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Author Topic: Tough Love (Second Wind: Chapter 7) [I/II vs. Crippler]  (Read 340 times)


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Tough Love (Second Wind: Chapter 7) [I/II vs. Crippler]
« on: September 11, 2014, 03:44:32 PM »

the law offices of price, mcdermott, and Rosenberg – timothy price’s office
los angeles, california
wednesday, august 27, 2014
11:41 am

[Corey, his hand over his mouth as he slinks down in the chair, stares on as Timothy Price continues reading through a folder of paperwork, his face giving away the bad news.]

…this isn’t good, Core…

[Lazarus nods, rubbing his eyes, and then adjusts his posture, sitting up straight.]

I mean, if Richard wasn’t in the picture, sure, you’d be fine, but since he filed for his own custody and has no criminal record, no history of drug use let alone abuse, a steady income from solid investments…it’s not good. Not. Good. At. All.

Are you saying that he could win the case if his attorney is smart enough, or that I…?

You know the answer to that one.

[Corey crumbles back down, a few beads of sweat immediately forming on his forehead. Time passes, some inconsequential amount that hangs for every nanosecond its worth, before either man even makes a noise beyond breathing.]

There really isn’t a way to fight this and win, Corey. I’m…I’m sorry.

[Timothy puts down the folder and sneaks his fingers under his glasses to rub his eyes as Corey nods, focusing on breathing through his nose. His voice cracks as he tries to talk, and only comes out following a quick clearing of the throat.]

So…how long do I have?

Maybe a week, if even. There isn’t even an injunction or anything that I could file to stop it. It’s looking like your best bet, and this is my professional opinion, may be to just hand it over…!

Him. Him, not it.

Right. Sorry. Ummm…yeah, it’s looking like the best bet is to hand him over to Richard without incident, especially if there’s some record of you doing so, because that could play into an attempt later on. Also, cut back on the drinking, at least in public, and maybe do some rehab on your image, and…it’s worth fighting later on, is what I’m saying. This is a “throw the battle to win the war” situation.

Cool...rock n’…yeah…

[Corey sighs very loudly, his breath wavering as he does so, and Timothy can do little more than nod his head.]

casa del caos – back terrace
malibu, california
3:58 pm

[COREY LAZARUS sits cross-legged on the edge of the pool, as he’s done for much of the summer, and stares into the water. He is wearing a black tank top adorned with the SHOOT Project helmet logo, a pair of grey cargo shorts, and black Adidas Originals. His hair, shaggy and unkempt to match his growing beard, hangs in his face, blowing gently in the late afternoon breeze. KAREN MILLER sits down next to him, dipping her legs into the water from beneath a flowing earth-themed skirt pulled up above her knees, and adjusts herself in her white tank top before brushing her hair behind her ear.]

The cameras are here.

[Silence. Corey continues to stare into the water, his eyes darting from wave to pool edge to glimmer to wave and back again, sinking deeper into thought.]

They say you called them this time.

[Silence. Lazarus clears his throat, barely making an audible noise, and takes a deep breath in (and out) through his nose.]

Do you want me to send them…?


[He lowers his hands, cracking his neck to either side.]

I got shit I need to get off my chest. Tell them to meet me in the basement in 10 minutes.

Um, they're right there...

I know.

[Corey stands up and dusts off the back of his shorts, walking away without giving either the camera crew or his assistant a glance. Karen - not necessarily shocked by his actions, per se, but still taken aback - nods her head, tonguing the inside of her cheek as she, too, rises up to her feet, turning toward the camera.]

Sorry! He's...he's going through a lot of...yeah...basement, 10 minutes?

[The scene fades...]

casa del caos - basement
malibu, california
4:00 pm

[Corey slowly walks down the stairs, running his hand along the painted concrete wall to his right and humming "Danny Boy" to himself. He stops at the bottom of the stairs and opens a steel cabinet, running from floor to ceiling, producing a glass ashtray and a sandwich bag of something green and herbal. He holds it up, opening it, and takes a whiff. He smirks, shaking his head, and then places the bag back onto the shelf inside the steel cabinet, keeping the ashtray in one hand as he shuts the door.]

…not yet…

[Lazarus casually walks over to a cardboard cut-out of himself from a decade ago, pulling his cigarette case from his pocket and opening it as he stares into the eyes of the life-sized print. He studies his own image, running a finger over the diagonal scar on his actual forehead before doing the same where the scar would be on the print. He smirks, shakes his head, pops a cigarette between his lips, and then pulls out his silver Zippo.]

casa del caos – basement
malibu, california
4:06 pm

[Corey blows smoke out through his nostrils, sliding his free hand into his pocket after brushing stray hairs out of his face. His back to the camera, he focuses on a life-sized cardboard cut-out of himself from ten years ago.]

Isn’t it incredible?

Life, I mean. It all just sorta…happens. You experience it, sure, and you’re aware of every minute – well, almost every minute – but it just…it just keeps coming and bobbing and weaving. One minute you’re in the process of a global hostile takeover, running roughshod over every single entity that dares try to challenge you, and then you open your eyes and ten years has gone by.

You’re a father. A husband. An ex-husband. A friend. A brother.

A partner.

[He takes the final drag of his cigarette, stamping it out in a glass ashtray perched on a bookcase’s shelf to his right before crossing his arms over his chest and taking a step back.]

When the picture for this thing was taken, I was 26 years old and having the time of my fucking life. Dustin and I were taking the world by storm, I’d just broken Jonahughe’s leg – may he rest in peace – and I was single and, oh yes, all about the mingle.

Wait, was I single? When was I with Natasha?

[He shakes his head, clearing his throat.]


I mean, look at how different I am now. See these pants?

[Corey uncrosses his arms and backs up again, turning to face both the camera and the cut-out as he points to the silver pleather pants he was wearing in 2004.]

I actually wrestled in those. They weren’t even in style! I just thought, you know, that having some freedom down by my bits would let me move faster, and yeah, it did compared to the singlet I used to wear, sure, but…you know how you look back at your high school year book and find those candid photos of yourself when you thought you were the hottest piece of shit on the planet, only now you know enough to realize how absolutely fucktarded you looked?

That’s how I’m feeling right now.

[He chuckles, shaking his head as his hands move to his pockets.]

And those boots…no kickpads, just boots. No wonder my feet always hurt, eh? And that haircut…

[Corey’s hair in the cut-out is…much as the same as it is now, quite honestly. Purposefully shaggy, long enough to cover his eyes but not touching his shoulders, just a tad bit shorter than it is now.]

…at least that one wasn’t embarrassing. Not like it was a couple years before this. Like, you know, in this picture right here.

[Behind the ashtray on the bookshelf rests a framed photograph of Corey holding a pair of title belts, one in each hand. He picks it up and studies it, showing it to the camera and peaking over the frame so as to view where he’s pointing.]

That long hair, pulled back high and tight? Dumb. That singlet, airbrushed because I thought it was cool and looking like a rejected Terminator sketch? Dumber. And…hey, when was this?

[He turns the picture to him, reading a card left in the bottom right corner with the date on it.]

“September 2001, PWA Dome.”

Just month, maybe 2, after meeting Emma for the first time. Before she found a regular dealer, before I saw the crazy, before the contracts with Vivid and Evil Angel…

…before Richard

[Silence. He catches himself as his eyes water and throat goes dry, shaking his head and putting the photograph back on the bookshelf behind the ashtray. A few moments go by of his studying the cardboard cut-out, once more crossing his arms over his chest. He walks up close to his replica, standing nose to “nose” with it, staring into its “eyes,” and then mutters…]

…you fucking idiot…

[…before punching “himself” in the “jaw.” The cut-out barely moves, wobbling on its base, and Corey rears back for another strike but stops himself, shaking his head and speaking softly through clenched teeth.]

You should’ve known not to trust her. You should have fucking known, man. From the moment she admitted that she knew who you were, when she asked if she could be on camera…when she laughed at you for dropping to one knee…you should have fucking KNOWN

[His breathing increases in depth and pace, his body starting to shake, and then he shakes his head “no” over and over, turning to the camera and walking off-screen behind it.]

I…I can’t do this right now…give me a few…just…just stay here, chill here for a bit, and give me a few, dig?


casa del caos - kitchen
malibu, california
4:11 pm

[Corey grabs a tumbler from the cabinet, slamming it down on the marble counter. A “chink” is heard, soft but distinct, and he picks it up, eyeing it over a few times before finding a large crack in its base.]

Fucking wonderful.

[He breathes in deep and then opens the slider to the back terrace, cracked tumbler in hand, before hurling it as hard as he can over the decorative flora marking his property line. A few seconds go by and he can barely hear it shatter, drawing a brief commotion from a neighbor down the hill. The complaints breeze past his ears, though, as he slams the slider shut and turns to find Karen standing before him.]


[Before he can say anything else, she throws her arms around him, a few tears forming in her own eyes, and holds him tight. He struggles, trying to push her off, but stops and then returns the gesture, holding her even tighter than she’s holding him.]

It’s okay, Corey. You did the right thing.

[No words escape his mouth, just a dissonant and nasal screech as he buries his face in her shoulder. She brushes a hand over his head, playing with his hair, and gently kisses him on the cheek as she whispers to him.]

You did the right thing.

casa del caos – basement
malibu, california
4:23 pm

Hi, sorry about that. There’s been some shit going on that’s had my head preoccupied lately, hence why I’ve been a little incognito from the whole SHOOT thing, dig? Dig.

[Corey sits down on a luxurious white leather sofa, resting one arm on the arm of the sofa and the other along its back as he crosses his right ankle onto his left knee. A bottle of Fiji water rests atop a coaster on a glass-top coffee table in front of him, a few sips having been taken.]

For those of you who maybe have been living under a rock for a few years, perhaps suffer from Alzheimer’s , have absolutely no prior interest in pop culture for the past 14-or-some-odd years, or maybe even just woke up from a coma, allow me the honor of introducing you to one half of the SHOOT Project World Tag Team champions. He’s a man that’s gone by many names – the Hollywood Kid, the Living Icon, the Platinum Knight, and so on and so forth – but only two have really, truly stuck.

He is I, and I? I just happen to be the good ol' L-A-Z himself, Corey Lazarus.

I'd ask you hold your applause, but if you're the kind of person who would cheer at the very mention of my name - you know, the intelligent kind - then you're going to do so regardless of my request, so if you feel like slapping your palms together to make a loud noise then so be it…

[He lowers his head, waving his arms to pantomime a stage bow, and then returns to the initial position.]

…and now that we have those pleasantries out of the way, it’s time to dive right into it, so I’ll start it off by saying something we’ve all heard countless times before, from people old and young, and it’s an adage that rings as true as it ever has.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

[A smirk, a shake of the head, and then a clearing of the throat.]

For example, do you remember what you did in November of 2012? Late in the year, with snow on the ground by the yards up north and by the millimeters down south…leading to more car crashed per capita near the densest collection of red states, of course, but that’s another joke for another day.

Ah, who the hell am I kidding? Of course you don’t! Nobody ever seems to remember a year ago. Oh, sure, they’ll remember a few major moments, and they’ll revise things they’ve said or done, and then it’s all supposed to be hunky-fucking-dory because life goes on and blah blah blah, but nobody ever really focuses on a point in time and can then vividly, distinctly recall what happened. Why do you think that is?

Nevermind. I’m going to pre-emptively disregard your theories because that inquiry was rhetorical in nature.

I already know why it is. Sometimes it’s because you’re so focused on the future that you let today go by. Sometimes? You’re dwelling on what happened further back than is warranted on any level, so the present just occurs as a blurring whirlwind of useless information.

Then there’s the part about how time is relative and cyclical and Stephen Hawking talks like a robot and…shit, did I digress again?


November. 2012. I only bring it up, really, because I’ve been reminded of it a lot over the last few months. See, folks, there’s this guy that I had a pair of matches with, one-on-one and a nice tag affair, and yeah, we split the wins and losses pretty evenly, and neither one was something that people were clamoring for until they were announced, but my personal recollection of them has been twisted, warped, and then dragged into crystal clear clarity, 1080p high definition, before my very eyes.

Revolution 102. That was the first time we even had a conversation, let alone been in the same ring together without at least a dozen other people to occupy our respective attentions.

Please tell me you know what I’m talking about, Crip.

[He slowly removes his arms from the couch and uncrosses his legs, planting both feet on the floor and leaning forward, resting his elbows in his lap and lacing his fingers together.]

Tell me that you remember how it felt to step into the ring with me, thinking you were going to have a cake walk since I was still pretty roughed up from everything Tommy Boy and I did to each other all year long, and how soon the realization swept over your face, this tidal wave of an epiphany, that, no, Corey Lazarus is not going to just lie down and let you get your shots in.

Sure, you talked me up a bit, and you were even so kind as to bravely accept the challenge in public, but I was in the ring with you. I felt how loose your hands were on that first lock-up, how little force was behind that first chop you sent my way, and your eyes, man…they gave you up, right in the middle of the Epicenter.

You underestimated me. Just a little bit. Go ahead, you can admit it.

I know I was guilty of it in regards to you that night. How else do you explain the loss that night? Yeah, fine, you've been counted among the best "technical"...

[Without moving his hands away from his lap, Corey forms the quotation marks with his fingers, casually leaning back after doing so.]

...wrestlers in SHOOT for a very long time, maybe even the best one ever, and sure, your name pops up all over the place when the armchair quarterbacks get into a discussion about the best in the entire sport, but that doesn't explain it. Not in full. I mean, rewatch that tape, babe. Those first few minutes?

I had your number.

You went low and I dropped lower. You tried to tie me into a pretzel and I threw you for a loop by doing it to you. Hell, even the smile on your face was put there by my hands, hooking both sides of your mouth in a desperate attempt to get you to lighten up a little.

Of course, none of this really matters now, just as it didn't matter  then, because you walked out with the win that night. I hesitated, I telegraphed, and I went for the big kill way too soon, and I paid the price for it.

Luntaikk Sweet. Dead center of the ring. 1...2...3...your hand went up, your stock went up, and I?

I was looking forward to the next time we'd meet 2 weeks later.

[A flash of his eyebrows, and Corey stretches his arms up before resting his hands behind his head, resting his feet on the table with his ankles crossed.]

You know, that night when you and Don Quixote failed miserably at being a team? That night where Ron Barker actually mattered again because I brought him home? Yeah, that night. Revolution 103.

Go ahead and find the footage. Skip right to the main event. In fact, skip right to the last couple minutes, and do you know what you'll see?

Me. Pinning you. The first time that's ever happened in a SHOOT Project ring, for the record.

Suffice it to say, I was pretty shocked when some production assistant left me a voicemail to tell me J-Dubs paired us up to go after ANARCHY and the Tag Team titles. Not because there's any legitimate hatred between us, mind you, but because, well, your reaction to us teaming up. And then your reaction to us actually winning. Shock, awe, amazement...all feelings that you had which were pretty obvious just by your body language, but your eyes told me a completely different story.

They told me that you were dissapointed that you won the match with me. At least at the moment.

[He shrugs, leaning forward with fingers interlocked and elbows on his knees again.]

I can't say that I could really hold it against you. Shit, I don't even think I do now, even with all the unread e-mails and unanswered calls and the whole "being on the other side of the Epicenter whenever I was looking for you" thing. I mean, I know what I look like, I know how I act, and yeah, I even know that I'm kind of a prick...

...but at least I'm honest about it. You? You've done little more than just focus on yourself, advancing your own career by, uhhh...losing to a guy I ended up beating a couple weeks later and then being sent out of the Master of the Mat tournament in the first round.

I call it like I see it, babe. Sorry.

Of course, you can point out how I haven't been going through the same things you have, with those fucking scumbags running around and the stuff with Maya and yeah, sure, I haven't been around as often as I'd have probably liked to this summer, but you know how I haven't been experiencing the same things you have?

You haven't even the slightest shred of an idea as to what I've been going through.

Maybe this will be a good thing. For you, for me...for us...just get all of the aggression and resentment out in the open, let it all hang in the ring and just put it aside so we can start defending our belts. You hit me, I hit you...that whole thing. Tough love.

I'm looking forward to it, tiger. I really, really am. I'm all about progression and moving forward and letting bygones be bygones - how else do you explain the fact that I'm still friends with a few people who I once tried to bleed out? - and, really, just getting every ounce of frustration out before we get back to business.

And showing you who's carrying this team.

[Wink. Trademark devilish grin.]

But hey, people should be used to that by now. I mean, that's just life, dig? Deal with it. Rock n' roll, Crip.

[The scene fades to black...]

casa del caos - living room
malibu, california
thursday, september 4, 2014
2:34 pm

I'm...sorry, Richie...I am...

[Corey is barely able to get the words out, forcing himself to choke back tears. He clears his throat, again and again, and kneels down before his six-year-old son, Richard O'Reilly.]

It's out of my hands, slick, you know?

But...aren't you my dad?

Yeah, kid, I am, and...

So mom was right and you don't love me?

[Richard stands still, the bluntness of his words turning Corey's insides into a grotesque mush, and then hangs his head.]

She's been right about a lot.

Listen, Richie, I don't really...

Richard. My name is Richard. Like my grandpa.

[Corey grits his teeth and clenches his eyes shut tightly, his face turning beet red. He inhales, a staggered rush of air filling his lungs, and then whimpers before clearing his throat again. He takes a quick, deep breath, and then forces a smile, staring directly into his son's eyes.]

Right. No more bullshit, dig? I've been...uhhh...listen, Richie, I'm not...


Right...Richard...uh, listen, Richard...I'm not going to sugarcoat it, because that's not how I am, but...

[He lingers on his thoughts as Richard's face begins contorting into pure sadness, the young boy doing his damnedest to fight back the tears. Just like his father.]

Heh...fighting it?

[Richard nods, hanging his head down to stare at the floor.]

It's okay to fight it. It's okay to let it go, too.

[Corey strains his voice, clenching his teeth together before looking away. He wipes the sides of his eyes with the back of his finger and notices Richard doing the same, stopping to gently lift Richard's face up by the chin. The two look at each other, tears trickling from their reddened faces, and Corey nods.]

I'm not...I'm not good for you, kiddo. I never was. And one day, you'll be big and strong and you're going to wonder what I'm up to and you're going to want to kick my ass and, you know what?

[Lazarus laughs, finding humor at the lunacy of his following words.]

I'll be looking forward to it.

[He hangs his head, shaking it as he brushes his hair, dampening with stressful sweat, out of his face.]

Now, grandpa is going to take you for a while, at least until your mom comes home from her, uh, trip...and he's going to make sure you're alright. That's more than my own dad ever did, if it's worth anything, so...


[Lazarus hangs onto his son's words, breathing furiously through his nose to stifle any further crying.]

Never goodbye. How about...catch you later?


[Richard begins sobbing, leaning into Corey, and Lazarus instinctively wraps his arms around him, whispering "shh" into his ear, if only to prevent himself from doing the same. He tightens his grip, sniffling deep, and then breaks the hug, holding Richard's head up to face him.]

Now, what you're going to do, kiddo, is you're going to go get into grandpa's car and you're going to go to his house. You're going to listen to what he says and focus in school, and you're going to grow up big and strong and smarter than mommy and I have ever been, and you're going to make something great out of yourself. You're going to meet a great girl or guy, start a family, and you're not going to do anything that mommy and I did, promise? Can you promise me that?!

I...I promise...

[Richard nods and Corey hugs him tightly one last time, kissing his forehead before ruffling his hair.]

Alright, now go on. You've got a great life ahead of you.

[Corey runs his fingertips over Richard’s cheek, smirking a little at the obvious resemblance between the two.]

I...I love you, sport...and I always will...

[Richard sniffles again, sobbing for another moment, and then storms off down the hallway. Karen takes his hand and whispers something to him as Corey stands up, desperately trying to get his wind back as an older man - the elder Richard O'Reilly, “grandpa” to Corey’s son - pats him on the back.]

I know this doesn't mean much coming from me, Core, but you're doing the right thing.


No, you are. Emma's home in a week, but I'm not handing him over. You have my number in case you want to talk to him.

Hey, Rick...one thing...

[He nods, choking up a little himself.]

What's that?

I’m still going to try to get custody at some point. You need to know that.

[The elder Richard nods, his hands on his hips, and looks down at the floor.]

You also need to know that I’m going to be keeping tabs. Legally. For the rest of his life. And if I find out that you let him turn into the kind of person she is...

[Corey swallows dryly, breathing in deep through his nose.]

...the kind of person we are...

[Laz, his eyes bloodshot and voice cracking, calms down and stands up straight, staring directly into the elder Richard's eyes.]

...then I'll fucking kill you.

*"Behind the Scenes" graphic by Sam Valentine
*Corey Lazarus banner by Ben Duke