Jey Uso in the Company of Shadows

Williard was alone with the colonel when he wondered

what Kurtz’s family would think if they knew how far gone

he was. Williard said Kurtz broke from them then broke away

from himself. Willard had never seen a man so broken up

and ripped apart. Jey Uso broke away too, from

the Bloodline, his family, at Royal Rumble ’23.

All Chef wanted was to be in New Orleans with his family

and make his sauces. At least he died a soldier’s death

and did not see how home wasn’t what it had been.

What is Jey Uso but a saucier, a master of obscure art,

a homebody happy to never leave his podium? What horror,

what happened to Roman Reigns, big cousin, the Head

of the Table. What grief, what loss to see a preacher disgraced,

suddenly without answers, Mom drunk and unjustified.

No one understood what Jey was feeling except his twin

brother. Jimmy knew just how hard it is to be a sheep

when everything inside you is telling you you’re a lion,

but what would they think—Umaga, Yokozuna,

everyone—if they knew, if they were here?

Drew Buxton is a social worker from Texas. His short story collection will be released this year by With An X Books. His work has been featured or is forthcoming in Joyland, The Drift, Electric Literature, Ninth Letter, and Vice among other publications. Find him at

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