Session Two: McCallum

By: Shawn Warstein

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 18th Mar 2022

I can still hear the rattling of the chain against the ceiling fan. I keep my eyes closed and try to focus on that. As soon as that name was mentioned I felt something course through my body. A type of resentment and loneliness. Scared and weak. McCallum. I feel my breathing getting heavier and harder. I take one massive breath and exhale slowly as the world seemingly fades away leaving me alone with only my thoughts. 


Huh. Well that was easy. 


Easier than I care to admit… nah you all have known me for a while now to know when my humbleness isn’t legit. That match with Michelle went exactly how I thought it was going to go.


Well except for one thing, but we shall save that for later. Now however is something completely different. You see the wise and sage Dickie Watson has decided to throw the ultimate curveball. 


Did I expect something different from Sir Watson?


Did I expect him to swing for the fences? 


Not really. You see Dickie can sit there, sit back and watch what is about to happen. This isn’t a slap in the face. I’m not mad that he has chosen this route to take. It was expected. Dickie has always been one not to go with the flow. March to the beat of his own drum. Sometimes to his own detriment. 


That will lead us all to…


You…Tyler. I don’t know you all that much and that’s fine. I know enough to get by and get my point across. However you know all about me don’t you? You see the record. You see the accolades. You can see the way people act around me.


It gets tiresome sometimes. Not knowing who I can trust or who has my best intentions in mind. Yet there are so many people out there who are just plain jealous of everything I’ve done. So much so that they will talk behind my back and think that I don’t hear what they are saying. 


I do. I hear everything. 


There are people out there questioning whether or not we deserve to be the main event. Whether or not I BELONG in the same breath as Dickie. Can you believe that? Me? The one everyone flocks towards. The, for a lack of a better term, Shepard. All this talk about card placement is draining. Don’t worry Tyler, it’s not based on you, it has everything to do with me. You see when you’re like me people tend to talk about you. Good, bad or indifferent. In my case usually it’s bad, but on the rare occasion it’s good. So know this one thing Tyler…


Anyone talking about this match has everything to do with me, and very little to do with you. Why? Well buddy it’s simply because no one knows who the hell you are, or what you’re all about. 


I do. 


Small little snippets here and there, only give a small portion of the whole picture. You’re a man with many, many layers beyond just the rich douchebag. 


No. You’re no one trick pony. You’re also completely oblivious to how anything in this world actually works. Lucking your way to the top of any field isn’t a tactic that is built for longevity. It’s a crash and burn system and you my friend just got thrown directly into the fire pit. Clothes soaked in kerosene and ready to ignite. 


And that’s exactly what’s going to happen. If anything this match has lit a fire under my ass that I’ve been missing for a while now. I could sit here and say that…


Yes Tyler you have a snowball’s chance hell…


But I just can’t do it. You’re walking into my domain. My company. My path. It would be ever so arrogant of you to think for one moment this is going to go your way. Yet from the little I do know about you…


That’s all you’re going to think. It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s day for you to need the luck of the Irish. No, you sir are going to need a lot more than a short guy in some suspenders to give you enough luck to pull off what would be the biggest upset in Fight history. 


Now I’m not saying you don’t have any skills in the ring. Fight wouldn’t have brought you in if you didn’t, so I know you’ve got some fight in you. 


What you don’t understand is unbelievably stacked the deck is against you. 


Typically a match like this would end in interference, but that can’t happen. Or something shady would happen, again not possible. What I’ve done is guarantee myself matches without those things to worry about. I don’t have to look over my shoulder between the bells anymore. I can simply focus on the task before you. However unfortunately for you…


That’s you. 


See you strike me as a somewhat smart guy. You see what I did when I made my rule. Other people can’t see the forest through the trees. They all saw it and saw the small scale. ‘Seems like a waste to me, Blah blah blah’ and that’s where people are simply ignorant. 


All I’ve ever wanted was to have clean matches in the middle of a wrestling ring. Now? Now I have that. Now I have the ability to do what I do best. 


Bury people who don’t deserve to be considered in my class. Show the world that it’s not just the Empire title I’m after… It’s everything. I’m not content with being the best in Fight, I want to be the best in the world. I am going to cement my status as one of the best to EVER do it. 


A claim you can only hope to have in your wildest dreams. Just call me Freddy Kruger cuz your dreams just became a fucking nightmare and you’re not the main protagonist. You’re a side character. Fodder. A person who is in the background waiting for their big break. 


Lord Watson decided it’s your chance. Time for you to step out of the shadows and into the light. Remember Tyler, only walk towards the first light, the second one is no bueno. 


Tyler, here’s what I really want you to take from this interaction between the two of us. 


You may one day be able to stand toe to toe with me. Hell one day you might even be able to topple the giants of this industry. It’s just Venom is not that day. It won’t be your day for a long long time. Just take solace in the fact that you’re here now. You’ve been asked to tackle a monumental task. I’m sure you won’t disappoint the masses. And even if you do..


There is hope for you in the end anyways. Watch Mojo will surely have you on their Top Ten People to get Bitch Smacked on Television list, and you know what they say. 


All press is good press. 


I sat up from the couch that I was on last week and looked around the room. Something has changed but I can’t quite put my finger on it. My vision is slightly blurry as the room slowly comes into focus. The bookcases are still there, the lights are the same but the man…


Something is different about him. Last time he was inviting and warm. This time he seems closed off. The way he is sitting, slouched deep into his chair. His eyes never maintaining contact for longer than a few seconds before darting away. He seems uncomfortable. He takes a deep breath and calms himself down. 


Something wrong?” I asked.


No. It’s just I didn’t expect to be scolded for calling you McCallum.” He pauses for a moment before seemingly getting back to normal. He grabs his notebook and looks over it for a moment. A sense of dread falls on his face. Why? Probably because of what he has to say next.  “So that’s your birth name? Shawn McCallum?” The man leans back in his chair, crossing his left leg on top of his right and gently placing his notebook on top. “Why did you decide to go away from it?


I sat there staring straight forward and unblinking. I had lashed out before at this question but never truly knew why. It was a question that I had been asked before and never really wanted to get deep into but I guess now is as good as any to finally let it all out. “Why?” I rub the corners of my eyes with my left hand. “It’s complicated.


I’ll be the judge of that. We’ve got all the time you could possibly need. So why not take a deep breath and tell me.” The man begins scribbling in his notebook. As I sat up and attempted to see what he was writing he pulled it back. “Maybe one day, just not today. Go on then.


Fine.” I take a deep breath. In through the mouth and out through the nose. “The reason I don’t use the McCallum name is really simple. Why would I want to bring notoriety to a man who doesn’t deserve it? He walked out on me and my mom. He left us to fend for ourselves, and for what? Some new cat that came calling? A new job? I’ll never know because the asshole didn’t have a single shred of compassion to let us know that he was leaving. My mom and I just woke up one day and he was gone.


The man slowly begins to nod his head. “That had to make things hard. Not knowing…


You think.” I roll my eyes and lean back on the couch. My eyes follow the ceiling fan. Last time I looked at it one of the five blades was off kilter, now however two seem to be off balance. The light shakes slightly as you’d expect from a ceiling fan with two blades broken. A small sigh as I continue. “Imagine going through life constantly thinking it’s your fault. You weren’t good enough. You didn’t try your hardest.


You were told this?” The man scratches his beard while asking. I simply shake my head. 


No.” I swallow hard and cough slightly, the taste of iron faintly remains. “Just the thoughts of a child who had no clue what was going on. Mom moved on quickly and often, never staying with the same guy for too long for me to get attached. We both went down a bad path but eventually we both came out on the other side better for it.


Better how?” The man asks almost as if he knows the answer already but needs me to vocalize it for the point to stick. 


I see what you’re doing but okay.” I clasp my hands together and continue to lean back. “He indirectly showed me how to be a man. How to have some integrity. How you don’t turn your back on people you claim to care for.” 


I mean come on, even you have had your moments of indiscretion.” A sly smile from the man. 


True, I can’t and won’t argue that. However I’ve never minced words. If I’ve said something I meant it. I don’t back track on words or actions that I’ve done. Most people think of me as a snake in the grass. Just slithering around trying to attack from behind.


A slight laugh from the man. “Ashlynn would tend to disagree with that statement.


You’re right.” My head shot up from the couch and smirked at the man. “She’d be mistaken or dumb. Their choice really. The second I walked out there she had to have known what was about to happen. I can’t touch Dickie, by my own decree, so what did she think I was going to do? Congratulate her on a well earned loss? Or use it as an opportunity? I didn’t slide in the ring behind her back or Dickie’s backs. I walked right to the ring so they both could see it coming.


She did just have a match…


And so did I. Just because one lost and the other didn’t doesn’t take away from the knowledge of what was to come.” I lick my lips as my head tweaks slightly to the right. “It didn’t matter who was standing there. What happened, was happening to whomever was standing across from Dickie. If Ashlynn wants an opportunity to right a perceived wrong, I’m not a hard man to find.


So let’s get back to your father shall we.” He holds a hand out and rolls it.


Fine.” I give him a half shrug.


Did you ever find out where he went or what happened to him?” The man tilts his head in a quizzical fashion. 


Yes and no.” I begin to nervously look around the room and tap my foot on the ground. “Like I don’t know where he went and to be honest I don’t care. He left me, it wasn’t the other way around.


Have you seen him since then?


No and why would I want to?” I shake my head at the man and massively roll my eyes. “He moved on, had another family and never even bothered to try. Not a letter. Not a phone call. Not even an attempt to contact any place I’ve ever worked. It’s not like he didn’t know my mother’s maiden name and he understands basic math. One plus one equals that’s your fucking son using his mother’s name.


The man looks up and tilts his head. “You said he had another family?


Yeah.” I responded curtly.


How do you know?” 


I met my half brother, Derek.” A name I no longer wished to say but in the interest of not holding anything back , it was muttered again.


Interesting. Seems as if maybe he tried reaching out in lieu of your father, perhaps?” I simply smiled at the notion. 


Not at all.” I cleared my throat. “Derek tried to ruin my life, career and relationship at the time. He failed on two of the three but the third one he actually succeeded. Without his interference I may well still be stagnant. Waiting on the hopes of someone else, only for them to never materialize. I’ve moved on from then and so have they. It was honestly the only good thing to come from Derek. Now don’t get me wrong, I was pissed at the time. Now, however, I think I owe him a fruit basket or something.


So you harbor no ill will towards him?


Again. Yes and No.” This was going to be tough to admit. “I don’t blame him at all. It wasn’t his doing. The one time we did talk, he told me how my dad would always compare him to me. I felt bad for him. Not that he was being compared to me, but because of who was doing the comparison. He got to live with my dad through his formative years. He got to see the man that I wished that I had had. I was jealous of him. Me of all people, jealous. Then the more I thought about it, the more I started to make sense of everything.


How’s that?” The man continues to scribble on his pad, as I’m continuing and not paying attention. 


The best thing my dad ever did for me was leaving. I know it didn’t make sense as a child, but now as an adult how to live with integrity…” Once again I take a deep breath. “I can make sense of the senseless. Without him leaving, I wouldn’t have ever had the bad example of what it’s like to be a father and a man. I wouldn’t have had to struggle to become the man of the house. The protector of the family. The one people lean on. It made me stronger than anyone could’ve ever imagined. It’s why when things don’t go my way, I simply brush myself off and keep going. Why? Because it’s the exact opposite of what he would’ve done. At the first sign of struggle he would run. I learned to put my head down and get the job done, any way I could manage. How to treat my family and not desert them, even when I was at my lowest, they still took priority. I walked away from my life and career for my son Jacob. I battled the masses and fought with Noah. I defended people who didn’t earn it, but because I cared for them, I fought for them. I wanted everyone to lean on me, because I’m the one that can manage it. They all felt differently and left. That all led to… well this.


Uhhh…” The man tried to stop me but I quickly held up a hand to stop him. 


Oh I’m not done yet.” I feel my neck twinge again, this time to the left. “He also showed me that I need to keep my circle small. That I didn’t need the approval of anyone. That the people with integrity will stand by me and fight alongside me, not get jealous when things don’t go their way. They all showed me that all I need is Kasey. The rest of them? They know my number hasn’t changed. I never once failed to pick up a call from anyone that needed it, but they all know it isn’t my nature to pick up and reach out first. One of them I haven’t talked to since January and that is their choice. The others? Same thing. If they all thought that I was going to wilt and die without them…


My head tilts all the way down to my right shoulder and then slowly to the left shoulder. I try to clear my throat but am unable to do so. My voice is gravely and coarse. 


Then they forgot who the fuck I am.