Following my loss to Hollywood, most people probably assumed that I spent the past three to four weeks sulking. They’d have been, initially, right. I wasn’t seen or heard from. For all they knew I’d tucked tail and quit like I had done so many times in the past before my glory days. The truth is that I spent a few days wallowing in my own self pity, asking myself over and over and over, ‘how could I have possibly lost to Brian Hollywood.’ Questions like that can drive a man like me insane, and are enough to drive a man like me back to drugs.
But it didn’t..
Instead it lit a fire beneath me. I’ve cleaned myself up, got myself a haircut and applied a little ‘Just for Men,’ to eliminate the grey little cunts that give my age away. I’ve been working on my tan. Most importantly, I’ve been training likea fucking machine and my body is now starting to resemble the chiselled and perfect atheltic physique it once was.
The loss to Hollywood. The shambles of the World title picture. Overlooking me for War Games. It was all a recipe to ignite the Cuban fire that was simmering beneath the surface. And now I’m back. The Gold Standard has returned and it’s time for me to take control of my own fate. My Hall of Fame induction was not the period at the end of my sentence. It was merely to allow some breathing time so that I can add a new chapter to my success story.
I’m not done by a long shot. But fire or not, I’m fucking pissed off and need to take a load off. I’ve no friends at the moment. That’s the trouble with sitting on the fence. If I’d have chosen team Lee I could be chilling with the Defiance boys and girls right now, probably making a little extra money too. Pick team Mike and it’s happy days with the HOW old guard of Max, Mike, Farthington and even fucking Scottywood. Right now I’m a fucking wildcard, and wildcards don’t have friends.
So I’ve come to a place which I’ve always considered my home away from home. Louie’s place. Louie Alvarez owns a small cafe/bistro near my place on the Miami docks. He’s a Cuban, like me, but not as good looking. A bald head, big nose and a single bucked tooth doesn’t make him a hit with the ladies, not to mention the health portion of blubber around his mid-section. But what he lacks in looks he makes up for in his heart. Louie was always good to me. He kept me fed and watered so many times when I had no money. I had a tab as long as both my arms but he never pressured me to pay it. I think he felt some kind of gratitude towards me for bringing in some custom when he first opened. Until recent times I was somewhat of a, home town hero. These days people avoid me in the street. But over the past two decades a friendship was forged, on the basis that no matter what, Louie never judged me, and he always listened.
The jingling of the bell above the cafe door brings a wave of nostalgia washing over me as I step foot into his place for the first time in three years. The place was virtually empty save for a couple of old folks eating breakfast and another old timer propping up the bar, sipping coffee over his morning paper. Louie’s place attracted a mostly hispanic clientele, which was good because a healthy portion of Miami is hispanic.
Louie’s ugly mug is the first face I see as I look over towards the counter. He hadn’t changed a bit. The jingling of the bell had made him look in my direction, and I can read the mixture of confusion and disbelief on his expression.
Louie: “Sek? Dat’ really you?”
The familiar sound of his voice forced a smirk out of me. I just stand and smile at him as he almost walks into the bar, keeping his eyes locked on me as he moves out from behind the counter to get a closer look.
Louie: “It really is you! Get over here!”
Before I know what’s happening, Louie is pulling me into his big bosom and smothering me with a world class man hug. I’m not much of a hugger, but it felt good to get some genuine, human, contact for a change. He eventually lets me go and holds my face in his hands.
Louie: “Let me look at you,” he says, taking his time to study me from top to bottom.
I begin to realise I haven’t said a single word to him yet. After so much time I simply feel awkward and unnatural.
Louie: “Geeze, you’ve aged!”
Sektor: “Gee, thanks..”
Louie widened his eyes as though I shouldn’t be surprised by that comment.
Louie: “Well it’s been, shit, how long? Like four years?”
Sektor: “Almost. Heh. It’s good to see you, Louie.”
It was nice to see him so happy to see me! I’d become content with the fact that nobody in this world gave a single fuck about me any more. But seeing how excited Louie is, reminds me that I wasn’t a complete cunt to every person I came into contact with.
Louie: “C’mon, sit down. I want you to tell me everything.”
Jesus, that could take some time. And I was planning on leaving before the rush of old bastards come creeking through the doors wanting their late morning breakfast. I follow Louie to the bar where he pulls out a stool for me. Not just any stool, the stool I always sat` at when I ate and drank here. It was a nice touch to let me know that he’s never forgotten. I watch as he swoops behind the bar and grabs a full pot of his famously, thick, blend of colombian java. I’ve been to every state and most cities in this country, and I’ve always been overseas, and nothing has ever come close to this particular blend of coffee. One sip is enough to supercharge the neurons in your brain. Three cups of this shit and I’ll be having palpitations, but it will be worth it.
He lays an oversized mug down in front of me and begins pouring. The smell of it is enough to make my brain just a little bit more alert.
Louie: “Want the menu? I can rustle you up anything you like.”
Sektor: “I’m good, thanks, Louie. I’m being very careful with my diet at the moment. Keep the coffee coming though.”
Louie smirks, perhaps remembering just how much I enjoy his brew. He pours himself a mug and probs his elbows on the bar in front of me.
Louie: “I gotta say, Sek, you’re looking real good, man. I’ve heard you’ve..”
I watched his eyes suddenly begin to panic, probably realising that he might be about to mention something which could be a touchy subject.
Sektor: “Go on, say it,” I say calmly, not wishing to intimidate a good friend.
Louie: “Nah, it’s just, you know..I’d heard you’d not been so, well, y’know?”
I smirk. Louie was the most inoffensive person on the planet. There wasn’t a man or woman alive who didn’t walk through these doors and instantly fall in love with him, figuratively at least.
Sektor: “That’s the polite way of putting it. Well, my friend, let’s just say when I left the wrestling business a few years back I fell down a slippery slope.”
The look of sympathy on Louie’s face still made me feel embarrassed. No matter who it is and no matter what state of mind I’m in, sensing someone else’s pitty is never enjoyable for me.
Louie: “Where did ya go? I’d heard you’d left the country or something? Rented out your place.”
I nod as I take my first sip of the java. It’s so hot it burns my tongue, but the taste is immense.
Sektor: “Yeah. I went to the middle east with Mike Best. He and I, well, let’s just say we had some business there. The shit we did there, on top of all the other bullshit going on in my head lead me down the old path of depression. Started off with painkillers. Then the booze, which never really helps..”
Louie: “Yeah, it’s actually a de-pressant, right?”
Sektor: “Right, just makes things worse. So then I added in the yay-yo, which I’ve always done anyway. That just gave me a ten minute buzz and kept me up all night with my own thoughts. So I ended up doing a little prison time when I got back to Miami, that’s when I got into the H.”
The lack of surprise on Louie’s face told me all I needed to know. He still kept his ear to the ground, probably still follows wrestling. He’d gotten into it when he met me and realised that I was somewhat of a celebrity.
Louie: “I’m sorry times have been hard for ya, buddy. I wish you’d have come to me. I don’t know what I could’a done, but I’d have done what I could..”
Sektor: “I know,” I interject, saving him from trying to feel any kind of responsibility for my messes. “Anyway, I’m clean now and working hard to turn it all around.”
Louie just smiles and I quickly decided to change the subject.
Sektor: “Anyway, what about you? Still not married?”
Louie just calmly shrugs.
Louie: “Ah, you know me, Sek. I’m always too busy with this place. Anyways, I figure there’s plenty of time for settling down. I’m only fifty..”
Sektor: “There’s hope for me, then?”
Louie just chuckles. God, I used to be down here most nights, drinking his stock of bourbon and complaining about my ex-wife. After those horror stories, I wondered If I was partly the reason why he never found himself a woman. That, and his unfortunate looks. But there’s someone out there for everyone, right?
Louie: “It’s good that you’re wrasslin again, eh?”
He always pronounced it ‘wrasslin.’
Sektor: “Is it?”
He cocks his head to the side like a confused puppy, caught off guard by my dejected response.
Sektor: “I dunno, man. I’m starting to wonder if I made the wrong choice coming back to it. I know I never officially retired, but this company has really gone down the shitter, and its flushing me with it.”
Louie: “What you mean? Look how healthy you are now. You wouldn’t be like this without wrasslin. In fact, the only time you ever sound happy is when it’s something to do with wrasslin..”
I raise my eyebrows as I take another gulp of the java. He’s probably right, and I’m just bitter that things haven’t gone my way.
Sektor: “Maybe, but after all these years, being a Hall of Famer, multiple time champion and cementing myself as a main eventer…that, bald headed, prick, Lee Best has me jerkin’ the curtain on the next show.”
Louie: “Hey, easy on the ‘bald headed.’”
I smile over the rim of my coffee mug and raise a hand apologetically.
Sektor: “Still, can you believe that shit? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve said many a time that opening the show is almost, if not just as important as main eventing. It’s like a good story, you know, it needs a strong opening and ending. But who does he give me as my opponent?”
Louie humours me with a shrug.
Sektor: “Fucking, Chris, Diamond!”
Louie scratches the bald head I’d just inadvertently insulted, trying to place the name I’d just given him. A sudden snap of his fingers indicates the light bulb has just come on.
Louie: “The visor guy?”
Sektor: “Yeah, the fucking visor guy. Because that’s all anyone knows him has. Because that’s all he’s fucking famous for.”
Louie: “Well no point getting all bent out of shape over it. Might as well show up, win the match, get paid and move on, right? What’s the big deal?”
I could tell by Louie’s genuine ignorance that he was still a fair weather supporter of my sport. He dipped in and out, and if there was a half decent cooking show on the same time then he would most likely watch that and maybe catch a re-run. He was also a famous technophobe. He didn’t own a computer so it was highly likely that he hadn’t paid attention to the news on the howrestling.com website lately.
Sektor: “No, you don’t get it. This is punishment.”
I sigh and rub the back of my neck, mildly regretting bating Lee so much on the internet. Nah fuck that, I have no regrets about getting under his skin. Louie tops up my mug, to which I nod with gratitude.
Sektor: “So I made a public statement on the company website, basically saying how much of a shitty job Lee has been doing running things lately. And I may have also demanded that I won’t myself to be drafted to a War Games team, and that I’ll choose my own fucking team!”
Louie: “War Games? I love War Games, it’s like the best event!”
Sektor: “I know, it literally is. Anyway, Lee hit back and stated that he had me pulling curtain duty for trying to throw my dick around. But see, I think the real punishment is having Chris, visor-cunt, Diamond as my opponent. Don’t get me wrong, Louie, I hate to completely bury one of my opponents before a match. I usually like to big them up, at least a little, so you know my victory looks like it’s worth a fuck. But Diamond? I can’t do a fucking thing with that waste of fucking space.”
I notice Louie physically grimace with how harsh I’m sounding.
Sektor: “I mean why else would I be sat here, sipping coffee and talking to you? I mean no offense by that, I love being here and doing exactly this.”
Louie simply gestures with a calm hand that no offense was taken.
Sektor: “But I mean I could be somewhere interesting right now, doing something exciting. I guarantee no one is watching this at this point. If they are then more power to them, because this is just a boring assed day in old John Sektor land. Which are my favourite kind of days of course.”
Louie: “Of course. So, what are you gonna do?”
Sektor: “What do you mean?”
Louie: “About visor-guy?”
Sektor: “Erm..beat him in less than thirty seconds and move on with my life..”
Louie: “Wow! That is boring..”
Sektor: “I know. It’s fucking awful really. But what can I do?”
The thought of how boring all of this makes me realise that, as much as I was enjoying spending time with Louie again, I should probably finish my coffee and get back out in the world to find some inspiration.
Sektor: “Well, look Louie, it’s been great to see you but I should really head off and do something remotely interesting with my life, or else just kill myself and have done with it.”
Louie: “Bit extreme, but I understand. Hey don’t leave it so long this time, ah?”
Sektor: “I won’t. I’ll be in every morning. Chow for now..”
Louie: “Bye Sek.”