We Don't Need No Education
"This is fine," said Ivy McGinnis, as the taxi pulled over at the corner. She handed him a wad of bills and stepped out into the warm June air. The low radio and cabdriver CB faded into the sounds of the Bronx in the evening.
Its rhythms were soothing to Ivy, as time spent in her 'official' home of Orlando, Florida, to her, never compared to the home she grew up with.
As she walked down the street toward TC's Pub, the activity around her was slowly replaced by a growing lyric.
"Breaking the Law" by Judas Priestess was playing, very loudly, on the jukebox. The all - female Judas Priest tribute band did not have an album out, but since the ownership and management of the bar was on friendly terms with the band, they had several top notch rehearsal demos available for public consumption.
"MCGINNIS!" shouted several people as soon as the diminutive blonde stepped inside the door. Ivy slapped hands with several regulars as she walked around the bar. Valerie and Tracy were working tonight: Cally was somewhere with Knox doing the NFW thing or the EPW thing or wherever it was he worked.
Didn't matter: he'd be running both of those promotions before the year was out.
"Good evening, ladies," said Ivy, "Where's Tweedledee?"
"Downstairs," said Valerie, as she handed a short glass with two fingers of single malt to her boss, "He's been there for a few hours now."
Ivy took the glass and didn't break stride. She walked around the bar, through the swinging door, and turned a sharp left. If she kept going straight she'd have ended up in the kitchen where Spider put together his meager bar food.
Although, his nacho plate with the homemade salsa and guacamole was second to none.
No, the first left was a straight path downstairs, to the storage room for all dry goods and non-perishables.
And a wrestling ring.
The building used to be Coop's Gym, the dive where legendary hooker and shoot wrestler Terry Cooper taught the neighborhood kids the finer points of professional wrestling for nearly fifty years. He was good at his job, too: his early students might be lost to the territory system, but in the past thirty years he broke 'Total Elimination' Eli Flair, 'Impulse' Randall Knox, and the greatest wrestler you never heard of, 'The Enigma' Johnny Fizzbin, into the sport.
When he died, he willed the building to Eli Flair and Ivy McGinnis, and when they realized they didn't have the time to devote to training the next generation, they turned it into a neighborhood pub. Still, Eli could never part with the ring where he learned his craft, and it was moved into the basement. It was completely non - functional; the ceilings were only about twelve feet, the five foot three Ivy McGinnis could barely stand up straight in the middle.
But it was always where Eli came to think.
"You ready for this?" asked Ivy.
"Yeah," said Eli, sort of absent - mindedly, like he wasn't really thinking about his answer. He was lying on his back in the middle of the ring, his black hair spread out messily around him. He wore his black leather trench coat despite the warm weather, along with a plain black button down shirt and black leather pants and boots.
"Good," replied Ivy, "Rudy's waiting. He said he can get something up on the website if we can get it to him in the next two hours. And I really wanna get one back for him."
"Get what back?" asked Eli. He still hadn't moved: this was his mellow spot.
"The way Dane was such a dick to Rudy," said Ivy.
That's when Eli sat up. He rolled once and swung his legs under the bottom rope and sat with his arms on the middle, and he looked at his best friend. "I mean, I'm not defending him," he said, "but he was just confrontational, really. He's just scared and out of his element and playing defensive. I thought it was funny, actually."
Ivy shook her head. "No, I mean what happened before the spot filmed."
"What happened before the spot filmed?"
"I told you already."
"No you didn't."
"Yeah," repeated Ivy, "I did. I asked Rudy why he looked so upset during the entire interview, and he told me what was what, and I forwarded it to you."
Eli stared at her.
"In your email," said Ivy.
Eli shrugged his shoulders.
"Didn't you read you email?" asked Ivy.
Eli raised an eyebrow.
"Of course you didn't," said Ivy, deflated, "Have you ever checked your email?"
"Never," said Eli, "Wasn't it enough that I finally bought a cell phone?"
"Which you never take with you!"
"That wasn't part'a the deal," replied Eli, "If I'm not here, home, or the apartment, I'm with you or Angel. Isn't that enough of a way t'get in touch with me?"
Ivy didn't say anything, she simply punched him in the chest.
"So what's up with Rudy and Donny?" asked Eli, ignoring her attack.
"He was apparently pissed because Rudy made him wait," said Ivy.
Eli rolled under the bottom rope, and they started to walk to the stairs. "That's not like Rudy. Did he have reason?"
"Apparently the camera guy called out sick and they couldn't find anyone to man the camera. Rudy tried to find anyone who could do it but there wasn't anyone else there, he had to drag Marvin out of the nerve center to man the thing."
"Did anyone tell Dane what was what?"
"Dunno," replied Ivy. "Why?"
"Because if they told Dane, this is why we made you wait, then he's just a dick," said Eli, "but if nobody told him this very reasonable reason why he had to wait, then he kinda had a right to be pissed. I'd be pissed at Rudy if he ever made me wait."
"He never made you wait," countered Ivy.
"Hence I've never been pissed at him."
They walked out of the basement, and, presumably, a block away where Eli Flair still kept an apartment in the Bronx.
(FADEIN: A Bronx, New York fire escape.
It was twilight. Not the terrible pseudo vampire movie more commonly known as twiglet, but it was about twenty minutes after the sun went down, and the sky was glowing red all through the background.
In the foreground, Eli Flair was sitting, with his elbows rested on his knees and his hair pulled out of his face for once - in a ponytail behind his head. With his hair out of his face, the scar that ran from his forehead to his cheek over his left eye was very well pronounced.
He looked like he had something to say.)
FLAIR: So that's where you're taking this, Dane?
I'm old and retired and unfit to take place in this tournament, so you're going to be taking this match in a cakewalk, fueled by your disdain for everything corporate and mainstream, because you've carved your place out in this tournament as the outlaw and the outsider and you'll refuse to acknowledge anything that points anywhere else.
If you were tryin' to be any more underground, I might need a shovel and a treasure map.
But what's your angle here, Dane? The fact that I left the sport three years ago?
That's a dangerous game, Donny.
There was a two year gap between my match with Dan Ryan at NFW's Wrestlebowl Two and my match with Sean Stevens at FWO's 2009 Cyberslam, but it didn't stop Trip and I from stealing the show.
I train just as much now as I did then, and I'm in just as good shape now as I was then, cheetos - and - mustard - stained shirt and all. You should know, Dane... you're just as good as I am right now, and no better.
(He smiled, and ran his hands through his hair.)
FLAIR: Two and zero, Dane.
That's the only thing that matters right now: the Ultratitle.
And I say that despite the fact that, according to you, I'm currently disrespecting the entire thing.
FLAIR: Are you f'king kidding me?
I'm livin' the dream, Dane.
Take a thousand wrestlers from all promotions and all income levels and ask 'em what they want outta this business, and I'll guarantee you one thing. The young kids, the ones who have't had their eyes opened yet, they'll tell you they wanna be World Champion.
The other eighty percent, the ones with family at home, or the ones who've learned the truth: the ones who've been hitting two hundred and fifty shots a year for at least five years? They'll tell you they wanna make enough money t'go home.
I made enough money t'go home, Donny. Twenty times over. The past decade was all about giving back t'the sport.
So, not only are you not a rebel for questioning my dedication to this tournament, but you've shown your ass as the tool that'cha are for tryin' so hard t'drag my name through the mud: a name that's pretty well f'kin' respected in this corner'a the industry.
It's like the wannabe - edgy musicians who rail against the government. You really wanna be edgy, you accuse the jews'a runnin' Hollywood, then you can see how anti - establishment y'really are. Yeah, you're edgy, but you'll also never work again.
The ultimate irony to me, Dane, is that you don't get it now, and your arrogance pretty much determines that you'll never get it.
You've gotten spoiled from the first two rounds of the Ultratitle, coupled with what I can only assume has been your entire career: you're surrounded by a lack of competent competition.
It's as if you think declaring yourself better than me makes you better than me. As if your imitation of the rebellious attitude that Randalls, Tsunami, and I held for realzies seventeen years ago meant that you were truly as defiant as the three of us.
Maybe you are; you're probably not. But be that as it may, I've taken out better wrestlers than me time and again, and I've been far better at this than countless wannabes that've managed t'pin my shoulders t'the mat.
The point is that it's entirely possible for you t'get lucky this round. And I hope you believe in luck, because it's your only saving grace.
Because the alternative: the reality that you built where I'm somehow transformed into a soccer mom trying to keep the cellulite from working its way up my ass? It's laughable at best and wishful thinking at worst. But keep believing it. I love barely getting past my opponents, it makes me feel alive and it makes me happy to give the fans their money's worth, but if you're gonna overshoot me by as much as you're braggin' ya will, I'm just as happy to step between the ropes, knock your overconfident ass to the canvas within five minutes, and be home in time to read my daughter some Dostoyevsky before she goes to bed.
I'm serious, she's smarter than both'a us.
But go forth and be Defiant, Dane. The world sees you for what'cha are: a disposable hero with no more rebel in ya than the latest super bowl halftime show.
I'll prove it, too. If you were truly an outlaw on the edge of this industry like you claimed, you'd've torn me down on your own broadcast and gotten Defiance Wrestling over at the expense of cS Enterprises. Instead, you conformed to what the Establishment wanted you to do and your adversarial attitude only served to make for lousy television.
In other words, the Dead Kennedys might've been the greatest punk rock band that ever existed, but there's only one Jello Biafra. Only Brandon Cruz would sit in the chair and try so hard to convince us that he's not an agent of The Man.
If he was really punk rock, he wouldn't've had t'convince anyone of anything.
Think about it.