Epilogue Pt.1 – Sunday Night…
Beneath the pile of broken glass and wood shards that were his hotel room’s coffee table, the Canadian’s exhausted body rustles to life. With his massive paws planted firmly beside him, Brack peels his chubby, aged, and wrecked frame from the floor. The whimpering wheezes of sound that escape from his mouth can barely be considered a breath, more than a frantic gasp for air as he sits up; face buried in his bruised and bloodied hands.
He spreads his fingers, peering through the tiny spaces between them at the carnage around his hotel room.
Somehow – through sheer brilliance or unadulterated idiocy – Brack Conway had plowed his way through four other superstars to become one of the finalists in a tournament many had pegged him to lose in the first round. While his reasons for joining were just as hopelessly damned as the rest of the contenders, he hadn’t come for fame or money. Though on reflection if he’d come for money, he’d probably have left a healthier man and in a lot less trouble than he had found himself in on this night.
He clambers to his hands and knees, revealing a scar-riddled face. Sporting a swollen eye, fat lip, and a cut below his cheek he pulls himself toward his door. The pieces of broken mirror, glass, and wood piercing his palms and legs barely register alongside the pain already coursing through his body as he hazily crawls through the wreckage.
He’d only joined the tournament out of a half-witted scheme to find his friend Julio; missing for over two years. He never thought that putting on La Sombra’s mask and pretending to be his long lost superstar would have caused so much trouble for him. He didn’t care about recognition or reputation, he wasn’t in it for money or majesty, and he didn’t care about Catch-22 or any other organization that had their gritty claws sunk into the outcome of the tournament.
But, he should have. Had he been willing to widen his crosshairs – even if just an inch – he would have seen just how quickly and catastrophically things would get out of control.
He pulls himself to the door, groggily resting himself against a wall as he takes in all the oxygen his body will allow, letting it out in a forced sigh of fatigue. Brack retrieves his cell from the floor beside him and grits his teeth as he struggles to pull a business card from his pant pocket.
He’d never thought it would come to this. The old man might have been a nobody, but he’d never asked for help; especially not for a matter he’d unknowingly gotten himself in and he definitely wasn’t keen on asking someone he didn’t trust. He might not have wanted Alexander Pross in his affairs – particularly, when lawyer had shown up unannounced after the third round of the Invitational - but desperation was an ugly animal that had sunk its blood-tainted fangs into him. The old man was at the end of his rope.
He spits up blood as he dials and wipes his face as he pulls the phone to his ear.“Hello?”“Pross… is that you?”
the Canadian manages to stammer out in between giant heaves of breath.“Conway? You are just the man I wanted to talk to. I have good news for you-”“-Pross… ah’m in trouble…”
Brack brings a palm to his face as he adds, “Ah’… Ah’ need yer’ help!”“My god, Conway. What have you done?”
Pross’ voice hints a tone of annoyance before defaulting to genuine concern. “Calm down and tell me what happened.” “It all happened so fast...”
The Ontario native takes a moment to collect himself. His eyes trail a path through the butchery of his room. “Ah’… ah’ was just tryin’ tah’ defend mahself’!”“Where are you?”
Pross’ frantic words course through the receiver. “Brack, are you ok?”“Better than the other guy. Ah’ dropped him… hard!”
Brack half-snorts and gags on the mix of blood and saliva on his tongue, “But, ah’ think ah’ve got a real problem ‘ere.”“Are you in your hotel room? Don’t move, I’m on my way there now!”“This guy…”
The Canadian ignores Alex’s frenzied pleas. His gaze fixates on the motionless body slumped over his tipped couch. “Ah’ think he’s a cop…”
Promises Pt. 5
What Lies Beneath: The Good, The Bad, The Brack
“Hope requires a contenderRecording: Location and Time Unknown“Ah don’t cut Promos. Ah’ don’t record interviews.”
Who sees no virtue in surrender.
From the cradle to the bier,
The heart must persevere.”
-The Book of Counted Sorrows by Dean Koontz
A mask-adorned Brack Conway sits on a bench in his locker room. Still in La Sombra’s wrestling attire – complete with arm-wraps and Luchador tights stretched beyond what should be scientifically possible – his body hangs wearily hunched over his gym bag; A bottle of water firmly clutched in hands. “Eventually you’ll realize ah’m no good speakin’ in front of a camera.”“In mah’ time we did our talking in the ring… With our fists!”
Brack holds up his hands in emphasis of his point. “We fought, we entertained, an’ we got paid. Then, we went on aboot’ our lives.”“But, wrestling… it ain’t what it used tah’ be, eh? Heck, life ain’t what it used tah’ be.”
Brack’s eye narrow into a glare. “Every young punk is lookin’ for their time in the spotlight. Ah’m not really sure where the sport is goin’ or if there’s even a place for me in it anymore.”“Ah’ ain’t even sure whose gunna’ see this recording.”
The old man huffs a sigh of disregard as his eyes loom over the floor. “Or if the people watchin’ this are gunna’ believe what ah’ have tah’ say.”“Only one thing ah’ am sure of…”
The old man shakes his head. “In a couple of days the world is gunna know mah’ name… one way or another!”“That’s why ah’m not gunna’ waste time introducin’ myself.”
The Canadian’s baby blues look to the camera. “But this is a story that needs tah’ be told.”
Brack shoots from the bathroom to his bed. A white hotel towel desperately clings to his waist as bare feet scuttle along the carpet. He slides open a drawer, snatches the first pair of slacks and button-up his fingers touch, and bee-lines for the bathroom just as fast as his stubby legs can take him. Out of idiocy or a stunning sense of arrogance he stops as his head snaps to a glance of his reflection in a wall mirror, flexes his beer-bellied glory, and then kicks the bathroom door shut.
It was only 20 or so minutes ago since the Canadian was paid a visit by two of Las Vegas’ finest. He wasn’t worried so much about the outlandish charges being brought against him, or the fact that they had barred him from competing in the final round of the Roughkut Invitational. But, just a week ago as Brack stood battered and bruised in a hospital room, he had come mere inches from being taken out of the game by someone he’d mistakenly thought was his friend. They wanted me to sedate you… so you wouldn’t make it to the next round… But I can’t do it!
Melissa’s sorrowful words trudge a path of frantic agitation in the old man’s memories as he blasts through the bathroom door; dressed in a speed that would put Superman’s famed Telephone booth transformation to shame. He reaches under his bed, snatches a suitcase, and flips it onto his cabinet in one fluid motion. Pulling a dresser drawer from its hinges he dumps the contents into his luggage and tosses it aside.They’re going to come after you, Brack. You can’t go back to your hotel room or stay here; they’ll hunt you down!
The whisper of Melissa’s faded warning stuck with the old man. There was no doubt that Catch-22 was behind the idiotic allegations he was facing. It was evident they weren’t happy with Melissa’s failure and his progression to the final round. But, he also knew this wouldn’t be the only obstacle they would hurl at him. It was clear that they wanted him out of the tournament. Now, it was just a question of what lengths they were willing to go. He’d already made the mistake of lingering around his room long enough for the police to inform his of his charges
and he wasn’t going to be making the same mistake twice
Brack closes his case, stacks his gym bag atop it, and unzips it speedily trying to reassure himself of its contents. “La Sombra’s mask… Check! Tights… Check! Arm wraps an’ brass knuckles… Double check!”
he recites as a free hand sifts through the gym-bag. “Boots… Check! Package for the authorities… Check! Syringe… Che- wait what?”
Brack eyes the sheathed needle as he holds it up to the light. Take it, use it, I don’t care…
When Melissa had failed to find the strength to use the needle on Brack, she’d tossed it with his belongings and practically shoved him out of the hospital room. He couldn’t think of a use for it other than it serving as an ever-clear reminder of what he was up against and what had almost done him in.
The old man shrugs, pockets the needle, and zips his bag. He was packed, stacked, and ready to kick rocks. Extending the handle on his luggage and slinging his gym-bag over his shoulder, he heads for the door. He takes one last look over his room.