I always felt like an orphan.
Abandoned by everyone I let close. My father, as much as I hated him for being a weak, pathetic, alcoholic mess, was still my father. He was meant to guide me, to take me by the hand and lead me into becoming a man. To show me the way. To show me what it meant to be a better brother, son, husband and someday a father to my own children. That’s what a father does. And in failing that, you always have your mother.
After all, mother is the name for god in the lips and hearts of little children.
William Thackary said that. Profound in a way but also wildly depressing and obvious. When you’re a child you are gullible, naive. You don’t know any better. So the person who gives you life, who then keeps you alive. To you they are god. Before you even know what the word is. And then you depend on them, for everything. To teach, to care, to love. But what happens when they leave before you’re ready?
Many would argue that you are never “ready” to lose a parent.
But I walked away, I didn’t see my father waste away, and when I came back I had that sense of family, that feeling of purpose. I tried to step into his shoes thinking it would be easy. Thinking I could guide the family. Help my sister, my brother and my mother. But instead, our mother walked out. Free from the tyranny of her late husband she now wanted to be free of the responsibilities and prison of being a mother. And as the oldest I clearly had to take the lead.
And I fucking failed miserably. I couldn’t save my brother. I couldn’t stop him from the self destructive past he chose. I couldn’t stop my sister from leaving. I can’t stop anyone from leaving.
And that….that’s why I feel like an orphan…
”Weird isn’t it?”
The voice of Austin James Mercer breaks his thoughts. The inner monologue fades away and Alex can feel everything. The heat from the vents above keeping the New York Winter at bay, the steel rail pushing against his forearms as he leans across it surveying the gym. He gives Austin the smallest of verbal grunts and a raised eyebrow.
”Thinking how far we’ve come, from where Wolfslair started.” Alex just offered a small smile, his hands clasped together with his right foot up on the lower rail. Austin folded his arms over his chest, the two of them were far enough away from everyone else that he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed or heard. ”Amazing that we’ve been able to build this, Sonya did a great job, but she had to deal with Alicia, who isn’t a people person, me, a guy with family issues…and you….someone who doesn’t trust anyone….a guy who even now after all we have been through isn’t as open as he should be.” Alex swallowed and looked down.
He took a sharp breath in before shaking his head. ”Aus…don’t”
Things went silent. Austin placed his hands on the railing overlooking the gym from the stairwell leading to the roof, Austin knew Alex was here, it’s where Alex always went when he wanted to think, be alone. The office was always crowded, even if it was just Alex and his wife. ”You have done so much for so many people. Always been there for them, helped mold some of the best champions this company has ever seen, you’ve gone above and beyond for some of these kids and when my family fell apart you were there, when I went off the rails you never gave up on me…but you won’t let us get close…”
Alex shook his head and tried with everything he had to stay silent. He didn’t want to open this door. ”I always have trouble letting people in, don’t dwell on it…I’ve just been burned man..guys in my past like Spike, guys I thought I could trust who stabbed me in the back…I just-”
”Bullshit….total bullshit. You are not keeping everyone at arms length in your personal life because a guy you thought was your friend screwed you over in the wrestling business…for fucks sake if that was the case not one person in this gym would trust anyone…” He was right of course, and that infuriated and impressed Alex in equal measure.
He took a moment, staring ahead as Austin pushed off the rail shaking his head, turning away from Alex to give up for the day. [color-red]”Everyone leaves Aus…”[/color] He stopped in his tracks, Alex ground his teeth together and let out a louder sigh. Pushing his breath out and running his hands through his hair. ”My dad, my mom, my younger brother, even my sister for a time. They all left. And it’s just continued on….I love my wife, I do…and I don’t think she’ll go anywhere but there’s always that fear…”
He paused, Austin didn’t say a word, instead he moved closer and just prepared to listen. Alex swallowed hard and looked up, away from everyone training and to the roof, the rafters. The steel beams. He needed something else to focus on, something non organic, something not human. ”Elena she…” He stopped realising he was saying to much, not only was this something he never talked about with anyone out loud, this was also Austins former stepmother. The woman that his deceased father loved with all his heart. Austin tilted his head and shook his head.
”What does Elena have to do to with this?”
”We didn’t mean for it to happen Aus. When we were kids life was simple. I’d left home, I…I ran away from my dad, my responsibilities. I just wanted to do this, be a wrestler…” He trailed off before pushing off the rail and turning to Austin, unsure of if he wanted to hear this, but the look in Austins eyes, he needed to know. ”I met Elena when we were both teenagers. I was 19, she was 18. We connected and I was going to stay in the UK with her but….I found out my dad died…I had to go home..” His heart was heavy, filled with regret and it hurt. Anytime Alex thought about that time it was a double edged sword, a smile on his faced remembering the innocence he had, the woman who was his first real love, but then the pain of it all.
”This I know Alex…you two had a fling when you were younger…” Austin knew there was something else, his voice inflection changing through the sentence as if he was asking a question without framing it as one.
Alex nodded slowly and laughed to himself. He needed to tell him. ”I loved her. Really loved her. And when I had to stay home for my brother and she, she ignored my calls, my letters, everything It broke me. Thats why when we both ended up in Honor years later…I took it as a sign, I don’t know why” He felt like an idiot now, believing it and going through with it. ”Ana and I were having a hard time, we broke up, she right away wanted a divorce, something else I took as a sign, a great big neon one that read “now’s your chance”. It was stupid. But I loved her….”
There was more silence, Austin staring ahead before nodding and saying the words. Ones that he didn’t want to, but had to. ”You..slept with her…” Silence again, Austin was working it out, remembering the time and where they all were in their lives. ”She was with my dad….she cheated on him?..” He turned and pushed out a breath, he looked confused and had no idea what else to say.
Alex shook his head and laughed under his breath. ”I don’t know why we did it, but for a few months we were together. I think your dad and her were having problems. But for a while it was everything we wanted it to be, it was like we rediscovered each other…” He smiled and shook his head again. ”But it was a lie, in the end she chose him, she walked away from me. No matter what she felt for me she couldn’t leave him. She left…just like everyone else…”
”Thats why you hold back? That’s why you don’t trust people?”
Alex couldn’t hold back anymore, his hands wrapped around the steel rail and his muscles tensed as his head snapped sideways. ”You think I don’t trust you or others? You honestly think that? Aus this ain’t about me trusting you, or Ali or Johanna, or anyone else down there or in my life. This is about me…not trusting myself…” He paused and swallowed hard trying to choose his words carefully. ”People walk away because of me. I don’t blame them. My dad died from his own disease run by his demons, my mother needed to be away from us, I failed to save Dylan, I failed to be there for Charlie, I wasn’t good enough to stand with Spike or MGK or any of the other friends I’ve had in the wrestling business and I wasn’t good enough for Elena….I don’t trust myself to be who you all need me to be…”
Austin didn’t know what to say, that was evident. Alex just shook his head and turned looking down at the member of the gym before nodding slowly and moving passed Austin giving his friend a tap on the shoulder.
”I’ve accepted that Aus…”
Third times a charm?
”Been an interesting year for me hasn’t it?”
Alexs’ voice rings out as he comes into view. His hair back and away from his face as his lips curve into an all knowing arrogant smile. Obviously much happier in his professional life than he has ever been, despite the hurdles and issues.
”This time last year I was in a hole. Professionally it wasn’t good for me. I was questioning who I was and if I had a place in this business anymore. Not just this company the industry as a whole. Who was Alex Jones in 2020 and who would he be in 2021? That was the question that was laid out in front of me. I had run a former world champion out of the company by berating him, I won the SCW world title and as I stood on top of the world, a younger stronger challenger knocked my ass off the mountain and watched me tumble down. It’s the same as out in the animal kingdom. The alpha lion being replaced by his younger counterpart to lead the pride.”
“That’s what it felt like in all honesty. It felt like I was being replaced, that I was a stop gap solution for the company to go from point A to point B and I was just an afterthought. Alex Jones, the Black dragoin, leader of wolfslair was no longer relevant.”
“My entire being was tied up in what I could and couldn’t do. And as I got older that seemed like it was less and less, dwindling day by day. But with loss came perspective, with perspective came purpose and with purpose came motivation.”
“So, I doid what any weathered champion would do…”
“I picked myself up, I dusted myself off and I told you all I wasn’t done. And I get it, I sound like a broken record sometimes but it bears repeating just how crazy it was. From losing the world title, to regaining it in the weirdest of ways to beating the kid who took it from me a year later and being able to loof forward instead of backward. See that’s what I thought the win over Jack would be. That's what I thought I was going to be able to do.”
He paused and laughed to himself throwing his hands in the air before reaching down and picking up the Sin City Wrestling title putting it over his shoulder. The beautiful championship shining under the light above.
”After the title defences I had, after winning the damn thing I took time to settle a personal score. That’s what the match with Levi was, personal. He slandered my gym and my integrity so he had to pay. And when the dust settled he tucked tail and backed off. I forced Levi Russow to show humility and respect. And it speaks volumes that I beat that man once and he bent the knee, when Mac Bane has fallen to me twice and can’t even show me the most minimal respect that I am owed or deserved.”
“And I have done it for him, even in victory I looked at Mac and I told the world how amazing he was. A bull of a man, ready to knock down walls and cave in peoples skulls, a guiy who was dominant and is one of the toughest challengers I have had. I even went as far as saying I didn’t so much BEAT Mac Bane as I escaped him. I showed him the utmost respect because I didn’t want people like Jack Washington and Mark Cross being able to say that Mac was anything less than a fucking worthy world champion.”
“But that seems to have been a mistake on my part. Because here I am trying to look forward and instead I’m being forced to look back.”
“I beat this man twice, I beat him once to win the title and then again in an immediate rematch. Both times they were his decision and his choice. He chose to defend the title against me in what many sid would be an “easy ride” he chose to call for an immediate rematch instead of waiting because his bruised ego wouldn’t allow him to see that I was simply better. And it’s no shame really. Sometimes there are people in this business who simply have your number. For Alicia that seems to be Keira Fisher Johnson, for Austin that seems to be Senor Vinnie and for you Mac Bane, it;’s me”
“But third time’s the charm eh?”
Alex scoffs, he shakes his head again and adjusts the title, anger boiling up from his stomach to his heart as it pushes the blood through his body, it feels like lava running through his veins and his eyes burn.
”You earned this opportunity though Mac, I’ll give you that but the problem is that you were always going to. You were always going to step up and have a title shot cause you take opportunities with both hands. You proved that time and time again. Mac Bane is a beast, Mac Bane is one of the best. I get it. We all do. But the fact remains I beat you twice and that has you shook. As the kids say. It has you soo shaken up that you have turned tail on the very company itself thinking that it will somehow give you the strength to take back this title. This company that has given you so much.”
“Before you came here you were known Mac, you were. Alot of p[eople had heard of the veteran known as Mac Bane but SCW has given you opportunities to call yourself the best in the world. And the way you repay the company and the way you repay Mark Ward and Christian Underwood is to run the company and it;s employees down and essentially piss in the mouths of those who made you.” Alex starts a slow golf clap, highly condescending ”Bravo….BRA-FUCKING-VO. Brilliant move Mac. Cause now, not only do you have me wanting to beat you to keep this title after everything you’ve said about me…you’re forcing me to do it for the pride of Sin City Wrestling…”
He throws his hands in the air again, his lips twisting into another arrogant smirk.
”You ran down me, the company and who has been at the top. You have said SCW needs “saving” saving from, what exactly Mac? Saving from competition? Saving from sold out arenas and tours? Saving from high viewership numbers and key demo wins and sponsorship deals with fucking mega companies and all the other stuff that SCW has had going for it? Saving from never having a show that is preempted or fucked with? Saving from what exactly Mac? I never thought it possible but the Cowboy bad ass has gotten himself so shaken up and in his feels that he has resorted to cheap tactics on twitter like agreeing and siding with Mark Cross…”
“Are you kidding?”
“And the funniest part is you think that will work in your favor and you think somehow you’re under my skin…”
“Mac, you are so worried about not being able to regain this title and you are so shaken up and insecure that you brought in a goddamn army and all your buddies. You thought you reattled me and have my number when you have formed this group and are trying to take out any threats to you. And I get it, you probably think you can make comparisons to myself, Austin and the rest of Wolfslair but we don’t run that way. We are a group, a dominant one. Two mixed tag team titles, an internet title, four roulette titles and six….FUCKING SIX world title reigns between us. And maybe a seventh with Johanna taking on your wife if she gets passed Bella.”
“That is what we bring to the table Mac and we didn’t have to group attack people to do it…”
“When the going gets tough the tough turn into insecure bitches who need back up…”
“I don’t need Austin to be out there with me, I don’t need to corner you and kick the shit out of you with him. I don’t need to claim I’m “saving” SCW. But, I will say I have brought some stability to a championship that started to bounce around a little too much for my liking. Since September 12th this title has been around my waist or on my shoulder and I have represented this company proudly. Over three months, at the time of recording I’m at 96 days as world champion, fun fact Mac, that’s longer than your World, Roulette and Internet title reigns combined…”
“And that’s with me being generous and giving you seven days as roulette champion after you bounced from the company…”
He scoffs and shakes his head getting even angrier now.
”The fact is Mac I have given you too much credit and respect for too long. I know how good you are, how dangerous you are and how dominant you can be. But the way I see it is I’m doing you a favor. You work best when you’re chasing a championship. When you’re a dog chasing a car you are determined and dominant and someone who can be looked at and respected and appreciated but much like a dog with a car, when you actually catch it you have no idea what to do with it. When you get a championship you freeze. The roulette title…you bounces, dropping it and leaving the company in a shit position…”
“The internet title, Myra and Amber were having a match after Myra had been dominant and was essentially cashing in that title to get a shot at Amber, so you ended up getting the same opportunity for some dumbass reason, losing the internet title and putting the company in a shitty position. Then, well, then you chose to defend the world title against the Roulette champion…that would be me…forcing me to have to vacate the roulette title…putting the company in a shit position..,again…”
“It seems to me Mac, that I was wrong and that SCW might need saving….from you…and your selfish shitty decisions and actions. So, final Climax control of the year, Climax Control 320…that’s what I’m going to fucking do”