A Bump In The Road (Ricky Stevens RP)

A Bump In The Road (Ricky Stevens RP)

Posted on June 21, 2024 at 3:41 pm by Scott Stevens

Two days removed from the far reaches of the north, Ricky Stevens, the youngest of the Stevens brothers, has taken his talents south of the American border down Mexico way for a little rest and relaxation before heading towards the land of kilts to help his brother and then back for the biggest event of the summer. The sun slowly sets over the Mexican plains, casting wide shadows across the many bars and small businesses that occupy this neighborhood. In one run down shack with no name, just a picture of a beer bottle on a piece of sheet metal, the music is particularly raucous. Loud hoops and hollers flood out through the front door and the cracks in the aging walls to the street level. The building has become notorious for its wild fiestas, bloody bar fights and criminal activities, to the point now that when it opens every evening the surrounding businesses all immediately lock up shop for the day.

However, inside the establishment, men and women talk loudly, drink heavily and grope furiously in the corners. It’s a swirl of humanity pushing themselves to and from the bar and pounding down half clean mugs of brew. In a dark corner, atop the cracked and stained leather cushions of a booth sits Ricky Stevens, and directly opposite his best friend and manager in chief, Dru Danes, both with ready drinks in hand.

“To, getting back to where we need to be,”

Ricky starts, lifting his drink up.

“And to seeing the world.”

Dru replies.

“And to seeing the world.”

He agrees.

“And all on someone else’s dime!”

Dru grins back, before lifting and clinking her glass to Ricky’s. They drink and slam their glasses down like veterans, Ricky motioning to the waitress for another round while Dru leans back and studies him.

“You know Rick, maybe it’s the alcohol talking, but you…”

She starts.

“Yes?”

Ricky asks with an eyebrow raised.

“Don’t actually seem all that happy for a guy that just defeated the thorn in your side the majority of your MVW career and now you’re a few victories away from attaining your goal of becoming MVW champion.”

“I… um…. well…”

Ricky fumbles for words, thrown off by the line of questioning and his fogged-up beer brain.

“You know,” she continues “you need to unwind a bit. Really enjoy the good while it lasts. For tonight, you are Ricky Stevens! Number Two Contender! Conqueror of Bill Dickinson! On the Dynasty team with all the buzz! Or, at least one half of a tag team that is buzzed.”

She laughs loudly at her own terrible pun.

“The point is Rick, tomorrow that might all be over. You might have lost. Your family members may get eaten by a chupacabra or impaled with a claymore. And hell, we may all be dead come War Games. So, drink merry and be loud!”

She finishes, downing her newly arrived drink as Ricky finishes his own drink and quietly concedes.

“You are right. I guess, I just do not think I can let my guard down. Everything is changing so fast. A month ago, I was struggling to keep a float in the men’s division. Almost touching the brass ring, and when I thought I was within reach, it was pulled away from me.”

Ricky hits the table in frustration.

“Now? Now I’ve found my footing once again and I am winning matches against some of the best MVW and the entire wrestling industry has to offer.

He tells her before slowly looking down.

“Sometime, I feel like….like I do not belong. Like I am coasting in someone else’s life, and eventually they are going to show up and want it back.”

Ricky informs Dru who places a hand on his hand.

“I feel like I am an intruder, both in my head and in the MVW locker room. And because of who I am, the veterans, they ignore me. And hey, I do not care. They see a lot of young guys come and go every month. Hell, every week. Guys who show up for a pay check and take the fall against Ultratron or get groped down by Captain Jack. However, that is really, you know, the kind of guys I have beat so far. Guys who do not belong at any level of this sport. Guys who are paid to stuff the under card so the fans have time to get to their seats without missing anything good. Guys who would be better served just staying here in Mexico and joining a local restaurant as a burrito roller. But Luke Woods? He is the champion. He belongs here. He is someone I want to be because even though he is not a veteran of the sport, he is someone who knows the ins and outs. Someone who always brings the A game any given week. Someone the young guys in the locker room looks up to!”

“So what?”

Dru interjects causing Ricky to look at her.

“Just because this guy is someone you want to be doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself one night of happiness and merry making?”

Ricky waves off her pleas with a sweep of his hand.

“You just do not understand. It is about respect. And preparation. Luke is going to bring it hard. He wants this. He probably feels disrespected, a champion like him being stuck on the under show with the sideshows like Bill Dickinson and J.J. Bittinger. For all of McAvay’s platitudes and continuing to do this to him, and for what? To stick him in matches that are glorified ratings killer? Hyping him up as a transitional champion until maybe that inbred hick Dickinson get a lucky win? I know I would be pissed off and ready to hurt the guy on the other side of the ring. Which is, you know, me. I have to be ready to take this guy down. To prove that he belongs on this side show of a card lineup. That he has already experienced the pinnacle of his MVW career, having crawled to the top of the smallest mountain, and now it is time for him to disappear into the ranks of has-beens, not because time is not on his side, but because skill, wit and talent were never on his side. That he started an ill-fated journey that his meek frame and slow mind were never fit to complete. This is not a revolution. This is not a shakeup of the establishment. I am not some newly crafted youngster trying to remake the entire business in to his delusional idea. I am just out to prove myself better than those around me. Better than those who have demonstrated that they cannot hack it against real talent. Better than Luke Woods.”

Ricky decrees as Dru leans back.

“Well, aren’t you just Mr. Better than everyone,”

She dryly states and rolls her eyes.

“I think you need to pick yourself out one of these fine senoritas, and take her back to our hotel for a little, ya know. Wink wink. Nudge nudge.”

Ricky once again brushes her off with disinterest.

“Maybe later.”

“Or maybe now!”

She grabs him by the hand grinning and half leads, half drags him against his meek protests up to the bar where a cluster of young ladies is gathered around.

“Go on.”

She nudges him.

“Let’s see some of the famed Stevens charm you are always boasting about.”

Ricky cocks a smirk.

“It got you didn’t it, but Dru, I really do not want, now is not the time or night for…”

He gets shoved hard in the back and stumbles in to the circle of women. Ricky casts his gaze down, obviously not in to being here,

“Uh….hey, ladies,”

He starts weakly.

“Who you callin’ lady, gringo?”

Ricky’s eyes shoot up from the floor and lock with the object of these ladies’ obsession. How he missed a titanic Mexican man in the center of their huddle from all other angles he couldn’t fathom. Silently he cursed himself for not looking at the situation more and his own toes less.

“I, uh…”

For the second time tonight, Ricky finds himself without the proper words to address a rapidly worsening situation.

“Perhaps….”

The man starts again as Ricky slowly begins to back up.

“You think I am pretty huh? Perhaps you wanting to take me back to your place for cocktails.”

The man needlessly and obscenely places emphasis on the last word.

“Perhaps, I look like fine woman to you, eh gringo?”

Ricky shakes his head with his hands up.

“Look, I am sorry, I will just…”

And by the grace of God, Ricky ducks hard, sending the giants left hook sailing over his head and crashing into a post, splintering the wood deep. Around him the bar explodes into chaos as different rivals, drinking buddies or complete strangers start taking swings at each other.

Momentarily distracted by the fray, Ricky never sees the next punch.

————————————————————————————————

Sometime much later, Ricky groggily comes to. As he slowly pries his own eyelids open his initial concern is that he might be going blind. Around him the world is fuzzy and slowly tilting from side to side. Quickly the thought of blindness is shoved aside by the imminent possibility of death, as his head splits violently open down the center, spilling his thoughts and pain out onto the hard concrete below him.

Or doesn’t, he reassures himself, touching his forehead and finding no actual splits or gaps. Ricky pushes himself up by one hand and surveys his new surroundings. Concrete floors. Concrete benches. Concrete walls. Hard metal bars cover the only opening to the hallway and freedom beyond. Silently he curses himself and Dru for allowing this situation to ever occur. Who knows if he’s missed War Games as he has no watch to check, and he is waking up half hung over from alcohol and half from a right hook in a Mexican jail cell with no way out and no sign of help.

Most of the other men in the cell look none too friendly, typically hanging out in solitude or quietly dozing in the corners of the cell. Wanting answers, he picks the friendliest looking one of the bunch, a man at the end of their shared bench, his head hung low under a thick mat of dark hair. A large poncho is draped over his body, but he is obviously in fairly good shape. From what Ricky can discern the man is also a fellow “gringo”, even with his clothing being to the contrary.

“Hey buddy…”

Ricky initiates the conversation only to be cut off.

“They call me Jose.”

The man under the poncho replies quietly.

“Okay then, Jose Gringo. How the hell did I end up here?”

Ricky asks as he places his head in his palms from the pain.

“The policia dragged you in a few hours ago. Said something about a bar fight. Disorderly conduct. The usual.”

Jose informs Ricky as the Texan thinks it over for a moment.

“Any idea when I get out of here?”

“When they are ready to let you go. Why, got big plans today?”

Jose cackles madly.

“No buddy, you are probably stuck here for awhile!”

Once again, he descends into a mad, ear-splitting laugh. The other men in the jail cell ignore it, or turn back towards their walls, none obviously willing to tell him to shut up. Which at this point Ricky would gladly welcome.

“Great.”

Ricky mutters.

“I do not need this shit today! I have places to go! Crowds to entertain! People to beat to a pulp! I cannot be stuck here! I have a match to be in!”

He pleads in a shouting manner to no one in particular.

“A match?”

Jose perks up slightly, seemingly less bored now with the newest arrival.

“What kind of match?”

Ricky loses his fire, once again the weight of his situation sinking in on him,

“A wrestling match. I was supposed to be on a plane headed for Scotland to compete in War Games for High Octane Wrestling helping my brother become the world champion once again. Or…… I become it and still the glory.”

A devilish grin forms over Ricky’s face but it quickly evaporates.

“Instead, it looks like I will get to fight the rats for stale bread while I wait for someone in the States to bail me out,”

Ricky slumps back against the wall muttering to himself again.

“Aaaahhhh….a wrestling match.”

Jose replies while deep under the hair and beard of this Jose, a wide smile begins to form.

“You will need more than pleas to God to get you out on time for that. And even more than that to win.”

Jose informs him.

“Yeah well, its crap now.”

Ricky mutters.

“The show will go on. Scottywood will go one more day believing he is relevant. Bobbinette Carey will go one more day living her faux superstar lifestyle. Mike Best will go one more PAINFUL day inflicting himself and his brand of quote unquote entertainment on the undeserving and unsuspecting fans of High Octane Wrestling. Like some sort of brutal cloud of boredom, he will continue to beset the masses. All because I got tossed in the clink for getting knocked out by some fat Mexican. Screw it all!”

Ricky stands up and shouts thrusting his fist into the air.

“Then, you would give up? You would stay here? You would let your fans go bored because of this Mike Best hack? Disgraceful!”

Jose growls and Ricky waves him off.

“Like I have a choice in the matter, “Jose” if I had it MY way, I would be out delivering a beating to fill the seating. I would be pleasing the Scottish masses by whooping some jabroni asses. Hell, if I had Shane Reynolds’s feminine form and could slide between bars, I would go forth and beat Mike Best’s ten-year-old school girl physique from pillar to post. I might even wind back up in here for accidental manslaughter, or given the situation, mistaken child abuse. But the fans would be enthralled. They would be entertained by the most shockingly painful white on pasty white hate crime they have ever witnessed over there. And if they actually had any money the Spider merchandise would be flying off the shelves. Then maybe McAvay, or Lee, or Bergman or that itdiot Triple R from SEC or whoever is pulling the purse strings around here this week could actually open it up and bring is some real talent to compliment the likes of Ricky Stevens and The Stevens Dynasty.”

He states as he rubs his hands together.

“Maybe they could bring in more people who are the anti-Silent Witness. Those with talent. Those that are not completely and totally out classed, out skilled, and out witted by myself and my family. My family and I are like the damn Survivor champions of wrestling. Every week we go forth and put on our best show, our best effort. We entertain the viewing audience. We win the accolades, collect the awards, embrace the cheers and steal the respect. And they? Jatt Starr? Warrick Hill? Darin Zion? They do the Survivor equivalent of sleeping on the beach before accidentally crotching themselves on a tree limb and getting voted RIGHT THE HELL HOME for on air euthanizing the fan base.”

Jose stayed silent for this whole spiel, but under the thick hair he occasionally nods slowly, agreeing and sympathizing whole heartedly with Ricky’s rant.

“Then, my new friend, it truly is an emergency. You must go. You have much work to do.”

Jose stands up and walks over to the bars and with authority he calls over the guard and quickly converses with him in Spanish. Finally, the guard gives in and Jose nods back to Ricky.

“You are free to go friend. Happy hunting out there.”

Ricky stands up looking confused, apprehensively he approaches the jail cell door, which the guard swings open for him. Slowly he walks through, letting the gust of cool wind hit him in the face. Suddenly a large hand grabs his shoulder. Looking back Ricky stares into the eyes of Jose for the first time tonight.

“If you ever need anything else, I’m here every night.”

Jose states.

“In this jail cell? Every night?”

Ricky looks at the man confused.

“Aye, its warmer than my home.”

Once again Jose breaks into a mad cackle and walks back to his bench, around him the other inmates continue to ignore his loud intrusion as Ricky quickly heads to the exit and the scene fades.