Sorry, Not Sorry
The following RP is being brought to you by: Reese’s Cup.
Sunday Night June 16th
An ordinary, non-descript living room. The camera panned around a used couch in the middle of the room that had seen some wear and tear over the years to a figure lounging in a Barcalounger with the foot rest up.
A man wearing a lucha mask.
A man lounging in a Barcalounger with a #97 red High Octane Wrestling World title belt draped across his chest. Two Reese’s Cup wrappers draped the end table off to the side of the lounger.
New HOW World champion Halitosis relaxed on his Treyburn ll Manual Push Back Recliner Chair Savannah Whiskey Top Grain Leather chair with the padded footrest. He had a beautiful view of the Tennessee countryside through the window directly in front of him. He could see the sun outside as it began to turn a mixed shade of orange and red lighting up the lower part of the sky in brilliant multi-color pastels. The bright round disk also appeared slightly enlarged in size as it started to dip under the horizon for the day- marking the near conclusion of what had been one of the busiest weekends ever for the Luchador with Insanely Poor Oral Hygiene.
The journey started on Friday night in Tampa, Florida. The finals of the HOW World Title tournament where Halitosis stunned the wrestling world by defeating two-time champion Brian Hollywood to win the tournament and the HOW World title. It looked like Hollywood had Halitosis pinned late in the match. But, following a distinct pattern that took place throughout the tournament, one little mistake by his opponent, one opening left for Halitosis to use his lethal breath turned the tide of the match. The end came when Halitosis and Hollywood both tried to spear each other and their heads collided together. Halitosis was fortunate to be the one who fell on top of Hollywood to seal the victory and the title.
Winning the title meant traveling back to Tennessee the next morning at a nice and leisurely pace was out of the question. Saturday instead saw Halitosis, and his wife Laura, caught directly in the swirling vortex of daylong media availabilities that bordered on overwhelming to the once relatively anonymous professional wrestler. Sunday was the ‘come-down’ day. After flying back to Chattanooga, Halitosis and Laura returned to their modest house in the early afternoon and lounged about the rest of the day.
This is cool Halitosis thought staring down at the sparkling brand new HOW World title belt. Twenty-six wrestlers had started the tournament with the hope of being the last one standing. But at the end of the tournament…
“There can be only one,” Halitosis declared grandly out loud, doing a poor imitation of Christopher Lambert’s voice in the movie Highlander.
“What was that, dear?” said the inquisitive voice of his wife Laura Bergman from the kitchen.
“Oh.” Halitosis called back to her, “Sorry.” Then he thought about it. Wait a minute. I’m not apologizing for that. That was funny.
He stood up on the Barcalounger and channeled his inner Alan Rickman in Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves in bellowing out with all the overdramatic, overwrought flair the he could summon from deep down in his soul, “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!”
Halitosis imagined all the windows breaking out creating an explosion of sound that filled the house, flashes of lightning shooting down from the sky. Raising his arms slowly into the air, he pretended to be struck by a column of light and screamed out “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
The whole screaming thing piqued Laura’s curiosity. She peeked her head around the edge of the wall and saw her husband standing on the lounger, reenacting the climactic scene from the movie Highlander where Christopher Lambert wins ‘The Prize.’
Laura mouthed ‘What the fuck?’
“The quickening overpowers me!” Halitosis said, spinning in an excessively campy fashion and inching precariously close to the edge of the chair. “I KNOW!”
Dressed in her work clothes- a conservative business suit with sensible heels, Laura folded her arms and tapped her foot on the floor, looked down, and shook her head.
“I KNOW EVERYTHING!” Halitosis thrust his fist into the air. “I AM- EVERYTHING!” He unleashed the ultimate primal scream of primal screams. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH…” The front legs of the Barcalounger lifted from the floor. “…HHHHHHHH??…” Then gravity caused the heavy end of the chair to tip. “…oh oh…” The back of the Barcalounger landed hard on the floor propelling him into the air. “…whoa-a-WHOAAAAAAAAAAAA!”
Laura watched with fascination her husband flying across the living room in what appeared to be slow motion. She braced herself and tensed when his head passed within inches of the light fixture hanging from the ceiling before he landed with a splat on the floor mere inches from the antique Georgian Mahogany grandfather clock that’s only been in her family for decades.
Laura exhaled a breath of relief when it became apparent that the antique clock was safe. She walked over to where her husband sprawled out on the floor.
Halitosis looked up to see his loving wife standing over him. “Ow.”
Laura did not appear amused. She stuck her heeled foot on his stomach and scolded her husband, ““I don’t care if you are the HOW World Champion, don’t stand on the furniture!” She removed the heel from his chest, turned, and stomped out of the living room.
“Sorry.” Halitosis responded contritely. Thankfully, nothing was injured other than the bumps and bruises he’d received from his match with Brian Hollywood and the post-match attack.
“You can be such an ass sometimes.” Laura raised a middle finger with her right hand and disappeared back to the kitchen.
Pulling himself back up to a sitting position and dusting himself off, Halitosis checked his watch. “Dammit,” he said, realizing what time it was.
The studio the Wrestling Guys did their podcast from could be best described as ‘cozy.’ Behind Fred ‘Thunderbolt’ Smith is a brick background with a banner with the ‘The Wrestling Guys’ logo hanging up against the wall. A table separated Thunderbolt from his co-host and former pro wrestler of his own right “Long Haul’ Rick Hall. Hall sat in front of a dark, black curtain. Both spoke into microphones attached via arms to a fixture in the middle of the table. Both sported polo shirts…Smith’s was black…Hall’s red…with matching ‘Wrestling Guys’ logos emblazoned on the front. Thunderbolt wore a baseball cap backward on his head to accommodate the headphones.
Thunderbolt adjusted the headphones and spoke into the microphone. “Well, there was some big doings at High Octane Wrestling’s Refueled Four Friday night.”
“Yes there was,” Hall agreed. He also played with his headphones for a few seconds until he was satisfied with the fit over his ears.
“Usually, Cinderella stories make big waves early on but then usually fizzle out at the end. But in this case, the Cinderella story actually went all the way.”
Rick Hall jumped in, “The most improbable run I’ve seen in my pro wrestling career. Completely out of nowhere.”
“He is the new High Octane Wrestling World Champion. Ladies and gentlemen, on the line with us is Halitosis.” Thunderbolt pushed a button to put Halitosis on the air. “Halitosis, welcome to the Wrestling Guy’s podcast and congratulations!”
“Hello!” Halitosis’s tired voice called out. “Thunderbolt. Rick. Good to hear from you and it was good to see you last night in Kansas City.”
“Where are you at now,” asked Hall.
“Home. Barcalounger. Lots of ice.” The HOW champion paused and broke up the dialogue. “Thank God.”
Thunderbolt leaned forward towards the microphone. “I’m sure you had a very busy weekend.”
“That’s an understatement. I’ve never talked to so many people in one day ever.”
“So, forty-eight hours after winning the title- how does it feel?” He sat back and waited for the response.
“Great. The best feeling ever. Nothing will ever top the moment when Matt Boettcher handed me the title belt and I knew I’d finished the job I set out to do.”
Thunderbolt followed up. “Did you imagine being in this position at all when you signed for HOW in March?”
“Nope. Did not see this coming.”
“No one saw Halitosis being the last man standing in a tournament that was loaded with so many big names,” Hall interjected. “But he did. Congratulations.”
“Thanks Rick. Yeah, holding this belt right now means so much to me. It doesn’t matter how long I’m champion. Just the fact that I won the tournament over so many wrestlers who are so far ahead of me talent-wise- ah, geez, I’m just lucky and blessed to be the HOW champion. Leaving the Yuengling Center Friday night with this belt makes eleven years of hard work worth absolutely every second.”
“Tell us about the match with Brian Hollywood,” Thunderbolt said.
“Um, well? I started slow, I remember that much. Hollywood came out aggressive. Wasn’t surprised by that. I just hung in there as long as I could and waited for my opportunity.”
Hall stepped in. “And it happened when he tried to pin you after hitting the second Paper Cut.”
“Yep. I got him with my breath of death and the match changed. Later, we charged at each other. Bonked heads. And I somehow ended up on top of him. And here I am.”
“So, now that you’re the champion, are you still getting used to all the attention that being a world champion brings to you,” Hall added and then he scratched behind his ear.
“Still getting used to the attention. Most of it is pretty cool. I’ve done more media interviews in the past twenty-four hours after winning the title than in my entire career before I won the belt. Lots of media requests. Just crazy. But that’s part of the gig now for at least the next twelve days- hopefully longer.”
“But even with all that, you still have to get back to work,” Thunderbolt commented. He pointed at something behind Hall. Hall pointed behind him in return.
“Yes. I’ve been informed by Dawn McGill that I’ve got the weekend to do all the fun stuff that comes along with winning the big belt. But once Monday hits-”
“It’s back to work,” a female voice said off-mic.
“Hey!” Thunderbolt said as Dawn McGill strolled into the studio in a white button down shirt, light blue pair of jeans, and plain black flats on her feet. “And speaking of the manager of champions, look who’s here!”
Hall saluted her. “Miss McGill.”
“Mr. Hall.” McGill pulled up a chair and sat down next to Hall. She placed a pair of headphones over her medium length blonde hair. “Halitosis! Long time no see.”
“It’s back to the grind because Halitosis has a rematch with Max Kael in less than two weeks for the title,” explained Dawn, brushing her blonde locks out of her eyes. “And with War Games coming up fast, there’s no letup in the schedule. It’s back to work and back to pushing the rock back up the hill again.”
“Ray McAvay told me it’s hard enough to win the title- it’s even harder to keep the title. If you look at HOW’s title history, it’s full of champions who don’t make it past the first title defense. I’d like to be one of them who does so I’m going to do everything in my power to make it happen.”
“Well if you lose, at least your title reign will be one day more than Ray McAvay’s was,” cracked McGill. She burst into laughter after making the slight dig at her ex-husband’s expense. McAvay had a thirteen day title reign in 2016 after he was the sole survivor at War Games.
Thunderbolt and Hall joined in the laughter as well.
“You know, it’s going to be so damn ironic when I pull into the wrestler’s parking lot in two weeks. Mr. two-star wrestler driving his usual cheap rental car into a parking area full of shiny, fancy expensive vehicles and limousines of wrestlers with much more impressive resumes than mine, the elite of the elite…and yet, at least for the next show, I’m the one holding the gold.”
“Enjoy it tonight,” Dawn said. “You’re still going back to work tomorrow.”
“Yeah. I’m going to enjoy and savor every second.”
“What do you think about the reaction to your win?” Thunderbolt asked, gesturing with his hand as he spoke.
“Well Thunderbolt, I think for the most part, I think the reaction’s been positive. I’ve received calls and texts congratulating me on winning the title. Um, when word got out that I was going to be in Kansas City last night, there was a spike in the walk-up ticket sales and I think they also had a full house.”
“That’s got to be a pretty neat feeling,” Hall said.
“Yeah. It is. That’s the cool part of this whole thing- being on a big platform- more people know who you are and want to come see you. I have signed more autographs this weekend then I’ve ever have before.”
Suddenly, Laura Bergman’s voice cuts through the phone line. “JESUS!…”
Thunderbolt and Hall sat up straight at the clearly unhappy voice shouting at Halitosis from what sounded like another room in the house.
“…WOULD IT KILL THE HOW WORLD CHAMPION IF HE CLEANED UP AFTER HIMSELF IN THE BATHROOM?”
Dawn shook her head sadly. “Dude.”
“SORRY!” Halitosis’s voice shouted.
“The flip side is there’s been some chatter about you winning the title is a sign of just how far HOW has fallen,” Thunderbolt commented.
Dawn leaned towards the microphone and coughed. “…John Sektor…”
“Right,” Hall said. “And on Twitter, Dan Ryan responded to Mike Best during one of their exchanges about HOW’s upcoming War Games with ‘…But when the CWF champ is me, and the one he was just forced to crown is Halitosis…’ How do you respond to that?”
“You know. Dan Ryan is a great wrestler and he pointed me towards the world of corporate sponsorship.”
“Oh I almost forgot.” Dawn reached into her purse and pulled out a Reese’s Cup candy bar. She turned to the camera and flashed a cheesy smile. “NOT SORRY!”
Dawn flipped the candy across the table to Thunderbolt who cleanly caught it in the air.
“Got to love corporate sponsorship,” Thunderbolt said, unwrapping the Reese’s Cup and imbibing in a little mid-show snack.
“Dan Ryan has had a great career and he’s earned the right to say whatever he wants. That’s his opinion and it doesn’t bother me. My job is the same as his. Wrestle. Entertain the fans. Win matches. He’s done it for a lot longer than I have and at a much higher level. The same with John Sektor.”
“Jackson C. Horne?” spoke up Hall. “The legendary wrestling manager had some harsh things to say about you in his ‘The Horne Sounds’ podcast a couple weeks ago. He’s said this on his latest podcast.”
Thunderbolt hit a button on the console and Horne’s voice blared through the speakers. “Well, they went and did it. Congratulations High Octane Wrestling. Your new crappy champion is the one with the worst fucking gimmick ever in the history of professional wrestling. You know what? Fuck it. Lee, you deserve this guy as champion. High Octane Wrestling deserves him as champion. The time to send the ‘brute squad’- which happens to be three of the best wrestlers there is- to the ring to take out this no-talent, outlaw wrestling, pretend wrestler is BEFORE the one-two-three takes place and you’re stuck with this idiot as your WORLD CHAMPION!”
“Well, what do you say to that?” Thunderbolt asked Halitosis.
“Jackson Horne is entitled to his opinion but I don’t agree with him. The fact that I won the world title shows that even a two star talent can win with hard work, drive, determination, and the ability to ignore the people who tell you, and in my case still tell you, that you can’t do it.”
Dawn chimed in. “I will say this. I sense that Horne seems a little…I don’t know- upset? Appalled? Even offended?…that Halitosis actually had the audacity to go out there and win five matches in four shows, win the tournament and the world title. I mean…” Her voice turned sarcastic. “…the nerve of that guy, who the hell does he think he is winning a twenty-six person tournament- something that twenty-four other wrestlers couldn’t do- including two of the people who attacked him after the match.”
McGill pulled a second Reese’s Cup out of her purse and held it up to the camera. “Sorry. NOT sorry.” She handed the Reese’s Cup to Rick Hall.
Hall pointed up, “Twenty-four out of a twenty-six person tournament?”
“I’m not counting Mike Best disqualifying himself out of the tournament,” Dawn clarified.
“I almost get the sense that some people are looking for me to apologize for winning the tournament and the title because ‘I’m not the wrestler they think should be holding a world title.’ My response to that is simply- no. That’s not going to happen. Sorry, not sorry.”
Dawn produced a third Reese’s Cup candy bar from her purse. She turned to the camera and did her best Vanna White imitation, showing off the bright orange and brown wrapper covering the two pieces of candy to the people watching the podcast.
“Speaking of the post-match beatdown,” Thunderbolt jumped back in. “What are your thoughts on the post-match attack on you by the Best Alliance? Sending a message?”
“The only message I took from it was it’s easy for four people, three of whom I don’t think broke a sweat all night long, to take down one person exhausted from just wrestling a match.”
“Next week, you have to wrestle Max Kael again at Refueled Five with the title on the line.”
“Yep. It’s hard enough to defeat Max once. It’s going to be even harder to defeat him a second time. One, I don’t think Max will overlook me this time around. Two, the title’s on the line so you know he’s going to come at me with both barrels lock and loaded and full guns blazing.
“Halitosis is going to have to climb that hill again,” Dawn said. “He’s going to have to push the boulder all the way up to the top of the mountain. Scottywood is the Hardcore Artist. He does crazy stuff in the ring-so, I prepared Halitosis for a hardcore match. Max Kael? He’s just plain crazy. So that’s how I prepared him for anything and everything. Max- the second time? He’s going to be even crazier with an opportunity to win the HOW World title for the third time. I don’t think Halitosis has seen Max at his most diabolical yet. So we’re going to have to work our ass off in training for the next week and a half to make sure he’s in the best condition possible when he steps into the ring with him.”
“Can you win again?” Hall queried.
“I’m sure as hell going to give it my best shot. But this isn’t Missouri Valley Wrestling where a Charlie Blackwell or ‘Redneck’ Bill Dickinson can be champion for a year or more. The competition in High Octane Wrestling is at a much higher level. The talent pool is much deeper and much better. Everyone wants this title belt. It’s just that competitive. It is that hard to remain the champion for any amount of time. That’s why I will make the most of the time I have this HOW World title belt. You just don’t keep it that long.”
“And he’s right,” Dawn concurred. “To win the HOW title is an accomplishment. But staying on top is a whole different thing. If you win the title and defend it once- you’ve had an okay title run. Twice- you’ve had a good title run. Three times- a very good title run. Four times- an excellent title run. Five times- a great title run. The fact that Tara Davidson defended the world title eight times in one hundred and thirty-nine days? No one is ever going to touch that. It’s that difficult to stay at that level for that many matches. That’s the challenge Halitosis faces and the first step in that journey starts next Friday at Refueled Five against Max Kael.
“Let’s talk War Games real quick,” Thunderbolt said. “August. It might be the final show ever.”
“Thunderbolt, I would love to be on a team and I hope it works out that I’m on a team, right now, my focus is on Max Kael at Refueled Five. I’ve got my hands full at the present coming up with a game plan and that’s the only thing that’s on my mind right now. Dawn’s right. If I’m not completely on my game next Friday night, Max is going to wipe the ring up with me. Or worse.”
“So I’ll talk about War Games,” Dawn volunteered. “It’s interesting how this is shaping up. Dane, Troy, Ryan, and Flair are a huge upgrade on the Best Alliance team that finished third behind the 4CW team and the winners- Team Scott Stevens. After the disaster in 2016, Lee’s brought in mercenaries to make sure it doesn’t happen again-“
“Yes, Halitosis,” answered Thunderbolt. “Do you have something to add about War Games?”
“I-ya…no. I think I have to go now.”
“Oh? But we’re talking about War Games,” Thunderbolt returned.
“Nope. He definitely has to go now.” It was Laura’s voice now on the line.
While Halitosis stood in the living room talking to the Wrestling Guys, his wife slunk out from the dark hallway. His mouth literally fell to the floor, eyes wide open and round like the cartoon eyes of the Hooter’s owl. Laura modeled for her husband the same outfit Tiffani Amber Thiessen posed in a pinup picture that served as his screensaver on his desktop computer- a low-cut white lacy outfit with straps that fell off her shoulders and a side slit that went all the way up to her waist.
“Like I didn’t know you had this on your desktop as your screensaver,” Laura said holding his cell phone in her hand. She made sure all her curves were present and accounted for by her husband.
Halitosis meekly waved to acknowledge her radiant presence, a feeble gesture from a man temporarily unable to make a coherent sound.
“So. Does the HOW World Champion want to go back to the bedroom for some world championship sex?” her voice dropping an octave to sound dark, husky, and seductive.
It took a few seconds of him just gawking at her before her question finally registered. Halitosis eventually nodded- actually, it was more like a bobble up and down.
“Sorry guys,” she said, “but-“
“WE KNOW!” Thunderbolt, Rick, and McGill all said in unison over the phone. “NOT SORRY!”
Laura produced a Reese’s Cup candy bar and turned and posed with it.
“You’d better hurry up and get back there,” she told the HOW World Champion, batting her eyes at her husband. “This chocolate is melting in my hands and I may have to wipe it all over myself.”
Silence. Except for the working mechanism of the clock.
Like the Road Runner hauling ass away from Wile E. Coyote, Halitosis took off in a dead sprint towards the bedroom.
“What took him so long?” Thunderbolt’s voice asked through the phone.
“I would have been gone at ‘melting in my hands’” Hall’s voice quipped.
“YOU BETTER BE READY TO GO TO WORK FIRST THING TOMORROW MORNING!” Dawn’s voice bellowed loudly.
Laura heard the bathroom door slam shut followed by the sound of a person gargling with what appeared to be an entire bottle of Listerine.
“Yeah,” she said, terminating the call and placing the phone on the coffee table. “Not sorry.”