It ain’t New Orleans, but it’s the closest city on earth to it if you’re looking for top end cuisine. Because I’m in a good mood tonight, I’ll tell you something about me that isn’t exactly a widely known fact. I love food.
That’s right, Eric Dane is a foodie.
You wouldn’t know it, it’s not as if I’m an out of shape overeater. Hell, you wouldn’t even know if you took an inventory of my day to day food intake. Life on the road leads to a lot of fast food joints and Waffle Houses.
However, every once in a blue moon the stars align and I can find the time and energy to get out to eat somewhere that’s above your average fine dining experience. Take tonight for example, I’m sitting near the top of the Eiffel Tower at a hundred and twenty-five meters above ground level, and I’m dressed in Armani from head to toe. Not because I had a new suit tailored for a television event, but because I live and breath in tailored Italian wool. The view in front of me is breathtaking, probably the finest view of the city that you’ll ever see.
It’s a wonderful compliment to the meal.
That’s not the only thing, it’s quiet. Not because of location or anything, but because I’ve bought the place out for the evening so as to keep from being bothered while I eat. It’s not that I’m the kind of raging douchenozzle who hates the fans either, I get that it’s their dollars that back up all the zeroes on the end of my paychecks, it’s just that I like to eat in peace.
Moreover, I can afford to eat in peace.
The fact that what I paid for this wonderful six course Experience at Le Jules Verne would very likely cover La Flama Blanca’s signing bonus twice isn’t something that I’d normally bring up, but that’s because when you do your job at the ridiculously high level that I’ve been doing it since the mid-nineties money becomes less a negotiation topic and more of a way of life.
That is to say, six figures isn’t something that I have to beg for or passive-aggressively threaten to quit over, it’s what I expect. It’s what my employers understand is the necessary expense that it takes to bring a talent like Eric Dane to your promotion.
I’ve been getting contract offers with two commas in the number since the late nineties. As a matter of fact, I remember twelve or thirteen years ago when the bubble burst on the wrestling boom in America and all those million dollar contracts that everyone was throwing around sent more promotions tits to the wind than I care to remember.
Money comes, and money goes, Eddy. remember that.
It’s talent that carries you through the decades. It’s determination, it’s grit. Getting the shit kicked out of you by Dynasty for a year and then joining them because you got tired of being called an Ungrateful isn’t exactly the kind of Grade A material that keeps those contracts not only coming in, but expanding.
You can say all the smug shit you want to, hiding behind that generic mask and ignoring the world around you. I can’t be bothered with even trying to refute some of the idiotic claims that you make on a daily basis. What I can do, Ed, is live in a world of reality.
The more I think about it, the more I can’t wait for International Affairs in Japan. Not just because it’s pay-per-view, and not because I’ve got a title shot, but because I genuinely enjoy Japan. The fans. The culture. The quiet bloodlust in the only place in the world where the best reaction you can expect is a polite clapping and some hushed cheers.
It’s because they feel it’s rude to interrupt, you know.
I suppose though for a guy who’s barely performed in front of that kind of crowd it’s a little expected that he’d have no idea what to expect. Might even be a little daunting, know what I mean?
Could you imagine that? La Flama Blanca nervous?
Ha, that’d be the day. The kid’s too stupid to be nervous. Too cocksure and self-satisfied to admit to himself or anybody else that he might not be one hundred percent sure of himself one hundred percent of the time.
Me? I’m an electrified ball of frazzled nerves. I’ve got synapses that aren’t firing at full capacity or I wouldn’t be seeing things the way I have been. On top of that, I’m on my way to Japan where after seventeen successful tours earlier in my career I have something of a reputation to uphold. You see I’ve been to the Tokyo Dome. I’ve been to the Saitama Super Arena. I’ve been Korakuen Hall and I’ve been to Nippon Budokan.
Not only that, but I’ve sold them all out.
I’ve wrestled last in some of the most hallowed houses of puroresu against and along side some of the greatest wrestlers in the history of our business. Absolutely none of this is new to me, that’s what people are either too blind to see, or too stupid to remember.
What has me worried the most, though, is that there’s a good chance I could lose this thing. I’m not as quick as I once was, and I’m sure as hell not as agile. Any number of things could lead to that oddly-named Estupendo Kick of his and then it’s lights out.
He may be an imperious, snotty little shit, but he’s for fuck’s sake taken his lessons in the art of Right Place, Right Time. Not only that but the guy’s got a lot on his side. Dynasty, for one. Plus, there’s no telling what kind of backdoor deals may be in place between him and any number of high ranking officials in the UTA.
I can’t worry about that, though.
I’ve been navigating the politics of this business since before that burrito-eating bastard grew his first short-hair. I’ve lied and I’ve swindled, I’ve cheated and I’ve played the long con for longer than anybody ever thought was possible or necessary.
Contrary to the belief of those travelling in the Dynasty circle, I am in no way, shape, or form unready for La Flama Blanca. I’ve been outwitting and out-wrestling guys like him for years now, and that’s not likely to stop just because he’s too stupid to know his wrestling history.
I mean, he does know he’s defending against Eric Dane, right?
Has anybody bothered to tell him who the fuck I am?
Eric Dane is no Eduardo Come Lately, oh no, Eric Dane has worn championship gold in almost every wrestling promotion that’s ever mattered over the past twenty years. Eric Dane has trained under, wrestled against, and mentored some of the most highly sought after men and women in the history of the business.
This is my life.
This is my legacy.
This is what La Flama Blanca has no idea he’s in store for.
Me, I’m in store for dessert.
I’ve put away five courses and two bottles of custom paired wine, and before I get out of here and let the Chef’s open to the public for a late dinner service I’m going to have their chocolate covered croissant even though I couldn’t pronounce its name if it were the one thing stopping me from losing to that arrogant little turd in Japan.
The charming French girl who had been taking care of me all evening places my final course in front of me and refills my wine glass. I contemplate inviting her back to my hotel room for a nightcap but I let it pass as I notice the golden ring on her left hand. I may be a bastard, but I’m not a prick.
The pastry is amazing, the perfect highlight of sweetness to finish off the Experience Menu. I gaze out the window in front of me at the City of Light. Savoring the meal, a smile comes to my face. In only a couple of days I’ll be in center ring on Victory. Maybe somebody’ll fancy it up and we’ll have some nice chairs and a table.
I really hope there’s a table.
We’ll sit there, maybe his lawyer will do some yammering, and we’ll start the lobbing the first shots of the war that’s gonna finish in Tokyo. He’ll say something smart, I’ll reply with something cute…
Maybe I’ll threaten his lawyer.
Maybe I’ll call him a girl.
One of us will probably end up pissed off and the next thing anybody knows he’ll find himself upside down in the splintered remains of that table.
The last thing I think about as I stand to leave after dropping three crisp hundred dollar bills for the tip is the look in his eyes as I peel his bloody mask off of his bloody face after I put him through that table and then beat him to a pulp for looking at me the wrong way at that contract signing.
Jesus fucking Christ, I hope he tries something.
I step near to the window with the view on my way out. A slight hesitation and I can see the my reflection with its long blond hair and ten years younger face. I’m smiling back at myself from that reflection and there's something calming about it this time.
At the same time, it’s something dangerous.
Jesus fucking Christ.
I hope he tries something.
"Who wants some lemon snowcones? I swear they're made mostly from lemon."
- Santa Claus