“Do you think it was too loud last week?”
The camera pans over to see Dusk sitting on a bench inside of the locker room, talking to a man that is wearing a pair of overalls and a blue cap with a thick mustache.
Random Man: I don’t know. I thought it sounded pretty good.
Dusk: I don’t know. It may have been too much. Can we dampen it this week?
Random Man: Dampen it? I can’t control the fan’s reactions.
Dusk: Yeah, but my daughter showed me this thing on Flitter—
Random Man: I think you mean Twitter.
Dusk: Sure. Some people were saying the reactions were too much. That there’s no way that I would receive that much of a reaction.
Random Man: Don’t know what to tell you. That’s the reaction you got.
Dusk: Well, alright then.
Random Man: I’ve got to go back to work. Hey, I heard from someone that it was your birthday?
Dusk sighs and slowly nods his head. Dressed for his match, his elbows resting on his knees.
Dusk: Yeah, I’m not sure how it got out.
Random Man: Not sure, but I thought I saw a guy dressed up as a Blueberry with a giant cake walking around claiming he stole it.
Dusk: Well, not sure what to do with that bit of information.
Random Man: Just thought I would share it. Anyways, I’m going to go and clean out the bathrooms.
Dusk looks and sees he’s holding a plunger in one hand and a bag of items in the other hand.
Dusk: Wait, you’re the janitor? I thought you were our production director?
The janitor chuckles.
Janitor: No, no. Though I might be looking for a new job if I have to keep cleaning up bathrooms that Bobby Dean uses.
Dusk: Yeah, couldn’t pay me enough to do that job.
Janitor: You and me both, my friend.
With that, the janitor exits the room and leaves Dusk sitting there. He looks up and notices the camera. He stands up and walks over to it. As he does, he hears the fans chanting his name.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
Dusk shakes his head.
Dusk: Calm it down out there, alright? This Twitter thing is a bit much for me, but the trolls on here need you to cheer for Nova and Youngblood more, can you do that for me?
He pauses and looks down.
Dusk: I’ve got John Kennedy Ryoko Jr. in just a few moments. A second-round match in the Almasy tournament. After my daughter showed me what everyone was saying about my crowd reaction last week, I started to notice other messages. These were sharing videos of my opponent as TMZ stopped him and asked him for his thoughts on me.
Dusk reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a white piece of paper with words on it.
Dusk: He said things like ‘I felt the need to accept a roster spot and soak in the cheers to feed my ego’ and that he was getting me a ‘retirement celebration’ for my birthday. Let me start off, Ryoko, telling you the rookie mistake you’ve already made before you even stepped in the ring with me. Don’t give someone like me any kind of ammunition. I think in the NFL, they post it up in their locker room and feed off of it all week. I can guarantee you that I’ve watched that TMZ video of you fifty times in the last few days alone. I’ve had my trainer play it over the audio system at the gym while we are working out so that way, when my body was ready to call it quits, I found that extra fuel to push me forward.
Dusk moves closer to the camera.
Dusk: Let me tell you something, you fucked up.
Dusk: I was content just coming back and letting the chips fall where they might, but you decided to make it personal. You sit there and cry your eyes out because ‘life is unfair’. Boy, you don’t even know how unfair life can be. You want to whine and complain about how you’ve got a bum knee, how your chances at the NFL were ruined. Man up. We’re all dealing with our own set of issues, our own hurdles. The measure of a man isn’t how well he does when everything goes his way, but when he has to continually pick himself up over and over and over again. The number of surgeries I’ve endured in my thirty-year career is far more than what you’ve experienced. Each time I thought my career was done, I fought through the pain and adversity. I didn’t make excuses, I competed. I didn’t look for handouts, I earned what I got. You want a spot on this roster? Then don’t let a fifty-year-old man beat you in the middle of the ring tonight.
Dusk takes a step back, cracking his knuckles in the process.
Dusk: You woke up a fire in me, Ryoko. You wanted to go in on my age. You wanted to go in on how I’m taking something away from you by being in PRIME. You wanted to go in and mention my kids. Big mistake. Huge mistake. I hope you remember what it was like being that snot-nosed kid at the Rosemont Horizon all those years ago because I’m going to take you right back to that feeling. When you’re laid out on the mat tonight, looking up at me after I’ve taken you to the woodshed and back, don’t ask why. Just know that your mouth wrote a check that you couldn’t cash. You want something? Earn it. Let’s see if those massive hands of yours are any good at tapping out.
DUSK! DUSK! DUSK! DUSK!
With that, Dusk brushes past the camera and cameraman, exiting the shot, and making his way to the ring for his upcoming match.