Tradition

By: Vincent Black

Date: 15th Jul 2021

Vincent Black has been many things in the course of his career. Not just a fighter, but a painter, a poet, a writer, a musician. He has been called a renaissance man by some, and a cunt by others, but what no one has ever called him has been fake. Wait. Ok, so maybe one did, and it might have been for good reason. She was left for another woman. Wait. two might have said this. And it wasnít that he was fake, but that he was a liar. Disingenuous. So he may have been called that before. Hold on, let me start again. Vincent Black has been called many things. Disingenuous being one of them. But heís never been called an actor. And that is apparently going to change today. As a result of his twin daughters being terribly upset with him, he offered them the chance to make him do one thing that he could not say no to. He had thought theyíd make him get a tattoo, or put out an album of country music. But instead, what they had come up with was a punishment so dark and malicious that it made him sad they were ever mad at him to begin with, because these were definitely daddies girls. Because what they had decided on was not a prank, or a small inconvenience. What they had decided on was to make Xavier, Vinís twin brother and competition in all things, his permanent business manager. And what Xavier had decided to do with that, was to sign Vin up for projects that heíd never do. Like Acting in a show on Netflix. Which had been for the last several months just a threat in the distance. An upcoming nightmare that was always on the horizon. And then, it was at his feet. Reporting to Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, Vincent parked his 1980 Caddy Seville in his designated spot in the private garage, and took a mental note of the car before leaving. The eyeball shaped chrome mirrors, the devils face front grill, and curb guides were all pristine. And god forbid if when he got back they were not, no one was going to be acting like anything but dead. And they wouldn’t be acting. You know what I mean. Vincent was met by a very lovely young lady PA who was nervous to even look at him. Maybe it was his height. How he towered over her. Maybe it was his width, the way his muscles made him more wall than man. Or perhaps it was that his pants were too tight and she could see the Black Snake that made the Monty Python look like a tadpole. A fact he too, was just becoming aware of. Having been up all night with frustration at the idea of being an actor, and taking that frustration out on Vhodka in all the best ways, Heíd thrown on the first pants he found after waking up late. The pants in question now obviously being Vhodka, a trend that was becoming more and more common. The girl welcomed him while maintaining intense eye contact that could only mean a Ďdonít look at his dickí rant was happening within her, and she was seconds away from losing it. Vincent smiled and waited for her to finish explaining whatever it was she was explaining, and then he nodded. His mission, which he chose to accept, was to be so bad at whatever this was, that heíd never be asked back. His character would be written off, and he could say he did what was asked to the best of his ability. Not lying about his skill, mind you. But acting. He was led to a room full of people who sat at tables with their real names and their character names. Being unfamiliar with all of these people, he didnít know which was which and had no intent on asking. Save for one, Antonio Banderas. He had met Antonio a few times, and quite honestly had loved the first Zorro movie. Antonio waved like a spanish male does. Very cool, very suave. Not like a caucassian. They wave like they expect their hand to fly off and canít wait for it to happen. Spanish people are far more stylish. He found his name at the table, but with no other info. He was sure he was playing a character. Knowing X he was probably playing four. Bad enough to have to do this once or twice, but everyday? He shuttered to even imagine. The director, a very lovely woman named Jovanka Vuckovic, stood at the front of the room. Her lime green hair pulled into a ponytail. She held a script up above her head, and smiled. She announced that this was the first table reading for the soon to be hit show. Her words. ĎKilling Floor.í Based off a video game, the premise of the show was this;

In 2033 the United Nations is at a war amongst themselves over the catastrophic loss of lives that is the result of a 13 year war. Soldiers are dying so fast that they can not be replaced, and countries are falling by the wayside daily. That is until a scientist named Dr. Hans Volter reveals that he has found a way to not only reanimate dead flesh, but can control it as well. He sells his formula to Horzine Biotech, a company that immediately begins to create and sell these bio-horrors to every country in the world. But it isnít long before Dr. Volter reveals his nefarious plans. Once these creatures are put into place, they ignore their orders and begin to slaughter everything in their path. Before long, it is no longer safe to live above ground. Governments build large shelters beneath the ground and abandon the surface completely. Until word of Dr. Volters death. With the amount of Specimens now a finite number due to Volter not being able to make more, The Underground Union has decided to send volunteers to the surface to remove as many of the Specimens as possible, and make their way to the Biotech headquarters to see about controlling these creatures, and returning order to the world, and the world to the humans. Or so they are told. In truth, Our heroes are in fact nothing more than entertainment for the surviving upper class, who watch on specially made drones that follow our heroes about. Now left with nothing to do but fight, The heroes set out for revenge against those that lied to them, while trying desperately to not end up on…THE KILLING FLOOR…Our warriors are..

She goes around the room, introducing the rest of the cast. I know a few of these faces after all. The bald guy from the show about a teacher making meth, not the main one but the one who collects rocks…or minerals. Playing a guy named Tom who was obsessed with medieval reenactments and threw on his armor before ascending to the surface. Antonio Banderas plays a priest named Rev. David Bautiste, the last of his religion who begged to be let to the surface to spend his last days either helping to save people or at least beat back the demons man hath made. Danielle Harris, a person Vin is well familiar with due to her work in horror. Playing a transient photographer who has volunteered to leave the safety of the sub-world to get photographs no one else has. Winston Duke ironically plays a professional wrestler who suspects the truth and volunteers because he wants to be entertaining again, and Daniel Dae Kim as a police officer who went undercover as a Yakuza member and has been stuck in his role for years, and has volunteered under the guise of finding a way to bring back some way to get the yakuza more power, when heíd rather die as himself than live as an unhonorable man for one minute longer. As the writers and cast members clap, Jovanka walks over to Vincent, and places her hand on his shoulder.

And of course, Introducing in his acting debut, Vincent Black. Who will be using his natural size, intensity, and brutality to bring to life our season 1 big bad, The Scrake. Massive in size, the Scrake is a Bio Specimen that hunts the group. Equipped with a massive chainsaw on its left hand, the Scrake is going to be the most insane threat the world has ever seen! And now that introductions have been done, letís take a small break before we start our table read. Mr. Black, come with me.

Patting Vincent on the shoulder, she nods toward an exist and makes her way there, walking slowly but still excitedly. She turns as she reaches the door, and smiles in a way that honestly makes Vincent a tad bit nervous. Her eyes then dart to his pants, and she giggles, her head tilted back as if to let the laughter out easier. As they exit the interior, they walk past trailer after trailer, as she strikes up a conversation full of things she always wanted to say, and things she never thought she would.

Jovunka Vuckovic
I just want to say that Iím a big fan. Your albums are some of my absolute go-tos. We even go to some of the same artists for our ink. So when I say this…Please know I mean no disrespect, but you have to wear pants that fit when you come to work. This isn’t old hollywood. I wonít have people being exposed…Ok?

Vincent Black
Is this a fireable offense?

Jovunka Vuckovic
No, not at all. Hang meat, bro. But youíre gonna catch a lawsuit from someone.

Vincent Black
Wonít happen again.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Good to hear. Now, about your role. So obviously youíre going to be playing a Specimen known as the Scrake, huge chainsaw hand. Any thoughts?

Vincent Black
How does he refuel his chainsaw?

Jovunka Vuckovic
Itís the future he doesnít need to. Any other questions?

Vincent Black
I feel like that answers all of them.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Ah, well..This is makeup. Iím going to need you to go through the process. This is going to be daily, so if itís too much, you have to let me know. Itís a long, painstaking process that is going to cover your entire head. You man enough for it?

Vincent Black
…lets find out.

The door to the trailer was light. So light that when Vin pulled it, it almost tore off in his hands. Granted, it might not be the door, as things had gotten to be a bit much. His current wife was in the infirmary for burns she suffered after stabbing his ex-wife who was also in the infirmary. Neither of their injuries were severe at all, it was more the massive drop down the elevator shaft that did it. But on top of having to worry about all of that, he also had kids to care for, his dog, a gift from Sam chatman back in F2B lovingly named Tina Turner despite his balls,, and the small, bothersome problem of some black mouth cunt drooling in his direction every chance she got. Vincent had put aside time to wonder how she had knew his moves so well, but that wasnít going to be for awhile. ĎExtra helping of insane women?í No thanks. Iím full. Sitting down in the chair, Vincent looked away from his reflection and at the counter before him. On both sides of him, makeup artists discussed what it was they were doing, why. Hair gel to keep the bald cap down, power to dry the face. Eventually the noise falls away, and Vincentís eyes slowly close. But he is not asleep. In fact, he is more awake than heís ever been. He sees his children. Their small, familiar faces looking up at him. He sees his wife, the expression of love that every ounce of her face expresses when looking at him. and his brother, the best friend heís ever had, and the only person who has ever truly understood him from the get. He sees his old brothers, Calvin Henry and Jack, who despite being absolute assholes, have been there for him, even when he pushed them away, they kept coming. And out of all of these people that matter most, some of them are missing. . And while for a moment, he is thankful for each and every one of them, he is very aware of the gaping hole. And as he snaps open his eyes, and sees the monster looking back at him from the mirror, he remembers the man he truly is inside. And for a moment, he isnít angry. He isnít consumed by the hate heís known his entire life. For one moment, he is consumed by love and love alone. And in that moment, Vincent Black makes a decision heís never before been able to make. Vincent Black decides to stay that way. His eyes close again and memories of seeing his daughters for the first time, and holding his son during a thunderstorm, and seeing Ripley who was equal parts him and her. And it doesnít feel like a weight. It doesnít feel heavy. It feels light. It feels right. Vincent opens his eyes and sees the man in the mirror before him. And for a moment, he doesnít recognize himself. The scowl is gone. The grimace is there but itís slighter and more crazy than angry. He looks away from himself and finds the director and the make up crew staring at him amazed. He turns to look at them, and they all are baffled as if they just saw a miracle. Like Paul Montouri not blowing the doors off a building he performed in, or Joe Montouri not being a gentleman. (Sorry Dane, Iím a bridesmaid)

Jovunka Vuckovic
Jesus Christ, Vin. You didnít move for 5 hours. How?

Vincent Black
Öitís been five hours?

Jovunka Vuckovic
Yes. ThatísÖamazing.

Vincent Black
ÖJo. I would like to further my contract. I would really like to play anyÖ

Jovunka Vuckovic
Specimen.

Vincent Black
yes. That. Iíd like to play them all. All of them.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Öreally? Thereís at least 6. You sure you want that kind of commitment?

Vincent Black
He considered being honest with her. Opening the can and spilling the truth contained within. That the 5 hours that passed in the blink of an eye were not only effortless, but something heís been searching for for as long as he can remember. But he didnít want to connect with her.She was in some ways his boss, and in other ways his fan, but whether or not he wished to make her his friend, was still very much up in the air. Very much so.

Jovunka Vuckovic
Ok. Iíll let them know to call off the search. This…this is going to be SO great.

Vincent Black
Yes. So great.

Vincent rose out of the chair, and thanked the women and men of the make up department. As he exited they all remarked about how much nicer he was than they expected. How much taller he was than they expected. And also, how much tighter his pants were than expected. The Caddy drove smoother on to the tower than it did to the studio, and the music was sweater. Old Rancid on a cassette tape was played almost 3 times by the time he reached his parking spot in the private garage for talent. He looked around for any one else, and for the first time in his life, he wasnít looking for enemies. Sure, there were people here he wanted to fight, to get his hands on. That was natural. What wasnít was that for the first time in a long time, far back as he could recall anyway, he was ok about them existing. His brother would call this growth. He called it confusing. But despite the weirdness in his head and the lightness in his chest, he was, quite honestly, enjoying it. Swiping his key card to the elevator, he waited for the doors to shut, and then spoke out ĎInfirmary.í The elevator didnít respond, and then he shook his head with a laugh, and pressed the button. The elevator was as high end as everything else in this building, and the talent, for the most part, was only allowed to enter their own domiciles. Unless you had a friend in the infirmary, in which case you could hit the MCW button and youíd be allowed to enter. Of course you still had to be allowed to scan into their room. Xavier had always been very serious about security, so all of this made perfect sense.

Vin scanned into the main entrance of the wing, and was green lighted. As he moved toward the front desk, he chuckled to himself. He a wive, an ex-wife, a friend, and a co-worker all on this floor. He thought about visiting them all, just to be the respectful time. After all, theyíd helped put this place on the map with their bodies. Despite their history, it was something he could respect.
But obviously, the wife comes first. And as he scanned into her room, someone else walked out, and bumped into him.

Sarah Wolf
…fuck.

Vin looked his sister up and down. Her body language was angry, and aggressive. She lead with her shoulders, and her eyes were like two lasers trying to burn a hole through his. He stepped out of her way, and she pushed on by, not even uttering another word. But Vincent called after her anyway.

Vincent Black
I meditated today. I know, you donít care. But, considering how often you tried to teach me, I thought you should know. 5 hours worth. Or so I was told, It was a blink and miss it sort of deal. I do think I tapped into something tho. I donít know if it was a dream, or a vision, or…I just know that for the first time in a long time. Iím not angry. I should be. I always should be. Thatís how Iíve lived. But…I guess Iím happy, Bats. I know you donít want that for me anymore. I figured maybe the girl inside that did, might want to know that.

Sarah turned and looked at Vincent. The audacity this man had, her face read. To stand before her and talk to her like they werenít enemies. And then she looked at his face. And his eyes. And the circlues around them were perfectly black. It reminded her of something and what that was, who knows, but it was not something pleasant.

Sarah Wolf
…you wearing makeup?

Vincent Black
I am. I came from work.

Sarah Wolf
What work?

Vincent Black
Xavier got me on this tv show. I play the devil or something. Itís futuristic shit. But, the interesting take away here, is that I meditated. In the 5 hours it took to put the head piece on and take it off. I was on another level of existence. And for once, I see the hope I always hoped Iíd have. And while you may not have been able to help me then, you did your part. And Iím so grateful for it. Even if you hate me.

Sarah Wolf
Good, because I do hate you. Youíre a piece of shit. And i trusted you.

Vincent Black
Iím sorry. I know you feel like we did this because we didnít respect you. But we didnít. We did it because we love you. And any hate you have for us will never change that.

Sarah Wolf
…why start acting now?

Vincent Black
…X made the girls a deal. Theyíd forgive me for leaving, if he became my business manager.

Sarah Wolf
…really? Youíre not afraid of, I donít know…Being too burnt out to wrestle?

Vincent Black
Iíve spent my entire life being afraid of one thing or another. I think itís time I started being afraid of missing out.

Sarah Wolf
Ugh, fuck yourself with that sentiment.

Vincent Black
Love you.

A fake vomit noise emitted from Sarah as she walked past a nurse on her way out. The nurse, obviously someone who has a sensitive gag reflex, as she too wretches just from the sound. A nurse behind her begins to do the same, and before Sarah can exit the area, at least six people are all wretching uncontrollably. Vin chuckles and dips inside the room. Vhodka Black, laid on her side, her phone in her hand, and a knit cap over her hair. Vin leaned down and kissed her on the cheek, and then on her face, and sat down in the chair adjacent. Her eyes were heavy and a yawn was produced before words could be formed.

Vincent Black
Miss Black.

Vhodka Black
Mister Marie.

Vincent Marie?
That is not my name.

Vhodka Black
You sure?

Vincent Black
Positive.

Vhodka Black
How was the thing with the stuff and the other thing?

Vincent Black
Freeing.

Vhodka Black
..you got fired? Was it the pants? Because those are really tight. Like thatís more skin than pant.

Vincent Black
Fran. Iíve spent my entire life being mad at one thing or another. My dad. My mom. This. That. Iím..Iím done with that. I have four great kids, a career or several. An amazing wife. Some of the best friends anyone could ask for. I look really good for my age, too. I have more than I ever thought I would. Itís about time I was grateful for it. For all of it.

Vhodka Black
So good for your age. What brought this on?

Vincent Black
I meditated. First time ever. And what I think I realized, is that the connections with people Iíve made, the friendships, the all of it, It wasnít for nothing. And it isnít a hinder. Itís a gift. A gift I have waited far too long to open. So from here on, I am going to be a lot more grateful for all of the little things Iíve got. Starting with you.

Vhodka Black
Can we start tomorrow? Iím so tired. I had a lot of energy but…Sarah kind of sucked it out of me.

Vincent Black
Thatís my sister, that is incest.

Vhodka Black
I KNOW RIGHT!?

Vincent Black
Itís fine. Get some sleep. Iíll come back in a few hours.

Vhodka Black
Bring more candy.

Vincent Black
Vincent looked at the dresser in the corner of the room where every known variety of candy sat. And not just vending machine sized versions, costco sized versions. More candy than any normal person could ever eat. Keyword in there.Fine, but only because my ex-wife set you on fire.

Vhodka Black
Love you, Vee.

Vincent Black
Love you, Vee.

Vincent kisses Vhodka on the forehead, and walks out. As he looks back, he watches as she settles into her bed, and puts her phone down. She pulls the knit cap over her eyes, and by the look of her, sheíll be asleep in no time. All at once it occurs to him just how much this one woman has altered his life. He was on his way out of this business, leaving it behind for a job behind the scenes, just so he could be done with it. Now, he was not only one of the biggest stars in the business, but he was also working in one of the hottest promotions in the world. And now he was even getting to fight one of the best people the business had. Paul Montouri. No, not that Paul. Not the Paul you used to know. The one who sent a friend to collect his records and then changed his number. The one who is changing the game. The one who is taking the lead in a business full of followers. Had you told him then what he knew now, he would not call what was about to happen fight. He would call it what it was. Tradition.

The immovable object versus the unstoppable force. A momentum that can not or will not be canceled out, or even slowed. A force so powerful that nothing short of annihilation would get it to pause. Or the Immovable object. A being or thing so planted in who they are that no matter what you throw at it, it throws it away by staying still. The sad reality is that everyone in this business is one or the other. The amazing truth of the matter is, that as of now they are both Paul Montouri.

Every man has stepped up and been knocked down. Most go quiet. Every man has reached out and had their grasp denied. Most blame others. Every man stands for something, and gets knocked down because of it. Most never get back up. Paul, is not most. Paul steps up, and gets back up. He reaches out, and keeps reaching, no matter how much you try to tell him no. Paul will not be denied. Paul will not be slowed. Paul will not be anything unless Paul Montouri says so. And with having watched him come so close, only to walk away. To see him fail after being so close to success. Vincent wonít say it was sad. But seeing him keep coming after Blood Money, was anything but. Standing there, looking at this woman who changed his entire world. Vincent made himself a deal. He might be in line to slow the rise of Paul Montouri, but he knew there was no fucking chance he could stop him. The only person to ever do that successfully was Paul Montouri. And even he was smart enough to get out of his way. Vincent pulls the door shut and turns to walk away, but runs into someone as he comes out the same way he did when he was coming in.

Vincent Black
Tommy? Vincentís best friend growing up. Tommy and him were inseparable until a bullet broke his spine and Vinís father decided it was best not to let his kid associate with a fucking cripple and instead lied and said he died.

Tommy S.
Vin. I was hoping to run into you.

Vincent Black
You came to visit my wife?

Tommy S.
Your ex-wife?

Vincent Black
Oh, I thought you meant my-

Tommy S.
…you fucking kidding me?

Vincent Black
Tommy..Iím sorry.

Tommy S.
You got married? Again? Without telling me!?

Vincent Black
It happened so quick. I didnít think.

Tommy S.
Mother fucker, youíre the world’s worst friend. Get out of my way Iím going to go talk to my new best friend Candice.

Vincent Black
Tommy…Iím sorry.

Tommy S.
Ö.what?

Vincent Black
Accountability.

Tommy S.
Since when?

Vincent Black
Today.

Tommy S.
So Itís new. Alright. Iím going to say hi to Candice. Iíll talk to you later.

Vincent Black
Tell her Iím going to stab Roger, just in case. That was a joke. Which is also mostly new.

Thomas does not look up, or back. He wheels himself away with one hand, while giving Vin the finger with the other. Vincent talks to Vhodkaís doctor for a few minutes, and before he knows it, heís off to his apartment a few blocks away. The apartment which is absolutely massive, has now been overrun by the children. Pictures taken from every angle, with and without filters, and posted to every social media website there is. Vincent sits down, and looks at them comparing shots, as their nanny does their best to keep them safe. Leaning back into the leather couch, he almost passed out when an envelope on the dining room table caught his eye. He crossed the room, dodging his son and the friend heís made already and their battle against invisible aliens, and picked it up. It was a very nice black envelope, wiht his name printed on the front in silver marker. Opening it, he found a letter, and a smaller envelope. Opening the letter, he began to read it out loud.

Vincent Black
Dear Vin. When it came time to thank you for your part in a groundbreaking first show, I was at a loss. After all, We both have a fortune to buy whatever we want, or need. What is it that I could give you that would be meaningful? It occurred to me that I would give the same thing you gave me. The thing that cost you nothing but meant, to me, everything.

While we did not grow up together, ever since we have been folded back into this family, there have been a few certainties. One is that Kal is going to be mad at us for something. The other is that you, me, and Sarah, will always be there for each other. At this point, I am sad to say that our loyalty to this idea has cost us the idea itself. And that is unfortunate. But it also presented me with a way to express to you just how much you mean to me.

Vin when I was out there, hunting that piece of shit down, you were the only one who knew what I was going through. You were the only one I had to talk to, and you were the only one who kept me going. Those nights when I was at the end of my chain, and I was thinking of a way out. You kept me going. When the darkness of what I was doing engulfed me, you were the hand that pulled me out. And I will always be thankful for it.

My brother, I am your man. The world we face, we face together. And It is very important to me that you know it, and the world knows it. So open the other envelope, and know that I love you very much. And I am so proud to be your brother.

Vincent opens the other envelope, and holds up a small photo. Xavier is sitting at his desk. The NYC skyline beckons behind him, and the sun sits low in the sky illuminating the buildings as well as the spaces between them. At the bottom of the photograph, a gold plaque sits on the desk in front of Xavier, itís onyx letters appropriately spelling out the name ĎXavier Blackí. Vincet sits back down, and laughs. And while no tears came, heíd welcome them if they did.

FADE OUT?

FUCK NAW!

PHRQ OUT!