Welcome once again to The Rise and Fall of an Underdog and the story of Jake’s journey into the world of professional wrestling. As always I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Jake’s hunch had been right and he arrived home to find all of his things in boxes waiting in the porch. His mother waited inside as he loaded up his car with all of his worldly possessions and drove away. It hurt him to know that she couldn’t even speak to him. They had always been so close, always there for each other, they were all they had. But now Jake had nothing. Nothing except for a car full of stuff and a business card with Steve Sebastian’s number on it. He hadn’t wanted to call Steve right away but he needed to take him up on his offer of a place to stay and to check out his other offer of some work on the side.
Steve was more than happy to oblige and within twenty minutes Jake was unpacking his stuff in his new room. Steve’s duplex was in a newer part of town and boasted a Jacuzzi bath and huge back yard with a trampoline and hot tub. It seemed like the perfect setup for Jake but he didn’t want to get into anything to permanent.
“Stay as long as you like brother.” Steve said in between sips of beer as they relaxed on the front porch. “Mi casa es su casa. It’ll be nice to have somebody else around the place. And Dr Zebenkow is dying to meet you.”
“About that” Jake interjected.
“Ah ah ah” Steve said as he waved a finger at Jake. “Don’t say anything yet. Just come with me to meet the Doc and see how it goes. Now let’s grab another beer and get our x-box on!”
The next morning Jake was sitting in the office of Dr. Peter Zebenkow. It was a nice enough office with a warm waiting room and a rather attractive young secretary. She ushered them into Zebenkow’s office and Steve nudged Jake hard in the ribs with his elbow.
“I tapped that!”
Jake laughed at his friend’s blatant lie and took a better look around the room. There were countless certificates and diplomas littering the walls along with family photos and various trinkets. Jake was especially interested in one photo. In it stood a smiling middle aged man who Jake could only guess was Dr Zebenkow and surrounding him was half of the WWE roster from when Jake first fell in love with wrestling in the eighties. Jake could name every one of them and could only laugh when he realized why they were all standing next to the smiling physician.
“Steve my man, good to see you. And this must be Jake” Dr Zebenkow had flown into the room like a hurricane and was quickly reaching out for Jake’s hand. He was a lean man with only a few grey hairs and a twinkle in his eye that Jake could only imagine was medicinal.
“I hear you’re going to be doing a bit of work with us”
“Well, sir, Steve may have jumped the gun on that one a little” Jake politely responded.
“Come now, don’t be bashful. It’s a little extra work on the side so you can continue to wrestle and actually make ends meet. Your job as a delivery man is crucial to my practice and you will be rewarded accordingly. I mean, I just couldn’t possibly make it around to all my patients. They are busy athletes and movie stars. You’d be doing me a favour and each of them a favour as well. And I can also help you out with any medicines you might need.”
Zebenkow had a grin like a Cheshire cat and he knew he had Jake with the last of his promises. A handshake later and Jake was under the employ of Dr Zebenkow. He was sent straight to work, picking up prescriptions and delivering them all over town. In short order he would be making trips all over the state and to various post offices and shipping companies too. And he would be enjoying the perks of his discounted goods as well. He and Steve hit the gym like crazy and that, coupled with his new drugs regime, resulted in a physique that Jake had been dreaming of. Steve had also hooked Jake up with a local promoter and he was soon working matches again to decent crowds in bingo halls and school gyms across town. One night he was surprised to see that two of his businesses were about to collide as he was set to deliver some goods to the man he would be wrestling that very night.
Big Mick Marshall was a former international star and tag champion in various territories. He had been a big money draw twenty years ago and now looked to be in better shape than when he was at the peak of his career. Jake had grown accustomed to meeting former stars who were now broken down train wrecks; so he was surprised to meet one who looked great. Mick was all smiles as Jake met him in the showers to give him his package from Dr. Zebenkow.
“Bit of a coincidence that you should be my delivery man! Makes for an easy evening. Let’s get the business out of the way and we can put our match together.”
He handed Jake a wad of bills and quickly set about preparing a syringe. “Will you do the honours?” His pants were already down and Jake was staring at his ridiculously taught butt. He handed Jake the needle and Jake jammed it into the sinewy muscle. “Oh, just a little prick” Mick joked. They both had a laugh and set about preparing a match that would knock the socks off the sold out crowd in the Memorial High gym.
The fans were in a frenzy as Jake climbed the top rope and did a suicide dive into the crowd and onto the faltering Big Mick Marshall. He quickly jumped to his feet and drank in the cheers and chants of “Rocket Kid! Rocket Kid!” He made his way to the ring and sat on the top turnbuckle, waiting for his fallen opponent to get back to ring so they could take it home. But Big Mick didn’t get up. At first Jake thought he may have twigged his ankle or hurt his back from the impact but when he heard a woman scream in shock and the ref call for a medic, he knew something much worse had happened.
It was a massive heart attack that killed Big Mick Marshall. It happened the moment after their big collision in the crowd and lasted only a few moments. Jake was relieved to hear that it had nothing to do with the move itself; it was something that was destined to happen at any given moment. The coroner reassured him that it could have happened while Mick was crossing the street or cooking his dinner. It just happened to be that with the strenuous activity of wrestling as an occupation, it was Jake’s unfortunate luck to have been a part of Big Mick’s demise. With the worries of being a murderer subsiding, Jake now had the worry of being an accessory in Big Mick’s death. He raced through his head to see if he could remember anyone seeing him with Big Mick before the match. The gym had been empty and none of the boys had arrived yet. Now, while the boys were all consoling each other, Jake made his way to Mick’s bags and quickly removed any remains of the prescriptions and any evidence that would lead to Dr Zebenkow. After a few more questions from the police Jake quickly made his way to his car and got out of there as fast as he could.
Steve was already snoring away as Jake collapsed on the couch and took a much needed gulp from a bottle of vodka. The evening’s tragedy would probably have scared even the toughest of men away from the racket that Jake was currently in but he was strongly trying to convince himself that it was all an occupational hazard. Big Mick dying in the ring, or more accurately on the arena floor, was just something that happened. Fire-fighters had risks, fisherman had risks, and professional wrestlers were no different. It was a bit different though when Jake considered that he was the guy pedalling the drugs that led to deaths in wrestling. He didn’t think about this too much as he continued to work his way through his trusty vodka. He switched on the TV and as he reached for the remote noticed an envelope with his name on it. He curiously tore it open to find a thick stack of legal documents outlining Alana’s request for a divorce. Jake sat stunned as the light from the flickering television filled the room and careened off his vodka bottle. He had seen a guy die tonight but that paled in comparison to the pain he felt now. Big Mick was dead and now so was Jake’s marriage. He quickly reached into the portable drug store that he always kept handy and frantically popped a couple of Ambiens, downing them with a larger than usual gulp of vodka. He would need help sleeping tonight he knew that, but it was more a way of escaping. The pills kicked in quickly and the TV light started to dissolve into a warm glow that filled Jake. He would deal with death and divorce tomorrow. Now he just wanted to feel nothing and to sleep. And he did.