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X-treme Wrestling Federation » Warfare Boards » Warfare RP Board
The Man Called Uncle
Author Message
Mark Flynn Offline
24/7 Briefcase Holders get their name in GOLD
The 24/7 Shot!



XWF FanBase:
The IWC

(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


#1
09-29-2023, 10:00 PM

[Image: Screenshot-2023-09-28-at-5-23-43-PM.png]

The side button on Ned’s phone sinks inward. The screen blackens.

There was a shared experience he recalled many wrestlers waxing lyrical about. When the referee counts a pinfall you’re receiving… And your head twists see each drop of the hand as it happens.

The world slows… Noise blurs into indecipherable buzzing all the while you can only see the referee’s hand falling. Yet, your body, exhausted through whatever hell it just went through, cannot react even with this heightened sense of time. You cannot stop the dominoes from falling, just watch as they tumble. It was a sensation Ned felt he experienced more often lately.

He pockets his phone. Theo's concern was appreciated... but unwanted.

Relentless. The biggest stage in all of wrestling. Where a wrestler can look back on their year and see how it fits in a grander scheme of everything.

Eight months earlier, at SnowJob, Ned came… so close… to beating ‘Chronic’ Chris Page. To proving he’d earned his spot among the top of the XWF’s talent pool. To feeling like he really belonged there.

Since then, he’d been through ups-and-downs… But it all culminated tonight.

Ned did it, vanquishing the specter he believed represented his sense of isolation. He’d beaten Page. Former Uni champion, (self-professed) industry legend. Sure, giant asshole. But, one of the best to ever run the ropes.

Ned had visualized this moment for years, through strained eyes in the gym, forcing himself to exceed each limit that had been assigned to him, sacrificing even momentary comforts just for the slight opportunity to improve.

Now? Here he was. A bonafide main-eventer.



And as much an outcast in the main event as he’d been anywhere else.

He’d been falling apart for months. And that was just physically. Be it vertigo continuously tugging at his ability to stand and walk without plummeting or vomiting or the increasing amounts of physical strain these extreme stipulations placed him under. All the while pushing himself further to try and be everything for everyone in his orbit and watching the pieces fracture and burst apart in the gravity of it all.

...Walking from the medical room back towards his locker room, stitches snug in the side of his head, beating Chris Page was the last thing on his mind.

Darcy asked for some time apart... And could Ned blame her? How many times in recent memory had he blown her off for someone who needed his help?

Darcy… the person who gave Ned permission every time he felt someone needed him… to run off and play hero?

Turns out, she also needed Ned. She might’ve needed him the most. And he let her down.

Ned even found a way to be an outcast in a group of two.

...Ned sighed, walking down the hall backstage...

If he booked a flight and got to the airport, he could get back to the Notorious Gym in six hours

Ned had a plan…

Just throw himself into wrestling. No time to feel guilty. Couldn’t sit around feeling sorry for the pain he caused.

Other people needed him to be strong. Other people needed him right now to come through. He’d power through. To pull back the pieces of his fractured being through sheer force of will.

Ned pushes the door to his locker room open an-

…Wait.

Shadows skitter across the floor. Someone’s in Ned’s locker room!

Ned lifts his dukes… He bursts in!

…And finds…

Mark Flynn standing on a ladder…



”NEDDER FAMILIAS!”

Flynn looks over his shoulder, shocked. Like he never could’ve expected NED KAYE to pop up in a place like NED KAYE’S LOCKER ROOM.

”DAMMIT!” Flynn sneers, pinching his nose. ”Leave it to Page the ONE TIME I count on him wrestling a self-indulgent hour-long match… to get pinned in twenty…”

Quickly, Flynn hucks over the rafters…

A BANNER READING 'CONGRATULATIONS!'

Ned’s confused… and nonplussed.

"...Flynn, what is this?"

”GIMME A SECOND, NED.” Flynn howls indignantly. ”I’M TRYING TO ACHIEVE AN EFFECT HERE!”



”Matter-of-fact, go back outside. For maximum effect, you should take this all in at once.”

"..Flynn, I’m not in the mo-"

“GODDAMMIT, NEDERICK. HOW OFTEN DO I ASK YOU FOR THINGS?” Flynn screeches.



[The answer is ‘a lot’]



Ned takes one step backwards, closing the door.



The sound of hammers, nails and drills.

Also, moderately loud Flynn-cursing from rushed DIY work.

”Okay, come in. HAVE THE COMMON DECENCY TO ACT SURPRISED.”



Ned walks back in.



Balloons! Blue and pink balloons drop from the ceiling!

”CON-NED-ULATIONS!” Flynn calls, as he wheels in a large cake on a trolley…

Across in a pink frosting it says ‘YOU DID O-KAYE!’



Flynn’s got a party horn AND a cigar in his mouth! SIMULTANEOUSLY!

…Ned cooly regards all of this. “...Are you done yet?”

Flynn pulls the cigar from his mouth, squashing the flame under his boot! ”LAST PART! BIG FINISH!”

…Flynn spins toward the room’s corner, pointing the cigar backwards!

”IRWIN! GO!”

…Irwin?

Ned spins toward the corner…

…Where Irwin stands beside a wall… Absolutely COVERED in firework sparklers. Mountains of sparklers! Stacked ten-high and covering every inch of the wall!

And in Irwin’s hands? A string.

Ned’s eyes widen. Reflexively, he covers his ears!

Irwin pulls it!





A single sparkler goes off.



…Ned slowly brings his hands back down to his sides.

“…Was that supposed to happen?”

Flynn’s nose wrinkles. ”Well, the ENTIRE XWF BACKSTAGE TO GO UP LIKE A ROMAN CANDLE! …But, *someone* won earlier than I thought… So, we couldn’t hook all the sparklers up to one string…”

…Flynn rubs his hands together. ”Doesn’t matter! KEEP IT GOING, IRMANO!”

…Irmano walks down to the next sparkler and pulls the string.





Yep. Another one slowly sizzles.

…Ned sighs. "Mark, this is all… very… nice, but I'm not looking to celebrate this win."

…Flynn double-takes, scoffing. “PFFFF, Ned. You think I’d put all this together to celebrate YOU beating Page after eight months? Who gives a shit?!? Rob Main did that TWICE IN ONE WEEKEND.”



Flynn, in a rare moment of self-awareness, has the decency to redden his cheeks…

“Oh. I mean, um...”

…Flynn clears his throat.

“You did it… Yaaaaaay.” Flynn monotonically recites, out of obligation. Flynn points his finger in the air and makes a circle with it.

Flynn blows the party horn, so mildly that it drips from his lips, down to the floor.

…Ned exhales, quietly reminiscing on the simpler times where a needle was stabbing through his flesh.

“That’s- okay, look. I appreciate it, but I would prefer it if I could take a breather in here. Alone. Without you.”

Flynn lifts both hands in front of face, aquiescingly. “Okay, I deserve that! I deserve you asking me to leave! I UNDERSTAND… why YOU feel how you feel!”

…Flynn clears his throat, like he’s been practicing this speech in his head…

“Look. I’ll acknowledge. YES! I didn’t react… *appropriately* when you first told me your GREAT NEWS!”

“BUT THAT’S ON YOU, NED!”
Flynn sticks a finger at the Notorious One. ”You KNOW not to schedule major life events when I’ve got a big match coming up! It was INCONSIDERATE! And CHURLISH!”

“W-... Churlish?”

“BUT!” Flynn sticks a finger in the air, as if cutting in before Ned has the chance to rebut. “Let’s leave the past in the past and focus on the VERY EXCITING FUTURE!”

“What future?”

”OUR FUTURE, NED! DARCY’S DOCTOR VISIT! YOU’RE GOING TO BE A FATHER!”

…Ned’s demeanor darkens.

“Oh. Right. I didn’t tell you…”

“YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO, NEDDERINO! I already ran the numbers and that makes meeeeeeeee…”

Flynn rubs his hands together… As he reaches…

BOTH HANDS INTO THE CAKE?!?!?

“Oh Fl… That’s unsanitary…”

And pulls out…

…Covered in red velvet and frosting…

A t-shirt.

[Image: Screenshot-2023-09-30-at-12-47-47-AM.png]

“No, Mark…-”

”WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!!” Flynn bleats, as he reaches into the smushed cake pile…

…He retrieves… a stroller… A FULL-SIZE stroller gently parts out of a cake FAR TOO SMALL to house it… like Flynn is goddamned Mary Poppins and her little black bag. If her bag were a cake.

He sets this stroller, the wheels of which are CAKED in… cake…. before Ned. Like a hunter-gatherer delivering a mammoth hide to the tribe.

”Listen!” Flynn points, almost accusatorily at Ned. ”FINE! We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.”

“(Like when you punched me in the face)...”

“But…”
Flynn grabs Ned by the shoulders, staring him dead in the eye. ”I want you to know. I would DIE for your child. I WILL DIE for your child.” Flynn dry-swallows, nodding, gritting his teeth, as if he could pour all of himself into that sentence and LOCK IT FOREVER INTO HIS SOUL. FUCKING BRAND IT ONTO HIS ESSENCE, because he will WILL IT FOREVER.

”In fact, if I do NOT die in the line of duty, protecting your child? I will consider my uncleship a PERSONAL AND IRREDEEMABLE FAILURE!”

“I don’t- Wait, uncleship?”

…Flynn sucks in air, putting a hand over his heart. “Nedidah…” Flynn’s eyes well up, as PURE RAW EMOTION bubbles inside of him. “I thought you’d never ask.”

Ned winces. “Flynn, that’s not what I me-”

“I ACCEPT THIS POSITION!” Flynn falls to one knee… for some reason. Flynn grasps his chest as if he could tear out his beating organ and give it to Ned in pledge. “My uncle watch begins. it shall not end until my death.”

“Flynn, you don’t get it. I-”

“HOW DARE YOU, NED!” Flynn stands increduously, interrupting, spitting in disbelief. “YOU DON’T THINK I KNOW HOW VITAL AN UNCLE IS IN A CHILD’S LIFE? EVERY KID NEEDS AN UNCLE, NEDERICK.” Flynn looks off into the distance, proudly thinking of the corps of Uncles he’s joining.

“AN EXTERNALLY-BASED THIRD-PARTY, CHALLENGING THE CAREFULLY-CURATED WORLD PRESENTED BY MOMMY AND DADDY!” Flynn beams with pride, weighing the title of ‘Uncle’ equal to that of ‘Supreme Court Justice’ or ‘Executive Regional Manager of Talent Relations’ ”I take this offer very seriously, Ned.”

“There’s no offer!”

“And I SWEAR… that I will be the BEST… and ONLY uncle in this child’s life!”



“I have a brother. Any child I have is already going to have an uncle. IF… EVEN IF… you were this child’s uncle… You would make for two.”

“...That’s…” Flynn’s eye spasms, like he’s recalculating the future in his head. “...No, fine, I can make that work.”

“What- what does that even mean? Of course my brother existing works, it’s worked for three decades!”

“THREE DEC-?!?!...” Flynn almost chokes on his own spit.



Flynn closes his eyes.



Deep breath.

“Look. I understand.”

…Flynn’s eye momentarily twitches, still furiously processing that he’ll be sharing ‘uncle status’…

…Finally, he shakes his head. He can’t be selfish. He’s an uncle now.

“We’re all be playing… unique... nuanced roles in this kid’s life.” Flynn barks proudly. “We’ll have different visions on raising it, when to impart valuable life lessons! At what age does he-OR-SHE..-OR-THEY!” Flynn adds, aggressively, as if daring Ned to accuse him of being exclusionary… “LEARN TO DELIVER A PILEDRIVER! OR LEARN PROPER SUBMISSION HOLD TECHNIQUES! WHO’S GONNA TEACH HIM-SLASH-HER-SLASH-THEM-SLASH-ZEM, HUH? YOU-SLASH-ZOO?”

Mark dramatically points at an unimpressed Ned.

“It takes a village, Nederick… And I will PERMIT my voting share of child-rearing decisions to be… ONLY 40 percent. You and Darcy take 25% each. And your…” Flynn sneers. “‘Brother’…” Flynn wraps that last word in fingerquotes, like Ned summoned this ‘brother’ character out of thin air, just to punish Flynn.. “Can have… symbolic, NON-functional voting privileges.”



“Flynn, why wou-... Wait, your math doesn’t work. That’s only 90%.”

Flynn’s nose wrinkles. “C’mon, Ned, you KNOW I don’t err mathematically… Obviously, Irwin gets 10%.”

Irwin pumps his fist in the background. (he’s been quietly setting off one sparkler at a time, for the last few minutes).

“NOW!” Flynn claps. “COLLEGE!” Flynn makes it clear that he could do this ALL DAY. “Inflation’s increasing tuition by 10 percent every year! BUT, IF WE J-”

“Mark, it was negative, okay?! There’s no college! No bizarre child-shareholding! No Uncie Mark! There’s no baby! And… and no “Ned and Darcy” right now either.”



……

Irwin sets off a single firecracker.

…It sputters, dying on the ground.



Flynn opens his mouth, as if to speak…

…Then.

He blows hot air through his lips.

Like a million voices of hope, optimism and positivity all cried out at once.

Then, were suddenly silenced.,



Flynn sticks a finger in the air.



The Denny’s in Hell
18 Minutes Later


Ned pinches the bridge of his nose. "Flynn, we can’t go to Denny's EVERY TIME you want to express your emotions. You can’t pour your heart out if YOU’RE CLOGGING IT."

“OH. So, NOW, you care about my heart?” Flynn barks incredulously. “That’s surprising, KING KAYE ROOL, because eighteen minutes ago, you RIPPED IT OUT OF MY CHEST.”



Flynn then quietly turns toward the Denny’s waitress.

“Moons over My-Hammy.” Flynn hisses.

The waitress turns to Ne-

“WAIT!” Flynn shakes his head. “...Make it a double.”

…The waitress lifts an eyebrow. “...Make it a double?”

“He means he wants two Moons Over My-Hammy.” Irwin calls, sitting on the floor beside the booth.

“And, uh… water for me.”

The waitress spins, disappearing into the kitchen.

Ned glances down at Irwin. “You… you can sit at the table, y’know?”

“Oh… Mister Kaye…” Irwin glances up, with a smile. tsk-tsking like Ned just committed a social faux pas. “Mister Flynn likes having a whole boothside to himself.”

…Ned looks over. Flynn’s lying across the whole booth side, staring at the ceiling like a moody teenager.

“...Well, sit on my side if you want.”

…Irwin side-eyes the Notorious One.

“...Fine down here, thanks.” Irwin replies icily.

…Ned’s eyes squint, like what’s this guy’s prob-

”Was it my fault?”

Ned looks back over at Flynn, back upright, with a deathly serious demeanor.

Ned is briefly taken aback, by Flynn’s sudden sincerity.

“Wh-... what?”

…Flynn sighs. “I know Darcy is… no fan of mine. Maybe… I… uh… offended her… But, I didn’t… uh… mean anything by…” Flynn lets his words trail off.

Ned sighs. Typical Flynn. Whenever something happens, it must be about him.

“No, Mark.” Ned exhales. “You're… it's not anything that you did wrong. Nothing to do with you. I just… I messed up.”



“Oh. Great.” Flynn smiles, dusting his hands, like, that’s settled. “Well… What’d YOU do, Ned?”

“...Remember when you asked me to come to Denny’s with you?”

…Flynn squints confused. “Twenty minutes ago?”

“No.” Ned shakes his head. “The last one.”

…Flynn looks up, genuinely struggling to remember.

“It was *two days ago*.” Ned emphasizes.

…Flynn nods. “OH! Riiiiiiight. You BEGGED to be ringside when I fought NK.”

…Ned squints. “NO. YOU asked ME.”

“Ned, I’d remember asking for that. After all, it was yesterday… or last week.”

“...You…” Ned sighs, as the waitress delivers his glass of water. “Whatever.” He takes a bitter sip. “Anyway, I met you instead of making the appointment for Darcy’s test results…”

…Flynn is aghast. “Ex-SCUZE me?!?”

…Ned stares daggers back at Flynn. “You said you needed me!”

“DUH, you wouldn’t come otherwise!” Flynn spits. “...But, Fuck, I didn’t know you were choosing Denny’s and MARK FLYNN over being PRESENT when the LOVE OF YOUR LIFE found out if she was PREGNANT, NED.”

“Flynn, you… You TOLD me to meet you. I needed to drop whatever I was doing. For justice, you said!”

“...Oof.” Flynn shakes his head. “Listening to me… That was a mistake, Ned.” Flynn sips at his blueberry lemonade tea.

…Flynn sips satisfied. “Oh well. Past is in the past.” Flynn dusts his hands. “You won your match. So, you’ll fix it.”

Ned squints at Flynn. “...What?”

“You won your match against Page. So, you’re in the right. Optimal Path 101.” Flynn elaborates, patiently. “Ergo, things will fall together from here.”

"You’ve said some of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard… but somehow, *that* takes the cake.”

Flynn squints like Ned’s the crazy one. “Irwin… Back me up here.”

“What Mister Flynn means is…”



Irwin slowly turns back to Flynn. “Actually, what do you mean, sir?”

“Look. It’s EASY. I’ll give you an example.”

“I just beat NK, right? He spent the last few weeks pointing out how I’m a bad guy, right?”

“That I was a lowlife traitor… That I betrayed him and threw his friendship away to get a Universal Title shot. That the only reason I’m playing goody-two-shoes now is to further my career…”

“BUT!”
Flynn sticks a finger in the air. “I won our match! So. HE was wrong! By beating him, I disproved his argument!” Flynn dusts his hands. “ Ipso facto! I don’t have to worry about my past actions! Because NK was wrong for still being mad at me over it!”



Irwin’s mouth slowly tilts open, side-eying Flynn.

“...Sir, that’s… that’s not how that works at all!”

…Flynn squints. “...Yes, it is!”

“No, it’s not! Winning matches doesn’t just… erase the loser’s point!”

“IT DOES, THOUGH! History is written by the winners! And, between NK and I, I AM THE WINNER!”

“Mister Flynn, that quote means to be skeptical of history books because the winners get to write them… That doesn’t mean that the past *literally* gets rewritten when someone beats someone else!”



“...It doesn’t?” Flynn scratches his head… “You fuckin’ with me, Ir-dawg?”

"Your actions don’t just get exonerated because you won a match. The shitty things you did are still there. They still happened! You can act like they didn't all day, but no amount of pins or submissions make the things that you've done less bad. You have to be a better person to not be defined by them, not just a better wrestler so you can feel superior after the fact."

…Flynn scratches his head… Still processing this novel idea.

“...Well, hold on. The bad things in your past don’t define you...”

“Yes, they do.” Ned insists.

“...Not if you don’t let them, Mister Kaye. Human beings are capable of… growth. They’re capable of making good decisions AND bad decisions… And even if you don’t go around, shaking hands, kissing babies and letting drug addicts sleep on your couch whenver they ask… That still doesn’t mean you’re *defined* by every misstep you’ve ever made. You can go through life without constantly carrying the sins of your past on your back.”



Ned dry-swallows.

…Like, he can acknowledge that as true… in theory.

…But applying that reasoning to himself?

…Can’t do it.

CLAP! Flynn smacks his hands together.

”I GOT IT! EUREKA, NEDDLES! I just figured it out!” Flynn punches the table, he’s so excited.

”...Figured what out?”

”ALLEGEDLY… I still have to clear the skeletons in my closet of what NK had to say about me.” Flynn points to Ned’s skull. ”And sounds like Ned has more Catholic guilt in his soul than a million hail mary’s could excise. We gotta excise some personal demons, STAT.”

…Kaye exhales. ”...And how do you suggest doing that?”




Flynn reaches into his pocket.

And retrieves a lighter.

”With FIIIIIIRE.”

----

“What we find in others speaks to what we see in ourselves. What we dislike about them, is often the things we hate most about who we are. About who we choose to be and our failure to choose differently, up to that point. Other people can be a mirror, especially if we allow them to be.”

”Then, you’ve got funhouse-mirror-people. One tries to reflect the other… And does such a bad job, it ends up looking like a twisted, sick parody.”

“Cases like Bobby Bourbon and Big D where two people are a mirror because they’ve decided doing a Lucille Ball bit is an effective way to live life. Big D was so frustrated that he wasn’t at the level that he wanted to be at that he began cosplaying his buddy who was. Bobby and I have a sort of mutual respect building due to our consistent encounters, but let me be clear: Bobby, you took my friend and convinced him that the best thing he could be is a mini-you, wearing all your merch and plugging your pals and becoming the most generic lackey to the point of sacrificing his identity.

”Speaking of multiple Bourbsies.... Here’s a riddle. How many Bourbons does it take to beat Dock? Trick question! You could have INFINITE BOURBONS and they still won’t! HAHA!”

“Aww, I’m honestly heartbroken for ya, Bob-bo. Whoda figured your strategy of ‘openly weeping that Daddy Dock was stuck in traffic and didn’t carry you on his shoulders for a horsey-ride when you won March Madness’ wouldn’t pay dividends?”

“Hey, Bob? GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELF. You know who was in the ring to celebrate with me when I won the Universal Title? ME, MYSELF AND I.”




“Also, Theo, technically.”

“POINT BEING. What the FUCK do you mean that Dock didn’t show up after you won? What should he have down? Sung your praises? Held your hand as you climbed the steps?”

“BOB. BOBBLEHEAD. BOURBALICIOUS. The most respect Dock could’ve paid you. Was giving you the space to be your own MAN. Turns out, Bourbon’s a fuckin’ boy. A fat child, but a child nonetheless.”


“It took three Bobbybombs to keep me down the last time we wrestled. If you keep brainwashing someone I care about and convincing him it’s the best thing that ever happened to him, it’ll take a fucking hundred. You can say your snide shit about Mark carrying me…”

”You can spew your snark about Ned letting me pop-up in RARE cameos in his promos…. Sorry, did the fucking guy with frequent guest appearances from CYBERJAW, (the-man-with-the-cybernetic-jaw) , just complain about promos with UNNECESSARY pop-ins?!?”

“And you can project all that inadequacy you built over years of watching TK do it for you, but you’re harming a friend, Bobby, and Chris Page just learned how hard I will fight for those an arrogant dipshit hurts along the way.”

”Haha, Chris Page. Remember when we mocked Page for jamming like forty people in a stable? God, what a nerd.”

“But, anyway, we’re talking about B.o.B. Including TK, D, Waters, Chuckster, Crash Rodriguez, Barney Green (honorary)… (Allegedly) LSM, HGH, Black, Wish, Reggie Estrada… Cyber-Jaw, Diamondback, Jimmy… OH MY FUCKING GOD… B.o.B. is the new CCPE! Ol’ Big D fell for… and I’m quoting TK directly here… A PYRAMID SCHEME! Poor guy…”


“But, “B.o.B. D,” as he goes nowadays, isn’t without blame or focus for me. You finally returned after who knows how long and the first thing you do? You go after me. Y’know, you can hate me, D, I don’t blame you for that. I could have and should have been a better friend. But you didn’t even try reaching out before attempting to use a beatdown on me as a catapult for your new career as busboy for infantile idiots.”

”D’s promos are all ‘boo hoo, I WAS a nice guy, but no one respected me so now, I’m an asshole!’ I know I’m new to the ‘good guy’ side of the field… but changing your ways because people didn’t give you enough respect? Sure makes it seem like you were ALWAYS a giant douchebag that never really believed the goody-two-shoes act you were peddling. Like when a celebrity does a Coke ad…immediately followed by appearing in a Pepsi ad? Do you actually like B.o.B. or is it another desperate advertising campaign to trick people into thinking Big D matters?”

“It makes sense that you’re just a mascot for a brand now because everything on and about you is for sale: your identity, your friends. Shit, just wait until they realize they can make some quick cash from renaming you “iHop D” and you’ll be cheap advertising on demand for every lousy company wanting someone who stands behind the man who stands behind the Universal Champion.”

”Profoundly sad D changed his whole-ass name for the stable. Like, yes, I was in CCPE, but I didn’t have to change my name to ‘Chris Page Flynn’!”

“If a wrestler has anything in this industry, it’s his sense of self. And D sold his whole self away. He’s no longer Big. He’s just a sad, little D.”

“You disappointed the hell out of me, D, and you thought you were just going to attack me and there’d never be any consequences facing your way. Corey Smith, the man who challenged your little leader to a self-harm stipulation, would rather retire than face me. He only ever ran his mouth about me when I was safely away from him. He would rather hurt himself against the most despicable and capable man of your troupe than step in the ring with me for a straight match. I need you to understand the colossal amount of shit you are in. Do Mark and I always see eye-to-eye? N-”

“YES!”

“...N-wait. No. Absolutely not. Mark and I are adults. I know he doesn’t always seem it-”

“WHAT?!?! NED, YOU IMPUDENT FOOL! I RENT CARS AND ACCUMULATE CREDIT CARD DEBT, NED. I AM THE MOST ADULT PERSON IMAGINABLE.”

“...Ahem. But we actually give a damn about doing better.”

”True!”

“Not just in the ring. Our paths are not simple matters that get resolved because we won a match and even if that were the metric, Bourbon would still be a step behind us and Big D would just stand in line behind him out of obligation. You’re not partners, not in any real sense. You haven’t wanted or expected anything more out of the other.”

”You haven’t pushed each other to grow... Or be better.”

”You’re two frat boys, connected by booze and revelry more than any true connection. And like any fraternity that exists mostly on paper, one bad spill’s likely to blur the writing real damn quick. Frankly Bobby, I don’t know why you’re assuming you’re so immune to the forces in D that you’re exploiting because if he sold me out for little more than a moment he could feel strong, you’d better hope there aren’t any coupons he really wants to get his hands on or you might find yourself on the bad end of a man who only values the hand handing him money this instant. There’s no loyalty in BoB, just a fractured reflection of men who need the world to echo alongside them, who need everything to rhyme, oftentimes literally. There’s no love. There’s no ideas. For all the hard work of kicking Chris out of your group, the same narcissistic principles were built in and no amount of rebooting will ever change that. It infected Anarchy, it infected my friend, and it disgusted me even at my worst. Because BoB is not a mirror.”

”But, is it a stable?”

“No. It’s a pit.”
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