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What happened, in between.


Angry Johnny
Jun 7, 2006
New Frontier Wrestling
I opened the door to the pub, and immediately saw pretty much everyone I ever knew milling about.

So this is why Rosie asked me what time I'd be by. Usually I call her after a show and say hey, I'm getting in around whenever, I'll come by the pub one to two hours past whenever, or if it's too late I'll call you in the morning. She's the best relationship I've ever had - low maintenance, not possessive or whiney, she doesn't give me crap for the fact that I'm always traveling. When I get back to town, she never insists that I spend all of my time with her. She has her own life and her own friends and she's got a lot of responsibility at the bar, so taking a day off is never an issue.

Therefore, when I said hey Rosie, my flight gets in around 9, I'm gonna go home and drop off my bags and either head right over or take an hour or two of sleep and so I should be there anywhere from 11 to 3, and she replied "Randy can you please narrow it down a little more?" I should've seen something was up.

So like I said, I opened the door to the pub, and everyone started to applaud. I probably should've expected something like this, but I didn't.

Rosie was clearing some glasses from a table when she saw me, and immediately dropped them on the bar and ran to me. She jumped into my arms and I held on as I kissed her on the cheek and spun her around once.

"Everyone, your attention please," said a familiar voice. I looked at the bar, and saw a pair of boots standing on the bar itself, in the corner. My eyes moved up to slintight leather pants, a FWO T-Shirt, and green eyes hidden behind wire-rimmed glasses.

Miss Ivy. Great.

Everyone quieted down.

"Most'a you know that this building used to be a gym. Mr. Terrance Cooper over there on the wall," said Miss Ivy, and she gestured to the large framed portrait of good ol' Coop that hung on the far side, "spent twenty years taking kids off the street and giving them something constructive to do other than act like punks and get in trouble."

Everyone was paying attention. Miss Ivy has that effect on people.

"He never charged any of 'em any money," she continued, "he treated all of us like family - like his kids. He never charged any money because, to be honest, most'a the guys he brought in were never gonna end up making any money in the business. One guy, for years, was the sole exception."

Miss Ivy pointed to the middle of the place. "Eli Flair."

We all looked. I honestly didn't see him there. The guy's massive so it's not like he doesn't stand out in a crowd, but when he wants to go incognito, he really goes incognito.

He looked at me and nodded. I nodded back.

"There was another guy," said Miss Ivy, "the best damn wrestler I ever saw, but his passion lay elsewhere."

Johnny, Angry Johnny, I said to myself. And I felt a bit of a lump in my throat.

"Here's to Fizzy!" shouted someone from the back that I didn't see.

Miss Ivy nodded, and raised her pint glass in the air. "To Johnny Fizzbin."

Everyone with a drink drank. I didn't have one, but I gave Rosie a squeeze.

"Six years ago," said Miss Ivy, "another kid came up under Coop's watch. He told me, 'Ivy, you need to check out this one. He's got the chops to make it big.' I said, what's his name? He told me, 'Randall Knox.' And he was right."

Now everyone looked at me. For someone with such a 'look - at - me' profession, I don't really like being center of attention.

They're all looking at you, Rosie, I said to her. She looked up at me and playfully slapped me on the chest.

"After Coop died," said Miss Ivy, "I tried to keep an eye on all the kids as best I could, but Randy... he needed some special attention. I knew he wanted to be a wrestler full time, and I knew he had the chops to do it, but he was just a kid."

She looked at me with that Ivy McGinnis look, that was a mixture of pride and exasperation. I winked at her, and she laughed, and shook her head.

"I told him to go to college and get an education," said Miss Ivy, "and then I'd see what I could do to get him a break. Well, he went to college and got an education, and came out of it during a pretty ****ed up time in the wrestling business, when I didn't really have much of a hand in things. But what did he do? He didn't wait for me to hook something up for him, he took the initiative and called Craig Miles, of all people, and hooked himself up a deal with New Frontier Wrestling."

My face reddened. I had my reasons for doing what I did, but I never thought Miss Ivy would get 'em.

"He could've traded on all our names to get to the top in a hurry," said Miss Ivy, "but he didn't. He went so far as to put on a mask and be completely anonymous, to go out there with nothing but his ability, and see what he could do on that."

The Messenger is not Important, I whispered to Rose.

"Look at him now," said Miss Ivy, "New Frontier Wrestling's World TV Champion."

Rose left my side and went back behind the bar while Miss Ivy was talking. I saw her fill two pint glasses with Brooklyn Lager, my favorite. I walked to the bar, and one of the guys that I didn't know got up and offered me his seat.

"So, a toast," said Miss Ivy, "To Randall Knox, known professionally as Impulse. The absolute best that all his teachers had to offer."

"To Randall!" answered everyone. Thanks, I replied, and this round's on Miss Ivy.

Everyone laughed. The jukebox started up again, and everyone returned to normal. I put up a hand and helped Miss Ivy down from the bar.

Rosie wiped off the spot where she was standing. Anyone else would've been yelled at, but Miss Ivy owns the place.

As soon as she was on the floor, she punched me.

Hey, I said, what's the deal?

"How could you not tell me what you were doing," said Miss Ivy, "Why is everyone convinced I was this brittle woman who couldn't handle anything?"

Rosie knew too, I said, did you hit her?

"Course not," said Miss Ivy, "She works for me, she could sue me."

"And I would," said Rose, as she refilled a Jack and Coke for a young looking girl.

Miss Ivy gestured to the corner. I followed her in.

You know, I signed a contract with the FWO, I said, that makes you my boss too, so I could sue you.

"Doesn't work that way, kiddo," said Miss Ivy, "Your job is to get hit, so I'm just doing your job. But I did wanna talk to you about the FWO, if you've got a minute."

Sure, I said. I took a drink from my beer and leaned against the wall.

"It's a different game over there," said Miss Ivy, "I know you think you've seen some stuff because of Miles, and because of Eddie, but that's just the tip. Craig isn't insane, he's too sane for his own good. And Eddie... he's got some ego problems but he's easy to predict, because he's always doing what he thinks is best for business."

And the FWO isn't like that, I asked.

"The FWO is full of egos and psychopaths," said Miss Ivy, "and I just want you to be prepared for that."

Really, I said, I just waded through five opponents with entitlement complexes to get this belt. Besides, and this isn't a complaint, but of all the lessons and all the work we did back in the day, you never did give me a heads up about that.

"I couldn't," said Miss Ivy, "that's something you needed to learn for yourself. It's just part of the game."

Gotcha, I said, but if I can survive a year in the NFW, I can handle the FWO.

She smiled. "Maybe so," she said, "but let me give you a little bit of advice. You're going into a company that me and Eli built a pretty big portion of, that he never really got the credit her deserved for."

Okay, I said.

"You're the best wrestler I've ever seen," said Miss Ivy, "better than Johnny was. The guys who came out of this gym know this business backwards and forwards, but have historically never gotten their just due."

Okay, I said, again.

"You just remember, when you get in that ring, that you set the tone."

She tapped me on the stomach and walked away. "ReAction is Wednesday," said Miss Ivy, "Fly in Tuesday, you can stay at the condo with me and Sean and we'll go to the arena together."

She walked back to the middle table where Eli was sitting with the band. I watched her go, tripping on her words. Rosie left the bar again and fell into my arms.

"What did she say?" asked Rose.

Well, I said, I'm not entirely sure, but I think she was telling me what my next career move should be.

"Oh?" asked Rose, "And what's that? Where should you go next?"

I smiled. Anywhere, I told her. Anywhere at all.

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