What the fuck was I thinking?
“This may sting a bit.” Dr. Leggett says as he sticks a needle, filled with anesthetics into my face.
I may act tough, however this shit really hurts. Removing the needle, Dr. Leggett places it back on his tray, now retrieving his satures.
“If I would've known we were going to be this busy, I may have asked for more help around here. I'm only one man and those assistance are taking internship to a different state of meaning.”
I sat there silently, trying my best to calm my adrenaline as he stitched my face. The match with Trent, on a constant loop in my mind. I soon reach to the back of my head, caressing the spot where one of my locks had been ripped out, thanks to the barbed wire.
“I'm going to need for you to stay still Duce if you want these stitches done correctly.”
I place my hands on my lap as he keeps sewing. What sucks worse, is that this is just the first scar he has to patch back together.
My face was starting to become riddled with them, almost starting to reveal the secret destination of some buried treasure.
Chicks dig scars right?
What about children?
My unborn had yet to be introduced to the world and already his dad looks like one of Dr. Frankenstein's experiments. But it's said that scars do heal, but I think that shit is only meant as a metaphor.
“SHIT!” I exclaimed as Dr. Leggett, with steady fingers tries to focus.
“Just be patient Duce, this may take me awhile..”
“Hurry t'fuck up then, I got shit t'do.”
“Well at this moment, the only thing you need to be doing is getting rest.. You've lost a lot of blood and being upset right now, is not helping.”
Mane.. this some fucking bullshit! I can't believe this shit!
How can we be calm? Have you not seen our fucking face!?
I understand, but we don't want to pass out, especially if we're going to help Jarvis win the World title.
Fuck all of that!
Stick to the plan..
I've got to get ahold of myself. Come on Duce, clear your mind… Don't focus on the pain, simply focus on nothing..
What the fuck?
Where am I?
I look around suspiciously, trying to piece together what's going on. It soon becomes clear as I'm standing inside of a hospital room..
With my vision getting clearer, I finally see that it's a six year old, Duce along with my mother watching over Pops as he lies unconscious on a bed. Tubes are hooked up to his nose, for oxygen and food. His heart rate seems to be at a steady pace as the younger version of me, cries at his bedside.
“I'll never forget how I ended up here..”
Looking to my left a younger version of Pops appears and stands next to me. The both of us, observing the scene.
“It was one'a tha few times we were togetha as a family..”
“No one thought I was gonna make it.. except the two of you.”
“I couldn't lose you, Pops. But what is goin’ on, how is any'a dis possible?”
“I've always told you, there were dimensions that are unknown to the eye. Let's just say.. we're at the point where space and time meet.”
“What does dat even mean?”
“Live a little longer and you'll figure it out.”
“Y'make it sound easy… But I'll neva fo'get dis day.. Y'fell almost thirty fuckin’ feet onto a Humma’! Then a muthafucka had tha audacity t'push ya off dat t'win a match!”
“Water under the bridge, the only thing that mattered to me, was the fact that you two, never left my side.”
I nod approvingly, tears starting to well up in my eyes.
“But Link and Frost showed up t'keep ya company.”
“Yeah.. but that was also around the time, when we fell out. Me and those guys had went through a rough patch during those days..”
“Aight, hol’ on.. Why is dis happenin’? I'm feelin’ some type of inspirational message bout t'jump off.”
“I held a grudge against those guys for carrying on with their careers. Never really looked in the mirror of why, we were never successful.. But you. You're different..”
“Why y'say dat?”
“Ya just is.. There's a bright future for ya boy, but you're so blinded by hatred, that you're not about to see the bigger picture.”
“Yeah?”I asked questionably.
“That night was one of the biggest nights in my career. It humbled me as person and taught me something as a man.”
“That I needed to wake up!”
“WAKE UP MUTHAFUCKA!”
And I did.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
Where the fuck am I?
“Welcome back to the land of the living.” Pops said as he stood over me.
“Thank God!” I hear Sierra say excitedly, as she stands near a window, where she was formerly staring off into the darkness of night. She soon heads over towards me.
What the fuck!?
“We thought you were going to be out for a while.”
I sit up to survey my surroundings. Really confused to what was actually transpiring. Looking to my left, Pops had taken a seat next to the hospital bed that lied in. Sierra had made it to my side as she kissed me on my lips. Freddie was off in a corner, thumbing through his phone, meanwhile Jarvis and Elizabeth were also huddled in another corner, in mid conversation, when the realization of my awakening had suddenly took place.
“T'fuck happened?” I questioned as a splitting headache began to take over my skull. “Fuuuuccckkk…”
As I grab for my head, is when I realize that it's completely covered in bandages. I soon succumb to a slight panic.
“T’fuck is goin’ on? Why am I laid up in a hospital?”
“Loki knocked you the fuck out..” Freddie stated nonchalantly, his face moving back to his phone as he continues to mash buttons. Possibly texting the mother of his child.
“Yeah man, you came out balls to the wall and she caught you, right between the eyes.” Jarvis added.
Things really weren't clicking. Only bits and pieces of memory recollection. However, I glance over at Jarvis and notice that our job wasn't accomplished. Especially since everyone was hovering over me, instead of out celebrating a championship victory. I mean if he had won and they were out celebrating, I would've understood.
“So y'didn't get t'belt?”
“Unfortunately not.. The Shadow has it…” Jarvis coldly stated.
“You gotta be bullshittin’ me…” I say in a state of disbelief.
“Nope.. He's not.” Freddie chimed in.
With a shocked expression on her face, Sierra interrupts.
“You were almost placed in a coma and all you're worried about is if he…” Points towards Jarvis. “..won a stupid fucking belt!? I can't right now..”
With that, she's out the door.. Elizabeth soon following behind her, I'm imagining to comfort her.
“I'm sorry?” I say with a low tone.
“It's good to see you're alright, however I need to go catch a flight back home.. I'll try to get back out and visit you, but you know how things go in our line of work. Just know, because the company might not give two fucks about us, we need to stick together.” Freddie stated as he headed for the door. Jarvis soon following behind him as well as he adds a few words.
“Duce.... I'm telling you from experience, don't let this injury get you down. You'll be back in the ring soon enough and the world will belong to us.”
With that, they both leaving Pops and me alone inside of the room.
“Have that picture cleared up any?”
I questionably look over at him as he smirks and gives me a confident nod. How did he? That shit isn't possible, but how did he?
I could feel the stress overwhelmingly taking over my body as I simply calm down and try to get some rest.
My handheld camera springs to life as I'm shown standing outside of the Progression Fitness Club - Glasshouse. Perspiration drips from my face as it's apparent that I've just got finished working out. I soon begin to make way towards my rental car.
“A whole fuckin’year.. I mean, how much does a point need t’be stretched?”
I pause for a minute to take in the scenery of Melbourne. Soon taking my camera and panning around so that the audience can take in the beautiful sight.
“Shit's crazy, right? First off, lemme give credit t’tha CWF fo’ helpin’ me achieve one'a my dreams t’travel dis beautiful Earth. But y'see at Confliction, right here in Melbourne.. four men step inside of tha squared circle fo’ one'a tha richest prizes in professional wrestlin’ …”
Finally making it to my car, I unlock the driver's side door before entering, soon starting it up. Taking the camera, I set it up on a stand, connected to the dash. Grabbing a pre-rolled blunt from the ashtray, I spark it up, put the car in reverse, then drive as I'm on my way.
“Y’see… dis comin’ Tuesday at Confliction… I reclaim what's rightfully mines… and y'all should kno’ what dat is by now… Y'see, it's been a long… long road t’get back t'dis point… but I'm here and dis time.. I refuse t’walk away wit'out my World Title.
Howeva there's a few roadblocks in my path.. Dan Ryan. Ataxia. Tha Shadow. Anyone'a dem could easily walk out champ.. Hell two'a dem, I'm very familiar wit, but then there's tha wildcard. Accolades and accomplishments out tha ass, when these three are concerned. But tha reality of tha matta’ is dat, none'a dat means shit t'me..”
I inhale the marijuana, holding the smoke inside of my lungs for a few seconds before exhaling.
“Someone's been tryna ‘advise me’ t'quit dis..”
I take another drag and exhale.
“I'm glad tha windows tinted, cuz I'm pretty sho tha authorities wouldn't approve. Hmph.. But back t'tha topic at hand… Thangs didn't work out tha way I wanted it too, I mean I would personally like t'kick y'ass one on one, Shad. But it seems Stewart had otha’ plans. I guess he sees dollar signs or maybe he's tryna give those stupid ass fans a good show. Eitha way, dis very much spells trouble fo’ ya. And not because there are two otha’ muthafuckas inside of tha rang wit us. Naw… see cuz they don't matta’, hell you don't fuckin’ matta. Tha only thang dat's gonna matta’, is me walkin’ out’a tha Rod Laver Arena, yo’ NEW CWF WORLD CHAMPION!”
With a confident smug, I weave in and out of traffic, trying to make it to my destination.
“But since I gotta go thru tha three'a ya t'get what rightfully belongs t'me.. I figure tha folks at home wanna kno’ my thoughts and feelings on tha matta’..
Howeva.. when I try t'wrap my mind ‘round who my opponents are.. I draw a blank… Don't get me wrong, at my age, the excitement and adrenaline should be flutterin’ through my body, but it's not. Cuz y'see, on paper, all I see are relics. Wrestlers who are past their prime, whereas me.. I'm just beginnin’ to breakout. I mean where could I possibly start?
How ‘bout wit you Shad? Tha CWF World Champion.. Tha man who shocked tha system, hell let alone tha world when he became World Champ. But it's because of tha auspicious ways dat y’came into possession of dat belt, dat has ya mind wonderin’ on a daily. Y'might not admit it, but deep down.. there's a part of ya dat feels y’shouldn't carry dat strap.. a foolish sentiment if ya ask me. Deep within tha fiber of yo’ being, you questioned whether ya title reign will be solidified. I'm here to tell ya, it's not.. Y'see I may be young, but I kno’ without a 'shadow’ of a doubt, dat yo’ pride and honor are gonna be tha very reasons y’leave Melbourne empty handed.
Truth be told, I could've entered Modern Warfare and easily put ya outta y'misery. But everyone needs a little faith right? Everyone needs dat small glimmer of hope dat all is right wit their world before it abruptly comes to an end. It's only fair right? Last year, I proved dat no one put in my path, shouldn't have even been considered as competition. Dat I was truly tha best t’step inside of dat ring and how was I repaid?”
A slight giggle escapes me body as I take another drag.
“Wit a muthafucka hittin’ me in tha nuts… R.I.P Jace.. but y'kno’ tha thang dat bothers me most about you Shad.. It's tha fact dat you're so oblivious t’anything outside your circle. You remain inside of dis bubble, only keepin’ up wit tha thangs dat revolve around you.. So much to tha point dat y’ask questions, dat already have been answered. You try to drive home tha point of Tha Forsaken, bein’ four individuals who stood side by side. But yet, somehow and someway, Freddie and me were blindly followin’ behind Jarvis? Dat's tha biggest load of bullshit, I've ever heard in my life..”
I can't help but laugh at the thought.
“I mean are ya fuckin’ serious? It's laughable t’thank dat, you thought Freddie and me were shells of our former selves. But we prove dat t'be a lie, didn't we? It might seem like we are at tha bottom, but dat's only cuz of tha fact dat we get fucked out'a every opportunity. I know you're wondering how, but I'll elaborate fo’ ya. Sure we had tha tag titles, but thanks to Trent Steel those belts have bounced from waist to waist with no signs of stability. Let's not forget tha WCWA Tag titles, we defended them once and soon afta’ tha whole shindig shuts down. Then y’talk ‘bout tha Impact title.. a title dat's honestly lost all meanin’ and credibility because of tha way it's jumped laps in your group and I'm pretty sho Freddie would've been Impact champ at dis point, if it wasn't fo’ Zach actin’ like a bitch and havin’ his girl fight his battle.
Then y’say dat we followed Jarvis into nothin’ and dat we crashed head first into tha proverbial glass ceiling. But dat's far from the truth, huh Shad? Y'see cause no matta’ how down and out y’may thank we are, we rise from tha ashes and prove to everyone, dat we're still here. Dat we're still a force t'be fuckin’ reckoned wit.. But what about Tha Forsaken, how glue tight are you guys? I mean Shad, how's the family doin’? Dorian? Zach? Taxi? Mia? Now here's a group who's a shell of their former selves.. Am I right?”
I laugh some more, making a right turn. Exhaling smoke through my nose, mimicking a dragon.
“First there was ya girl, I mean it's funny t’me, you claimed that Loki, Mia, Cheshire or whateva’ tha fuck she wants t’be called was being controlled by Milenko. It's like outside of your inner circle, no one has tha brains t’work collectively wit anyone else.. Like were all mindless zombies or some shit.. But your group saw through dat facade dat y’had up, didn't they? Startin’ wit Mia, but then again I guess she needed my help to jump start her psychosis. Then there was Taxi… mane can you imagine tha smile on my face as I watched everythang fall apart. Tha dumb ass look on yo’ face when it became clear dat tha fight wasn't gonna be fair.. Tha fact dat someone you considered family had easily turned their back on you.”
I take another pull.
“Tha Glass Ceiling were brought together fo’ tha sole purpose of destroyin’ everythang dat was wrong wit CWF.. T’bring it back t’tha high standards it once held befo’ tha four of ya sunk yo’ teeth into her and began t’drain tha life from it's veins… I proclaimed t’tha world, dat I was out to brang an end t’Tha Forsaken. And slowly but surely dat was exactly done. Don't believe me? Well let's recap, shall we?
First off, let's start with tha easiest of yo’ group t’break… Dorian Hawkhurst.. with him being a drunk, it was easy t’break his self confidence.. Ya wanna kno’ how? Because every time he stood across tha rang from me, tha results were mo' than likely, always tha same. So much t’tha point where, whether he wants to admit it or not, he questioned himself.. Slowly spirallin’ down as loss after loss piled up under his belt.. Soon slowly fadin’ away from existence..
Then there was Mia, tha quote-unquote sweetheart of dis company. Tha woman who was so far gone within her own mind, that all it took was a meetin’ between her face and a steel chair t’help brang thangs into perspective. So much so dat now she's a lunatic on the loose, but I'll let MJ worry about dat for now. I mean you can call it meticulous or calculating or whateva fancy word you wanna throw in tha equation. Tha fact of tha matta’ is dat, we said we was gonna do something and we did dat shit.. It might seem as Tha Glass Ceiling has cracked, but it's stronger now mo’ than it's ever been. So Shad, rest ya little mind worrying about thangs you can't control and maybe get a better grip on tha thangs dat you do, cuz when it's said and done, I guarantee you.. You're not walkin’ out wit tha belt.”
I soon pull up to my hotel, putting the blunt roach out in the ashtray, putting the car in park, I turn the it off, getting out, grabbing my bags and camera as I head for the front door.
“Don't worry.. I'm gonna get t’Tax as soon as I'm done freshenin’ up and get a few more blunts in me. I'll be right back.”
With that I turn the camera off as the scene cuts to black.
Three hours later…
Turning the camera back on, I stand inside of my hotel bathroom, staring into the mirror. The smoke that billows around my reflection, makes it clear that I've just got done smoking a few good spliffs. Looking at my reflection, I use my hands to trace the freshly healed scars that now cover my face. My fingers flow across the scars as if they were traveling down rivers as I simply stare..
“Even when ya lose.. ya win… ain't dat right Tax? I'm really tryna recall if dat was tha lingo dat you was spittin’ back in tha day right?”
Resting on the sink are two protective mask. Holding them up to the mirror, you can notice that one is designed for everyday use.. whereas the other is custom designed gray with a hint of crimson streaks. Setting it back down, I place the plain one over my face.
“I can hear tha muthafucka laughin’ right now.. Y'all can hear it too huh?”
I point towards the mirror before shaking my head with a slight chuckle.
“Funny thang is… joke's on you… It's crazy dat it took Shad dis fuckin’ long t'see shit was fallin’ apart.. Right under his nose at dat… You guys was so high and mighty at one point, tryna conquer evil at every turn.. When tha evil was right there festerin’ on y'all sorry assess. Like I stated earlier, afta’ Freddie and me got dem bands t'fuck Mia up and send her on her psychotic episode.. Tha bagged faced freak all'a sudden grew a heart…”
“Became a fuckin’ human bein’ wit compassion… missin’ tha love'a his life.. all on tha account of Tha Aces… Hehehe… Then tha bagman began t'unravel like neva’ befo’... Even went as far as t'have me believe ya was gonna do somethin’ t'my baby momma… But why didn't you? Is it cuz y'kno’ deep down in dat bagged brain'a yours, I was gonna fuck ya up worse than what I've done in tha past? But like tha coward you are, you ran.. hid yo’ face from tha public.. Givin’ up on everythang dat you fought so hard fo’... Tha very fuckin’ company dat ya so call LOVE! Fuck outta here…
Let's be real ‘bout dis shit, Danny B might've buried yo’ ass alive.. But Duce Jones had already murdered you inside… Or maybe it's not tha Tax-Man dat we're used too.. Naw.. maybe it's Trent himself, tryna pull double duty and put on a front like Taxi's back.. knowin’ damn well he was too much of a bitch ass muthafucka t'eva thank bout slappin’ dat burlap sack back ova’ his head.. Eitha’ way is cool wit me, cuz y'may thank y'all broke me.. But tha one thang y'all fail t'realize.. I didn't get in dis business t'look pretty! We stitch dat shit up and keep dat shit movin’ and dat's exactly what tha fuck I'm gonna do!”
I step back to get a good look at myself, fairly proud at what I see in the reflection.
“At tha end of tha day… you can do ya ramblin’ bout how you're gonna split me in half, eat my brains like a zombie and all kinds of otha’ sick twisted shit, dat you can thank of in dat broken psyche you have… It's a no disqualifications match, we can do all kinda freaky shit.. Maybe we can work tha whole human centipede deal out.. Don't worry, I don't mind joining in.. but afta’ we’re done wit tha light affair.. maybe we can turn thangs up a notch.. maybe we can jab knives into each other and just twist until one'a us gets a hard on.. I don't kno’ mane, I'm just tryna make shit special fo’ ya.. and we're just warmin’ up fo’ tha grand finale, when dat bell rangs and you’re left stuck… wondering how did Duce just dropped nine inches of dick in yo’ ass!”
A twisted laughter escapes my body..
“Don't feel bad.. I'm gonna kiss ya on tha cheek first.. Now dat I have dat out tha way, I shall return.. I have to go drop a deuce!”
I wink at the camera before shutting it off.
Not being able to compete is one of the worst feelings in the world. Especially when it could've easily been avoided. But that's water under the bridge as I sit ringside and watch Ataxia and Dan Ryan viciously go at it, the blood from Ryan's cheek begins to stain the mat, thanks to a bite mark from Ataxia.
“C'mon ref! You can't let him bite the man!” Pops screamed out, thoroughly enjoying the show.
“Dat's Taxi fo’ ya…”
Along with our family, we watch on as Ataxia sits on the canvas, cackling after his dirty deed, which brings admiration from the fans in Oakland.
“Daddy.. why are they cheering?” My younger sister, Sunnie questioned in disbelief.
“It's a long story babygirl..” Pops replied.
Dan tries to recover, getting to his hands and knees but is sent sprawling to the mat with a running knee from Ataxia! Ataxia stomps down onto Ryan's face as he quickly rolls out of the ring, before wiping the blood from his face and staring down at it in disgust. He eyes Ataxia who is having a field day inside of the ring laughing.
“Can we go home? I don't wanna watch this anymore..” My baby sister, November cried out in horror.
“It's okay, Novie..” I respond, trying to comfort her.
Dan paces at ringside, near us as I rise from my seat.
“Ya might wanna go let Doc check dat shit out afta’ tha match!” I scream towards Ryan as a brief staredown takes place between the two of us.
Trying to stay focused on the match, Ryan quickly clobbers Ataxia with a running clothesline as he exits the ring.
“What was that about?” Pops questioned.
Taking my seat, I reply. “Just tryna give em a head's up. Your never know what to expect fucking wit Taxi..”
“Well how about you just enjoy the show for tonight, because I would hate to have a misunderstanding at this show.”
“You ain't gotta worry bout shit Pops, tha old fuck don't want none'a dis..”
“I hear ya boy..”
“Fuck all'a dat, let's just enjoy tha rest’a dis match, plus I'm really curious t’what Byson has planned.”
With a nod, Pops and me continue to watch the brutal encounter between two men, who have gold firmly in their sights.
The camera shoots back to life with an intense close up of my face..
The sound of feces connecting with water can be heard and even to a blind man, it's clear what's going down..
“D-Ry! Can I call ya….”
“My bad… but fuck it.. I'm calling you D-Ry.. But he's tha man, tha myth…. tha legggggeeeennddd..”
“My stomach ain't been right since I ate dat shit they call barbeque… But back to Mr. I-290, seriously bruh… y'kno’ you share a name wit a busy expressway in Chicago? Mane I can't count how many times I almost died on dat freeway.. Dat's besides tha point, my point is why tha fuck haven't I heard of you? Seriously mane, accordin’ t’ya credentials.. Ya sorta a big fuckin’ deal.. having won World title afta’ World muthafuckin’ title! Tha shit's quite impressive.. ya resume and all..
Ego Buster…? Ego Buster...? I stayed in Japan for a few years, I might've heard it somewhere but it never really stuck out.. Bruh you're like dat generic super villian who we're all 'sposed t'be afraid of.. But fo' some reason we're not.. dat's tha vibe I'm gettin’ off ya, like I kno’ you don't take….”
“Ya catch my drift.. But I'm sorry if I'm not afraid of tha glorified indy legend.. especially when he's a year younga than my Pops.. And then dat feeble attempt at an insult really left me flattered.. Ya really did.. brought butterflies to my stomach and everythang.. said I named myself afta’ a turd.. Hahaha! Dat shit is fuckin’ hilarious cuz see you don't kno’. But I'm bout t'school ya real quick.. tha name's Allen 'Duce’ Jones II, my father bein’ tha first which makes me second. Which in turn created tha nickname, Duce.. instead of some dumb shit like Junior..
Y'kno’ befo’ thangs broke down into dis lil four-way. I had a guaranteed contract fo’ a shot at tha CWF World Championship.. But I'll be honest, my ego got in tha way and I jumped tha gun a bit. I didn't thank Jon would pull dat shit but it's cool, cuz it gives me tha opportunity to prove t'every last muthafucka in tha locker room why dat belt belongs t'me and only me. They ain't got tha juice dat Duce got and dat's a fact!
Oh yeah D-Ry… how's dat fo’ a dumb ass quote? By that way… Thanks fo’ comparin’ me to a turd.. I've been tryna tell these folks since I got here, dat I was tha shit.... Toilet paper….”
I hold up a roll of toilet paper in front of the camera, a shit eating grin plastered on my face, the diamonds encrusted in my platinum teeth, shining off of the light.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Damn Duce… you giving birth in there?” Byson screamed from the other side of the door.
“Damn bruh, can I shit in peace?”
BANG! BANG! BANG!
I look back into the camera.
“Mane it's as simple as dis, I'm walkin’ outta Melbourne this Tuesday night with dat World title slung ova my shoulder… even if it takes my last breath….”