Session Three: Fuzz
By: Shawn Warstein
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 1st Apr 2022
I muttered as I sat there one the edge of my bed, head cradled within my hands. It has been a long time since I’ve felt this way. It’s been a weight that I thought I was capable of carrying. I was wrong.
I fall onto my back and stare at the ceiling fan. It’s eerily similar as the one from the Man’s office. As it spins around three of the five blades are off. Shaking on each revolution. The fact that it is still spinning is nothing short of a miracle. Sure it’s not doing exactly what it’s supposed to do, but dammit it’s trying. I feel as if at any moment the fan could fall, but there it goes, spinning as if nothing is wrong or broken.
Those seem to be the only words I can muster. Over and over again. Kasey hasn’t been around lately and it’s beginning to weigh on me. I never fully explained to her what she actually does to me. Mentally that is. I love her. I cherish our time together, but what she does above all else is simple… she tethers me to reality.
Without her around, or even past relationships, they all tethered me. They made it so that I wasn’t constantly getting stuck in my own head and we all know how detrimental that can be. I wasn’t always listening to the voices that scream at night and would keep me awake for days. I would be able to focus on them and get some silence. Every moment feels like an eternity with her.
All it ever took was a simple hand on my shoulder and someone to care for me. Giving me something to fight for, someone to fight every day for. A reason for wanting to wake up the next morning.
For nearly a decade now I’ve battled demons inside of me. It made the forces on the outside seem minuscule in comparison. A mere nuisance at their best and a slight hindrance on a daily basis. I’ve been here in this exact situation before, however there was always someone there to pull me back to reality.
Once I would get to this point they were there with their watchful gaze making sure I wouldn’t cross that bridge again, knowing full well what was going to be there on the other side. It’s always going to be like this for me. Until I finally take my last breath, the final gasp from my lungs. I will have to fight and live with every single decision I’ve made. I’m at peace with what I’ve done and have tried to make amends, sort of.
I know that when the book of Shawn is done it’s not going to be a flattering story. It’s going to be filled with so many stories that most people won’t believe, or they will choose not to believe. Yet all of them are true. All the good and surely all of the bad. I know I’m not a saint and when I die… I won’t hold the decision against them, no matter where I end up.
Slowly my vision becomes blurry. No amount of eye rubbing helps the situation. The room begins to spin. I can begin to feel the beginning stages of nausea. My mouth becomes dry. I fall helplessly to the mattress behind me, as my eyes close, wondering if this is finally the end.
No matter how many times I sit here and fight this, it was always destined to be like this. I remember the days laying awake, shaking and vomiting over and over again. The sense of dread while falling asleep, not knowing if I was going to wake up. I always knew that I would end up like this. Alone and cold.
An overwhelming and bearing presence seemingly takes over my body. I stand at the foot of the bed, swaying back and forth slightly. I gently crack my neck and exhale slowly as I look back on an obstructed view bed frame.
“I’m sorry.” I throw my hands up to the side and let them fall. “That’s right. I’m sorry Paul. I’m sorry that it has to be like this. I know you’ve been salivating at the thought of this match, ever since I took Michelle to the woodshed, revirginised her and then took it right back. So much so that you had to come to the ring with the towel and throw it in for her. Simply because she couldn’t hang with the lesser of me. And that’s the point isn’t it?” I hold up a finger and begin to wave it back and forth. “Not a single person here fully understands what’s happening right in front of their own eyes. All of the signs were there. Hell, certain people have told each of you since day one. No one listened. Sad really.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that you feel so insecure that you have to give yourself the moniker ‘King Of The Mindcard’.” I make the air quotes with my hand and roll my eyes. “It’s as if you feel it’s necessary to tell everyone something we already know. You’re not good enough to compete with the best. He’s said it before and I’ll reiterate it, just because you were a big deal in one bubble, doesn’t mean you’re a big deal in every bubble. I could watch you float around this industry for years and never fully live up to the potential you think you have. Or even live up to a modicum amount of the praise you give yourself.” A slight smile comes across my face as I clear my throat. “That’s the difference between myself and the rest of the business. I don’t need to call myself the GOAT, or a GOD, or anything resembling self gratification or self imposed gaudy moniker. I don’t call myself a Tyrant because it’s catchy. I earned it. I don’t call myself a Legend because it’s the hip thing to do, I busted my fucking ass day in and day out for nearly twenty years and the accolades match the resume. No. I allow others to call me whatever they wish. I am whatever you believe me to be. There’s a reason why you follow the same group of flunkies around Paul. It’s because if you went anywhere else you would sink lower than the Mariana Trench. You’d suffocate before you even realized what you were doing. You can say I’m nothing or that you’re better than me but just know the places I’ve been, the places where I’ve dominated… you would never be able to swim let alone tread water.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that Brandon and I took you and Dickie out in Toxic Tag. It was fully my intention to do so, but seeing as how you’ve failed so many times before it seemed fitting.” Full on Warstein shrug. “With everything going on, especially now with how you swooped in and took Michelle from Brandon. I know that I’m a piece of shit, but not even I would stoop that low. Hell, look to right now as an example. I never once hid that I was going to fight Dickie or that that wasn’t the goal. You should be thanking me. Thank you Shawn for allowing myself to get shot after shot and failing time and time again. Thank me for making Fight the place to be. Thank me for showing you what it’s like to be the best wherever you lay your head. Thank me for this opportunity to stand in the ring with me. I know, I know. Dickie made this match. I’m also aware that Dickie saw that fire in your eyes when you wanted to get your hands on me and just couldn’t. He knew that eventually he’d have to stop throwing me softballs… I’m just waiting for it. I’m waiting for someone to show up and not have to overcompensate for their own shortcomings.” Using my index finger and thumb I make the gesture you’re thinking.
“I’m sorry Paul, that you hate The New Status Quo. It’s a shame really. All you’ve done is prove every single point we were fighting against. A group of people completely unable to change and grow. Unable to believe that there were others better than them in any sense of the word. Unable to adapt to the new reality that was set before them. Sink or swim, and I’m saddened to say all of you sank.” A massively wide smile on my face as I bob my head and count. “Paul, you literally called yourself the NSQ Killa, and failed. You didn’t kill shit, well except for any momentum you’ve ever established. You couldn’t handle the losses and eventually succumbed to what we all saw. You broke. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. You showed the world just how weak you truly are. No matter how you come off in your promos and in the ring , we all saw the breakdown. We all saw you stomp your feet like a child who didn’t get the last Hello Kitty doll in Walmart.” I use a single finger and draw a fake tear down the side of my face. “We watched as you threw tantrums as if that would get you respect. No. All that did was cement your status as a child. Someone who yells louder in hopes people will pay attention to him. Case and Point? I posted one video on Twitter, you responded. Did I? Nope. I didn’t feel it was necessary to show you any time of day. To show you any respect when you’ve shown none to me. That’s what all of this is about isn’t it? Respect? I don’t respect you? Hey hey, look at that… he finally got one right! Good for you kid.” A lackadaisical thumbs up and a wink.
“I’m sorry Paul that you have such a convoluted sense of self to where you think taking the Island Titles from James and Aiden make you some sort of threat. What it makes you is a thorn in the paw of a lion. It was nothing more than a minor inconvenience and to be honest it wasn’t even that.” I curl my lip and suck in air, clicking my tongue as I do so. “Those titles were nothing more than a hindrance to us. Notice how we didn’t ask for the title shot in the beginning. Notice how none of our pockets got lighter. You had to notice how my match with Dickie happened and how my pockets didn’t get lighter. Hasn’t it become apparent to all of you yet? Of course it hasn’t. It’s like all of you have two brain cells fighting in your head for third place. Why would they want to push forward people who constantly degrade their company? Or are constantly pissing EVERYONE off.” I jab my finger into my temple several times. “It’s called a pay to play system. The reason I don’t have to pay? Is because I play the system. I don’t need to put my money where my mouth is because they know the second I’m on the poster, people will watch. They know that when I walk in doors, Brinks trucks follow. I’m the definition of a lighting rod. No one knew who most of you were until I showed up. I mean with the exception of people watching you on The Life on channel 1024 weekly to the tens and tens of viewers. Take a deep breath now Paul, make sure the cameras for The Life catch your every exhale. They do pay you to breathe, so I suggest listening to them when they ask.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that you’re literally the scum of the earth. That you are right up there with people who are spending their lives on death row, except we know you’d be passed around like a bag of candy in there, or you’d be shanked in the ribs over and over again.” I pantomime getting stabbed and over exaggerated the fallout of it. Falling to the floor and playing dead. I open one eye, quickly nod and brush myself off while standing up. “You and many people like you have this over inflated sense of self. Now don’t get me wrong, I do too, but at least I have the common decency to admit when I’m wrong. Sure there’s the #ShawnIsAlwaysRight on Twitter and a slew of others, but I can fully admit when I am proven wrong, unlike you. You dig your feet into the ground and never admit that you’re wrong. It’s admirable at best, pathetic all the time. You see when you constantly think you’re right about something and you are proven time and time again… it kinda defeats the purpose. You become stagnant and stale. People begin to see your cries and dismiss you before You’ve had a chance to explain yourself. That’s where you are Paul. You’re worse than a five day old baguette, sure it’s supposed to be crusty on the outside but deep in the core it’s not all supposed to be the same thing.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that you don’t get as much screen time as me here in Fight or that you get less screen time in The Life than Toddy and Austin. That’s two Life references.” I proudly hold up two fingers and then fist pump to myself. “Truth be told, I’d much rather watch their lives than the gross exaggeration of what you think your life is. You are living in a fairy tale, you’re living the dream. Yet over and over you squander opportunity after opportunity. This should be your breakthrough performance. The chance for you to finally call my bluff. The chance for you to stand tall and say… I did it Momma! I finally did something… anything, but I’m going to treat you exactly how I did Michelle, Bradford and Jennie, and pretty much everyone else that has stood across from me.” Using my finger I draw a seven across my chest and hold up the ATL sign. Get it? It’s another Michael Vick reference.
“I’m sorry Paul, that everything I said is true. Do you not remember? No? Okay, I have said on multiple occasions ‘The only people capable of beating NSQ is NSQ’. Our demise isn’t at your hands.” I extend both of my plams, holding them out in a garish fashion. “The blood isn’t anywhere near you. You couldn’t get the job done. Joe can’t get the job done, Brandon couldn’t get the job done. I got the job done. We did it because we were sick and tired of all you stupid fucking piss babies whining and crying. Nothing you did, or anyone else for that fact, had a hand in it. If none of you saw it coming, again I must reiterate, I’m sorry you’re so fucking blind. Have your fucking groups back, I don’t give a fuck. None of you are capable of surviving on your own and the piss fest all of you threw proves that point even more.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that the only thing interesting about your promos is whoever you’ve got featured with you. Of all the promos of yours I’ve had to sit through..” I use both my hands to make a pillow and place my head on top of them. “A prevailing point stayed constant. You’re the least interesting thing in all of them. You have no depth. You have no.. umph about anything. You try to stay the course even when you’ve been knocked off by a battering ram of colossal proportions. Hello. I’m the colossal proportions you’ve been warned about.” An overly friendly wave.
“I’m sorry Paul. That I stole this bit and you’re completely unaware of it. I’m also sorry that you’ve been ducking your own blood for years on end. Never once coming face to face with him, one on one. Do you smell that?” I sniff loudly as the wrinkles on my forehead begin to show a little deeper. Then a slow shake of my head. “Is it fear? Knowing that you might in some way, shape or form tarnish your already tarnished legacy. Are you scared that your brother might be better than you? Even if it is for one night, does your own blood have you shook? Do I look intimidated by my upcoming match with Dickie? Do you think I fear James? Or Betsy? Or anyone for that fact? I don’t. That’s what makes the two of us so very very different. You run from obstacles and the hard path to the top, in hopes that it would be handed to you. I tend to take the hard way. This way when I’m left standing tall… there are no questions about how I got there.“
“I’m sorry Paul, that I roll my eyes every time you open your sleazy mouth. The shit that you spew to the world is toxic, and I’m trying to be better.” I draw a halo above my head and put my hands in the typical praying position. “I’ve been good. I’ve kept to myself, and tell me Paul… What has that gotten me? Nothing, other than the roster looking at me as if I’m the bad guy because I don’t want to talk or interact with them. They believe that I think they aren’t worthy of my time and wisdom…” I laugh to myself. “They’re right. Respect is something that is earned not given because you think it’s an inalienable right. I don’t have to like any of you, but at the end of the day all of you know what I truly think of you.“
“I’m sorry that people only think this side of me is capable of coming out when I’m using and rolling out of my mind.” I roll up both my sleeves and slap the inner corners of my elbows. “For that I truly am sorry. I’m clean from the tar, it’s as if I’m fresh from the womb in this metaphor. I’m sorry that I lied to all of you. The truth is… this never left. It was always here. Clawing and foaming are the mouth to come back out. I’ve fought for so long to keep this side hidden but sometimes shit happens.” One more classic Warstein shrug.
“I’m sorry Paul. I know this was never your intention. You wanted me to take you as a serious threat. Michelle knew what she was getting into. Bradford now knows that you don’t shoot for the stars on your first go round. And you Paul….“
I once again fall backwards onto the mattress as my eyes shoot open. A heavy sigh or relief, as my breathing is labored. The ceiling fan spins above my body. I look around and I’m back inside the Man’s office. “Welcome back.“
“Wha—” I cough deeply as I sit up on the raggedy couch. “What the fuck was that?” My head feels lightheaded as the room spins.
“That… well.” The man whose face is now shrouded leans back in his chair. Placing both hands on the arms rests. “That’s what you’ve been shielding. It’s what you’ve been hiding away from the world for far too long.“
“H—-he was put there for a reason.” Try as I might to get up, it feels like I’m strapped to the couch. I’m not as there are no restraints, but lifting my own arm is seemingly a Herculean task.
“And what reason is that?” The man questioned. “To see if you could even feel love? Or compassion? Or even…” The man fakes puking. “Empathy? You do realize all that’s done is make you weak. It’s made you the constant scapegoat for everyone you surround yourself with. Just look around you Fuzz. There’s no one here. The people you’ve bled for. The people you’ve taken hits for. None of them are around you when you need it the most.“
“They’ll come.” I was able to get that out even though it feels as if there are a ton of bricks on my chest. “She’ll come.“
“Come on, even you don’t believe that.” The man audibly scoffs. “You know deep down that eventually there will be no one left. No NSQ. No Legacy. No Kasey. And then what will you do Fuzz? What will you do when you’ve once again hit rock bottom? When everyone realizes that you’ve been using them as stepping stones to get what you want. For twenty years Fuzz, you’ve been tossing people aside without a care in the world other than your own happiness. What makes you think it isn’t time for you to be the one tossed in the trash?“
“They—- she wouldn’t.” Thoughts of Kasey flood my mind. Have I set her aside for my own selfish reasonings? For my own glory? I told her that she was my top and only priority.
“I see the gerbil jumping up and down on the wheel, Fuzz.” As I turned my head towards the man I could hardly make out a smile from his face. “Now you’re starting to see the holes in your own narrative. A narrative you’ve tried so hard to control and you’re watching it crumble into dust. Watching people like Bradford shine a light upon your very existence made your fume. I find it hard to imagine what Paul is going to say.“
“No. Everything I’ve said is still true. I’ll fight for all of them. I’ll fight alongside them.” It’s becoming easier to breathe as the pressure begins to lift from my chest and the room immediately stops spinning.
“Of course you will. That’s what you tell yourself to go to sleep. Yet when you sleep, it’s something completely different. That precious noggin of yours doesn’t want the same things you want.” The man begins tapping on his third eye. “Why else would everything you work for fall apart constantly? Why every time you’re seemingly happy, chaos ensues? He doesn’t want you to have everything he lost.”
“That sounds like a——” I was cut off before I could finish.
“No. That’s a YOU problem. Why else would you go through Blood Money and make sure people were okay after you took their dreams away? Why would you shield the weak only to make an example out of Ashlynn weeks later?” The man leans forward and it feels as if he’s right in my ear. “You are him and he is you. The sooner you realize this notion the better off everyone will be. The better off YOU’LL be.“
“I won’t lose her.”
“You might have already.” The man seemingly backs away from my ear. “You’re focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time. If she wants to be with you, she will. However if she sees the real you, she might run. I feel for her. I want her to know everything about you, but you’ve held back a monster since day one. Sure she has seen glimmers here and there, and of course you played it off like a true villain. Getting everyone on your side, making yourself the sympathetic character in your discourse. Fuzz there is no such thing as sympathy for the Devil. What makes you think you’re deserving?“
“Well I—-I—-” I couldn’t even get my thoughts straight. A million moments played in my head. From the good, to the downright vile. It was the vile ones that stuck out more and more. Each time with a greater degree of viciousness.
“You’re not. You never have been and that’s okay. That’s what separates you from the rest of them. You aren’t judged on the same scales as them. They place extra weight on there so that you’ll never be considered their equal, even if you are greater.” The man pauses for a moment and looks around the room before turning his attention back towards me. “Are you ready to accept all of your flaws and come together as one? Accept your wrongs for what they are and no longer carry the weight of them with you?“
With how often I shout from the top of my lungs that I’m right…
I’m wrong quite often. What could I be missing? I wish I knew the answer to that and maybe one day I will have that, but for now, in this moment right here, I’m glad to be wrong. It’s going to allow myself to finally be free from the shackles that I put on myself. With one final deep breath.
As soon as the words left my mouth someone began banging on the door. I cut my head towards it but the Man stood up and blocked my view.
“Don’t worry about that. Just listen to my voice.”
The banging gets louder and louder. I can hear a muffled voice on the other side and I can’t quite make out who it is….
Fade To Black