Post by Brick Hawthorne on Apr 24, 2020 19:18:05 GMT -8
001010110 RULE OF THUMB 001010110
Your entire life is made up of choices.
Everyday a new choice, a new decision, starts your day and you spend the rest of your day making new choices. We use the best judgement we can to help us in making the right call each and every time, weighing the options we have and estimating your trajectory - for every choice we make leads to another, hinges upon it even. You may one day find yourself somewhere you can't turn back from, based on the decisions you made to get there.
That was surely the sentiment surrounding most people that had ended up in the Sanatorium...caught for something they may or may not have done, but cruelly incarcerated inside a looney bin regardless. Brick hadn't come to regret that choice just yet. Giving a giant middle finger to *REDACTED* and giving their money away as a bank error was something he'd smile about until the day he died, and if ending up here was a consequence of that then so be it. However, the thought came raining down into his mind like Fat Boy and Little Man when Eden was the one to show up on Sanatorium, and Tommy McMaster was MIA.
"I'm watching you. Every moment. And I will know if you've been uncooperative. So please, don't make this situation you've found yourselves in, here in our facilities, more unpleasant for you! ! I'm afraid any insubordination will be met with no mercy for you, for the safety of all those under our roof and the public in general. Thanks in advance for understanding!"
He caught a glimpse of her gaze on the monitor backstage. He began watching her segment, nervously filling his plastic cup from the water fountain. He was so struck by her presence, he even overfilled his cup of water. It was in this moment that he felt unsure of himself - did he regret working with Jacob Knight?
The first part of the plan had seemingly gone off without a hitch. The last thing Brick expected to do once getting to the Sanatorium, was immediately join the counterculture movement. But here he was, using a cell phone that had been illegally smuggled inside an asylum, in order to hopefully take down his new warden. Together with Jake, they were able to uncover some pretty damning stuff, and they were pretty confident that Tommy was about ready to bend to their will. He would HAVE to, the Sanatorium would HAVE to close.
Although Brick had joined the fight late in the game - the others had been fighting for who knows how long - he still felt accomplished. Another tyrannical regime soon to be toppled - still young and fresh AF. They knew the enemy, and they knew how to defeat him. At least, they thought they did. Have you ever been playing a game of chess against an opponent, nearly about to take their Queen - only to be told your opponent has changed? That's how it felt when Eden replaced Tommy McMaster. From knowing you've won, to not even knowing who you're up against.
Still in possession of the cell phone Knight had smuggled him in order to hack Tommy, Brick quickly knelt and took it out of his shoe. Trying his best to kneel up against the wall and text with one hand, he managed to send a short one to Jake, "Need 2 talk."
A small amount of that stress went away when he saw the message send, only to have it replaced by straight fear a second later. Using his side vision, he could see an orderly pointing right at him from down the hallway. Believing himself to have been caught, he did the only thing any sane person would do, and slyly slips the cell phone into his cup of water to fry the messages between himself and Knight, etc. Even if he was caught, they wouldn't be able to see what he was up to.
"Hi Mr. Hawthorne, did you spill something?"
Brick slowly blinked at him, beads of sweat probably dripping from his nose. "W-what?"
"Oh I saw you had a pretty full cup of water...and you bent down to the floor for a moment after. I thought you may be cleaning up your spill."
Brick looked to the spot on the ground where he was kneeling, to his cup, back to the orderly....and then stood up. "Oh...yeah. I'll take care of it. Thanks."
Fuck. That was so dumb. He felt even dumber. What kind of hero complex must this kid have in order to think he was going to swoop in and help save the Sanatorium in a matter of a couple weeks? In hindsight, the thought seemed absurd to him now, but then again, they always say hindsight is 20/20. Had Tommy even been in full control of the Sanatorium, or had someone like Eden had control the entire time? For all he knew there was an entire governing body that sat behind this place, but the fear came from the unknown. Brick grew up in an age where answers are always at the edge of your finger tips - of course he fears the unknown.
"Congrats on your win tonight as well, Mr. Hawthorne."
He nodded his gratitude towards the orderly whose name he'd probably never remember. For someone who had just won his first professional wrestling match, Brick Hawthorne felt like he'd always be destined to lose.
Brick Hawthorne bobbed his head to the sound of the music in his earpods, some sort of perk for winning. He wondered what they did back before cordless headphones, obviously the inmates couldn't have them for...reasons. Seeing the red light on the camera, he took the right earpod out.
"I managed to secure my first win last week here in the Sanatorium, I suppose that's something to be proud of. I'm not exactly sure how much favor that gets me moving forward, but I guess the immediate thing is that I was moved up the card a bit. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, considering the jump in opponent caliber I'm experiencing this time around. I mean going from someone who won't say a word to you to someone that's already held gold in this company before - wow - I feel like I'm experiencing culture shock just being this high up the card."
Heh heh he nudged an invisible person that wasn't sitting next to him. There was in fact, no one there.
"My second match in, and I find myself up against known danger, V. Cool, cool. I guess as a rule of thumb, we're supposed to tear each other limb from limb now..."
He paused, placing a hand on his chin and acting like he was waiting for some sort of verbal approval that never really came.
"L-Let me ask you all a quick question, do you guys know where that even comes from - rule of thumb? They say that expression comes from the days when English law allowed men the right to beat their wives with a stick, so long as it were no bigger than a thumb."
He held his thumb up to the camera, squinting with one eye to see it.
"Oh - that sounds stupid to you, too? Good, I thought I was the only one. But hey, so long as we're on the same page with that - I say it's JUST as stupid to have two people ripping each other limb from limb that have no business doin' so, you feel me? Now, I hear ya. You people came here for a show and listen, I want nothing more than to give you one. I've got no problems going out there, hustlin', flowin' and puttin' on a solid one with a competitor that I respect. In fact, I'd prefer it very much if that were the case tonight. Just myself and V, playing fair."
He nodded up and down with enthusiasm as if he was one hundred percent sure...aaaand then his pace slowed and his brow furrowed and he added a bit more.
"But I'll be honest, the other side does seem a bit stacked, don't it? V has already proven himself as a beast, whether he's competing in singles or tag team competition. He's got probably like twenty years on me...cool it man, just jokin' V. Not quite twenty, but we know the guy is experienced is all hell. It would seem that someone wanted me to fail this time around..."
Brick's hand first made it to his chin, thinking on that for a moment, before moving that same hand up and throw his thick curly locks.
"I'm not saying that this fight is over. I'm not saying I'm not going to go at there and give this fight my all! I'm not saying that I'm just going to roll over and let V take this. I'm not saying that you aren't going to see me give everything I've got in that ring! If anyone was made for pullin' off upsets, it's me, and I started that trend two weeks ago, we can deffo keep the ball moving. I'm not saying this is it - but what I AM saying is that it almost seems to me like someone is trying to tell me something. It's possible that someone set this match up, trying to prove a point, or maybe they were hoping that V would take it upon himself to take me out in some way. So, I'm not saying this isn't going to be V's hardest fought match yet..."
He stood up, throwing the hood to his jacket on his head and bobbing around suddenly like a boxer who had been training the last year for his big prize fight. He liked the tip of his fingers, flicked the tip of his nose, weaving around again. Truth be told, Brick isn't a boxer at all, that's not even his style, if you caught from his first match. But he sure as hell saw the Ali a shit ton back in the day.
"But what I am saying is that if someone came to V looking for him to do some dirty work, well, I'd ask him not to. We can have this match our way. Like I said, I respect you as is, but we both know there's a lot of politics going around this place. I don't know what this match is...if it's intended purpose was something a little more dastardly...but I know that being cautious has gotten me this far, and it's gonna save my ass again. I can't allow it all to end on my second match in the Sanatorium, that's just not going to happen. I used to say I could always get myself out of a sticky situation, but then again, look where I ended up. In reality, I always face these situations head on. V is just another manifestation of a situation I've gotten myself in..."
He took a deep breath.
Although he had sent Jake all the footage he had found, and a warning text message, he had yet to receive communication back due to his location. He could only hope that they reached Jake, and if Brick was lucky enough, he'd be able to defeat V and contact Jacob before DreamState. For just a second he lost himself again, there within his own empty stare. Again, wrapped up in battles that weren't his to begin with...but that he was more than happy to fight. Just a second later and his empty stare was once again re-ignited with a fire.
"I'll either conquer it, or become another slave."
"I need somebody to represent me in that ring," says our new Warden, sitting in front of me with her legs crossed just so. She reminds me of someone with all these impeccable manners. It's not a good resemblance. "I think you are the man to do that."
"Why me? I don't exactly scream 'authority's bitch', do I? Have I missed something?" I'm making a joke of this. When you live the life I've lived, you have to take your enjoyment where you can. Especially under current conditions.
"You do not. But that's exactly why I think it should be you. You came in here as unfit to stand trial for attempted murder on a criminal the police were already watching, yes? You came in here for superceding the law, taking things to an extreme beyond it, despite the fact that we both know that you know right from wrong. Your right and wrong were, in fact, in line with authority's. That tells me you see the use of this place, too."
She's clever. She's too clever. That... is exceedingly dangerous. She thinks she's being persuasive, but what she's actually doing is unnerving the shit out of me, because the thought of being under the thumb of somebody who actually doesn't do a terrible job reading people...
Well. This place might be my own personal hell construct given physical form, and I might have to be here specific days, yes. But I can minimize how many days I have to be here-- that's within my control. And while I'm here... well, at least under Tommy's reign... I could sort of pull off fucking anything I pleased. Tommy never caught on to the fact that a certain guard's keycard (or a clone of it, at least) was scanning in and out of areas during times he wasn't even on shift. Tommy never heard, or heard of, my late night visits to Sin, even though his guards knew of at least one incident.
Tommy lets people keep their personal cellular devices on them in the Sanatorium, because tweeting gives great publicity which brings in eyeballs which puts more money in his pocket in the end. I have a rooted Android. There's all sorts of things you can do with a rooted Android, beyond letting them function as a keycard, which you can find out how to do on fucking Google with freeware. Wanna steal credit card numbers just by standing near somebody who's got theirs on them for long enough? There's an app for that. There's malware you can put on someone else's phone, or your own I guess if you can get it close enough to work, that... if someone has said phone beside or on the keyboard while they're typing, the phone's accelerometer can establish rhythms and patterns of force that can build you an algorithm to function, essentially, as a keylogger.
My opponent this week might know a bit about some of that. I kind of don't want to be fighting him. I'd rather be talking to him. I need to write him a letter, but I don't know exactly what to say yet.
And I've been thinking for too long now. "I see the use of this place. And I see it not being actually used for that, at all. Answer's no."
"You haven't seen me running it, though. I want to set this place right. Clean it up. Use real manners of therapy to move those inmates as we can manage to help towards their goals. Don't tell me you're so jaded that you can't be bothered to give that a chance, just by fighting one match? I saw all of Tommy's mistakes, I've been working alongside him for a year. Knight doesn't know how to run this place, not at all, not the first clue. He'll try to run it like a wrestling promotion, and I've seen your comments that you don't appreciate essentially having to work without getting paid. Me? I pick you to fight this match because the biggest step towards rehabilitation I can see for you is to use your potential in coordination with authority. Fix the system from within the system, if that's what you want to do. We could even find you programs to work with law enforcement afterward, if you want. See what I mean?"
Aaaand... she's extremely persuasive. Shit-fire. "Answer's still no. I can't vote for a warden by fighting somebody whose message I overall agree with when I haven't seen said warden in action. That's a big ass jump. I get your position, but... I can't even really know that... well, you've seen me say that, you may have seen all of my stuff here. You might've seen my stuff from before here. You might well be picking me because you know... there's no way to put this that doesn't sound egotistical as fuck, but honestly it's statistics at this point... I could destroy basically anybody on this roster, or Dystopia's, on a good day. Not just beat, destroy. I don't say that shit in public because nobody wants to hear another asshole full of hisself parroting those lines, too many who don't fit that bill have spewed the shill. You knew what you were doing when you came to me, lady, but at this time... no. If you wanna delay the match, I can turn that into a maybe."
Her face scrunches up. That's not, apparently, good enough. I may have just fucked myself over here. If so, I better hope Knight wins at Dreamstate.
Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?
The kind about some deep-seated phobia that your brain just can't let go of.
Maybe it's personal and real, some trauma you're directly in the wake of, and your mind's still trying to process it, so it replays it over and over and over again. You wake up from it, roll over, and it resumes. You get up and have a glass of water, think about something else, lay down... and it comes back. You give up on sleep, and the next night it's right there, waiting for you like a hotel mint on your pillow.
(Yeah, some hotels actually do that routine, by the way. I would know. I stayed in countless, of any number of stars, as a professional wrestler. )
Maybe... maybe it's less immediate than that, more unconscious. Maybe you have an intense horrible nightmare about your teeth falling out. You half forget about it, till months or years later, it happens again. It's persistent, enough so that the next time you have to sit down in a dentist's chair, you need anxiety medication. There's not even any bad experience to tie it to, it's just that the visceral body horror and the lack of self-autonomy of having any control over what's happening to yourself has wormed its way into your psyche and you can't shed it. It's not rational; you take care of your teeth, your dentist has always been an alright guy even if his thumbs seem abnormally fucking large shoved in your mouth. But that doesn't matter.
Now imagine that nightmare comes TRUE. Live and in vivid colors, A situation that, afterwards, you have trouble even telling anybody about, because it sounds irrational. I mean, that stuff happens, but not to people they know, right? It's rare. Your life's maybe already been remarkable, so adding yet another special fucking thing to the pile is too much for them to even humor.
Well, except for the ones that were around when it happened. But is having witnesses to the worst moment of your life any better? Knowing that their perception of you is bound to be stained by seeing you in some of the worst, messiest states of fucked-upness you've ever been in, by knowing this terrible thing that happened to you. You don't want to be the one that happened to as an identity. It's like losing self-autonomy all over again, not being able to define yourself any longer.
Yeah, mine came true. And now it's coming true all over again.
It's not being stuck in bed all day that's so bad, really. It's being stuck in the same position, on my back, feeling exposed and vulnerable, unable to move my arms and legs. PTSD alarms blaring in my head, blood pressure and pulse deciding they're going to do cardio for me without me having to lift a finger, the suffocating feeling of blowing up your lungs in a panic attack, every minute of every waking moment.
The nonwaking moments are another horror. Not passing out from fear, not quite. I've lived with an anxiety disorder for too long to do that very easily. Nah, when you're in that state, they need to sedate you just to handle you. Trust me, if they'd moved me without sedating me first, I'd have run as fast and as far as I could get, and it wouldn't matter if tasers stopped me in the end. And I'm a pretty big guy, so I could've taken out a lot of people and gotten pretty far. They don't overlook that aspect for a second.
But the horror is... being handled by strangers that have been dulled to human suffering and human decency just by the mere act of staying on at this job for any amount of time. Anyone who isn't borderline, sociopathic or at least capable of assuming that mindset for their working hours, gets weeded out quick; witnessing all this day in and day out isn't worth the payrate if you can't. That's who's in charge of your body when you can barely walk and won't even remember what happens. People who'd probably also cut it working down at the county animal shelter euthanizing puppies and kittens all day.
After a while, the hysteria of the sober moments dies down. It's not that you calm down. There's a state called dissociation. You've touched on it lightly before. Ever zone out driving home after work or school, arrive in your driveway and realize you can't remember a bit of the route from this specific day, not really? That's a light level of dissociation. If you've ever been in a bad car wreck or something similar, you've probably experienced another level of it. That weird-ass unnatural surreal calm in the wake of the storm where you'll swear you're fine despite the fact that you're missing a limb. Yeah. It's that. Your body's just been so afraid for so long that it can't continue to handle the stress anymore, even if it can't compromise its alertness enough to fall asleep, and you've fallen into some other form of consciousness that feels like a coma.
(Another sidebar here for you, if you get exposed to this level at too young an age? You get Dissociative Identity Disorder... better known by its old name, Multiple Personality Disorder. Those various stages of consciousness just plant themselves and sprout into full-fledged people in your head. Congratulations, you learned a thing today.)
"Would you like to go on camera and talk about your opponent?"
"Hm?" I'd say the nurse's question breaks through my haze, but it really doesn't. It takes a beat to process it, like some computer that's got a bunch of malware running in the background. Yeah, that analogy holds up in more ways than one. "I write letters," I say. Sometimes I do camera things, but it's my preference.
"Miss Eden says we can let you out if you want to do something to promote the show. I'm not sure writing a letter qualifies as promotion."
"Oh. Right." Blink. Blink. Of course, she wants to make money. What was that about a difference?
I have to make this brief. Like recognizes like, Brick.
"M.O.D., are you out there? New SysAdmin isn't as they seem. Broadcast the signal. By Any Means Necessary. Set up the tone to sync, tap in the code, I'll reach you below."