Post by petervaughn on Jul 9, 2021 15:40:19 GMT -5
*We once again begin our viewing with a grainy-looking flashback. This time, the details seem a little clearer, although you still need to focus on it to put together what seems to be happening. In this shot, we've got what appears to be a long, possibly Cuban cigar. The red embers in the center seem to grow brighter, as air is breathed in. A large cloud of smoke then comes towards the camera, in slow motion, still taking little time to envelop almost everything in sight. We fade back out.*
*When the shot comes back up, we're looking into what appears to be a clearing of some sort, with a small forest of trees behind the figure in front of us. This figure should be well-known to you by now, but in case you somehow need an introduction at this late date, this is Peter "The Janitor" Vaughn. He's staring intently past the camera, as if considering his next action. We can hear a sound that might be a voice, possibly at a great distance... or possibly muffled by a gag. Vaughn takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly, as if pushing out something inside of him.*
Peter Vaughn: It's been an educational experience for me over the past two months. I've learned so much about the right way to go through life. For instance, I learned that I was way too focused on keeping the peace. I was raised to make people happy, to always try to bring a smile to someone's face, rather than cause strife no matter how I felt. That's how a man like me could end up working for someone like Zybala, I suppose.
*There's no reply to Vaughn's comments, but he doesn't mind. He seems to prefer the solo monologue at the moment.*
Peter Vaughn: After all, Zybala always projected the image of being a happy-go-lucky wrestler just like I wanted to be. Even when he had conflicts with Marcus Welsh or the Barrows, he would act like the greatest, kindest person in the world. Ironic, isn't it, that I'm now the one wearing a mask while wrestling, when he was the first one to cloak his true face.
*For a moment, you can almost see the image of Zybala cross Vaughn's mind, as he shudders, barely regaining control of himself before allowing himself to be controlled by his rage once again.*
Peter Vaughn: It's also ironic that I had a resistance to conflict, yet I became a pro wrestler. The two paths don't seem to go together, in most people's eyes. That was likely a major cause of being unable to rise to the top of any federation, in fact instead being labelled as a jobber to the stars. But that's no longer a conflict, is it? I no longer flee from conflict, and I no longer worry about what others think about me. Thanks to Mr. Barrows, I've put behind me fear, concern... and trust.
*Vaughn laughs to himself, possibly remembering some of his time spent in the GCWA. It's not a 'happy' laugh, more the sound of someone pleased with something being gone from his life.*
Peter Vaughn: To think, I once trusted people like Lucas Thames and Mike Zybala. I thought Thames was someone who would always fight on my side, but he quickly turned against me when he saw me being successful, trying to stop me from ridding the world of Outsiders. Zybala, meanwhile, always tried to act like he cared about everyone, but his inaction at Outsiders showed his empty heart, and his apparent torching of Exile Island showed he's the heartless bastard I knew him to be.
*After a few seconds of silence, that same noise is heard again. Vaughn appears not to notice it, but after a little time passes, he refocuses on what's in front of him.*
Peter Vaughn: He's got a lot in common with you, Mr. Smythe. You were pretty damn heartless, too, weren't you? I have never forgotten what you did to me, and to my family...
*Vaughn reaches down to the ground, picking up an item we hadn't noticed until now: a black sledgehammer. It's not a tool you'd likely see in the hands of a Janitor, but it certainly looks like it belongs there now, the way he hefts it in the air. He stares at it with a mixture of happiness and fury, loving the sight of it as it glints in the air, with the sight of a few white clouds in the background behind it.*
*We jump suddenly away for another flashback. This one could be the clearest yet, maybe signaling how the memories are more vivid now. We once again see the cigar smoke, as it dissipates throughout the air. The flashback view backs off, showing the man behind the cigar. He's unfamiliar to us, the face of an ugly brute of a man with a thinning hairline and a deep look of contempt in his eyes. He looks like what you would picture as the typical aging mobster, clinging onto the successes of his youth. With the cigar still firmly in place, he raises up a broom in his hands, lifting it above his head. We jump out once again.*
*We're back in the clearing, where Vaughn has the sledgehammer propped on one shoulder as he once again looks forward, towards what sits in front of him.*
Peter Vaughn: I haven't forgotten you, Mr. Smythe. Nor will I ever shake you from my memory. I remember the cigar smoke the most. You loved your cigars, didn't you? I can't remember ever seeing you without one, no matter what you were doing. Extorting money? Beating the crap out of someone? Throwing someone out of their apartment for being a day late on rent? You always had that cigar stuck in between your lips.
*Vaughn shakes his head, sighing for a moment.*
Peter Vaughn: I guess it's no surprise where you ended up. I'm only sorry that I didn't wise up in time and make my return sooner. You deserved far worse than what you ended up with, you son of a bitch.
*The camera suddenly starts rotating, in another nice trick of cinematography. We find ourselves behind Vaughn, allowing us to see what he sees: the line of tombstones ahead of him. This is the start of a cemetery, and in the center of the screen, we see the marker for Augustus Smythe. His death year is shown as 2019, so he's been here for a few years now in his final resting place.*
Peter Vaughn: I hope your last days were filled with agony and torment, before you made your trip to Hell. I'll forever regret missing my opportunity to pay back some of the damage I owed you.
*Vaughn seems to almost wince at the memory that crosses his mind.*
*We jump once more into a quick flashback, this one showing Mr. Smythe's face more clearly. He's now bringing the broom downwards, his muscles straining as he's putting all his effort into it. You can see, through the grimace, a glint of enjoyment in his eyes as Smythe breaks the broom handle across a man's back, sending him crashing to the ground. Smythe's lips curl into a smile, before he has to contain a cough, the early signs of the lung cancer that will inevitably kill him years later.*
*For a moment, time seems to stand still. Even the slight wind appears to die down, giving us a few seconds of stillness. Vaughn then grips the sledgehammer with both hands, lifting it a little higher in the air.*
Peter Vaughn: You may be a feast for the worms now, Smythe, but that doesn't mean that I can't get a little satisfaction out of wiping you out of existence.
*With a bellow of rage, Vaughn brings the sledgehammer down, smashing it into the tombstone, cracking it. It takes multiple swings, but soon the tombstone is just a pile of debris, pounded into dust in some portions. There will be no putting this one back together, and with no family to replace it, August Smythe will not be found here again. Vaughn breathes heavily as he rests on the sledgehammer for a time, before turning and walking away, his job complete. The rage, though, has only been temporarily sated. As Vaughn continues to walk, he brings his phone up and presses the re-dial button.*
Jonathan Barrows: Hello? Peter? What's with sending me straight to voice-mail?
Peter Vaughn: Sorry, s.. Jonathan. I had some... business to take care of, so I couldn't answer at the time. What's going on?
Jonathan Barrows: I hope it wasn't more business like with Jimmy Parker.
Peter Vaughn: Not exactly. How is Jimmy?
Jonathan Barrows: He'll live. One of his co-workers almost shit his pants when he saw him crawling out of the compactor, thinking he'd been crushed. He had a lot of injuries, but nothing crush-related. The best news is that he's dealing with a pretty severe concussion.
Peter Vaughn: Glad to hear it.
Jonathan Barrows: Yes, well, that concussion is keeping him from remembering anything about how the fight started. That allowed me to talk to the authorities about it, bringing up Mr. Parker's sizable offenses over the years. It was easy for the investigators to believe that it was a case of self-defense, and although they're not happy you left the scene, they seem more than willing to let it slide at this point. I was magnanimous and told them you won't be pressing charges.
Peter Vaughn: That's awfully generous of us...
Jonathan Barrows: Just remember, Peter, this was a lucky break. It could have easily gone another direction. I'm just glad this didn't turn out to be a murder investigation.
*Vaughn shakes his head as he walks onward. If he's honest with himself, he barely remembers what happened with Jimmy. The only real memory he has after arriving there was not pressing the button. Vaughn keeps walking, with his rental is ahead of him, this time being what appears to be a minivan of some sort.*
Peter Vaughn: Have you been able to reach Xavier Lux yet? Or Thaddeus Duke?
Jonathan Barrows: I'm working my way through Mr. Duke's connections. Mr. Lux was a little easier. I think I'm going to be able to schedule you a meeting with him soon enough. It would certainly be a major plus to have the OCW Champion on your side at House of Cards.
Peter Vaughn: It certainly would be. I may have my eyes on his championship, but I do respect the way he's gotten out of his father's shadow and become the top dog. Having one more person there to break down Zybala would just add to my enjoyment at the show. Can you imagine, Dylan Thomas holding one arm, Xavier Lux holding the other, and Zybala only able to watch in agony as I climb up towards my gold, placing it back on my shoulder with a successful defense? It would be my stepping stone to the top.
Jonathan Barrows: It's always worth trying to better your position, especially since Zybala is going to have the help of Ed Houston.
Peter Vaughn: I had a little more respect for Ed than that, but I guess after losing so badly at Quarantined, he's willing to do anything to win now. It does play to our advantage, though, as Duke should want to even the odds.
Jonathan Barrows: If I can find out where he'll be next week, we'll work out a time to meet with him. Until then, you need to get in more training towards defeating Zybala. I know you're supremely confident, but it never hurts to keep working on alternative strategies.
Peter Vaughn: I'll be back in town soon enough, Jonathan. Zybala's future is etched in stone, but we can always make it even more permanent. After all... stone can crumble.
*Vaughn looks over his shoulder briefly with a smirk, before tossing the sledgehammer into the van. Yes, he opened the door first, he's not completely insane.*
Peter Vaughn: I've got one more stop to make. Once that's over, I'll be back.
*Vaughn hangs up the phone and gets in the van, starting up the engine. He stares forward, seeing the scene one more time.*
*We see the assault with the broomstick once more, but this time we're seeing it from a different angle. From the side, we see Mr. Smythe bringing the broom down and cracking it across the man's back: a man with graying hair and dressed in coveralls. Behind them, we see a younger man stepping through the door. It's Peter Vaughn, crying out at what he sees happening in front of him. He starts forward, as the view fades out.*
*The next shot is behind Vaughn as he walks up to a nondescript doorway. He knocks on the door, but doesn't bother to wait, as he grabs the doorknob and swings it open. He walks in, looking around until he finds what he's looking for.*
Peter Vaughn: Hello... Dad.
*Vaughn shuts the door behind him, cutting us off from the view, as we slowly fade to black.*