The young reporter had been wanting patiently in the office of the gymnasium for a good thirty five minutes. Across the converted warehouse, on the other side of the ring the individual the fellow wanted to interview stands… eyes narrow, a snarl on his mustachioed lip. The Wargod shakes his head as he quickly checks the timepiece in his vest pocket with utter disdain.
Bronson Box: … And what the hell, precisely, is a bloody blog?
Beside him the Motormouth of Malcontent Angus Skaaland, wiiide grin on his face.
Angus Skaaland: He is the latest stop on this little publicity tour Eric booked for you ahead of Summer Games, so buck the fuck up buttercup. He’s got a website a lot of the neckbeards in your neck of the woods here read. So you’re going to take ten minutes to go answer… [he scowls across at the man through the window of the office] the smelly neckbeards questions, capiche?
Bronson Box: Bollocks. Ye’ ‘aint comin’ in with me?
Angus Skaaland: In there? Bleg, ick, no… internet wrestling fans are gross with a capital G, man… [he laughs right as something in his bright red suit jacket starts to buzz]
The bleach blond consultant and right hand man of the one and only Eric Dane, a man of many hats, is already lost in one of several smartphones he keeps on his person. He holds up one apologetic finger to The Original DEFIANT before also shooing him towards the office.
Angus Skaaland: [leaning away from his phone] Ten goddamn minutes, Boxer, go on man… [back to his call] Kellyyyy, sweetie how can… well you don’t have to yell, rude...
The perpetually busy Skaaland walks a few paces away. Annoyed beyond all reason Bronson lets out a long, bothered sigh before making his way across the gym and briskly through the door of the office where the blogger is still sitting, idly drumming his fingers. His eyes are dinner plates as Bronson’s unmistakable wide frame fills the doorway and subsequently tiny little office.
Blogger: [almost to himself as he jerks to his feet] Holy fuckin’ shi… wow, Box. It’s actually you. Wow, thank you for your time. Um, sir.
The painfully nervous young local, obviously primed to be blown off, is absolutely staggered to be sitting across from The Wargod. He looks around noticing just now how tiny this little room is and just how close he and the former multi time World champion and real life boogie man would be sitting.
Blogger: Wowie, aye? *ahem*
He gulps. Extends his hand for a minute unreciprocated, eventually retracts it… wiping the accumulated palm sweat off onto his jeans. Bronson slips off his suit jacket, silently sits in the only other chair in the room then lays his jacket, just so, across his arm.
Blogger: Yeah, cool. Awesome, um…
The young man finally finds his seat again, fumbling as he pulls a digital recorder from his breast pocket and sets it on the desk between them. He takes a few awkward moments to get the recorder set and situated.
Bronson’s eyes never leave the poor lad.
Blogger: Ha! Boom. Got it… *ahem* right-o, so. Again, thank you for your time. I know you’re not keen on this sort of, em thing. Interviews and such. Over the years you’ve never been one for traditional interviews… or, ‘em interviewers.
That gets a chuckle from the up til now stoic Wargod.
Bronson Box: Aye. Bit of a checkered past I got there. Scared, lad?
The beardy young hipster, with his retro Team Danger t-shirt and stocking cap, raises his eyebrows at that.
Blogger: Should I be? Legal trouble right before a big match? Yikes, right? Wouldn't want that… ‘em… right?
A vaguely impressed Boxer sucks at his teeth and nods towards the recorder.
Bronson Box: Ask yer’ fookin’ questions, then.
Obviously glad he’s not dead, the young man pulls a little well worn notepad from inside his coat. He takes a moment to quickly thumb through the first few pages before rejoining Bronson’s uncomfortable, seemingly never unbroken gaze.
Blogger: How are you finding life as a CWF superstar, compared to your many years of service to DEFIANCE Wrestling? Different?
Bronson hazards a quick glance out the window at Angus Skaaland, gesticulating wildly as he continues his phone call out in the gymnasium proper. The reporter notices.
Blogger: Guess some things are similar. Eric, Pete, him. I’m still frankly amazed you’re sitting here. He must be a rather convincing fellow, that Angus Skaaland.
Bronson Box: He’s somethin’ alright. [he returns his eyes to the blogger] An’ as fer’ yer’ question. It’s damn different. [he nods towards Angus direction] that one and a few others in positions to do so maintained a somewhat consequences free environment fer’ me in DEFIANCE during my tenure.
Another little chuckle from Boxer.
Bronson Box: Why? Because the more chaos I created, the more eyes were on the product. They all knew it. Eric sure as shite did. It’s why he brought me here, after all. He could have called Stephen Greer or Ty Walker or any other o’ his fookin’ friends. Or enemies. But for this? For the CWF? He knew… He knew that for this fookin’ sterile bloody promotion I was the perfect infection. In DEFIANCE I was the FIRE in that furnace. I made the whole place GO. Here? I’m just a bleedin’ open flame, boy’o… I’m a fire that noooobody in the CWF knows how to stamp out. Not fer’ good, anyway.
He straightens his already perfect posture and edges forward in his seat a little bit.
Bronson Box: See. After all the unhinged bollocks I pulled in DEFIANCE. I left the place standin’. Becasue that place will forever be in my blood. In my bones. The CWF? This place means nothin’ to me, boy’o. It’s a paycheck. It’s kindling fer’ what comes next after Summer Games. So aye, a bit different that.
Nervous but determined, the young man soldiers on.
Blogger: Speaking of Summer Games you have an opportunity to walk out the World Champion of that promotion you say means so little to you, doesn't that mea…
He cuts right in. Aggressively.
Bronson Box: It means what it means. It’s another opportunity to raise my stock in this business, lad. To nail more blood caked trophies, more SCALPS to the altar of Bronson FOOKIN’ Box, aye?! That’s what it means! It means, boy’o… if I, if I walk out World Champion?!
The yelling causes some involuntary flop sweat for blogger boy. He reaches up and pulls off his stocking cap and uses it to dab his forehead as Boxer continues.
Bronson Box: I’m gunna’ make such a wonderful mess o’ things, boy’o. Such a mess.
A strange little smile as he relaxes again, as much as he ever does, back into his chair back.
Bronson Box: [he opens his eyes wide] What else ya’ got, sport?
For queen and country.
Blogger: I’m sure the potential in this End Games match for you squaring off against your benefactor Eric Dane has crossed your mind. Comments? This could conceivably alter your freshly forged partnership, yes?
The STARMAKER cocks his head to the side. Narrowing his eyes.
Bronson Box: Straight to him. Shame on you. Goadin’ me into speakin’ ill about the man, who at least for a little while that night, will be my tag team partner. I’ve been in a couple Summer Games matches before, boy’o. It’s a chess match. You start pissin’ off yer’ pieces before the bell even rings yer’ not exactly off to a good start. No… first you gotta’ stand shoulder to shoulder with the other poor sots on yer’ team. And ya’ gotta’ look across the ring at step one…
Blogger: And that of course is…
He cuts in again. Very aggressively.
Bronson Box: Four disappointin’ souls in what I’d call a rather lopsided eight man tag contest. A Canadian egotist, a bloody panda obsessed knob, a walkin’ talkin’ syphilis infection and poor Jarvis… saddled with this lot. [he clicks his tongue and shakes his head] Shame. See lad, Dick, Jace, Jarvis and this ridiculous panda PRICK are wakin’ up, strappin’ on their boots and marchin’ out to that ring at Summer Games fer’ ONE bloody reason. To LOSE. To get cut the FOOK in half as better men, yes MEN vie for that lonely ten pounds of FOOKIN’ gold…
He licks his lips excitedly. Lost in the violent thoughts now pinging around in his sheared cranium.
Bronson Box: Aye. Men. Sorry to little miss Flair. Her and that CIRCUS man bitin’ my bloody style? The both of ’em better be keen to joinin’ the panda brigade on the sidelines. Because [having been more or less talking AT the recorder for a while Boxer looks up and refocuses on the young reporter] you listen here, boy, right here. You look right in my bloody eyes so when you upload this bollocks and you inevitably add yer’ own internet fan prick spin you know for DAMN certain I’m believin’ every FOOKIN’ word comin’ out of my mouth…
The reporter shifts uncomfortably in his seat. He gulps as Bronson continues.
Bronson Box: I am goin’ to use every warm and able body the CWF is givin’ me to fookin’ SLAUGHTER Dick, Jarvis, Jace and that embarrassing panda bear twat. That includes miss Flair. That includes this production value havin’ Ringmaster prick. And aye, that includes Eric bloody Dane. I’ll use all three of ‘em and when time comes I’ll tear. Them. Apart. That includes our precious miss Flair. That includes by the grace of God the Ringmaster. Aye… that includes Eric Dane.
Boxer hazards yet another look out the window at Angus Skaaland
He narrows his eyes. Rolling thoughts around in his head.
Bronson Box: I know Eric will spare not one single resource in his endless bag of tricks… he WANTS that World title. Eric Dane gets what he wants. But even workin’ on the same page that poor crippled sot underestimates me. It’s what Eric does… when he runs into somethin’ he can’t handle he takes the path of least resistance and sidles up next to ‘em. The man doesn't have one friend who’s FLESH he hasn’t picked out from under his fookin’ nails after some bloodbath of a match. He thinks he’s quite clever, he looks at me like a weapon to be pointed and used to threaten acts of unspeakable violence? [he leans forward juuust a little] I TAKE that bloody compliment, boy’o.
Settling back in his chair.
Bronson Box: Hell, if he wants to sell a warehouse full of fookin’ Golden Paradigm merch to aaaaall the smelly little marks out there like you, lad?
The Wargod eyeballs the young man’s vintage Team Danger t-shirt. A much younger Eric Dane flanked by Greer, Walker and several other grizzly looking superstars. The Van Halen-like “Team Danger” logo above their heads. Boxer shakes his head with a touch of disgust on his lips.
Bronson Box: No skin off my arse. He knows bloody well the odds of it comin’ down to some combination of our side of things at Summer Games. He knows the odds favor he, Flair and myself. And if I have anythin’ to say about the situation that girl ‘aint walkin’ out of that ring. Not under her own power. If she steps between me an’ gettin’ a shot to square off with Eric Dane mano y mano for the bloody World title in front of THOUSANDS of paying fookin’ customers?
A strange, distant look in his eyes.
Bronson Box: The opportunity to. To... defeat Eric Dane?
His lip curls into a snarl.
Bronson Box: I’ll fookin’ hobble the bitch.
A familiar, feminine voice from the doorway.
Ginny: Language, dear.
The busty redhead makes her way through the door and into the office.
She puts the sweaty, nervous young bloggers fears to rest with a warm smile.
Ginny: I think that’s quite enough, don’t you? You’ve shouted the poor boy into a corner, Hollis. Son if you head riiiiight out that door dear I think Rhys has a box of t-shirts and buttons you can rummage through before you leave. [he tries to protest but through sheer feminine will she eyeball-shoos him out the door] Good lad, go on then. Bye bye.
Bronson Box: [grumbling] Thank you.
The Wargod has worked himself into something of a lather. She noticed and knew immediately if she didn’t act quickly we were a few more probing questions away from there being one less wrestling blogger in the UK. Once the kid is clear of the room she slowly slides her frame atop the desk at which Bronson is seated.
The Blackpool Widow shrugs, somewhat playfully.
Ginny: Don’t mention it. Angus should know better.
Leading to yet another glance out the window by Bronson at Angus, now furiously texting someone on a different smartphone.
Bronson Box: He should. [he pops his neck, working out some of the tension] Shouldn't he.
She takes him in. Eyeballs him up and down.
Ginny: Breath. Unspool the tension. Just breath and tell me what's on your mind, love.
Boxer gets to his feet suddenly. She reaches over and plucks his suit jacket off his arm and folds it gingerly over her own. He walks to the window and watches Angus desperately try and get out of a conversation about “the business” with the young blogger now with several classic Bronson Box t-shirts slung over his shoulder.
Bronson Box: Dick Fury, Jace Valentine, Jarvis King, Pandalike... hell, the fookin’ RINGmaster. These fookin’ PEOPLE, Gin...
Ginny: What of them, dear?
Boxer continues snarling at the window. Out in the gym Angus has finally shaken the blogger and is once again buried in a text message. Unaware he’s being eyeballed by The Wargod.
Bronson Box: I swear to God if one of them. If that GIRL. Get in my way? I’m not sure I ‘aint gunna’ do somethin’... drastic, love. The idea o’ standin’ across the ring from that fookin’ man and be given the chance to BEST him. FINALLY. That’s the shite ye’ pen the end of memoirs with. That’s the shite ye’ build a REAL legend atop of. The idea o’ plantin’ my boot on the chest of Eric Dane and raisin’ a World title HE wanted up above MY head?
A strange little smile.
Almost matter of factly.
Bronson Box: It’s all I ever fookin’ wanted, Gin. From the day I stood there like a nervous knob gettin’ hired at DEFIANCE by the prick. He didn’t even really look at me. I was just a name on a sheet of paper. A warm body fillin’ a slot on the card. Eight years I took a HAMMER to the fookin’ FACE of his promotion. Whomever it might have been at the time. I MADE HIM look… respect me enough that he brought me here. Right in the middle of all these poor bastards…
Ginny: He knows what he’s doing. So do you. Breath, Hollis… tell me why you call yourself STARMAKER. Tell them. REMIND Eric.
For the first time in this entire vignette Bronson is looking at US.
Bronson Box: If you walk through my fire? Yer’ remade ya’ see… when the situations just right. When it’s aaaall on the line? I feel that in my BONES, lads. It turns me into a whole other animal. And I ‘aint talking about that panda PRICK either. Even him, even this delusional CHILD I can raise up from the muck and make BETTER. I’m goin’ to give he, Jarvis, Jace, Dick and this Ringmaster the match of their collective careers. I’m going to MAKE them better. Whether they realize it or not they’re all about to get MADE by the WARGOD.
He runs his tongue between his lip and gums.
Bronson Box: Even YOU Mariella.
Gin smiles at that.
Bronson Box: MJF my arse. No wee’ girl prick is going to step between me and what I want. Out of all these tryhards in this ridiculous match you and only you in my humble fookin’ opinion has the spit and vinegar to do that. I hope… I HOPE for yer’ sake yer’ as bloody good as they all say you are, lass. I truly do. Because if yer’ not? If you hesitate even once? I mean what I say… I’ll hobble you. PISS on yer’ fookin’ legacy ye’ upjumped bitch.
He turns back to Gin. A smile on her red lips.
Ginny: See? No need to groan and stomp your feet… or let pointless little interviews crawl that far under your skin, dear. You know who your targets are. You know who the enemy is.
She looks over at the window.
Ginny: At least for right now.
She narrows her eyes at Angus Skaaland. And makes sure Bronson sees.
Ginny: Don’t you, dear?
The Wargod nods without a word and slowly makes his way back out into the gym.
Angus Skaaland: … yeah, baby. You know it. [he smiles and fake-laughs into his iphone]
He’s is in the middle of a phone call. Obviously.
Angus Skaaland: He won’t know what hit ‘em… yeah, man… [more canned laughter]
Boxer approaches and without missing a beat deliberately reaching over, plucking the phone from Angus’ hand, hanging up, and setting the phone down on the apron of the nearby wrestling ring. If the bewildered, frustrated look on Angus’ face could write a book it’d be a bestseller.
Angus Skaaland: What the FUCK, man? I was…
The second Boxer opens his mouth Angus’ goes immediately shut.
Bronson Box: You were doin’ what it is you do. Fer’ all yer’ dedication to poor pricks like me, to places like DEFIANCE… yer’ Eric’s man. Aint’cha, boy’o? Always a bloody forever. That you are indeed.
Skaaland tries weakly to object. But a slight widening of Bronson’s wild bloodshot brown eyes snaps The Motormouth trap shut yet again.
Bronson Box: Since we’ve developed a bit of a working relationship, you and I. I’m… I’m gunna’ give it to ya’ like this…
He takes at least one half step directly into Angus’ personal space. Leaning in.
Bronson Box: This is what happens right now. You get on a plane and go back to the states. You find Eric and you tell him his weapon... his investment is in a rare state, boy’o. And it’ll take more than you, Angus, DICKIN’ with me in the interem to shake me off my game even a little bit. Now shoo little man… as I prepare to skin yer’ boss man alive.
After a tense moment Angus holds up his hands and gives a little bow.
He sheepishly reaches over and plucks his phone from where Bronson set it down.
Angus Skaaland: Shore up the ranks and raise the drawbridge before the big showdown. I get it, brother. Believe me I get it. [he smiles… confidently] He’s comin’ at you guns blazin’ you know? Full on. He legitimately loves watching you work. Every hole in every wall in every locker room you’ve been in that he’s paid for, in his book? Worth every goddamn penny. You wanna’ build your legacy on blood and violence and takin’ it THERE when it’s all on the line? Well so does he.
He tucks the phone back into his jacket pocket with a little chuckle.
Angus Skaaland: So does Mariella, for that matter. You three are going to make history at Summer Games. Mark my words. But sure, I’ll leave.
Skaaland heads towards the door of the converted warehouse.
He turns, backing out of the doorway.
Angus Skaaland: [finger gun] You bring that fire to Summer Games, slugger.
“You’re gunna’ need it.”
An obnoxious wink and he’s gone.
The Original DEFIANT stands there amidst his rings, his gym. He opens and closes his huge honey baked ham sized fists a few times. Breathes deep.
Bronson Box: [quietly, to himself] … Amen, Angus. Amen.