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.
Alana was sick of tip toeing around the bedroom all day long. She shuffled through the piles of clothes and discarded food items and threw back the curtains, sending a beam of light through the dusty haze of their bedroom. Jake didn?t even stir. He?d been in bed for pretty much the entirety of the past two weeks and he was getting good at staying that way. Alana on the other hand had other plans. She felt that it was time for some tough love.
She threw back the covers and watched her husband squirm to retrieve them. She threw them to the floor, stood on the end of the bed and began to jump up and down. Jake hid his head under a pillow but this only made her jump harder. Finally he had enough.
?Okay, I get it. I?m up? he screamed from underneath his pillow.
?Come on Jakey? Alana said as she sat next to her husband and took the pillow from over his face. ?It’s been long enough. I know you?re hurt, I know you?re disappointed but I also know that you are bigger than this.?
?I know you?re just trying to make me feel better and I appreciate it, I really do, but wrestling is my life. It’s all I got.?
?And what does that make the mother of your unborn child? Chopped liver?? she said with a grin.
And for the first time in weeks he smiled too. ?You know what I mean. I thought I?d made it. I?d built it up in my mind so much and now the opportunity’s gone. I feel like a failure Alana. And I just don?t know what to do.?
?You?ll get through it, that’s what you?ll do. Forget the WWE. What do they know?! There’s plenty of other companies out there that would die to have the Rocket Kid.?
?You?re so sweet? Jake said as he kissed his wife on the forehead. ?But I think it’s time I got a real job for a little while. I?ve got a family to support after all?
Alana was amazed at this revelation. ?Are you sure Jakey? You don?t have to do this. I don?t want you to feel like you?re being made to??
?Don?t worry. I?ve done a lot of thinking as I lay around doing nothing for weeks and I realized that maybe wrestling should take a back seat for awhile. I?ll still do local shows but holding down a nine to five might be good for me.?
Alana threw her arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly. She then headed upstairs to cook him a big breakfast (although it was actually past lunch time.) Jake thought he was making the right decision, but it wasn?t for the reasons he gave his wife. He didn?t think that a job was more important and that wrestling should take a back seat, he simply thought that he was worthless. His tryout with the WWE had been the most heartbreaking part of his journey in professional wrestling and any confidence he had in himself went straight out the window when Vince McMahon cast him aside for finishing his match two minutes early. All along he had thought that he was good enough and would make it to the WWE. It was this knowledge that spurned him on and forced him to endure all the bumps along the road. With that knowledge now gone from his mind, Jake just felt like any other indy wrester with nowhere to go and nothing to show for it. He reached under his bed and pulled out one of the many bottles of booze he had been working on in bed for the past couple of weeks. Today’s selection was Russian vodka and as he downed a swig that would make most people cry, he did. But it wasn?t the booze, it was the knowledge that it was all over. Tomorrow he would start looking for a job.
At first he had considered going back to the Electronics Emporium and asking weasely faced Brad for his old job back. That theory lasted all of two seconds and Jake hit the pavement. His burly, almost cartoonish physique got a lot of stares as he headed into shops and restaurants looking for work. He could barely fit down the aisles in the clothing stores and most waiters would fear bumping into him as they carrier trays of steaming food across the restaurant. Jake had no experience in office work but he tried there too. He hadn?t worn a tie since the wedding and the top button of his shirt dug deep into his neck. He could feel the sweat patches growing under his arms as he waited to speak to countless office managers and telemarketers. They all sited his lack of experience as their reason for rejecting him and never the real reason; he kind of scared them. In his ill fitting shirt with his thick neck, massive arms, and crooked nose, Jake hardly looked like middle management material.
A few days had passed and just when he was starting to get discouraged and the need to head straight for his bed was rising, Jake found a job. It was in the most likely of places and he wondered why he hadn?t just gone to a warehouse in the first place. He was built for manual labour and the second the warehouse foreman looked at Jake he was in. They were barely finished shaking hands and Jake was wearing a fluorescent vest and driving a forklift. At first it stung, working like any other John Q Public. After the first few days though, he started to get used to it. There was a great sense of camaraderie amongst the guys in the warehouse. They could share a laugh, talk about what was on their minds, and then go for a beer and relax. It was much like a wrestling locker-room. Jake was starting to feel like one of the boys. But as nice as that was, the call of his mistress could only be denied for so long.
The Crusher was more than happy to have Jake back on his roster. He told Jake that he felt bad that his WWE tryout hadn?t worked out but he was glad that it meant he would be working with him once more. They planned for Jake to make his comeback at the next show at the rec centre he had started in almost three years ago. So Jake had gone from stadiums in Japan and Europe, to wrestling a match with the biggest company in the world, to right back where he had started. It stung, but it would have to do.
He had an alright match with a young guy who was overly eager and overly careless. Jake felt a bit bad when he stiff armed the kid and burst open his nose. It felt like such a clich?, but the student had become the teacher. Afterwards the young guy even thanked Jake for a great match and showing him a few things. Jake chuckled as the kid limped away and thought to himself ?That was me!? He chuckled even more as he headed for the car. As he shook the last few hands and patted the last few backs, he saw a familiar face. It was Harry, the foreman from work. He was standing with a young boy wearing a foam finger and a huge smile. He waved Jake over.
?I knew it was you! I friggin? knew it! See Max it is him. I work with Jake? I mean the Rocket Kid.?
?You never told me you did this? Harry said as he mimed a headlock on his son.
?Not something I want to broadcast right now.?
?Max here loves the rasslin?? Harry continued. ?Never thought we?d know a real life champion!?
?Oh I?m no champion? Jake scoffed as he leaned in closer to Harry ?And I?d really appreciate it if we kept this between us. It’s not something I want floating around work.?
?Mum’s the word? Harry said as he tapped his nose. Max finally worked up the courage and approached Jake.
?You were really great Rocket Kid. Will you sign my program??
?Sure thing Max.?
Jake scribbled on Max’s crumpled up program and watched the kid’s eyes light up as he walked away with his father, his eyes never leaving the now precious piece of paper. This hit Jake hard. In all the commotion of training in Japan, flying around the world and trying out with the WWE, he had forgotten about the fans. They were why he was here and they were the ones who ultimately kept him at it. Sure, he was only standing in a local rec centre with fifty extra bucks in his pocket, but just like that kid with a brand new autograph, he was smiling. Maybe tonight he?d leave the bottle under the bed and cuddle with his wife.