Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 7/3
The greatest advantage for the Lost Boys in having the Championship Wrestling Federation touring around their Great Southern Home is proximity, in other words not needing to travel as far, or as much, upon foreign roads between events and having more disposable time for themselves and their families.
As the saying goes, there’s no place like home.
A saying that the Battler of the Lost Boys, Dean Coulter, harbours serious doubts towards as coming home from self-exile, after the shameful days within the ranks of the evil cult, Ouroboros, has come with some serious baggage. Dean awakens with a start after a very vividly disturbing, and recurring nightmare. He is reliving the days as Judas, serving the whims of Elisha to bring tyranny to the world. Such an experience leaves its mark on any decent person and Dean, who usually fashions himself as an honourable figure of integrity and rectitude is unable to close his eyes without seeing the evil grin of the Moonchild. As much as he hates to admit it, Nina of V.E.N.O.M is right, things are not right for Dean. He stumbles off the sofa in the living room of the apartment which he shares with his partner, Jessica Matthews. He spends more nights than not on the sofa to save Jess from his restlessness. Still hindered by the fog of little sleep he staggers to the kitchen. It hasn’t been easy since he returned home; he wasn’t exactly welcomed back with open arms by his partner who was caught in a wonderful maelstrom of hurt, anger, confusion and concern. Jessica isn’t the only one unsure on how to reconcile with the current situation.
He grabs himself some chilled water and sits back down on his temporary bed, unsure yet again if returning to the CWF is such a good idea.
Does he still have it in him?
Can he ever hope to make up for what he did?
And will he ever be free of the guilt that still haunts him to this day?
These are just some of the questions that he asks himself countless times each and every day, questions he does not yet know the answers to. What he does know however is that Sam Braxton will never, ever, let him give-up without a fight, and if need be Sam will be willing to take up that fight himself. The sincere support from his erstwhile friend is currently the only thing that is keeping Dean going, and that in of itself is reason enough to at least make the attempt.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 9/3
“Why’d those bloody Drongos in charge think Melbourne is the place to hold a pay-per-view? They’re dreamin! It’s Bloody Melbourne!”
According to the Complete Sam Braxton Audiobook of Australia (in other words, his very outspoken opinion) the capital city of Victoria is nothing more than a veritable sea of scented lattes in fancy cups and ‘creative’ types wearing berets and cravats who unjustifiably think they are better than everybody else.
“I mean these Bloody Galahs wouldn’t know a proper sport if it came up and kicked ‘em in the meat and two vege. Bunch of Pussies, the lot of ‘em.” He loudly and proudly continues, ignorant of the unappreciative looks he draws as the two Lost Boys pick their way through the Melbourne streets.
“Sam, mate. We’re the home-town heroes for a change, but I doubt that’s gonna drum up much support for our efforts.”
Sam just waves off Dean’s concerns.
“Perhaps be grateful that, come Confliction, we’ll once again be crowned the rightful CWF tag-team champions in our home country. I know it ain’t within cooe of Brisbane, but at least its Aus yeah? We’ll probably not get another chance like this for a while.”
“Yeah, nah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy it’s here. It may be Melbourne, but at least it ain’t many of the other shithouses we had to compete in before. It’s just…well its bloody Melbourne!”
“Regardless, don’t think it’s gonna be easy.”
“Why not? I thought we’d be as flat out as lizard drinking comin’ back, but to date it’s been a piece of piss.”
“We’ve been lucky.”
“Lucky? You fair dinkum?”
Dean counters with a stern look as the brothers-in-arms come to stop in front of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the location of Confliction. The circular, open-aired stadium location of the Confliction PPV is already surrounded by road agent and staff crews setting up for the hotly anticipated event.
“Yes Sam, lucky. The odds were stacked against us in that Triple Threat and don’t be kidding yourself with our match against V.E.N.O.M. We’re out of practice, and in case you don’t remember, by the end, we weren’t exactly on the best of terms ourselves. I can feel that doubt between us. We’re out of touch.”
“Geez mate, why you gotta be such a downer.”
“Cause I just can’t get over it, like you can. This shit still weighs on my mind. The shit I could’ve done and the pain I could’ve caused to you and so many others. All because I was weak.”
“See this is the problem with you not drinkin’. You think too much.”
“Well I am thinking for the both of us…Sometimes I reckon you got it lucky.”
Sam stops, pauses, and gives Dean an overtly incredulous look.
“Fuck me…” He sighs. “Dean mate, all that bloody nonsense is in the past, so don’t you come the raw prawn with me. Your family was at stake, so I won’t blame you”
“I know it’s hard to believe Sam, but it ain’t just you I’m worried about. I can see it on their faces, the feel of their lingering eyes as we pass them, the whispers under their breath. The tag titles are only the beginning. Win or lose, I’ve got a lot of work to do.”
“WE’VE got a lot of work to do you mean. In sickness or in health, til death do us part, we’re in this together. But don’t you go for a second thinkin’ you need to be more like me. One of me is enough, and I know that. Without you, we’d be abso-bloody-lutely screwed. I’m just the bad-boy. Oh and the good lookin’ one in the band.”
Dean raises an eyebrow as he turns back to regard his friend before replying.
“Did you just compare us to a married couple?”
“Struth! THAT’S what you’re takin’ from that?”
Sam throws his arms into the air in exasperation. As a rule he generally isn’t the insightful or sensitive one and Dean is clearly enjoying his attempts.
The duo continue on their walk through the Europe of Australia, hoping to reconnect and prepare themselves for what should be a gruelling contest against the Samoan Ghost Connection. Eventually the two settle down for an early dinner. Naturally Sam chooses a pub, the London Tavern Hotel to be exact and is swift to have a pint glass in hand filled with his favourite amber liquid. The Sam Braxton Audiobook is also quite clear on this tradition. A steak meal HAS to be accompanied by a proper Australian Beer, in this case, a Hahn Superdry.
“So these blokes we’re facin’…” Sam chimes in mid-bite.
“Kendo and Crimson Ghost?” Dean answers, conducting himself with more civility and etiquette than the Larrikin of the Lost Boys.
“Are they like a different breed of Sheep-Shaggers?”
Dean almost chokes on his food.
“Jesus Sam, no! They may be Islanders but they are Samoan, not Kiwis. And for god’s sake do not underestimate them. The stakes are way too high for that.”
“Alright, alright, I was just askin’. Struth. But come on mate, you know I’m all business in the ring, it’s the fights I’m always keen for. You’re more the talkin’ and strategisin’ type.”
“So let me do my job…Both our competitors are born and bred fighters, it’s in their blood, as much as it is a skill they have cultivated and fashioned through the years. Individually they would each be a significant challenge, but we have to face them both. The only advantage we may have, and I can’t stress how slight it is, is our significant time and experience together as a team. Few teams have been through what we have together, that is our strength and our greatest weapon.”
Dean says this knowing full well the very foundations of the Lost Boys has been shaken since the days of Ouroboros.
“We may have beaten them once before, but that was under different circumstances. No, come Confliction, its gonna come down to who wants it more, who is willing to fight harder for the prize.”
There is no question in either mind of the Lost Boys who would want it more out of the four individuals. Sam Braxton hates to lose.
“No problem there, I’ll fight pretty bloody hard to get those title belts back around me waist. It’s where it belongs. Those belts are about as useful on anybody else as tits on a bull. We were the greatest bloody thing to happen to the CWF tag division. Those belts were bog standard before we came along. We may be fightin’ for a different cause now, but trust me mate. There ain’t no other team to can hold a candle to the likes of the Lost Boys. She’ll be Apples, mate, deadest. We’re a shoe-in.”
“Sam. You do you.”
The dear friends clink their respective glasses together. Sam with his beer and Dean with his lemonade. Sure it’s going to be a difficult task trying to undo his past mistakes, but with Sam Braxton by his side, Dean is more than happy to climb that mountain.
Reaching that peak once more will be all the sweeter.
Ain’t within Cooe: Nowhere near/Not even close
Battler: hard-working Australian, usually Middle-Class
Blokes: Gendered term for males
Bloody: Used for emphasis
Come the raw prawn: Don’t mess with me.
Deadset: For real/True/Genuine
Fair Dinkum: Exclamation/Question of veracity
Flat out as a Lizard Drinking: Really busy.
Larrikin: Prankster, practical joker, mucks around
Mate: Generic identifier or friend
Meat and two vege: Male genitalia
Sheep-Shaggers/Kiwis: Term used for those from New-Zealand
Shithouse: Toilet or something of poor quality
Struth: Exclamation of surprise and disbelief
They’re dreaming: Phrase coined from Australian film ‘The Castle’ means fat chance/yeah right.