Saturday, March 27
The inside of the Grapplers Local 214 locker room had been quiet for a time, with two of its members sitting opposite one another and nursing their aches and pains, while the other went to wash off the sweat of a win and the annoyance of a chair shot from the LSD champion. This sudden, quiet admission breaks the silence, and it’s accompanied by a troubled sigh.
Zeb Martin rubs the back of his head and feels a lump beginning to swell, the result of a double chokeslam from Steve Solex and Hughie Freeman on the ramp not even twenty minutes ago. Even still, he’s sure he misheard what Lindsay said, and scrunches his face in confusion.
She’s seated across from him on a wooden bench, her body pitched forward and her eyes cast down to the drab tile floor. Her forearms rest on her knees, right hand balled into a fist and mashed inside her left palm.
“Earlier. When I said this wasn’t about the numbers.” Lindsay lifts her head and looks at Zeb, her expression twisting into a grimace. “I didn’t think about it at the time, and it wasn’t my intention…but with things like this, it’s always about the numbers.”
The Queen leans up and back, bringing her arms up with her. She rests them on top of her head and frowns. “We’re out-manned. And it doesn’t matter how good the three of us are, in the long run that’s never going to beat six people in the sneak attack game.”
Martin nods in agreement before removing his cap and running his fingers through his locks in thought.
“Ain’t go’n work too well in anythang bein’ outnumbered, much less go-rilla warfare,” he mulls. “But we done made it purty clear where the line drawn. Cain’t back down now.”
“Backing down’s not an option, and I’d never consider it,” Lindsay says. “But we could use a few more people to even the odds.”
“What about Dan Ryan?”
Lindsay and Zeb turn their heads to a reappeared Teddy, dressed in street clothes and toweling off his hair. He tosses the wet cloth behind him and sits down on the bench.
“Absolutely fucking not,” Lindsay replies, eyes wide, just as Teddy gets comfortable.
“Why not?” he asks. “He’d be every bit as motivated as us to tear their alliance down.”
“Ted…” Zeb begins before being cut off.
“Would you rather ask Zion or Hollywood?”
“I would rather walk into traffic and pray for the sweet release of death than ask Zion or Hollywood,” is the Queen’s response.
“Great. It’s decided then,” Teddy claps his hands together. “We ask Dan.”
“No, we don’t.”
“Why the fuck not?” Ted’s tone is littered with equal parts frustration and confusion.
Lindsay takes a deep breath, runs her fingers through her hair, and tries not to let her displeasure at the suggestion grow. It’s not Teddy’s fault; the last time he was in HOW, he knew her and Dan to be inseparable. The fracturing of her family – and her nearly 20 year friendship with the Hammer of GoD – is unknown to him. This isn’t a conversation the two of them have had yet. And it’s not a conversation that she wants to have with Teddy right now, when tensions seem to be running a little high.
Zeb can sense it too, just from her expression and the way Lindsay exhales the breath she took. The youngster from Comer darts his eyes between his two friends and interjects again. “Might wanna come back tuh this later, Ted.”
“Alright,” he says, finally picking up on the tension. “What about Bobby?”
A small look of relief crosses Lindsay’s face. “I don’t know if Bobby’s the type to go all-in on something like this, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to ask him.”
“I can talk tuh him,” Zeb nods.
“He’s got a bone to pick with Harrison still, I’m sure,” Lindsay adds, as her phone pings next to her on the bench. She looks down and, with a groan, picks it up and swipes to read the notification.
“Ugh, this kid…” she mutters with a roll of her eyes.
“What kid?” Ted squints his eyes, looking up.
“Conor Fuse. He’s like a bad penny, I swear to God. He’s forever tweeting me, and I don’t know what the hell he’s saying half the goddamn time.”
“Actually,” Ted taps his pointer on his chin. “What about him? Sure, he’s kinda nerdy but can’t deny his talent.”
“That ain’t a half bad idea,” Zeb agrees. “Sho’ did take it tuh Harmen at March tuh Glory.”
It takes half a moment before the lightbulb goes off above the Queen’s head. “…and he hates Jatt…”
Teddy grins, ecstatic at that piece of news. “That’s good enough for me.”
Steve, if you can’t tell the difference between dreams and the waking mind, how will you be able to tell the difference between an ass and a hole in the ground?
QUICK, DON’T BLINK.
I figured that Mr. Magoo wasn’t gonna be able to help himself after that post-main event scrum at Refueled 56, and lo and behold I was right. It only makes sense, I suppose; you’ve never been able to keep my name out of your mouth, Harrison, and that means we’re long overdue for this one-on-one fight.
I really can’t wait to see what you bring to the table this time. More ruminations on where my vagina’s been? Safe bet. It’s all you dudes – especially the lot of you in the Best Alliance – ever talk about, because you know you’ll never get anywhere near it. And before the jokes start in about how you don’t want it for a myriad of reasons, y’all wouldn’t talk about it if you didn’t. There should really be a Bechdel Test for HOW promos: can any man have a conversation, or get through a monologue, without mentioning Lindsay Troy or her apparent relationships? Run that back and I’d bet money that more than half of what’s taped ends up failing.
How about the last time you and I were in the ring together, Harrison? I’m sure you’ll mention that. Neither of us walked out of ICONIC with the LSD title, but at least one of us walked in there with it. I showed up to the dance with gold around my waist and that’s more than I can say for you. How’s it feel being in the same stable as the man that you couldn’t beat for that title? How angry does it make you to watch him walk around with that belt over his shoulder, a reminder of your abject failure at HOW’s biggest show of the year?
Oh, but you’re afraid of heights. That’s why you lost.
I’ve squared myself with the fact that Lee’s not going to give me a rematch, and that’s perfectly alright with me: my stablemate’s rightfully earned a shot at Jatt Starr, and I’ll be just as happy seeing the LSD title around Teddy Palmer’s waist as I would be seeing it around my own.
That’s what being a part of Grapplers Local 214’s about; we’re not a rogue’s gallery of villains and thieves, united under a banner of “being assholes.” When one of us wins in Local 214, we all win. Our banner’s about solidarity and integrity, hard work and perseverance. We’re not out to backstab each other, or pull the wool over each others’ eyes, which makes me wonder how you felt knowing that Sektor and Starr swindled you out of your money in that poker game? You all signed a deal with the devil for big bucks, only to be taken for a ride on the River by two of your own.
It wouldn’t sit well with me, that’s for sure.
Maybe that’s why you had to go sifting through the ashes of my Nana’s retirement home that burned down to come across some curtains for your next pair of tights. Or maybe you fell victim to a LuLaRoe Facebook Ad. Were you just unable to resist the sweet, sweet call of a multi-level marketing horseshit pyramid scheme all wrapped up in the disguise of comfy leggings and yoga pants?
Since Miracle Enterprises is a ponzi scheme, it makes sense. Tell me, after you swindled people out of their money for selling the Minister’s “Holy Water,” what grade of industrial strength buzzsaw and sander did you buy to cut off and even out your Conehead? You Megamind-looking moron with a pea-sized brain.
The Best Alliance jumping Zeb, Teddy and I after the Refueled main event did nothing to weaken our resolve, Steve. Enjoy the small taste of victory while you can, because that was one of many battles, and we’re preparing ourselves for the long road ahead. Lee’s not the only one who can raise an army; I’ve fought many wars against oppressors just like the GOD of HOW in my career…tyrants who ruled companies with malice and spite, who needed to be toppled for the betterment of the locker room and the business itself. I’m not naive to think that this will be easy…the toughest challenges never are…but I haven’t survived this long to see victory through without developing an iron will.
There are more people than you know who are willing to take up arms against you.
It’s only a matter of time before the Best Alliance eats itself from the inside, and the seeds of distrust are sown too thick and will choke you all.