High Octane Wrestling
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Published: Written by: Lindsay Troy

I.
November 9, 2019
Providence, RI
Barstow House: RISD Campus

KAZ

Mom warned us it was going to be bad.

She didn’t tell us not to watch, though. She’s never done that. Probably figures if she did, we’d do it anyway. At least, I would. Really, I think she just wanted us to be prepared for anything and everything tonight; for us to steel ourselves. Me and my sister Ami always get a phone call the afternoon of a show when she’s at the arena getting ready. One last check in before the dance, she says. We get a post-show check-in, too. Usually a text since HOW shows run late, and Mom’s the kinda person who stays right until the end, even if she doesn’t need to.

She always says you never know what’ll happen out there. Careers can end in an instant. Injuries happen in the most freakish of ways. Professional wrestling isn’t a sport for the faint of heart or the brittle of body, and just from what we saw at War Games, it couldn’t sum up HOW any better.

Or be a better descriptor for this prison-themed event that’s taking place at Alcatraz tonight.

“I don’t know, Kaz. I don’t have a good feeling about this.”

Ami’s sitting in the lotus position on my bed, popcorn bowl in the middle of her legs, while I fiddle with the mini-projector attachment on my laptop. Both laptop and projector sit side-by-side on top of stacks of milk crates and books. I don’t have to look at my twin to know her face sports a grimace. She’s not much of a wrestling fan; she only watches to support Mom and Uncle Dan, and she took an afternoon train down from MIT so we could watch Rumble at the Rock together.

“It’ll be fine, Ami.” The projector whirrs to life and beams the HOTv website against the opposite wall. Success. I up the volume on the laptop and now we have picture and sound. The PPV pre-show is still going on; Joe Hoffman and Benny Newell are giving an overview of Christopher America and Mike Best’s history throughout the years in High Octane.

“Kaz, the show is taking place at a decommissioned prison. Dane bailed on Mom and everyone in the Industry and Uncle Dan’s taking a major risk by stepping into his place. Nothing about this is fine.

Now I look over. She’s not grimacing; she’s scowling.

“Who the hell knows what’s going to happen in this match,” Ami continues, gesticulating with her arms. “Y’know, someone could get tossed out of the Guard Tower. Or tossed into it. They could’ve put spikes on the outside of it for someone to get impaled. You don’t know. Nobody knows!”

“Yeah, that whole, ‘Non-announcement of Guard Tower Match particulars’ by Scottywood was rather infuriating,” I reply with an easy smile, grabbing two Cokes from the mini-fridge and a bag of Doritos as I do, then hop on the bed next to her.

“Your nonchalantness is also infuriating. You’re just like Dad.”

“Hey,” I throw my arm around Ami. “I don’t want to come off like I think this is gonna be a walk in the park. I’m concerned about what could happen tonight too. I know this isn’t standard fare. And I know it seems like Mom’s back is against the wall. But we’ve seen enough of her matches by now to know that there’s nobody better than her when she’s put in that position. And she couldn’t ask for a better partner than Uncle Dan. That’s why I think it’s gonna be fine. Even if it feels like it isn’t, with all these unknowns and the shake-ups that have happened. You know?”

It takes a moment for Ami to nod.

I’m glad she believes me, because as great as that speech was, I’m not entirely convinced that I believe myself…


II.
November 9, 2019
San Francisco, CA
Alcatraz

LT

I can feel the blood soaking through that grimy rag that I tried to magically turn into a tourniquet, and it’ll be a miracle if I make it out of San Francisco without contracting MRSA.

I can’t think about that, though. What I need to focus on is how many whacks it’ll take to crack this window before Blonde Ambition breaks free from his restraint on the stairs and tasers me to hell.

I can’t get a running start and crash through it; my leg won’t hold up to get me there.

I’ve got a trick up my sleeve that I could play and maybe – just maybe – I could get myself down the stairs and past Hollywood, but … I don’t want to risk it. Not now. Not when I’m so close to freedom.

I know Dan’s injured. I know I’ve gotta end this, and end it fast, so I can get him some help. Get us both some help.

I know the kids have to be watching. Tyler too. And this is not how I want them to see this play out; me getting stabbed – not the first time, for Tyler or for myself – or for me about to do the unthinkable but – at least – not something I haven’t prepared myself for.

Time’s wasting.

Grab a chair.

Sling it true.

Glass rains down.

Hold onto those belts and hold onto the tower.

My leg’s killing me; every inch down the concrete is like the shiv’s back in my leg, but one false move, one poor grip and I’m going to freefall hard and fast.

I can feel his eyes looking down at me before I even look up and realize Hollywood’s there, and I throw myself off the tower before I even realize what I’m even doing.

I can only hope that Dan’s there to catch me, like family does.

And even as I’m falling, there’s a voice in the back of my mind that’s telling me, Baby, you’ve finally arrived in High Octane….

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