Chapter View


The Crown Jewel Shines


Go Away

No Distractions. And No Swords.


Exit Strategy

No Distractions. And No Swords.


Open on Troy Douglas' cabin aboard the CSWA Parsons Cruise Liner. It's modestly appointed, and by the looks of what's stacked on his coffee table and one of the reclining chairs, Troy went on this trip with little intention to enjoy the Caribbean sun. A stack of a dozen books, a leather bound journal, and nearly twenty DVDs next to a portable DVD player are scattered throughout the room. Currently, he leans back against the pillows of his bed, iPod in, reading David Baldacci's mass government conspiracy novel "The Camel Club". He's so occupied, he hasn't even noticed the CSWA camera crew enter his cabin. A hand pokes out from behind the camera and knocks on the wall. Douglas jolts from his reverie, turns off the music and marks his spot in the book before sitting up on the edge of the bed and turning to the camera.

TD: Good, you're here. Sorry I was a little...occupied. You ready?

Troy waits a second, then nods, indicating that the cameraman has indeed given him the "go" sign.

TD: Well, Flyer, after what you said, where do I begin? Tori Spelling, shampoo, the letter "T"? Maybe the giant alien conspiracy? Well, even with the amount of metal I've been cut and prodded with throughout the last decade, I can't be entirely sure that I haven't been probed, I'm pretty certain that this "T" is still entirely of this planet.

Of course, unless all you said was some kind of strange, double inverted code understood only by you and a small tribe of sub-Saharan pygmies that actually meant something regarding you, me, and PRIMETIME on the Caribbean, I'm not entirely sure that even you understand any of that inane nonsense that dribbled out of your mouth.

All that I know is that I have been sitting on this boat, just waiting for my chance to get back into a CSWA ring. Now, I have it, and the guy they're throwing up against me can't seem to string together a coherent thought.

Video games, they kill brain cells doncha know?

Flyer, I donít claim to understand whatever it is you may have said in your distracted state, but I hope you put the controller away and get Mario out of your head long enough to listen to what I have to say. Iíve been waiting, Flyer, since January, to get back into a CSWA ring, and now, after stewing on this barge for god know how long, Iíve finally got my opportunity. I went through hell to get to this point in my life. Iíve dreamed of being a part of this company since I was twelve years old, Flyer.

I just turned 30. Long time in the making, I guess.

The point is, Iíve gotten to the point in my life where I can no longer afford to allow myself to get distracted by anything. Thatís been my curse for far too long, and thatís changing. For me, at least. It seems some people in this profession still donít think the man theyíre about to get into the squared circle with is important enough to dignify without stowing away their pixilated obsessions for just a few minutes.

ďStowing away.Ē Iíve got such cabin fever Iím resorting to stupid nautical puns. And that says a lot for a guy like me, Flyer, because I loathe the pun.

But all this anxiousness, this ďcabin feverĒ, itís just filling up the tank of energy for when I get into the ring with you at PRIMETIME. Thatís when everything Iíve been feeling for the past 6 months waiting to get back in that ring will be let out on you, Flyer. I hope to God you can break away from your diversions by then. If not, youíll have little animated Italian plumbers spinning Ďround your head so much youíll cringe the next time your toilet clogs.

Flyer, you better come prepared at PRIMETIME. I know how good you are, I know how tough you can be when youíre on point. Right now, Iíd say a few things might just be getting to you. Hopefully for you, you can find Tori before we meet in the ring, because Iíd hate to have that she-monster in the back of your head when stepping into the ring to fight with a man who desperately wants to put his name into consideration as the number one man in the CSWA.

Plus, thatís a really big sword, and I donít fancy that thing being around the ring. Itís a bad idea to run around with such a sharp, pointy object.

So Flyer, before we meet at PRIMETIME, either get your head in this, or send me the secret decoder ring so I can understand what the hell is going on in that melon of yours. Either way, I plan on drowning out the sound of coins collecting in your head with the constant thumping noise that will be your head meeting the canvas.

Gotta run, Flyer. Maybe if I decipher what you said, Iíll be able to do something productive on this barge. Like find out that Iím the last living descendant of Jesus before a crippled British guy, an albino, and Alfred Molina can plot to kill me.


Troy plugs the iPodís earbuds back in, the faint sounds of Led Zeppelinís ďThe Battle of EvermoreĒ can be heard as Troy picks up his book and begins reading again. The cameraman takes this as his cue to exit, he turns and leaves the cabin, heading back into the halls of the ship.