Author Topic: Machines and Monsters  (Read 96 times)

Offline The Good Shepherds

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Machines and Monsters
« on: December 17, 2021, 11:01:16 PM »

Like and Life
Fenris's Condo 12/16/2021

The world is evergreen right now in preparation for Christmas, which is but a mere 9 days away. The Las Vegas Strip is a hustle and bustle of people fresh off of Christmas shopping, or doing a bit at the shops there. Those who come from shopping, are looking to recuperate their wallets with some day drinking and gambling. Others are trying to satiate the combat sport of holiday shopping. Either way, the overcast gives the lights a time to shine during this dreary day, lighting up the mood. Somehow, some way, I'm feeling a bit of the spirit. So sue me. I'm not perfect. Nor do I claim to be. Thoughts of missing my family enter my mind, and my least favorite Christmas story floods over me. Rather than tell it all over again, let me just recap.

It is a rainy, borderline icy night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The growing congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherds provided a potluck style dinner after a service filled with fire and brimstone in the name of Jesus H Christ. Hatred for anything not sanctified in The Good Book. Fun times. So, I'm stuffing my face with ham, potato salad, and green bean casserole, going with the motions. Next thing I know, the door flies open and the most handsome man I'd ever seen to date walks in from the cold, looking for sanctuary from the cold wind and near icy rain. My father saw another subject. I saw something more. I fell for him, hiding my feelings for an entire year. Then, we stopped hiding them from each other. And… things didn't work out. My heart continues to ache, five years later.

Anyway… enough about that, because the details are about to be discussed. See, earlier, I had a conversation with Fenris about his first love lost. I decided that I wanted to keep my heartache away from him, but it's not fair to do that when I occasionally cross paths with Dax to this very day. I'd rather be honest about this now rather than it becoming an issue later. Did I just presume that this is going to have longevity? Am I falling deeper and deeper into this beautiful darkness? I find myself having second thoughts and even more shockingly, I pull my phone out and quickly dial up someone. It doesn't take long before they answer.

Me: Dani?

There is a slight pause before a sigh comes out of the speaker of the phone.

Dani:  Don't overthink it. Just do it.

Me: How do you know that I'm even calling about that, or anything in particular? Maybe I was just calling to say "hi"...

Dani: Hi. Now get over there and talk to him. Besides, I need your opinion on something. I did a thing over there, and I'm just curious what you think.

Me: Uhhh… okay? But, before then, since we're on the topic… Do you really think that I should taint his heartfelt confession by talking about my past dramas? I mean, I'm not the selfish type who needs everything to be about…

Dani: We're not doing this right now. You're going to go upstairs, talk to him, and see what I did. But, before you talk to him, just tell me what you think.

I look to the call button on the building I'm standing in front of, towering over most of the city of Las Vegas. Though honestly, it looks like it's piercing the sky. It could be the dread of opening up to someone about something so deep, so personal. After a moment of feeling something heavy in the pit of my stomach, I bite the bullet and press the call button. It doesn't take but a few seconds before I'm buzzed in.

Dani: Good, you're there.

Me: Yeah, I am. I'm just getting into the elevator now. So, explain to me why this is so necessary again? I mean, I could easily just go up to see him and one thing could lead to another, and I could forget to even mention it. I mean, he might be the White Wolf, but he's a real Jackhammer in some areas.

Dani: I've heard. Mostly during the Summer XXXTreme cruise.

Me: Overly dramatic.. I call bullshit. We weren't even bunking near each other.

Dani: My point exactly.

The elevator bell dings and I walk to the door. It is propped open for me. I stop, blushing at Dani's comment, but feeling the need to argue my innocence.

Me: Look, I'm not trying to spread Kristjan's business because I learned that he hates that. But, I think you're reaching a little.

Dani: I heard a "ding" but I didn't hear any knocking.

Me: That's because it's open. I just thought we should address…

Dani: Go. In. Side…

I scoff and turn to the door, pushing the door open as I look inside. The scene takes my breath away.

Me: Wow………

Dani: Thanks!

The phone clicks off as I drink it all in. Silver and gold in elegant doses. Pine and holly scents tickling my nose. The white marble floor is a delicate touch that looks like glazed over snow as far as the eye can see. It's a true winter wonderland that awakens something inside of me, some childlike wonder, like anything and everything is possible. Therefore, I hate it. No, but I wish I hated it. Softened edges are not what I'm known for. Yet, I can't help but take it all in slowly. I walk over to the hearth and look into the glistening tinsel on the garland. I take a piece between my finger and twirl it slowly around as I get lost in thought. It is then that I feel an arm wrap around my waist, followed by another, with a pint of beer in his hand. He hugs onto me tightly and I can tell by his reaction that he wants to do construction on my back alley. I lean my head back for a soft, slow kiss.

Kristjan: Hello there.

Me: Hmmm… hello there.

I turn around and drape my arms over his shoulders. Our eyes meet and linger as our lips pang together a few times. As much as I want to make love in the North Pole, right next to Rudolph, while the elves dance around us… I came here for a reason. My eyes wander down to the floor so that the passionate flames between us do not take over and consume us both. I bite my bottom lip out of regret, even as Kristjan kisses my scruffy cheek.

Kristjan: What is wrong?

I look into his cool eyes and try not to get lost. I can feel myself smiling from my eyes.

Me: Nothing. Nothing at all.  I just wanted to… I came here to… I mean…

My eyes look down at the ground again as I release my hold on him. I take him by the hand, guiding him past the huge 7 foot decked out Christmas tree and toward the couch. I him down, still holding onto his arms gently, sitting down to join him. I think over the best way to say what I came to say.

Me: You shared something very deep with me earlier, and, well… I wanted to share something personal about me, with you. Similar in fashion, I guess.

Fenris takes a sip from his beer and then finds a place to set it down amongst the decorations on the coffee table. He settles in to listen, giving me the floor to speak.

Me: Well, you told me about your experience with Joküll, and it got me thinking about my own little story.  The first time I felt anything close to what you and I have.  And… It ended badly.

Kristjan:  I am sorry that you felt a pain similar to mine. I do not wish this on my own worst enemy.

I look him in the eyes, and for an instant, it is as if we can feel each other’s pain.  I hold onto his hand as I am the weaker one that sheds a tear.  However, I don’t let it be seen as I quickly yawn and rub at my eye nonchalantly.  I straighten up, and continue on.

Me:  We met on what could have been described as the worst day imaginable for a Christmas day.  It was cold, windy, and rainy, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Not that I fully expect you to know why that’s so strange.  But, it was uncharacteristically cold.  A church dinner was coming to a close, when he came walking in, looking for a place to get out of the cold.  My father offered him a place to stay.  The second I saw those dark eyes, I felt at home.  I watched him long before I even greeted him.  I felt his energy drawing me in from across the room.  And when we finally did meet, I felt a magic that I’ve never felt before, and hadn’t felt until… you.

I gave him those eyes.  You know, the ones that could melt just about anyone, despite the glints of ice within them.  Somewhat like Kristjan’s, really.  I open my mouth to speak as he nods with what I am saying, ever so slightly, but just enough for me to pick up on.

Me:  We denied it for a long time, but we both knew.  It was almost like a game to see who could resist the longest.  And with my father watching over us, it only made things that much more intriguing.  We found time to sneak a savory kiss.  Catching looks as we got ready for bed.  Finally, we admitted to ourselves what was going on.  Yet again, on Christmas day.  This time, with the family preoccupied with the festivities, we gave into all of those urges.  Those uninhibited, forbidden, carnal urges.  And it was as if he was the key that unlocked my true self.  For the first time, I felt as if I were flying free.  It was glorious.  But, it had to be kept secret.  It was no ordinary tryst.  It was bliss.  And through getting to know each other, we felt like a perfect match.  The more time we spent together doing mission work, or food drives, or preparing the church for service, the closer we got.  Our bond was unbreakable. Again, like a Christmas miracle.

I knew I was smiling too brightly for the topic of conversation.  The normally jealous White Wolf was somehow at ease, listening to me calmly, and letting me feel what I feel.  Freedom.

Me:  It was synchronicity at it’s finest.  There was a true, almost childlike love between us.  He was frustrated with having to keep things a secret.  Though I understood, I argued that what we had couldn’t be wrong, and it would come to the surface when it was time.  Despite his occasional slip up, he waited for me.  He waited until the day when I felt comfortable to run away with him to Japan.  We had planned out every detail of that trip, too.

I laugh, but it is to cover up a bit of wincing, letting another tear drop from my eye, and onto my hand before I could even hide it.

Me:  We knew a good deal of wrestling technicalities, but we wanted to be refined, and protected at the same time.  Even though Japanese culture is even less accepting of homosexuality than the US, it was a far cry from how we were living.  We stashed any extra money that we could for that trip.  We were only a couple hundred dollars short, too, when we were discovered…

I almost can’t even look at Fenris.  I start to stand up, but he pulls me back to the couch and into his arms as I let some of it out.  I can’t breathe. I can’t move. I can’t hear anything. I start to freak out a little, but Fenris holds me closer, and more still. The instinct to struggle fades as I feel a cool wave slowly washing over me.

Kristjan:  I know, I know… I think I understand.

After a second of blubbering into his chest, I pull it together enough to speak again.

Me:  We were beaten mercilessly by that… that… that…

Kristjan:  That devil parading around as a man?

I nod my head slowly against his chest.  He hands me a tissue, and I wipe away at my eyes, cleaning myself up as I continue to try to gain composure.

Me:  He cast Dax out, and he gave me the choice to run away with Dax as a heathen, a deplorable abomination, and a disowned child… or to stay and redeem myself and my name. Aside from the beatings, I was locked in a basement, chained to a wall, brought up in front of the crucified Christ statue, and whipped, flogged, lashed with glass on strings, and… well, some things are best unsaid.  I’m not even sure that I am capable of talking about what else right now.  But, I… chose to try to please my father. Dax left for Japan, and he’s hated me ever since. Not that I can blame him.  But, my family was such an important thing to me.  They were always there, but Dax could have been taken away from me at any moment, and that heartache was not something I could have dealt with.  These words were spoken to me by my mother in between my father and other members of the congregation ripping apart my flesh.  She begged me, her voice like that of an angel.  But instead, she was just a victim of Stockholm Syndrome like the rest of us.  The only difference is that me and Esther know now, and she still has no idea.  And what makes this so cruel is the fact that I did have a choice, even if I never actually did.  I could have run off, and my life would have been so different.  And I would have never lashed out at you.  I never would have drug your heart through a field of barbed wire and broken glass.  I never would have hurt you.

Kristjan grabs onto my hands again and leans forward to speak now.

Kristjan:  You always had a choice.  Your will is just so strong, and you were manipulated so badly that you didn’t see it.  I had not even a hint of a choice. Jokull is never coming back.  Dax is still out there.

Me:  How does that make it any better?  The fact that you got a chance to be at peace with what had happened…

Kristjan:  I have never been at peace with what happened!

Me:  Well neither have I!  The only difference is that I look around and I see his ghost. Everywhere. I smell him in everything. I hear his voice whistling in the wind. I feel his warm caress.  Just as you do with Jokull.  Except I also have to see him and hear about him.  I can’t turn around without somehow running into him, or some part of him that I just want to escape.  I can’t escape it unless I am here with you, but we always have to find something to fight about.  Look, I’m sorry I thought you might want to hear something that makes us even more similar than we thought.  My mistake.  I…

Kristjan pulls me in close and silences me with a kiss.  He nips at my bottom lip, and I return the favor.  He pulls away and looks me in the eye once again.

Kristjan:  Sometimes you are so wrong.  This time, you are right.  It is not our job to compare our pain with another’s.  We should focus on helping each other heal. Letting each other in.

Me:  I’m… so relieved to hear you say that. I luh…like you very much, and I want to help you heal.  That’s why I’m going to Iceland with you after Climax Control 320.

Kristjan’s eyes light up as he leans me back on the couch.  He rips his shirt off as I rip mine off.  He hovers over me as… Hey, wait a minute.  Do you guys mind giving us a little privacy?  Sheesh!

Machines And Monsters
Abandoned factory; 12/17/2021

The darkness overtakes the screen. We can hear the squeaking of rats running around inside of the structure we are in.  We can hear the leaky pipes, the wind whistling through the interior, howling at the doors.  Finally, the door opens and we see a figure in a fedora and trench coat walking through in the silhouette of the moonlight.  We can hear his Italian leather shoe heels clicking against the concrete, and we see pieces of broken down factory machinery.  As the footsteps get closer and closer, we hear the whispers.

“Sometimes monsters are hideous.  Sometimes they are ugly.  Sometimes they are filthy.  But, sometimes, monsters look just like you and me.  Are you a monster?”

As they get louder and more present, the lights turn on, one row at a time, illuminating my… David Shepherd’s, face.  I am smiling from ear to ear, but the disingenuous nature of the smile gives it a creepy vibe.  Or like a bad cartoon villain.  I’m just not sure yet.  Either way, I run my fingers across the dusty conveyer belt in front of me, moving my fingers against one another as it sprinkles to the floor, filled with even more of it.  I leave tracks as I walk along.

Me:  Machines.  There’s just something about them.  They always do what you tell them to do.  They follow orders.  They execute functions with a simple keystroke or press of a button.

I walk over to one, and I flip a switch to turn it on.  It begins working, but ever so slowly.  However, it begins to spit out dust and smoke, and it rattles until it nearly shakes apart.  I’m forced to flip the switch back off.

Me:  And… sometimes they don’t.  They require maintenance to work properly.  The upkeep is work.  And one, just one, wrong move?

I then shoot forward with a Superkick that shatters pieces of the machinery, and it clunks against the dusty concrete flooring loudly as it rolls in every which way.

Me:  And the whole thing falls apart.  Technology is useful, but only when it works properly.  Otherwise, it just complicates things.  That’s why Mac Bane and his merry band of degenerate goons won’t last.  I mean, first off, his “secret weapon” is about to get his fucking head kicked clean off of his shoulders.  Then who will be left to do your dirty work?  One of your henchmen?

I can’t help but chuckle a little, shaking my head.

Me:  I get why you attacked one of the most dominant forces in SCW.  Don’t get me wrong.  There was a time when I would’ve done the exact same thing.  As a matter of fact, I did.  And just like your mentally fragile friend, I was very sorry that I did.  Just like everyone in your little collective will be, starting with Supreme Machine.

I turn my head ever so slightly, motioning back to the broken piece of machinery that is still lightly smoking.

Me:  I get what you’re doing, Mac.  You were incapable of grabbing the “big one”, so you got your feelings hurt and decided that you were going to make us all pay.  The same old tired song as so many others.  And what are you hoping to accomplish?  Bringing in people who will fall to our feet in an instant?  Or is this something bigger than that?  Is this another attempt at an insurrection? Heh. I hate to break it to you, but I’ve already lived through one much bigger than you’re capable of insighting.  Never once was I broken, and I had an entire GRIME roster waiting around every corner to take me down.  Yet, here I stand.

I take my fedora off and hold it against my chest as I clear my throat.  I turn around to look directly at the camera, jerking my head to motion for it to follow me.  On my way, I pick up a lead pipe, and I smack it against machine after machine, taking my time until each one in my path is broken.

Me:  See, I know I wasn’t the one targeted, because I’m still basically a nobody around here. I had a two week Internet Championship reign, a decent Roulette Championship reign, but really… what have I done here that someone else hasn’t done already?  What makes me stand out?  Nothing.  I’m no threat to anybody… except those who don’t see me as a threat.  Mac Bane and his lackeys.  And, if I weren’t so fucking pissed off about targeting my boyfriend, I might have even looked the other way.  But you brought this on yourself, Mac.  You’ve signed a death wish to Supreme Machine.  You have bitten off more than you can chew, right out of the gate.

I finish pounding one last piece of machinery before I throw the pipe to the ground.

Me:  Do not mistake me as the end of this.  I’m going to be on you guys like a fly on shit.  The only problem is that Fenris is going to come along for the ride.  You’re going to have to deal with both of us.  You guys are machines.  We are monsters.  What we do to people gives us a sick thrill.  I mean, what sane person signs up for this profession?  Fenris and I aren’t some programmed pieces of machinery who follow orders, doing as we’re told.  No.  We enjoy causing harm to others, and we just found a legal way to do it.  We have the element of free will, and that’s what separates us from you.  This is what makes the monsters a much bigger threat than the machines. So get ready for the war.

As I wrap things up, I walk back over toward the door.  Halfway there is a pole with all of the light switches.  I’m about to turn them off, but I am not finished.  There is more to discuss.

Me:  Let me switch things up and talk directly to my opponent.  Supreme Machine?  I know that you’re a few circuits short of a circuit board, so I hope that you’re able to understand what you’ve done.  I don’t expect your “handler” to explain this to you, so this is the one and only kindness I’m passing along your way.  I will be walking out of Climax Control 320.  It may or may not be victorious, but I will be walking out.  You, however, won’t be walking out if I have anything to say about it.  The second you put your hands on Fenris was the second that you made sure that was going to happen.  I asked for two weeks to get my hands on you. Lo and behold, it’s a Christmas miracle.  I get to step foot in that ring and fuck you up worse than I just did these old pieces of shit in here.  And for once, I just might get the crowd to cheer for me, because I am going to be a real beast.  The kind that you couldn’t even conjure up in your worst nightmares.  So take that as a warning, because you will not get another one.  Instead, you can eat my boot and bend over for the other one, because I’m going to kick it in so hard that my feet will meet somewhere in the middle, and they’ll need to be surgically removed.  And I might just bring back your teeth as an early Christmas gift for Fenris.  I think he’ll love it…

And with that, I grin widely again, feeling my inner evil shining through.  I turn the lights off, and one by one, they flicker out, leaving me in total darkness as I whisper.

“Sometimes monsters are hideous.  Sometimes they are ugly.  Sometimes they are filthy.  But, sometimes, monsters look just like you and me.  I am a monster…”