I am what’s left
By: Pixie Sloane
Date: 16th Jul 2021
I felt pathetic. I was lacklustre.
Nothing like the Pixie Sloane that took Project Honor by storm, nothing like the debutant who had a belt around her waist in three matches. Four of us bundled onto Paul Montuori and he cleaned us all out. And I didnít care.
As I sat and applied iodine to one of the hundreds of knicks I had, this one on my arm, I couldnít give a shit. I know the Pixie that stood across the ring from Elena DeDraca would have taken Paul Montuori to the cleaners, would have been standing across from Dickie Watson and knowing that Iíd do to him the same that his big sister had done to him.
But that Pixie? Who was she anymore? Where did she go?
Naive. Buried. Gone. Useless.
She was the one who he targeted, who he cornered, who he choked the life out of. And what is left?
Silence. Thereís a silence to my soul. I am fall leaves under frost, I feel chill in my blood, coldness bringing the synapses of my brain to a standstill. I replay it over and over and everything else is fleeting. It passes quickly and fleetingly like carriages in the New York subway, not stopping for more than the briefest of glimpses. Rushing through, a torrent of disruption following in its wake and then it passes and all of a sudden Iím back there. There. With him. With his hands around my throat, squeezing just long enough that my body starts to wilt but not long enough that I lose conscious entirely. Heís toying with me. And through the fog I can see JJ, I can see Asher, and I can see Noelle, theyíre wondering what Iím thinking about and theyíre trying to snap me out of it, but it feels like theyíre out of reach, like they are not quite accessible because Iím overwhelmed by where my mind has taken me to.
When Iím feeling triggered, the world and everyone in it is behind fifty feet of glass. Loving bonds become inaccessible. It feels like a survival mode, and perhaps that is what the others think is happening, but it isnít. Iím not surviving, I am drowning. I am stuck, I canít get out. I want to get out but I canít find a way. I canít undo the trauma Iíve been through. I am trying to make it stop but every time it feels like Pixie comes to the surface, she gets swallowed back down, and deeper still.
To them, I was going through the motions. I was existing merely in the physical. I was distant, indifferent, hollow. Broken. Any number of other ways to chop up and boil down Pixie Sloane into a singular adjective.
JJ was waiting it out. Heíd seen this before. He knew that if he involved himself Iíd end up pushing him away. But he didnít have the foresight to tell the others, and Noelle was constantly making remarks. Part of me wanted to ax-kick her in the face, but I knew Iíd end up burning bridges with everyone and I wasnít in the right frame of mind to be making life-changing decisions, really, was I?
Asher was Asher. Always the same. Had his eye on the next opportunity. I had no idea what hairbrained scheme he was cooking up, the last one where they tried to get a sneak peak at FIGHT Tower didnít work out so well. We were quarantined. And now that the event is over, weíre in the Tower still. We have our apartment in the residential part of the tower, which, of course, we share. Iím not entirely sure what criteria ought to be filled in order for us to get some sense of freedom. At least point I didnít feel like Iíd be anywhere close to meeting any targets, anyway.
My focus is jilted from my thoughts because I catch something from the corner of my eye that seems out of place. A white business card.
These fucking things. I reach out for it, and pull it from the back-lit dressing table that looks as though it has been upcycled – poorly, I might add – from a workshop. There are splashes of lime green and pink paint up the sides and a yellow top, the drawers are purple and only some of them have handles. Frankly, if the rest of the apartment didnít match, Iíd refuse to entertain the idea that this belongs in my bedroom. But it was the same throughout. Mindless bright paint daubed around the place as though somebody with a wandering mind and a lot of ideas just got given permission to express themselves.
I have a feeling I know who.
VHODKA BLACK: Hi!
Comedic timing, as always. I spin around, card in hand. Vhodka Black looks at me expectantly. I furrow my brow back at her, then she nods in the direction of the card.
PIXIE SLOANE: Oh, you want me to..?
She nods enthusiastically. Hard work.
- Pixie, thank you for persevering despite it perhaps being the last thing you could have imagined doing last Saturday night. I am glad that you agreed to come home, and from here on I hope you will take the opportunity to open up to the ones who care about you. Someone very close to my heart, and yours, will be there for you when you are ready to unload. I know it might sound strange coming from me, but it really is better to get the weight off your shoulders and get some perspective.
I look back up at her. Again with the expectant look. I grunt, half-nod at her and turn away.
PIXIE SLOANE: Would you mind closing the door on your way out?
I hear a footstep, and then the click of the door, and my whole body relaxes.
It isnít that I have a problem with her, itís just that I have a problem with everyone, with people in positions of authority or people that, in theory, Iím supposed to trust. Because they let you down, right? They always seem to.
VHODKA BLACK: Iím not just a clown, you know. Not always.
She closed the door, but stayed in the room. My head swung around and half a beat later my body followed. Trust. I asked her to leave and she decided she knew better. She was right, though, sheíd been through the wringer lately. I felt for her. But in this moment I couldnít separate myself from what was going through my own mind.
VHODKA BLACK: Not everything has to relate to obscure fast food or phalluses.. Wait, phalli? [ a pause ] ah fuck it. You know what I mean. Dicks. Or strange symptoms of gonhorrea. I can focus. For short periods of time, but I can focus.
Even in a short sentence she managed to drift off topic a couple of times, which is why talk between her and myself tended to be minimal.
VHODKA BLACK: You left South America distraught. We chartered you a flight and ever since youíve spoken to nobody, youíve done nothing. Vin made me wait on this, to let you ride it out, but Iím not sure I can sit by and watch you throw it all away. So, like it or not, weíre going to talk. Honestly.
PIXIE SLOANE: Donít you have enough on your plate?
I eye her up and down, noting that sheís covered in marks and is probably in agony, but it doesnít show on her face and I donít think its just the botox suppressing it.
VHODKA BLACK: I donít even have a plate. And to be honest, Iím hungry..
PIXIE SLOANE: Figuratively? Or literally?
VHODKA BLACK: Literally, obviously. Got any bread in here?
I sigh. I can feel myself drifting off.
Like I would do when he was breathing down on me, my mind would go somewhere else whilst he did what he had to do with my body and Iíd find myself, hours later, with chunks of my night completely blank even though I knew Iíd been awake. Terrified to move for fear of rousing the beast.
VHODKA BLACK: Itís obvious that you came back to American soil bcause you lost to Elena DeDraca and youíre heart-broken over it. But let me tell you, Pixie, we will have our ups and downsí in our careers and thatís just the nature of it, Youíll lose again, and so will I. But we bounce back, it is all in the way you handle your loss.
PIXIE SLOANE: Handle my loss?
I stand up.
PIXIE SLOANE: HANDLE MY FUCKING LOSS?
I start moving towards Vhodka Black now, whoís a little surprised that I am stepping toward her in this moment.
PIXIE SLOANE: Have you lost your fucking mind? Did you watch that match? I am not upset about that match, NOR ITS OUTCOME. I am proud. Proud to have stood toe to toe with the person who most recently beat the reigning and defending FIGHT! EMPIRE Champion. I HANDLE MY LOSS. I didnít go and find a new fucking child to nurture to fill the hole in my soul where a title belt was, no. That was you.
Vhodka is clearly shocked by the mouth as I unload it on her.
PIXIE SLOANE: You really have no idea that I have a life beyond these four walls, do you?
VHODKA BLACK: You have a distinctive set of features.
PIXIE SLOANE: Evidently. Come for the content, stay for the pretty face? I dee kay.
VHODKA BLACK: So if youíre not in your feelings about losing, what is it?
PIXIE SLOANE: It was him. HIM. THEE HIM. He found me, even with the pseudonym. Kept showing up. I asked them to fix it, asked them to stop it, asked them to look after me and protect me. Before the match he left a camel in my dressing room. A dressing room that I expressly checked was full of non-smokers. And afterwards, he found me and dragged me to a broom closet, left me tied up. I donít know how long he was with me for, but I canít shake it. I canít shake the feeling that heís going to find me again, especially since FIGHT! NYC is taking off like nobody expected and is becoming one of the wrestling companies on the planet. More eyes means more words and more column inches means more exposure..
VHODKA BLACK: This is so easy to solve.
I look at her perplexed.
VHODKA BLACK: Trust me.
That phrase again.
VHODKA BLACK: I will make sure he never bothers you again. We can either wire his mouth shut for a few months, or just leave it shut. Iíll figure it out. You… Miss Pixie Sloane, will never feel like you felt. You will never have to worry about him, because I promise you that things are different now. Things are so different.
It was hard to trust her. Hard to believe in her. Not because she had done anything to deserve a lack of trust, but because so many people had done things so unexpectedly brutal to me that I found it hard to acknowledge that people were not intrinsically evil, or manipulative. I was alert, looking for the rub, looking for the moment where Iíd find the angle. The gotcha. Because to fool me once is shame on you, but I would not be shamed again.
VHODKA BLACK: I promise you, you have nothing to worry about. He will never make you feel out of control again, he will never have the chance to take your power away. You will be powerful, you will be strong, you will rise above. Come here. Come to me.
She pulled herself closer to me and I felt my face press against her chest bone, she squeezed me, one arm around the neck and the other around the waist. The pressure released something, released a valve or something that just allowed me to feel like a weight had lifted, like a burden was floating up above me into the atmosphere. The same burden that had so strongly felt like a concrete blanket weighing me down.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I could feel them flushing with red. I am an ugly crier, and I am embarrassed about it each and every time it happens, but I suddenly feel overwhelmed with emotions, and they stream out of me as I lean into her, as I sob my body aches and convulses. She makes a strange noise with her mouth, trying to calm me as though I wa an infant.
I donít know how she knew, how she felt that emotion build up, but she picked her moment and all of a sudden it felt like I could see colour again, it felt like I had something to aim for, and it felt like I was grateful.
When Big Tony found me on the streets, Iíd been very quiet, and kept my problems to myself. It took two years to tell him what happened to me and why I was a street kid, I felt grateful that Iíd managed to open up to Vhodka in a much shorter period of time, I felt grateful that these kind humans gave me the opportunity to grow. The bitter side of that gratefulness presented itself immediately, though, because I also felt a pang of guilt in the pit of my stomach knowing that this would have killed Big Tony to see, to see me broken up about it. To see him have his way with me. He wouldnít have allowed it. Dad would have known better.
Nevertheless, Vhodkaís kindness reminded me of Tonyís kindness. I could see in her eyes that she didnít have a deceitful eye. I wasnít sure if it was because she was an intrinsically good person or whether she was just too stupid to play manipulation games.
She pressed her lips into the top of my head, dotingly, and walked away.
As I looked down at the white card again, trading my fingers over the beaded lettering that rose embossed from the card, I wondered how anybody knew any of this stuff. In this moment, on this day, how could one possibly predict that this conversation is the one I needed?
Perhaps this person could and would help me turn my focus to VENOM #1, because in the interest of picking up the shattered pieces of my life, I supposed that I ought to consider the fact that I was wrestling tomorrow night in front of a live American audience for the first time. I was fighting somebody who had also recently started working within this group. Rumor had it that he was laying pipe on the former GM of OPW, Miss Michelle, and whilst that was perhaps noteworthy, it didnít really tick much of note now that she had lost her power and seemingly her mojo. Iíd love to see her rise, to see her become what she always threatened she could be but never quite pulled off.
He was stirring the hornetís nest of Brandon Moore, looking to get a full house tour of the Michelle and Brandon Moore residence including exiting through the gift shop that doubled up as a murder shed. I had no skin in this game, I had no skin in any game. I didnít want to draw anybodyís ire because their petty problems didnít interest me in the slightest. He has a crush on Chelle, heís simping hard, and heís going to get buried.
I feel like Iím just an anonymous brick in the wall, one that doesnít matter in the grand scheme of things. With or without fighting me, the poor child will end up decimated when he steps on the landmine. Theyíll auction off body parts and it will make no difference if he manages to beat me, or takes a loss. The noise is there, the story is there, he is looking to take the jilted ex-wife and heís salty AF.
So I guess Iíll be insignificant in his story, and thatís fine. We are all our own protagonist, after all.
I just need to focus, to change the narrative of my own story, to become more than whatís left of the broken pieces of Pixie Sloane. Whoever stands before me needs to be shaped and guided into the role they have to play in the story that depicts me as the protagonist. Maybe he wonít get to play the role in his own story, or Brandonís. Maybe there is another calling for him, another twist in his saga, or maybe match will be uneventful and we will all move on in our sorry broken lives.
I am whatís left of me.