“Do you ever wonder why some people can’t leave that high school mentality behind?”
The odd cadence of Mitchell Quinlan hits while the video is still black. In a flash, your screen is filled with the three story red brick facade outcropping from the surrounding green. Pan to the bottom left and in a half-faded text, you will be informed that this is Assumption College HS. The camera pans up to the Canadian flag, blowing in the winds twenty feet high along the pole, the text changes to let you know that this is Brantford, Ontario.
“It doesn’t matter how far they are removed the for the hallways and classrooms, there is just something,” his voice over hangs as we switch shots.
Cut to inside, and the broad shoulders of the UTA Superstar, draped over in the silver and navy football jersey. Running across the breast is the school name, Assumption, and the number 10 over the belly. Follow up the curved arm to find him, right hand running through his longish blond hair, resting on the back of his neck.
“The archetypes they cannot shake, and feel they must still conform to.”
He lets the hand relax and fall back to his side. The wrinkles instantly disappear, the jersey barely able to cover his two hundred and thirty eight pound frame. He’d put on thirty pounds of muscle since he last wore it.
“This shouldn’t be the way the world works. We are supposed to grow up, and grow beyond the childish trappings of youth. Did you not know that who we are is not the summation of the things we have done, but rather who what we do next?”
The light blue eyes glimmer as a smile slowly tugs at the corners of his lips. The camera pans back enough to show you the cinderblock and locker lined hallway the Man Free from the Mask walks.
“I summize you have learned that lesson by now, Claude. After all, last Wrestleshow you thought you stood in the ring with a brother. One briefcase to the side of the head later, Sean Jackson isn’t defined as a brother but enemy.”
He stops in his tracks, the camera slow to react and pull in closer to make up for the difference. His head is tilted to the left and down, this is his deep thinking look.
“I don’t mean to equate the threat that he means to you with what we have waiting for us in San Juan. I am just the guy you are already overlooking, and likely won’t extend hostilities beyond the bell, or even in excess of what I need to pick up that victory.”
Cue kurt smile, and Q shaking his head to clear out the premature celebration thought.
“Nah, Sean is probably a much worthy rival for you and the gang. I mean, he certainly will not wait for a sanctioned match to reach out at you. And in doing so, he more probable than not, will take things far in excess of victory, but humiliation, or maybe injury. So trust me when I tell you that I do not take you overlooking me personally. There is nothing juicier than when one of the jocks leaves the cool kids to join the dangerous kids.”
Tapping the back of his hand along every locker as he passes, Q stops and points stage left. The camera pans around to the school’s display case. Make that cases. From what we you can quickly glance, this school has enjoyed quite the bit of athletic success. Football trophies, LaCrosse trophies, Hockey trophies, Basketball, Volleyball, Rugby. You guess the sport, they have got two at minimum of that trophy, in both genders.
“I was killing time during another bout of insomnia and started crushing through my country mate’s video library. Promo after promo. It is nice to see that you keep it all monotone, helped me really focus on the message. You are rich. You have a body most guys would kill for, and a few would kill to be with.”
As if thinking it is okay to laugh at one’s own joke, Q is caught up with short giggle he tries to cough away.
“But more than anything you are so damned proud of everything you have accomplished. You have a trophy room bigger than this display. Sure is a lot of shiny. Well, take a look at this.”
Again, Quinlan points to the plexiglass and brings his face near, resting a shoulder of the wall immediately before the display jut out.
“Of all of these, none of them are mine.”
He chuckles again, pulling his body back upright.
“Oh, I played. Hell, I was the QB. Only hardware I took away from my high school athletics was the half pound steel rod and screws in lefty here.”
Quinlan pulls up the pant of his loose fitting jeans. Between the leg hair, the camera zooms in to pick up the long scar over the knee cap and the line of dots where it was stapled shut. Turning his leg, there are two shorter straight lines just below the knee and more staple scars.
“So I am just going to let you flaunt all that past success and let you think it means anything more than ghosts betwixt those pierced ears.Ghosts of success past, of opportunity present and of future failure. Huh, I am already counting two things you will be focused on more than me? Why are we even having this match, right?”
Picking up the pace, Quinlan is soon beyond the camera that has to turn to catch up with him, leaping down a short flight of stairs. With a bounce in his step, he slides down a railing to reach the cafeteria, a maze of tables and chairs.
“But then we need to break it down, and realize I won’t even be the third thought in your mind standing sixteen feet from you with impending harm in my heart. Ah! Perfect.”
And the excitement, as our camera finally settles, getting our tour guide in frame, is about the whiteboard on an easel Q stands beside. He reaches to the ledge and the black Crayola.
“I think most of the Faithful are still just a little confused why Dynasty is even still a thing, but I think I’ve got it. Modest artistic abilities aside, I think I can expound my best theory.”
Popping the cap and sliding it on the back end, he gets lost tapping out some beat. The drumline finished, he takes the tip across the top to spell out simply, ‘Dynasty, who still cares?’
“Let’s get started, shall we? Oh, I should start with the idea that every one of those guys still think that UTA is just some continuation of high school, so we need to follow sixteen year old logic. No offense, sixteen year olds.”
In the top left corner, Quinlan tries his belt to draw the UTA World Championship. Below it an arrow to the word, hottest girl in school.
“Okay, so what other than the head cheerleader, the knockout, the jailbait? The hottest girl in school is obviously the UTA title. Everyone in the locker room wants her; every guy and yeah, even the girls. So, first step is easy. Now…”
His voice cuts out as his tongue sticks out the side of his mouth and he turns back to the whiteboard.
“The guys in Dynasty think they are above everyone. They brush off everyone, because recognising anyone as a threat hurts their cred.”
Yup, that one got the air quotes it deserved.
“And their entire purpose as a social group is to protect her. Sorry, horde, not protect.”
Five stick figures: One with a mask, one with long hair, one with a briefcase, one with a beard and the fifth shitting money. Between the area of this group, and line is drawn back to the title.
“Incestuosly, they seem to not care who gets with her, so long as she is shared between the five. Well, shared between two of them, while the other three are strung along with the idea that they might get to see a naked pic or something.”
Quinlan turns back to camera to shrug in obvious confusion.
“When in all honesty, the only guy that will get with the girl is the masked, short one. The other four guys are just along for the giggles, I guess. Or maybe they get a self-esteem boost by standing near her, all awkward and what not.”
He goes silent as he dives back into his doodling.
“But the group functions extremely well, despite its flawed thesis. Challengers come for her affection, but they form a barrier to keep her locked up in their circle of simplicity and hopelessness,”
Stick figures highlighted by a halo, and then pigtails and a large set of… eyes are drawn near the title, only to be scratched out from the direction of stick Dynasty.
“Even when their wicked shit doesn’t work, they are in so tight with the principle that they get away with it. Seems the principal only wanted to be one of the kids again, but that cost him his post and a superkick to the moush.”
Quinlan drags marker over whiteboard again. This time his right hand is posted nearest to the belt as of anything he has drawn. But then there was a crude cylinder drawn over this figure’s shoulder.
“And when a group is legitimately cooler than the self-professed cool kids comes along, that’s when they pull out every stop, even the cute one’s steel dildo.”
Shaking his head, he drags the marker between the ‘steel dildo’ and the figure just below it until they are scratched out.
“It seemed that the stranglehold would never break. But then the principle got fired. The kids would never admit the only reason they stayed popular was because of him, so it was NBD, right? But they totally grouped tighter while they over compensated their cool-osity. And then the unthinkable.”
Quinlan takes the back of his hand to rub out the stick figure with the briefcase. He is redrawn staring directly at the masked one, crassly with a tiny middle finger up. The bearded one, the long haired one and the one shitting cash are crossed out.
“One of the group got smart, they grew the fuck up. He realised they were not bound by high school logic, and that the love and support of the delusional amounted to nothing. He broke out on his own, finally. And now with it more clear than ever that your party of assclowns only serve the interests of Blanca.”
Quinlan takes a step away from the board before looking back at the mostly scribbled out mess he had drawn. The only thing left absolutely clear is the UTA World Championship facsimile.
“I got a little lost there, but I was trying to tell you that you are more obsessed with the UTA Championship, whether you notice it or not, than me. Again, I will be standing sixteen feet from you and you will be thinking about LFB’s title, the title that you won’t get a shot at.”
Puffing out his chest, just a little, a look of disappointment crosses over Quinlan’s normally happy demeanor. He pulls up three fingers and starts a-counting.
“Jackson, long faded glory and the UTA Championship; all that ahead of me. And again, I am not offended, but I feel that I need to update you on a few things. It’s only fair, and honest.”
The hand drops and the camera pulls tighter around Quinlan, who has pulled out a chair and has propped his right leg up on it.
“In that ring, I am not going to care about everything that you have done in your UTA career between cocaine binges. In that ring, I will not bow to you and offer up my lunch money because you are in with the cool kids. In that ring, my only goal is to render you unable to lift your shoulders off the mat in the count of three.”
Getting more impassioned with every line, Quinlan’s voice seems to get deeper. Reaching down to the hemline of the jersey, he pulls it over his head and discards it on the near table.
“Maybe when I swing my foot ‘round and connect with your jaw, you will understand that we fighting for an opportunity at the Legacy title. But maybe carrying your own title might take time away from being Blanca’s lead bitch? Whatever you think after you wake up, I just hope have grown up a little. Every second is an option. Our futures are ours, not the fates.”
Quinlan slowly marches closer to the foreground, shirtless and muscles clenched.
“It is time we let our past die. Time to realise the only thing that counts it the moment.”
His eyebrows furrow as he is near enough to the camera that you see just a close up.
“Time to shut up and fight.”
""Once ' The Fallen Angel', now 'The Ominous Angel'.""
- Lew Smith