Fucking international flights.
Twelve hours from New Orleans to Rio de Janeiro.
Fourteen hours from Rio to Johannesburg.
Six and a half hours from Africa to London.
Even as I sit here in first class on the relatively short hour and a half long jaunt from London to Paris I’m dreading the lurch to Japan. I can tell now I’m gonna need to get there as early as possible, gotta give the ol’ body time to adjust physically.
I miss New Orleans. I miss home. I miss the beignets for breakfast and the smell of jambalaya hanging on the afternoon breeze. Shithole though it may be, I even miss Orlando. I can feel the beginnings of a migraine beating at the insides of my sinus cavities so I pull off the ridiculously priced Sunshades on my face and rub either side of the bridge of my nose like if I can just find the the right spot I can force it all away.
Somebody sits down in the aisle seat beside me. Without looking up I’m disgusted, I paid for the entire row so as to not be bothered, and I’ll be damned if I’m about to sit sign an autograph in mid-flight.
I’m gonna have somebody's job for this.
“Look,” I start, refusing to meet the intruders gaze. “I dunno who you paid off, or how much it cost, but I’m not signing any- “
“Oh shut the fuck up with that holier than thou bullshit.” That voice. It’s mine. Or, it was. It’s a little less hot gravel than mine, but the tone and cadence is the same.
I look up.
I’m staring at my face, staring back at me, grinning that stupid grin that I’ve been throwing at assholes and idiots for twenty years.
“That’s right, fucko, me again.” He nods to me. Myself. Whatever. “You ain’t sittin’ here sulkin to yerself about how shitty it is to have to make five international flights in three months, are ya?”
“So what if I am?” I’m belligerent, it’s all I can think to be when I’m sitting here chiding myself for something I was thinking to myself. “What do you want, anyway?”
I had planned on sleeping this flight away.
God, do I ever apparently need sleep.
“I told you. I’m here to make sure you don’t fuck this all up.”
I roll my eyes.
“What makes you so sure i’m gonna fuck anything up? Things seem to be moving along quite swimmingly if you haven’t been paying attention.” I nodd, satisfied. My doppelganger is nonplussed.
“Two words. Will Haynes.”
“I crippled Will Haynes!” I snap back.
“Mikey Unlikely crippled Will Haynes, my friend. Will Haynes pinned you. Center of the ring. One, Two, Three.”
Seething, it’s everything I can do to keep from reaching out and throttling myself. I’m on my way to the UTA World Heavyweight Title and I’m hallucinating problems that aren’t there. It occurs to me that I didn’t have visuals this good the last time did too much LSD.
“Alright. Fine. What am I missing?”
“The details, man. It’s all in the details.” He smirks at me again.
“What details? What about them?”
“Check your email, figure it out. Don’t fuck up.”
He’s not making any sense. Aren’t your hallucinations supposed to help you somehow? What’s this constant stream of creepy bullshit? “Jesus fuck, man, what’s with the riddles?”
Absently I wonder if this is how I come off to other people.
“Would you like another drink, Mr. Dane?”
“Another drink, Mr. Dane, would you like one?”
The fuzz that I didn’t know was there intensifies for a moment. I blink my eyelids madly for a moment, trying to push it all away. When the fog starts to lift I’m face to face with the leggy flight attendant that I’d had every intention of taking to my hotel once we made it to Paris.
I look down at my drink, it is indeed empty.
“Yeah,” I say. “And keep ‘em coming, would ya?”
She refreshes my drink and goes to move on. I reach out and touch her arm.
“Excuse me, miss?” She bats her eyes. She’s mine if I want her. “Was I asleep just now?”
“Only mostly,” she giggles.
“Well, you were mumbling to yourself. Something about your email.”
“Thanks,” I give her a dismissive wave and grope for my Android. A few swipes later and I’m into my gmail, staring at an email that I’d apparently sent to myself. It is deftly titled Read Me. I tap it and I’m met with a message to myself…
Yo, Easy mE, don’t say I never gave you anything. Do ourself a favor and go to school. Don’t let this asshole outsmart you the way he has everybody in the UTA since that nutjob Szalinski.
It’s all in the details. The history.
Attached to the email is a video link to every match and any other important incident that La Flama Blanca has participated in since Wrestleshow 24. I have to rack my brains to come up with the significance of that particular Wrestleshow.
Taking a sip of whiskey from my freshly filled glass it hits me. Last year’s Mexico show. The night when Blaca kicked Madman in the face and joined Dynasty. It’s way before my time in the UTA, but that’s not to say that the knowledge can’t be useful.
Knowing, as they say, is half the battle.
I check the date on my phone. It’s almost a month until my title match in Japan. Only a week before the contract signing, though. I can’t fucking believe that I’m going to Paris just to sign a piece of fucking paper.
It is what it is, I guess.
I can tell you this much.
At Victory, that loserweight so-called “champion” of ours is going to have to do the one thing he’s been avoiding since Ring King.
He’s gonna have to look me in the eyes.
Mask or no mask, I’ll look him in the eyes and I’ll see into his very goddamned soul. I’ll know his strengths, his weaknesses, his likes and dislikes, even what makes him dribble a little bit in his satin shorts deep in the dead of night.
I have no doubt there will be shenanigans.
I say bring it the fuck on.
He’s got Dynasty. I’ve got Team Danger.
Hell, aside from Mikey, I’ve got Victory.
In Paris La Flama Blanca stands face to face with the man who’s going to expose him for the weasel he is come International Affair. That isn’t to say that the guy hasn’t raised his game as it pertains to holding onto his title by any means necessary, but it is to say that the kid’s a novice compared to me when it comes to that very thing.
He’s made his career by reenacting the Book of Eric Dane.
That’s fine. I’ve been lying, cheating, and cajoling my way through the competition for two decades; I’m a Goddamned Master.
Yeah, we’re gonna sign those papers…
And if he looks at me wrong, I’m gonna shove something down his throat that he’s never had to deal with before. Something that’ll shut him right up and make him realize who his better actually is.
I’m gonna give him a dose of his own fucking medicine.
Smiling to myself, I down the rest of my whiskey. The Captain of this here flyin’ machine comes over the announce system and starts yammering on about Paris and how we’re about to make our descent. For a moment, I think about sleep again.
The moment passes.
I’ve got work to do.
It’s time I learn everything there is to know about Seńor Eduardo Molino
"Oh he's fine. Just questioning his grip on reality. You should be doing the same any time now."