By: Shawn Warstein
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 14th Nov 2021
“FUCK YOU YOU COWARD!” I screamed as the security guards pin me back from the huddled mass of people at the other end of the hallway. One could easily assume it was Vincent Black, or Sahara, or any one of the other broken play things from the ‘Land Of Misfit Toys’.
“YOU AIN’T SHIT!” I quickly started slapping the hands that were grasping me. As soon as one was off, it was immediately replaced by another. Frustration clearly boiling over. A no win situation, putting NSQ once again on the defensive. You’d think that not a single soul realized that didn’t work the last time, now all of them are ships lost at sea and NSQ has taken the bulb out of the light house. No longer will anyone have safe passage. We were content with cruising along and continuing to do what we do, but certain things cannot be tolerated.
“GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!” A mere second of wanting before I start swinging wildly. My fist connects solidly, freeing my left arm. Swinging my body around and with an elbow another guard crumbles. “TRUST ME, THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU WANT…” Two more guards come rushing up, with a quick side step and kick to the front of their shin. He stumbles to the ground. I leap up in the air and my knee connects flush. The guard falls. Breathing heavily and foaming from the mouth, I look around for the next to step up.
“SHAWN! STOP IT!” Kasey comes up from behind and tries to calm me down. The fury that is flowing from me muffles her voice, making it borderline unrecognizable.
“Don’t fucking tell me what to do…” I spun around to see the face of Kasey. Anger wasn’t the word to describe how she looked. The one person who has looked beyond the flaws. Beyond the persona. Beyond everything else. “I—-I——“
“Don’t… Just come on.” She turns around and begins to walk away. I take a deep breath and crack my neck. This was one of the sides of me I wasn’t ready for Kasey to see. The angry side, the side that is prone to blow ups. Setting fire to the bridges around him and not caring. Sure she saw a glimpse of it elsewhere, but that was minor to some of the other places I’ve called home.
Maybe that’s why I don’t stay here in the tower. If I become too comfortable I’m not going to be able to burn everything to the ground. I feel it’s necessary to always be ready to bounce at a moment’s notice. How else should I be feeling when my own friends are taking backhanded jabs at me. They think that I don’t listen or hear them, but I do. Yet when it comes to each and every one of them, nothing but praise from my mouth.
Kasey and I approach the elevator at the end of the hallway. “Listen…” I attempt to reach over and place my arm around her shoulder. The usually receptive Kasey grabs my hand and shoves it aside.
“Shawn, I don’t want to hear it.” A deep sigh from her. “I know you’re frustrated. I know that you’re angry, but if you ever talk to me like that again…”
“You’re right.” She was. At this moment anger wasn’t something that was needed. No matter my internal feelings of everything going on I need to be on even ground. These wolves will pounce on a single ounce of weakness. “It’s nothing you’ve done.“
“Yes I’m aware.” The bell dings to the elevator. The doors slid open, typical of the elevator leading to the suites; it was empty. Kasey walks in and leans against the wall, arms crossed in front of her. I follow behind her and lean up against the same wall. She slides away.
“Don’t be like this.” I said as I reached an arm out towards her. She didn’t hesitate to slide away.
“Don’t be like what Shawn?” With a quick hair flip and head tilt.
“Like this.” I hold my hands out and gesture towards her. “Since when do you call me Shawn? What did I do except have one slip up and add some bass to my voice? And for that fact, when have I ever done that before?”
“Maybe that’s the point Shawn.” A curling of her bottom lip and sigh. “You’ve never done this before…to me. You told me and the entire world that you put me first. That you put NSQ first. Before all of this big baby bullshit.” She’s right. I stood there stone faced and told everyone that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, and here I am acting like a petulant child. “Shawn…“
“I know….” It didn’t matter my reasoning. No matter what I said, it wasn’t about to change the perception of what I am, and who I am. I know that I’m not the easiest person to get along with. I know that all eyes are on me in this group as The Jeopardy question ‘In NSQ, who is most likely to turn on the others?’. That’s for good reason right?
I didn’t need to say anything else. As we waited for the elevator to stop and the doors slid open with a whoosh. Kasey reaches out with a hand. I pull my hand away from her. “Aren’t you coming?” She asked as I just shook my head.
“No. I’m going to need a minute.” I wave her towards the room that Fight has set up for us since day one. “I’ll be there in a little bit, I need to figure some things out.“
“Whatever.” Kasey said as she stomped off to the room. No kiss, no hug, not even a pat on the back. She didn’t look back once as the doors closed. My hand, usually steady as could be, trembled as it pressed the button. The doors close as the elevator begins to rise.
If was going to get over whatever was inside my head, there was only one way necessary to clean the slate, maybe clean slate is wrong.
More along the lines of realigning the pieces on the board. It’s time to become the…
Time to take action by asking for inaction from one of us. The doors to the elevator open up, and right before me is the Empire Suite. A quick knock on the door and after a beat the door swings open. Standing there is Aiden Reynolds.
“Oi! DICKIE, WARBOI is here!” Aiden yells over his shoulder before turning his attention back to me. “You don’t normally come up here mate. Everything okay?“
“For good reason.” I said before taking a step inside.
Aiden holds a hand up to my chest for a moment. “OI!” Before laughing and slapping me on the back. “Just yanking your chain. Come on in. Sorry about the barren liquor cabinet. They don’t accept Blood Money anywhere.“
“It’s for—” I could go on a long diatribe about what exactly Blood Money is used for, but where’s the fun in that? “Never mind. Where’s he at?“
“Oh Dickie? Yeah mate he’s in the living room. It’s this way.” Aiden leads me down the hallway to the living room. Windows all the way around, the skyline of New York looms as if this were the King’s castle and they were watching their kingdom. Dickie notices me and nods. I sit down across from him as Aiden takes a seat between us.
“Never thought I’d see you in here.” Dickie said with a slight smile.
“Meh, it’s like the Campbell trophy in Hockey. Don’t want to touch it unless I want to be cursed.” Only half true. I know the second I saw what was given to him after Blood Money, I’d be instantly jealous. I’d do everything to take it from him, so I didn’t. It also didn’t help that he himself hadn’t started staying here until just recently.
“Yeah mate, no one understands that reference.” Aiden chimes in as he leans back in his chair.
“Does he own a shirt?” I said while pointing towards him.
“I do, they just chafe me nipples.” He responded while covering his nipples with two fingers each.
“I’m just saying it’s a little….” I was cut off by Dickie.
“A little what?”
“Weird. Like how does he get into places without a shirt?”
“I got it like that mate.” Aiden flex’s quickly as Dickie shakes his head and turns his attention back to me.
“Anyways, to what do we owe the pleasure?” Dickie leans forward clasping his hands and resting his head on top of them.
“We need to have a talk.” I said. “With NSQ fully in charge, and running on all cylinders. I think it’s time for us to begin to make moves.“
“Okay, have you talked to everyone else about these so-called moves?” A good question if there ever was one.
“Not yet.” I’m not in the business of lying. “I haven’t even broached the subject with Kasey yet either.“
“I’m sure you haven’t.” Dickie said with a slight tone of condescension. “What moves could we possibly take? We already are stopping them from grouping up. We hold two titles, and I’m sure there is more in the future.“
“You’re right. But we need to show them that titles and stables aren’t everything we control.” A quiet little seed.
“Like what?” Aiden asked.
“Glad you asked buddy.” I point right at Dickie. “Him.“
“Him?… Him what?” The perpetually confused Aiden furrowed his brow.
“Dickie needs to whip it out and start laying the law down.” Excitedly I pantomime whipping my dick out and slam it on the table. “Fight knows we are the big dogs, NOW they need to see it!“
“Mate, I’m not whipping my dick out.” A quick dismissal from Dickie.
“Metaphorically.” I shrug quickly. “You’re the goddamn Empire Champion. You’re the face of the company and have been since day fucking one!“
“Yeah, and I’ve never backed down from a challenge yet. What’s your point Shawn?” Dickie shakes his head once more, only this time I could see the wheels spinning in his head. Fish on the line. Time to reel it in.
“Let me ask you this, Dickie.” I fold my hands together and take a deep breath. “Who are you fighting at Venom?“
“You mean the card that was literally just posted minutes after your….” I quickly cut him off.
“Yes that one. Who have they decided should grace the ring with their Empire Champion. Who is going to take you to the limit and show the world that Fight is the place to be if you want competition? Surely it’s someone like Dane, or a Montouri, or Brandon?“
“Jennie Fenix.” Dickie mutters.
“Excuse me who?” I know Jennie. She’s alright l guess. She’s nice, but I’ve got a point to prove here.
“Mate, ya know, Jennie. Made you the Team Raven beanies.” Aiden chimes in with exactly what I needed.
“Oh right, I forgot about her. I honestly thought she wasn’t even on the roster and it was Tara.” I said with a slight smile.
“Well it is her….” I cut Dickie off before he could finish.
“That’s exactly my point man. Why would they put you in the ring with her? What do you possibly gain from it?“
“That joke of a currency.” Aiden pops in once again with the perfect comment.
“Again, my point. You don’t need Blood Money. You’re on top of the world right now. What you need to do is start flexing on these bitches. Start demanding the respect you deserve and not taking shitty bookings like Jennie Fenix.” I could see a slight look of hesitation in Dickie’s eyes. He glanced over to Aiden who was clearly not paying attention and gave Dickie a half thumbs up.
“But I want to fight. I want to be in the ring.” A calm vibrato from Dickie.
“As well you should.” A quick agreement from myself. “But also at the same time, it’s high time you start knowing your own worth. Just make the call. Tell them you’re not gonna fight Jennie, and that I will.“
“Wait wot mate?” Aiden stands up. “If you’re taking people’s spots…“
“Why would you take it, if it’s not good enough for me?” A puzzled Dickie asks.
“Unlike you Dickie, I’ve got some frustrations to get out.”
“Isn’t that what Kasey….” I didn’t allow the jovial Aiden to finish.
“I’d be very careful with the next words that come out of your mouth.” A glare is all it took. Then I looked at Dickie. “Just make the call. Flex your power, and I’ll flex on the rest of them.“
That’s all it took. A nod from Dickie and my plan was back in motion. We stayed there in the suite for a little while longer. While Dickie, Aiden and I have shared hallways before this was something different. Dickie had what I wanted, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to throw all of this away for a shot. No. I’m way more
As I walked into the hallway and back onto the elevator, I pressed the button for my floor. The doors closed as I lean up against the wall.
“It Should Be Me.” I said quietly to myself. “It was right there for me, and I failed. I watched Dickie become Empire Champion. I don’t fail often, so watching him hoist the title above his head.“
“It broke me. Not because he isn’t deserving, or because he lacks anything. It should’ve been me. I’m the one that attracts talent. It happens everywhere I go. Every place I call mine, the hanger ons aren’t too far behind them. It’s not that I open doors. No it’s much more than that. How many people would’ve heard of Fight if it wasn’t for me? How many eyes would’ve taken a chance on a company that comes from the ashes of utter failure after utter failure?“
“Not many I can assure you of that much. When a place gets the Warstein stamp of approval, it means something. It means that you are ready to call yourself the Big Leagues. It’s not my, or NSQ’s fault that all you’ve ever known is little leaguers, playing in their backyards pretending to be in the World Series.” I rub the bridge of my nose. “No, instead certified legends come following. Raven’s, Page’s, hell an entire company finally acknowledges your existence, why is that?“
“But that’s not what the problem is. It really boils down to one fact. One simple fact. I’m smarter than all of you. I told Brandon to his face what I was going to do. And he struck out faster than Dane Preston does at the Rabbit any time he walks in there.“
“That’s why it’s so hard for me to get up and be happy about my matches. There are only a handful of people capable of showing me something worthy. Sure Ricky tried. Brandon too. Hell all of you tried and as always.“
“I’m One Step Ahead.“
“So you have to ask yourself why would I take a booking from Dickie and insert myself? Like who does that? Especially a man who values his down time. A man who in general doesn’t like people.“
“I’m frustrated. I’m angry. And above all else, I’m out here to prove everyone WRONG yet again.“
“I know what you’re thinking. Shawn isn’t that just like you on a random Tuesday?” I hold up a finger and wave it back and forth. “No, no, no. When I’m in the ring I don’t get frustrated. I don’t care that people feel the need to come into my matches. I don’t care about the wins and losses. What I care about is the blatant lack of respect shown for me. So yes. I took this booking with one thing in mind, and all of you should pay attention.“
“This isn’t a Waston thing… It’s a Warstein one.” I drum my hands on the steel wall of the elevator. “I’m not going to say I took this match out of the goodness of my heart, no. I took it to prove a point. That the power lies with us, and to that extent, me. I look at the rest of NSQ and they all have the same thing in common, they are too nice. Nice to everyone else. Sure we all get lippy and can handle our own, but that is also seen as weakness. No matter how many times it’s said, people do in fact see kindness as weakness.“
“I’m not the kind one. Jennie, that’s for you. You just couldn’t help yourself. Trying to make friends, while Tara’s world crumbles around her. Guess what, I call it. I told everyone, but no one listens. Jennie, I wanted to like you. I didn’t want things to go this way for you this early into your Fight career. Unfortunately you’re the one that I have to make an example out of.” A conflicted sigh. “I want to say I’m sorry, but I’m not. This means more to me right now. It’s about respect. If people won’t give it willingly, I’m just going to take it. One match at a time. Win or Lose I’m walking away from this match with my pound of flesh.“
“I see the landscape. While everyone else is too busy gazing at stars, we in NSQ are busy figuring out how to make it to them. We have biggest targets on our backs, someone needs to show them that no matter how large it may be, their backhanded tactics will not go unpunished. We have been nothing but upfront about what our goals were. If they were too ignorant to that fact or simply not good enough, that’s not our fault. Or your fault Jennie, it just is what it is at this point.“
” Listen Jennie, I’m going to tell you exactly what is going to happen on Monday.” I begin to tap my foot on the floor as it echoes slightly in the elevator. “I’m going to Main Event a second Venom in as many weeks. We are going to fight, and then some bullshit is going to happen. Then I’m going to kick your fucking skull in.“
“What you need to fully understand about the man that is going to step inside the ring with you. I’ve set aside friendships, relationships and everything in between for what I want. Inside of those ropes are where I feel at home. It is where I can be as visceral as I need to be. Where I can work some shit in my head out.” I begin jamming a finger to my temple. “Jennie, you are not exceptional. You are not the exception to the rule.“
“You will fall in line with it.” The elevator bell rings and the doors slide open. “Usually I’d wait to strike, but sometimes patience only lasts so long. I’ll see you on Monday Jennie. Now if you’ll excuse me. This Angry Patient Builder has quite a bit of apologizing to do.“
I begin to walk down the hallway and into the suite I share with Kasey. As the camera fades to black.