The Dragon Comes To America, Chapter 2: Frog In A Well Apr 13, 2023 8:57:05 GMT -5 Tamika Strader likes this
Post by thegoldendragon on Apr 13, 2023 8:57:05 GMT -5
In shock, I dropped the box, and as it bounced off my hardwood flooring, the hand inside landed with a sickening splat. The hand was easily identifiable due to the tattoo running down the back of the hand and along the index finger. “貸し出し用の銃”, or in English, “gun for hire”. As I look at the dead hand laying on my floor, my mind flashes back to the night I met the owner of that hand. The same night that had played in my head earlier in the evening when speaking with Kristen. The night that changed the course of not only my life, but my family’s as well.
My mind drifted again, and I felt as if I were back in Mount Takao National Forest. I remember my Father’s words distinctly, “Shinjiro, this will do nothing but bring more trouble to our house. The only way to end this is to pay them.”, he pleaded.
My response was hot headed as per usual.
No, we end this by consuming them with fire.
I pulled the sword away from my father and turned back to the owner of the Katana. I lifted the blade up, and as I swung it down, my father pulled me backward. The blade struck the ground in front of the Yakuza hitman, as my father slipped on the wet ground and we both fail. I looked at him in both shock and anger.
What are you doing?
Shinjiro, if you take this mans life it will haunt you forever.
NO! If I don’t take his life, the Sumiyoshi-kai will haunt US forever.
I will take responsibility for my debt and fulfill my obligation to them.
I know what happened; They cheated you. YOU OWE THEM N…
My words are cut short as my father shoves me backward. At first I think he is attacking me, but as I see the blade of the katana narrowly pass by my face, I know he was saving me. The “gun for hire” suffered the same fate as my father and I, and slipped in the mud. He did not fall, only stumbled, but it was all I needed to take his knee out with a well-placed kick.
As he fell to his knee, I was to my feet, with my hands grabbing the handle of the sword. There was a struggle for the blade. It was short and brutal, but the details of the skirmish escape my mind. I remember my elbow finding his ribs, and shoving him to the side with my shoulder as I captured the katana.
When he regained his footing and saw I had the katana, he yielded. I was ready to deliver the final blow and end him when my father’s voice cut through the adrenaline fueled ringing in my ears.
AKUJI MI NI TOMARU! All evil done clings to the body.
As his word echo through my mind, and I see the mix of love and concern in his eyes, I lower the sword. I nod my head at him before moving closer to my father. It is only a matter of a few steps when he shouts again, “SHINJIRO LOOK OUT!”
I turn quickly to see the Yakuza member charging at me with a knife he had pulled from his boot. Out of pure instinct to self preservation, I blocked his knife thrust with the sword, and the blade of the katana sliced right through his wrist.
His blood-curdling scream pierced through the stormy night sky. My father was quick to his side with his belt off. My father quickly tourniquets the wrist. I stared in disbelief at my father. At the time, I couldn’t believe he had such compassion for this man. As I would learn, it was his love and compassion for his family, not for that man.
Weeks later, after a highly successful tour of the East coast that saw me winning three different matches, including exposing Easton Alexander as a fake dragon, and now I’m back in San Francisco. I had decided it would not only be best to not contact Kristen. As much as it pained me to “ghost” her, I couldn’t take the chance of putting her in harms way.
Now, I sit with my personal security and home security at a heightened level. I have only been back a few days, but am already preparing to head back out. Such is the life of a professional wrestler, another reason to not enter Kristen’s life. Then, on cue, as if she knew I was thinking about her, my phone chimed with a message from her.
“Just gonna 👻me?”
I take a deep breath and begin to type my response.
“Kristen, I apologize for not contacting you when I got back into town, but have some family. *back spacing*. But have some personal issues, *more back spacing, the entire message this time.*. “It isn’t you, it is m…”, even I know that is cliche here in America. I toss my phone down, unable to give an adequately worded response. I deeply exhale, as if trying to blow all the frustrations from my body.
Another chime of a text.
“Just leaving me on read too?”
One last chime.
Again, I toss my phone down and deeply exhale. I need to get some fresh air and to clear my mind; I need to take a walk. It wasn’t long before I had pulled on my Converse All-Stars, pulled on my Cowboy Bebop shirt, and threw in my Skull Candy heads, and headed out the door. Yes, I had on shorts. They were on before I decided on the walk, just an FYI.
As I walked, the fresh air filled my lungs, and the lyrics of Mobb Deep filled my ears. My thoughts turned from my present troubles to my troubles that lay ahead in Houston. Bifford, oh sorry, I mean Plethora, is a legend in OCW, more than a legend. He is a Hall of Famer. Bifford is a cornerstone and pillar of OCW. Bifford and OCW go together like Sushi and wasabi, or for you Americans, Peanut Butter and Jelly.
I said I wanted a new mountain to climb when I turned down Easton Alexanders childishly worded challenge for a rematch. I did not know the mountain I would have to climb would be Mt. Fuji. However, Plethora may be even bigger than Mt. Fuji when it comes to OCW, Plethora is Everest. I know that when people look at this match on paper, they will give me a less than zero percent chance of winning this match. However, as the old Japanese proverb says, I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu. A frog in the well does not know the ocean.
The meaning of this proverb is that one should not look at situations from their face value. One must, or should, go beyond that first impression and widen their thoughts and imaginations. If you use a narrow-minded approach, you will not experience the world beyond your well, or pond. This proverb can, and should, be applied to people who do not want to focus on other opportunities and venture out to the unknown.
Easton Alexander is a prime example of this. He was so narrow-minded and focused on revenge against me; he lost sight of the golden opportunity that was laid at his feet. If Easton is able, which I doubt he is, but if he is able to defeat PIC, he has a rightful claim to a championship match. Instead, Easton Alexander focused on me, and is insulted that I sought more than a petty squabble with him.
Moreover, though, this proverb applies to myself and Plethora. When I was given my booking information and saw my name across from Plethora’s, I felt a lump in my throat. I allowed doubt to creep in, as I wondered how I would overcome such a challenge? How I would fare against one of the pillars of OCW? Then I thought of this proverb.
I didn't move to the United States and join OCW to live in ignorance. I didn’t come here to live as a frog in a well, no; I have never been content with being a big fish in a small pond. I want to be the apex predator of the entire ocean, and if I’m going to do that, I must face and defeat those at the top of the food chain. Make no mistake about it, Plethora is at the top of that food chain. He not only is a shark in this ocean, but he is a great white.
I may be the Golden Dragon, but when it comes to the ocean, I am the Orca, more commonly known as the killer whale. Orcas are powerful, fast, and smart, and they can take down other dreaded creatures in the ocean’s depths. While I cannot over power Plethora, I can, and will, use my speed against him. And the exact thing that makes Orcas so deadly, is exactly what will make me deadly to Plethora, my intelligence. Orcas are very intelligent and can problem-solve in a fight. They stay calm and focused, just as I do.
Yes, Plethora, I acknowledge your extensive experience in OCW and the defunct GCWA, but you have never ventured outside of your usual hunting grounds, or your comfort zone. I, on the other hand, have traveled the globe honing my skills, and that is after growing up in this sport. I may be new to OCW, but I am not new to this sport.
I understand that OCW is your kingdom, and that Plethora is indeed the king of his castle. What you will find at Piledriver, though, is that these walls you have built up around your kingdom have turned your castle into a well. You are no longer a king Plethora; you are now a frog in a well, and you will never know of the ocean which is the world. Your well will serve as your final resting place, it will be your mausoleum, and I will pour the concrete at Piledriver.
As I turn a corner, I notice the black Nissan Altima that has been following me since I left my apartment turns the corner as well. I slightly pick up my pace, and notice as I do the Altima does as well. To ensure I am not suffering from total paranoia, I take another corner, but they confirm my suspicions as the Altima turns as well.
I take off at a full sprint and I hear the Altima’s engine rev up and the tires squeal as it speeds after me. I cut down a side street and think that I have lost them, so I slow my sprint to a jog to conserve energy. It isn’t long, though, until the Altima peals around the corner and barrels down the street I’m on. I take off in a sprint again and this time turn down an alleyway. The car follows down the narrow alley, its side mirrors knocked off as it pursues me.
I see a fence blocking the alley and leap up and onto it as I reach it. I begin climbing as the car stops and three people in all black jump out and begin chasing after me. The first up the fence grabs me and I kick him off, sending him falling onto his other two followers. I drop over the fence and take off running again, heading for a more populated area of the city.
At full speed, I run around a corner and right into someone. I feel their body fall and feel a burning on the flesh of my chest. I look down at my chest to see coffee all over my shirt. I instinctively began brushing off the coffee, even though the liquid was already soaked through the cotton. I was so distracted that I didn't even check who I had collided with. I’m too busy looking back over my shoulder to see if I’ve lost my pursuers.
The voice is angry, shocked, and familiar. I turn my head back to see Kristen sitting on the ground in front of me, a crushed coffee cup in her hand.
Kristen, I… I…
I stop talking and bend down to help her up, but she shoves my hands away.
What a way to finally RUN into you.
Kristen, I can’t stay, I have to go.
Wow, big surprise there.
No, it isn’t safe.
Listen, why don’t you just tell me…
I grab her and pull her into the bodega we stand in front of, spinning us both against a drink cooler. I look through the window of the store and watch the Altima drive by with the heads inside on a swivel. She shoves me away from her, and I step back, holding my hands up.
What is your problem?
Kristen, someone is following me, and I believe trying to kill me.
To be continued.