Title: Only The Lonely
Featuring: Bronson Box
Date: Recently
Location: The Hills of Northern Utah

The music can be heard through the door, bleeding between the unpainted cinderblock walls of the lifeless square building. Spud Collins, the caretaker of this empty facility known to some as The Conclave, whips the large metal double door open with his free hand… the other grasping the body of a gargantuan shotgun that looks to be about as old as Spud himself.

Which is very, by the way.

♫ Love hurts, love scars
♫ Love wounds and mars
♫ Any heart not tough
♫ Nor strong enough
♫ To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
♫ Love is like a cloud, holds a lot of rain
♫ Love hurts
♫ Love hurts

The gymnasiums equipment is all tarped, the lights are off. But the stereo system is alive and on blast with the soulful crooning of Roy Orbison. Cocking his shotgun and taking but one small step into the room, Spud was about to announce his presence when an empty bottle of what looks to be VERY good scotch smashes into the doorframe behind him. Collins stoops down and picks up the label from the shattered glass and confirms his dread.

GODDAMNIT, HOLLIS! Do you know how old that bottle of whisky was you CUNT?

The Bombastic Bronson Box’s unmistakable if not slightly slurred voice can be heard emanating from the back of the room. Shaking his head and unloading his one and only shotgun shell from his weapon Spud hobbles over and takes a seat on the weight bench opposite his star pupil who’s obviously been in far better shape than he’s in presently.

Bloody hell, boy…

As Bronson sits up from the weight bench he’s been reclining on, Spud gets a clear look at the mangled, stapled together mess that is now the right side of Bronson’s face. Blood still trickles here and there from the more awkwardly held together corners of the wound. Spud watches with a raised eyebrow as Bronson reaches for another bottle of scotch sitting nearby with yet another of its deliciously aged siblings.

Boxer immediately feels the familiar heated gaze of his trainer.

I’ll give ye’ what’s left of the Macallan ‘39, now fook’ off I aim to get quite drunk this evening.

Spud sighs and takes the bottle from Boxer and takes a deep drag, passing it back over to Bronson with a satisfied smack of his lips, looking at the label of the bottle as he does.

Spud: [to himself]
Damn that's bloody good…

Looking back to Box.

If you feel as shit as you look, lad, I don’t blame you.

A short silence falls between the two as Bronson takes a sensational swig from the bottle of scotch. Collins’ eyes don’t leave the ruin of Boxer’s face.

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars… ”

Bronson nearly snorts whisky out of his nose with unexpected laughter. Spud narrows his eyes defensively at the insult.

Didn’t figure you fer’ a philosopher, old man. Khalil Gibran’s a wee bit laa-dee-da fer’ a fella’ like yerself idn’t it? Next thing yer’ gunna’ start sputin’ the bard at me, ye’ fookin’...

Collins interrupts Bronson with a sly smile, his voice undulating in a mocking Shakespearean lilt.

“ … He jests at scars that never felt a wound.“

Ugh… enough, please. I’m in enough fookin’ pain, ye’ bastard.

As Bronson passes the much lighter bottle back over to Spud, the conversation presses on.

It's a shallow life that doesn't give a person a few scars, Hollis. Now where’s yer’ head abouts, lad? Speak.

He leans forward, elbows to knees, his eyes settling into the non distance of the dark room.

Boxer: [grumbling through clenched teeth]
I underestimated that bloody woman.

You did indeed. You’ve always underestimated the fairer of your peers. S’why Heidi Christenson always seemed to kick your teeth in before she lost it and disappeared. That Troy… you’ve always crucified that girl and her ilk for not “getting” what DEFIANCE is all about, yeah? Well… it’s obvious she gets it now, doesn't she... stepped right over that line o’yours and dug that blasted spike right into your pretty little face without hesitation.

The Wargod looks up with a snarl. Unphased, Collins continues.

So you do what you do, don’tcha? You leave the blasted hospital, you fly a quarter of the way across the country to this empty husk of a training camp, and for what? To drink up all my good scotch and make a fuckin’ mess I’m gunna’ have to clean up in the morning. Poutin’ like a child… ye’ made a misstep and the bitch carved you up like beef. Other than gettin’ three sheets, just what are you gunna’ do about it, boy? Humm?

Bronson gets to his feet.

His eyes meet OURS... he pats Spud on the shoulder as he takes a few steps closer to where “we’re” standing.

St. Jerome said “The scars of others should teach us caution”... and you’ve given me quite the warning of caution, haven’t you Lindsay? I do tend to underestimate my opponents from time to time, my mentor here has the right of it. A failing of mine, without a doubt. May it be their sex, their personality, doesn't matter really… people bother me in general, you see. So I tend not to give them all much credence. 

Sucking on his teeth, he stops for a moment to ponder his words. We notice the muscles around his brutal scar twitch ever so slightly as he moves into a moon lit area of the room.

“The scars of others should teach us caution” … anyone I’ve managed to underestimate in my past dealings here in DEFIANCE, people who have managed to leave a proverbial mark on my person has met with a great deal of pain whilst at the same time… becoming special to me for their effort. Boston Bancroft, Jeff Andrews, Stephen Greer, Eugene Dewey, Kai Scott, Heidi Christenson, Frank Dylan James, Edward White, Tom Sawyer, Dusty Griffith… the list of competitors who have tested me, left indelible marks on my life and career NONE but you, Lindsay has left a mark so lasting. Cancer Jiles quite literally popped my eyeball out of my FOOKIN’ head and still... still you manage to find a way to occupy a very rare and precious place in my rogues gallery, Ms. Troy.

The look in the eyes of The Wargod is a distant, fiery look we haven’t really seen since his return from exile months ago. A wild unhinged look that has historically meant trouble for not only his opponents but the whole of DEFIANCE itself.

This scar. The scar you caused. It will heal twisted and gnarled. I’d have it no other way. Let it stand as a sign of caution for the whole lot of you that the madman of Banff, Scotland is back tradin’ exclusively in the currency of blood and fear.

Lindsay Troy’s blood. Lindsay Troy’s FEAR.

“ … He jests at scars that never felt a wound.“

You know, I don’t much care for the bard, but that’s a wonderful line, idn’t it?

Go ahead Lindsay. Jest. Make yer’ jokes at my expense.

Mayhaps you just might get to feel the pain I feel, eh?

Laughter bleeds into...

♫ Some fools rave of happiness
♫ Blissfulness, togetherness
♫ Some fools fool themselves, I guess
♫ But they're not foolin' me

We fade out as Mr. Orbison sings on.

♫ Love hurts...

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