Wrestler Name: Maximilian Wu
My name is Maximilian Wu and we are not going to be the best of friends. In fact, you will come to dislike, despise, and if I will ever have the blessed privilege, hate me with all the bile and spite in your miserable little hearts. This is not an opinion or perception borne by some by a petty self-loathing complex. It is a conclusion bought about by objective reasoning. You are welcome to disagree and dispute my views, which will only serve to lend strength to my argument.
This is not a story of haves and have-nots. No, that would make it too easy. It’s easy to loathe your betters and to take your everyday frustrations out on people whose shit DOES smell better than yours because they command only the very best that the world has to offer.
Don’t give me that good versus evil or right and wrong bullshit either. We’ve all seen too much of what Hollywood has to offer to buy yet another story involving archetypes - protagonists and antagonists. The only damsels in distress you’ll find will charge by the hour if that’s what gets you off. Morality is a subject that only gets broached in depth at two in the morning with a half a cereal bowl of ganja gone up in smoke.
This is my goddamn story, no motherfucking White Stripes playing my hella-dope theme song, no Martin Scorsese or Michael Bay directing my insane action or moving dramatic scenes, no fucking Sony Pictures production values to be found here. It’s just me, maybe a few other acquaintances here and there along with the rest of this profane clusterfuck known as the world.
If I happen to be boring the desensitized shit out of you – by all means, close this tab now and get back to your Asian midget takes on 20-inch mutant cock streaming porn. If you’re looking to continue onwards, you might find something a little more real than what you’re probably accustomed to.
Unless, of course, you’re one of those fuckwads that equate Jersey Shore to reality – in which case you can fuck off after this sentence.
Welcome to my fucking world.
Danny Lamont awakes to another episode of the withdrawal show. His bed-sheets are soaked in sweat, as if he had just come back from a midnight triathlon. He picks up his wristwatch and attempts to check the time. However, his eyes are struggling to focus due to the constant dizziness that kicks in as part of the cold-turkey withdrawal. Soon, the god-awful headache and dry nausea kicks in to complete the package. Danny throws the wristwatch across the room and grips his hair tight, keeling over and trying to drown out the unbearable yet all-too familiar sensations.
After a good five minutes of experiencing the very best that Crystal Meth withdrawal had to offer, Danny manages to roll out of bed and stagger into the master bathroom. He runs the tap and starts splashing water onto his face in the hope that it would do something to bring some clarity back into his current predicament.
It took another minute of continuous water splashing punctuated by slapping the bejesus out of his own face for Danny to focus at his own reflection in the mirror. His cheeks appear sunken and his eyes are bloodshot – his appearance betrays his condition; fucked up.
Danny looks out the open door towards his bedroom window. “Fuck!” He exclaims to himself. It is still dark which means his plan on sleeping it through to the morning has failed. The next few hours to daylight are going to be pure, unadulterated hell.
He stumbles back into his room and pulls the top drawer of his bedsit open. Reaching inside, he rummages through its contents and finally pulls out a glass pipe. Danny switches on his bedside lamp and holds the pipe up to it, examining it frantically from every angle to see if there is any product left in the chamber. When it becomes clear that there isn’t going to be anymore in there regardless of how hard he looks, Danny knocks the chamber of the pipe on the top of his bedsit hoping to get at least one measly hidden shard to at least take the edge off. The only things to come out of the pipe are burnt out residue, nothing worth smoking.
He leans down, reaches under his bed and unplugs his Nokia off the charger. He scrolls down through his list of contacts until he finds one under “Home Delivery”. Despite Singapore being world-renowned for it’s ultra-harsh and highly successful anti-drug laws, you could still score day and night as long as you called the right number. You could have it delivered straight to your doorstep as long as you could pay. That kind of game allows hard-working entrepreneurial types to charge a premium on top of the juice they made for retailing a highly illegal product. Getting caught with almost any amount will guarantee a suicide-by-hangman obituary.
Danny presses the call button and holds the phone up to his ear. Even just holding the Nokia up against the side of his head is proving to be a herculean effort, his hand and arm starts shaking in the midst of his vice-grip headache, dizziness and nausea. He musters up all of his concentration to speak when somebody finally answers his call.
“Get me the usual, you know where,” says Danny with a weak voice. He nearly comes close to having a nervous breakdown when the line goes silent for what seems like forever.
“15 minutes,” says the voice on the other end before the call cuts off abruptly. Danny understands the drill, no time for small talk and bullshit. Nobody enjoys sticking their neck out on a delivery run at an ungodly hour. If it weren’t for money the other guy would probably be either fast asleep or doing something that didn’t involve risking capital punishment.
Stumbling into his living room, Danny manages to fish out a packet of Pall Malls from the back pocket of the pair of jeans draped over his couch. He lights up a cigarette and takes a deep drag. It steadies his hand but does little else to alleviate the syndrome. He craved, no, needed a different kind of smoke to make all of that shit go away.
Just as he is about to take another drag, the intercom buzzer rings. Danny jumps to his feet and rushes to pick up the handset on his wall. He hears the same voice from the call earlier.
“Let me up,” says the familiar voice. “You’re early,” replies Danny. The delivery boys or couriers would usually turn up on time or a little after, but rarely had they been early until tonight.
“You want or not?” asks the voice and Danny presses the button to grant access without hesitation. Danny had been caught off-guard but he wasn’t going to argue over semantics. He had previously bought off the same service and reasons to himself that the courier probably just wants to get it over and done with, which is a reasonable expectation given the present circumstance.
He sucks on his cigarette nervously in anticipation for the relief that will soon follow. Not much longer before he can get all those monkeys in a line and fuck them all off with a pipe-full of diamonds.
After what feels like an eternity of waiting, the doorbell finally rings. Danny quickly pulls out the wallet from the pair of jeans on his couch and opens it up to check its contents. “Just enough”, he mutters to himself under his breath as he paces towards the door. He takes a deep breath and starts undoing all of the locks; chains, bolts and all.
He pulls the door open to reveal the owner of the voice, a young Chinese-looking man, likely in his early-20s, in a button-up short-sleeved shirt and a pair of khaki shorts. Danny smiles, recognizing him from the last few deliveries. As he reaches into his wallet to retrieve his payment for services rendered, the young Chinese man reaches into the front pocket of his shorts presumably to retrieve his part of the transaction.
Danny folds the bills and hands them out for the young Chinese man to take and dispense the product in return. Expecting him to take it, Danny instead finds the young courier looking to his right nervously. He then turns and bolts off in a full sprint, leaving Danny dumbfounded clutching a folded wad of notes at an open doorway.
After taking a second to realize what had just happened, Danny is overcome by the sudden sensation of his stomach dropping. It wasn’t the nausea this time but an instinctive psychosomatic reaction that something seriously wrong had just gone down. He instinctively reaches for the door to slam it shut but grabs it a millisecond too late.
The sucker-punch was textbook, and whoever landed it also had the bonus of a running start – which floored Danny instantly. He feels the warm blood trickling down the side of his head as his world starts fading to black. He hears faint voices conversing but barely makes out what they are saying.
“Fuck he looks like shit…”
“What did you expect from a fucking junkie?”
“Lets drag his ass out of here and get this shit done.”
The last thing he remembers before losing consciousness is the red Power Ranger staring straight at him.
“You’re in for a fucked up ride now.”
Unknown Location, Singapore.
The sensation of water being splashed from a bucket straight to his face brought Danny Lamont back to the waking world. He instinctively attempts to raise his hands but finds them bound tight behind the backrest of the chair that he is seated on. He turns his head to avert the bright light being shone directly onto his eyes, feeling the sensation of dried-up blood against the side of his face.
Danny squints his eyes shut and slowly opens them back up, trying to focus on the person standing before him now. As his vision adjusts, he makes out the all-too familiar visage from his childhood rendered in horrific Technicolor – the red Power Ranger – presumably the same one from his painful misadventure back at his condo.
The man in the red Power Ranger mask grabs a rag and wipes the water off Danny’s face hastily, he winces and groans as the rag rubs into the wound on the side of his head.
“You hit the door frame pretty fucking hard when I took your punk-ass down,” said the red Power Ranger with a snicker before throwing the rag back down onto the table next to him. As Danny’s vision cleared up, he notices another person behind the red Power Ranger, also wearing a mask. The man walks into the light and is revealed to be wearing a blue Power Ranger mask. Danny didn’t know whether to laugh or scream at the complete, utter absurdity and helplessness of his current predicament.
“Who the fuck are you muppets,” asks Danny, trying to make some sense of it all. The man in the blue Power Ranger mask steps forward and leans in with a punch to his gut that knocks the wind out of him. He coughs and sputters, the taste of stale iron rose from the back of his throat to his taste buds. Danny spits out a combination of phlegm and blood onto the concrete floor.
“In case you haven’t notice, we’re the fucking Power Rangers. I’m blue and that’s my partner red,” said the blue Power Ranger before raising his right arm to land a forceful backhanded slap. Danny’s head jerks to his left and he would have fallen to the concrete if not for the steadying hand of the red Ranger.
They give him a few moments to regain some breath and composure. “So who sent you?” asks Danny, figuring that it would be the most logical question to ask at this point. The red Ranger squats in front of Danny and looks straight at him. Danny catches sight of the eyes behind the mask and feels a chill go through his bones – he knew there and then that those eyes weren’t the kind to make idle threats.
“What you should be asking is why you’re here in the first place. What kind of fucked up thing did you do to end up in this ...”, the red Power Ranger pauses and makes a twirling gesture with his hand before finishing the sentence, “…predicament.”
The blue Ranger steps forward again and grabs Danny by the hair on the back of his head, clenching tight and pulling hard, jerking his head backwards. Danny yelps and groans in pain as the blue Ranger inches closer to his face.
“Or what you didn’t do, more specifically, paying what you fucking owe!” Exclaims the blue Ranger before he lets go, jerking Danny’s head forward again. Through it all, Danny’s heart was beating as if it was about to explode. He tries to recall through his list of creditors, trying to find out which one owes enough for them to send the Power Rangers to fuck his night up.
“Look, I’m sure we can work something out…” says Danny before he is abruptly interrupted by another punch to the gut.
“No you can’t. That much you’ve fucked up for sure. We will be dictating the terms henceforth”, said the red Ranger, his tone and annunciation now calmer than before. The blue Ranger disappears behind the light, leaving the red Ranger and Danny visibly alone. Danny fails to stifle his audibly nervous gulp as the red Ranger continues speaking.
“I’m going to cut straight to the chase because time is of the essence here, your time included. There is only one way out of this – I’ll explain the terms and you’ll follow,” he says before the blue Ranger re-emerges from the darkness. He raises an arm to reveal that he is holding a meat cleaver.
“I’m going to present you two document and to save you having to take your time reading them,, I will explain the abridged version – the first is a letter granting power of attorney to an individual of your creditor’s choosing. The second is the registration of a deed effecting the transfer of your condominium at Novena to a nominated trust,” explains the Red Ranger before pausing. Danny Lamond nods, demonstrating that he understand the explanation. In his mind, he is still racing to find the creditor who’s calling in a debt of this magnitude.
“We’re not going to stop you from objecting or protesting these terms, and we’re not going to stop you from begging for the sweet release of death either if it comes to that. However, for each minute you waste not complying with our terms – blue Ranger here…” he jerks a thumb at his compatriot, who steps forward and brandishes his ominous meat cleaver, much to Danny’s horror, before continuing.
“…will fucking chop off a limb. He’ll start with the fingers, then the hands, the arms, and back down to the toes…” The red Ranger describes with a tone that gradually becomes less calmer with each spoken word. Danny can only wince and shiver uncontrollably in fear as the blue Ranger traces his planned path of amputation with his cleaver.
“…and you get the idea of where we go after that. So whatever it is you’re thinking right now, DON’T. It’d be a health hazard,” says the red Ranger before he turns to the table and picks up a brown envelope that Danny had not noticed before. Then again, with everything else that was happening, it would have been the last thing he could have picked up on.
“So what’s it going to be?” asks the red Ranger as he turns back to face Danny while retrieving the documents from the envelope. Danny could only nod weakly, unable to speak in that moment after being worked over by the Power Rangers and still suffering the effects of a hard withdrawal.
The blue Ranger kneels behind Danny and hacks off his rope restraints. Danny considered making a break for it during that split-second reprieve, but decides firmly against it – he wouldn’t be able to outrun them and they were likely to do him far worse if they caught him. He picks his arms up and wrings his wrists, his hands were numb from the lack of circulation – the Power Rangers had him tied up good.
Danny gets off the chair and slowly makes his way to the table, where the red Ranger has laid out the pages awaiting his signature along with a pen. The blue Ranger picks up the chair and repositions it in front of the table. He gestures towards it with an open hand.
“Have a seat, we really wouldn’t want you to be making any mistakes now. I’m pretty fucking sure you wouldn’t want to either,” says the red Ranger with a cold undertone to his voice. Danny sits back down and picks up the pen, he pauses briefly and takes a deep breath before signing away his last tangible asset.
“I knew you were a survivor Danny, not the best, but a survivor nonetheless,” says the red Ranger. The blue Ranger chuckles as Danny signs the next page. The pen moves in automatic strokes, practiced through constant repetition. Danny Lamont is only all-too aware of the subsequent reality; this will be the last time his signature would be worth anything.
He places the pen back down on the table after signing the last document. Danny slumps back into his chair; the expression on his face was one that encompassed relief and utter defeat at the same time. He contemplated the decision he had just made, wondering if he could have done better – he was alive but now legally destitute. The condominium had been his cash-out plan, Danny had intended to sell it and disappear from the grid for a little while. Maybe go on a short holiday and spend the rest trying to buy a new life.
All of his plans were now moot with a few strokes of the pen, coerced into giving up his getaway plan. Before he could even consider doing anything, which would have been unwise in any case, the red Ranger collected the signed pages and slid them back into the envelope.
“Don’t beat yourself up over this Danny, you made the right choice,” says the red Ranger in mock consolation, “you made the only choice that would get you out of this alive.”
Danny can only nod weakly in response. But for how long? He thought to himself.
“I really wish I can say it’s been a pleasure, but…” says the red Ranger before pausing. Before Danny could interject or put up any kind of response, the blue Ranger grabs the back of his head and slams it onto the table repeatedly. The red Ranger continues speaking as he assists the blue Ranger in holding him down.
“…this is where we collect the due interest,” says the red Ranger after pinning Danny onto the table. The blue Ranger grabs Danny’s hand and slams it back down on the table.
Danny tries to scream but the red Ranger stuffs a rag into his mouth. The blue Ranger spreads the hand out and raises his cleaver. Before it inevitably comes back down, the red Ranger offers a suggestion -
“Don’t struggle, it fucks up his aim.”