Session Four: The Vessel

By: Shawn Warstein

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 15th Apr 2022

Bang!

 

Bang!

 

Bang!

 

The sound echoed through the room. I sat there staring at the man’s voice. Constantly repeating over and over again.

 

Concentrate on my voice.

 

I just couldn’t. The sound radiated like nails on a chalkboard digging deeper and deeper into my brain. Each bang on the door got louder and louder. 

 

It’s useless. He’s lost. I can’t get him back.

 

I had no idea who the man was talking to, this entire time it had just been the two of us, but now all of a sudden there seems to be another in the room with us. Cautiously I open my eyes. Blurred. Dizzy. Disoriented. The first thing I saw while still laying on the couch was the ceiling fan. One blade strong. Fighting against the four broken and off kilter blades. Swinging in the air in no real order. The sound of the pull chains clinking against the light fixtures attached to it. The bulbs themselves flicker with each tap in the chaos the fan is creating.

 

Look at him. Pathetic.

 

A strange but familiar voice scoffs.

 

Weak. It shouldn’t have gone this way.

 

Yeah and if you had your way he wouldn’t have even made it this far.

 

A third voice chimes in. I looked around the room and was in disbelief of what I was seeing. I rubbed my eyes hoping that it would fix what I was seeing, but that was clearly just wishful thinking. What was once a clean and orderly Doctor’s office, is now dark, dreary and disheveled. The books on the wall that at one point were aligned neatly, are now strewn about the room. The shelves they once sat on are now crooked and broken. Seemingly a thick layer of dust covers everything. 

 

It’s okay. We just have to think this through. We aren’t done yet.

 

That’s what got him in this predicament in the first place. All of the plotting and planning.

 

The waiting.

 

Exactly. That’s now how he operates. He needed something to push him beyond and he waited.

 

Now look at him.

 

The sustain in the men was paramount. “I’m right here!” I shouted. Only to be met with silence. The air in the room got heavy. My breathing became shaky at best, as a chill fell over the room.

 

Fuck.

 

I agree.”

 

There’s still time.

 

The banging at the door continues, as I slowly lift myself up from the couch. Sore from the fight with Paul as I shuffle towards the door. 

 

What is he doing?

 

This isn’t good.

 

I slowly reach for the doorknob and twist. As I pull on the door it’s seemingly stuck. I reach with my other hand and grab with both. Tugging and yanking on the door. I can see the door bowing in the middle but the top and bottom stay strong. 

 

We have to stop him.

 

Relax. He can’t get past this. Not by himself.

 

Are you sure about that?

 

As sure as I am that all of this is going to crumble to the ground.

 

Try as I might, the door just won’t budge. In a fit of rage I begin slamming my fists on the door. Over and over again. Trying to damage it in any way possible. My hands now bloody and dripping onto the floor, as I turn around. Leaning my back against the door, I slide down to the floor and hold my head in my hands.

 

Told you.

 

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 

I lift my head from my hands and once again look over the room. I see no one. Not a single soul is present. “What is going on?” I mumbled as I took a deep breath. I searched the room high and low for something. Anything, that would explain what is going on. There were no hidden cameras. No two way mirrors however the knocking on the door continues. Now they are becoming more and more frantic. No longer are they staying in a rhythm, they are more sporadic. Some harder than others and some seemingly barely touching the door. 

 

Awww it’s cute when he tries.

 

Look at him. Like a puppy lost from home.

 

Knock it off. We need to do something or else he’s going to fall.

 

Once more I make my way to the door. I firmly press my hand against the wooden door. I feel each knock as it reverberates throughout the oak door. The blood on my knuckles has all but dried, leaving my hands to look blackened. Firmly I press my forehead against the door.

 

I gently bang my head against the door. With each hit the knocking on the other side stops and becomes more intermittent. Like something was waiting for this. Waiting for my breaking point. I smile slightly and lean my head all the way back. 

 

Okay. I think we’ve had enough.

 

Come on. This was just getting fun.

 

He might be right.

 

God the two of you are no fun.

 

We all know your kind of fun. Let him out temporarily.

 

No sooner than it was heard my head connected with the door and I fell limp and into utter…

 

Blackness. 

 

My own thoughts begin to flood my head as I close my eyes. Once I open them I find myself sitting in an all white room on a single chair in the dead center. The only contrast to be seen is in my clothing. All black. No logos, no branding. I turn my head to the right and click my tongue. 

 

Where does one begin with someone like you?” As I throw my arms out to the sides.

 

I mean seriously. It’s a question we all ask ourselves on a daily basis. How many times are they going to constantly save you from yourself? How many tantrums are you going to throw when things aren’t centered on you? How many times do people have to tell you you’re wrong, only for you to dig in deeper and try to prove that you’re right.

 

Here I’ll say it clear as day.

 

You are a massive piece of shit. You are the lowest form of human on this planet, now mind you it’s one that also consists of people like Madman and Graham Clausson. I think more highly of them than I do of you. Now allow me to let you in on a not so secret, secret…” I cup my hands around my mouth and raise the volume of my voice. “I’m not the only one that thinks this way. How many times are you going to threaten to quit? How many times before you become the ‘Cunt who Cried Wolf’ but in your case ‘the Cunt who Cried because things didn’t go their way because they just weren’t good enough or think too highly of themselves’, when in reality you’re not as good as you think. I’ve seen so many people in this business that think like you, act like you and yet somehow you are the worst offender of them all.

 

I’ve never seen a company say…

 

Well that’s just Sahara being Sahara.

 

Or my personal favorite.

 

You get used to her.

 

Spoilers. I didn’t. I tried. I seriously tried. I wanted to make Fight the best company in the world. The most noteworthy of all of them. Then you decided that other people shouldn’t get the shine. It should be all about you.” A quick eye roll. “This place would be better off if you pulled a Brandon Moore. Or hell even a J Mont. just fucking leave already if you’re so fucking miserable. If people hate you so much, why stick around? Are you a fucking glutton? Do you enjoy pissing everyone off at every chance you get?

 

Even I will at a certain point just leave a place if I’m feeling unfulfilled. You seemingly thrive on it. Well maybe thrive is the wrong word. You get off on it.” A slow jerk motion with my right hand. “Bringing everyone down to your miserable life makes you happy. How miserable must your life be if that’s what gets you going? I mean seriously think about it. In an industry filled with toxcicty, you’re leading the fucking charge. It’s okay though.

 

Sahara is just Sahara.

 

Right? That makes everything better. That makes it okay. Look around you. Gauge what’s happening. Don’t you see it? Or are you just too fucking ignorant?” I tap my index finger to my temple, almost jamming it through if it was bone. “Of course you don’t. We are all living in your world right? I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say you’re not happy that I’m getting an Empire shot and you’re not. I mean it doesn’t take a super genius to figure that out, but let’s pause for a second and think about how this came to be.

 

I didn’t bid on it.” 

 

I earned my spot.

 

Is that what the issue is? That I actually earned something instead of it being handed to me? Should I have thrown a tantrum to get my way? How has that worked out for you? How many cracks at the Empire title have you had using that method? Don’t worry bitch, I’ll wait.” I look down at the non existent watch on my wrist and tap it a few times. “Go ahead after my shot bid for it. I fucking dare you. There has always been a reason for me hoarding my Blood Money. The world of Fight isn’t of your building. It’s mine. It must really get to you knowing that no matter what you do, I can easily stop it. Without a worry in the world.

 

But that would mean you fear me. Lol Got you!

 

No. There’s your ignorance showing again. I have and will always believe that you don’t cater to children. The squeaky wheel doesn’t always get the grease, sometimes it just gets replaced. It’s okay Sahara. Go have Page type away on Twitter. Have him gas you up, because people really take him seriously.” 

 

It’s a travesty that— blah blah blah.

 

A crotchety old man trying to get his payday. What he doesn’t realize is that with you, he will never get it. So long as you are in Fight and I have more Blood Money than you. Hell you might as well hope to god that there is Blood Money 3… even then you’d still have to somehow, someway get past me.

 

And that’s something you have yet to do.

 

Ever.

 

Sure you beat Betsy. And yes you even beat James. However they aren’t me. As if everyone hasn’t noticed NSQ is dead, so even those matches that you won, don’t mean shit. You can scream it from the top of Thad’s penthouse, it’s not as impressive as you think. Think I’m wrong? Here allow me to prove it to you…

 

Betsy, while a dangerous competitor, however is newer to wrestling. Hell I had to bend over backwards to get her a shot at a World title, which she came up short on. So are you really going to put that feather in your cap? Go ahead. Then there’s James. The GOAT, right? If you hadn’t noticed, like I have, he’s not the same guy that was running roughshod over the industry. He’s become a shell of himself. Why? Well maybe it’s because I started to look out for my own best interests and no longer had to pull a Page, and gas him up.

 

I’m selfish. I always have been, but for the better part of a year I spent time putting others over myself. I put family before self. Not this week. No.

 

I’m well aware of everything you’re going to say and it doesn’t bother me one bit.

 

Your thoughts are so flawed it’s laughable.” 

 

I’m scared.” A clearly fake shaking. 

 

Please. I have absolutely no reason to be scared of someone who’s husband openly looks for other people to peg him. I’m not scared of someone who thinks that fucking a Doctor to get pills is a great sense of self. I’m not scared of someone who thinks talent is injected through the uterus. Someone who thinks that because they are loud that makes them right.

 

No. I’m not scared. Hell, I’m not even afraid to lose. It would finally be something you could hang your hat on.

 

I beat Shawn.

 

Suck it.

 

Congrats. You wouldn’t be the first, nor the last. You’d be like countless others. Hell Paul beat me. Should I quit? Should I run away in hopes that people will feel sorry for me? That’s what you’re going to do if I win aren’t you?” A quick eyebrow raise and head tilt. “Already got your resignation papers ready to go. ThE fAn FaVoRiTeS AlWaYs GeT tHeIr WaY, I QUIT… but not seriously haha it was a joke. That’s what you do right?

 

The twenty year vet couldn’t possibly be better than me, I’ve been fucking my way to opportunities that I haven’t deserved just as long as he’s been running around in every company he’s at. That makes me just as good! He couldn’t have ever seen anyone like me before. Bitch, you’re a dime a dozen. You aren’t one in a million, you’re more like one in forty four. Don’t know why I chose that number? Oh well. That’s for me to know and you to obsess over.

 

So please I look forward to the meltdown that you’re surely going to have. It’s okay TV at best. Maybe this series should’ve been cancelled two seasons ago, but that’s not how it works. You still have yet to jump the shark. You can call me Jaws in that case. You sure as fuck ain’t Arthur Fonzarelli, and you ain’t making this jump.

 

But why should we stop there? I mean there’s tons of stuff we could bring up that you conveniently “forget“, right? Like I notice you don’t mention OPW. I wonder why? I would do some digging into that, but we should just let those sleeping dogs lie. Or we could come up with an excuse…” A classic Warstein shrug. “I was so drugged out of my mind I don’t remember. Tee-hee-hee.

 

Speaking from a former heroin user. I’m calling bullshit. Even at my lowest, and most fucked up, I still remember everything I did. Good or bad. Wins and losses. I remember them all. Overlooking a portion of your career means that you aren’t proud of it. That you don’t think it’s a good look on you. You know what? That’s fine. Don’t acknowledge your past other than cursory…

 

I don’t remember.

 

It’s not that you don’t remember. It’s that you’re ashamed of it. I think I’m starting to see where you get this sense of….

 

Self.

 

It was a long, sad, lonely, pathetic, miserable existence that continues to today. Maybe it’s about time you stop and think about the things that are important to you. Maybe you need to go back to Chicago. Get back in touch with your roots. Find the person who you really are…

 

Because the one you’ve become isn’t it chief.

 

It’s about time you separate Sahara from Lauren. Now if that means you have to leave, then Bon Voyage. If that means you have to step into the ring with me. Then I’m sorry for you.

 

You see there was once a time when I thought you didn’t mean much to the grand scheme of things, but I was mistaken.

 

Look at that, I admitted something when I was wrong. Don’t hold your breath though, it’s coming right back around.” I hold an open palm to my mouth and act shocked. You do mean something. You are a cancerous blob that needs to be amputated from the host. You have become a drain on all of those around you. It’s why when people see you, they walk the other way. Not because of fear, but because they no longer wish to listen to you gaslighting people behind their backs. They no longer want to hear you whine and complain about minuscule things.

 

Here’s a suggestion. Ask Page for a contract to another company. Maybe you’ll find it better than where you’re at currently. Maybe they will cater to your every beckon and call. Hell I’m in another company myself and it’s done wonders for me. It’s opened my eyes to the fact that you in fact don’t know shit. That you will say anything just to be the center of attention.” 

 

This is something that you’ve always wanted, right? A counsel with people you view as Locker Room leaders? You wanted me to take time out of my busy schedule just to tell you, what exactly?” 

 

That you’re overrated? That I think you need more time in the undercard before your attempt at the top titles? Or were you looking for me to fellate you, because you and I both know that was and is never going to happen. I don’t care what management thinks of you. I don’t care if they think you’re in my league. The bottom line is you’re not. You never have been and if you keep going this way, you never will be.

 

You can ask Sebastian. I’ve told him to his face that I love crushing dreams.

 

Yours are no different.

 

At Venom I’m going to do exactly what I need to do. I’m going to get in the ring. I’m going to fight. I’m going to walk out of the arena when it’s over, knowing that in two weeks after that…

 

I have a shot at something you never will.

 

This match is meaningless to me. I wouldn’t even call it a warm up. It just is what it is. Another match. On another show that I’m contractually obligated to go to. A show that I have to perform at. A match that you’ve wanted more than I did.” 

 

So please Sahara bring your best shot. Hell everyone does against me. However I need you to know this one bit before the bell rings. You’re only getting me at like maybe sixty percent, which as we will see is still better than you on your best day.

 

My opinion of you will not falter either way. It won’t be changed and my opinion of you will be a constant. When I win, maybe you should re-evaluate your worth.

 

Because to me, you’ll always be worthless.” 

 

I smile as wide as my mouth will allow me to as I look upwards the lights begin to flicker. My chest gets heavy again as I hang my head and slump over in the chair. Sliding down to the ground in the exact same position I was in before everything went black. 

 

After a few moments of struggling to open my eyes the Man’s voice is back. 

 

There he is.

 

He once again called out to me. I sigh deeply as I lay on the floor beneath the large oak door. I turn my head to look under the threshold and can see a singular set of feet pacing back and forth. I laid there for a minute, ignoring the voice and watched the feet. Each step was with a purpose. Deliberate even, as if they knew I was watching them. One step left, two to the right, and then three more left.

 

That’s going to leave a mark.

 

It’s not the worst he’s been through.

 

The throbbing in my head made him sound muffled. I rub my forehead and feel a large knot that is sensitive to touch. I suck in air as I press down on it. 

 

Is he going to be okay for Dickie?

 

Of course.

 

He has to be.

 

As I sit up my head hangs. “Please just shut up.” With no idea who I’m pleading with, I just kept muttering that over and over again. In a vain attempt to give myself silence, I was just creating more noise. Noise that would fall on deaf ears. 

 

He looks pale.

 

He looks fine.

 

You would say that.

 

I could feel the color drop from my skin. It’s an odd sensation really. Knowing you’re about two seconds away from passing out as you stumble around hoping to find a soft spot to land. 

 

What’s he doing?

 

I stumble to the left with one step and stop myself. 

 

Nothing to worry about.

 

Then I lean to the right and fall forward three steps, making sure to stop myself. 

 

Worried yet?

 

Nope.

 

After getting my bearings I took two very deliberate steps left. Ending up in the spot that I had started in. Nothing happens. A mere fabrication of the mind. 

 

Told you there wasn’t anything to worry about.

 

You’re lucky.

 

The room then begins to shake. The broken shelves fall to the ground. The lights all begin to pop one by one. Sending the room into darkness. Which would be an uneasy feeling for anyone but for some reason I’m calm. 

 

Click.

 

I look up at the oak door as it slowly begins to open. A bright light floods the room. Without a second to spare, or to even think for that fact, I bolt towards it. 

 

Stop him!

 

You stop him!

 

How?!?

 

Just as I cross the threshold of the door it slams behind me with a thunderous crash. I turn around and wait for it to open again. Waiting for someone to follow me, but there was no one. Not a sound. Not a creak. Nothing. The voices I had been hearing all but disappeared. 

 

I looked around my surroundings and noticed that I’m back in the bungalow. 

 

How the fuck—-” I quickly pat myself down and see that I’m wearing a button down shirt and a nice pair of pants. Frantically I make my way towards the door. When I swung the door open my world was once again put back in order.

 

You look like you’ve just seen a ghost.” The ever smiling face of Kasey Winterborn greets me as I stumble out of the bedroom. 

 

N—no. Don’t be silly.” I rub my hands through my hair and take a deep breath. “Just excited to spend your birthday with you.

 

Kasey rolled her eyes as she turned around. “Mmhmm, I’m sure.

 

What? I am.” I walked up behind her, still a bit shaken but grabbed her by the waist. “Do you really think I’d let you spend this day alone? Not a goddamn chance in hell.

 

I know. It’s just…” She trails off for a moment before she continues. “You’ve been distant lately.

 

I know and I’m sorry. That had and has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with Dickie and what is coming up.” I let go of her waist as she turned around while taking a step back. “I know that it’s all my fault. Everything. But for him to do this to me.” I take a deep breath. “It’s a lot. And the only way I know how, hell the only way I’ve ever dealt with stuff like this, is to seclude myself, pull myself away from everyone and watch it all fall down without the blood being on my hands.

 

That’s a piss poor excuse and you know it.” This is one of the many reasons I absolutely love Kasey. She’s not one to pull punches. Sure we are all kissy faced to all of you, but behind our doors… She’s as blunt as they come. And that isn’t a bad thing. It’s quite the contrary. I need her to tell me when I’m a fuck up. I need her to tell me to get my head out of my own ass. I need her more than she needs me. “You do that so you’re not culpable and when it’s over you get to say ‘I told you so’. You’ve fought for people before and you’ve been burnt. I get that, trust me I do but if you think I’m going to sit back and watch you torch everything just so you can sleep at night. Well bucko, buckle up because you’re in for a lot of sleepless nights.

 

You don’t understand.” She did but I was trying to lie, not to her, but to myself. “Maybe this is how it’s supposed to be.

 

Horseshit.” The rare curse from Kasey. “You are always believing in this destiny this, or destiny that crap. Guess what sweet cheeks? You control that. You are in charge of what you do next, and not a single soul can take that from you.

 

It’s not for a lack of trying.” A slight scoff from myself. 

 

Oh Dickie? You mean him playing mind games with you? Booking your matches? Come on babe, you know better than that.” She smiles and I slowly shake my head.

 

Why would he book this match against Sahara? Like we all know that it wasn’t Mrs. F or anyone else that made this match. It was Dickie. Why would he put me in this situation?

 

You know why.” 

 

Unfortunately, yeah. It’s the same reason he put me against Paul last week. Gotta give them a chance. A feel good moment for themselves. Like maybe the world is going to start going their way, only for it to all crash down on them. But a part of me still thinks that—nah.” I stop for a moment only to be quickly interrupted by Kasey.

 

Think what? Don’t hold back on me now. I think I’ve proven that I’m not going anywhere. We are in this together.” It’s actually reassuring that she’s stayed by my side in all of this. She could’ve easily said that it was too much and left, or leapt into bed with someone else, yet she didn’t. 

 

Part of me thinks that all of this could be rebuilt. Like maybe this was a test that we are all royally fucking up and there’s still time.” Wishful thinking maybe, but somewhere deep down, I feel that it’s possible. “We just have to get through May second. We both have to come out of there breathing. Blood in, Blood out.

 

Kasey raised an eyebrow. “That’s certainly one way of thinking about it.

 

What? In all of this I’ve shown that I do what I have to in order to survive. I showed it at Blood Money one and two, at Ascension, every time I get in the ring I show it, but I’ve never bled in the ring WITH Dickie. That’s how bonds are formed. It’s how James and I were once so close. How Betsy and I grew a bond.” The wheels started turning on this theory a while ago, but just now was the first time that I put it out into the world. I know I can trust Kasey with this thought. 

 

And what about me?” Kasey asked and she was right, however I couldn’t miss this opportunity.

 

That’s a different kind of In and Out. It’s more of the repeating variety.” I smiled however she didn’t find it nearly as charming as I did as she smacked me lightly on the shoulder. “Fine. You’re different. You’re special.”

 

Kasey’s face gets bright red, almost as red as her hair once was. “Stop it. I’m not.

 

I don’t care what you think. I’m going to tell you every day that you’re special until you start believing it. Remember when I told you that you were the reason I keep going?” A rather quick turn to something serious I admit but I absolutely hate it when she doesn’t see herself like I do. 

 

Yeah.” 

 

Well it’s truer today than it was yesterday and tomorrow will be the same.” I grab her left hand and slowly get down on one knee. “Kasey. I love you, but before we walk out the door can you wait for me to tie my shoe.

 

I knew it. There was no way in hell you’d do that to me on my birthday.” She pulled her hand away and helped me to my feet. She hugged me tightly. “But no. I won’t wait for you. You snooze, you lose.

 

Fair enough.” As well as she knows me, proposing on her birthday definitely would be a move I’d pull, but not now. Not while the both of us have so much going on. I kiss her on the top of her head. “Enough about me. Tonight is all about you.

 

Damn right. So what’s this big surprise you have for me?” She peeled her head back and looked up at me with a mischievous smile. 

 

Oh patience dear. Patience. But right now, let’s go get fucked up, come home. Makes some bad decisions and do it all over again tomorrow.

 

I reach into my pocket and feel a small pill inside. I rub it through my hand a few times before eventually leaving it to sit there at the bottom. 

 

That’s a good boy.

 

Just a few more weeks.

 

Then it’s over and done with.

 

For the first time all three voices spoke in unison. “You are The Vessel. We are Legion.

Kasey and I both walk out of the Bungalow to the Navigator outside. As the tail lights disappear over the horizon the camera fades to black.