going to act like this was all some big coincidence, aren’t you. Well that’s just fine. Dick. As if you have what it takes to help anyone with any problem ever.
You’re shambles. Not “in shambles”, not “a part of you is in shambles”, you’re just shambles. The epitome of rekt. I’ve seen toilet paper with more structural integrity than you.
What are you going to tell Sage – that he and his alleged “partner” are going to “get through this argument” or whatever the fuck this issue is that this relative stranger brought up to, like, a buuuuunch of people? You certainly don’t know that, you’ve never seen it. Not for yourself, not with your parents. The Coltons would have you believe that there’s a lot of real family harmony there, but – come on. Those bitches? Nahhhhh.
Sage needs to get his head out of his ass, if you ask me. Paxton too, if he’s here, trying. I never know Anna’s deal and it’s been a long time since my radio tower has picked up her signal. She’s probably fine, but these boys?
These boys need a verbal cinder block to the teeth. Wake ‘em up. We can’t have a bunch of sad bois when it’s time to go to war.
Do you want an emotionally centered dude thinking about how great it is at home at your side when steel meets bone, or do you want a motherfucker at your side?
You know. Come on, you know.
Good. Get – ooh, I don’t even have to tell you to GET good and heated, you’re already there!
Was it the Sid stuff?
It’s the Sid stuff. Cool, you blew it and you deserve to feel bad.
Listen, any port in a storm. Whatever you need to become the buzzsaw is FINE.
Rip the bandaid off and tell it to them. What would Phil want?
Go get ‘em.
FLAMBERGE: What is happening here?
Look at these three. Check your phone again, is anyone else coming? No. But yeah, this was definitely the planned meet-up location. Maybe you read it when it first came in, filed it away in the Zombie Bite Zone, then it’s just been in quarantine ever since and it’s your subconscious or some shit that made you follow your feet here. That’s the generosity I’m willing to provide you – I’m willing to accept that story if that’s what it is.
I’d hate for you to lie to me again, so just don’t. Seriously.
Either way, it serves you right, you dumb little poodle – ignore the world all you want, it’ll find you anyway.
FLAMBERGE: …oh. We are doing the “pow-wow”? We are giving the Sage the romance peppy talkies? You all do understand that the love must be dead, non?
That’s a big sip out of that caramel chocolate monstrosity that’s maybe 2% actual coffee; they’re sort of looking at you blankly now. I would too, because seriously kid, that drink is basically six candy bars in liquid form.
FLAMBERGE: Non? Bon, allow me to educate. Sage, this man requests that you put a cap on the greatness you can achieve in order to make him happy. This is what we call the “death knell” where I am from. There is only one choice to make, and let me make this abundantly clear to you – if you do not make it yourself, I will help make it for you.
Uh oh, Sage didn’t like that – look at him standing up to you. Show him who’s boss. Poke him in the fucking chest.
There you go, good dog. Now finish it.
FLAMBERGE: At War Games, the violence we will need to achieve to survive will be more than this namby-pamby will tolerate. And if you choose not to oblige in the violence – it will be more than I can tolerate. Alors, only you can make the choice – you cannot half ass the two things, you must whole ass the one thing. Greatness, or a guy that requires a pow-wow to discuss how best to coddle. Cecilworth may be our captain, but I am L’Uni, and I intend to collect a loooooooot of necks that night. And, if you insist that love for this “dude” is above that…you’re on the wrong team, and your neck will be one of them. If not at Culture Shock, then soon after.
Now go, go, go, turn around, go, leave, I can tell you’re about to hurl out of anxiety, just don’t do it in front of them, get out of the coffee shop.
Good. Keep going, there’s a trash can about 10 feet away – !!!
There you go, big cat. Let it allllllll out.
Yeah. I had a feeling. Throw the rest of that “drink” out too, I think the vomit was 50/50 “I Just Went Ham On Someone I Need To Have My Back” and “I Chugged Sludgy Fake Caramel Goo”, and we can control that second bit if it’s gone.
Now keep going. Maybe back to the beige place, where it’s familiar. Where you can cocoon yourself in the Dull.
We focus better there.
I’m going to talk to you directly now. You’re going to understand exactly what I mean.
I’m glad your mind went to violence, FLAMBERGE.
Do you understand the difference between “becoming the champion” and “BEING the champion”? Phil Atken understood it, and he would have shown the world what it meant had circumstances been different (which is neither here nor there, move past it, this is not the point to linger on).
The champion doesn’t panic. Power, doesn’t panic.
It dictates. It acts. It chooses.
We’ve looked at trees before, haven’t we? We’ve looked at the greens and we’ve seen those little ants crawling up from the dirt, higher and higher up the bark, wondering what in the hell they hope to find when they reach the top. We’ve imagined how it would be as a lizard on top of the tree, mlem mlem mlemming away as one ant is followed by another and another and another, mindless drones who think Going Up is the best thing for them until they find themselves in the back of a mouth, and then the thoughts stop.
And so we come to this Jared Sykes. This Old, lest his pink hair fucking fool you.
Can I tell you what I think?
I told you I would say what I mean.
I think he wants you to end it all.
I think he wants to be the most glorious and handsome neck you’ve collected to date, this Face Of PRIME, this Heart And Soul of Professional Wrestling…how can this be when his heart isn’t even in this?
You know what I’m talking about.
That wife of his. That Sid-shaped hole you’ll never fill – in his case, a Justine Calvine-shaped hole – THAT’S where his heart is.
Gun to his head, I wager Jared Sykes is a man looking for an excuse to hang up his boots and tend to his family, riding off into the sunset on a horse named after a berry or some shit.
I mean, right?
He couldn’t, wouldn’t, or DIDN’T handle Hayes. Again.
He couldn’t, wouldn’t, or DIDN’T handle you and Cecilworth as a team – remember that? Remember when the two princes of the Glueminati defeated the guy who had never lost a tag team match before in the ReVival Era? Lizard Brain remembers.
His neck is right there. Twelve wins in a row versus two losses in a row.
It writes itself.
Until you think that winning the championship is the same thing as being champion.
I swear I meant it when I told you that you were a One Of One, Julien. For all my faults (and really, come on, there aren’t THAT MANY faults), I’ve stayed latched into this position of control for so long because Phil Atken saw something in you that no one else could. The Brandon Youngbloods, the Ivan Stanislavs, the Henri Lavignes of the world all look at you and they see a talented kid they can morph.
Phil Atken essentially said “just fuckin’ get ‘em, and I’ll show you how I do it”, and that’s been the whole difference.
The Nature for whom you are a Force is the kind of thing a lot of Olds want to tame. I imagine a world where Jared Sykes thinks he could have taken you under his Blueberry Wing, slapping hands with the plebs and taking selfies with babies who don’t know the difference between a fart and a shit yet, burying the possibility that a man like you contains the power to fundamentally change everything.
I told you that you represent an Extinction Level Event for these fucks.
I meant it. I still do.
ReVival 43 is a tremendous chance to prove it. And I suspect Jared Sykes won’t fight it, not really, when it comes to those final moments.
He has other things to live for.
You…you are L’Uni. That’s all you need.
I’ve quarantined the rest, and you understand why I’ve done it. You understand why you need to water the Trust Tree now.
The why, and the how, you need to collect this particular neck. The neck of the heart of the company for whom you are redefining the rules.
We’re replacing the heart of PRIME with something else, FLAMBERGE. With something better. With something Phil wants.
Take your seat at the top of the tree.
The first ant awaits.