Of Mice and Men
Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Post Evolution 37
Another loss but still champions, Dorian had cost me my focus and I felt that was fair. I mean I did cost him his impact title, so I guess it’s a good thing the titles weren’t on the line. In a perfect world I could trust my tag team partner to have my back. I don’t live in a perfect world, I know my partner doesn’t have my back. So, the mouse continues to play the game with the cat. I knew someone came into the locker room while I showered. When I came out I found a playing card on the bench, Tobias’ trademark, and I chuckle to myself as I pick up the Ace. Dropping the card and grinding it under my heel I walk over to the air intake for the room. I pull the tag team belt out of my hiding place for it which also happens to be the air ducts.
Jimmy Allen: Enjoy that prize kitteh.
The prize he took was a replica, that I had made, there’s a damn good title belt maker in Wisconsin that I’ve had to use before. He’s not the first person I’ve held a tag belt with. Hell, I still have one half of the Boardwalk Title belts at home. They only got a replica when KC3 and I lost the belts all those years ago.
Jimmy Allen: Yep, he’s gonna be a bit pissy when he realizes that the master manipulator got duped.
I smile and stuff my belt back into my travel bag. I won’t lie, I’m feeling a bit smug right now. That feeling of smugness disappears as the chime on my phone goes off. An email from Jon Stewart….
Mr. Allen you are being booked against Dorian on the next Evolution, last man standing match. Perhaps you will have better luck at retribution with Dorian than you’ve had against other people of late.
I start to close the email out but it requires that I send the receipt notification. I send it and lean back against my locker. I let out a long slow whistle and shake my head allowing myself to smile.
Jimmy Allen: Jonny, Jonny, Jonny…..it’s no longer about retribution. There are so many other “R” words that can be inserted there.
For me, it quit being that simple a long while back, I doubt you would understand. I doubt that Dorian understands, Chloe might, she seems to be the smartest one of the bunch to be honest. A very intuitive little girl to be sure, as her Godfather, I’d be a lot happier though if that intuition would keep her out of harm's way a bit more often. Not that my opinion holds much sway with either of them these days for obvious reasons. For them retribution is appropriate, I’ve done and said far too much to expect forgiveness.
I don’t expect it, and I’m not asking for it.
I betrayed my best friend for what? Money? Pride? Arrogance?
I betrayed my new comrades in arms for what? Friendship? Loyalty? Respect?
I know many will not believe what’s been said by myself and that’s okay. Proving my worth to the fans and our management team, such as it is will take time. As for my so-called tag team partner.
That ship has sailed Tobias, I know you tried to steal my half of the belts from my locker tonight. I get it, you don’t feel as though I was carrying my weight. I also understand why, you don’t like taking losses, especially not when it’s in the center of the ring.
I stop for a moment and smirk at the camera.
Jimmy Allen: Sucks don’t it, you know? When your partner lets you down. You and I turned our backs on Loki for a reason. Obviously our reasons do not align, you don’t want me as your tag team partner. That’s cool, I’m sure that one of your old partners would love to step up and take on that role. I mean who wouldn’t want a title they hadn’t earned right? It won’t be that easy to get the other half of the tag belts though Tobias. I won’t allow it to be that easy to take something away from me that we did together. Together we were damn near unbeatable when the matches mattered. Milenko threw us together and look what we did. We beat everyone that they put in front of us in that tournament. It’s really a shame that it all went to shit so quickly.
I wink at the camera as I stand up and grab my bag.
The Crooked M Ranch
Port Arthur, Texas
Two Days Later
I had gotten to the ranch about the same time as the strong cold front had pushed into the area. I sat on the porch of the ranch house, cup of coffee in hand, peering out over the nearest of the 8 pastures. The dew that had dropped this morning had frozen immediately, frost covered everything in sight. The fields that were normally green and on the verge of turning brown were all white this morning. This would be the first year in a long, long time that I wasn’t up at the crack of dawn and helping the ranch hands get the cows ready. This was the time of year that ranchers started looking at expanding their herds.
Jimmy Allen: Insemination season; nope not gonna miss that one damn bit.
I had heard the door open but didn’t bother looking, the only other person that would be up this early was Dad.
Mac Bane: Not gonna miss it? You mean you didn’t just love being shoulder deep in a cow’s ass?!
We both laugh as I shake my head, sometimes that old man was very disturbing with how franke he was about things. He slaps me on the shoulder.
Mac Bane: I don’t blame you son, it smells bad and takes all damn day. That’s the reason I’m letting Roger take it on this year.
I nod, taking a long sip of my coffee, the old man shoots me a wink.
Mac Bane: Any progress with Dorian or the others?
Jimmy Allen: Not yet, I am working on it though. I’m just not really sure how to move forward. Everything's been so damn backwards for so long it’s really starting to piss me off.
Dad tightens his grip on my shoulder in a reassuring way, then releases it as Roger pulls up next to the ranch house.
The reasons for a last man standing match are…..well, there is no good reason for one. In the minds of those who have been betrayed or harmed by another it makes all the sense in the world. In a perfect world, it provides one side with solace if they beat someone to the point that they cannot answer the referee’s count. It provides them with closure, when they are allowed to inflict bodily harm upon another. It provides them with Justice, when the referee raises their arm in victory over the fallen antagonist. There is however another side to that coin.
The other side of that, is that for me, yes I’m the antagonist, What does it provide me with?. Anyone who’s spent any time at all with me knows that I am all about the fight. I live for it, I long for it like it’s a lover. Breaking a kendo stick over someone’s head gives me a fucking hard on. Bending a metal chair over someone’s back, it provides me with a sense of euphoria that is unmatched by anything I’ve ever known.
Yes, Dorian, we are going to fight. We’re going to fight like we did back in the day. We are going to fight like it matters. There is still much we have to prove to each other and to the CWF Universe. You feel like you have to prove yourself, just like when we were kids. You were always trying to prove you were my equal. You really should do something about the way you set your bar. You should have been trying to prove you were better.
We both know that you are a better person than I am. You’ve proven that a hundred times over. You have nothing left to prove D, except to yourself. It’s all a matter of acceptance Dorian, you must learn to accept your strengths alongside your weaknesses. Had you been able to do that fifteen years ago, you would have a matching copy of the book I possess. A book that you’ve always longed for. If you will allow it, I’ll help you Dorian.
Like in the military, martial arts doesn’t really help you get over a wall. It does allow you to get over yourself though. This book is not really a book perse, it’s a manuscript handed down to those who have earned it. You beat me at Evolution and it’s yours Dorian. The education that wasn’t provided to you, it will be yours and all you have to do is beat me. All you have to do is be better than me.