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 with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Jake shook his head as he stared out the window of the bus, headphones blasting, and an itching for a drink that definitely needed scratching. He had known that his co-worker Harry would have a hard time keeping his wrestling career a secret at the warehouse, but he had thought it would have lasted more than three days! Jake had approached a bunch of the guys at break time that morning and was promptly greeted with a headlock and chants of ?Hogan, Hogan, Hogan!? For the rest of the day guys were trying to make him ?Tap out!? and asking to see him in his spandex. He was even greeted at lunch by a particularly rotund forklift operator in just his underwear, holding a bottle of lotion, waiting to spar with him. And this was just the first day of it.
Jake continued on for a couple of weeks like this. Photos were stuck in his locker, countless moves were tried on him when he wasn?t looking, and someone even managed to find a Rocket Kid poster on e-bay which now hung with pride in the break room. (Jake wondered which of the guys had made the lipstick marks on it, but ultimately didn?t really want to know!) He understood that this was all a joke and they didn?t mean any harm, but it still got to him. He took pride in his wrestling career and felt like every time they laughed or made a judgement they were belittling everything he had worked for. Their laughter made Jake realise that he wasn?t cut out for this line of work; the nine to five, punching a clock. So he quit. One day, half way through his shift, he just walked out the door. Before that though, he ripped the Rocket Kid poster off the wall, signed it, and threw it on the lunchroom table. Jake wasn?t cut out for a life working in a warehouse, he was a professional wrestler.
As he fled the scene of his now former job the impulsivity continued. He quickly rang every promoter in his little black book, checked that his gear was still in the trunk, and hit the road. He didn?t call his mother or his pregnant wife, he just headed to the first match he could get booked for. Jake felt like he had been trying so hard to be a responsible young man and father-to-be, and all he wanted to do now was wrestle. He felt like he had been doing what other people wanted for long enough and it was time to just do what he wanted for a change. In reality this line of thinking was total nonsense and he knew it. He had always put Alana second behind wrestling; third if you counted the demons he fought, which usually won. Jake knew that he was being immature and stupid. He knew it. But he didn?t care.
He made it to his first match with minutes to spare. He quickly talked it over with a guy called ?Hugh Jazz? who said they had wrestled a few times before. Jake remembered the stupid name but not the matches. Afterwards he hoped he could forget that evenings match as well. It was sloppy and poorly timed. The fans even laughed at one point when Jake went for a suplex and Hugh Jazz jumped before Jake was ready and simply landed back on his feet again. Jake would have laughed too if he hadn?t started to feel his blood boil a little. He did deliver a rather stiff suplex in response and Hugh thanked him for it later. All in all the Rocket Kid’s first post-warehouse match had been a dud but the party afterwards had been brilliant. Jake loved that no matter who the boys were or what town they were in, they were still the boys. They would laugh and carry on like they had known each other for years. They would make bets and close down every bar they went to. They would eat in greasy all night diners and cheer as one of the weaker stomached guys would upchuck in the parking lot. And then they would hop in their cars, head to the next town, and do it all again.
Jake racked up more miles than ever before and burned the candle at both ends. Sleep became a thing of the past as he popped pills to stay awake and drank to get to sleep. He wrestled in towns he hadn?t heard of before against wrestlers he would never hear of again. In his first weekend on the road he wrestled in four different venues across three states and couldn?t remember which was which. Everything started to blur together in a haze of booze and rebellion. After two weeks though it started to fade and real life managed to creep its way into his muddled brain. He realised that he hadn?t called Alana since he walked away from the warehouse and despite his euphoric state, he also realised how crappy that really was. He wasn?t going to bother calling her now though, he?d just head home.
He arrived home in the early hours of the morning and crept downstairs to their room. As he carefully closed the door behind him and began to tiptoe across the room, he realised that something was wrong. He flicked on the lights to find the room was empty. No Alana and none of her things. He turned to run to the phone and found his mother standing in the doorway in her tattered old robe.
?She went back to Canada.? She said as tears slowly rolled down her cheeks.
Jake didn?t know what to say, so his Mom continued for him. ?How could you do something like this? Didn?t I raise you better? Didn?t you learn anything from your father’s mistakes? You?re not even a father yet and you?re already a deserter! You?re an asshole Jake!?
Then she walked away. Jake had never heard his mother call him a name before but he knew that she was right, he was an asshole. Alana had given up everything for him and, despite all his faults and countless mistakes, was still willing to marry him and raise a child together. She was always giving him second chances and he just walked away from her for over two weeks. No reasons, no explanations. Now, she had walked away from him, probably for good. There was no note or passionate goodbye; just a half empty room and a fully empty heart. Jake had screwed up again and he didn?t know what to do to make it right. He sat in his room, staring at the wall, alone.