August 24, 2018
Buffalo, New York
To be fair, majority of my life has been one big blur. There have been instances where I've did fairly heinous acts, but don't have any memory of actually doing it. At times being diagnosed with D.I.D is the biggest curse to my existence.
I'm a good person, at least that's what I tell myself day in and day out. But I'm not incapable of doing fucked up shit, I gotta remind myself of that everyday as well.
I guess that's why I find myself standing inside of this elevator. One thing that should be known about Duce is that I'm a very contradicting individual. It can be frustrating at times, but hey it's my life.
The doors to the elevator slide apart, I step out into the lobby area of the floor I'm on. Nurses are scurrying about everywhere as I step off, heading for the receptionist desk. I approach cautiously, not knowing if I was doing the right thing.
“Umm.. Can one of y'all tell me what room Mia Rayne is in?” I questioned nervously.
A young black woman in her mid twenties, looks up responding. “Just go to the one that has the creepy people around it.”
I leave the desk, searching the halls until I came across the room. Dorian and The Shadow stood guard, both with restless eyes. I’d be a damn fool if I dared approached the room, but a part of me had to see her. It's also probably a good thing I came incognito. At least a hoodie and ball cap was my idea of being incognito. I keep my distance, staying out of sight. Didn't feel like drawing bad publicity to the CWF.
The second turned to minutes, which became hours of me sitting and waiting. But the two men held their post. Fuck, these guys should be working for the queen. I would not be telling you the truth if I said the anticipation wasn't killing me. It was though, a piss break or something would be nice. But it never came..
I decided to take a walk through the hospital to give it some more time. Plus I figured it would be kinda weird if a black guy with a hoodie and hat on, stalking around on the floor like that. Taking solace in a nearby visitors waiting room. I watch the MSNBC report on what's happening in the political word. Not really my cup of tea, so I pull out my phone, unlocking it, finding anything to try to deter my mind from the propaganda. The cell phone didn't help. So I sat there, quietly, patiently, seriously how long could they sit there.
The seconds become minutes, whereas the minutes became hours.
I found myself wiping drool from my mouth, didn't know those cushioned chairs could be so comfortable. I guess it's time to try again. Upon exiting the waiting room, I head back towards her room. Nearing a corner, I peek my head around the corner to make sure the coast is clear.
Which to my surprise it was! I slowly made my way towards the door of the room. My head on the constant swivel, making sure no one catches me off guard. My heart skips a beat, a sudden wave of heat taking over my body as I grabbed the door handle, pushing the door open slowly.
The room is silent, except for the monitor that keeps beeping, with each breath she takes. My steps feel like I'm dressing cinder blocks that are chained to my ankles. She lies there, eyes closed, unconscious, sleeping peacefully.
I always heard rumors that, even in a coma.. That they could still hear your words.
“Y'know, sometimes us as people tend t'do thangs, dat in tha long run, we really can't take back. Just t'say we livin’ in tha moment. Not thinkin’ bout what the end game could possibly play out t’be.”
A migraine suddenly drops me to my knees. The pain excruciating, I knew what was happening. Fighting the battle within my head. Eventually he takes back over.
“Sucks t’be ya..”
With a slight chuckle, I throw the hood back over my head, making my exit as swiftly as my entrance. Heading towards the elevator. Pressing the down button, waiting for its arrival.
We all have demons we face everyday. Some of us win the battle, some of us don't. As the doors open on the dinging elevator, I step inside pressing the button for the lobby. And it's safe to say that..
Duce has lost this one..
A different swagger, a different dialect, a different person.
But we've all heard this story before.
Until we meet again.
May 4, 2019
Key West, Florida
There was a point and time when I was really going through some shit. I doubt anyone noticed.. It had got to the point when I couldn't look at my reflection in the mirror. It wasn't because I was ashamed or anything like that… It was just that the person staring back at me.
Somewhere along the journey, I lost track of who I was.. It happens to the best of us though.. One day everything is all peaches and cream, the next… you're somewhere staring off into space tryna figure out what the fuck just happened..
But hey! That's life right? Majority of the time, shit is very unpredictable. At least that's how we look at it.. Always trying to prepare ourselves for the next disaster instead of plotting something with substance.
Human nature I guess.. Literally, we are the only species who thinks we knows what's best for all other forms of life.. it's quite laughable.. But with anything else, everyone's entitled to their own opinions.
I had been in Key West for a few days.. even witnessed a person almost commit suicide.. I guess life just throws random shit at ya from time to time. But I'm starting to get to the age where if something makes sense, then it's more than likely a set up.
However I stood the top of the Key West Lighthouse, peering out at the ocean. It was a beautiful sight.. the waves of the water crashing against the rock formation. It was a necessary calmness that I needed to counteract the insanity that currently occupied my life.
I was finally two time CWF World Heavyweight Champion, Sierra had twins on the way, I had took some extra bookings to make ends meet… my right knee was becoming more of burden then my go to offense, a big title defense against the man who handed me the World title and to top things off, this Tuesday night I was scheduled to face for the first time one on one, Mia Rayne…
Talk about fun times..
Being so far up off of the ground was something I was beginning to become used too. Reaching new heights, if you will.. I was surrounding by many tourists who were enjoying the sights just like me, finally taking out my personal handheld camera, I begin to film the ocean and everything that surrounds it. Marine life, boats, seagulls, the pedestrians.. I soon turn the camera to myself..
“This is tha type'a shit dat makes life worth livin’... It's shit like dis dat make ya realize.. nothin’ else really matta’..”
I begin to descend down the long circular steps, not too long, coming to the exit that leads to the parking lot. Heading for my rental car, I press the unlock button before getting inside. I set the camera up on the dashboard and grab a half smoked blunt from the ashtray, putting it between my lips and setting it ablaze.
“Tuesday night is a big night fo’ me… the title's not even on tha line an’ dis feels like my toughest test ta date.. Mia Rayne…”
I take a drag from the blunt, trying to keep my focus on the road.
“Tha both'a us been in CWF fo’ almost two years an’ dis is tha first time we face one on one… Givin’ tha history between us, you'd figure we'd been settle tha score. Y'kno’ wit me smashin’ ya head through a chair an’ puttin’ ya in a coma an’ all...”
“I was in a bad headspace then.. We had a bunch'a outsida's tryna barge in an’ take over some shit. Then there was Milenko, offerin’ Freddie and me, all dat fuckin’ money.. I said fuck it.. Go hard or go home..”
A small cough mixed with a chuckle escapes my body. My eyes probably looking as if they are about to pop out of my head.
“Then there was tha whole Loki Synn situation dat happened an’ I feel ya got a bit'a redemption, when ya split my shit.. even put me on a shelf fo’ a good month.. had me walkin’ round, wearin’ a protective face mask an’ all dat good shit.”
I rub my left hand across my face, tracing the scars left from previous encounters.
“Truth be told… I am remorseful bout what happened… but it happened.. so how do we move forward…? I'll tell ya how.. we go out there dis Tuesday night an’ beat tha shit outta each otha’! We give those fans exactly what tha fuck they paid their hard earned money fo’.. I kno’ deep down, ya probably still hold some ill will towards me an’ I don't blame ya.
But make no mistakes about it, I'm not walkin’ ta dat rang an’ fiddle wit my thumbs bout some shit from tha past dat I feel bad bout. Naw see, when ya World Champ, there's a certain reputation dat ya gotta uphold. There's a certain image dat ya gotta protect.. let's be clear though.. I neva’ gave a fuck bout a rep. I can only be who tha fuck I am.. Nothing mo’, nothin’ less..”
I relight the blunt and take another drag.
“I'm not gonna sit here an’ act like we can't be cordial afta’ dis match. Hell we might eventually become friends again.. Ya neva' kno’.. Tha one thang I do kno’ is ya got me fucked up if ya thank I'm one'a these otha’ cats who just gonna lay down an’ take an ‘L’ from ya.. Ya kno’ why?
Because I'm just as unpredictable as you.. I'm just as unstable.. I'm just as fucked up in the head is you are. I have those voices.. I hear em on a constant basis, tellin’ me what I need ta do.. sometimes I listen.. sometimes I don't.. Tha difference between you an’ me though Ms. Rayne. I don't let my voices control me. I control them.. I tell them what ta do.. I guide them down dis path we call life.. I keep them muthafuckas in check!”
I giggle some more, my eyes becoming redder and tighter.. I check my locks in the camera, making sure they still look best after getting them done by a Haitian hair dresser.
“Mane a muthafucka lookin’ good as fuck right now. But back ta tha facts'a tha matta’, I don't see why Mia Rayne is even considered a former World Champ.. I mean if we were bein’ technical.. Loki Synn reigned supreme wit tha big belt. Mia was too busy bein’ scared, takin’ a backseat while Loki ran tha show.. but shortly afta’ Loki gave dat belt ta Tha Shadow.. Then by some miracle we have Mia!
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Mia tha person but it's tha idea of Mia dat grinds my gears.. I just so happen was able ta catch the Girls Night Out episode of Evolution an’ was thoroughly enjoyin’ it until Jim Gunt made a statement durin’ tha main event.. He said dat tha three of y'all were tha best'a dis error.. Dat's when my Spidey senses got ta tinglin’..”
I roll my eyes hard.
“Cali, I get.. MJ, I get… but Mia? What have Mia done? I don't mean dat in no form of disrespect but if memory serves me right.. It was Loki not Mia who dominated CWF while Mia hid.. No matta’ how many times tha voices tried ta get Duce, I always remained Duce.. No matta’ if I wore a mask at one point, you knew it was ME! I didn't hide, I took every challenge an’ roadblock head on.. But I guess it was all by no fault of ya own.. I mean I did stomp ya head through a chair.”
I shrug my shoulder in a nonchalant fashion.
“My bad.. Shit happens.. We human.. It is what it is… Howeva’ like ya already kno’ I'm a walkin’ contradiction.. because I do dearly apologize fo’ how thangs turned out between tha two of us.. I'm sho tha smoke sessions between us would've been epic… But dat's not tha way tha cards were played an’ come Evolution.. You'll be just anotha’ person ta realize that ain't got no juice.
I quickly end the feed as I need to get to my destination.
Later that day.
“The gist of the whole idea is that we wanna produce a reality television series based on the adventures of your life.. We'll call it.. 'The Juice With Duce’!”
I blankly stared at CWF's Digital Media Director, Thomas Brawner.. He was sitting inside of my hotel room, discussing the possibility of getting a reality series started, featuring me on the CWF Wired Network.
“Just hear me out Duce. There could be a lot of dollars in it if you go through with this.”
I love the sound of more dollars hitting my pockets.
“So what? Ya just gonna have a camera crew following me at all times?”
“Well we would have to set up a crew in your home, but we would also set cameras up in your home, inside of your vehicle.. the works!”
“Ya a lil too excited t'be tryna convince me ta allow you ta let big brother, let alone tha public into my crib? I don't kno’ bruh… I'm not too cool wit cameras anyway, dat's why I record my own shit.”
He becomes a bit frustrated from my comment.
“Champ! There are so many avenues this could open up for you.. Think about it, commercials.. television shows.. movie deals.. endorsements.. any and everything you could ever ask for..”
“I'm serious my friend and just imagine the ratings when Sierra gives birth to those twin babies..”
“Now ya just tryna exploit my family fo’ financial gains. What do y'all get out tha deal?”
“All of that could be discussed later. Just say you're gonna sign on for the pilot.”
“No deal.. I don't just sign my life away..”
I cut him off.
“Dat word don't sit too well wit me.. Last guy dat called me buddy was a real asshole.”
“The people love you. They love your story and everything about you, why wouldn't you allow them to have a tiny peak at your life?”
“Cuz I'm rarely home.. Sierra doesn't travel wit me an’ I don't thank folks care what I got goin’ personally.”
“Why don't you think about it? I'll give you about a week, we'll have this meeting again and see how we move forward.”
“I thank I'm pretty clear on my position an’ where I stand.. But.. if you feel a week is long enough fo’ me ta change my mind. I'll let ya try again.”
“That's all I'm asking for is a chance.”
“Yeah, well until then… I'm gonna need some time..”
He nods, we both rise from our seats and shake hands.
I really needed to have a talk with Sierra about this, because nine times out of ten, they would be filming her. I've never been comfortable around cameras. It's a wonder that my mug was plastered all over television screens worldwide.
Sierra was getting close to her final month and things were going to become a whirlwind of emotions.
But I couldn't focus on that, I needed to focus on Mia. I needed to focus on Dan. I needed to focus on keeping on the straight and narrow, turn that tunnel vision on. Kick my mind, body and spirit into overdrive.
Deal with the repercussions later and keep it pushing. Because I was always taught that pain is temporary.. but greatness was eternal. When it comes to professional wrestling, you can make friends behind those curtains but when step into those bright lights and you're across the ring from me, all bets are off.
I guess it's time for us to meet again.