When I was a kid I used to get the shit beat out of me a lot and I guess things haven’t changed much. You know what they say, if you’re good at something then you should never do it for free.
The land of opportunity that VeeVee had dumped us in turned out to be a place called HO Wrestling and as previously assumed the only difference between it and any other promotion out there was the acronym and the accent color they used for branding. Which that in itself was sus af because I could have sworn my contract had a clause in it that said use of color was strictly prohibited. Double standards are alive and well in the patriarchy, I guess.
The mangled body of what was left of Damon Rigg’s Ferrari sat forlorn to the side of the airplane hanger sized garage looking as out of place as the corpse of a murder victim someone dressed up in an evening gown and propped up in the middle of a Miss America paegent. Probably if you had enough to drink you could make a case for taking it home after the bikini competition but you’d still eventually end up disappointed it wouldn’t perform. The garage was home to most of the exotic toys that the inhabitants of Parts Unknown had collected over the years but eventually they had run out of space and had been forced to begin construction on a second hanger next door to this one that would handle the overflow.
JJ Starfire shifted uncomfortably beside me as Vhodka leaned closer to inspect the damage with a whistle that said clearly she was impressed by either the damage or that the two of us were still above ground.
“This is going to be such a good story, isn’t it?” Vhodka wiggled her eyebrows, cocking her head to the side in a way that indicated she was ready to give her full attention to JJ and myself. I shrugged my shoulders while maintaining steady eye contact. First thing any lawyer is going to teach you is to shut the fuck up. Don’t say shit. Doesn’t matter what they have on you, doesn’t matter if their case is as tight as a mummified nuns vagina just shut the fuck up.
Silence stretched uncomfortably like pulling out a hair that’s stuck in your buttcrack. I could feel JJ squirming beside me as he resisted the urge to blurt out every single misdeed he’d ever even contemplated committing in his life if only to fill the uncomfortable silence between the three of us. Don’t you do it, motherfucker.
“Noe–” The second half of my name was muffled by the thwack my hand made as it connected to the back of his head. “YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO SAY.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry, JJ. Please continue.”
“Noelle go-” THWACK. “YOU TOLD ME I COULD SAY IT.” JJ lifted a hand to rub the back of his head, subtly shifting his body closer to the protective radius of Vhodka.
“Doesn’t sound like something I’d say.” My attention shifted back to Vhodka who held the attention span of a goldfish and likely had already forgotten what she’d asked in the first place. “You’re not actually planning on fixing this, are you?”
“Oh god no, Dane is delusional.” In more ways than one. “I’m just hanging out until my friend gets here to pick me up and then I’m off to a union meeting.”
This seems like a somewhat sane statement to make if you don’t understand who Vhodka Black is as a person. At all times Vhodka Black is merely one step away from total genius or crackhead and if she is left unsupervised for literally any amount of time you run the risk of her mobilizing a bunch of stoned wrestlers on Twitter into forming a union and staging hostile coups against the companies they work for. Or as we like to call it, Wednesday afternoon.
It said something that people were willing to not only take a woman who added an H to the word vodka completely seriously but also that she had managed to form a small grassroots army and mobilize them into complete guerilla warfare in only two hundred and eighty characters. Only a crackhead would attempt it, only a genius could pull it off.
JJ relaxed his body against the corpse of the ferrari, looking down at Vhodka with genuine interest. “Why do wrestlers need unions again?” Fucks sake, JJ.
“Dude, why DON’T wrestlers need unions? Have you seen what some of these companies pay? Half of them don’t even offer healthcare. I’ve put at least forty five minutes of research into this and it is absolutely eye opening what some of these places are getting away with.” Vhodka reached behind her to extract an iPhone covered in what looked suspiciously like fried rice from her pocket, flicking away a stray piece as her fingers moved nimbly over the cracked screen. “Let’s take this place you two are working now for example, right? Now, the positive thing is that they’re fully transparent with their salaries. That’s a step in the right direction. But have you seen what some of these people are making? It’s criminal. How are people supposed to buy private jets and third world countries on salaries like this?”
For what may have been the first time ever, JJ and I both stared at Vhodka with identical expressions on our faces. At first, she couldn’t seem to decipher why but then all at once the realization of what she had said hit her full force.
“Oh but like, it’s the perfect place for you guys. You’re still new so it’s cool.” Salvation came in the form of the garage door sliding open behind us. Vhodka squealed with delight as she ran towards the door and the waiting arms of Megan Thee Stallion aka Tina Snow aka the nastiest bitch you know who stood framed in the daylight pouring through the open door.
“What the fuck is Megan Thee Stallion doing here?” The words left my mouth like projectile vomit. They responded simultaneously with “hot girl shit” and “irritating Mike Best” before saying their goodbyes and disappearing back through the door of the garage. FINALLY.
Situated on the wall behind the Ferrari corpse was a color coded wall with hooks lined neatly below each different colored column, keys hanging on most of the hooks. The colors were not labeled, nor were the keys but I assumed that each color likely coordinated to a member of one of the Black-Wolf-Riggs-Preston families. It also made sense that someone who acts like they walked off one of the lowest grossing Mission Impossible movies would not label the keys, as Dane is exactly the sort of guy who would think being able to tell the keys apart by memory was something that would impress other people.
As I surveyed the assembled keys JJ joined my side clearly concerned for what was coming next but smart enough to realize that he would not win the argument. Instead, he tried a different maneuver. Distraction.
“You did pretty good against that Genosyde guy. He was huge, I would have probably had a hard time with him too.” Oh god, work talk. Maybe if I ignore him he’ll stop talking. “If he wasn’t so big you probably would have won it.”
“Not fuckin’ likely.” I paused, turning towards JJ as I tried to figure out how to explain this in a way that the dust bunny he called a brain would understand. “Losing was always the plan. It didn’t have anything to do with size or ability or whatever the fuck else you want to chalk it up to. I lost because I did not want to win.”
JJ’s brows furrowed together as he studied my face, clearly believing the words coming out of my mouth but not understanding why I was saying them. See, this is the difference between JJ and myself. JJ is the type of kid who puts his all into everything he does no matter what it is, no matter if he even really wants to or not. He’s still under this naive delusion that if you work hard and do everything right that the people will take notice and it’ll all pay off for you in the end like life is some feel good Hallmark movie.
If you didn’t know him you might think that the world hadn’t kicked him around enough but after a year of living together I knew that he’d been kicked around plenty. That kind of abuse wears down most people, takes the shine off them, you know? It didn’t wear down JJ. He was still just as shiny as the day he was taken out of the package.
I don’t think I’ve ever been shiny.
“I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t you want to win if you could? You could have been a champion.” The wheels were turning in his mind but he couldn’t get from point A to point B.
“And what do I get from being a champion, exactly?” I turned back to the wall of keys, running my fingers over a set to look at the logo on the key fob.
“Belts come with bonuses. And bragging rights. And respect!” The earnesty in his face almost made me regret the involuntary bark of laughter. Almost.
“Respect? JJ, open your fucking eyes. They aren’t going to respect me. Ever. And they sure as shit aren’t going to respect you no matter if you launder their skid marked underwear for the next six months or not.” JJ folded his arms over his chest and I knew what his counter argument would be before he even said it. “Don’t fucking say it JJ.”
“But you got drafted before either me or Murphy in the War Games draft. Why would Mike Best draft you if he didn’t respect you?” JJ said.
“Maybe he was trying to assemble the thirteen heels of wrestling and came up short, maybe legally he had to have one of the three women in this entire company on his team or else people would protest. Fuck if I know.” I took a chance, pulling a key off the wall and shoving it into my pocket for the time being.
“Well, either way at least we’re all going to get to be on the same team at War Games after we win these qualifying matches. That’s going to be so cool.” JJ trailed behind me as I weaved my way through the assembled sports cars to a black Porsche on the front row.
“You can’t be serious.” You’d think he’d know me better than this by now. I am disappoint.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” JJ stopped to stand on the opposite side of the Porsche as I pulled open the driver’s side door.
“What about me screams team player to you? Why the fuck would I want to team up with any of these assholes?” I paused. “You know what, don’t answer that. Go open the garage door.”
He stood rooted to the spot, disappointment blossoming on his face like clouds passing over the face of the sun. He didn’t say anything, only stared at me long enough and seriously enough that I had to look away.
“You’re going to throw the match again.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement and underneath the statement was something much harder than I was used to from the man across from me.
“Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ, JJ. What do you want from me?” The inside of the car was immaculate but it also had the added benefit of being a welcome respite from JJ, at least until he wrenched open the passenger side door and flopped down in the seat to continue his ocular assault.
“I want you to be on my team. And Murphy’s team. I want us to go out and show everyone that we aren’t just the undesirable fringe surrounded by legends.” He leaned forward trying to catch my line of sight and I tried very hard to avoid his. “You’d do it if it was Asher asking.”
The anger was instantaneous, shooting through my body faster than Taco Bell. This time I met his eyes as I invaded the hell out of his personal space as he retreated back towards the edge of the passenger side seat.
“Yeah, well, it isn’t Asher asking because in case you haven’t noticed Asher hasn’t said more than four goddamned words since we got picked up in Miami.” I poked my finger into his chest like a dude with morning wood jamming his dick up against his companion’s ass hoping that if he pokes her hard enough with it she might take it out and actually do something with it.
“And secondly you mook fuck, I do what I want when I want and only if I want. I don’t give a flying fuck or a rolling rim job if it’s Asher asking, you asking or fucking Billy Crystal himself asking. If I decide to throw every single match in this shithole it’s my business. Not yours. You got it, fuckbuckle?”
He stared at me for a moment and for a brief second I thought he might grow a backbone but the moment passed and he retreated back into himself as he always did in these sorts of confrontations.
“Alright, I’m sorry. I just really wanted to do this together.” If I watched closely enough I could almost see him hunching in on himself as he spoke. The thought that I might be the one to finally wear off his shine whispered through my mind trying to decide if it was an idea or a warning. It was enough to push the anger back to a level that was manageable as JJ pulled himself from the car to open the garage door in front of us.
I didn’t want to be the thing that wore the shine off of JJ Starfire. The realization of this replaced the fear with something closer to panic. JJ was none the wiser as he settled back into the passenger seat and closed the door.
“What are you doing?” He asked. It took me a minute to realize he meant the Porsche and not what was happening in my head.
“Dane told us to use what was in the shop and that’s what I intend to do.”
I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t feel like doing it, I don’t even want to do it and yet here I am wasting my time on someone like Darin Zion.
Every now and then, Vhodka comes through unintentionally and she had done so when she made the comment about the biographies for the roster of Ho Wrestling being listed on their official site. I’ll be honest, I had no fucking clue who Darin Zion was when I got informed of this match. Usually, I would have kept it that way because, well, why the fuck waste the brain space on a useless fedora wearing fuckmuppet? That’s not shade, the guy seriously unironically wears a fedora, m’lady.
So anyway, after some checking I found out a few things about our boy Zion. First of all, this motherfucker makes like 50k a year. That’s it. There’s no punchline, the facts are funny enough.
Fink it fru, bruv. Darin Zion, a world known professional wrestler only makes as much a year as the assistant manager of an Olive Garden. We’re not talking about a good Olive Garden either, we’re talking about like two stars on Yelp, tops. The fucked up shit is I can’t even solely rag on Zion for this because it’s not entirely his fault. We’re the ones dumb enough to be working for a place that’s only health insurance option is a high deductible plan with a complementary HSA like they’re paying enough for us to meet the goddamned twelve grand out of pocket minimum before the shit actually kicks in and covers anything.
But the reason I bring this up in the first place is because Zion is a guy who likes to talk about being a “pissed off submission machine looking to break necks and cash checks” – but only checks for approximately $958 a week after taxes. This motherfucker is out here handing out $400 gift cards to Logan’s Roadhouse all willy nilly like he’s some sort of millionaire. Zion, babe, I’m going to need you to stick with Groupon where you belong before you have to start bumming rides to the church food pantry to survive.
It’s true what they say, you pay peanuts – you end up with a monkey.
Now, Zion has some complicated lovers quarrel going on with Jetted Bathtub because idk I guess they were fucking and then Jetta got mad and punched Zion’s “girlfriend” (I haven’t figured out if she’s a real person or a Real Doll yet) in the face. Zion got in his feelings about it and vowed revenge blah blah blah. I don’t even understand why he’s so pissed off in the first place though. Made of latex or not, I saw what she looked like before the goddamned Jets broke her nose and I honestly think it’s a step up from what it was and a step down from putting a paper bag over her head.
While all this shit is going on my boy Zion has still managed to find the time of the day to be like, idk, a fucking time traveler or something? Cosplay Captain Strange? I’m not a fucking nerd so I don’t know the correct terminology. But riddle me this cum coughers, if Zion has the ability to travel through dimensions or glory holes or whatever the fuck he’s doing the why the fuck is he moonlighting as a professional wrestler who gets paid as much as a wal-mart door greeter in a $15 minimum wage state? Like, you have unlimited power to do sci fi shit and you seriously expect me to believe that you’ve chosen to be a low paid professional wrestler? Don’t you have more important shit to be out there doing? Shouldn’t you be solving climate change or something? Get your shit together, Zion the polar ice caps are melting.
And all the while he pisses and moans about respect. No one respects him. The hall of flares don’t give him respect. Wah wah wah wah. Let me ask you something Zion. Why the fuck do you care if any one of these motherfuckers respect you? Do you think suddenly they’ll be your friend? Or start treating you with even a morsel of human dignity? I got news for you friend, that’s not going to happen. You could be the baddest motherfucker in the place and they’re still going to shit in your protein shake because they can smell the weakness wafting off of you like the smell of shit on a dick when you go ass to mouth.
See, that’s the difference between you and I. You crave these people’s respect like you crave title matches you always come up short in. But me? I don’t give a fuck whether they respect me or not because there ain’t one motherfucker on the roster that I respect. And you may be the human equivalent of having to pull a dry tampon out of your vag on a low flow day but even you deserve just a little bit more.
But hey, what do I know, right? After all, I’m not even trying.