Discover

By: Vincent Black

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 4th Nov 2021

The Compound located in Parts Unknown was in full autumnal bloom as Vincent pulled his El Dorado up to the entrance gate. Having been bogged down with business in New York, he’d not been back in sometime. He hadn’t even approved plans for his new home yet. But it was nice to see the area again, even if it was technically as a visitor. As he passed the trees that he had transplanted to line the drive, he almost missed his turn. The turn he was meant to take every day for the rest of his life, for the first time in months. And yet instead of concentrating on the feeling it caused him, He thought about Warstein.

Warstein who had done in this business what so many had attempted to do, but successfully. Vincent included. He made a name for himself. One that followed him every where he want and in everything he did. He didn’t have to live up to someone else’s name. Only his own. Was Vincent envious? He couldn’t tell. As much as he’d grown, self examination was still new to him. And rare at best.

Parking at the bottom of the drive instead of pulling up to the house felt like a good idea to him. Parking in front of the house was for friends, or those who inhabit the structure. Not for visitors. Not for men who walked away…

Vincent started to think about his past, but instead, almost as if it was beyond his control, he returned to Warstein. Warstein who had pulled his car up to his house. Parked in front of his home, and acted, not like a visitor, but as if it were built for him. In his preferred decor. Vincent, who had spent so much of his time and energy, and blood and sweat, and tears, building this side of the world they invaded, only to have people like Warstein stroll in and act like it had been erected for their presence to grace it. And he hadn’t even knocked. He just barged right in. And it wasn’t until now that Vincent had been given the opportunity to welcome him. Officially.

Vincent on the other hand, did not barge right in, despite having designed this house, it was not his home. His hand knocked against the redwood door, and he instinctively turned to look away, why he could not tell you, but it was because seeing your family walk toward the front door was uncomfortable, even for someone such as him. It was so odd to be standing outside of his own home, or what was once his own home, waiting to be let in. He could hear commotion inside, and was both amused by it, as he was reassured. Telling kids to be ready by 10 meant that at least two of them wouldn’t start getting ready until 9:5. The door opened, and the small boy known as Call Black answered, his eyes heavy from the morning nap he’d just taken while he waited by the door. In the rear, he could see his two daughters arguing over a pair of shoes that each were sure were theirs and not the others. Again, his mind swapped from what he was doing, to what would soon need doing. New Status Quo. It dripped of the kind of new wave flavor that all of these fucking people had. It wasn’t like the old days, when he was new and they all went by names that sounded as tough as the people who made the group up. Unbreakablez. Uncivilized. Natural Born Killers. Those were real names. New Status Quo was just..It was an excuse to have an acronym. It was an excuse to use the letter Q which was the new X or Z. It was…it was perfect, is what it was. And that bothered Vincent more than anything. They had absolutely changed things. Everything, really. And while they accomplished all of this in front of Vincent, they had not accomplished it despite him. He had given no effort towards stopping their clear cut domination over the entirety of Fight. Like a doctor who cuts out a cancer after it kills the patient, he finds himself now operating under a too little, too late umbrella. A feeling, he discovers, is not one of the few he enjoys. Vincent shook the image from his head and smiled. He bent down, kissed his son on the top of the head, and walked in. His son, practically his clone, rolled his eyes at the performance echoing from the upstairs, where the argument had traveled organically and with volume. Vincent looked down and nodded at his son, who took off into the rear of the house, most likely to play video games like Roblox or Minecraft until his sisters were ready. Vincent had told himself that life in this house had to have changed dramatically. But the truth was, he discovered, was quite contrary to his belief. Life was the same as it had been. The kids fighting, the house stood, and the glade automatic dispensers were all well timed to keep the seasons approved scent in the air. The only change to the reality of this house was that Vincent was no longer a part of it.

It would be the same for Warstein one day. Looking at this business he’s become such an integral part of. Such a well known name. Such a well known talent. Reliable and steadfast in all his endeavors. Granted, he was no James Raven, but he was popular. He kept his name in the front of the kind of minds that would keep him in mind. Whether or not it belonged there, wasn’t for Vincent to say. Perhaps it was for Vincent to prove or disprove? But never to say.

Meandering into the kitchen, Vincent came upon the master of the house, his ex-wife.She was sat at the counter that he had imagined they’d eat breakfast at for years to come, her arm resting elbow first with her coffee cup gripped by the exterior and not the handle, and her ipad propped up in front of her, open to the business section of the NYT. She turned to see her ex, and smiled. Nodding to the nespresso in silent permission to help himself. Sitting down with his cup of Intenso after the machine had done his thing, he looked at every detail around him and discovered that the room had not changed. Some people would feel the need to change everything after a divorce. Make the place new again. Knock down a wall, install a thing or something. At the very least paint all the rooms. Not Candace. The paint did nothing wrong. It was her husband that was a shitheel.

Not just personally, but professionally. Vincent had no aspirations to rule this business once more. Did not want to be held in the same light as those who now were on the top of the shopping list of every promotion in the country and some outside. He had wanted to fight Dickie just to see how the man measured up, and found a fight he should have expected. Now, with Shawn, he found a fight he didn’t have expectations for. He only wanted to do what he wanted to do. And not lift himself up into the light, but perhaps drag pieces of Shawn out of it. Vincent wanted to remind Shawn that his presence in this business is not unlike Vincent’s presence in this house. It will not be a difficult transition for anyone to make. You will be here, and then one day, you will not. Perhaps someone Vincent knows will have a hand in expediting such. Perhaps Shawn will have a hand in Vincent vanishing from this home, too.

Candace turned on her stool to face him, smiling, and bringing him back to reality. It had been awhile since she saw him in dad mode, and it felt new if not familiar. Vincent, who compartmentalized most of his feelings and emotions, sealed the box that contained his professional thoughts, and opened the one that held his familial ones. It was not a transition that he was good at nor used to.

Vincent Black
They’re arguing over shoes. They have how many pairs?

Candace Voodoo Black
Twins. Can’t live with them, can’t separate them.

Vincent Black
I’m just glad the boy isn’t high maintenance.

Candace Voodoo Black
That’s coming. Wait until he discovers cars. Or computers. Then his costs will go up and how.

Vincent Black
So, I should have them back by 8. I will be feeding them.

Candace Voodoo Black
Very kind of you.

Vincent Black
I am a gracious god, yes. Does Marie have any dietary restrictions? I know Ripley has a few. And Call refuses to eat anything green…

Candace Voodoo Black
Actually it’s yellow now.

Vincent Black
Yellow? Since when?

Candace Voodoo Black
Honestly I’m not even sure. It just sort of developed. I can’t even recall what the green thing was about.

Candace and Vincent both smiled a second later, remembering just what the green thing was about. Apparently Call had discovered that bananas were green before they were yellow. And so green things were not done yet. When they had tried to explain to him that wasn’t the case, that sometimes green was the color things were when they were done, Call had countered with ‘maybe we haven’t waited long enough.’

Now, with yellow, they could surmise that Call had discovered that certain yellow things turned green, and that some green things started green, which made yellow the rawest of colors and not to be trusted. But with a boy like him, any question into his motives was often seen as an attack on his views. Candace and Vincent both blamed the other for this, while secretly being certain it was no one’s fault by their own. Stubbornness was genetic. Who knew.

Candace Voodoo Black
Why are you asking about Marie’s diet?

Vincent Black
…she’s coming isn’t she?

Candace Voodoo Black
You want to take…I’m confused. Why are you taking her?

Vincent Black
You think I’m going to take 3 out of the 4 kids who live here to an amusement park? I’m many things, Candace. I’m not a monster.

Candace Voodoo Black
Really?

Vincent Black
…not to children.

Candace Voodoo Black
Let me make sure it’s ok with her father. Be right back.

Vincent drank the rest of his coffee, and suddenly heard a commotion from upstairs, followed by a scream. Standing up to run to the source of the noise, he found himself in a difficult place. Was it his place to even go upstairs? Is that trespassing? What if the scream was one thing, and the noise another? Vincent’s mind wandered and he found himself imagining a scenario where Candace goes to Roger, Roger in a certain way, takes Candace. Not that it’s any of his business. But maybe one of the kids walked in. And screamed. Should he add himself to this awkwardness? What if someone is dying though? And no one has a cell phone nearby? What if they are all trapped and Vincent is the only person who can help them? What if…

Candace Voodoo Black
The girls aren’t going anywhere…Candace said entering the room and ripping open the freezer to grab two ice packs from the many contained inside. They just came to blows over a goddamn pair of shoes. A pair of shoes they bought together and agreed to split. So, I’m sorry, but they’re grounded. Call and the star witness are free to go, but these little bitches are in lockdown.

Vincent Black
I agree with the sentence, your honor. But I have to ask..

Candace Voodoo Black
Vincent.

Vincent Black
Candace.

Candace Voodoo Black
…Rose threw first. From what Marie told me she missed with the fist but caught her with the elbow. Ciara was knocked off kilter but spun around and caught Rose in the side. Now they’re both miserable and Marie may have a future in play-by-play.

Vincent Black
Sounds on par for this group.

Candace Voodoo Black
I’m sorry, Vin. I know you were looking forward to today. But we can’t reward stuff like this. They could turn out…i don’t know, like us?

Vincent Black
There are worse things.

Candace Voodoo Black
…better things, too.Candace tipped her cup over in the sink and walked out without another word. Vincent was glad they’d gotten this much pleasantry out of their interaction. Wanting any more would be just as foolish as expecting any at all. He was sure in some reality there was a pair of people who had their story and were somehow more comfortable around each other, but this was this reality and Vincent was discovering that sometimes, you took the good for what it was and let it be enough.

After a few minutes, Call and Marie were presented and ready for a day at the fair. The neighboring town, which the name of is none of yours business, had not put on a fall fair in many years due to budgetary restraints. But having a group of rich people buy a chunk of land adjacent to your town and infuse cash into it tends to relieve that sort of pressure. So much in fact that you throw a lavish fair for the entire town. Food vendors from all over the area brought their trucks in, and parked them along the avenue that leads to the fair grounds. Metal made chaotic was placed about the area, with lines leading up to and away from each. Ticket booths bookended the area, not allowing anyone to get in or out without being tempted by one more thrilling or jovial experience. Rides that spun, or dipped, or both. Rides that went fast and slow, or slow and fast. Rides that severed no other point than just letting you sit down at different heights for a chunk of time, and rides that were designed only to make one vomit. Those last kinds were no ones favorite, and avoided by most. Even Vhodka. Walking through the crowds with the three children ahead of them, Vincent and Vhodka shared a basket of deep fried Oreos. Vincent, who had discovered Oreo’s to be the perfect cookie, was shocked to further discover how much better they are fried. Looking at the children, Vincent smiled and watched as they compared their candy apple flavors to each others, certain that each was jealous of anothers choice. He was also certain that all three of their parents would be very disappointed at their diets over the course of the day, but he was the father of two, Vhodka was the mother of one, and the third should not have been left under their supervision if they had any sense and/or expectations. So candy apples they got. As Vhodka rested her head on his shoulder, Vincent stopped. The kids were watching a man throw darts at balloons, and when he won a teddy bear, six eyes turned to Vincent with expectations and a sense that they might get what they wanted. Vincent handed the remaining Oreos to Vhodka, and stepped up. The sign said 3 balloons = one small. 3 same balloons = one big. The sign was fucking stupid as that made no sense, but Vincent understood what it was meant to convey, and asked for 9 darts, dropping a hundred dollar bill on the table, and received an amount in change that concerned him. But he shook it off. And as Vincent grasped the first dart, he could feel where the weight had been tampered with. A small beed insirrd just into the body of the dart, and covered with wax to hide its addition. Got to love Carnies. Winging the yellow plastic dart, he aimed for a red balloon, and…

Pop
Sure, he could spend less money and less time and get the same bear, if not better..
Pop
Sure, he could spend less money and less time in obtaining something these kids would use for far longer..

Pop
But while the costs were less, the cost was higher. For where was the sport in that?

Pop
What was impressive about doing it that way as opposed to this one?

Pop
Could one really derive the worth of a person from the means in which they secure a thing?

Pop
Is the worth of the thing itself not the criteria for judgement?

Pop
Vincent took the last two darts and winged them one after the other, and the popping of balloons followed one after the other, until 9 red balloons were now no longer on the board. Placing the prizes in front of him, the long haired carnie asked if Vincent was a professional balloon popper. Vincent smiled. Not quite. More like a bubble burster. And while there were no prizes for doing it there were rewards. But sometimes they, like these bears, were utterly fucking useless.

And then Warstein came back to the forefront of his mind.

Should Vincent be victorious, he will successfully add respect to his name where no addition is required. He is not in line for a title, nor will he ever be again. Competing with someone as lauded as Warstein is the closest Vincent shall come to a reward, victory or not. On the other hand, Shawn, should he dodge defeat, will not have his name elevated an inch above where it already sits. There will be no accolade added to his already long and respectable list. His only reward for the effort will be having not lost to a man who hasn’t cared about success for over a decade. A paltry prize if there ever was one.

But again, like the balloons, this wasn’t about the prize. This was about the sport. The sport of facing something down that others might find difficult, but because you understand it, and all of it’s finer details and inner workings, it’s simpler for you. It’s just figuring out where the rub is. What makes this different from the other. It wasn’t the drive, nor the outlook. It was the want.

Vincent could easily afford a hundred bears like this with his pocket change. But these kids knew he won it for them, and that was the prize. For Vincent Black, getting the opportunity to compare himself to the new messiahs of the wrestling world, no matter how he secured it, that was the pay off for what was to come. That was the point. To make it simple; Shawn Warstein has to fight Vincent Black. But Vincent Black gets to fight Shawn Warstein.

Looking at the 3 large bears he had just won, Vincent realized that for the rest of their time, he would be rewarded with the right of carrying them. A small price to pay for the reaction he wanted, he thought. Which was smiles upon their faces. And at Venom 11, where Vincent Black took on the second member of NSQ indifferent about having to face him, he would have the same rewarding smile.

Vhodka Black
This was such a nice day. Are all days with kids like this?

Vincent Black
Of course. Every day is christmas.

Vhodka Black
Not for nothing, but these three are so well behaved. It’s almost unrealistic.

Vincent Black
Remember, Call knows what punishment gets you, thanks to his sisters. Marie was raised mostly by Roger, who is the politest man I know. And Ripley, well…she’s just a normal kid.

Vhodka Black
It’s nice?

Vincent Black
That someone gets to be normal? Yeah. I agree.

Vhodka Black
….we should have another kid.

Vincent Black
…you want to have another kid?

Vhodka Black
No! I mean…We had 3 now we have 2, we should have another!! WE LOST A SMALL PERSON, VIN!!

Vincent looked down and saw Call looking frantic. He looked to Call’s left and saw Marie, who was also looking scared. Of all the children he could have lost, he had to lose the daughter he wanted to abort that was born from the woman he’d not chosen, that was raised by two lesbians that didn’t quite like him. Of the three it was probably the worst. Granted, losing Roger’s kid would have been bad, too. Ok, so losing any child is a bad thing, let’s not get caught up. Vincent shoves the bears into Vhodka’s arms and rushes a light pole. He runs up it for about three steps before clamping his giant mitts onto it and pushing off with his legs, cementing him in his spot above the crowds more so than his above average height already does. Looking about, Vin finds Ripley a few feet away, standing over another little girl who is on the ground crying. Dropping, he runs over to the area and turns Ripley around. She explains that the little girl is lost, and that someone needs to help her. She hears Vincent say that she can’t do that, but Ripley tells him she knows where they parked, and she has his cellphone number, and she can take care of herself. But someone needs to help the little girl. Vincent nods, and speaks softly to the little girl who is sobbing and out of breath. He tells her she’s safe to come with him to the security booth. She stands up but is terrified, and Ripley offers her the teddy bear. Vincent is transported in that moment to a moment he once shared with his older ‘sister’ Marty. Adopted into the same dysfunctional family in Staten Island, the two of them had been inseperable for most of their childhood. Until the dentist got between them. Not just any dentist though, but their adopted father. Vincent, who at one point was the sadists favorite toy, had shirked him later in life. In order to capitlize on this, the son of a bitch made everything Vincent did to him seem as if it was aimed at Marty. And Marty, who was not as intelligent as Vincent, but far more capable of love, did her best to fight it. But when Vincent sees you as a tool of his enemy, he takes your presence in his life as harm not done but meant. And that could kill even the healthiest of relationships, which none involving Vincent Black can be referred to as such.

It wasn’t until the man died that Vincent saw just how firm a grip he had gotten on Marty. Using Vincent’s anger and refusal to even visit to turn Marty against him, and making her promise to never let him help her. If Marty was smart, she’d have known that with the sadist dds gone, there would be no one to help them but Vincent. That they would lose all they had, and if the piece of shit had played his cards right, that even after he was gone, and Vincent threw money at them to help, they’d still deny it, and still hate him for trying.

And from beyond the grave the monumental failure found the success he was looking for. He found his way to grip tightly the minds of his ‘loved ones’ long after his ‘soul’ had moved from his body. Vincent had taken to, in the times he wasn’t thinking of attacking folks like Warstein, daydreaming about helping Marty in some ways she’d accept. Because like Ripley had just done for this girl, Marty had put herself out there to help him, and gotten nothing but kicked because of it. Like a loyal dog to an abusive owner. The walk back to Vhodka was a small amount of time, but to Vhodka, who was now holding both Children upside down by their feet, and to Vincent, who was now stuck in a loop of every moment he ever had with his older sister, it was an eternity.

Vincent Black
..why are you holding them like that?

Vhodka Black
..they can’t escape. WHY do you have an extra one??

Vincent Black
Come on. Let’s find this one’s parents.

Vhodka Black
…ok so we’re not keeping her? Because we really don’t have room in the car..

Hours later, all children are reunited with their parents, and all families are once again whole. Vincent and Vhodka are sitting on the dock of Parts Unknown, watching the boats bob in the low tide, and eating the rest of their 3rd serving of Fried Oreos, when Vincent’s cellphone begins to rattle in his pocket, and shakes the board of the dock they’re sitting on. The very second Vin presses the accept button, his caller, his brother, begins yapping.

Xavier Black
You have got to try underwater driving, Vin. It’s choice. I’m telling you. No cap, most fun I ever had.

Vincent Black
How long before Le’ realizes your doing all this to get away from her?

Xavier Black
The fuck you talking about?

Vincent Black
Your wife threatens you constantly, can’t say I blame her. You suddenly take up hobbies that are too dangerous for pregnant women?

Vhodka Black
To be fair most of what he does in life should not be done by a pregnant woman.

Xavier Black
See!

Vincent Black
Fair point.

Xavier Black
Hop a jet. Come meet me. I’ll let you guys bang in the sub if you want.

Vincent Black
Raincheck. We just spent the entire day at the fair with 3 kids. We’re spent.

Xavier Black
Three? How? The girls have been tweeting at each other all day.

Vincent Black
We took Marie, Roger’s daughter.

Vhodka Black
…her name is peanut…

Xavier Black
Wait. You took the daughter of the guy that’s rumored to be schtooping your ex-wife to the fucking fair? What a si-

Vincent Black
WHAT? WHAT? HE’S WHAT? SINCE FUCKING WHEN? SINCE WHEN X!?

Xavier Black
gotta go. Call you later.

Vincent calmly placed the phone back in his pocket, and went back to admiring the night sky as he ate his oreo cookie in fried dough. Vhodka on the other hand was just looking at him, concerned and confused about how he just responded.

Vhodka Black
…you knew that rumor, but…we talked about it?

Vincent Black
I know, I just got tired of his bullshit. Least he’ll leave me alone for awhile now.

Vhodka Black
Masterful. Hey, you know how you dip oreos into milk and they’re so much better? What do you think you could dip fried oreos into to make them taste better?

Vincent Black
…you?.

Vhodka Black
Smooth but I don’t want fried things in my vagina. That’s gross. Fruit ok. But oils?

Vhodka and Vincent began to discuss the pros and cons of having frying oil absorbed by your vagina, cons of which there were many and pros of which there were few. As the last of the sunlight died, Vhodka looked at the area surrounding them, and for a moment felt as if she’d let her husband down. This was where his family was, and this was where he, most of the time was not. It was an issue they would not discuss today, but she would earmark a conversation that would have to be had at a later date and time.