The Cracks Manifest.

Captain Zappa

Like an army of transparent tadpoles, raindrops crash against the paved parking lot of the Tap Room. Illuminated against the building is a sign that reads, “InVasion 2017” – along with a makeshift billboard that lists all of the matches. One of which, far more incandescent from the neon coloring of the header, is “Solomon Rhodes vs. Ethan Rhodes”. Mere feet from the sign, a man stands motionlessly. He eyes focus in on the sign, most especially Solomon Rhodes, while most of his face is shaded away by the black umbrella shielding him. There are others walking towards the building, but they pay the man no mind.

Then – a young couple, walking hand in hand, walk through the man.

“Every time you enter that wrestling ring, Steven dons his black suit and waits patiently. There isn’t anger, or sadness – just disappointment. He watches you dominate – decimating one man to the next, tossing them over your shoulder like handfuls of salt – but also waits for the cracks to slowly manifest. Even the strongest willed beings that grace this polluted rock will fall from the dark clouds and into the hands of their personal devil, man. In their assessments, the Zeta have come to realize that a great percentage of the terrestrials fear their own ancient history.

They believe that history slowly becomes a pedestal, which ultimately allows them to reach toward the next tier of their existence. Little do they know that history doesn’t fade away, man. It’s that faint laughter of kids playing in the rain in the back of your head – it’s the reticent splashes of the shallow puddles they stomp their feet into. Those children, Timothy, are the volumes of the different layers of life that you’ve lead.”

Behind Steven are bunch of children – clad in yellow rain jackets and red rainboots – dancing within the realm of their own joy. Jumping in and out of the puddles, they continuously repeat “Sing a Song of Sixpence”, as if the CD is tarnished. After a couple of times, their voices modulate – from high to an unearthly low. They clasp hands and start to run around the biggest puddle in a circle, getting louder and louder – their voices modulating at a near pattern now.

“They never stop playing in those puddles, man. Steven never leaves his guardian stance from afar, merely utilizing a black umbrella to protect himself from the other awful memories of what brought you to the era of Solomon. He chose to never forgive Pamela, because he believed that she was simply the enabler to the horrific events that unfolded. Yet, as time began to unfold, he realized that you were influenced to become what you are today since birth. Once the realization sunk in that the seduction was only the finger pressing into the trigger of a previously loaded gun, he realized that you were just as evil as she was.

Do you remember what his only request was before you murdered him in cold blood, Tim? Be there for his daughter – protect her. Do you know why he said that? Because he believed in your power, and respected the ferocity that burned around your heart. You murdered him and ultimately let a behemoth obliterate every fraction of her world. Where were you, Steven mouths as he watches you raise your hands in light of another victory. You can call it an exorcism all you want – I call the choice to be ignorantly blind, man. Like a bear indulging in an extended winter, Timothy rests within the cavern of your soul.”

Steven turns toward the children behind him and grins. Except, there’s nothing but a black hole when he opens his mouth. He disassembles the umbrella, while those planning to be in attendance for the big show continue to walk through him none the wiser. He walks away from the sign, and progresses towards a side-alley. Once he arrives, there’s several buses as well as a team of security standing at a blue door. Without even the slightest of hesitation, he walks towards them.

“Eventually, Timothy Rhodes shall rise again. It’s Steven’s will. As he stands at a distance from the rest of your raindrop memories, he can no longer hold back the grin of vindication. Ancient history repeats itself, and Steven is well aware of this. The time will come when the paths are crossed, and he finally gets to do exactly what he had wished to do mere seconds before his mortal heart stopped drubbing. Once this happens, not even a brute like Solomon will be able to overtake the awakened bear.”

He arrives at the door and stares at the security team for an eerily extensive amount of time before moving towards the steps. As he does this, someone walks from the opposite end of the alley; Solomon himself. Steven stands at the top of the stairs, and begins to scold him with his eyes, while the security team opens the door. Steven sets up his umbrella again, as Solomon makes his way up the stairs and walks directly through him. Steven swivels to the right, like a cartoon marionette, to face Solomon’s back. Solomon stops for a second, fans at the back of his head – as if something had touched him – before glaring back at the security team.

They say nothing and – of course – neither does Steven. He simply smiles at Solomon, who turns his back towards him and makes his way into the depths of the Tap Room. Though no sound comes through, Steven mouths see you soon, before disappearing into thin air. The blue door closes – we’re inside, and standing against it is none other than Captain Zappa, with a pre-lit joint babied between his index and middle finger. He lifts it up for a drag, his eyes squinted, and a smile of serenity painted upon his face.

“You had a promise to keep. You broke it. Now? You reap what you sow, man. Deservedly so, Lazarus, he wants – what he wants. Now? We watch while the cracks manifest. Ancient history – will always repeat itself.”