Private: Cyrus O’Haire
“They’re laughing at you.”
He popped one of the pills into his mouth and swallowed it.
Cyrus O’Haire was dressed in a black and white tuxedo as he stood in front of the mirror in the SHOOT Project Epicenter bathroom. He straightened his bow tie and leaned down, splashing some water in his face. Cyrus hated being in a tuxedo, even for a few hours. It was tight, restricting, and he abhorred it. For one night, however, he would suffer. Especially around these people. The same people that laughed at him when his SHOOT Project career ended some time ago. That didn’t matter, tonight. Not to his wife, at least. Tonight was a special night for his family. Tonight was the night his cousin, Dan Stein, would possibly be inducted into the SHOOT Project Hall of Fame.
Cyrus turned away from the mirror and walked toward the exit, slowly. The sound of the pills in a bottle in his pants echoed in the bathroom. The room the Year End Awards were being held in was extremely warm, and coupled with his tuxedo, Cyrus was extremely uncomfortable. By the time he made it back into his chair inside the large open ballroom, the first name inducted into the SHOOT Project Hall of Fame had been read and Trey Willett was on stage giving his speech. Alexia Prescott-O’Haire, Cyrus O’Haire’s wife and SHOOT Project talent, reached out and grabbed her husband’s hand on his lap, squeezing tightly. She was thankful he didn’t miss his cousin’s name being called. Cyrus looked at his wife and smiled an uncomfortable half-smile.
As The Willenium wrapped up his speech, the people in the Epicenter stood up. Dan, who has had a notorious feud with the man on the stage throughout his career, was one of the first on his feet. Cyrus was one of the last. Cyrus did get a few claps in before everyone started to sit down, which he was very thankful for. The host of the awards show, Donovan King, took to the stage. Cyrus’ attention seemed to flutter away. Everyone in the ballroom started to buzz once King started talking about his next inductee. Everyone at the table could sense what was coming next. Everyone, but Cyrus.
Donovan King: …and while it’s true, I did lose the World Heavyweight Championship to this man, I hold no ill-will toward him. He’s always been one of the best, and tonight just validates that. So, without further ado, your second inductee in the SHOOT Project Hall of Fame Class of 2021… Dan Stein!
Again, the crowd rose to their feet. This time focusing their attention at the table Cyrus sat at. Alexia grabbed Cyrus’ hand and reined him back in, pulling him up to his feet. Dan stood up and kissed his beautiful wife, Molly, who wore a magnificent cocktail dress for the occasion. He gingerly made his way through the crowd of people to the stage. Cyrus stood for a moment, staring at his younger cousin. Smiling through gritted teeth, he clapped, slowly. Not because he wanted to, but because he had to.
Cyrus was jealous.
As the room full of people sat down, Cyrus reached into his pocket and pulled out the black and blue business card. “PRIME” was plastered over the front of it, and a number resided on the back of it when Cyrus flipped it over under the table. Dan had given him the card some time ago when things fell through for Dan to join the company. This business card was one of the best gifts Dan could have given him. In just a few short weeks, Cyrus would be back in the ring raining down destruction and pain on everyone that stood in front of him.
Cyrus looked up at the stage in front of him and stared at his cousin. One day, soon, Cyrus would have his day on the stage. And nobody would be laughing then.
On the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd., Cyrus O’Haire walked toward the massive resort guarded by lions. He noticed the place was packed with the excited masses of PRIME fans and cringed. He didn’t have it in himself to deal with people, let alone fake fans who wouldn’t know him from a hole in the wall had it not been for a few message board posts. He turned toward the entrance of the MGM Grand and stopped in his tracks. The people behind the barricades were smiling…laughing.
“They’re laughing at you.”
The voice was soft in his mind. Cyrus reached down and grabbed the pill bottle in his pocket through his pants. He took a deep breath as the voice got louder.
“They’re laughing at you!”
His head snapped in the direction of where the voice was coming from, but nobody was there. Still, the voice grew louder.
“THEY’RE LAUGHING AT YOU!”
Cyrus, this six foot seven inch monster of a man, reached up and cupped his ears while closing his eyes tightly. He squatted down in the middle of the walkway with all of the fans behind the barricade looking at him. Cyrus squeezed his head like a vice grip. Suddenly, Cyrus was being pulled to a standing position by the six foot three inch Amazon, Alexia Prescott-O’Haire. His wife had walked from where she parked their car and saw her husband’s melt down. Cyrus opened his eyes when the voice disappeared.
Alexia: Hey, hey, hey. You’re okay. You’re okay.
Alexia spoke to him in a soothing voice. She rubbed her husband’s arm as she spoke, looking him directly in the eyes.
Alexia: Let’s go inside so you can take your pill, alright?
Cyrus looked around. All of the faces in the crowd were looking at him. He exhaled deeply, and nodded. Cyrus and Alexia walked down the aisle hand-in-hand into the MGM Grand and disappeared behind the doors.
The camera opens in the press room of the MGM Grand Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas strip. Tens of reporters sit in chairs pointed at the stage. Standing behind the podium in the center of the stage is Angelica Brooks, Head Reporter and media liaison for this sort of press conference. Ms. Brooks looks down at her phone to check the time, then out at the hallway where our next guest is, presumably, supposed to be standing. Angelica sighs and steps away from the podium. In the front row of the reporters, the man representing TheNOW.net watches Angelica step back from the podium and hops off his seat, racing to meet her at the bottom of the steps leading down from the stage. This portly man with acne and chops on the side of his face cuts Angelica off from the doorway.
TheNOW.net Reporter: Hey there, you wouldn’t happen to know how much longer this is going to take, would you?
Angelica, obviously frustrated at this point by both Cyrus’ tardiness and now this reporter, stops in her tracks.
Angelica Brooks: You’ll know more when I do, Sir.
Angelica brushes past the man, walking out into the hallway. The reporter scoffs, returning back to his seat in a huff. The camera cuts to the hallway now, opening on Angelica stopping one of the show’s staff.
Angelica Brooks: Have you seen Cyrus? Cyrus O’Haire. (She gestures with her hand) Six-foot-seven, kinda rude?
The staffer just shrugs and shakes their head, walking away from Angelica. Angie keeps walking down the hallway until she spots someone familiar: Cyrus O’Haire’s wife, Alexia Prescott-O’Haire. Alexia leans against the wall outside of the restroom, arms crossed over her chest. Alexia’s own six foot three inch frame towers over Angelica, and her raven black hair falls down to her waist. Alexia looks at Angie with disgust. Ms. Brooks walks up to Alexia and demands an answer.
Angelica Brooks: Where’s Cyrus?! He was supposed to be on stage over five minutes ago!
Alexia shrugs, smirking to herself.
Alexia: I guess nature called.
Angelica’s heels smack against the carpeted flooring in the hallway, angrily. Angie points toward the bathroom door.
Angelica Brooks: You mean to tell me he’s been in the restroom all this time?!
It’s Angelica’s turn to cross her arms in front of herself. Alexia looks away from Angelica briefly, then looks her up and down.
Alexia: Listen, Sweetie, he’ll be there when he’s ready.
Angelica Brooks: Ugh. Dismissing the condescending language? If he’s not on stage in five minutes, we’ll have to cancel his ti-
As if on cue, Cyrus O’Haire walks out of the restroom. Cyrus wears a black t-shirt with red lettering that reads “THE VYRUS” across the chest, with a syringe superimposed between the words. He also wears black Oakley sunglasses that make him look like an early 2000’s supervillain, and dark blue jeans that all but cover his white ADIDAS sneakers with the three black stripes on the side. Cyrus stops in his tracks as he sees Angie and Alexia talking to each other. Shaking his head, he ignores Angie and sticks his hand out for Alexia to take. Alexia looks at Angie as she slides her hand into her husband’s and the two of them walk toward the press conference room. Ms. Brooks huffs, hurrying down the hallway after Cyrus and Alexia.
Back in the press conference room, the reporters have begun talking amongst themselves. Boredom will do that. In the middle of the room is another standing podium with a line of reporters forming behind it. As the door to the room swings open and Angelica Brooks walks quickly up onto the stage, the reporters quiet down. Clearing her throat as she steps up to the podium, Angelica Brooks speaks into the microphone.
Angelica Brooks: Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, I’d like to once again thank you for joining PRIME as we celebrate our rebirth! Our next guest, as you are all well aware, is the eleven seed of the Lisieux Bracket in the Almasy Invitational tournament, and one of PRIME’s newest talents. He’s a monstrous man, known to the world as “The Vyrus”…CYRUS O’HAIRE!
Angelica takes a step back, clapping for Cyrus. The reporters in the room stand up and also begin clapping. Cyrus walks into the room first, then Alexia in her black pant-suit with pink trim, obviously more professional looking than her husband. Cyrus saunters over to his spot next to the podium and pulls out his wife’s chair next to him. Alexia sits down, and Cyrus follows after her. Angelica waits until both of the O’Haires are sitting before returning to the podium. She speaks toward them with just a twinge of sarcasm lacing her first sentence.
Angelica Brooks: Thank you for joining us today, Cyrus.
Looking out to the reporters now.
Angelica Brooks: As you may remember, Cyrus O’Haire takes on Ria Nightshade in the first round of the Almasy Invitational. Cyrus called out Nightshade’s Jabber usage at ReVival 1 in a segment with Simon Tillier that ended with Cyrus being fined $10,000 for shoving my aforementioned colleague. With that being said, I’ll turn over the microphone to Cyrus and allow for any questions to be posed from our guests on the floor.
Angelica removes the microphone from the stand on the podium, handing it to Cyrus. He takes it from her politely, perhaps learning from his fine from ReVival 1. Cyrus holds the microphone up to his mouth, looking out at the people on the floor.
Cyrus O’Haire: Real quick, before you ask your questions, I’d like to apologize to Simon Tillier for my behavior at ReVival on Friday. I’m sure his family was distraught after watching their loved one get pushed like that. It’s conduct unbecoming of a PRIME talent and I paid greatly for it with my pocketbook. Thank you.
Cyrus snorts to himself. Alexia rubs his upper back briefly.
Question #1: Hello, Mr. O’Haire. My name is Lucinda and I’m with the ACE Network. My question for you is earlier today when you were wa-
Cyrus O’Haire (cutting her off): Next question.
Lucinda stammers for a moment.
Lucinda: I-I’m sorry?
Cyrus O’Haire: I don’t like where you’re going with your question. Next question.
Alexia puts her hand on Cyrus’ lap under the table, rubbing his lower thigh. Angelica steps forward, covering the microphone in Cyrus’ hand with her own. She leans into Cyrus’ ear and whispers something. Cyrus puts the microphone back to his mouth, looking up at Angelica from his seated position.
Cyrus O’Haire: I genuinely don’t care if there’s some sort of etiquette here in PRIME. (Now out to the reporters) If I don’t like your question, I’m not going to answer it. Simple as that. I don’t have time for games, I’m not here to start your budding careers for you with the latest scoop. I’m here because I have to be, so we’re going to play on PRIME’s court, but by my rules. (Looking back at Angelica) If you’re going to fine me for not answering questions, fine me. I’m sure the Las Vegas charities are going to love me. So, again, next question.
Lucinda looks incredibly disheartened. She steps aside from the podium, revealing the same TheNOW.net reporter from before. He takes a moment, clears his throat at the microphone, and speaks without looking at Cyrus.
TheNOW.net Reporter: Chris Dunst, TheNOW.net. Cyrus, you’ve been out of the game for ten years now, what’s it feel like having to step into the ring with someone equally as violent as you in Ria Nightshade?
Cyrus O’Haire: I’m excited. I’m pumped, Chris. I’ve been dreaming of this match for ten very long years because I didn’t think it would ever come. I can’t wait to stand face-to-face, or face-to-torso, with Ria Nightshade in the middle of the Garden Arena. We’re going on first so I won’t have to wait very long, and I’m excited about it. I want everyone in the arena to know what violence truly is during and after the match.
I know she’s going to scoff at this, I know she’s going to laugh at this, but I hope she’s everything she says she is. She’s all over Jabber spewing about how violent she is. Great! I hope she’s the most violent person in the PRIME locker room. I hope she comes out and rips my head off. I hope beyond hope that she makes me bleed, Chris. I love that stuff. She better bring it, because nothing less is going to get her a victory over me. I’m coming out guns blazing. I’m going to do everything in my power to hurt her, just like she’s going to be aiming to do the same. I’m pumped, Chris.
Dunst nods, stepping away from the microphone. A new reporter steps up.
Question #3: Harry Brands here. I just want to say that it’s great to see you preparing to get in the ring after so long. You look to be in great shape, and in a great place mentally. What have you been doing in these ten years to stay ring ready?
Cyrus O’Haire: First of all, thank you for noticing, Harry. I am in pretty phenomenal shape, if I say so myself. Y’know, typically there’s not a lot a guy can do to stay in ring shape when the doctors have told you it’ll never happen again. Thankfully for me, I’m not your typical guy. I was bullied all my life, Harry. I fought through it. The doctors said I couldn’t wrestle again? I fought through it. I trained. Honed my craft in the gym. Did all the right things in the weight room. My lovely wife fed me all the right foods, just in case this moment ever came. She never gave up on me. Never once did she complain about the long days, late nights, and early mornings when I was preparing for this. Ten long years, Harry.
I’ve been watching from the sidelines. I watched people I grew up with in the ring, watched their careers blossom. I watched some of their careers wither. I hated it. It made me work harder. It made me hungry, Harry. I’m starving. I want to win this match, I want to win the next match, and the next, and every match until I am your PRIME Universal Champion. I don’t care if you stick Ria Nightshade or Mr. PRIME himself, Brandon Youngblood in the ring in front of me, I’ve been mentally preparing for this moment for so damn long it hurts. Physically pains me.
I love it.
Harry Brands steps aside now, sending a wave of gratitude toward Cyrus. Another reporter steps up.
Question #4: Hey Cyrus, Jon Davidson, what can you tell the PRIME universe about yourself that we might not already know about you? What makes you tick?
Cyrus inhales deeply through his nose, looking out at the reporter. Cyrus’ exhales through his mouth, then puts the microphone back to it.
Cyrus O’Haire: I forget that I’m a nobody to you people still. Hell, even the guy that covers SHOOT Project probably barely remembers who I am. I’m a nobody, Jon. I’ve always been a nobody. Blended in with the crowd since birth, and when I get the chance to shine, something always comes up. Go look at my old wrestling tapes. SHOOT Project, Outlaw Pro-Wrestling, DIWF, go find any of those tapes – if you can. I think the most memorable moment you’re going to find is the night Azrael Goeren ended everything for me.
I’m not highly decorated. That’s my cousin. I’m not loved by the masses. That’s my brother. I’m not feared. I’m laughed at. I’m nothing. I’m judged. By everyone. You’re probably judging me right now from behind that stupid podium, aren’t you? Nothing made sense until this opportunity came around. PRIME signals a rebirth in me. Another chance. I want to go out and prove people like you wrong, Jon. I want to go prove people like the PRIMEates wrong about me. Almasy might be who this tournament is named after, but by the time I’m done they’re going to forget about him.
I was written off as a nobody in the past. I hated it. This is my time. This is my opportunity to make something of myself. So, no, I don’t get off on having Jabber wars with everyone in the company. I don’t flaunt my violent nature like it’s just a game that I play, because it’s not a game. It’s real life. I will legitimately hurt you. Doozer is on the shelf already, I’d hate to send Ria Nightshade right alongside him. Or would I? Would I even care? It’s been so long, I don’t even remember.
So, let’s find out. I want to have a war. I want to be bloody. I need it. I need to feel something again. This is why I’m here. This is why I’m in PRIME. Because I know nobody else in this forsaken world is going to make me feel the things I want to feel.
Ria Nightshade, you want to move on in this tournament? You want to be Universal Champion? All that rage you have, all that pent up anger, that PAIN that you feel? You better hope it drives you more than mine drives me.
I’m coming for you, Ria. I’m begging you. Try to stop me.
Cyrus throws the microphone down on the table in front of him, and pushes his chair back to stand up. The reporters in the room begin to buzz at the outburst. Angelica steps forward, attempting to stop him from getting up. Alexia watches on, stoically, knowing no harm will come to her. Angelica speaks, just loud enough for the camera to pick up.
Angelica Brooks: There’s still more questions, Cyrus. You can’t leave yet!
Now standing, even at the behest of Ms. Brooks, Cyrus grabs the microphone from the table.
Cyrus O’Haire: Fine me.
Cyrus drops the microphone on the table again, this time a loud BANG echoes through the room. He pulls his wife’s chair out for her, patiently allowing her to stand up. The two of them speed across the stage and down the steps, disappearing like ghosts through the door. Angelica looks on, angrily. The camera fades as reporters send their Jabber posts, and others begin typing their stories up on their laptops.