Post by Harry "Bomber" Calden on Sept 30, 2017 13:37:24 GMT -5
That promotional video was a fuckin’ joke. - Harry Calden
25/09/2017 - 19:05
Harry Calden hated every bit of it. The cliched Bomber gimmick, the forced need to ‘shoot’ on people you had no personal or professional history or animosity with. This is why you got out of the business...but it’s also why you keep coming back.
Osaka to Tokyo. It was a long drive for someone with everything to think about. On the first leg of the trip, Harry Calden had listened to an audio book and a few strange Japanese radio shows before attempting to switch over to his iPod – nothing seemed to hold his interest for very long. The miles wound on – he had to be sure to get to his hotel at a decent time so he’d have time to settle down and focus on the match that Sunday.
But focus didn’t come easy on this drive for Harry – everything seemed to finally be weighing on him. He thought of the sobs of Jo; the sadness in her eyes before he took the flight to Japan; the disappointment his own son had for him; the disappointment for himself as a professional wrestler. Why had he even come? Why was he even out here? This was never a match you could win Harry. Even if you were best, even if you promoted the match better than every other wrestler in the company. You were just another jobber, That’s all.
With each passing car, an odd impulse itched at the back of his spine, creeping up and down his arms to his wrists until coaxing itself into his palms and fingers.
What if I swerved into the oncoming lane?
His lip trembled – the implications of the thought struck him immediately like a hammer to the chest. He shook his head, reaching up to rub one hand (so as not to lose sight of the road) before returning it to the steering wheel. Still, his body shook with an odd and sinister surge of adrenaline.
Where was he going? To yet another evening of disappointment in his professional career? Back to the slavery of the business he so loathed? Why hadn’t he stayed home? For one last shot at relevance when the only fan you ever wanted to appreciate you thinks you’re a joke and hates your fuckin’ guts?
The thought gripped Harry around the chest, his body now shaking with the same anxiety which had taken control of his hands and arms. His chest felt heavy, like a belt had been tightened around his ribs and prevented him from taking a deep breath. His mouth tasted like copper – the taste of blood and electricity. He reached down for the cup holder for his phone – with his thumb he held down the number two to active speed dial and bring up the only number he knew he’d need in serious emergency.
The phone rang twice. After a click, the line came alive, and the voice of a young woman came through the speaker.
Operator: Crisis Prevention Hotline. How may I help you?
The words sent another spike of liquid electricity through his veins, his vision tunneling as he engaged cruise control on instinct alone. He’d never called the number before – he only programmed it recently as a precaution for the feelings he’d been going through: the feelings of emptiness, of hopelessness, of blank apathy and anguish. He didn't even know if the number would connect with him in Japan.
Part of him hoped it didn’t.
Now, hearing the voice and understanding what he’d done, he found himself frozen.
Operator: … Sir, are you there
The concerned tone of the operator snapped him back to reality. Another exit whipped by on the highway. Harry’s voice shook as he talked.
Harry Calden: Y-y-yeah, I am.
Operator: How are you doing today, sir? May I have a name.
He paused, his mind turning over the words.
Harry Calden: Michael..
Operator: Thank you, Michael. I’m Megan. How are you today?
Harry paused, the gears of his mind slowly turning. Another car raced past him – he flinched on strange instinct as the thought of steel-on-steel and shattering glass hit him like a rock.
Harry Calden: I’m, uh… I’m driving to Tokyo right now.
Megan the Operator: Tokyo?
Megan the Operator: You’re driving?
Harry Calden: Yeah.
Megan the Operator: What brings you to Tokyo Michael?
Harry Calden: I, uh… I have a job to do.
Megan the Operator: I see. Michael, and what brings you to call?
Harry Calden: I, um…
He paused – hesitating for a moment before letting go.
Harry Calden: I’m not okay. And I need to talk to someone.
Megan the Operator: Well, I’m glad you decided to give us a call.
Her voice was warm and comforting. For a moment, he relaxed.
Megan the Operator: You know, Michael, it’s unsafe to talk on the phone while you drive, especially if you’re upset.
Harry Calden: I, uh… I know. But I’ve got to be in Tokyo by Five. I don’t know the roads, I can barely understand the signs signs or-
Megan the Operator: I understand. I do think you’ll be fine if you’re a little late to Tokyo – better late than in an accident.
Harry Calden: Yeah, I get it. I, uh…
He fell silent, his eyes glued on the road as words tumbled in his head like clothes in a dyer. No on-coming cars in sight.
Harry Calden: I’m thinking about doing something bad.
Megan the Operator: I see. What sort of thing?
Harry Calden: Well, uh…
He paused once more.
Harry Calden: Something bad.
Megan the Operator: To yourself or someone else?
Harry Calden: Myself. I can’t keep disappointing him, all this will do is hurt him. Better ripping the band aid off in one go rather than pulling it slow, right?
Megan the Operator: What do you mean?
Harry Calden: I’m going to disappoint someone. Again. Someone I love more than anyone else in the world and I don’t want to. So I’m thinking about hurting myself instead so I don’t have to hurt him.
Megan the Operator: Why do you think you’re going to disappoint someone?
Harry Calden: I fight for a living. Like, professionally.
Megan the Operator: Like a bouncer or sports?
Harry Calden: Sports. It’s just...it’s different, you know? Tell me, how many times do you need to fail before you become a failure?
Megan the Operator: Does your job make you unhappy?
Harry Calden: Unhappy?
Harry scoffed, reaching for his back of cigarettes. With his thumb, he flipped open the top and drew one out between his index and middle fingers.
Harry Calden: I hate my fucking job. I hate everything about it. I hate being on the road. I hate being away from my family. I hate the kind of people who get into this business – self-absorbed knuckle-draggers and misogynists. It’s no wonder everyone in this business is an alcoholic; fuck, I’m drinking on a daily basis due to this shit.
Megan the Operator: Do you have a history of alcohol abuse?
Harry Calden: No…
Perhaps it was a lie – the bottle had always been a temptation in his times of trial. But how he was presently? He’d never fallen to such lows. He’d never given so willingly into temptation.
Harry Calden: I, uh… this is a recent development.
Megan the Operator: Have you considered quitting your job?
He laughed again, placing the smoke in his mouth as he depressed the cigarette lighter on the dashboard.
Harry Calden: I did. I quit my job five years ago. I tried to sell cars but I just stumbled over my words, I tried to tend bar but I ended up fighting the damn customers. ‘Cos at the end of the day -This is all I’m good at. I’m a fighter. Can you imagine that for a second? Imagine you’re a kid growing up who just wanted to be a football player. Or maybe take over the farm – I dunno. Then you get to an age where you realize that’s not going to happen; that’s not what life had in your cards.
He paused as the lighter popped out, indicating it was ready. He gripped the knob gently pulling it from the console and raising it to the end of the smoke to ignite it.
Harry Calden: But, that roar of the crowd? That crazy cheer and the feeling you get as you do something for people? Like, that feeling is addicting. It’s like crack – it’s fucking better than coffee or cigarettes. So you go into fighting; you’ve had a rough little life, and you think maybe you’d be okay at it.
Turns out? I’m okay. I’m not good, I’m not great. I’m just okay. It’s not a dream, it’s not a ‘Natural’ moment. Not everyone can be the best. Do you know how fucking sickening that is? To have the last tiny percentage of your dreams crushed? It doesn’t matter. I fought, I lost some, I won some and I earned money. That’s all that mattered. I earned my money and then I quit.
He paused to take a drag, his eyes lowering for a moment before his better judgement focuses them back upon the road
Harry Calden: But then? You’re a civilian now, and you can’t fight. At first you think it’s okay, that maybe this is what happens when someone retires from something they’ve been doing their whole lives. But then you start getting restless. Yeah, you get to spend time with your family and friends, but it’s not the same. You miss it. You crave it. You secretly dream about getting back into it.
I mean, I only went back because I had to, you know? Like, I really was happy. Dissatisfied? I mean, sure. But I was happy.
Megan the Operator: What made you go back?
Harry Calden: I, uh…
Harry Calden: Well, I was begged and pleaded with by the owner of the biggest company in the world to come and compete for the biggest prize of the year, easy right? I...uh-
Another pause as he raised the cigarette to his lips.
Harry Calden: I lied. Truth is? I was the one begging. I was the one pleading I can’t let it go. It’s like a junky who got a taste of smack after years on the wagon: I need that. I mean, there’s still things holding me in place. I try to tell myself that I’m a valuable commodity, that people still want to pay to see me but in reality...I don’t think that anyone ever saw my name on a flyer or a promotional package and bought a ticket from the strength of that. I can’t be the guy in this business.
Another car zoomed by.
Harry Calden: So why am even doing this again? I let everyone down. Time and time a fucking gain and I can’t keep doing this to them. I think it would be better if I just...didn’t make it to the ring on Sunday. Then everyone can final be happy.
Megan the Operator: What makes you say that Michael? Michael?!
Harry Calden: I just wasted my time doing the stupidest shit in front of the cameras to try and promote a match that I can’t win and get very little money for performing in. I’m a dancing bear at this point, I know, I know and yet I still go out there and do the same shit every time. I have had enough. I’ve had enough...
His voice rose, cracking from emotion as the ugly stale electricity gripped his whole body. Two more cars passed him – he actively restrained his arms from turning the wheel.
Megan the Operator: Michael, please try to calm down.
Harry Calden: I’m sorry if you don’t get this, if you can’t understand. It’s right you know, it IS better to burn out than fade away. My star has never burned brightly, so why not for one small second in my life - why don’t I take control?
His voice dropped, the cigarette falling from his lips and onto the seat before him, burning an unnoticed hole into the pleather upholstery.
Harry Calden: I can take control. I can end this now. All it takes...
A car was approaching in the distance. His body tensed.
Harry Calden: …is one. Little. Swerve.
Megan the Operator: Michael, calm down. Think about your family.
Harry Calden: Family? My kid and wife are better off without a failure for a father and husband. Without a low life who can’t take care of himself let alone the people he loves. Shit, I’ll leave them a good life insurance plan, and Eddie can be set for life.
It was close. Harry’s hands gripped the wheel – his confidence and decision had been made. The Operator was saying something – some sort of urging for him to reconsider – but he hardly paid her mind.
Impact in Three…
The phone vibrated for an incoming call and Harry’s eyes cast down to view it. As the name registered in his head, his hands pulled the other way, the tires having only veered beyond the yellow dotted line for a second before swerving onto the shoulder and off the highway. The passing car blared an angry horn as it sped past him. As the car came to a halt, Harry’s emotional capacity finally breaking. He drew a deep breath, falling forward to rest his head on the wheel as he exhaled shallowly, his heart racing and his mind aflame.
For the first time in months, Harry Calden cried.
The sobs wracked his body as the past ten minutes flooded through his mind, his eyes shooting down to double-check the name on the Caller ID. It had been no hallucination.
He put the car in park as a trembling hand reached for the phone, the sobs still causing him to shake and sputter for breath. A twitching finger reached for the “Answer” button as he attempted to choke back his sobs, his free hand rubbing to clear the tears from his eyes and cheeks in vain. He raised the phone to his ear, his voice desperate and disbelief – the voice of a castaway calling for a passing ship.
Harry Calden: S-son?
The best description of Harry Calden’s internal feelings as he approached the press conference podium was a mixture of apprehension and excitement. It sat like buzzing bees in the bottom of his stomach, and it skittered along the skin on the back of his shoulders and up his back. The words of his son floated and swirled about in his mind, and they gave him comfort. Nonetheless, the comfort was little to detract from the anxiety the snap of cameras and chatter of reporters this size gave him. Compared to the small back stage interviews and local paper and television stations press conference, the War conference nearly packed the floor of the Tokyo Dome. As he stood behind the podium, his lips bent up into a shy smile; perhaps at a distance it could’ve been taken for confidence. It was hard for him to not laugh uncomfortably, but he managed to keep his composure cool as Hank Brown, who had been the MC for the press conference, introduced him.
Hank Brown: Next up, we will be having a newcomer to our company; a man who has taken our social media by storm and whipping up quite a following with the #BombSquad movement…
The ‘BombSquad movement?’ what the hell was tha-
As Harry Calden stepped out onto the stage the crowd erupted.
Hank Brown: BOMBER!
The crowd, in one voice began chanting.
“BOMBERU BOMBERU BOMBERU!”
Had he missed something?
“BOMBERU BOMBERU BOMBERU!”
As Harry looked out across the sea of the nigh on ten thousand people gathered for this one conference he saw every single damn one of them chanting his name. What a difference a week makes.
He stepped toward the podium and grabbed the microphone.
Harry Calden: Who’s ready to see me drop the bomb on all these sons of bitches?
As he spoke, a monitor featuring a translation of his comments in Japanese flashed to the audience. The crowd erupted again. This was...unnerving, but god was it fucking exciting.
Harry Calden: Thank you, Hank. And thank you all for coming today. I’d like to begin by thanking the WCF for setting up this press conference; a big “thank you” for our company owner Seth Lerch who has orchestrated this pay-per-view and given all the incredible stars on this roster and in this match the chance to compete for the audiences here in Japan and worldwide. This Sunday is indisputably the most difficult match every year for a champion and a singles competitor. By bringing this event to Japan, much as Asesinato de Mayo was brought to Mexico, we hope to honor the proud and storied tradition of Japanese professional wrestling, and we hope we can entertain you with even a fraction of the ability of those who wrestle in this country for its promotions.
The crowd breaks out in applause once more.
Every day in the build toward this I’m asked by reporters, co-workers, friends, and family why I compete. I’m asked what my stake in this company is and what I am looking for or working towards when I step in the ring. There have been some people in the locker room who’d like to spread the defaming myth that I fight out of obsession or a sense of inferiority. They’d like to cheapen my drive or perseverance or motivation to a strawmanned complex because it allows them to make excuses for their lack of production the following week or whatnot. I’m not going to say I’m a perfect person – I think everyone who is competing in the biggest match of the calendar year and think they have a chance to win has a bit of an ego. There’s no way you can say you’re worthy of the belt which crowns the number one guy without having a bit of a swollen head, and I understand that what my wife calls “being a workaholic” some could call an obsession. The fact is my only obsession in this business is and has always putting on the best match possible and making sure the fans go home happy that they have spent their hard earned money wisely by coming to see me perform.
This is a competition, and everyone who is in this match is going to be giving their all. If you don’t want to win, you’re in the wrong business. Some people may find that shocking or controversial, but I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive to both love competing and love winning. Everyone loves winning, just not everyone admits it. I compete because I love competing, and I love inspiring others to compete. We’ve all got it rough, and if watching a single Bomber match can make one person smile, even if it’s just my wife and son, that’s enough for me.
A rippling of laughter. Then cheers. More and more cheers.
...but don’t be mistaken. I am not here just to compete.
I am here to win.
Let’s see how deep your attrition and your well of fitness goes gentlemen. I’m going to take you all to the deep water, and you are all going to drown. People say this is going to be my last match, they’re wrong.
My calendar is clear in December, I’ll see you all at One where I’m going to shock the world. Again.
He smiled as he said the three words that had been tacked on to him by WCF Uncreative, he would make his personal mockery a fucking manta.
Harry Calden stepped from the microphone and stood in front of the cheering crowd as the ‘BOMBERU’ chant began anew. What was this feeling? It was both unsettling and intriguing all at the same time. For the first time since he signed this contract with Seth Lerch all those months ago.
He was starting to believe.
There was no sound from the other end of the line for a moment, Harry was questioning his own sanity when a voice came through the speaker.
Eddie Calden: Dad?
Harry cleared his throat and sniffed back his tears.
Harry Calden: Hey there son.
Eddie Calden: I got your message.
Harry Calden: I-
Eddie Calden: You have no idea how I feel. When I heard what you sent me I...uh...it hurt me. It hurt me pop. It hurt me that …that is how you think I see you?
Harry Calden: You damn near as much told me.
Eddie Calden: No Dad. You hear whatever it is you want to hear. For the record I don’t think what you do is fake. I don’t think that the missed birthdays are fake, I don’t think that the nights I heard mom crying herself to sleep because she was so worried about you are fake…
...but neither are the hours of sacrifice you have put in to make sure mom was able to live comfortably, that I was able to go to college because of how hard you have worked. I don’t think the blood, sweat and tears you’ve spilled for us are fake. Not one bit. You’ve been the best Dad I could have ever wished for; sure, not everything was perfect but I never ever asked for perfection. I have a father who loves me and I love him just as much.
Harry was crying again.
Harry Calden: Goddammit Eddie.
Eddie Calden: God damn is right, do you know how much this call is costing me?
For the first time in the conversation there is laughter.
Harry Calden: Yeah. I know. I can pay you back if you like!
Eddie Calden: Don’t be stupid. I’ve missed you Dad.
Harry Calden: I’ve missed you too Son.
Eddie Calden: So...you’re actually going to be fighting in War?
Harry Calden: Are you mad?
Eddie Calden: No! It’s fucking amazing!
Harry Calden: Language!
Eddie Calden: Fuck language you’re going to be fighting in War. That’s...major. You’ve always talked about this. Man. I’m so pumped. I’ve been telling all my friends, we were going to have a viewing party anyway but god damn now I’m gonna have to be the host and shit. Do you have any merch?
Harry Calden: Probably not.
Eddie Calden: Well I’ll start thinking of some stuff eh? #BombSquad!
Harry Calden: What?
Eddie Calden: Forget it, you wouldn’t understand. Anyway, are you pumped? I’m super excited and I’m not even competing and stuff like I’ve got butterflies and everything already is that normal?
Harry Calden: I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had a match like this before.
Eddie Calden: Are you excited?
Harry Calden: Sure. I guess.
Eddie Calden: You guess? You’re in War, it’s like the biggest thing ever. You’re going to absolutely smash it.
Harry Calden: Smash it huh? I’m not going against chopped liver out there. These are the cream of the crop. I’ll be lucky if I place top ten.
Eddie Calden: Dad, seriously. This is a match for the taking. Look, there are no dominant guys in it this year, sure there are Hall of Famers, former World Champions...but don’t you for one second think you are any lesser than these people. You’re not. I’ve watched every match of your career and wanna know what my single biggest takeaway is? You fight to the level of your competition. If a guy sucks, then you give just enough; if a guy is awesome then you put on at least a four star classic. I’m not just saying this because you’re my Dad, the internet has been saying it for years. Bomber is the most underrated wrestler in the world and the best guy who has yet to step foot in a WCF ring. Well, now you have your chance. So take it. Take it with both hands and bring that One main event contract back home.
Harry Calden: You really think I can do this?
Eddie Calden: I know it. You’ve given me the work ethic, the morals, the drive in life; you’re my role model. No. You’re my hero…
...and this one night in Tokyo - the hero is going to win.
"BOMBS UNLOADED PART THREE"
"The time for talk is almost over and it's going to be on everybody to step through those ropes into that squared circle and prove their worth. For all the preparations everyone has done, all the promotion work, all the training it all comes down to that one night and that one ring where everything is equal and we finally settle the great debates about one of the most hotly contested War matches of all time.
'It's up in the air'
'Anyone could win!'
These are statements people in the press are saying. The closer it gets to the date though, the shorter the odds are getting. I went from 250/1 and now sit at 25/1 - long enough but I damn near took a hammer and chisel to the bookies presuppositions about me didn't I? Anyone could win this match, true. But 'anyone' won't.
Bomber is winning War.
All the favorites have wilted and crumbled under the pressure I am beginning to put them under and the hot spotlights of the ring aren't even beating down on them yet. If you think this is bad right now guys, just you wait. Just wait until you come face to face with a man who makes Andre Holmes' brand of relentless look like the French when war is declared. There is no comparable to what I bring to the table - the heat I will put on every single last one of you. I will drown you in the deep waters then I will melt whatever is left of you.
This is a funny turn of circumstance. You all judged me by my appearance, I'm old, I've never competed here before and you made plenty of assumptions about me. Yet I took my time, I've studied every single one of you in this match. All the while I have been constantly treated like a throw away - and that's fine.
I'm going to be throwing away everyone who dares get in the way of me and this victory. Straight into the trash where people like you belong. Assuming is the mother of all fuck ups, right?
Well you all made the biggest fuck up of your entire careers.
So, let me introduce myself again. My name is Harry 'Bomber' Calden, I will be the last face you see before you get your shoulders pinned to the mat on Sunday and I will be the face you see on the billboards promoting the main event of One this Christmas.
A pleasure to meet you. No more shoot. Why bother?
You all have it messed up. I didn't need anything so generic to beat you all. You don't win War with anything so primitive, not anymore. It's fitting we are in Japan, you'll learn too.
It only took one bomb.