“Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses… or in this case, the fresh beach air.”
The scene opens to a serene sea picture, almost manufactured in its beauty. A long golden shoreline led into a soft, gentle blue ocean. The sun illuminated the whole area as if lit my stage lights. A smattering of sun loungers were dotted along the landscape, breaking up the near perfect layout. On one of these very sun loungers was a man most would find all too familiar. Stretched out in the sun, his long golden hair perfectly positioned around his head, just wet enough for those supermodel looks. Aviators adorned his face and a straw attached to his lips served as a conduit for his refreshment.
Danny noticed the camera coming towards him and put the drink down on his little side table immediately.
“Come on, come on, we gotta get moving with this, this could take a while!”
Danny continues to flash his pearly whites as he waits for the poor sap holding the camera to position himself in a more... seated position. As we get closer to the golden warrior, the sunlight serves to highlight the many scars upon his face, marks that betray the serenity of his current demeanour.
“Took your time! Right, I am so glad to be doing this today. See, today we are going to do things a little different kiddiwinks. Rather than you sitting around in your dank little hovels wishing you could be me as I soak up the sun here in Bequia. No, I thought this one through, and if anyone out there remembers me as well as you should you fickle fucks, you well know that when I think things through, it can get a little dangerous.
See, today we are going to tell a story though little somethings that were taped prior to this day. This will chronicle my latest journey, my ultimate journey over the past 7 days. So, sit back, grab that cheap beer you love so much, tell your mother to get out of the basement and relax, it's time to tell a tale.
The day had started like many others for the Ripper had done in recent memory. Meeting after meeting after meeting. Once upon a time, he relished in this, revelled in it even, after all, not many men can go from stealing trucks to make it wrestling shows to travelling around the world in a private jet, landing in as far away places as Las Vegas and Tokyo between individual meetings. It was now 7pm in New York, and he was left alone, looking out over the people below as the sun began to dip over the city that never sleeps. Although dressed in a sharp, crisp black suit, his expression looked dishevelled, as if he had not slept for days.
“Mr Ripper, sir. Are you OK?”
Despite the voice coming out of nowhere, it did not startle him. In fact, not even a loose hair on his head moved from its place. An assistant looking type, dressed in an expensive looking but modest emerald green dress was stood in the doorway, matching green handbag hanging daintaly from her elbow. A moment of cold silence followed as the Ripper's eyes continued to fixate down on the world below.
The assistant seemed to think that she wasn't going to get an answer, or at the very least was feeling like she may not have even been noticed. She turned on her heel to go, but before her Prada toe could even touch the floor again, he spoke. Quiet, hoarse, and with a certain air of disdain.
"Are you happy Alison?" He said towards the window.
"I… I'm sorry sir?" She responded with genuine confusion in her tone.
"Are you happy Alison? With where you are in life, the choices that you made?"
She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Suddenly, her face contorted from a look of surprise, to the scrunched up tell-tale look of someone deep in thought. Whether she was honestly contemplating the question or trying to formulate an answer that wouldn't piss off someone of his position was unclear, but whatever the case, she certainly took her time.
“I would say so sir, possibly wouldn’t mind a few more days in the sun every year, after all, New York isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when you’re here every day, but other than that… I don’t know… I guess I am happy.” Her words were tentative, soft. Almost as if she didn’t want to tell the truth, but was compelled to do so.
“Few more days in the sun eh? Well, how about it then? I’m going to be making a trip to New Orleans next week, come along for the ride, and while I am taking care of business, you can take the jet to St Lucia or something.”
Again, despite the rather positive message, his tone didn’t change. Still cold, still stoic.
Alison couldn’t speak, her mouth hung open. After all, she had only started working at this office for 3 months ago, and this was only the second time she had come face to face with the Boss. She had heard he was aloof, sometimes eccentric, but this offer seemed too good to be true. As such, she could only manage one little phrase.
“Are you sure?”
For the first time, he finally tore his eyes from the mass of humanity ten stories below. As he looked towards her, she was taken aback by just how gaunt and sickly he was looking.
“Sometimes Alison, you have to just live your life. Besides, I could use the company on the way down, Claudia is off saving the world or some shit, I haven’t heard from The Master in months, and basically, the companionship would be much appreciated…. Not like that mind you.”
Obviously he had spotted the little micro-reaction in her face. The thought had crossed her mind, but he dispelled it as quickly as it had arisen.
“Well… I… thank you sir, that sounds amazing. When do we fly out?”
“That depends on how you answer this next question. Are you busy at all right now? Would I be able to steal five minutes of your time?”
“I… of course.”
Ripper peeled himself away from the window and indicated a seat at the end of the board table. Alison placed her handbag on the table and slid gracefully into the seat as asked. Danny walked towards her, but he didn’t sit.
“Alison, do you know why we were gathered here today?”
“Something about a merger?”
“Yes, a merger… of sorts. In here today was the CEO of Dynabusiness Inc, one of the richest men in the world, the man that sits atop of one of the most successful business management companies in history. He came here today to Dark Angel industries with an offer. That offer was to buy everything out from under me. The whole thing, every company, every contract, everything.”
Her eyes widened. She didn’t know a huge amount about what went on behind the closed doors of her office, but as administrator for the Director, she knew that Dark Angel was at the top of a huge pyramid of companies.
“See, the thing is Alison…” he continued before she had a response. “I don’t know what to do. I look down at the people on that street and I wonder, are they happy? Because right now, I can’t say if I am. See, 10 years ago, I walked into a CWF show for the first time. I spent the next few months stealing cars and sleeping in the sleaziest motels I could find on the road. Now, every single journey I have is taken in a vehicle that costs more than I made in my first year in the wrestling business. I thought this is what I wanted, I thought that the day would come where I would be able to call myself a multi-billionaire, and that day is right now. If I sign this contract, I live like a king forever, go back to doing what I love deep in my soul.”
“So, why wouldn’t you take it?”
That was the nerve-striker. The colour flashed back into Danny’s face as he fixed his eyes upon her.
“Because one day I won’t be able to anymore, that life has an expiration date. If I don’t sign that contract, if I stay here, I continue to build my business, I stay busy, I keep moving forward. So what’s my choice Alison, do I stay and build an empire that will last long after I am dead, do I give it all up and go back to what I think I want in the eternal pursuit of happiness, or shall I play it out for now, juggle both worlds?
She thought for a hot moment, not allowing the unblinking eyes of The Ripper to distract her.
“Sir, deep down I think you just want me to tell you what to do. You know what you want, but you’re afraid. Take the choice you want sir, sign the contract, achieve that dream and live the way you really want to.”
Her eyes fixated upon his, shining with a longing he hadn’t seen in a long time. It was in this moment, he realised that she was urging him to do whatever she couldn’t, whatever she wouldn’t.
“Tell me Alison, what’s your dream?”
He had a way, and with her, his way was constantly astounding her, making her think long and hard about ever answer. It’s not like she knew him, not like she was someone who blurted her personal thoughts out here there and everywhere. No, but in his presence, under his piercing glare, she felt compelled to tell the truth, so she did.
“Wow. Well, I always actually wanted to own my own music label, produce up and coming artists. That’s kind of always been my dream."
Danny actually looked a little taken aback by this statement.
"Huh, honestly I thought you were going to say something like actress or fashion designer." He said with an air of genuine surprise. The look on her face, however, caused him to backtrack a little. "Sorry, didn't mean to stereotype, watched too many movies I guess… Well, do you know what? That's something you should do. I'm feeling good Alison, I'm feeling really good. Whadda ya need? A million? Consider it done."
This time, she didn't look dumbfounded, but instead sceptical, as if her bubble had just burst a little.
"Right… I get it now… you've been having me on. Well, this has been fun. Have a good day sir. I'll see you on Monday."
She went to stand, but Danny held up his left index finger, morning for her to stay as he grabbed his phone out of his pocket with the other. Again, even though she didn't quite know why, she felt compelled to do as she was commanded, and held fire, half way out of the seat. A minute passed, and Danny put his phone away, before fixing her with a very coy smile.
From inside her bag, a phone jingle was heard. She slowly turned her gaze towards the emerald leather before her.
"You should probably check that."
And she did, unclasping the gold clutch that held the bag closed. Danny meanwhile walked back up to the other end of the table, placing himself in the large executive leather chair beside it. As Alison's eyes grew wider than ever before as she looked at the notification that popped her phone, opened a leather binder on table, flicked through a few pages within it, and picked up the midnight blue Parker pen beside it.
"What the actual fuck is happening here?"
Her verbal explosion didn't deter Ripper, who was now scribbling away on multiple pages in the binder. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, she was staring at the device in her hand, continuously mouthing the same phrase over and over again. Eventually, Ripper slammed the binder shut and stood straight up, taking in a huge, deep breath.
His raised voice finally raised her from her stupor.
"Mention it and I take it all back… come here. I need someone to sign this as witness.."
And so she did, for the first time in her life, she looked at a merger contract, and although Ripper made her skip over the Remuneration pages, she got a fair look at the rest as she scribbled her John Hancock over multiple pages to legally bind the fact that Danny had just done the same thing. Then they left. Simple as that, they walked out the building.
Back on the sun soaked beaches of Bequia, Ripper was sipping on what seemed to be a Mai Tai.
"Sometimes you make a decision that impacts your life forever, and that is what I did this past Monday. I signed away everything I had built for the last 8 years. I took 6 figures and made them 10. But I signed it all away… I mean, it was worth it of course. But that means my focus is where it needs to be right now, and that is Golden Intentions.
29 other men and women and things will make their way down that ramp, and no matter what hard-core style character they want to play, they will all be holding back huge dopey ass grins, trying to make their ugly ass faces seem like they're thuper-therious yo. Because this to them is everything. People calling their name is a dream come true.
Good for them.
For me, the dream isn't being remembered or loved, it's a byproduct. No, the dream for me was becoming the best in the world. And I did that. I became unstoppable, winning Indy titles left right and centre, and then, when I walked into the big leagues in Atlantic City. The world suddenly stopped and took notice.
See, this newbie in their eyes, rocked up, won a few matches, did a few promos, and boom, won the rumble and won the title and continued an undefeated streak."
Danny finally laid his drink down and removed his shades, turning to look towards the poor sod sitting, holding the camera and having to take all of this in.
"That was then of course, as was me winning the Golden Intentions two years ago, because I was unstoppable. Truly. And then, mainly through politics admittedly, I was stopped. But again, that was then and this now.
So, the world was my oyster, I had true freedom. Did I come straight here? No, although it was tempting. No, I am not a selfless man, but occasionally, I can help others become everything they want to be…
"Thank you Miss Cross. Everything is all signed, and now it's yours. Good luck in your endeavours."
With that, the young, red headed lawyer outstretched her hand, and Alison took it. The new owner of CML music took it, looking like a whole new woman in a crisp charcoal grey pant suit, accompanied with a satin pink blouse.
"Danny, it was good to see you again. Make sure the next time you call it's for pleasure, not business."
From the corner of the room, Danny, who was leaning against the wall, nodded silently. He watched the lawyer leave the room with a mild look of bemusement in his eyes. As the door closed behind her, he turned his attention back to Alison, who was holding a set of keys in her hand.
"Well, say something then."
She continued to stare at her hands, once again not daring to believe that what was happening was actually happening.
Danny stood up straight, using his shoulder to push him up off the wall. Without pause, he walked right over to her and pinched her upper arm. She recoiled, a mix of confusion and anger on her face.
"Right, you can believe this isn't a dream now can't you? C'mon, we have a lot of business to do, but for now we should celebrate, you just became the owner of your very own record label."
"You know, I never asked. Why the hell are you doing all this? I mean, you don't know me really do you?"
Danny broke into a smile, having waited a day and a half for this question.
"Because sometimes, you just need to give something back to people who deserve it. That's what happened to me. Rish gave me a chance to hone my skills ahead of becoming what I am today, and The Master gave me a chance to earn enough to give back one day, so I am. This is your chance, don't screw it up."
Finally, she seemed to let grow, breaking into a huge grin and throwing her arms around The Ripper. She held him tight, refusing to let go for what seemed to be the longest time. Danny could feel tears pooling at the base of his neck, but chose to keep that factoid to himself.
Eventually she broke away from him, composing herself as she looked at him deep into his piercing green eyes.
“I guess I might regret asking this…” She started tentatively, but what exactly do you do to celebrate.”
“I do hope you’re not planning anything tomorrow, put it that way.”
Back on the sun soaked sand of Bequia, Ripper had left his chair and was now seen coming out of the crystal clear waters, it almost looked as if he was trying to walk out in slow motion, all James Bond style. He certainly had an admirer or two in the distance, barely visible behind the security barrier he certainly hadn’t set up to keep people away from his perfect shot.
“Oh, you’re back again? I wasn’t expecting you just yet” He said with a shifty look in his eyes. “I am sure by now you are probably wondering why I keep doing this back and forth between what was and what is by now right?
Well, I am going to tell you a little secret. I honestly had a whole different plan when I started putting this whole thing together, we were going to go on a huge winding adventure, but as has become my motto as of late, I kind of started a bit too late to really put together everything I wanted.”
He made it back to his station and began to dry himself off with what some would call a flannel. Danny in his infinite arrogance considered it a towel. Luckily you viewers at home were not privy right now to him stepping out of the shower using the same towel.
“I realised as time has gone on that I have enough to give back, we all know my accolades, why not give some of that back to the people who need it more than I ever did? Lord only knows that CWF is filled with people that could use a leg up once in a while, I mean hell, have you seen their world champion nowadays? I could beat him with one arm tied behind my back after one of my week long benders. But that is neither here nor there right now is it?”
Almost as if using muscle memory, Danny reached over towards his drink, snatching at an open space next to it, forgetting seemingly that he had quit smoking a couple of years before.
“Shit. Old habits…”
Instead he grabbed his drink, took a sip, and lay back down, ready to soak up the sun once again.
“I know what some of you are thinking you know, that in this, my grand return to the ring, half of what I have to offer you is a retired legend soaking up the fruits of his retirement. It’s almost lazy in it’s execution right?
Well, you see, that’s the beauty of it. Because of who I am, I have nothing to prove. Let’s talk about Golden Intentions for a moment. I have more experience in this match than anyone. This will be my 4th entry into this match. In the first I was the man of the night, the second I was the most anticipated competitor, and the last time I won the damn thing.
So what happens if I win this one? Do I go on to win the world championship. Probably, would it be the first time? No. So what’s special about that now?
People live to be the best, they try everything in the book to make themselves stand out, everything they can think of to be different, to stand out. I have a different plan, a different style. I go out there, grapple like an olympian, fly like a lucha, obliterate like a giant and strike like a cage fighter. There is no one with the all round capability that I have, no one with both the youthful agility and experience that I have. None can hold a candle.
I don’t care if I strike down Mia Rayne, Dan Ryan, my old pal Ataxia, Silas Atortia, or the dream match lesser half that is Jarvis King, no matter who stands in my way, I will outwrestle them, I will smack them all down. Danny B is back to win this war, and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Now, what happened to our friend Alison? Let’s have a look shall we?
It was the morning after the 24 hours before, and not a creature was stirring, not even a snake. The party had begun in New York City and had ended on a seaside cabin overlooking the paradise waters of the Carribean sea. She was looking over as the sun was setting down, wondering just how her life had turned out this great. It had been non-stop for the last four days, somehow she had gone from assistant for a douchebag director of operations to owner of her own music label, and was now living a dream only a few could ever dream of.
She was leaning on a wooden railing that lined the balcony of their cabin, soaking it all in as he came up behind her, putting his arm across her shoulders.
“You know, I know you are going to become a helluva music mogul over the next couple of years, but promise me one thing would you? Don’t be a stranger.”
When she spoke again, the startled and sceptical voice that had defined her so far in this tale had vanished, replaced by a soft, dreamy tone.
“How could I ever? I owe my life to you right now. You have changed everything for me, you’ve given me the chance that only a few can ever really dream of. Thank you Danny.”
“You’re welcome. By the way, I have one last thing to give you.”
He pulled a small box from the inside of his board shorts, and held it out in front of her face.
“Danny… I... “
“Just open it you daft sod.”
She took it from his hand, and opened the box. Inside was a key.
“I was my impression that you have to commute into Manhattan from Queens every day right? Well, not anymore, this is a key to my Upper East Side apartment. There’s a spare bedroom that I think you may enjoy. I’m barely there anymore anyway, and without the company, I’ll have even less reason to use it.”
“I really don’t know how I will ever repay you.”
“Just don’t squander this Alison.”
“Can I ask one last favour of you Danny?”
“Anything you want.”
“Please call me Allie”
“My pleasure Allie.”
She snapped the box shut, clutching it in her right hand.
“Think we can get something to eat around here?”
“My darling, there is always somewhere to eat. Come with me.”
By the use of wonderful editorial magic, we return to the scene we had just left, as Danny stands on the balcony, looking over the beach as the sun begins to dip over the horizon, bathing the scene in a beautiful pink glow.
“I gave her everything, and she was thankful. Do you know how many people are really like that? Very few. I wasn’t. I thought I was entitled to everything and I was pushed down a few pegs along the way. It took me a long time to climb to the top, I had to smash through ceiling after ceiling to make it back on my own. But I did.
I saw something in Allie, something that I haven’t seen in anyone in a very long time. Some say I play favourites, and that people play favourites with me. But that isn’t the case, some of us are thankful for everything we have, some of us take an opportunity and run with it.
This is my opportunity, and every last person in that match is in my way. Every last one is my glass ceiling that I will smash through on the way to the top. So this is my call to every one of you, step up and seize the opportunity, take your chance, because this is it. If you don’t, please be aware that I am the fucking gatekeeper in this industry, I am the God and King, your lord and saviour, your maker and matyr. Step up, or one day you will be watching me as your world champion, hoping, praying and wishing I have an off day.
This is your chance, I am giving you one chance.
Let me warn you however, this is no easy task, if you know me, you know what I stand for, you know what it takes to beat me. If you don’t watch your back. I am a CWF hall of famer for a reason, because I earned it.
Take your shot. I am giving you the world. The whole world.”