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 was miserable. He had no job and his pregnant wife had up and left him. He lived in his mother’s basement and couldn?t even muster up the energy to get booked in a match, let alone wrestle in one. His mother had lost hope in him and she wasn?t the only one; Jake had lost hope in himself too. But he knew he had to make it right. Now all he had to do was to make it up to Canada.
He quickly rang all of the promoters he knew in western Canada and tried to get booked on a tour. He found a small promotion that toured the Indian reservations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and got himself booked for a brief stint. The promoter also gave him the number of a guy who was organising a road trip up and would be willing to split the cost with Jake. He felt bad that his big master plan to save his marriage had to also be so frugal, but times were tough and he would make it to Alana by any means necessary. He also knew that she wouldn?t be pleased that the main barrier to their relationship, wrestling, would be the main reason he would be up there in the first place. He would keep that one to himself and focus on mending their broken relationship before letting that nugget of information go.
The rental van was crammed full of eager young wrestlers, most on their first road trip. Jake envied their bright eyes and positive outlooks. He kept quiet for fear of crushing their dreams even before they had their first match on foreign soil. They all begged him to tell them about Europe and Japan and his fleeting moment with the WWE. He kept it short and to the point, and whenever possible retreated to the safety of his mp3 player. As they crossed the border into Canada the crew cheered as if they had won their matches already. Jake didn?t care about any of this; the camaraderie, the excitement of a new town and a new match, the journey they were embarking on together, none of it mattered. All that mattered was seeing his wife.
He waved goodbye to the van and promised he would see them at the arena, knowing full well that if things went to plan he would never see them again. He consulted the tattered old envelope with Alana’s parents address on the back and tried to find his way around the reservation. He had never been on a reservation on a social call and he had actually never even met Alana’s parents before either. He was married to the girl but knew nothing about her background. That in itself was enough to make Jake cry, but he kept going.
People stared out their windows through blinds and curtains, and groups of children followed Jake as he searched for the right house. The kids obviously knew he was with the wrestling show and wanted him to play with them. He politely shooed them away and was amazed to see Alana come out of a nearby house. She looked so radiant. Jake had heard it said so many times about pregnant women, but she was actually glowing. She did not smile as he approached.
?How did you know I was coming?? he asked meekly.
?Rita at the end of the road called. She figured it was you. Come inside before more of the neighbours start talking.?
She led Jake into the house and he was promptly greeted by the cold stare of Alana’s grandmother. She looked about a million years old. Her skin was rough and sandy like old leather and her grey hair hung in the longest braids Jake had ever seen. She did not move as Jake entered, she merely stared and broke her gaze only once to spit her chewing tobacco into an old coffee cup.
?My parents are off in the town getting supplies. They won?t be back till late. That’s good I guess.?
?Definitely? Alana sighed ?They may never have met you but they sure as hell aren?t happy with you.?
Jake wasted no time and broke into the longest apology of his life. He apologized for every time he had done Alana wrong and for every time he had put wrestling before her. He apologized for leaving her without so much as a goodbye and he apologized for quitting his job and letting her down in the process. He assured her that he would never be so stupid again and needed her more than any wrestling tour. All the while Grandma rocked in her chair, spit in her cup, and stared her deathly stare.
?I know you?re sorry Jakey, I really do. But what I don?t know is that you won?t be sorry again. That it won?t happen again.?
Jake took her hands ?I can swear to you now, on our marriage, on our unborn child, that you will come first. Period.?
Alana looked deep into Jake’s eyes as a small voice half whispered from the rocking chair ?Believe him granddaughter.? Alana smiled at her grandmother, then at Jake, and they hugged like never before. They hugged for what seemed like an eternity and kissed for what seemed like two. Grandma even hugged Jake, her wiry hair tickling his neck. Alana led him outside and they sat together on a porch swing and cried. Jake noticed the time.
?Well I?d better go and earn my ride up here.?
?What do you mean?? Alana questioned with a rather serious look on her face.
?I booked myself in a match tonight. It was the only way I could afford to get up here.?
?You?ve got to be kidding me!?
?No, I?m not. I made a promise and I just have to keep it. That’s all.?
Alana started to head into the house and Jake grabbed her by the arm. ?Don?t be unreasonable Alana. I?ve made a huge sacrifice to be here and I have to honour my word.?
?Your word has no honour Jake! It never has and I should have known it never will.?
What happened next happened so fast that it was like an out of body experience for Jake. It was like he was floating above the situation watching it unfold and watching it fall apart. As Alana tried to walk away Jake was filled with rage. His grip on her arm tightened as he pulled her back towards him. His out of body self watched as Alana tumbled to the ground in a heap and he hulked over top of her like a demon. It wasn?t him. He didn?t know what to do. He tried to help but she screamed him away. Grandma came running out with a kitchen knife and as Jake hovered above the situation he could see the glazed look in his eyes as he fled the scene and headed for the arena.
He had given his word and he honoured it. He wrestled that night but couldn?t have told you who the opponent was or who won. He couldn?t have told you what moves he used or even if there was a single fan in the arena. It was like everything was moving in slow motion. Every punch, every kick, every slam moved like it never had before. When he hit the ropes he felt the tension on his back but his feet never touched the ground. He came off the top rope to the floor and cracked his knee on the concrete. He didn?t feel it. Jake was numb. He floated through a match that he would never remember and wished he had forgotten about in the first place.
It was as he was packing up his gear that he saw the reservation police. He didn?t put up a fight, he didn?t make a commotion. He just hung his head and followed them out of the building. They drove him to the outskirts of the reservation and handed him over to the Mounties. They would in turn book him, charge him, and deport him. Another country burned by the Rocket Kid. There would be no more tours of Canada, one of the most lucrative gigs a wrestler in his position could get. In one fell swoop he had destroyed his career and his marriage. The accusations would be heard by promoters everywhere and the police record would follow Jake wherever he went. The next year would be spent in disgusting motels and even worse arenas. Jake would go from wrestling in front of thousands in Japan to pissing in a bucket in the back of a barn before heading out to do battle for two dozen fans. None of this mattered though. For once wrestling was not the first thing on his mind. Alana was. And it was too late.