#8 Valentine’s Date & The River
February 14, 2014
The room is silent except for the creaking door in which Joshua Rapture opens and walks in. He is wearing a three-piece suit holding a large bouquet of roses.
Joshua exclaims: Pearl!
Directly in his line of sight is an old frail white-haired woman in a wheelchair. There is something familiar about her face. She smiles.
Pearl: Hubert! Oh my, you shaved!
Joshua contemplates this exchange whilst subconsciously rubbing his clean-shaven face. He smiles back.
Joshua: Well it’s been said that I look like Grandpa without the signature beard! These, my dear, are the finest roses. For the finest women I know!
Joshua presents the flowers to Pearl, she blushes and fans herself with her hand.
Pearl: Oh, Hubert. Have you come to take me dancing?
Joshua once again studies this woman again, before picking her out of her chair gently but with ease.
Joshua: Yes, my dear. I do believe I have!
Joshua takes her hand a spins her slowly, her feet resting on top of his. Echoes of giggles and quiet shrieks of happiness ring through the room as other tenants watch dreamily thinking of past dances danced and songs sung. But soon the dance is done and Joshua places Pearl back in her chair, dropping next to her in a rocking chair. She places her fingertips on her temples, her face an expression of pure joy.
Pearl: Ahh hahaha hehe, my world has gone all topsy-turvy!
Joshua: Hehe, yes, that seems be going around.
They share a glance then, but nothing is said. Pearl’s eyes sparkle, Joshua’s eyes sparkle. They have the same eyes. Pearl breaks the silence and gaze with a loud yawn.
Pearl: Ahhhhhh. Please forgive me, but I’m rather tired now and would like to get to bed.
Pearl motions to man in a white coat and he comes to take her away. Joshua hands her the flowers again and she sighs another “Thank You, Hubert.” Sleep almost taking her now. Joshua kisses her forehead and nods to the man in white. An insignia of a Sun can briefly be seen tattooed on the man’s hand, in between the thumb and forefinger.
Joshua sighs and smiles, rocking back and forth in his chair. Rubbing his chin, he thinks of growing a beard.
Joshua: Happy Valentine’s… Grandma
February 26, 2014, Moments After Xristus/Moonwater vs. Ouja/Rapture
The black curtains of NAPW whip open as two large men with the word “Security” pasted in white on their black t-shirts escort Joshua Rapture. He smiles as he brushes them off and heads to the back of the NAPW locker-room. The locker-room is buzzes with noise as the only man in a suit gets into the face of Joshua Rapture. Terry Brandon is beating red.
Terry Brandon: Where’s Ouja??
Terry grits his teeth, angrily. Joshua shrugs, smiling and holds out one hand palm up. Terry takes out an envelope and shoves it into Joshua’s chest.
Terry Brandon: I should fire you for what you did out there.
Joshua stuffs the envelope into the waistband of his tights and calls out at Terry, who is storming off.
Joshua: Hey Terry! Tell me again what those iPay-Per-View numbers are again? What number are we again in Federation Rankings? Was it Ninth? No, I remember. It was SIXTH!
The room is silent now, all attention on Joshua Rapture. Silently, Joshua raises his arm high over his head. Fist clenched, his hand is covered in blood that isn’t his. At the centre of the fist, a TUFT OF HAIR. The locker-room is silent no-more as someone lobs a roll of wrist tape, hitting Joshua in the cheek. Joshua gets the message and heads out the Fire-Exit door, picking up a New Horizons gym bag that has been thrown outside in the snow.
March 2, 2014, A Small Cafe, Noon
At a table in a small cafe Joshua Rapture sits across from his Grandmother Pearl, playing cards and laughing. Joshua clears his throat and stares at Pearl intensely.
Joshua: Grandma… Do you remember that story you used to tell me when I was young?
Pearl: I… I think so, yes. Oh, how did it go again? “Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called Carbondale”…
Joshua: Hmm…No, i don’t think it was Carbondale, Grandma. At least that’s not what I remember.
Pearl: Oh, of course. Not Carbondale, it was Clovertown. ..Or was it Campington? I …uhh… Hubert? Joshua?
Beads of sweat escape from Pearl’s brow, as she stares off trying to focus. Joshua looks worried.
Pearl: I ..uhh. Oh I get so confused sometimes, Hubert.
Joshua pats Pearl on the hand and consoles his Grandmother.
Joshua: It’s alright Grandma, don’t worry.
Joshua waves his hand and Pearl’s caretaker comes to wheel the Alzheimer’s patient away. Joshua kisses her hand, signaling the end of the Lunch. The Caretaker starts to roll Pearl away, but Pearl turns her head to speak with Joshua once more.
Pearl: Joshua? The name of the Kingdom? ….Was it Crystalwood?
Joshua packs up the cards and smiles.
Joshua: Yes, Grandma. I believe it was.
March 3, 2014, Garden of Memories Cemetery, Sweetwater, Texas
Joshua Rapture stands at the front of a pathway going through The Garden of Memories Cemetery. He inhales deeply and exhales, heading down the path slowly.
Rapture: In the cold mornings of the Spring my grandfather would take me fishing on the Colorado River, half an hour away from Sweetwater. We would go out on his rickety boat, him with his thermos of coffee and a smaller thermos of Hot Cocao for me. We would fish for hours on that river, he would tell me the secrets of the universe. I miss him more now than ever.
I was twelve when my Grandfather stopped taking me fishing, the visits became less and less frequent and eventually they just stopped. There was a burger place we frequently would visit after fishing, there was this one waitress. After a burger my Grandfather would finish off his coffee with a slice of pie, I guess the waitress was offering up more than Key Lime. At 16 my Grandparents divorced, just too fed up with fighting.
Joshua pauses at a headstone, collecting his thoughts for a moment and then moves on.
Rapture: What I did was box, from 16 on. At first it was just something to pass the time, one of the few interesting courses they offered. I was a natural athlete already doing a bit of track & basketball, but I really sunk my teeth into boxing. The sweet science, the ebb and flow, Boxing just came naturally to me.
Boxing was FUN, i could run circles around my opponents and I KNEW it, everyone else knew it too. By 18 I was a top prospect in the United States, and I was GOING places. I left the town of Sweetwater behind, the streets I played in as a child, ALL of it.
The National Boxing Grand Prix, 21 years old. Finally, a chance to prove myself as a REAL force in Pugilism. I made it to the Finals, I roped the dopes and knocked out blockheads. Round 1 of the Finals were in my favour, anyone who watches the footage can see that, my form perfect, my strategy solid. Then, Round Two, eight seconds in, a right hook I wasn’t expecting. Knockout.
Joshua stops and sits on a bench, admiring the flowers growing naturally next to a headstone and turns to the camera.
Joshua: Now I admit, I’ve watched the footage thousands of times, and not for the reasons you think. Not because that was the day my boxing career ended, no. But because that was the moment I saw the face of God. I slumped to the canvas with a crowd that let out a sigh of collective pity, and I laughed. And in those fleeting moments I saw the strings that connect us all. I saw myself puking my guts out and working relentlessly to be the best athlete I could be, I saw my Grandparents screaming at each other, I saw myself as a boy looking up at my Grandfather sipping coffee and behind him the Sun was rising from the horizon and the face behind the stars whose hands that pluck the puppets strings. I had seen HIM, and the how all these choices that everybody makes all around us make an unchangeable Destiny that we must follow. I had seen a NEW DAWN.
Joshua leaves the bench and continues down a row of gravestones, off the beaten path.
Rapture: I’m the same age that my grandfather had his son, my father. In the past I’ve made if very clear about myself, the boxing and the New Dawn. My grandfather was the one who taught me that it was never too old to make a new start in life. To start over again, a lovely thought.
With The New Dawn, I provide a service, I offer a choice. The offer is this: A lifestyle change. In the arms of The New Dawn we provide wayward and lost beings with a new perspective on life, a positive perspective. Whether you’re a 40 something whose tried every diet and weight loss plan known and just can’t seem to shed those shameful pounds. Maybe you’re a person who has turned away from the lies that our society tries to shove down your throat. You see The New Dawn isn’t one thing, it’s a web of goals and support systems ensuring that you succeed in whatever aspect of your life. The New Dawn is a community.
Joshua stops at a headstone, it sits on top of an especially thick base. The name on the grave is Hubert, the surname has been blurred.
Rapture: My Grandfather went out to the Colorado River again. I suppose he would’ve said we went to fish, but I think it’s more likely that he went out there to reflect. Anyways…well… Do you really want to know the rest? The proper scientific term for what happened? What I will tell you is this: It wasn’t his heavy heart that took him, it wasn’t his fuzzy-brained memory. It was the river that washed him away…
…And I know that one day, I will walk into that river wearing a sheet of pure white. I will wade into the crystal blue rivers where I once fished and I will simply drift away. All that I hope is that by that time I will have left a positive influence in this world, in NAPW. It’s all I’ve wanted since the beginning.
Joshua kicks the base of the grave and curiously it slides out. Joshua takes a knee and grabs something from the compartment.
Joshua: What you don’t understand, what you have to understand is that my Grandfather wasn’t a farmer or factory worker, is that my Grandfather was a writer. This is the book I was meant to find.
I’m not crazy, to whomever is watching this. Abbey Graves, Clancy King, J.C. Chapman, Terry Brandon and other members of NAPW, know that I’m not crazy. Know my story and know the truth, because there is someone out there worse than Joshua Rapture. There is someone in this world who has lied more than anybody else. There is a blight in NAPW that only I can remove, and I’m not done yet. I won’t be done until I’m holding The World Championship.
Joshua opens the book, sending dust flying out everywhere. He begins.
“Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called Crystalwood”
Fade to black.