Episode 3: Less distant, but more pertinent.
Bottles and pill canisters like lice scurry through an accusatory crack of morning light, razor slicing the dusty cloud post-rainstorm, pre rainbow.
A single listless hand hangs still bottle clutching nothing over a single mattress dumped on a meat slab cold floor.
Twiddling fingers reach for a handful of anything, to anywhere, away from here.
You could be sleeping at a bus stop, living in a shitty run down loft.
You could be in Los Angeles.
A million different points of light in a million different stories.
But the fingers find nothing.
Instead of participating in the seething bar scene that keeps a midwestern town like Columbus in the technical definition of being a city. Whealdon floats ghostlike through alleyways and side streets, avoiding the lighted din of Americana. A haunting specter, trailing cigarette smoke like a burial shroud.
“So this is the point, where I’m going to tell you this is a redemption story. “
Somewhere a horn blares the time, heavy as a church tower. Sunglasses at night. Night blues for jazz people.
“I’m going to tell you of the half-decade of tribulations spent sitting in the shadows brooding, planning my return to America, how this is going to end with me riding down to the ring on the proverbial white horse, and my name.
Will ring in every ear”
“Because that is how this works. This is the story you crave, This is the story Dick Fury will be telling in six years when he’s done riding my coattails out of history.
This is the story of fathers and sons. Dreams coming true.
Because, the lot of you.
The whole lot of you.
Are fucking marks.”
A merciless drag as embers floats into the Columbus night.
“I’d like to thank Azrael for being present. He fulfilled his end of the deal by not figuring out how to quit four minutes in. So he made that vaunted _forward_ progress. “
Sneering. His mass of hair pulled back into the ever popular man bun
“That’s what matters to you clowns, right? Progress? A little pat on the butt here, a little soothing of the ego there.
Yeah. It’s easy to see why the CWF is ripe for picking.”
Conducting with his lit cigarette as he keeps time with ghosts of smoke haunting the rhythm.
“Let’s assume for a second that Autumn Raven and Azrael aren’t sharing space in the same bozo styled clown car rolling down failure lane.
That would be nice, wouldn’t it? It’s like connecting the dots on nineteen nineties pseudo-cum nineteenth century brooding between you two. I wonder if you two share a set of parents, or separately both sets of yours are wishing you had been drowned in sacks at birth.”
Making derisive finger quotes.
“‘Quote the Raven.’ Give me a break.
But hey, they didn’t drown you, and they get to hear their daughter regurgitate the same tired tripe that wrestlers have been saying for a generation now. I’m sure you’re somehow different than the last thousand wrestlers quoting Poe, wearing clown makeup, and jumping off of things.
Yeah. Tell yourself that.”
Maintaining the general level of disinterest, with both Columbus and the shockingly humid midwestern night. Whealdon opted to use one stick as a torch to light the next one.
Nodding, acknowledging the former tag team champion.
Taking an eons-long drag, with a cigarette pinioned captive between thumb and forefinger. Taking another, shaking his head.
“I’m not interested, nor do I have the inclination to play the x did y, and that mattered for z reason game. Caledonia, Ataxia, Mia Rayne, a single undercooked potato. It’s all the same temporary garbage.
None of you matter. Not Billy Anderson, not Eclipse. None of it.
CWF is fertile ground.”
Motioning to himself, twirling smoke about.
“ If you haven’t connected the dots, I don’t care about wins and losses, I’m not interested in whether or not I’m in the pole position heading into Summer Games.
I’m here for a couple of reasons.
One is to feel something other than raw lethargy and boredom...”
That knowing pause, that drop of the sunglasses, showing those dead blue eyes.
“.. The other will be made clear enough this week.”
Episode 2: Much too far into the past to provide much context.
Noodle legged and seasick stomached. Above deck schooner rolling discomfort. Outside; a sea of golden wheat stalks dance playfully in the absent breathes of wind.
The roaring dull thud of rubber repeatedly accosting and being denied by concrete. The following rhythm, patterns within patterns as more thuds join in an orchestra. The unheard cool of hands in jean pockets.
Youth up to no good.
This what the moment before the jolly roger being flown feels like.
Youth of the beast.