The soft glow of the computer monitor illuminates the face of “The Demon of Society” Dorian Hawkhurst. You can hear some audio coming from his ear buds, but it is undecipherable to the audience at home. Dorian is intently focused, peering over the frames of a pair of reading glasses. He takes a lets out a light chuckle as he is taking in whatever it is he is listening to. Chloe walks up behind him, coddling Lynk against her orange and white BB-8 nightgown. She puts her hand on her dad’s shoulder and he does his best Mike Rolash impression, jumping ten feet in the air.
“You’re going to give me a heart attack, baby girl. What are you doing up?”
“I had a bad dream.”
“Did you now? What was it about?”
“I don’t remember. I just remember seeing Mia crying. She’s scared, Daddy.”
“I know, Moo. I know.”
“I wish Morgan was here. Where’d she go?”
“She left.” Dorian pauses, taking in the hurt look in Chloe’s eyes. “It was my fault. I shouldn’t have been drinking. She got tired of it and she left.”
Dorian pauses a moment, trying to find the right words.
“Morgan and I are… we’re… I don’t want to get your hopes up. We went to dinner last week and I think it went well. We’re talking and trying to work things out. I just really, really don’t know what’s going to happen. And, uh… Chloe…”
Dorian pauses; a look of defeat crosses his face.
“I’m sorry I doubted you. I was wrong about Mia. I should have listened to you.”
“It’s okay, Daddy.”
‘No, it’s not. I was blinded by… I don’t know… I guess I was blinded by my love for Mia. You know, the brother-sister kind, not like Morgan and I have… had… shit, I don’t know. I’m working on it, baby girl. Listen, I think it’s time you head back to bed. It’s late.”
“But what if I have another bad dream?”
“Remember, the scariest thing in your dreams is you.”
“I know. Love you, Daddy”
Chloe gives Dorian a big hug before slinking back to her room. Dorian sighs as he sets his phone up on his desk.
“Now is as good a time as ever, I suppose,” he mumbles, leaning over and pressing the record button on his telephone.
“Hey, kids. It’s your favorite, “The Demon of Sobriety” Dorian Hawkhurst here. Today, we are here to talk about someone I know absolutely nothing about, and that man is Nathan Paradine. It would appear that I have spent over an hour looking for anything I could find on the internet about him, and all I have found is old episodes of “Drop the Mic” and videos of cats being assholes. So, up to this point, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Now, that’s actually a bad thing. I mean that is a really, really bad thing… for Nathan Paradine.”
A sly smile crosses the face of Dorian Hawkhurst, with the light of his monitor causing the shadows on his face to dance around as whatever video is playing changes brightness from time to time.
“If there is one thing that Dorian Hawkhurst is good at, it’s having no fucking clue what the hell is going on. You want someone to show up and defeat a mystery opponent, or some new guy with no past? I’m your huckleberry.”
Dorian just puts his head in his hands for a second.
“You know, I’m sorry. I heard Blake Shelton say something like that one The Voice and it sounded great. I say it and it sounds stupid. I’m sorry, man.” Dorian lets out a light chuckle. “I guess that shows you I’m no Blake Shelton. What I am, Paradine, is one of the best that this company has. You and I are going to be chained together in the bastard child of the dog collar and flag matches. That’s fine with me, boy. Some places charge you twenty bucks for that kind of action. Sounds like I’m getting a hell of a deal.”
“You, Nathan, are a slippery little devil. Just about the only things I know about you is the little blurb they put out about you in the press release. Congratulations, you’re Big in Japan. You’re like the wrestling equivalent of T. Rex. Good for you, man. I mean, at least you had a career somewhere. What was it, like more or less a decade ago?”
“Now, I didn’t listen to your entire promo. A lot of it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher going “Wah wah wah wahwahwah.” But here is what I got out of it. You’re rusty. “But, I’ve been training this whole time.” That’s bullshit. You know it. I know. Anyone involved in this business knows it. Going into this match, I have almost every advantage in this match aside from speed. And I don't care how fast you are, all I have to do is give that chain a gentle little tug, and your ass is flying off of them turnbuckles and crashing back down to the damn match. Let me, for not only your sake, but for those watching this at home, point out all the reasons that you only have a thirty two point three three, repeating of course, percentage chance of survival, which is a lot better than more opponents usually do.”
Dorian flips on a small desk lamp then picks up a small notepad. He adjusts his reading glasses as he looks down at the paper.
“These are the reasons why I am going to defeat Nathan Paradine at Civil War. First, as I mentioned before, Nathan Paradine is rusty. Nathan Paradine has not wrestled a match in years. He can train all he wants, but the last time I checked, they don't beat you flag poles and chains and chairs and frying pans when you're training. So, that's reason number one.”
“Reason number two is the painfully obvious fact that I am bigger the Nathan Paradine. I am stronger than Nathan Paradine. I have been doing this week in and week out in this company for most of the last year. I've taken my lumps. My body is covered in bumps and bruises. I have practically had my nose destroyed on multiple occasions. I have been put through tables. I have been thrown through windows, I have fought in an abandoned casino. I’ve done just about everything there is to do in this business and more. I've built my toughness up and thickened my proverbial skin.”
“Third: this match does not favor someone like you, man. From what I've seen you're some kind of submission specialist. That's not going to do yell hell of a lot of good when you got to trying put some flags up. You can break me down, but you won’t keep me down.”
“This leads into my last point.”
Dorian tosses his notepad down on the desk and takes his glasses off.
“This is a question I find myself asking a lot. Why are you doing this? That's the part I don't understand. I know why I'm doing this. I'm doing this because I am proud to be a part of the CWF. I am proud of the career I'm putting together. I am proud of the example I am setting for my daughter. And well pride is one of the seven deadly sins, it's common knowledge that I am a very, very flawed man. I know that when I die, I'm going south for the winter, so to speak. My goal is to just avoid the seventh circle of hell, so I try and do the right thing, despite my fuck ups.. But, what about you, man? What about you?”
“Normally that's a question I asked just to make my opponents think. For the life of me, I can't think of a single reason why any of you hostility members are doing this. What do you get out of this? Has James Milenko promised you some kind of contract if you come through? Do you really have pride in a dead promotion? Is this some sort of Vision Quest that's going to lead you to a path of self-discovery? I'm kind of hoping it's that one, cuz I'm going to hit you so hard you're going to see all sorts of weird shit.”
“It doesn't matter what your reasons are, man. I'm not here to be a rung on the ladder that you use to resurrect your career. I'm not a stepping stone. I'm just a man, just like you. And I'm a man that stands for something, and that's something, whether it's my child, my friends, my forsaken family or the company I work for, whatever that something is, it is always something that I'm willing to sacrifice myself for.”
Dorian leans back in his chair, his bathrobe opening to reveal his Mia Rayne shirt.
“What that means, and I feel this is very important for you to know, is that just because I don't know you, doesn't mean it's not personal. It is personal. Because what you're trying to do is come after my livelihood. What you are trying to do is tarnish my reputation. What you are trying to do is to make me and my company look weak. I simply cannot allow that.”
Dorian picks up his phone and holds it up, focusing on nothing more than his face.
“For the first time in my career, I'm not only going to walk in the shadows, I am going to walk with the glass ceiling, instead of trying to shatter it. I am going to stand with each and every member of the CWF locker room that stays loyal and doesn't side with Milenko. For one night, and one night only, it's bigger than each and everyone of us. Hostility is the past. The championship Wrestling Federation is the present and, more importantly, the future. You want some of this, paradine? Come at me, bro. Just know that this ends with you GETTING HAMMERED!”
Dorian Hawkhurst pulls the phone back and waves before the picture cuts to black.