“Feeling uninspired….

Think I’ll start a fire…”

The water cools my toes as I float around in the pool, on the rubber ducky float I’ve been meaning to give to my daughters. I stare at them as I lift the bottle of Jack to lips and take a swig. It burns like the fire circling the pool, burning like their eyes as they stare at me, slowly swimming towards me like sharks moving in on their prey. I just sit there, waiting for them to attack and take me under. I look at them, labeling them one by one.

There’s the Hell-Cat, all hell fire and brimstone in her eyes, a look of determination on her face as she draws closer.

Then there is her relative, the Flawless one of the pack, her eyes wild like a tiger, a vicious huntress eyeing me like I’m her next meal.

There is the blonde bombshell and her bad, bad companion, moving ever so swiftly, trying their best to stay ahead of the rest of the pack, which also consists of the very epitome of perfection, the perfection hiding behind her angry scowl.

And then there is the red headed beauty, blood staining her lips, slowly sliding down her cheeks, staining the water, just as I surely will soon. I take a big swig of the Jack as she smirks and I watch her as she disappears beneath the red water. Behind the flames begin to follow, creeping every so slowly, inch by inch marching behind the vixens as I continue to float. I take one more swig, and wipe a bit of the residue off of my beard, “Hello, ladies…”

The Flawless purrs, “You’ve gotten yourself in a lot of trouble, honey…”

I nod my head, “I’m sure I have.”

“You’ve rallied against Perfection,” hisses the Perfect One.

“It’s just something that I don’t believe in. We are all flawed. Look at me. I am living, breathing, drinking, pill popping, fucking example,” I say, taking a look at the bottle, seeing that is half empty. I feel envious of it for a few moments before the Hell-Cat enters my ear.

“You want it, but you can’t have it,” she says, as she wades in the water, pointing at the flames as they edge closer, “You want to take hold of the flame, but you don’t have it in you to reach out and grab it. You’re only brave enough to get to where you can only feel its burn.”

I watch as they edge closer, a part of me wishing that they would just go ahead and get it over with, to end my fucking misery, while the other part of me wants to prolong it just a little bit, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I don’t dig down deep and really go for it. Maybe I just don’t have it in me to really care or chase after it. Maybe it’s nothing more than a pipe dream.”

The bad, bad girl replies, “It’s a pipe dream for people like you who just want things handed to them. People like you talk about how you have the ability to take what you want, but in the end, all you do is spew broken promises and walk away empty handed.”

Before I get the chance to reply, the blonde bombshell, the bad girl’s partner in crime chimes in, “You haven’t had to claw your way to the top like we have. We have broken the mold and we’ve been consistent. We don’t just talk about it. Our words become actions and our actions lead to opportunities. Opportunities that we take full advantage of. You can talk trash all that you want, but in the end, it just shows that you’re totally jealous.”

I take another swig then release a gasp of exasperation and shrug my shoulders, letting the weight of defeat press down on my shoulders, “You’re right. All of you are absolutely right. I am jealous of you. Each and every single one of you. I’m envious of everything you’ve accomplished and everything you will accomplish. I’m jealous and I hate you for it,” I lean forward a little bit, feeling the heat of the flames drawing closer, engulfing the pool water into fire, becoming. I stare at all of them, surrounding the float, resembling sharks lurking in the waves, waiting for a seal to attempt to swim across, “And this hatred for you drives me crazy. It makes me want to hurt you. It makes me want to destroy your hopes and dreams, to piss all over your aspirations and wipe my ass with your accomplishments,” I say, the venom of my words passing through my teeth and off of my tongue as I glare back at the faces beaming at me, with their lips formed into smirks.

And then I hear the familiar sound of a child. I look over and I see the mother of my children, Katelyn with our daughters, Kelly and Keira, standing on the sidewalk surround the pool, standing behind the flames. It is Kelly’s voice I hear, as she cries, “Why do you have to be so mean, daddy?”

And then Keira adds, “Why would you want to hurt a girl? Would you hurt mommy?”

I feel like I am on the verge of tears as a part of me wants to tell them no but then there is the part of me I have been fighting a losing battle against, the one that wants to shout at the top of my lungs that yes I would hurt a woman, yes I would hurt their mommy if I had to. That side wants to tell them that I would hurt their mommy for all of the pain she has caused me since we’ve known one another, pain and embarrassment everyone seems to forget while I am seen as garbage.

But before I can answer, the sharks in the water begin to tug at my float, jerking me back and forth violently, as I shout at my children, as I shout at Katelyn, but my shouts are inaudible.

- - - - - - - - - - -

And then I wake up, jolting up in the bed of my hotel room. I am panting and struggling to catch my breath. I take a deep breath and hold it for a few moments then slowly exhale as everything else comes to. I rub my eyes and runs hands over my face a few times before climbing out of bed. I look out of the hotel room window and look down at the city of Tokyo, Japan. I look down at my watch and it reads:

May 1st, 2016

1:00 AM

I look up and let out a sigh, as it yet another nightmare. They are beginning to become more and more common. The more and more they seem real, the more they feel real. I walk over to the bar and grab a glass as well as a bottle of liquor. I pour myself a shot and down it. My drinking has become worse over the last few months. I have told anyone and everyone who has asked that I am just trying to cope with the loss of my grandmother.

But the truth is that the problem is a little more deep rooted than that.

I’ve been haunted by ghosts, people I have known in my life who are no longer walking among the living, yet I still see them. I talk to them and they talk to me. We have arguments. They ask questions and I respond. Sure, everyone talks to themselves every single day at some point. I am not one of those who are brave enough to run with it in public, even though they are there. Behind closed doors, they are there.

Ready to bash me.

Ready to praise me.

Ready to humiliate me.

Ready to help me.

I know its craziness. Some would even label it insanity. The sad thing is that I get lonely when they are not there; even when I wish they were still around so I could fucking strangle them. My father. My grandmother. Olive. Joe. Grandpa Henry. I’ve seen them and I have no doubt that there are many more, walking the halls and streets with me.

There is another kindred spirit that walks with me, but I try to ignore it as best as I can. There is something about it that I do not like. Here lately, it is getting louder, making it harder to ignore.

It says that it wants to help me. It wants to help motivate me to better myself both professionally and in my personal life. I want to listen, but I am afraid of what it might say.

The voices bang against my skull, making it hard for me to sleep. That is why I drink. That is why I pop pills. To sedate myself. To calm the voices.

I walk into the bathroom and splash water over my face. I look at my watch once more. It reads: 1:10 AM. I let out another sigh, knowing I won’t be going back to sleep anytime soon. I grab my clothes and get dressed. I pull on my boots and head out into the nightlife of Tokyo. I wander the streets until I find myself handing some yen over to a bouncer at a place called the Odeon/Odeon Bar. I can hear the music as it blares through the entire club. The walls vibrate upon the impact of the bass as the music thunders. Neon lights pave the way for me as I make my way through the crowd before reaching the bar, where I order a Salty Dog. I grab my drink and turn around, leaning against the bar as I look out at the dancing crowd. I see the men and women mingling, grinding against one another. Their smiles disgust me for some reason so I down my drink to drown out that disgusting feeling. I continue to stare out and then I hear, “Oh, you are American…”

I look over at the face of a smiling Japanese girl. She just oozes Americanization, from her hair down to her open-toed heels. I smirk at her and nod my head. She grabs my hand and begins to pull me away from the bar. I finish my drink and place the glass on the counter before following her into the neon lit haze.

We begin dancing. She places her backside against me and grabs my hands before beginning to caress her body with them. I press my cheek against hers, hoping that I can hear her say something, but she says nothing. The only voice I hear is the one I don’t want to.

I can’t make out the first part, but the end of the voice’s statement is, “Her…”

I tell myself that it is saying to fuck her. I begin to kiss her neck, giving it a little nibble here and there. She runs her fingers through my hair as her lips meet my cheek. Her body writhes against mine and I get the sense that she is rolling. The voice returns and this time I am able to make out what is said, “Prime for the picking…easy target…She’s just like the rest of them…”

I shake my head, wondering what is means but before I can put in any real thought, her lips meet mine and her hands meet the inside of my jeans.

- - - - - - - - - - -

She tells me that I have to pay, so I do before leading her into the hotel room. I close the door behind me and I am fixated on her figure, ignoring the voice as it repeats itself, saying, “She is like all of the rest. She is like all of the rest.”

I ask, “Would you like something to drink?”

She looks at me and smiles while shaking her head, “No. Are all you Americans so polite?”

I smirk, as I think of Ace Marshall, Chad Evans, Jake Starr, and even the man I had a run-in with just a few hours ago at Supreme Saturday, David Miller before shaking my head, “Not all of us are, no.”

“You seem nice.”

“I can be, but I can also be bad,” I say as I pour myself a drink and pop two pills in my head. I mix them and close my eyes as the liquid and the pills glide down my throat. I wait a few moments, letting everything take effect before opening my eyes and letting out a long, drawn out breath. I shake my head as a smile forms upon my face.

She strolls over towards me, “I think I could handle you being bad.”

I look her up and down before my eyes meet her gaze, “And why is that?”

She kisses me then gently bites down on my bottom lip before letting go as she replies, “I can be a bad, bad girl…”

Hearing those words makes me take a few steps back. I look at her and everything becomes fuzzy. I shake my head, bringing my hand to my face as I blink several times.

I blink and I see her.

I blink again and I see the Bad, Bad Girl from my nightmare. I shake my head some more, and continue blinking, hoping that everything will clear up.

I ask, “Who are you? What’s your name?”

She looks at me, unsure and afraid, as she responds, “Niko. Are you okay, James?”

I blink again and I no longer see Niko. I see the Hell-Cat. I see the Blonde Bombshell. The more I blink, the more nonexistent, the more my nightmare becomes reality.

I drop down to my knees and press the palms of my hands against my eyes. I tell myself it isn’t real. I repeat this over and over to myself. But my thoughts are drowned out by the voice, as it states, “She is like all of the rest. She is like all of the rest. Kill her. Kill her,” I shake my head, trying to ignore the voice in my head, “Don’t ignore me, James. You can’t ignore me forever. Accept it. Accept me. Let me in. Let me in.”

I grind my teeth as sweat begins to seep through my pores, as I whisper, “No…no…no…”

Niko speaks, “Do you need something? Do I need to call the police? Talk to me, talk to me…”

The voice speaks, mocking her, “Talk to me, talk to me…Talk to me, talk to me…Talk to me, talk to me…Kill her, James. She is just like all of the rest. She wants to hurt you just like the Bad, Bad girl does. Just like the Perfect one does. Just like they all want to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to help you. I want to save you. I want to make you better.”

I feel a hand press down on the top of my head and I look up, expecting to see Niko, but instead I see Rachel Foxx. She scowls at me. I know she is dangerous. She tried to kill Josh Hudson and she has tried to kill me. She is trying to kill me now. I let out a roar as I spring to my feet. I blink and then I see Niko once more, cowering away, looking fearful. I look down and I see my arms stretched out, my hands clinging for something, as I hear the voice once more, “Do it. Do it. DO IT!!!”

I blink again and I see Rachel. She is smirking at me, challenging me, welcoming me to try and end her very existence as I have done in the past. I bring my hands to my face and violently rub my eyes before looking up and seeing Niko, her hand on the door. Ignoring the voice pounding in my skull, shouting in my ear, I say, “You need to leave, Niko. You need to leave right now. I don’t want to hurt you and if you stay, I will.”

Niko asks, “Are you okay?”

I turn away and stare at nothing, “I don’t know, Niko but you don’t need to stick around to find out. Just take the money and go.”

The words exit my mouth and the room is shrouded in silence for a few moments, before the sound of stiletto heels hitting the floor followed by the sound of a door opening and closing enter my ears. I do not move. I continue to stare at nothing, as I ask, “Who are you?”

The voice speaks, the voice of an angel, “I’m here to save you, James. I am here to make you better.”

I walk into the bedroom of the hotel and in the window I see the reflection of a young female wearing a Catholic school uniform, her arms folded in front of her chest, her eyes fierce and determined. I stare in disbelief before asking, “Are you God?”

“You know who I am, James.”

I reply with a sadness and confusion in my voice, “I do?”

I see the girl as she slowly moves towards me. I feel a chill running up and down my spine the closer she gets. And then she stops, standing right behind me, her chin nearly resting on my shoulder as she puts her lips near my ear, “I am your destiny. I am your Lady Luck. You know my name.”

I look down, “Tell me who you are.”

She whispers, “Kismet…”

I look up and I see her arms wrapping around me, “I don’t…I don’t understand…”

“Come with me, James. Come lie down with me. You’ll understand soon enough. Just let me in. Once you do that, you will receive answers to all of your questions. Lie down with me. Let me in,” She says as she releases me and moves towards the bed, lying down. She extends her hand out, motioning for me to come to her, “Come to me, James. No need to resist.”

I stare at her, hesitant to move, as she calls to me once more, “I am not here to harm you. I am here to save you. To liberate you.”

Her eyes are haunting as they reel me in. I feel myself moving towards the bed. I press my knees into the mattress, my eyes locked with hers as I slide down, bringing my face to her chest. Her arms wrap around me, welcoming me, making me feel safe, as Kismet speaks once more, “Will you let me in?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why not, James?”

I let out a sigh, “Because I’m afraid…”

- - - - - - - - - - -

I am back in the pool, doing my best to maintain my balance, as the sharks are still tugging at my float. I am shouting for Katelyn and my daughters, but they are still walking away. I watch as they disappear into the darkness of the night surrounding me. I then look at the sharks, their eyes glowing, their teeth growing into fangs, like some sort of monsters ready to rip me to shreds.

I kick at them with my feet, punch at them, but I am not able to stop them from their objective. They want to let me know my place. They want me to be beneath them. I am trying to stay on top, trying to survive while swimming with sharks. But, then water shoots up from behind me as arms wrap around my head and neck. I see red hair resting on my shoulders as I am pulled under. Through the waves rippling through the pool water, I see hollow white eyes and a sinister grin beaming at me as I begin to sink.




I look up at the sharks, the vixens, the women I cannot stand, the beings that I hate floating above me, not even paying me any attention as I continue to drown. As I continue to sink, I see them fighting one another. I see the air bubbles floating around me, rising above me as I go lower and lower. I feel my ass hit the bottom and it sends a shockwave through the pool. I look around and see that I am completely alone, to drown in my own misery. Another shockwave surges through the water and I look up, seeing another beauty swimming towards me. Her eyes mesmerizing, as I am drawn to her. I see her shirt reading: “Tap Out or Black Out”. She extends a hand towards me but before I am able to reach out and grasp it, I watch as she turns her head towards the commotion above us. She seems to focus in on it for a few moments before turning a facing me once more. I watch as she slowly pulls her hand back, her head ping-ponging between me and the war above. She looks at me one last time. I can tell by the look in her eyes that she is torn, but she ultimately turns and swims towards the top.

I watch as she joins in the fray. The air bubbles around me are beginning to slowly disappear, becoming fewer then nonexistent.

I tell myself that this was how it was supposed to be. That there was no way I would survive. Things have changed and I don’t belong.

I sit at the bottom of the pool, and I look down.

I accept my fate.

And then, another splash is made. I look up, feeling like I am barely hanging on, and I see her. My savior. My guiding light. Kismet is swimming towards me, and then she reaches out. I tell myself that I am not meant to die here. I am not meant to dwell at the bottom. I am not meant to drown. I reach out and grab Kismet's hand as she begins to pull up, towards the surface. As we continue towards the top, she looks down at me and she smiles. I return the gesture right as we break the waves. I reach the surface and I gasp for air. I feel alive now more than ever. I look to my left and I see Kismet wading in the water, beaming at me.

I look around and it is just us. The sharks, the vixens are nowhere in sight. There are no more flames. Everything is calm, “Where are they?”

Kismet speaks, “They abandoned you, James. All of them. Even the one you’re developing feelings for. Amy is her name I believe. She ignored you. They all ignored you while you drowned. Just as they always do. Just as they always will, unless you take action.”

I swim closer to her, “What sort of action?”

My Lady Luck smirks as she slowly starts to swim circles around me, “You will have to go against them, taking them all on. You will have to hit them when they are up as well as when they are down. They would do the same to you. They all believe they are better than you, never giving you the rightful recognition that you have always deserved.”

I ask, “What do I have to do?”

She stops and swims towards me, her eyes menacing now as she shouts, “First you need to…WAKE UP!!!!”

- - - - - - - - - - -

May 3rd, 2016

New York City, New York

“How can I help you, sir?”

I look at my reflection in the glass window of the receptionist’s desk. I see that I look like pure hell mixed with death warmed over. I revert my attention back to the receptionist, “I need to see Dr. Vaughn.”

She flashes her by-the-manual smile, “Do you have an appointment?”

I shake my head, closing my eyes, trying to contain myself, “No, I don’t but I need to see him. It is an emergency. I am sure you can see that.”

She smiles again and shakes her head, “Sir, I can see that you are distressed, but as I am sure you are well aware, Dr. Vaughn can only see his patients by appointment. If you would like, we can schedule you for something next week, as I believe he will have some spots available.”

In my ear I hear, “James,” It’s Kismet, “I am not sure why you are doing this. I don’t get what you’re even here. You said you wanted to let me in. You said that you believed in me.”

I close my eyes and grind my teeth, trying to ignore her. I then look back at the receptionist, who appears to be slowly becoming uneasy, “Look, I know that and I get that, but this is a serious issue. You can tell him that it’s James Evans, which is me, and that it is an emergency. He knows me. He’s helped me in the past.”

Kismet says, “Don’t do this, James. We were just starting to warm up to one another. Don’t ruin it now. Please…”

She is right, I think to myself. I was opening myself up to her in Japan, but there is a part of me that can’t get over the fact that she isn’t real, that she is nothing more than a voice in my head. I close my eyes and shake my head, as I tell myself that she also feels very real.


I open my eyes and I see the receptionist still staring at me, looking she is ready to make a run for it, “I’m sorry. I wish there was something that I could do, but if you want to speak with Dr. Vaughn, you will have to make…”

And then, Kismet takes over, her words hissing through my mouth as I can see myself glaring at the receptionist, “If you tell me that I need to make an appointment one more FUCKING TIME…” I can see the families in the waiting room all look up at me, worry and fear in their eyes. Agitation in the eyes of the fathers. Kismet and I like this, “You need to tell Dr. Vaughn that I’m out here and that I need to see him. I am much more important than these little shits out here. My life could be close to ending. Theirs are just beginning.”

Kismet whispers, “Good, James. Stand up for yourself. Don’t take no for an answer.”

I slam my fists down on the desk, keeping my eyes locked on the receptionist, “I’m not taking no for an answer.”

Just then the door opens to the waiting room and I see him, Dr. Vaughn. He has aged quite a bit since the last time I saw him. He steps out, concern in his eyes as he looks at me, “James…”

I nod, “Doctor…”

He looks at the rest of the people in the waiting room then motions for me to step back with him, so I do. He closes the door behind me and I can hear him apologizing to everyone while Kismet whispers, “You clearly just saw that you and I make a great team James. Are you sure you want to throw that all away? I am your only real friend. No one else will care for you like I will. I know that you know that, James.”

“I don’t know what I want, Kismet. I don’t know what’s best for me.”

She fires back, “But I do. I know what you want and I know what you need. But you will never have it if you flush me out.”

I whisper, not wanting anyone else to hear me, “But how do I know that’s true? How do I know that any of this between you and I is real? Right now, all you are is a voice in my head, a figment of my fucking imagination.”

“You know that’s not true. I saved you from drowning, James.”

“That was a dream, Kismet.”

She now stands before me, shaking her head, tears welling up in her eyes, and I feel a tugging at my heart. I ask myself why I am feeling hurt seeing her this way if she’s not real as she says, “That was much more than a dream. That was a reflection of how you see your life, professionally and personally. You are alone and you are drowning. I won’t leave you alone. I won’t let you drown. But you cannot go through with…”

And then I hear, “James…?”

I turn around and see Dr. Vaughn standing before me. I nod my head and let out a sigh, “Doctor Vaughn…thank you for seeing me.”

He shakes his head and shrugs, “Well, you really didn’t give me much of a choice, James. You were scaring my staff as well as the rest of my patients. I haven’t seen you in years, so I don’t know what I could possibly do for you, son.”

He goes to speak some more, but I stop him, “I’m hearing them again, Doctor.”

“Hearing what, James?”

We lock eyes as I say, “The voices…”

Kismet whispers words of sadness as I follow Vaughn into his office, uncertainty pressing down on my shoulders as she says, “Please…don’t do this James…we need each other…don’t do this…please…” And then the door closes, and I don’t hear her anymore.

I watch as Vaughn walks around his office, grabbing this and that, preparing to examine me, as I think of Kismet and her words. I tell myself that she was right. My dream was much more than a dream. I do feel like I am drowning. I am drowning as a father, trying my best to be a good father. Something that I know that I can do, but Katelyn always seems like I am fucking bothering her when I want to see the girls. She wanted me to be in their lives, but now she acts like she could give two shits. That is why I get the urge to hurt her when she runs her mouth on Twitter or to me in person. It irks me beyond belief, just like knowing now that I am back in the SCW, I will see the same sharks floating above me.

Kennedy Street.

Kelcey Wallace.

Reagan Helms.


Rayvn Taylor.

Red Rayne.

I cannot stand them. I despise them. I blame Katie Steward for being the mother of the women rising above their respective division, but even now the Goddess is lost in the shadow on the Hell-Cat all the way through the Bad, Bad Girl. Syren led the renaissance of female wrestlers in the SCW, which has opened doors for various females to come out of the wood work, lace up some boots and step into the ring.

And it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime. I am not insecure about them being women, however. I despise them because they are seen as the best. They are seen as the standard in professional wrestling. They are seen as wall-barriers in the SCW. I hate them just as I much as I hate people like Jake Starr, Thomas Valentine, Lucas Knight, any of the males in the Helms clan. It is like they all get to the top and they just stay there, no matter what. Television time is dedicated to all of them, male and female stars alike and it makes me sick to my stomach.

Every single time I hear Reagan talk about sinking her claws into someone, I want to knock her teeth down her throat. Every single time Keenie says honey, I want to grab her by the back of her hair and bash her face into a nearby wall repeatedly. When Kelcey talks about Perfection, I want to take a knife to her face and give her a little something that she can’t take off. When Syren claims to be the best female wrestler in the world, I get the image of snipping her Achilles’ tendon beating itself into my skull. I want to do very bad things when Rayvn refers to herself as a bad, bad girl. I’d love to chain her up to a wall and beat her into a bloody pulp. Instead of blood, I want to shove a blade into Red Rayne’s gut and keep pushing until it hits her sternum, so she can know what real pain is, letting her know that if she ever came after my family I would actually have the balls to end her life.

“Alright, James…” Dr. Vaughn speaks, breaking me from my mind for a few moments, “Tell me what’s going on. How long has it been since the voices started up again?”

I snicker and shrug my shoulders, “I don’t think that they ever stopped, doc.”

…But I’ve stopped, I tell myself, I’ve stopped myself. I have always held back when it comes to the likes of Jake Starr or Merrick Wiseman. I have just been the laid back, take everything on the chin guy. They’ve hurled their insults at me and buried me with their words, and I’ve just shrugged it off. There will be no more shrugging. There will be no more stopping. I am going to go back to the SCW and I am going to hurt people. I am going to hurt whoever gets placed in front of me, no matter who it is. They can be a curtain jerker or a main eventer. They can be somewhere in the middle where I’ve dwelled for a long time.

I’ve allowed these thoughts to dwell within for a very long time as well. I don’t have to come out and spew them on the microphone or in front of a camera. If I told Jake Starr that I would much rather shove a blade into his spine before ripping it through his spine right in front of his wife and child then I would go to jail. I would not be able to inflict pain.

I will have that chance when I return to the ring at Taking Hold of the Flame. Males and females alike, no one will be safe. I want them all to suffer. They deserve it. All of them. I can’t wait to make them scream and to make them cry. I want their fans to shed tears and worry about the well-being of their favorite superstars.

I want them to welcome me. I want them to brush me off just as they for quite some time, only for me to hit them harder than they’ve ever been hit. I want to come out of nowhere and cripple Thomas Valentine. I want Rachel Foxx to see that she isn’t safe. That I want to finish what we started years ago, with one of us actually leaving this sport permanently.

I want to be fear and I will become fear.

And I will stand tall.

It will be glorious.

It will be flawless.

It will be…


“So Dr. Vaughn…what can we do?”

He runs his hands over his face and through his hair as he says, “That remains to be seen, James, but I’m glad that you came today. I wish you would have come sooner, son.”

I shrug, “Well, I’m here now. Can you save me?”

I don’t want anyone else to be saved. They should not be spared an ounce of pain. They have been able to enjoy the fruits of the wrestling world and they have kept it for themselves. Now they will starve. I will bring famine and starvation.

I won’t need an army. I know that I will be struck down, but as always, I will get back up. They can get in as many shots as they can, it will not stop me. Wins and losses matter not. Hurting them will be victory enough.

Realizing that I will never be beneath them, no matter what, will burn far worse than any other flame they will ever get a hold of.

Dr. Vaughn replies, uncertainty in his voice, “I don’t know, James. I am going to certainly do my best.”

I say, “Give it your best.”

- - - - - - - - - - -

A Few Hours Later

Dr. Vaughn runs his hands over his face and shakes his head, letting out a sigh. He looks around his office, seeing his awards on the wall. His Master’s Degree. His Doctorate. So on and so forth. He lifts the tape recorder to his mouth and begins to speak, “The patient, James Evans, came into my office for the first time in years, claiming to hear voices. When I first worked with James Evans, he was a young man. He said he heard voices back then as well. We worked with him, placing him in therapy programs dealing with cognitive behavioral therapy as well as assertive community treatment. At the end of these programs, he stated the voices had stopped therefore, we felt we had successfully treated him. But that was…until earlier today when James arrived at the office, claiming to be hearing voices once more.”

Vaughn shakes his head, as if he is shaking off the feeling of failure that he has. Yet it doesn’t go away so easily. He lets out another deep sigh before continuing to speak, “These problems stem from genetics, at least they did so in the beginning. His father suffered from schizophrenia as he was a paranoid schizophrenic, claiming to be involved in the criminal underworld and that people were always following him or out to get him. These claims were of course, delusions. James heard voices as a child and into his teens as well as early twenties, with the voices intensifying the older he became. We stepped in and completed the previously mentioned therapy programs. James has told me various stories where he was involved with his father’s criminal empire and that he has taken the life of those responsible for his father’s death.”

Vaughn grabs a glass and a bottle of brown liquor. He pours himself a little before taking a quick gulp. He rubs his weary eyes before speaking into the tape recorder, “James made mention of heavy substance abuse which I feel has more than likely brought on this episode of hearing voices. He mentioned drinking as well as heavy dependence on pain medication and antidepressants. This usage seems to have caused a chemical alteration in his brain, which have brought on the voices as well as the other hallucinations of living the life of a criminal. I asked for names of the voices and he stated he heard from his deceased father, grandmother, and grandfather. He also mentioned another name which disturbs me. Highly disturbs. He mentioned the name of Kismet which is a name from his childhood that we haven’t heard about since James was around the age of 12. Kismet was involved in an accident that resulted in her death. Her death severely traumatized James to a point where it seemed he would never recover.”

“James seems to suffer similar symptoms to that of his father, yet I am not sure if it trauma induced. I am not sure if he is feeling a sort of guilt towards the accident with Kismet or not. I have arranged to meet with James on a weekly basis to work towards finding the root of the issue. I have placed James on a number of antipsychotic medications in order to keep him stable in the meantime. I hope that I can help him with any issues as well as lead him towards a normal life if at all possible,” Vaughn removes the tape recorder from his mouth, finishes his drink, before taking a seat where he begins to pray and wish for the best.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Across Town

Kismet stares at me as I stare back at her through the bathroom mirror. I can tell by her eyes that she is disappointed in me. If I needed further proof, her words provide me with the crucial evidence, “I can’t believe you want to do this, James. You go from trying to get off of pills to going back to them. You don’t need them to help you or cure you, James. All you need is me. I don’t understand what is so hard to understand about that. Going to that doctor did nothing but waste time.”

I look down at the pill bottle in my hand and I clench it in my fingers, “How is it a waste of time when I am trying to help myself?"

She rolls her eyes, "I'm trying to help you help yourself, James. How hard is that to understand? Jesus, it can't be that difficult."

I spin around rapidly, "It is that difficult. All I am hearing are words. You say you want to help me, but you're not telling me how exactly you plan on doing so."

She gives her reply, frustration in her words, "By guiding you, James. You are seen as a speck of dirt that can easily be brushed off. No one cares about you or respects you, just as I've said before. Instead of always trying to please everyone else, I want to help you find the courage to do what you feel is best. I am tired of watching you think and feel something, only to change it because it doesn't seem to fit the so called mold."

"What are you talking about? The SCW?"

Kismet throws her arms in the air. Her hands come back down with a hard slap on her thighs, "Yes, James. You want to please everyone because you think it will help your standing in the company. You are trying to be friends with people because that seems to the way to do things. We both know that's not you. You're not some ass kisser. You don't go out of your way to meet people because deep down you could really care less."

She's right, I think to myself, my fingers still gripping the pill bottle, "I just...I just want to be liked. I just want to be accepted. I want everyone to look at me and recognize me for how good I truly am."

"But you don't need to do that. Why should you change who you are just to fit their needs? We both know that you've always been a little different. Ever since you were a kid, James. You shouldn't run from that. That makes you a coward. You need the courage to be you and run with it."

Ever since I was a kid? That repeats over in my mind, as I stare at the ground, looking away from her. I feel confusion washing over me. I shake my head before looking back up at her, "What do you mean...ever since I was a kid? Who are you?"

Kismet rolls her eyes once more, "How many times do we have to go over this? You know who I am. I've always known you. I've always been around you, James."

"I don't...I don't remember you, Kismet. I'm sorry, but I don't."

She walks over to me and places her hands on my shoulders. I feel too weak to look at her at first, but eventually my eyes meet hers as she replies, "It's alright, James. You will in time. The most important thing now is that you let me in and that you let me help you. I can't help you if you're taking those pills. Those pills will take me away from you and keep us apart which shouldn't happen, especially not now."

"How are you going to help my career?"

"Well," She keeps her eyes locked with mine. There is something very familiar about them, but as of right now, I'm not sure what, "Is it important to you? That is step one. If it's not important to you then we don't need to worry about it. We've already wasted enough time with the doctor."

She goes to continue, but I cut her off, "No it is important to me. It is very important to me. I need it. I want it. I have to have it."

She smirks at me before removing her hands from my shoulders, taking a few steps back, "Well, now that we have that cleared up, the next step is to keep you clean. No more booze. No more drugs, James. You need to be sharp. A lot of people brush you off because they feel like you're nothing more than a dope head who is just dying for his next fix. They think you are stupid because you're always fucked up. No one takes you seriously."

I look down at the pill bottle once again before meeting her gaze once more, "I can do that..."

"Do you believe that, James? We need to show that we have the power of belief."

"Yes. Yes I do. And I agree with that."

Kismet nods, "We have to keep you like that, James. It is very crucial to your success. And you want to be successful right?”

I turn around and I see my face in the mirror. Her words echo in my mind and they bring a smile to my face, as I slowly nod my head yes, “Yes…yes, I do. More than anything. That is all I have ever wanted.”

Kismet saunters over towards me. I feel her arms wrap around me and she feels warm, she feels real. Her lips next to my ear, her words tickle it as she speaks, “And what else do you want?”

I look up, “You seem to already know what I want so why don’t you tell me?”

Her lips form an ear to ear smile, “You want success. You want the World Heavyweight Championship, don’t you?”

I let out a slight chuckle, “That would be nice, but I want something so much more, Kismet. So much more.”

“Well as the saying goes, if you stick with me kid, you’ll get everything you’ve ever wanted.”

Her words resonate in my mind as I find myself popping the top to the pill bottle. Then I watch the pills stage dive down the drain, as I truly accept Kismet, letting her in, surrendering everything to her. My mind, body, and soul is an open book to her, all access pass. Her arms squeeze a little tighter around my abdomen, and I feel safe. I feel like this is meant to be.

In Kismet I trust.