New Year, Same You
By: Shawn Warstein
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 27th Dec 2021
The white sands of the Mexican beach take a beating from the waves crashing into them. The tide washes away any imperfections. The setting sun on the horizon, casting a lovely pink glow that covers the land. The camera pulls out and focuses on an empty glass rattling down on a table. The pop of a bottle top, and the amber liquid splashing into the glass as the camera follows the arm leading to Shawn Warstein. A red Santa hat perched hastily on top of his head. An even rarer sight, a genuine smile on his face. His paramour is nowhere to be seen but that isn’t hampering him at the moment. He grabs the glass and holds it up towards the camera.
“Hello Everyone. Season’s greetings from beautiful Mexico.” Shawn takes a sip from his glass before setting it on the side table. “I’m sorry that I won’t be at Countdown, it had come to my attention that maybe I had ruffled some feathers and I didn’t want anyone to think it was unfair that I once again overshadowed the show…“
“As I tend to do.” Shawn shrugs and smiles as his jovial attitude continues. “But that’s not going to stop me from being thankful for Fight. Thankful for the fans that can see the clear picture. Thankful for NSQ. Thankful for Kasey.” He points over his shoulder towards the back of the bungalow.
“But what I’m not thankful for is…” Shawn’s demeanor quickly shifts. His eyebrows furrow and the smile that was once there fades into a sneer. “Well that would be all of you. I can sit here and try my best to not let all of this envy of NSQ get to me. Why? Because I was once like all of you. Watching someone or something greater than myself come in and stake their claim at something that was once perceived to be mine. And that’s the difference. We in NSQ never claimed anything needed to be handed to us. We didn’t walk in, slap our proverbial dicks on the table and demand anything. We went out there and showed everyone what we are about.” Shawn sips on the glass of what we assume to be bourbon and takes a deep breath. “We didn’t take weeks off. We never half assed our efforts. Even when we were separated, that’s what drove us together. No matter what the situation dictated, we knew that no one was going to OUT WORK us.” Shawn stands up from his chair and begins to pace back and forth. “No matter how many times we have to look over our shoulders for the next wave of faceless NPC’s to try and take us down. With each attack, all it does is prove one simple fact.“
“You’re scared.” Suddenly he stops mid pace and looks directly at the camera. “Say you’re not all you want. Stand atop the tower and scream it to the eight million people living in New York City. They all hear the same thing…“
“A bunch of whiny bitches who aren’t used to being pushed around. A pack of wolves that never had to fight for anything. A group of individuals masquerading around as a group. All of you want the same thing, but your methods are flawed. Attack first” Shawn holds up a finger. “Talk shit second.” Then the second finger. “Then lose third.” He ends up just holding up his middle finger towards the camera.
“Maybe fight first. Maybe measure your worth based on that. It’s not my fault that you want what we have. It’s not my fault that we have power.” Insert a classic Shawn dismissive shrug here. “It’s not our fault that we wielded the power and executed our plan flawlessly. We knew how to get to you. You’re blinded by greed. So how does one make the greedy, falter? Well you make them make a choice.“
“Your hard earned blood money and friends, or title shots. Really simple. Elegant even. And sitting back watching the roster eat itself was more than we could’ve ever asked.” Shawn holds both hands out and pantomimes a scale. “Did we think anyone would take the offer?” Shawn claps his hands together. “Of course we didn’t. We knew that the second that one was in place the ire would be huge. Ta-Daaaaa. For our next trick we are going to make people really mad.“
“Whether or not you like us or not, it doesn’t matter to us. We hear you. We are laughing at you. If you think for one second that any one of you strike fear into me, you’re sadly mistaken. I don’t have time to fear anyone.” With the back of his hand Shawn sweeps away towards the camera. “I know that I’m out of all of your class, I’m leaps and bounds better than the majority of you. Here’s the kicker. Remember when I said we gave it our all at all times?“
“Well that was a lie.” Shawn holds a hand over his mouth mockingly.
“I’m a liar.” He then mouths ‘I know right!?’
“I’m a fraud. I’m a cheat. I’m everything you want me to be, and I’m everything you say I am. I don’t hide myself behind a mask of insecurity. I don’t cower when there is supposed competition. I make my intentions very clear. I annunciate well. I don’t take deep breaths, pausing to collect my thoughts. I don’t run around calling everyone maggots or morons. That’s what you do. That’s what all of you do.” Shawn begins to walk around the room like a moron. Constantly tugging at his shirt, leaning in way too close to the camera, and generally grunting before composing himself. “Sure, are all of you lesser than I am? That’s painfully obvious, but that’s what all of this is really about isn’t it? Your fears. Your insecurities. Your flaws. Projected for the world to see, and for all of us to Mock you.“
“You can only take a threat seriously, when they actually pose one. This has been me just going with the flow. Me, not wanting to ruffle feathers, yet somehow I’ve managed to do that.” He’s going to owe himself a ton of cash if he keeps Shrugging At this rate. “I didn’t walk in the doors staking claims at anything. It’s all of you that put me on the pedestal. It’s your hatred that draws eyes to me. It’s entirely your fault. When I came here it was for one reason only, and in all of your ignorance, you couldn’t allow that to happen.“
“It’s as if none of you watched. None of you paid any attention to what would’ve happened. Instead you all set your sights on short term goals and failed.” A look of pure disgust falls on his face before he rolls his head back and forth several times. “Time and Time again.“
“But Shawn, what would’ve happened if we let you do what you wanted?, I hear you ask flippantly.“
“Easy. I would’ve fought Dickie, and win or lose I would’ve left. Why? Because of everything I said. I don’t see any of you as viable threats. I don’t see any of you taking me to my limit. The only people capable of doing so are those who stand beside me. This was only going to be an opportunity. It was only ever supposed to be short term.” It feels as if he’s said this before, that’s because it has been, every company he has graced with his presence. Or so he thinks. It’s like a running theme at this point for him. “That’s when you all felt threatened. You couldn’t just drive me away, I’m better than you. You couldn’t insult me away, I’m better at that too. The only thing you could possibly do is throw rocks from the outside and hope one flew through a window and landed on the mark. It’s too bad most of you have a case of the yips. All you had to do was allow me to have ONE thing. ONE simple request, and you couldn’t have that.“
“Fight would’ve gotten everything it wanted from me. A marquee match, more eyes on the product, and validation for most of you. The feeling that the roster was significant in some way, but now the longer I’m here. The longer I’m thrashing Fight’s so-called Big Dogs, the more apparent it is that you weren’t ready for me.” A huge overly exaggerated frown on Shawn’s face. “You were never ready for me to go full throttle, you still aren’t. What you’ve seen is someone playing with the food on his plate. Moving it around nonchalantly. You don’t want to see me smash the plate on the ground.“
“OPA!” Shawn throws his hands high in the air.
“Just remember, when there are warning shots taken, usually there’s action that follows. What you did wasn’t a feat of strength. It wasn’t a sign of solidarity. It was an act of pure cowardice…” Shawn’s voice goes slightly lower. “From weak men and women…“
“Who are used to getting things to go their way…” Lower Still.
“That was a tantrum.” Then a curl in the corner of his lip and a small smile.
“And all of you can call me Adrien Peterson.“
“And with that it brings me to the whole point of this. The sole reason of me being here and if I have had any regrets, would I change anything…” Shawn sits back down on his chair and grasps the glass. “Simply put. No. Regret and wanting to change the past is a sign of weakness. It’s your brain asking yourself if you’ve done anything wrong. When you start to question yourself, you’re no longer dictated by facts. You’re now being run by some unseen force that you’re incapable of stopping.“
“So go ahead. All of you regale us with your Regrets and what you would’ve changed. You know it, I know it, but that doesn’t change the present. It won’t even affect the future, and you know that the future is in NSQ’s hands.” Shawn waves the glass around, making sure not to spill a single drop. “So as a belated Christmas Gift to all of you, I’m going to stay here in Mexico until the new year. And when that ball drops on New Years Eve, I’m going to spend it how I WANTED to, not in some pitiful back and forth with some raging cunt who thinks themselves better than they are. Just know that successful people don’t waste time looking at what other people are doing, they are too busy focusing on themselves and their goals.“
“But just make sure all of you get your resolutions out there in the world.” A hand falls on Shawn’s shoulder. It Squeezes gently as he looks over his shoulder and smiles before looking back towards the camera. “It’s not going to matter. New Year, Same You.“
“Until 2022, Salud.“
Shawn holds the glass up as the camera fades to black.