It’s all about the ritual, isn’t it?
When I was a kid, maybe 14 or 15, my good-for-nothing father did something not so good-for-nothing and got me and Ian a dog. We had a dog when I was younger - before my mother got sick - and I was attached to that dog from the day he came home till he ran away, so getting a second dog was a nice reminder of a happier time.
Of course, the dogs had their differences; the first dog, Cheech, was a beautiful chocolate lab. He was right out of a fucking Norman Rockwell painting; he would bring you the paper, your slippers, the whole nine yards. He slept at the foot of my bed. He was a good, good boy.
Maron, on the other hand, was a mutt - some kind of rottweiler mix - and a bit of a bastard. Naturally, he and my father got along great...of course, that’s mostly because they didn’t interact. That, after all, was the secret to having a good relationship with my dearly departed dad - don’t have one at all.
Anyhow, Maron, as opposed to Cheech, wasn’t allowed in the house. He’d spend most of his time tied up in the yard, barking at whatever strolled by, be it a squirrel or a neighbourhood kid. He always wrenched his own neck at the leash, trying with whatever might he could muster to try to break away from his tether, straining at the apex of his run, his muscles flexed and bulging in their battle of the unrelenting force against the immovable object.
He managed to break free a few times, Maron. When he would, the story was always the same. First, he’d look around for a few minutes, shocked and dumbfounded at the fact that there was no longer anything to strain against. He wasn’t the smartest mutt; he’d spend a solid few minutes looking at the leash, trying to put it together why he could see the leash, why there was no longer any pressure on his neck. Once he’d do the arithmetic, he’d run around the yard, doing laps from the old maple to his dog house and back again. He’d eventually get tired, grab a stick, and then wait to be chained up again.
It got so predictable that we honestly stopped trying to stop him; it wasn’t until the last time, when he rushed into traffic, that his pattern changed. See, for Maron, it wasn’t about running anywhere in particular. It was all about the struggle for him. For him, it was all about the chase. It was all about the ritual, no matter how many times it happened.
It’s all about the ritual.
It’s hard to consider, to be honest. I was a kid, barely wet behind the ears, but damn was I convinced. Hard to think that it was almost a decade ago, nine years this month. January 26th, 2010. Genesis. How right that was, huh?
Nine fucking years.
Hard to believe, sure, but not completely unexpected. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was a precocious little fuck back then - the Jarvis King of those days couldn’t possibly lace my boots today - but that precociousness was not because I was underprepared. See, a half-prepared Jarvis King is still better than a prepared almost-anyone-else, but on that night...I was ready.
Goddamn nine fucking years.
I was nineteen years old, standing across the ring from a grown goddamn man. It wasn’t the first time, of course, but there I was, across the ring from a man who had never lost in similar circumstances, in the fucking main event of a pay per view for the first time. Wouldn’t be the last time.
Genesis. It was the beginning of a lot of things for Jarvis King. It was the beginning of my career proper. It was the first night of the rest of my life, as it were. It was the beginning of my pathway to the hall of fame. It was the beginning of a hunger, a desire, a thirst for more. It was the beginning of the road to this year’s Frozen Over, in a lot of ways.
It was a night of history.
See, Genesis, January 26, 2010, was the night that I stood across the ring from Alex Cain. The man was a three time CWF champion at the time, and had never lost that title. I stood across from him and over the course of an hour long Iron Man match, I etched my name into the annals of history.
Nine years, man. I was just a kid. But that kid was the fucking man. I won the CWF title that night. And I was awakened that night. See, what I thought was that I was going for the CWF title, and that would be enough. I thought that victory would be enough.
It was, of course, another in an increasing list of accolades for yours truly. I had already put the Paramount championship on the fucking map. I had already made the title something worthwhile, something desirable, a prize that people desired, an achievement that people wanted to grasp. I had started a list of names that some people wanted to add theirs to, in order to share a small piece of my reflected glory.
Come to think of it, that’s pretty much all that Shadow’s done with his - ahem - “reign”, but I digress.
See, the World Title wasn’t the destination that I thought it was. It was little more than a port of call on another, larger journey. It was a journey that took me to the most successful defences of that title in history. It took me to countless main events. It took me to sold out arenas, to riches, to acclaim, to the only successful run through Modern Warfare of a defending CWF Champion. The CWF title wasn’t an end point; it was the beginning of the greatest CWF career in history.
What’s it been for you, Mia? A shiny bauble?
See, like when my dog would get free, winning the CWF title wasn’t really about winning a championship...it was about the chase. It was about the drive it took. It was about the process of becoming the CWF champion.
The act was the thing itself, you see.
Shit, you know what I just realized? Cheech didn’t run away, did he? He died.
Fuck my dad was an asshole.