Land Down Unda 5: An Aiden Carol

By: Aiden Reynolds

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 23rd Dec 2021

“But Aiden it’s Christmas”

The voice of Kalisto “Kallie” Reznik broke the silence as Aiden shakes his head and rolls his eyes. Willow moving around sniffing the floor as Aiden looks up in complete and utter contempt at the Christmas decorations dangling from the archway His upper lip turns upwards into a sneer, very similar to the picture that various companies keep using on their promotional material. His arms were folded over his chest as he wore the Christmas shirt Kallie got him, a koala wearing a festive hat adorned the front and while I sit back and give you all a moment to get over the pure shock of thinking about Aiden in a shirt I will also say he is clean shaven. Because Kallie asked him to be. For Christmas photos…

“Come on, smile, enjoy yourself.” She bounced up and down, a smile on her face as Aiden raised his eyebrow and let out an exasperated sigh before putting a smile across his lips. But it wasn’t a happy smile, like one seen when he is giving Dickie grief or playing with Willow, not this was forced and awkward. Almost terrifying. And speaking of Williow, the fuzzball of a wombat sat in the corner, staring confused at the christmas tree, a reindeer harness around her body and over her head that was clearly made for a dog, they don’t see them in “wombat”

Aiden shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. “I just…look Kallie, I just don’t like Christmas, I never have eh. I like the food and I’ll enjoy spendin it with you and love givin you a gift but it just…ain’t my thing darl..” Kallie swallowed hard and gave a slow understanding nod before leaning forward and kissing Aiden on the cheek.

“I get it…but thank you for letting me decorate…I’ll see you tomorrow…I hope Dickie calls..” She gave him a warm smile, squeezing his hand before turning and scratching Willow on the top of the head. The wombat making a snorting sound and pushing her head into Kallie’s hand as a way to show affection.

“See ya beautiful…” Aiden smiled and swallowed hard. The door closed as he shook his head, his eyes gliding over his apartment which went from it’s usual bachelor pad look to suddenly feeling like a Christmas storefront threw up on his walls. He clicked his tongue and pointed at the small bed in the corner of the room, Willow obediently waddling over and laying down on it. “It’s bedtime fuzzy…” Willow flopped down, grunted, farted and started to drift off to sleep. Aiden moved down the hallway, passed his toilet door which was still painted inexplicably like a baby shit green tardis and into his room closing the door to get ready for bed.

Some time later, Aiden laid there, wrapped up in his covers. He tossed and turned. Mumbling to himself. “Oh…mate..where…where are ya?” He spun over, his head moving as he grunted. “Dickie…ya alright mate? Di….DICKIE!” Aiden startled awake sitting up suddenly, looking around his bedroom.

“Oh good you’re awake.”

The voice startled him a little more as he looked to the corner where from the shadows James Raven emerged, his arms folded over his chest with that cocky smirk on his face. Aiden raised an eyebrow. “Oh man, I’m havin that dream again…but…nah it can’t be a dream you’re wearin a shirt”

“What?!” James exclaimed loudly as Aiden stumbled over his words.

“What?…I mean…nothin, James why are you in me room? How did you get in here?…do you want to talk about the Islands title match cause this ain’t the time mate”

“Aiden shut up for two seconds..jesus christ…” Aiden wiped his eyes and raised an eyebrow as James grabbed a chair and spun it around shitting on it the opposite way, leaning his arms across the back. “You don’t have the Christmas spirit. And I’m here to fix that. See Reynolds, you’re going to be visited by three ghosts and-“

“Oi…hold on, stuff like this is usually reserved for complete cunts…you sure you’re not supposed to be at Sahar-“

“WOULD YOU SHUT UP!” James rolls his eyes clearly frustrated with Aiden’s constant interruptions. “As I was saying, three ghosts…they’ll teach you the value of Christmas…”

Aiden tilted his head and sighed. “Shouldn’t I be focusing on the Islands championship match?..cause that seems more import-“ He looks up, James is gone, he snorted and shook his head. “That’s more Batmans thing ya asshole..not deadpools…” Aiden sighed and laid back down. He started to drift off again when suddenly the door burst open. Standing there with light blasting behind her was…Kasey Winterborne? But it wasn’t just Kasey, her hair was now back to being red, but not regular red, the reddest red that has ever been red. Her make up was immaculate, her skin tanned and toned, this was the best Kasey that you could ever see. Se sneered at Aiden who just blinked a few times.

“Aiden…” She stepped forward, but her footsteps made no sound.

Aiden shook his head and slid back in his bed. “Whoah whoa key Kasey I’m flattered and all but I’m taken and you’re with Shawney so I ain’t interested”

Kasey stopped mid-step, the light from behind her faded away, she rolled her eyes and her hand moved to her face as she squeezed the bridge of her nose feeling a headache come on. “I’m the ghost of Christmas past, dumb dumb….”

“Oh….so…what do we do?”

Suddenly the light behind her returned. “You have to come with me, to see where your dislike of Christmas comes from!”

Aiden leaned back and looked around, he slid from the bed getting to his feet, Kasey laughing as she sees that Aiden is wearing pokemon pajama pants. “Look..Kallie got em for me…don’t judge….do I need to get dressed or?” There was a snap of her fingers, Kasey and Aiden were transported to another place and another time. Aiden held his stomach and coughed before grabbing a nearby bin and throwing up. “HEY!…..FUCKIN WARN ME NEXT TIME RED!”

Kasey chuckled and folded her arms over her chest before motioning for Aiden to look. “Do you see where we are? And when?” Aiden looked around, he recognised everything. It was his old house back in Australia. His parents house. A small plastic Christmas tree sat in the corner, the place was a mess, beaten up and beaten down. And there sitting on the floor, was a young Aiden, his little sister Minnie sitting next to him. “You remember this Christmas Aiden?”

“…Yeah?..it was like any other Christmas…it was half assed and boring…what’s your point?”

Kasey shook her head. Little Aiden played with a broken second hand action figure, the head barely stayed on, the legs didn’t move anymore. Minnie held onto a doll, lines drawn on the arms in permanent marker, another toy procured from a thrift store. There was laughter outside, Aiden swallowed, he watched his younger self get to his feet and move over to the window and stare out at all the other children. “So…that’s why…”

Aiden rolled his eyes and snapped at her. “Don’t go to deep in this. Christmas is for kids, I’m a grown adult now, so I really don’t need to care about it.,.”

Kaseys smile faded, she waved her arm and a light took them back at Aidens apartment, he looked around, he was standing in the kitchen. Willow snored in her bed and Aiden sighed heavily shaking his head before looking over at the fridge. He moved over and pulled the door open grabbing a bottle of water. As he opened it there was a loud bang, the wall collapsed and Shawn Warstin stood there with a glow around him. And again, he looked like the Shawniest Shawn who had ever Warsteined.

Aiden dropped the bottle of water with his jaw open. “DUDE WHAT THE FUCK!…MY WALL!”

“Don’t worry about it…”

“DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT? MATE THIS APARTMENT IS RENT CONTROLLED I CAN’T GET KICKED O-“

“I SAID DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT….” Warstein adjusted his shirt and spoke with more bass and gravitas in his voice. “I am the ghost of Christmas present…”

“Oh…I see where this is going…”

“Shut up, no spoilers dickhead….” Shawn points at Aiden who nods and throws his arms in the air accepting his fate. “We will now see what your actions have done to those you care about…” Shawn grabs Aiden and waves his arm, we have a 1980’s styled swipe cut to what looks to be a cafe in New York City. Aiden looks around confused.

“Shawney..what the fuck was that mate?” He turned and tilted his head. “That transition was corny as shit…”

“Yeah, sorry about that, we blew the budget on Kasey’s thing….”

“Is that the only thing she ble-“ SMACK! Shawn hit Aiden in the back of the head and pushed his head sideways to see what he came to show him. Kallie and Minnie sitting together in the cafe’ Both of them looking sad, almost depressed, Which was strange to see Kallie that way.

“I just don’t get it Min…why does he hate Christmas?” Minnie sighed and reached over grabbing Kallie hand. Kallie looked down, defeated and sad, Aiden’s heart sank. He swallowed hart and looked t Shawn before narrowing his eyes in annoyance. Then realisation hit Aiden, and instead he looked confused.

“Hold on…” Shawn raised an eyebrow. “If this is supposed to be the present, how can this be happenin? Kallie literally left my place a few hours ago, it’s still the same night and she ain’t at a cafe at 3am…this is bullshit.”

Shawn cleared his throat and shook his head. “Look, the original story had shit like this, it’s a fucking classic, so don’t go poking holes in the Christmas fantasy story of redemption…you dick…”

Aiden rolled his eyes again and gave a nod before looking back at Minnie and Kallie then Shawn. “I’m just sayin it undercuts your point when you’re the ghost of Christmas “present” and you’re showin me shit which, might not actually be happenin in the present or at all…besides…I am makin an effort with Kallie…I love her mate and she knows it…”

Shawn shakes his head, clearly annoyed that AIden is still fighting it…but, hey that’s the story. Shawn clicked his fingers, and we star wipe back to Aiden’s apartment, the wall is up and not broken, the bottle of water lays on the floor and the fridge door is open. Aiden takes a long deep breath and reaches down to get the bottle throwing it in the recycling. He held his stomach feeling peckish. “This travelling shit has really worked up an appetite” He moved to his pantry pulling the door open and reaching inside for some potato chips, but he found nothing. “Weird, I could of sworm I had some in he-“

CRUNCH

Aiden spun around, finding Betsy Granger sitting on his kitchen bench, potato chips in hand. And unlike Kasey and Shawns exaggerated versions. This was just Betsy. Aiden raised an eyebrow as Betsy waved. “Hey buddy…”

“Betsy?…why do you just look like you?”

She laughed and popped off the bench. “Dude…it’s me..why wouldn’t I?…I do this shit all the time…pop in and out of timelines, the ghost of Christmas future is just a side gig…”

“Right” Aiden sighed and shrugged. “So, lets get this over with, I still have the Islands championship match to prepare for…so if we could just-“

BOOM.

There was a flash of light and a blue tunnel with swirling clouds and visions from over the years, past, present and future all mixed into one. Aiden landed with a thud, he groaned and looked up at Betsy who was still munching on potato chips. Aiden swayed and almost fell over. “Holy shit, how’d you get a bigger budget? I thought we ran out of funding after Kasey for the special effects…”

“Funding?”

Betsy looked confused, Aiden swallowed hard and put his finger up to explain before looking around, his face showing his disappointment. “Wait up, we’re supposed to be in the future. Where’s all the flying cars and shit?”

Betsy laughed, not just a regular laugh a full blown crazy laugh where she had to hold her stomach. “You know how technology works right? Think about ten years ago, was it really that much different to now?”

“Well, I mean…no….wait..we only went forward ten years?…but isn’t this the part where you she me that I’m dead or whatever?”

“No…why?..do you want to see that? Cause I could…”

“No no..it’s ok..show me what you wanted to…” Betsy smirked and turned leading AIden to a window, she motioned inside and Aiden was there, his hair was a little longer, he was still in shape, he looked happy. Kallie was there too as she walked in and sat on his lap. Aiden smiled wider, two small children ran in, looking to be five or six years old. But there was something missing. No Christmas tree, no presents. The rest of the street was decorated, it was beautiful. “Uh, Bets I appreciate the effort but this looks awesome…we all look happy so I don’t get how this is supposed to change me..”

“Just watch…”

The other Aiden watched his kids walk away, he leaned in whispering in Kallie’s ear, she shook her head and poked him in the forehead. “No big guy…no special kinky christmas sex…we stopped celebrating…remember?”

Aiden stepped back. “WAIT UP…WHAT THE FUCK REALLY?” Aiden paced back and forth shaking his head. “No…no Bets this is all wrong..NO…this can’t happen…” He dropped to his knees, his head in his hands. “Take me back Bets…TAKE ME BACK..GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE.”

Betsy raised an eyebrow and clicked her fingers, Aiden sat up suddenly back in his bed. A cold sweat running down his body. He kicked the blankets off grabbing a shirt, a jacket and slipping on shoes before taking off and running down the stairs, he moved out onto the street as the snow fell taking off down towards Kallie’s apartment. He stopped and looked at a small child standing next to his mother. “Oi kid…what’s today?”

“Today?…it’s like…the 21st or something?..I don’t know..why?”

Aiden paused and looked around. “uh..I…no reason..thanks” He took off again, turning and running up towards Kallie’s door, he knocked and stepped back, the door opened,

Kallie, sleepy eyed looked out confused. “Aiden?..what?” He leaned forward kissing her, pulling Kallie to him with a sigh as he pulled back.

“…Lets do Christmas dinner….lets celebrate it!…and celebrate it the right way!”

She smiled, she was happy, she kissed Aiden again and smiled again even wider “Oh AIden…” Kallie pulled him into her apartment slamming the door. Around the corner Kasey, James, Shawn and Betsy stared and James nodded slowly with his arm around Betsy.

“So…that’s what motivated him?…getting laid?” Kasey sneered and rolled her eyes. Shawn gave a nod and wiped a tear from his eyes.

“The power of boners babe….the power of boners…a Christmas miracle…”

————————————————–

This was awkward.

The rest of NSQ had got them together, told them they needed to sort this out, to talk strategy and talk on how to keep the islands titles and promptly left them alone. Aiden swallowed hard and folded his arms over his chest looking across the room at James. Both men realising that they had, in fact, never had a conversation one on one. And this felt…weird….

“Uh…why aren’t you wearing a shirt?” James raised an eyebrow looking Aiden up and down. Aiden narrowed his eyes and shook his head taking a sip of his coffee.

“Why ARE you?”

There was an awkward silence between the two. Raven tilted his head and nodded very slowly before pointing at Aiden. “I like the cut of your jib…”

Aiden smirked and shook his head. “So, we have to think about how we’re going to approach this. I’m used to teaming with Dickie, and you’re used to teaming with Shawn. But I don’t think either of us were prepared to face the pretty Montouri and Tim the tat man so-“

“Wait.” Raven put his hand up and moved forward, he shook his head and looked Aiden right in the eye. “Before we get into this I need to know…will your head be into this match?”

“Why wouldn’t it be mate?”

James stared ahead, his expression turning serious and focused. “Everything happening with Dickie…”

Aiden swallowed hard and sighed heavily, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. “Look, I have been there as much as I can be, I know that in me head. But Dickie is like a brother to me. I love the kid. I feel like I let him down, and I feel like I haven’t been there for him in his professional or personal life like I should, I let him down in me piss poor effort against Dane…I regret it, I regret not steppin up….” Aiden goes quiet, his own tone changing. “I ain’t gonna let him down by losing these islands titles mate….I can promise ya I’ll have your back…”

“See, everyone looks at me like I’m just the fuckin goof. The funny one. Shawn, Dickie, Kasey and Betsy have fuckin dominated since bein here, they’re the reason NSQ has all this power. You have come in and right away made the impact we all thought ya would…me….I’m the clown, the fuckin court jester in a room full of kings and queens…”

James goes to interrupt. “Nah Aiden that’s not”

Aiden puts his hand up. “I know it’s true mate. I get it. But this match is a chance to change that. To team with you and return the favor to Montouri and kick his pretty boy ass all over the fuckin fight tower. And I also wouldn’t mind kickin Moores ass. I mean what the shit, House of M?..how about house of deez nuts…”

“They aren’t using the name cause then they’d have to pay…”

“Well, that just means we have to be the taxmen brother…and tax that ass..”

James blinks a few times. “Aiden, I don’t think that means what you think it means…”

“Either way, we have to keep these titles mate, and we sure as shit aren’t going to lose them to those two. As I said, I got your back. I know we can do this, Countdown is going to be our night and just another chance for us to make people who hate NSQ cry all over social media and need their diapers changed. You in?”

Aiden holds out his hand. James just smiled and takes it shaking his hand as they continue to get prepared.