Collateral Damage




*BUZZ*

That buzzing sound is so distinctive. It's the sound you hear when a guard presses the button to unlock the sealing prison doors. Ty Johnson has heard it many times recently. Today, Dave Sullivan is hearing again too. Dave is sitting in the front lobby of Oklahoma County Jail. If you've known Dave over the last year or so, you would imagine he would be confused for a lawyer in this sort of setting, with his vast collection of expensive suits and ties. However Dave's attire is very different today. He is dressed in black shorts, a black Under Armor t-shirt, and a pair of black sneakers. It almost looks like his ring attire, but that's not why he dressed like it. Dave knows from experience what it's like to be processed in as a visitor in a jail or prison. He would rather not have to walk through a metal detector ten times, so he made it easy on himself and the guards.

Dave was the only person who got through the metal detector on the first try. Everyone else had to take off their shoes, or their earings, or they found out you can't wear an underwire bra. Dave shakes his head every time, wishing the guards would just take him down to the visiting room instead of making him wait for everyone to get through.

The guards finally took everyone down. Most of the visitors were taken into a large room with tables and chairs and vending machines. Dave was led into a different room, the non contact room. This room was your traditional visitation room you see on all the shows. There were many seats to choose from, so Dave picked a window right in the middle.

Now it was time for Dave to wait for his inmate. He waited, and waited...and waited some more. It seemed like Dave sat there for two hours, but really it was closer to 35 minutes. Finally that distinctive noise is heard again.


*BUZZ*

A black young man is led into the room on the other side of the glass by a guard in a tan shirt. He is wearing a black jumpsuit with an inmate number on the back. His shoes are the traditional white slip on shoes you see often on inmates. Everything else about Ty seems to look the same, except his face that is. His usually clean shaven face is now equipped with a scruffy beard, but that's not even the first thing Dave noticed. The first thing Dave noticed was the black eye and the scar below it.

Ty stares at Dave for a couple seconds, as if he's upset it took him this long to finally see him. Dave picks up the phone, and Ty does the same.


Dave Sullivan: I was wondering why they were making us do a non contact visit, but now that I see your face I am guessing I know. You picking fights already?

Ty Johnson: ...Some guys recognized me from the FWA. Thought it'd be cool to show everyone they could beat up a professional wrestler.

Dave looks impressed.

Dave Sullivan: Did they?

Ty Johnson: You wanna visit him after me you gonna have to do it in another prison. They transferred that dude out of here because they couldn't give him the health care he needed here after I was done with him.

Dave Sullivan: God damn Tyrone, you are something else...

Ty Johnson: So, I saw you took my spot on Fight Night. And Back in Business too? I thought you was retired.

Dave Sullivan: That's kind of what I came here to talk to you about actually.

Ty Johnson: Oh yeah? You come here to tell me why instead of you trying to clear MY name and get me outta here, you out there runnin around again pretending you still a fighter.

Dave Sullivan: Look Ty, it's complicated. It's very complicated, but I'm going to explain it to you as best as I can.

Ty looks visibly angry, and puts starts pointing his fist on the glass a couple times.

Ty Johnson: OH, explain it to me. Okay...and then what we're gonna do a little cute role reversal huh? This is gonna be a thing where I then tell YOU how to beat all your opponents at Back in Business. I coach YOU on how to win from in here. Okay I'll play along, maybe we'll make it on the Disney channel huh? I faced Penny twice. Lost the first time, beat her the second time. You remember what we did to prep for that second match against Penny right? You had me running damn laps around the park. Told me I was a winner, and I was gonna train like one.

And I won...I won for the last time, and then you stopped caring. Lost twice after that because YOU didn't care bout me. Then you got Cromwell and Kendrick. I never fought them man, I don't know what to tell you about them. Watch tape or something.

But let me tell you right now. If we really gonna do this role reversal thing where I teach you things, then there's only one thing I can truly teach you Dave. You and me, we aint ever gonna be successful in this business man. We the good guys. The heros. Every day we go out there, we work our asses off and we fight to win.

We win cleanly, and it feels good a the end. The fans cheer us on. They want us to sign their autographs, and take selfies with them for their snapchats and their twitters. And it feels good. It feels good to be loved and respected. But in the end it doesn't matter? You wanna know why? Because us good guys don't win. This aint Disney. This aint no feel good story.

The bad guys...they do whatever they want, and they get away with it, and they screw us out of a win. The record still gives them the W. They still walk outta the building with the championship. What do we walk out with? Some sort of pride that we fought with honor?

You know what that got me? HUH?

I AM SITTING IN A GODDAMN CELL FOR SOMETHING I DIDN'T DO.

Someone set me up. Probably my boy Daiquan, and my other boy Dave sitting there focusing on himself instead of helping me. That is what being the good guy gets me.

And I wish I could tell you I am sick of it. I wish I could tell you off right now, prove my innocence, and then come back to the FWA not giving a damn who likes me and who doesn't.

But you taught me better man. You taught me that even in the end, even after all the losses and all the struggle...it's still worth it being the good guy.

But I just need to know that you still have my back Dave...

Dave sat patiently listening to his former mentee Ty Johnson speak his mind. It seemed like he had a lot to get off his chest, and was finally glad he did it. Dave looked very sympathetic for a moment. One might even say Dave was empathetic, considering Dave has been on the other side of that glass before.

But then something happened. In a very concrete visual change of Dave's emotions, his looks of sympathy and empathy slowly transformed into a different look. A look that hasn't been since on Dave in recent memory of anyone.

A look of...well the best way to describe it would be a look of absolute pure evil.


Dave Sullivan: Thank you for that Ty. But now it is my turn to speak, and I think you should listen very closely to what I am going to say. I think it is going to answer a lot of your questions and concerns.

First of all, this is not some Disney cute feel good thing here. I did not come here for training tips on how to beat my three opponents.

I have been in the FWA longer than Penny.

I have been in the FWA longer than Kevin Cromwell.

I have been in the FWA longer than Aaron Kendrick.

I don't think any of those three overrated losers even come close to the level of talent I am. Do you know what I was doing before I retired and became your manager Tyrone? October 31st, 2015. I surged back into the FWA and I won the X Division championship for the second time in my career. I beat that freak Passion, who is probably dead somewhere in the back alley of a drag queen clubhouse.

Do you know what I did after winning that championship. I became the true "Great I AM". I turned the X Division into something of value. When I had that championship around my waist, that division meant something. It wasn't the lowest level title division for young blood anymore. No, not when a guy James Hughes had the North American championship. I AM better than James Hughes, and so the X Division was higher than the North American championship.

Now look at things today. I am stuck trying to mentor some street thug who should have never won my show. Some punk who will never even win that title I brought so much prestige to, and definitely will never win any title higher than it. And I see even bigger punks like Kevin Cromwell walking around with MY championship, and I just couldn't take it anymore.

You might be wondering why I am so possessive of the X Division title. You see I didn't just win it two times, TJ. I had a streak...a streak of five straight months with that title, before another nobody bunk with the same initials as you comes in and screws me. He got lucky, and upset me in a match. I beat him two months later at the very pay per view I'm about to compete in again. Back in Business.

It was two years ago when I won that championship for the record tying 3rd time, and I held it for yet another three and a half months before hanging up my boots and retiring.

Do you know there's only one other person to have won that title 3 times? When it is all said and done he is a guaranteed FWA Hall of Famer and there is going to be no arguing it. I am talking about Ryan Rondo.

And after Back in Business, after I beat those three other scrubs who have no business being in my division, I am going to become a 4 time X Division champion. MY name will be in the FWA history books. My FWA Legacy will have been cemented for something.

Unlike you. Your FWA legacy will be about the street punk who tried to become a wrestler and failed. You got pulled back into the street life you were so accustomed to. You're like the Aaron Hernandez of the FWA.

Maybe I should get you some shoe laces, huh Ty?


Ty is sitting there on the other side of the glass with a shocked look on his face. He is about to respond, but Dave keeps on talking.


Dave Sullivan: Oh my goodness, I almost forgot about the climax. The answer to all your questions.

You see Ty, you are not the one giving the last lesson. But yours is very similar to mine. Here is MY last lesson to you. You are absolutely right, in this business you do not win as the good guy. You do not win pleasing the fans, and you do not win playing by the rules. I've tried it for the last few years now, and it just isn't my thing anymore.

You win by screwing people over. And the first person I screwed over...was you.

That's right. It wasn't your buddy Daiquan Andrews who set you up and got you sent to this shit hole.

It was me. And I have no problem admitting it to you. You can't do a damn thing about it anyway, because you aren't getting out of this place anytime soon. Well, that's not true...I'm sure they'll move you to a much more secure facility once you're officially convicted. I heard your bail was denied too? Being a three time X Division champion earns you some favors here and there.


Just know Ty, it was never anything personal. I needed a way back into the FWA. I needed a way to MY X Division championship back. You know for the good of the whole? Sure I could have kept coaching you, and hoped you got lucky enough to win the championship I brought so much glory too...but that doesn't really solve the problem does it?

The problem of there being nobody dignified enough to bring that division back to the glory I had it at two years ago. Penny certainly doesn't do it, considering even your bumbling ass beat her before. Aaron Kendrick doesn't do it either, he still thinks he is some star in the National Wrestling Federation. And Kevin Cromwell certainly isn't bringing any glory back to that title.

And YOU? You of all people Ty...are not worthy of holding that same championship legends such as Ryan Rondo, Devin Golden, Kaizen, Wolf, and most importantly ME have all won before. You are not worthy of it at all. Not you, not Penny, not Kendrick, and not Cromwell.

The only way I could absolutely ensure that championship ends up in the right hands is to do what I did. Did I want to do it? Well maybe a little, but it had to be done. But hey, you said it yourself. You're the good guy who loses with honor. So take this with honor. You were the sacrificial lamb for the ultimate greater good. Because of your sacrifice, three people who should not have my title are now not going to. I am going to.

By the end of Back in Business, I am going to be a record breaking 4 time X Division champion. If the only collateral damage to that is you being in here...well I don't think that's too big of a loss on the world.


Ty has long since dropped the phone he was holding in shock. He is speechless. He doesn't even have any response to Dave right now. Dave doesn't have anything more to save to Ty either.

Dave Sullivan: Goodbye Tyrone. I'd ask you to wish me luck, but I really don't need it against those three. Besides, I think you need to keep all the luck...you're going to need it.

Dave hangs up the phone. Ty, still in shock, stares off for about 5 seconds before it finally all hits him. His rage finally comes out as he jumps out of his chair and starts pounding on the glass.

Dave actually jumps back for a minute, before remembering he's protected behind several inches of bullet proof glass. He smirks at Ty, and waves him goodbye.

Dave starts to walk away, as Ty continues to pound on the glass and scream. You can't hear what he is saying from this side of the glass, but it doesn't look like they're nice words. It takes four guards to pull Ty Johnson off of the glass.

Dave looks back one last time, to see Ty being dragged off out of the room and back to his prison cell. The lesson has been taught. You can't be the good guy and win. You have to be the guy who puts himself first at all times.

Sacrificing a friend like Ty would have never been a move the old Dave Sullivan would have made. But this is not the old Dave Sullivan. This is a Dave who will now do whatever it takes to win. A Dave Sullivan who only sees his closest friend as collateral damage. This Dave Sullivan is going to stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.

If he is willing to do something so evil to a friend like Johnson, so who knows what he is willing to do to Penny.

Who knows what he is willing to do to Aaron Kendrick.

Who knows what he is willing to do to Kevin Cromwell.