What does a man do…

vs Josh Kaine

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  • Jester Smiles
    Jester Smiles

    The silence moves through the small office building like a breeze. The quiet is so intense it has a presence. Anyone walking into the small office building can quite literally feel the lack of noise. It consumes the darkened rooms, fills them with an eerie melancholy that is difficult to process and even more difficult to understand.

    This is the office of Rohkar Combat Authority.

    This is where Eric Rohkar has retreated.

    The mess he made when he destroyed the office originally is still there. He sits in the middle of it, cross legged, adding his silence to the ocean of silence that has flooded this building. He doesn’t move, but his eyes scan the mess, the destruction that he had caused. This fancy, beautiful, if not a little tacky, office that he had worked so hard to create. And not just the decorations and painting itself, but the circumstances that gave him the office. All created by him.

    And he destroyed this office.

    For what?

    To lose?

    To be pinned and defeated by the man he was out to destroy?

    NOTHING had been accomplished.

    NOTHING changed.

    NOTHING was…right.

    Buck Dresden, however, had nothing change and found himself surprised upon entering the building of Rohkar Combat Authority. He wasn’t sure what brought him to Austin at first, but a resolve struck him when he entered the city limits. He had shaved, he had a good night’s rest, and he found himself thinking less on Toronto and more on the events that transpired during his date with Nikki Rogers. She had classified him as depressed. It was a diagnosis he hadn’t considered for himself, and it was one that he kept in the back of his mind as he made the trek across the country down to Texas, down to Austin, down to Eric.
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    “What does a man do when he has been brought to heel?”

    The scene opens up. Jester sits cross legged in the middle of developmental center ring, staring down at the ground. It is clearly late at night, as no one is around, and the motion lights are only on around the ring. Jester is a sweaty mess, clearly having just finished a workout. He is shirtless, letting his physique be clearly shown to the masses. Even seated, in a non-threatening position, he looks intimidating. There is something about him, to, something hard to put a finger on. Something like a…glow?

    “We’re wrestlers. Warriors. We’re proud. Too fucking proud most of the time.

    So…it becomes hard to say you were wrong, and it’s really hard to accept your shortcomings and defeats. I mean, we get on these cameras, we speak in such a verbose manner, and we assure everyone that we cannot be defeated.

    You’ll have to kill me to beat me.

    I’ll fight until every breath is gone.

    We have the moral high ground, we are the most competent warrior, and there is no one who can tell us otherwise.”

    Jester looks up. His eyes are piercing.

    “And then we lose. We fail. Sometimes in the most humiliating of fashions.

    Sometimes the man we said we would end…

    …is the one who defeats us.”

    Jester sighs.

    “What does a man do then? Does he give up his crusades? Does he accept his shortcomings and realize that he is in a pattern of destructive traits he will never get out of? Does he self destruct and try to find the most magnificent way to explode?”

    Jester smirks, rolling his neck.

    “Or…”

    Jester shoots up quickly, standing tall. He walks to the ropes nearest to the camera and leans on the top rope.

    “Does the man realize that his foolish pride doesn’t make him better, but worse? Does the man accept his shortcomings, past and present, and then break the cycle?

    See…I have a bad habit of not accepting losses well. Not match losses, but…personal losses. When I joined SHOOT, it didn’t take long for Donovan King to destroy every piece of me. I’ve turned into a real shithead on a couple of occasions because I couldn’t handle the pressure of this industry.

    Over and over again, every time I’ve tried to come back to this sport and fix my legacy, I get caught up in some kind of bullshit that wrecks me. EWA was no different, it seemed, and just a few nights ago, I was convinced that I was going to push myself into the grave, taking as many of those HATE bastards as I could with me.”

    Jester looks away from the camera.

    “But…but this time…this time can be different.”

    Jester turns back to the camera.

    “When I get like this, I always tell myself that I deserve this shit. This is retribution for the shit I did in SHOOT, or maybe the shit I did in OPW, or, hell, going all the way back to my early days in IPWS…I’ve done a lot of bad shit, and things like having poisonous amounts of alcohol shoved down my throat are just my penitence.”

    Jester pounds on the top rope.

    “Fuck that! I’ve been broken down so many times now, I’ve paid for my sins. If someone from my past that I truly owe something to wants to take a pound of flesh, then fine, I’ll deal with that when they come up, but…

    Not…fucking…HATE. HATE doesn’t get to destroy my life. I don’t owe Indrid Calder, NOTHING, or Sahara a goddamn thing. My sins don’t justify theirs.

    I could have been World Champion. I could have taken this companies top title out of the hands of a fucking monster like NOTHING, and…

    And I fucking blew it, because I was so focused on destroying NOTHING. I wasn’t focused on making any real change. I was focused on pain. On suffering. On making that man miserable.

    A friend of mine was trying to show me how similar that made me to them, but…but I was too damn proud.”

    Jester wipes some of the sweat off his brow.

    “I actually wanted to fight you from the moment I came into the EWA, Josh. I like you. You’ve got moxxy for days. Of course, being that your ma is an old frenemy of mine, that sorta put you in my ear in the first place, but when I paid some attention to you and your little gang, I couldn’t help but see the future of this company.

    You’re young.

    You’re hungry.

    And you’re good.

    See, I think you were good before HATE tried to ‘toughen’ you up. Your wars with Erinyes showed that clearly. Sure, you’re young, green at times, and that can lead to mistakes, but you’ve got natural athleticism, talent, and you’ve got heart.

    And…and I think you’re a good person. I don’t know you from Adam, but you seem alright. You don’t seem to have any unusual malice, and from the way I’ve seen you try and protect your friends and family, even if you are pushing them away, I can tell you’ve got a light in you.

    You remind me a lot of me at times.

    But…but for the bad reasons too.

    Because while I think you have a good heart, I think there is a darkness in there as well. I mean, you kinda HAVE to have a darkness inside of you. Think about it, I saw you compete, was a fan of you, and my thought was “Man, I really want to fucking fight this kid”.

    Sane people don’t think like that, man.

    But we do.

    Because we’re warriors.

    But…but I can see something else. I could see it in your fight with Indrid Calder. Don’t get me wrong, Josh, I don’t think there was anything wrong with you fighting that man with every ounce of viciousness you could muster. Indrid Calder would happily, and I mean HAPPILY, castrate and decapitate you in that very ring if he thought it would benefit him. Or even just entertain him. I don’t know, I bet that mother fucker tortured small animals when he was in Elementary School.

    Point is, I’m not hating on you fighting that man with every bit of malice and anger you could muster. He did your friend wrong. VERY wrong. Someone you clearly had a lot of love for was viciously attacked, and you fought back hard.

    I respect that.

    I applaud you for that.

    But…but that handshake dude…”

    Jester shakes his head. He’s thinking, trying to figure out how to say what he wants to say next.

    “Listen…I’ll offer to shake your hand at the beginning and end of the match, regardless of who walks out the victor. I have no problems offering you respect in spades, man, because you deserve it.

    But…but Indrid wasn’t shaking your hand because he respected your ability, Josh. Let’s be honest, no matter what Cal Rayner, Calder, or any of those Lovecraftian jerkoffs in the House said about you, you didn’t need to prove yourself to anyone.

    Indrid offered you his hand…

    Because he respects that darkness in you.

    I think…”

    Jester sighs.

    “I think that’s why NOTHING thought I might turn my back and try to destroy Buck.

    They have a keen eye for that darkness in people, and they feed on it. They either want it in their ranks, or they want to suck it dry from someone.

    Because here is the other theory I have, Josh…”

    Jester leans forward, looking deeply into the camera.

    “Notice how, after NOTHING won the World Title, they got Sahara to join their ranks. I know you have no love for that bitch, and I can’t say I blame you at all, but think about it…

    Sahara should have had a rematch. Martin Robertson shouldn’t be the one crying about what he deserves…

    Sahara should…

    And so they work tirelessly to get her in their ranks.

    Because she was a danger to them.

    I make my intentions CRYSTAL clear. I make it super clear that I want to DESTROY NOTHING in our match. Hell, I was even able to knock out and pin NOTHING at a Fight Night before Live From Toronto.

    Suddenly, he’s asking me to join him in taking down Buck Dresden.

    Get one dangerous enemy to join him.

    To take down another dangerous enemy.”

    Jester pokes his head, as if to say ‘think about it’.

    “If they are offering you respect and trying to ‘make you better’, they are trying to get you on their side.

    Which means they think you are dangerous.

    Because you are. You are dangerous, Josh Kaine. Fenrir himself.

    Maybe HATE fears Ragnarok.

    Maybe it’s time for HATE to experience Ragnarok.”

    Jester grins.

    “So, we have a match, and it’s in the Path of the Warrior Tournament. Now, all respect aside, Josh, I made a huge mistake at Live From Toronto, and this is my chance to make that up. I win this tournament, I get another shot at NOTHING. I get the chance to right my wrong, and I get the chance to show the world that Jester Smiles ain’t done yet.

    So, Josh, show me those teeth. Bear your fucking claws, man, because you best believe I’m bringing fury to your doorstep. You don’t need to prove anything to me, I already believe in you.

    But if you want to move on this tournament, you better not sleep on this, because, Josh, as much as I like you, respect you, and wish the world for you…

    I’m gonna knock your fucking head off if I get the chance. When the match is over, if I hurt you, I’ll personally carry you to medical help, but when that bell rings, you ain’t the only wild animal in that ring.

    This should have been my time to shine. Instead, I allowed my light to be pulled down into the depths of the darkness, like I’ve done so many times before.

    I’m…fucking…done with that. This company needs a light to shine, and it needs more than just Buck Dresden to shine it. I’m here to shine so bright I blind the world, blind them from what HATE is, and make them see that things can be done differently.

    You’re step one, Josh.

    So what does a man do?

    He rises from the ashes.

    And sets the world aflame.”
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Buck opened the door to Eric’s office slowly. He didn’t knock, he didn’t want to draw attention to the door before he’d opened it. He wanted whatever he found to be as pure and unadulterated as possible. The two men locked eyes immediately, though nothing was said between them. Buck merely walked over to the chair which had pulled the chair back to its proper seated position and sat down in it.

    Buck: Last time I sat here, we were dyin’ from peppers.

    Buck smiled, fumbling with his hands in his lap.

    Buck: Now yer office looks worse’n you’n me after Toronto.

    Eric scoffs a bit. A sad smile crosses his face.

    Eric: You ever see the old Tomb Raider movie?

    Eric doesn’t even look at Buck. He giggles in a rather unsettling way. He then speaks in his best Angelina Jolie playing Lara Croft impression, which is not good, for the record.

    Eric: I just woke up and hated everything.

    His giggling stops almost as quickly as it started.

    Eric: You were right. You were right the whole time And…and now…

    Eric sighs.

    Eric: …what do I do, Buck?

    Buck exhales sharply, closing his eyes as he thinks back to Toronto.

    Buck: Yeah…about that.

    He takes a moment, whistling softly.

    Buck: I pinned the man an’ now they’re goin’ after all the titles. Sahara laughed at Mike ‘n’ Maggie’s child. I keep goin’ because it’s all I know how to do but Eric…beatin’ those guys in the ring alone ain’t gonna get the job done. Ya might say I was right but competition ain’t what they’re here to do. They’re here to bully. Beatin’ a bully ain’t just winnin’ a slugfest. Usin’ yer fists just leads to…a big mess.

    He throws his head back.

    Buck: Fuck. Maybe you was right all along.

    Eric shakes his head.

    Eric: Nah, that can’t be it. Look around me. Look at this building that I worked so hard for. I came to EWA to cement my legacy, and look at me? Wallowing in my misery like I’ve done a million times in my career.

    No, this can’t be it. This…this just can’t be it.

    Buck reaches to the desk and starts to adjust the papers scattered across it. He straightens them and taps their edge against the desk before placing them down matter-of-factly.

    Buck: HATE wanted to take that from you, man. HATE has wanted this from you because it’s infected you. They’re the extreme. I tried to be the other extreme. They wanted you to drift into the middle and either become them or drown trying to swim in it.

    He pauses.

    Buck: Group like that wants people like you’n me to be at odds. To feel the hate they spew. But, man…whether I’m right or yer right, one thing I know I can tell you is we can’t let them win. We can’t let them infect Josh anymore’n they’ve already done. We can’t let them keep hurtin’ people. We gotta go beyond the ring but we can’t forget the ring. They’re tryna dominate this place an’ take every belt an’ rub it in our faces. They want nothin’ less than the end of everything, s’far as I’m concerned.

    Eric nods, but he still seems far away.

    Eric: We can’t let them just have things. We can’t let them just…just win.

    But…but…but we can’t become them either. We…we just can’t.

    Buck looks uncertain of what to else to say. He walks over to a turned over bookshelf and, with all his corn fed, Southern boy strength, lifts it back up against the wall and starts sifting through things, putting salvageable things away. Eric just watches him for a minute, still distant, uncertain of what to think. Buck stops for a moment, looking down at this friend.

    Buck: Ya gonna help me or what?

    Buck continues his work. Eric sits there a moment before shaking himself out of it and standing up. He walks to the other bookshelf and lifts it back in place. It wobbles, clearly damaged, but it stands. Somehow, despite all it has suffered, it…stands.

    And Buck and Eric begin to fix the mess of Jester.

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