“People’ve been talking to me all my life about what kind of guy I’m s’posed to be, and it’s like…”
There’s nothing fancy about the way Jeff Andrews set things up to do this talking thing. A chair - actually looks like one of those square-ish fiberglass school-chairs from the 90s - and a wall made of cinderblocks behind him, the cinderblocks an appropriately characterless shade of tannish brownish beige.
“It’s like they can’t quite get their heads around the fact that a man can be not all good - and not all bad - all at the same time.”
Jeff Andrews looks relaxed - almost beyond relaxed, in that way that only people who are so used to the constant stresses of the road can look relaxed when they finally have a chance to. Like a man who carried the world on his shoulders, and then finally had a chance to put down his burden.
“Take a real nice close look, right here. My forehead, bro.”
Andrews leans his head forward, pointing to a straight scar almost right in the middle of his forehead above his temple. Next to it is a curved one, almost like he’d been hit in the head with a sharp spoon, and above that one is a small pit. None of them alone large enough to notice from a distance, but together, they add up to give him that weathered look.
“My own sins, and sins committed by others against me, they stand side by side right here. And I could tell you, if I had the time and either of us had the interest, the story of each one, because I remember it all. I remember each chairshot. I remember whether the fans were cheering for me, or booing me.”
At this he leans back, looking into the camera again.
“The point is, if you’re lookin’ to make me a hero, you can do that. And if you’re needing a villain, well man, I’m here for that.”
“I’m just a dude. A dude, doing the best he can, trying to make sense out of this crazy world, this crazy business we call rasslin’ - hell, sometimes trying to _force_ some sense out of it. Cos see, that’s the thing about this particular dude. I will fight you. I will.”
Shaking his head slowly, Andrews sighs and leans forward.
“And that’s what always happens. Cos, if I said that all this time, throughout all… well, let’s go with most, of my career, I’d rather be a good guy, I’d be telling you the truth. But when people start facing me down, and daring me to bring out what I’m capable of? ...Yeah. Forget eye for an eye, I’m of the school of my eye for both your arms and both your legs. But sometimes? People really ask for it. And here’s another thing.”
“Corruption and brutalization of the innocent? That’s never been my thing.”
“But you know, the young and idealistic, they watch me. They watch me willingly, happily dive right over the edge of the cliff to fight the bad guys on their terms, prove that I just don’t give a shit, that if someone goes after me the wrong way I will hound them until they scream for mercy, and they start thinking I’m just like that. And you know, I may not be about the corruption of the innocent, but I sure do hate stupidity, and I sure do hate self-righteousness, and if somebody gets on my back, I will remove them from it, and then I will remove them from my world.”
Andrews leans back, laces his fingers together and bends his knuckles in towards his chest, cracking them, then outwards, cracking them again.
“Which brings me to you, Pere Noel.”
Another head shake.
“I don’t know what your deal is, but I’m leaning towards guessing that you’re an alright dude. This is rasslin’, people sometimes do the damndest things to pull one over on the fans and the boys and grills in the back alike, but I’m not really getting too much of that vibe from you. So I don’t know if we’ve been misled on what Santa Claus was all about, or if you’re just a bricklayer from New Jersey named Leon Kompowski taking up a new identity and doing nothing but good in the world.”
Standing up, Andrews pushes the chair to the side with his foot.
“But hey. Holiday season and all that. I haven’t really been being much of anything besides lazy over the last year, but you want to do this like a right match? I’m all about that. The way I see it, sooner or later - and probably sooner - someone’s going to push me in the wrong direction, and we’re gonna go back to ‘naughty.’ But right now, I’m just starting the next chapter in the Book of Jeff. New fed, new everything, and I’m thinkin, or at least hopin, that I can maybe take it easy and have a little bit of fun while I’m getting started. Before the inevitable shit hits the fan of probability.”
Andrews scratches the top of his head.
“So you know what, Santa? Do me a solid. Bring me a late Thanksgiving present, if the Great Turkey will permit it. Or maybe an early Christmas present. Just like…”
And here, his eyes darken, and his brow somehow seems to thicken, and his chin sets.
“Don’t dick me around in this match, man.”
“If you’re wanting to bring me back to the good side, or keep me on it, or whatever, and you mean that like genuinely - then don’t be the guy who goes and pushes me in the other damn direction.”
“And no, I’m not asking you to throw the match, I’m just saying - hell, either you’re smart enough that you’ve already got it, or you’re too dumb to listen, so I’ll just wrap this up real quick.”
“Help me help you help me have a merry Christmas.”