Illuminating the night sky with its own constellations of hyper luminescence. Roppongi river-rapid loud flows endlessly into the Tokyo night.
Sentry against, one booted foot propped against the backdrop of a concrete wall. The collar of a duster jacket pulled up, sunglasses shielding the blazing evening, bilious ashen clouds erupt from a mouth. Inhaling a Seville light shines, and a walk begins.
Experienced steps counter the stream of movement, ashes float dreamlike about him. Lantern lights sway, neon surrounds ignored as viscous strides lead to a temporary destination. Discarding the temporary pleasures of nicotine, he ducks inside of the radio hum of voices and the galley clatter of clinking bowls.
Announced above the din, as a seat is taken. Sunglasses find storage in a jacket pocket, as pompadour coiffed Elvis of a man nods curtly at his order.
With a fixation, he eats the noodles.
Episode One: Several Years past.
“ALMASY IS GOING TO SUBMIT WHEALDON.”
Pete Whealdon struggles towards the ropes, locked in a submission from Seymour Almasy, His hands stretching out towards a woman, who he had publicly debased. More so than his own desperation, the loathing in her eyes is striking.
She turned her back and walked away.
Pete Whealdon would not be given the glorious title of Ultra champion. He would not even get the consolation of simply losing consciousness, to this better man.
His hand started slamming into the mat.
Rolling away from him, leaving him as discarded refuse, Seymour Almasy’s hand was raised.
Pete Whealdon was left, forgotten.
He sits back in the Ramenya, the insectoid buzz of life all around. Wiping the remaining soup from his neatly trimmed beard with the back of his hand, he waves off any further interaction.
Episode One: Several Years past, cont’d
Limping to the back following his last night in America, Pete Whealdon ignored both event staff, pushing camera people out of the way, to duck behind the reassuring comfort of the curtain.
There is no post-match greeting for a loss of this magnitude. The only remainders are from DEFIANCE, and Pete Whealdon is having none of them, ignoring them and limping towards his things in the locker room.
He is being watched, by his boss, perhaps his mentor, and general guiding light.
Pete Whealdon has gotten the entire thing so very very wrong.
Reaching his things, the perfunctory nature of changing back into his street clothes disgusts him.
Here was a man who grew up idolizing Doman Schwaling, Devon Case, Colin Montgomery. Here was the shadow who aspired for every height, and had consistently come up short.
He is alone.
With the grace of a newborn calf, he collapses into the floor, digging in his bag for the bottle of alcohol he was sure to find there.
Pulling it out, and with great desperation, he chugs. With grim fury, he throws it fastball against the wall, glass and brown liquid cascading down.
Clinging to first a bench, and then a locker, he pulls himself to his feet, head in communion against the locker.
His wrestling gear falls out of a suddenly overturned bag limply to the floor.
For a few seconds, Pete Whealdon considers those items.
Ducking out of the ramenya, countering the mood of the night as he replaces the sunglasses. Bulwarking himself against the continued intrusions of Roppongi. Head slumps between shoulders protectively, as another stick alights.
Not in need of it, he checks to make sure the collar of his duster is still up. Pulling tangled hair over it.
Episode One: Cont’d
“You have five unheard messages.”
“You have no unheard messages.”
The ennui of a bender has settled over the freshly disassembled room. Empty bottles, cigarette burns, codeine bottles litter the floor. The overturned furniture neatly ties the whole thing together.
This is the catalog of your parent’s nightmares.
Your salesman has bloodshot eyes, has not shaved in days, breathe reeking of menthol and cough syrup, with notes of hard alcohol and shitty cheap beer. A smoke detector lies discarded in the kitchen, shattered.
This can all be yours for the price of a series of cascading failures.
Call Pete Whealdon for availability and showings.
Into the inky darkness of an alley, he turned, boots kicking up the sands of time of lost.
Pulling the stick out of his mouth he considered it an old friend, barely looking up.
“In six years, having secured a legacy of dissolution, ignoring phone calls, emails, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”
Pausing for effect, he takes a short drag, light shimmering through vaporous green and pink luminous diffusions.
“I think it’s not impolite to ask, ‘why now?’ After all the boozing, drug-use, whoring, and sloppy half-inspired performances. ‘Why now?’ What has been left unproven in America for me? What could I possibly have for the global stage that I haven’t already accomplished?
Rehab? Check. Check. Check.”
A half amused half smile.
“In a way, my return couldn’t be more befitting of my exit. Leave giving everything up, come back in against nothing.
Oh, sorry Azrael, I did notice you there, but I leave two wrestlers like you in the toilet every morning before I go for a jog.
In your typical way, rambling, while sitting behind a desk, is.. A cliche. You’re pulling at every thread available to you, and while I can appreciate that in a very general sense..
I do wonder why, a man with limited skills and opportunities, such as yourself would thrust immediate failure upon oneself. It’s not like opportunities to move up the ladder are going be to coming your way often. “
“But let me give you some sage advice, failure is right up your alley, next to the trash heap of history with every other failure.
Now before you try and tell me this is all part of some scheme to move up the ladder, or how it didn’t matter. Your statement of intent, your shot to show the world who Azrael is... Was to duck out of the ring without a fight.
There is a time and a place for cowardice and tactics that raise an eyebrow. Much like everything else you’ve done, or will do, you just choose the moments no one cares about to display it. “
A dejected sigh.
“So this means I have work to do. More than you deserve, and more than your worth.”