Close Friends…

By: Vincent Black

Date: 13th Aug 2021

Bargain

    [*]An agreement between two people as to what they will each do for the other.

[*]A thing bought or offered for sale more cheaply than is usual or expected.[/list]

 

“…so. Howíve you been?” The priest falls to the ground, blood spitting from his mouth. His hand, battered and wrapped with what seems to be shreds from a shirt reaches out for the shotgun just beyond his fingertips. He finally grabs it and begins to scoot himself away from the door with his foot as he tries to reload the shotgun quickly, his eyes peeled to the door. As he gets the last shell in, and loads the chamber, the door explodes open. A hulk of a beast stands before him, a jumpsuit in tatters around itís frame. It rips the remainder of the door off the hinge and launches it at the priest, barely missing his head. The priest begins to fire at the beast, who has raised itís left hand to reveal a chainsaw revving with smoke billowing out. The blades on the chain are covered in blood and gore, spitting it all over with every rotation of the blades, as the eyes of the creature grow wide and angry. The place where its mouth should be, a metal plate embedded into the jaw and cheeks, with soft tissue falling away from the edges and hanging by strings of flesh. The creature moves forward slowly, shaking the ground with every step. The Priest moves away, taking shots at it but doing nothing substantial. They serve only to anger it further. When the best reaches him, it raises its chainsaw up, and as itís about to bring it down, it stops. The beast looks at its hand, and sees a chain wrapped around his hand. Following the chain, we see an older man in a knights uniform, a cop with itís motorcycle helmet cracked in half by what looks to have been an axe, and DJ in a skill mask. The three of them begin to pull as hard as they can, and the beast known as a Scrake decides to give them what it is theyíre asking for, and begins to walk toward them. The footage then stops, and Vincent and Vhodka Black are seated in front of a tv, across a table from Jovunka Vuckovic, Director of The Killing Floor, Netflixís next predicted success. Vhodka leans to Vincent and whispers something, which Vincent smiles at and shakes his head yes.

Jovunka Vuckovic
So, what do you think? Howíd the husband do?

Vhodka Black
Wonderful…can he bring that suit home one time or several?

Jovunka Vuckovic
I think that can be arranged. Vin, how do you feel?

Vincent Black
If thatís what she wants, Iím for it.

Jovunka Vuckovic
No, I mean the footage. Early focus groups are raving about your performance. And thatís just with your eyes! Iíd love to give you a speaking part.

Vincent Black
Iíve lived most of my life as an intimidatingly silent demon. Itís barely acting.

Vhodka Black
Actually thatís called Method Acting. But he isnít acting. About the suit, does that face piece come off?

Vincent Black
Yes it does.

Vhodka Black
That is…just…the best news.

Jovunka Vuckovic
So, you still want to stay on?

Vincent Black
Absolutely.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Great. Because next season…on top of playing the Scrake, youíll also be playing…The Flesh Pound… Jovunka clicks a button in her handheld remote and footage of a massive beast with a beating heart sticking out of itís split chest, screams as the large arms connected to the massive torso reveal two large mallets at the end of each wrist. The tips of the mallets, spinning spikes and blades, roar to life as it drops its hands to the front of itís chest and runs forward, crushing the ground beneath itís feel as it goes. The Fleshpound is a creature so powerful that the only way to kill it is to destroy itís heart. But it isnít as easy as it sounds. Whatíd ya think?

Vhodka Black
Question…

Jovunka Vuckovic
Yes, he can wear it home.

Vhodka Black
good. good. thank you

Jovunka Vuckovic
I donít know what you guys have planned, besides raiding wardrobe and makeup, but Iím heading over to the studio…weíre going to pick songs for the soundtrack. Iíd love to get your opinion, Vin.

Vincent Black
…hon?

Vhodka Black
You should, but I canít. I got that thing.

Vincent Black
…what thing?

Vhodka Black
…i dun wanna…

With Vhodka on her way to do what she do, and Vin and Jovunka in the back of a limo, Vin looks down at his phone, which shows a picture of Graham Clauson, his opponent for this week, and the most vile, uppity, cunt heís ever met in his life. While Grahamís inability to keep Vinís name out of his mouth was the only characteristic anyone could call interesting, the polish had worn off. So much in fact that heíd spent the last few weeks texting his brother, asking for another shot at him whenever, wherever. Xavier had done his duty as boss to hold him off as much as possible. But in this business, itís only a matter of time. And time for Clauson had just run out. Sitting in the booth at the studio and listening to song after song with the Jovunka and the producer, he wasnít so much as listening to the song as he was imagining how it would feel to tear Graham Clauson the fuck apart to. This fucking whelp with his untinteresting life had been the thorn in Vincentís side ever since heís win. Which to hear Graham talk about it was the only win heís ever had. Itíd been weeks and still heíd be talking about it. You think heíd won a championship, the amount of time and effort heíd put into talking about him. You think heíd be more worried about the people he was facing rather than the people heíd gotten past. But some people canít be made to make sense. Some people can only open their mouths and remove the mystery of their incompetence.

Vincent snapped out of his rage for a moment and heard the song playing as if heíd never heard music before. He stood up and looked at the monitor. The song was amazing and it was perfect for a specific part of the show.

Jovunka Vuckovic
..what?

Vincent Black
This song. Itís perfect. The part where they climb the building and start breaking the windows to get in and slaughter the HQ. Itís…itís perfect.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Vin, this is cyber-goth. Itís not really what weíre looking for.

Vincent Black
Our entire show is about demons with future-tech. Explain.

Jovunka Vuckovic
well..I was thinking more metal, you know?

Vincent Black
Inclusion of this doesnít mean exclusion of that. But to ignore something perfect like this is a mistake.

Vincent looked at the sound producer, who had a look on his face like he wanted to side with Vin but knew the middle ground was safer. Kind of like how Graham did his best to perform week after week but still felt the need to complain about being buried before every match, just in case he lost, so he could blame it on something other than himself. The good ones in this career donít make excuses. The pathetic ones make them regardless. To be fair, he didnít have his piece of shit manager to do it for him anymore. Must have been nice to feed your unfounded bitching sessions to someone and have them do it for you. Vincent had made it so that couldnít happen anymore by beating the ever loving fuck out of said manager. Turns out Vincent had wasted effort on the wrong whiney cunt. A mistake he wouldnít be making twice. Vincent waited for the conversation to continue as Jovunka listened to the song again. Vincent placed his hand over her eyes and began to describe the scene to the music, telling her to picture the blades coming through the glass. The red lights flashing in the darkness. The crew inside the building trying to get into the bunkers reserved for only the upper management. And then those doors being ignored for the walls on either side, which crumble after a beat. When Vincent lifted his hand, he could see the look in her eyes and knew heíd gotten through to her. At the end of the conversation, Vincent would be given a producerís credit, not only on the soundtrack, but on the show. They spent the day putting together the entire score, and at the end they found they were missing something that fit the opening scene. Vincent reminded them of a song he had done on his first album, called ĎFiltered Misery.í Jovunka almost leaped out of her chair in excitement. She told him it was her favorite of his, but didnít think heíd ever allow her to use it. He said with a smile that he was full of surprises. ”I would never have thought of you as an actor. Let alone a producer. Iím glad to see you expanding your horizons. Pretty productive day.” But that wasnít the end of it. Vin took the limo they sent him to the marina out in brooklyn, where he had a boat, a brand new Titan waiting for him. Aboard and mostly ready for night fishing were the usual cast of characters. His wife Vhodka, his best friend Tommy, The Queens Champion Murphy Doyle Maher, Vinís son Call who was very sad that Ripley wasnít there, and his sister Rose. Ciara had opted to stay home but Rose never missed a chance to impose her will on something smaller than her. JJ Starfire and Asher were also there, and while JJ seemed excited to be there, Asher was anything but. In fact, to balance out the macho vibe of fishing, had decided to wear a cheerleading outfit heíd Ďboughtí from a local thrift store. The kids were all down below deck, waiting to go to sleep for a bit before the fun got started, while the adults gathered around the back of the boat to watch the motor console get going. Five motors all in a row meant that this boat could reach 65 mph on open water and even Asher was excited to see it. As Vin discussed with the captain which route to take, Buck, Vhodkaís father, walked up with a beer in each hand and gave Vin one.

Buck Bickett
Thanks fír putting this together, son. Iím excited.

Vincent Black
Ever deep sea night fish before?

Buck Bickett
Son, Other than the war,I barely left my town let alone the country.

Vincent Black
The best part about fishing at night is the bait. Once the sun goes down squids and other type of smaller fish float up to the surface. We just run a net through the water and gather all the bait we want.

Buck Bickett
Sounds good to me. Appreciate the invite. Though I worry about the boy over there in the dress. He goní get a bit cold, no?

Vincent Black
Asher is tougher than he looks. Heís going through some pretty heavy shit at all times, and he refuses to talk about it. Took me forever just to get it out of him what his deal is.

Buck Bickett
What is his deal?

Vincent Black
He wants to be known for something. He just doesnít know what that is. Heís spent so much time fighting for survival, he never really gave success a second thought. He wants to be a luchadore. And heís got the talent. I got him a coach, and a lucha trainer, but itís other shit thatís getting to him. His size. When I lost to Clauson, I know it made him see that itís possible to not be the biggest guy in the room, and still have a place. But he doubts himself. Doing what heís always done is easy. So I made him a deal. A bargain. He trains as hard as he can, and follows orders, and Iíd find his sister. So far, iíve had zero luck.

Buck Bickett
Now wait a second, why didnít you just give him over to the luchadoer that beat ya? Obviously if heís good enough to beat you, heís worth training under?

Vincent Black
Iíd pull my teeth out with a wrench before I let Graham Clauson pollute that kid with his bullshit ideals. Yes, he beat me. Not a difficult thing to do when I genuinely donít give a fuck about the fight. But what he hasnít done, not even once, is hold himself accountable for all of his past fuck ups. He points fingers at everyone else, but never accepts his decision making abilities are as flawed as he is boring. He makes excuse after excuse, mostly before the fact, just so he has some bullshit to fall back on. He introduces drama where there is fucking none and expects everoyne else to be at the very least understanding but mostly wants them to give a fuck about his personal issues with..well everyone. Guy is talented, when he shuts the fuck up about shit that no one cares about, but heís overshadowing that talent with his inability to not be a whiney cunt. We donít need another one. What that kid needs is motivation. And for the life of me I canít figure out what kind.

Buck Bickett
Want me to have a talk with him?

Vincent Black
Buck, I think you would give great advice to almost anyone, But that little shit would eat you alive. Or make you throw him overboard. Either way.

Buck Bickett
Tell you what though. You train that boy up right, you sick him on this Clauson fella. Show him that not only is he not on your level, he ainít even on them whatís beneath yeh.

Vin and Buck clanked bottles and drank to the idea. As Vin swallowed his eyes settled on Asher. Asher was looking at Call and Rose, who had just woken up and were now coming to eat dinner outside. They sat down next to each other and Rose helped Call keep his plate still as he cut up his chicken cutlet. Asher who has made a life of being secretive could hide how he was feeling from most. But his eyes told Vin all he needed to know, and Vin excused himself from Buck and made his way over. Asher looked away from the kids and fixed his skirt, looking out at the water as it splashed up against the boat. Vin sat next to him, but faced the opposite way. A beat passes before Vin speaks. The second he finishes speaking, Asher responds, and vice versa. As so.

You ok? Wonderful.Donít lie. Iíve never lied ever, nía even once.Asher. Right as rain, I am. Promise.I need your help. Name it, guv. Do my best.I need more info. Iíve hit a wall finding your sister. Is there any concrete info you can give me? Anything at all? Might as well call it off. No sense trying this hard just to fail...when I was a kid, I didnít have anyone. But then one day, I had a family. A family that didnít really understand me. It wasnít until my sister, Sarah, that I felt included. I want that for you. Why, tho? Whatís it to yeh? Why bother?Because.. Save it.No. You promised me youíd train, and I promised you I’d find your sister. Youíve held up your end. I will not fail mine. No worries. Wonít be the first to do so.

Asher walks away, his eyes squinting from the smoke blowing into his eyes from the cigarette stuck between his lips. Vhodka walks up to Vincent with a chicken cutlet sandwich she has already taken a bite out of and hands it to him. The two split the sandwich, sending it back and forth as they look out at the water silently reflecting.

Vhodka Black
We have brought every sad person we know to go fishing. Did we do this on purpose?

Vincent Black
I donít think so…but itís us. So its possible.

Vhodka Black
MDM stands for Mopey Depressed and Mopey because boats and water and being awake remind him of Sarah, Call is upset because Ripley isnít here, Rose is upset because Ciara didnít come, Asher is upset because he feels alone in the universe and…actually JJ seems to be in a good mood. So at least we have him.

Vincent Black
Your dad, too. Heís in a good mood. Was talking to him about Clauson.

Vhodka Black
…Did he..

Vincent Black
What?

Vhodka Black
..you know..

Vincent Black
I donít.

Vhodka Black
You do…the…

Vincent Black
Oh, yes he was very against it.

Vhodka Black
my dad is not a homophobe he just doesnít…get it.

Vincent Black
Oh, that. I didnít mention that.

Vhodka Black
Donít pretend to know what Iím talking about.

Vincent Black
Donít make me have to in order to find out.

Vhodka Black
Fair. Fair. So what was his take on Clauson?
Vincent Black
Says I should send Asher.

Vhodka Black
Did you tell him about your fear?

Vincent Black
Of making Asher feel like Luchadores arenít viable once he sees me rip his self obsessed annoying face off and wipe my ass with it? No. I didnít. Because I donít discuss my fears with anyone but you.

Vhodka Black
I think Asher will just be glad that you got your hands on him. Clauson sassed him backstage right after last time. As much as that kid pretends otherwise, he sure does look up to you. Because youíre tall.

Vincent Black
I am very tall.

Vhodka Black
And handsome.

Vincent Black
I am very handsome.

Vhodka Black
Youíre like a better looking Xavier.

Vincent Black
You trying to get –

Vhodka Black
Always, yes. I wish Ripley was here.

Vincent Black
Do better with your segues.

Vhodka Black
Sorry. Sheíd love it. ĎLexis says sheís been really tired lately. Said sheís going to get her some vitamins.

Vincent Black
…you didnít tell her how Vitamins are a scam, did you?

Vhodka Black
No but I sent her that powerpoint I made.

Vincent smiled. The powerpoint she made was literally two slides that consisted of a title card that says Ďvitamins are bad becauseÖí and then the second was a picture of Graham Clauson with the text ĎThis little halfwit probably took them his entire life and heís still a short cunt with no future worth discussing.í

Vincent Black
Thatís a good powerpoint.

Vhodka Black
Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Vincent Black
I hope Asher doesnít see the way we destroy this deplorable vermin as a sign that he canít hang. Their size is the only common quality they share. Asher, despite himself most of the time, wants to be successful. He wants to work at it. Heís been going out every night, with Mutante and fighting in lesser promotions to practice.

Vhodka Black
Excuse me, my baby is injured.

Vincent Black
No, heís not. He came to me after blood money and told me he wasnít ready to be at this level. That while guys like Clauson could fake their way to the upper tier, he wasnít sure he could. So i told him to say he hurt his ankle, and to go practice. Get his skills sharper. So thatís what heís been doing. If X finds out heís going to fine him, but thatís fine. Iíll pay it. Iíd pay millions to keep this kid from comparing himself to that glass of tap water Clauson.

Vhodka Black
Tap water?

Vincent Black
No one wants tap water. No one seeks out tap water. No one comes home from a long day and enjoys tap water. They drink tap water only when there is a lack of something preferable on hand. That is what Clauson is in this business. Heís a placeholder. A substitute. Itís why heís so insecure despite his successí. He knows it. Xavier can talk about how heís an asset but heís off by two letters. Heís bargain basement rejects level talent. Two for one this week, free for entering the store next. Itís why he canít stop talking about past promotions or our match. Beating me was the peak of his career, possibly his life. This is a man who has been in the upper tier since Fight has formed and yet still can not keep the words Ďburiedí out of his mouth long enough to take a breath. He wants to know what itís like to be buried. Iíll gladly fucking show him.

For every time my name dropped out of that redneck vagina he calls a mouth, I shall pluck out a tooth. For the times heís overlooked his own opponent to turn his gaze to me, Iíll gladly pluck out an eye. This amatuer. This halfwit who stands on a ladder heís not qualified to carry let alone ascend. He wishes to be my enemy, to be my equal. To lord over me the one victory heís got that is worth anything. He has not yet realized that him beating me is a feat. Me beating him is a foregone conclusion. He isnít worth my effort. So Iíll have to make sure this is worth my while.

Make sure that the next time the most boring, long winded, asshole this business has ever seen opens his fucking useless but for one thing mouth to speak my name, it will be with less teeth, and more praise. Because while this is all for my amusement, there is nothing amusing about me. Except like the parks, you have to be this tall to matter, and Clauson doesnít a-…what?

Vhodka Black
…this sandwich needs mayo…did we bring mayo?

Vincent Black
…Iím kind of doing a thing here.

Vhodka Black
Do it on the way to get me mayo?

Mayonnaise on chicken cutlets? Perverse.

Hours later, Vincent stepped down into the cabin area and took his children to the large bedroom in the back. Walking past Asher who was looking at his phone and eating a bag of lays potato chips. Vincent laid the children down into their bed, and asked if theyíd like a story, or a song. Call said story, and Rose agreed. Vincent sat down on the corner of the bed, and tucked each in as cozy as he could before beginning.

Vincent Black
Parrots are green, and goldfish are red. Elephants are green, and pigs are pink. All animals have a color of their own. Except for Chameleons. They change color wherever they go. On lemons, they are yellow. In the heather, they are purple. And on tigers, they are striped like tigers. One day, A chameleon was sitting on a tigers tail when he had a thought. If I remain on a leaf, I will be green forever, and I too, will have a color of my own. And with this thought, he cheerfully climbed onto the greenest leaf. But in the autumn, the leaf turned yellow, and the chameleon turned yellow. Later, the leaf turned red, and the chameleon turned red. And then the winter winds blew the leaf off the branch, and with it, the chameleon. The chameleon was black in the long winters night. But when spring came, the chameleon walked out into the green grass, and there he met another chameleon. He told his sad story. ĎWonít we ever have a color of our own?í he asked. ĎIím afraid notí said the other chameleon, who was older and wiser. But why donít we stick together… Asher peered into the bedroom, having heard the entire story. He could not explain the urge to do so, or why he caved to it, but he did. And when his eyes met Vincentís, who was staring through the open door directly at him, a chill took him over to hear the next part of the story. …Weíll still change colors wherever we go, but you and I will always be alike.

Asher walked out of the cabin and Vincent finished the story, before kissing both of the kids goodnight. He stepped out onto the deck and joined his wife and father in law, who were watching Murphy fight and lose to, of course, a very large fish that never broke the surface. Asher on the other hand, pulled in a sea bass that was almost as big as him, and beamed with pride to see it. Vincent walked over and offered to show him how to gut it, but Asher threw up at the very idea, and went to lay down on one of the lounge chairs nearby. As Vincent looked out at the black water bouncing the moonlight, he knew that the time was here. The day all men fear and long for at the same time. Today was the day that he would die once more. It happened once in awhile, mostly during times of anger, or happiness in extremes. The birth of his children, the anniversary of meeting both Candice and Vhodka. The days leading up to the instance were always different, but they always ended the same. Vincent would lay down to sleep, and he would pass from this world. He would awaken in a dark room save for a table and two chairs that existed beneath the only source of light. Vincent would make his way to that table, drag that chair away from the table as the sound of the legs digging into the floor echo all around him. Soon his friend would join him, and they would either play a game with each having an outcome preferred, or there would be a conversation with an outcome already decided. The games were usually simple. Chess. Checkers. Poker. Dominos. His friend was not picky. They just wanted to play with someone that liked them instead of feared them. And Vincent was their favorite of them all. Joining Vincent at the table, his friend pulled out his chair, and sat. A grunt of comfort as he settled down into the chair. His boney gloved hands reached up, and pulled away his hood, revealing nothing more than a floating skull for a head. No neck, no flesh, just bone. Vincent leaned forward on his elbows and greeted his friend warmly with a smile. An act that we get the impression would have been returned, had the friend had lips to part for a smile. The hours would pass by and Vincent would tell him about his day. About the acting, the fishing, and what occurred in between. But as all conversations amongst friends go, this one got personal.

So tell me, Vincent. Are you happy?

Vincent Black
I am. There are things that could be improved. But otherwise, my life is good.

I am very glad to hear that, Vincent.

Vincent Black
Itís nice to say. Howíre things on your end?

There are no days off for me. Business is constant.

Vincent Black
We have that in common.

I feel your wonder. Is this a conversation? Or do you have to play to continue our bargain?

Vincent Black
I would like to know.

It is only a conversation between friends, Vincent. Are you still enjoying your end?

Vincent Black
Very much so. People ask how Iíve yet to age, though.

Not that much. In passing, yes. But not with any amount that should worry you. As the deal demands.

Vincent Black
..Am I crazy or is there a conversation you want to have?

You are not. Yes, there is. There are two things I feel you need to know. But one of them is tricky. As you know, the rules of my work are stringent. There is no give. Only take. But as we are friends, I feel the need to warn you. There is someone, someone in your life that is on my list. Someone you care for. Time is going to come where a decision will have to be made. It will not be an easy one.

Vincent Black
…is there anything you can tell me?

The decision wonít be yours. As much as youíll wish it was.

Vincent Black
And the other thing?

She called for me. Every day just before they opened that door, and every night as she waited for it to begin again, she called for me. She begged, she demanded, that I come and take her. End her suffering. But because of you, I didnít dare. Iím sorry if that upsets you, I wasnít sure how youíd feel about it. I apologize if I was wrong.

Vincent Black
I donít even know.

To make it up to you, Iíll mind my business on friday. You get your friend as close to me as you like. Now go. Wake up with your wife, and fish with your friends. And Iíll see you soon,

Vincent Black
Hopefully not too soon.

Vincent woke up the next day the way he always did after meetings with his friend. In the bed he laid down in the night before, in the same place. This time with Vhodka in his arms. He forgot all that was said, and anything he learned, but he came away feeling hopeful, and appreciative. Usually. Today he wanted to find Graham Clauson, and make him a bargain of his own. Vin would beat him half to death, and Graham would wish heíd gone the entire way. The next day, Vincent returned to his and Vhodkaís home and showered together, before getting dirty again and needed yet another shower. As they laid their, her in his arms, and her with a kit kat in her hand, They looked out the huge windows to central park and let the breeze from the altitude chill them a bit as the warmth of each other kept them cozy. A text message alert went off, and Vhodka peered down at the phones, both of them thrown to the floor with recklessness.

Vincent Black
Whos?

Vhodka Black
You.

Vincent Black
Who?

Vhodka Black
Asher.

Vincent Black
It can wait. I have a question.

Vhodka Black
Oooh is it a breadbox?

Vincent Black
Yes. Now my turn. Dru, bearded fucks partner, donít we hate her?

Vhodka Black
no. We love her.

Vincent Black
This is the one from F2B?

Vhodka Black
Yes.

Vincent Black
We hated her. I am certain. Something about her crotch being onion scented.

Vhodka Black
That was then. Time has passed. We love her now.

Vincent Black
Its been six months.

Vhodka Black
Yes.

Vincent Black
They should study you.

Vhodka Black
Aw.

The phone goes off again, this time itís a few messages at once. Vin picks his hand off of Vhodkaís
chest and points to the floor.

Vincent Black
Give.

Vhodka Black
KÖ. Vhodka reaches down and grabs it, her ass exposed to the wind and Vincentís index and middle finger. She yelps as the pinch is delivered, and rears back, handing him his phone.

Vhodka Black
Whatís it say?

Vincent Black
Says ĎLeft a package for you at reception. Itís a book that a therapist who tried to help me wrote. He says he was trying to help me, but truth be told he was only trying to write a story that would make him rich. Iíve bought every copy I’ve ever seen. I hope to get him on the best sellers list so I can find him again and tell him to go fuck himself. Maybe itíll be the help you need to help me. Please donít tell Vho-oops.

Vhodka Black
Itís fine. He just doesnít want me to think he likes you better. Which is impossible. Also why didnít he just tell us the name of this guy, we couldíve found him?

Vincent Black
Asher doesnít understand. He thinks Iím training someone who I want to work beside me. Someone to further my name. If he knew the truth, not like heíd believe it, but if he knew, heídprobably quit. But I donít need a partner. I need a replacement. Someone who, when I leave this business, takes up the spot I carved out. The unpredictability, the menacingly absent of care. I know itís him, Fran. And while I am a long way from retirement, Iíd like to leave him with the keys to the castle instead of a spot in the barn. Iím gonna go get that book.

Vin stood up, cracking his back as he did so. Throwing on a bathrobe that was obviously not his as it barely covered his cash and prices, he also slipped his feet into mismatched furry slippers and made his way to the elevator, which deposited him into the lobby. A very friendly guard offered up the book wrapped in a paper bag and silently nodded. Vincent took the book and was about to get back on the elevator when he noticed a reporter and a camera crew standing outside. He placed the book on the counter of the security desk and snatched the bottle of water from the guard. Pouring it over his head, he used his hand to comb back his hair. It wasnít going to hold for long, but it would hold just long enough. Stepping outside Vin walked up to the reporter and snatched the microphone, apologizing under his breath before launching into a rant dead at the camera.

Vincent Black
There are people in this business, who go out of their way FOR this business. Dickie Watson, for example. He won our title and did he make it theÖconcentration point of his career? No. He kept worrying about every other rinky dink promotion he was contracted to. More so than here. Because to Dicky itís not the job, itís the business. I can respect that.

On the opposite side, you got guys like Joe Montouri. Love him or hate him, the man is a fucking legend. Some of the shit we do today, he started. End of conversation. He could have his hand in a million places, making 10 times what he makes just for making an appearance. But he doesnít because to him itís not about the promotion, or even the business. Itís about loyalty. About putting his name down and saying ĎI stand here.í I respect that.

And you got guts like MDM, who havenít won barely a match, let alone been in the final of blood money. He even got rewarded for his effort in the last few weeks with a belt meant to highlight his lack of results rather than his constant effort. And does he spend his time bitching and moaning? No. He keeps coming. Because thatís what Fighters do. I respect that.

What I canít respect is a man like Clauson who has spent more time in this promotion as well as predecessor commenting and complaining than he has strived. Clauson does not believe he is worth more than he is, he is convinced. Hereís the issue, no one else is.Not because of who he is as a performer. Because of who he is as a person. Or more fittingly, what he is. And what Graham is; is a cunt. A big mouthed, little legged cunt. He has no loyalty, which is why he dropped his mouth piece of a manager the second he wasnít useful. He has no professionalism which is why he constantly gives more praise to the places heís been rather the place heís at. And to make matters worse, heís decided itís his lifeís mission to do nothing fucking else but to call my name. Because he beat me? Letís get this right. No one beats me.

You might win a match, get a pin fall, make me tap. But you wonít beat me because I canít be beaten. In the weeks since I met him last, Iíve moved on. Fought other fights, while he, the so-called winner, has been running at the mouth like the sorest fucking winner the world has ever seen. And when it comes down to it, I blame myself. Iíve let you wag your tail in my direction like the teacup terrier you are, when I shouldíve punted you every week after. But that changes now. Vhodka and I are going to show you that you always bet on Black. And as far as Druscilla goes, my wife loves her. I donít know when that happened but I do, too. Itís a rule apparently? So the only threat I pose to her is if I decide to grab her by her fucking ankles and hit him with her. Because her horses are the kind you want.

See, a fighters career is like a chariot. Most of us equip our chariot with pride, experience, loyalty, professionalism, and drive. But Clauson, he has outfitted his with fear of being exposed as a fluke, excuses prior to the fact to draw on later, ignorance of who he is and what heís doing, and a diva mentality. WellÖClausonÖI am going to make your fears a reality, your excuses minimal, your ignorance obvious, and your diva mentality more like a diva cup, which is used for bloody cunts like you. Graham, itís come time to say goodbye to your horses.

Vin throws open the robe to reveal his genitals are tucked between his legs with only a tuff of trimmed red pubic hair. He slowly hopes backwards with his arms outstretched, the flimsy robe waving as he moves. He tilts his head and starts blowing kisses to the reporter and the crowds which gathered around to watch. He turns and enters the tower, grabbing the book from the counter and heading back up to his apartment. When he would get upstairs, Xavier would be waiting for him. Not to reprimand but for comfort. But thatís a story for another time.