+ Roll The Dice : My Way +

By: Apathy

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 4th Mar 2022

Living like kings comes with a price

Don’t it?

You’re rolling in riches

Than you rolling the dice

Ain’t it?

Roses & Revolutions – Big Bad Wolf


++There was something about being in a title chase that was like a super high. A double edged sword. A younger me fed off the uphill battle for the strap. It was an insatiable hunger that sustained me and kept me going when I was running on fumes. The pay off was worth it. To get the nod. To finally get the spotlight, the strap. Whether scripted or a legit grudge match that ends with an exchange of property, younger me craved those moments like a junkie. I needed that fix. I would ride that high for awhile, talk my shit, cock my walk and then the sounds of those sands would begin echoing in my ear. The high would start wearing off and reality would start crashing down from orbit. I have to defend. There is ALWAYS a defense. Younger me would be calculating and scheming right about now. Younger me would be losing sleep studying tapes, digital video, and bought and paid for personal recordings. Younger me would be sitting at the edge of a ratty bed, in a filthy, sleazy roadside motel scribbling notes looking for weaknesses and exploits, because winning and keeping that strap by any means necessary was the name of the game. Younger me died a long time ago. Almost ten years ago now, out in some shithole in Chicago. Megalomania is a killer, man. Don’t recommend. I sat with my Cuban heel clad legs crossed as I leaned back into my robin egg blue colored modern sectional. The Brooklyn strap laid bare across a glass coffee table. My arms were stretched across the backs of the sectional, a fluted glass dangling in my dominant hand as I sat staring down at it. Occasionally shifting my head from side to side. Way up high in my Hollywood Apartment, it was quiet and contemplative. I drew the glass to my oxblood colored lips and sipped, my eyes locked on the sheen of the belt++


“You know she won’t be satisfied until you bleed. The question is how far are YOU willing to go for this Lizzy? The blood you bleed is the blood you owe, plain and simple and that has always been the rule. She wants what she feels is hers back and she won’t go down without anything less than everything taking everything out of you…”


++I lurched forward, setting the flute down on the glass top and pulled my palms in front of me, looking down at the lifelines and age. Wrinkles and cracks were evident these days and more so badges of honors rather than an embarrassment. Some of the fingers had scars from hardcore match mishaps, a few bad blade jobs. My eyes averted as I noticed the scars on my wrists, some ghosts were too painful to remember, but too powerful to disrespect. I turned my palms down and carefully studied the tops of my hands starting at the tips of my fingers. The electric blue gel on my nails popped as my eyes continued to travel down my long fingers. As they crossed the knuckles they stopped and I closed my eyes, exhaling++


Elizabeth: “The blood on my hands is not my own”. Who would have known of all the memories of you that would be the one that stuck the most with me, Jon. Not you and your speedballs, not the heroin or the sloppy blowjobs from the toothless midwest skanks, not burying yourself in the business and telling me we needed to see other people over a text message and overnighting the divorce paper, no honey I deserved all of that and more. We knew what it was when we started it. No it was those words I watched you utter the night you went on that coke binge in Arizona. You were bonkers, broke a mirror in the hotel suite and sat on the floor criss cross apple sauce, picked a piece of glass up off the floor and sliced your own knuckles. You just sat there staring as the blood ran down your arms, staining the pristine white floor, repeating, “the blood on my hands is not my own”. I wanted so badly to understand. It wasn’t until you were gone and I had my own “shit faced in Arizona” moment that I understood. The blood too, on my own hands, is not my own yet this is what Dru is asking. It is what she requires. Who am I to refuse that? How mighty am I to deny her a warrioress’ fight? The truth is I’ve got nothing personal against her. She’s a fucking vicious fighter, blood thirsty and tenacious and I owe her the return shot she deserves. The only real equation in this is me…how bad do I want it? DO I want it?


++I lowered a hand towards the gold of the belt and started tracing my finger tips across the name plate. It felt good, to be here again. It was redeeming. My failures had been featured front and center and there was no way I could escape them nor blame them on anyone else. I didn’t have the luxury of blaming someone I was feuding with, or someone fucking the group over, or stipulations not in my favor. Part because it was what it was and part because I wasn’t a spineless bitch++


Elizabeth: I could have spent countless hours pining about opportunities I hadn’t been given, that I felt like I deserved, but why bother? Those opportunities have already passed, what good would it do me? I could have harped and been sour about moments that were robbed by third parties, asterisks that I have to carry due to the meddling of individuals that I had no quarrels with, but they are moments that I can’t alter. Situations that were beyond my control. I was a victim of circumstance because that has been the role I have played since the moment I put ink to pen. They think I’m fucking stupid but I’m not. Some names have faded away, contracts expired, others asked for their release because shit got too hot and they couldn’t hack the temps anymore, a handful of others were two faced snakes that dishonored this industry that should have fucked off a long time ago. Names have changed, the company, the people in it, the straps and the shows, but the general concept and the running theme has..not and it never does. 


I knew the role I was playing in OPW and I see the role I am playing in FIGHT…and not much has changed. The question is have I done what I set out to do, shut their smug mouths up or do I want to continue? Retaining is a crapshoot, it always is. Never a guarantee. The real art is in the fight. Dru will come for me. She will give everything she has and if the rumors are true that I hear that she is cozying up with Mr. Moore, a man whose particular type of brutality I both respect AND know quite well, then my work is more than cut out for me both to protect myself and to return in kind. Do I WANT that, or do I want to back down? Is the fight worth it? Am I invested enough? The younger me, buried so deep down inside of me screams yes. She claws at the back of my throat and she cries like a banshee, YES! 


But my youth has long since passed me. I’m a two step away from 40. Depending on who you talk to, where this industry is concerned, I’ve already overstayed my welcome. My expiration date passed a long time ago. Hell, seventy–five of the people I currently work with considered me washed up, a has been, garbage, the list goes on. I imagine the crow they had to eat the night I won this fucking strap wasn’t too delightful. I mean I was laughing my ass off all the way back to the fucking apartment but of course I would. Depending on who you talk to, I’m not aware enough about what’s going on with the people I’m around. I guess that’s a fair assessment but the truth is I get paid to fight not socialize. I guess some people take it personally that I don’t talk about what they’re doing or drop their name because they’re the hot commodity. They get paid either way. Whether I spend time acknowledging them and their song and dance or not. Hell even when I do, all it does it oet their sad little ego. 


All Dru wants…is a fight. She’s angry, and bitter, and hateful and vengeful and that is fine. We are all driven by something, we have to be. It’s the only way to keep an edge in this business. So the question is do I continue to stand on the sidelines, watching and waiting, biding my time until there is really a place for me? A spot where I fit in or do I just fucking MAKE room? Because it seems to me that seems to be the trend. Take what you want. Make yourself stand out. Force yourself into the limelight and keep your presence there.


++It had been thirty days since I started anti-psychotics. I could see and hear the difference. In all honesty, hearing that Annika was victimized sent me over the edge. I shut down. I couldn’t go to Eoin about that. Or Eric. At least not then. I felt alone. I was drowning in feelings of failure and rage. Those familiar memories of how I failed Fionn kept repeating like a film roll in my mind. It wore me down. Then issues with Eoin started, and one by one a domino effect started until I was melting down. I needed to go home, back to my strength and find myself. I needed to return to Elysia. I needed to return to the earth and the forest and my roots. I needed to return to one. A nation, of one. Since then, I had a lot to focus and work on. The shadows, myself, certain relationships and the future of my career, including FIGHT and the belt I currently held. I’m not saying I didn’t indulge the younger me inside. I’m not saying I DIDN’T spend a good chunk of time studying some of Dru’s better matches. I’m not saying I DIDN’T do some homework JUST in case I decided that if Dru wanted to go to war over the Brooklyn strap. I’m not saying I DIDN’T pay a fee to dip into the archives to look over our past matches to see what I could have done better and where she is lacking. I am saying it’s better to learn from the past, than repeat it++


Elizabeth: For her it is about the belt, she needs it. It is a part of her identity. It is a token of glory and valor for her. For me, it’s about the fight, the show, the spectacle. She wanted blood then, I was happy to oblige. I still am. If she wants the strap back, then she’s going to have to give 110% and every drop because that’s what I’m willing to give. I can live without the belt. Measure for measure, I’ll make the example win or lose because I must. It’s nothing personal, it’s business. Anyone can win a strap, but how far are you willing to go to prove how much you wanted it? How much risk are you willing to take to prove how much you want to keep it? I know the things I am willing to do, what about you, Dru?


++I drug my coffin shaped nails across the raised lettering of the plate and tapped them against the filled enamel and filigree, smirking. My mind harkened back to the last time I was in the position to even hold a title. Swan held it. I got the better of her but there would always be an asterisk next to that belt, through no fault of my own. I didn’t even hold it against her these days. It was business, pure and simple. Her and I were cut from the same cloth so to speak. We got the business. Had a similar understanding of the way things worked. Hopefully down the line we could cross paths and show the business what two old seasons bitches could do. Dru was no rookie. She was decorated, but she was still hungry. I admired that but I also wanted to test it. I wanted to see HOW hungry. I wanted to see HOW bad she wanted it++


Elizabeth: I’m already willing to lose, I can accept a loss and not let it affect me. My identity and pride isn’t wrapped around titles, collecting them and lauding them over a roster. I don’t have small dick energy. But I’m not above making a son of bitch put their money where their mouth is and prove it to me. Bitch can bet her ass if she’s going to take what I earned the hard way that she’s going to pay her pound of  flesh to get it back. In a way she can look at it like if she DOES win, I’ll make her look good doing it. And even if I lose, I’ll look good going down because I’ll have given everything I had. It all comes down to context and perception. And of course, the way in which you play the game…as long as the end goal stays in sight that is all that matters. 


++I slipped my nimble fingers under the belt and gently scooped it up, bringing it up to chest level, holding it out in front of myself. The rays of sun reflected off of the metal, gleaming into my green eyes. It was strange to me, being able to hold it and not feel that greed or desire to put myself in harm’s way to keep it. In a way I felt strange, as if something was wrong with me that I was content with knowing in a few short days that which I held in my hands could be gone, and I felt no urgency. Maturity and wisdom felt so peculiar. If I lost they would call it weakness but in truth it was strength. Strength, as a champion, meant putting more emphasis on making sure it looked good no matter who won, and making sure whoever DID win, worked for it. She didn’t go easy on me and I sure as sweet fuck wasn’t going to go easy on her. If she wanted a stiff, blow for blow, break you open the hard way, bitch will need stitches and a concussion protocol check-up post match, will be able to taste the metal in your mouth the next morning, brawl for all, then I would gladly give it to her, because I aim to please. Besides, it had been awhile since I made someone see their own blood and got a good strong second wind from their hype rage because of it. Show the upper ranking champs how to do it++


////// Musso & Franks – Hollywood, CA \\\\\\\


++Where it all began. Blair and I sat at a table outside exchanging devious plans and fake niceties. I was never on board. The plan was to screw the whole outfit over from the get go. Something, something, hell hath no fury. Instead I ended up thrown under the bus, stuck in the middle of a bunch of bullshit that I didn’t even want involved in. It was in the men’s restroom that we struck our deal. He was a push over. He saw merchandise he was implicitly told not to touch and he wanted to touch it anyways. It was pretty easy to arrange things from there. Now here I was all this time later, sitting at a table at the back, alone, waiting to see if he remembered. A fresh Vieux Carrè was sitting in front of me, and I casually stirred it, scanning the room. He wasn’t even supposed to be at the show, so he had no business being here. I just hoped after our talks in Florida, he would come. I finally decided to take a sip when I could smell bay rum cologne and I looked up, his hair was slicked back and he was cleaned up nice. Unusual for him but he had been working on it. He sat down and ordered a Jameson 18 year, and folded his arms and stared right at me, silent++


Elizabeth: Eoin. Wasn’t sure if you would have remembered. 


Eoin: Lass, you sucked my wee lad in a stall here, a man don’t forget something like that. I knew it had to be something important for you to want me to be meetin’ you here. What’s this about then?


Elizabeth: You owe me a favor, we both know that. 


Eoin: Aye. So this is you’re way of sayin’ you’re wantin’ to collect then?


Elizabeth: Yes. In a way. 


Eoin: Alright. What are ye askin’ of me then?


Elizabeth: I need you and your Uncles particular set of skills. Off the grid. 


++He raised his eyebrow and looked behind him on both sides, then skidded his chair closer to me, giving the appearance of two lovers looking for more close quiet conversation. He leaned in and wrapped his arm around me, lowering his voice. It echoed in my ear, sending shivers down my spine++


Eoin: Domestic or international?


Elizabeth: International. Mexico. 


Eoin: I think I know where this is going. Annika. Lizzy girl…I want the whole story…


Elizabeth: He violated her Eoin. I always suspected but she confirmed it for me, months ago. I bottled it all up. I didn’t feel comfortable opening up to you about it. You’ve never had kids. I…I just didn’t know how. I’m sorry. I just can’t do this on my own. Not now. Not with that fuck stick friend of yours on my trail. He’s going to have to be dealt with, but first, for my peace of mind and her vengeance, he needs to be dealt with. I’m not asking this as a favor, I’m asking this…out…out of…l…lo….for fucks sakes mo stor do I have to say it? 


Eoin: Loyalty? You’re asking me to prove me loyalty lass?


Elizabeth: No! Lo…Loooo…..gra. Gra! GRA!


Eoin: Gra…wait.. Gra? GRA?? 


++I exhaled sharply. I couldn’t bring myself to utter the english language of the word. It felt like acid on the lips. His native tongue was satisfying enough. The look in his eyes of joy said all it needed to say he understood. I already felt buyer’s remorse. Love was a foreign concept. My love language was a dead sea scroll that nobody understood. I didn’t even understand it. I just knew that he did love me, he did care, he WAS loyal, and I…hadn’t been completely fair. Or understanding. Or open to listening. Or patient. And the likelihood this would work out was REALLY FUCKING SLIM. But…daddy didnt raise a quitter. And a pedo in Mexico needed to be dealt with. I cracked a half smile turned to him++


Elizabeth: So…you will help me?


Eoin: I’ll call my Uncle after dinner, we’ll fly out tomorrow. Right now, I think you and I should have a quiet meal and just…talk. Is that okay? Or is that too much? It’s too much isn’t it…


Elizabeth: If you’re buying I’m staying…


Eoin: Deal…deal.