*This conversation took place in a small Miami studio on Sunday, January 15th*
[The scene opens with Tommy and Stephanie sitting across from each other; separated by a bouquet of roses.]
Stephanie: Hiya! Today I’m joined by my guest Mr. Tommy Hawk. [Turns to him] How are you doing, sir?
Tommy: [Staring ahead] I could be better, Ms. Rose. The past two months have been rather difficult for me and my people.
Stephanie: I can imagine. I’m so sorry….. Do you mind if we just dive right into it then? Talk to me, please, what’s been going through your mind lately?
Tommy: Jon Davenport has invaded my many dreams and nightmares. I have had my land invaded, my entire world turned upside down and it is all because the white man chooses once again to suppress my people. My thoughts have been concerned with the canoe. Those who have one foot in the canoe, and one foot in the boat, are going to fall into the river. I have spent too much time with my feet between the canoe and the boat, juggling what is right for my people and what has to be done. The canoe is Tommy Hawk, but the boat is The Savage. I cannot fathom a world in which I am one or the other, but Jon Davenport has forced me to choose.
[Turns to her] Because of this, I am getting wetter and wetter as the river slowly begins to consume my spirit.
Stephanie: [Thinks about this for a moment; sighs] That’s quite the vivid picture you paint, but while a canoe may guide you down the river to uncharted territories, I have to ask about your home, sir.
How is the reservation doing now?
Tommy: [Turns away; visualizing everything] The reservation is full of terror. Men invaded our homes. They set them on fire, they pillaged and destroyed families. Men have been hurt beyond physical and mental repair. The women remain strong and take care of the children but every single person looks to me for answers. They look to me for comfort. I cannot provide it because I am not comfortable. I feel sick to the pit of my stomach. Poverty is a noose that strangles humility and breeds disrespect for God and man. We are poor in spirit, because of Jon Davenport.
Stephanie: Golly…. It sounds like you and your people are continuing to struggle. [Brushes her hair back; sighs] Tell me sir, what you did to Mr. Davenport’s ranch, does it serve as any kind of reparation?
Tommy: We found the materials to rebuild our reservation. We took them from the man who took our homes from us. Shall we not rebuild? It serves a singular purpose; to take back what the white man took in the first place. [Turns back to her; eyes pointed]
Stephanie: No, I understand the intent… I’m just– IDK. I spoke with him once before and he’s a rather um, let’s call it “blunt” man, as you well know. [Tommy doesn’t break his stare] I guess what I’m curious about sir, is what will it take to make this “even?”
And I know that’s incredibly unfair of me to ask, but I think it’s understandable to want to understand your side of this better and what you need to see done before this is…… over.
Tommy: I need to understand why. [Exhales sharply] I need to know why he has chosen me and my people. He has made it clear there is more to this than meets the eye, but I do not have the answers to those questions. Until I can understand why he is attacking me and my people, I cannot fathom an end to this.
Jon Davenport will meet The Savage and those answers will be forthcoming before I take his scalp.
Stephanie: [Glances down] Oddly enough, I tried asking him that question too and he kind of sent me in circles. It’s almost like it’s out of principal, which seems ridiculous IMO. But if we were to humor this dangerous train of diverging ideologies, do you think you can elaborate on how you and your people, and your culture, are different than Jon’s?
And as an even tougher question, do you think you can do that from Jon’s perspective?
Tommy: It is not my place to compare our cultures. [Looks into her] However, Jon has his reasons. I am a victim. I am not the aggressor, though I am being made out to be such. I am being made out to be a savage that cannot act as if a normal person. That is what it is important. I refuse to disrespect his culture in defense of my own.
I will not speak of his views, because they are his.
Stephanie: That’s fine. [Swallows] Actually, that’s probably the most thoughtful answer you could give. [Pauses; turns to him] Mr. Hawk, I’m so sorry to ask this but…. can you describe your time serving time?
Tommy: Being locked behind bars is nothing new to my people. We are often arrested and framed for crimes we did not commit. Unfortunately, I committed those crimes and I will have to suffer the consequences of my actions. It does not matter that I was goaded into acting, only that I did what I did.
[She listens intently; he looks ahead] I hurt those people. I injured and maimed those people. Prison was a penance for me, despite being there due to Jon Davenport, I still acted in such a way that deemed it necessary for my presence there.
Stephanie: I see…. You’re obviously a moral man, Tommy. [His eyes shift her way] What drives you? No– I’m sorry. What I mean is, what inspires you? What carries through the days?
What make you keep fighting, sir?
Tommy: I fight for my people. [Straightens up] I fight for those on the reservation, of whom look to me as their Chief. I fight for the rights and hopes and dreams of Native American tribes around the country. When I step into that ring, I do it because The Creator has gifted me with the ability to be able to provide for my people.
Stephanie: “The Creator?”
Tommy: The Creator is what you’d call “God.”
Stephanie: [Leans back] See, Jon said the same thing basically, but when he said it, it sounded like an insult. [Scoffs softly] Any thoughts on that?
Tommy: Jon perceives his “Creator” in his own way. I dare not question what message he believes he has heard. [Turns to her] Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf.
That is what I say to Jon.
Stephanie: I really respect your unwillingness to assume what others think… Jon’s very different in that way. I’m curious though, his motivations are “murky” at best. He has such a high opinion of himself and his God, but you…
Sir, Is this struggle between you two personal or out of principal for you? Or has it been both at one time or another?
Tommy: [Sneers through his words] This struggle between us is personal. [Looks ahead] Jon has made it so. If this were about competition, or my victories over him when we first arrived here, it would have been settled when he defeated me at Gold Rush. If this were a professional battle. he would likely be satisfied with turning the tables and beating me. He was not. No, he proceeded to put me into a position where I was arrested at Red Snow.
He came to my reservation and destroyed our homes. This has been personal since Jon Davenport decided to become the Wendigo.
Stephanie: [Searches for the right words] How do you think this will all end?
Tommy: With either my demise, or his.
Stephanie: [Leans in] Does it have be that way?
Tommy: I cannot see it ending any other way. [Turns to her] Jon Davenport wants my home, he wants my spirit and I want his scalp.
Stephanie: …….. [Deep breath] Final thoughts?
Tommy: I want to thank you for taking the time to interview me, Stephanie Rose. [She inches a smile] I’m honored to compete with you next week.
[Turns to the camera] Jon Davenport, if he’s listening, I want him to know that this can end honorably. This can end without bloodshed, if he would just answer my question…. Why are you doing this?
[Turns back to her] I intend to ask, and have an answer to that question at Casino Royal, one way or another.
Stephanie: Thank you as well, sir. [Brushes her hair back] I wish the best for you and your people. [Smiles wider] I’ll see ya next week. It’s an honor for me too.
Tommy: Thank you.
[With that, Stephanie nods appreciatively; both turn to camera as the scene fades to black.]