One of the first things we did, once Bella showed up at my doorstep, was a grand tour of the house. During which she was shown the standard rooms. You know the ones, kitchen, living room, dining room, garage turned gym, backyard (now with trampoline), guest room, that I guess isn’t so much for guests as it’s solely for her now. She seemed unimpressed with all of it.
Last but not least, my office / trophy room. Like your typical office, it’s got a big ass desk in the center of the room, with a laptop sitting on top surrounded by a myriad of papers of some import. I’m pretty sure a new unsigned HOW contract is somewhere in that mess. The walls of the office are filled with pictures of myself with other wrestlers that I’ve been lucky enough to work with. Then in each of the corners of the room are display cases that are made to hold title belts.
“How come the cases are so… empty?” my innocuous child asks.
“Apparently because I’m no good…” I answer back, with a bit of an edge to my voice.
I actually surprised myself there. Until that moment I don’t think I ever stopped and looked at the sparse cases as anything other than decoration. I never really cared that they sat there basically empty. I mean, sure there were a couple of HOW tag team titles in there (replicas, of course, because Lee won’t let you keep the real thing, in case you leave all of a sudden.) As well as a single HOW LSD title from waaaaaay back in the day (back before Lee said you can’t keep the real thing hehe.)
Three titles of any import in cases that could easily hold around 32 titles. Sure there were a handful of Fisher Price titles scattered around, but let’s be honest, they’re only there until I could fill the slot with more HOW gold.
But for some reason, standing there, looking at the empty cases I’m suddenly filled with disappointment. Disappointment in myself. All this time, instead of being the laughing stock of High Octane I could have actually… I don’t know, putting some effort into this whole thing?
What would have happened at the Lottery last year, if I actually tried? Could there be an ICON title sitting in that case? Or maybe another couple of tag team titles? Shit, now that I think about it, how many chances did Lee give the Bandits that I squandered!?
I walk over to my desk chair (made for the obese) and plop down heavily, immediately putting my head into my hands. The realization that I’ve basically wasted the last few years here in HOW. Not only have I wasted my time, but I’ve wasted the time of Cancer Jiles, Doozer, Zeb, LEE!
Oh my god. Now I really can’t stop wondering why he let’s me back into this place time and time again?
“Dad, you okay?” my child asks with concern in her voice.
“Yeah,” I mutter back. “Just having a bit of a…” I don’t know what to call it. Mid life crisis? An epiphany? An existential crisis?
Minutes pass as I sit there pondering things, my daughter just standing there looking down at me. You can almost see it in her eyes, as if she’s questioning whether or not she should call 911, or maybe her mom to come and get her out of here.
After a while I gather my thoughts and put them back into the proverbial box, hopefully never to be opened again. I slowly get out of the chair and to my feet. Glancing down at the clock that sits on the corner of my desk, I look up to my kid and ask, “Whatcha want for dinner?” As if the last twenty minutes of my mental breakdown never occurred.
“Uhm, how about Taco Bell?” she asks, shrugging her shoulders like any teenager would when you ask them what they want to eat.
With a reluctant sigh of complete defeat, I nod my head. It’s almost like a man awaiting death, just simply accepting his fate and wishing to get it over with. Of course my daughter doesn’t have a clue about my weight struggles, she just wants to eat some Doritos Locos Tacos and drink a Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze.
With a cascade of empty taco wrappers in between us, my daughter lets out a very Bobby Dean esque burp, in the near empty Taco Bell. I smile, thinking “she’s definitely my kid!” but also wishing I had been around her a lot more in the past 14 years.
“Why didn’t you order anything?” Belle asks as she begins to pile her trash into a massive ball.
“Not hungry, I guess.” I lied. I’m fucking starving!
An awkward silence emerges between us. She probably wishes she hadn’t left her phone at the house. To be honest, I’m kind of wishing the same thing… I don’t have a clue how to talk to her. I mean, I don’t have much experience talking to 14 year old girls, let alone when their my estranged daughter. Wait, that didn’t sound right. You know what I meant.
“Soooooooo,” I begin, tapping the tips of my fingers on the table top while looking around the “restaurant” almost nervously. “How’s school going?”
“Fine.” she answers, monotonous.
“Got any friends?” I continue.
“Yeah.” she answers back in the same even tone.
“Uhm, whatcha wanna be when you grow up?” I take a stab in the dark.
“I don’t know,” she sounds slightly aggravated. “Who knows, maybe I’ll end up being a cam whore.”
My mouth is left open, my eyes wide, as she smirks at me. I get over the shock rather quickly, and shrug my shoulders, “I hear they make decent money, and you don’t have to fuck anyone but yourself to make it.”
Now it’s her turn to look shocked.
“Just give me a heads up if that’s the route you take, because the last thing I wanna do is stumbled upon your site…” I have an uncontrollable shiver down the spine at the mere thought. Talk about every father’s nightmare. It’s not the fact that your daughter would do something like that, it’s the thought of seeing your daughter doing something like that! Ugh!
“What made you want to be a wrestler?” she draws me from my disturbing contemplations back into the conversation at hand.
“I wanted to be famous, and get laid.” I admit honestly.
“Are you any good?” she asks, answering a question I’ve had running through my mind since her arrival. Has she seen me wrestle?
“I was…” I say slowly, looking a little downtrodden. “Here lately, not so much.”
“How come?” she asks innocently.
“That’s the very question I’ve been trying to answer to myself for the past couple of weeks.” I answer with a helpless shrug. “I’ve got some ideas about why, but honestly, I think I’ll just focus on fixing it, rather than thinking about it over and over.”
“Yeah, mom always tells me, “Don’t stress over the things you can’t change. And if you can change them, why stress over them when you can simply fix them.””
I hate to admit it out loud, so I won’t, but that woman has the right idea. Maybe instead of fixating on the past, I really should take my own advice and start thinking about how I can fix this whole mess that is my career in HOW.
After a few more minutes of bland conversation, that meant the world to me, she finishes off her drink, including the bit with the annoying sound of slurping an empty drink through a straw, before she takes her tray full of trash to the can with the flap. I’m not too far behind her, following her as we make our way to the car outside. But I’m in for a shock, for as we reach the door I watch as she reaches out and rings the bell. You know the one, the brass bell with the equally brass plaque that states if you had a good time, ring the bell.
Tears begin to form in the corner of my eye. Sure she could be ringing the bell because she’s fucking 14 years old and has ADD like every other 14 year old, who can’t pass up the chance to make some obnoxious racket. But I’d like to think that she rang the bell because she and I had an enjoyable outing… Together.
What a week it has been. A lot of people probably wasn’t expecting this here, today. Hell, my past speaks for itself, right. One pump chump and all. But hey, it’s like I’ve been saying, it’s time for a change.
Speaking of change, my friend… You sure do know a lot of people! You might want to take a minute and thank them all! You have to wonder, what are they all there for? No seriously. Are they there to make you look better? Do you just stroll along, trip over a street urchin on your way to get some psychedelic shrimp, and ask, “Who are you?”
Then this poor creature’s like, ”Nobody important. I’m just here to dispense life advice and important nuggets of information that will help you grow as a person in your quest to achieve Starrdom in your profession.” All of a sudden the kid throws a smoke bomb and disappears, never to be seen again. And you’ll think to yourself, “I shall call him Richard, or Dicky for short.”
I honestly need an up to date Dossier here Jatt. Do you have a little black book? Or a rolodex even? Shit man, every time I see your stuff I question “Who is that!?” How am I supposed to remember who everyone is when they change so frequently? Hell, do you even remember who they all are anymore?
Elle – got this one, she’s the new woman in your life, right?
Hugo – not too sure, but I think he’s your yes man?
Joe – not a fucking clue! But I knew a Joe once, he was a complete waste of space.
Gilda, and her Mother – I don’t want to say too much about these two, simply because I’m not over it…
Sektor, wait, he sounds oddly familiar…
Ralphie – Meh. I can only imagine, a Bobby Dean look-a-like who serves as your security?
Lucy – Former love of your life?
Anton – Provides you with your whacky tobaccy?
Todd – the special man in your life?
Switch – Does he dance?
Paxton – I don’t know who this is, but I love the name!
Megan – Thank god she spells her name right! I once knew a Megan who got mad if you didn’t spell it Meagan. I spent years trying to tell her that she’s spelling it wrong!
Bella (no relation) – Love her already! But you know, like a daughter.
Ned – Flanders?
Al – Bundy?
Ruth – Baby?
Gina – You know you use too many names when I’ve finally run out of witty retorts for these people…
Milos – Who fucking cares!
Simon – Wait! That’s you!? All this time I thought Simon was just another bit character to help you fill for time. I never would have imagined the man with a million nicknames has more than one name for himself!
That’s 19 people, Jatt! There were probably more, but my finger got tired of scrolling. 19 people, 21 if you count a cosplay Catwoman you tried to fuck and a Green Lantern, which I don’t. I do have to ask though, do they all wear name tags like “Hi My Name Is…” on their chests so you can keep track of who’s who?
I have to admit that you, of all the people in HOW, get me. You do know what it’s like to be laughed at. Underestimated. Doubted. Scorned. Ridiculed. And like you said, you’ve been able to use it to your advantage. Let them underestimate you, to their peril. But you see, I learned the hard way, you can’t underestimate a Starr.
I got my ass handed to me by your protégé, so I won’t be underestimating you Jatt. I know what you’re capable of, hell you’ve got a title around your waist that proves you’re not to be overlooked. But the problem is, you DO underestimate me.
You ALL do!
The moment you used the old trope of Bobby is fat, it proves you don’t think of me as a challenge. Not for a minute. It’s just a lazy, lackadaisical, phone it in approach to someone who should know better. You should know better than to just look at the surface, to be so superficial. You of all people. How can you fall for the same trap that you lay for everyone else?
I don’t envy your position here. You may not realize it, but you’re in a lose / lose situation. Sure, you may beat me, but who cares, right? It’s just Bobby Dean. Not really a feather for anyone’s cap anymore, not by any stretch of the imagination. At least, that’s what everyone else thinks. Ooooooh but, heaven forbid, you lose!? Oh man. You lose to the laughing stock of the HOW!? You lose your LSD title!? To ME!?
How will you ever bounce back from something like that?
Last I heard MJ Flair was still on the streets begging for change, afraid to show her face for the shame she feels. Overlooking me while at the same time telling everyone she would never underestimate a guy like Bobby Dean! Who knows, maybe she’ll be the urchin you come across the next time you take your stroll?