Title: THE SHIELD. (2)
Featuring: Mark Shields
Date: After Hooker
Location: Somewhere in NOLA

The sun hasn’t quite risen, although birds can be heard chirping outside the apartment window. Referee Mark Shields rolls over and sits up in the bed, with the woman who drove the Honda Fit fast asleep on the other side. Shields reaches for his cell phone and clicks it on. Immediately, he opens an app with a white fire emblem and slides his left index finger to the right, over and over again, as quickly as possible. His eyes aren’t even on the screen anymore but he continues to flip, as the longtime referee has spotted a pack of half-empty (or half-full, depending on your outlook) cigarettes on the corner of the night table beside him.

“How’d I miss these?” He says quietly to himself, stunned his eyes didn’t go there first when he entered the room before they went… elsewhere.

No further seconds are wasted. He snatches the Marlboro 72’s off the stand, throws on some boxers and his referee t-shirt while carefully creeping out of the bedroom and into the living room. Shields pulls the balcony door open and steps outside.

The audio surrounding him is not much different than the area he was picked up from. There’s already a police siren heard loud and clear. The neighbours are having a dispute from inside their bedroom… let alone the state of their balcony is an absolute disaster with storage boxes, random clothes and children’s toys everywhere. The balcony above Mark has a strange smell to it and it’s overwhelming awful.

Shields sighs heavily. He lights a smoke and takes a deeeeep drag in before exhaling. Then he pulls out his phone again and continues swiping to the right. Soon, however, Shields grows tired of the app and places the phone back in his pocket. Taking in his surroundings, Shields nods to himself before he continues to work away at the death stick in his mouth. Honestly, it doesn’t take long for him to finish it and light up another.

And another.

And another.

We skip ahead. Who knows how many he went through but the pack is now finished. Shields exits the balcony, with the sun slightly starting to come up. Like a seasoned pro, Shields re-enters the bedroom and collects his things (which isn’t much… just his referee pants, shoes and socks). Mark is sure to not make a sound as the woman continues to sleep. He flees the bedroom, walks to the front door and slips away to start his day.



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