Max Payne: The Wrestling

What if famous grump and bourbon sommelier Max Payne, from the famous computer game Max Payne Presents: Max Payne starring Max Payne, was a wrestler, eh?

Incidentally, screenplay formatting on WordPress is a right bother, so I’ve not done that.

(Establishing shot: a dimly lit locker room in the bowels of an elderly arena. MAX sits on a bench in the centre, in black shorts and muscle tape on his shoulders, a ratty white towel around his shoulder, staring into the distance. Posters on the walls of classic wrestling matches from long ago. Pristine, untouched packs of energy supplements sit on a trestle table next to an open bottle of Johnnie Walker.)

MAX (internal monologue):

I know, I know. I said I’d never find myself here again. ‘The last time’ came and went, countless times before, and now I’m here again. One last time. 

See, the thing about the last time, you never know when or where it’s gonna hit you. All of us in this business know the last time is waiting, just out of shot, above us and falling like the goddamn steel chair of Damocles. 

But for us, a chair shot is nothing, even when swung by the gods themselves. Fate can hit us as hard as it likes—men like us shake it off and brace for the next impact. It’s all we know how to do.

(MAX stands, grimacing as his weight hits his right knee, and begins a slow stretching routine)

Dionysius was a pussy.

(a battered communication radio crackles into life)

MANAGER (on radio):

Five minutes, Max. 



(various shots, with visual distortion to indicate injuries flaring up, of MAX stretching, shadowboxing, and leaning against a locker looking very tired indeed. A clock shows 9.29PM. Music starts: probably something terrible like Thunderstruck, he seems the type. MAX begins to walk down a corridor toward the stained black curtain separating the locker room area from the ‘arena’.)

MAX (internal monologue):

You learn quickly to kid yourself, in this business. A bingo hall with fifteen people in becomes Madison Square Garden. A backyard deathmatch in Buttfuck Iowa becomes the ECW Arena in 1995. In my head, I’ve main-evented Wrestlemania more times than there have been actual Wrestlemanias. But then, my head has received a lot of blows over the years.

(MAX stops at the curtain, waiting for the ANNOUNCER to call his name. Closed eyes, lips moving: he might be praying, or rehearsing the match in his head, it’s ambiguous. LOUD crowd noise. MAX throws back a handful of painkillers, as noise begins to fade out)

(music hits a crescendo, MAX throws aside the curtain and strides out. Complete change in his demeanour—whether painkillers or adrenaline, he’s now standing straight and looking ahead with purpose, pointing and yelling at his OPPONENT standing in the ring, looking bored. Arena is actually a small highschool gym, maybe seventy people in attendance, sitting on uncomfortable metal chairs around the ring, which has seen better days (slack ropes, frayed turnbuckle covers, canvas covered in dubious stains)

MAX (internal monologue)

‘Keep looking fierce, Max. Keep looking angry. The first step in becoming a believable monster is to look like one.’ A great man taught me that, when I was a fresh-faced kid out of high school searching for meaning. I was strong, yeah. I could wrestle—while never a champion, I made state finals. I was good

Being just good wasn’t good enough. And I had another problem. That ego you build when you’re a strong kid, when people back down—I had it bad. I thought I was untouchable. 

I was wrong.

(a kid throws what is hopefully a drink at MAX, who swats it away and glares at the kid with hatred in his eyes. the kid hides behind his dad, who is laughing at the whole encounter)

I had a choice. Join the police, or become a pro wrestler. That’s what he told me. ‘Max, you’re a bully. You’re an asshole. No-one likes you, and you have two ways to use that. Join the NYPD—the biggest collection of bullies and crooks in the entire fucking state—or stay here, train with me, and become a star. Whaddaya say?’

Thirty years ago, and I still remember the look in his eyes. Like a shark who smells naive blood. 

(flashback images of a young MAX training in a backyard ring with an older man)

He knew I was his meal ticket. His way outta the shithole that circumstance threw him into. 

(shot of young MAX on hands and knees, stretching each leg in turn)

He knew if I made the ‘wrong’ choice, that meal ticket was gone.

(MAX and the older man are practicing leg locks. Man twists, and MAX’s knee gives out with a crunch)

Motherfucker knew if I failed the police physical, I belonged to him.

The problem with great men is that when you get close, it’s usually too late to figure out that they’re an asshole.

(back to reality. MAX is still walking to the ring, but his right leg is noticeably giving him trouble. Whether it actually hurts or the memory is getting to him is ambiguous)

So here I am. One more final last time. 

(MAX climbs into the ring, and begins prowling from corner to corner, staring at crowd members and generally being a bit of a heel. OPPONENT watches warily, but with an air of confidence. This broken old man will make him look good.

REFEREE pats MAX down and orders him to his corner. ANNOUNCER taps his mic)


-fucking thing on? Is- right. Fuck. Ok. (cough) And now on to our main event of the evening! This match is scheduled for one fall-




and is a NO-HOLDS-BARRED match! To my left, weighing in at 302 pounds, fighting out of Barrow Island: LAAAAAARGE JAAAAAARVIIIIIIIIIS!

(muted cheers from the audience—it has been a long night, and this doesn’t look like match of the year material so far)

MAX: (internal monologue)

I knew this guy. I knew all the guys—when you’ve been jobbed out as many times as I have you begin to remember the faces you saw on the way up, as one-by-one they turn to watch you on your way down. 

Jarvis’s a good kid, but he never made it any further than these Saturday night bingo hall specials. He had the talent, but a chronic pain from a suplex gone bad kept him firmly anchored to the lower leagues. 


And to my right, weighing in at 315 pounds, fighting out of New York City: MAX PAAAAAAAAAAYNE!

(MAX turns in a  full circle, making eye contact with people in the crowd and generally looking like a bit of a scary sod)

MAX: (internal monologue)

These people all know my secret: I’m no better than Large Jarvis over there. I made it out, once, and I did well. Just means it hurts all the more to know that this is where I ended up.

One more final time. 

(The bell rings. MAX and JARVIS lock up.)

MAX: (internal monologue)

Here we go. 


You okay, bro? You fucking STINK. I thought we said no drinking-

(MAX interrupts JARVIS’s lecture, backing out of the lockup and delivering a very stiff forearm to the head)

MAX: (internal monologue)

I love you, Jarvis, but I ain’t taking that from you.

(JARVIS’s head snaps back from the impact. He looks hurt and a little shocked, wasn’t expecting potatoes right from the start. MAX is drunk, and dangerous. JARVIS needs to take control.)


Ok. You’re hammered, bro. I’ll take us home. But you’re not coming out of this looking good, man.

(JARVIS throws a receipt: a hard punch to the side of MAX’s forehead. Not enough to cause injury, but enough to let MAX know he’s made a mistake. He follows up with two more punches and grabs MAX in a belly-to-belly suplex. As MAX’s feet leave the ground, we enter bullet time and a monologue begins.)

MAX: (internal monologue)

I think I must have spent more time off my feet than on them, in the ring. Tonight, I’m lucky: I’ve pissed Jarvis off, but as I say, he’s a good kid, and he’ll make sure we both get out of this alive.

The suplex was beautiful, they always were. Jarvis should have been a star, should’ve gotten the opportunities I did. He’d have ended up something more than a washed-up old man taking bumps in a bingo hall for twenty dollars and a bottle of scotch.

(MAX lands awkwardly, hitting the canvas shoulder-first)

MAX: (internal monologue)

That didn’t feel great. Not the kid’s fault—Johnnie Walker got me feeling limp, in so many more ways than one. Usually Johnnie helps me ignore the pain, but when I’ve been enjoying his company all day, he makes it hard to judge whether I’m coming or going. And hell, I’ve got two clavicles. If one of them stays intact, that’s a victory.


Get up. Get up, bro! I’ll give you my finish and we’ll call it a night. 

(MAX staggers clumsily to his feet, favouring the arm that didn’t hit the ground a moment ago. He nods—not really acknowledging JARVIS’s instruction, just nodding in general, eyes unfocused and swaying.)

MAX: (internal monologue)

I wish I had some goddamn Oxys.

(JARVIS lifts MAX in a complicated hold, spinning him vertically in preparation for his finisher, a sitout powerbomb. MAX just lets it happen.)


Just take this and stay down, bro. You’re going to end up hurting us both if you get up. Take the 3.


I’m sorry, Jarvis. I love you-

(JARVIS drops MAX in the powerbomb, knocking the wind out of MAX and interrupting his words. JARVIS covers MAX for the pin.)

MAX: (internal monologue)

Ok, THAT one hurt. Broken bones are fine, blading is great, I’ll let you kick me in the face until you break your foot on my skull. But impacts to the back? I never liked impacts to the back. The way your breath leaves your body is sickening, and for a while afterward it feels like your breath ain’t coming back. You can do nothing but groan, like a steer in the abattoir who needs another shot from the bolt pistol to actually die.

(The REFEREE makes the count, and the bell rings. JARVIS immediately leaps to his feet.)

CROWD: (chanting)


JARVIS: (walking to the locker room, backward, shouts to the crowd)

I know. I KNOW.

(shot from above the ring. MAX isn’t moving, just taking long, slow breaths in the way a winded man does. REFEREE is kneeling beside him, making an ‘X’ sign with his arms to medical personnel out of shot. Camera begins to move upward, rotating in a slow spiral. Camera flashes blow the shot out, each flash turning the screen completely white for longer than the last.)

MAX: (internal monologue)

That went about as well as it could. As far as I can tell, I have:

One broken shoulder

At least one broken rib

A splitting goddamn headache.

I’ve had worse nights. I’ve had a lot of better ones. But what counts is, for a brief moment, I was alive. For one last time, I was alive and all was well. 

But now? Now I need a fucking drink. 

(flash, shot stays completely white)

MAX: (internal monologue)

Until the next last time.

About Da5e

A writer and a black metal musician.
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