DON’T TELL THE SPONSORS
Little Caesars Arena.
PURE MICHIGAN, BAYBEE.
We’re taken behind the Steel Door o’ Doom where the revolving door of endless bullshit has not yet begun turning.
Don’t worry, though; the night is young.
Lindsay Troy is checking her watch while reclining in her big, comfy executive’s chair, feet up on the desk, looking real relaxed. The Flynn Cup, all shiny and pretty, is next to her on the desk.
Suddenly, three big booming knocks are heard from across the room, and the Queen’s face lights up like a kid’s on Christmas morning.
Lindsay Troy: (smiling) Come in!!!
You know she’s happy because I used three exclamation points! THREE!!! I never use more than one!
The Steel Door o’ Doom swings open…
Henry Keyes: BESTIEEEEEEEEEE!
His voice is like a gravelly John O’Hurley. A staggeringly dapper man in a crushed pink velvet suit with a bright blue tie, salt-and-pepper abound, and a tastefully overstated black leather headpiece covering much of the left half of his head steps into The Queen of the Ring’s office. The Kraken is carrying a large cardboard Little Caesar’s pizza box in one hand and a manilla envelope in the other. Setting them both down, Keyes joyfully strides over to Miss Troy.
What follows is one of the most elaborate and complicated series of maneuvers, twists, and slaps you may ever find in a Secret Handshake. Some of these maneuvers surely have names in the Secret Handshake Community – names like The Hand Grenade or The Shortstack. It’s shocking how well these two are in sync with this handshake. They conclude with a hearty forearm-to-forearm press and a big bear hug from Keyes to Troy before Henry retrieves the pizza box.
Henry Keyes: I had to make a little Pizza Trojan Horse here so I could sneak in the good stuff. Jet’s forever, Little Caesar’s never!
Henry opens the Little Caesar’s box to reveal a second, only very slightly smaller box nestled inside from Jet’s Pizza.
Henry Keyes: Four corner turbo crust cheese, sausage, and peppers.
He reveals The Good Stuff. Damn it, now I want a pizza too.
Lindsay Troy: You’re the best, bb. Definitely worth getting in trouble with the Arena Owners and Sponsors. No extra pepperoni for you, though?
Henry Keyes: I’ve got a second Extra Pepperoni Trojan Horse lined up – I’m bringing it up to the suite to share with Kerry.
Lindsay Troy: Aw, cuties.
Keyes and Troy both chuckle.
Henry Keyes: You and I brought him into Vae Victis first. I’m proud of him, conquering new territory for Rome like this. We’ll have to have a triumph for him when he’s done.
Lindsay Troy: OK, I can only assume if you’re talking like this, you’ve already started. Share, please.
Keyes snorts and reaches into the inner pocket of his suit jacket, pulling out a leather and metal steampunk-style flask, which he hands to Troy. She takes a swig.
Henry Keyes: Oh, by the way, I bumped into some Herb out there who looked ready to piss himself at a moment’s notice. He shoved that into my arms and ran away.
He motions to the manilla envelope.
Henry Keyes: Apparently, it’s for you.
Lindsay Troy: I genuinely don’t understand what could have gone on in a kid’s mind to lead to that series of actions, Henry.
Henry Keyes: Maybe he saw you and I win that, and he assumed you or I might knock him out on sight for existing in our general vicinity!
Keyes points to the Flynn Cup, polished and shiny. The Co-Consuls of Vae Victis conquered Eminence in the finals of this year’s tournament and put the wider professional wrestling tag team scene on notice.
Lindsay takes the manilla envelope and begins to open it. She slowly pulls out the papers enclosed in the envelope.
Henry Keyes: The way he scampered off like a little kid made me wonder if we found a third Fuse brother – he kind of looked like an even scrawnier cOnOr to me.
Lindsay Troy: Ugh, two Fuse Bros are bad enough, I don’t want to imagine the possibility of there being more.
The Queen reads through the packet, stops on a specific page, and groans loudly. She smacks them against her thigh and tilts her head back.
Lindsay Troy: Whyyyyyyyyyy, this night started off so goooooood. UGGGHHHHHH.
Henry Keyes: Need me to hit anyone?
Lindsay doesn’t reply. Instead, she walks to the desk, shoves the papers in a drawer, then makes her way back to her bestie.
Lindsay Troy: This is a problem for Future Me. Present Me wants pizza and to change the subject.
Henry Keyes: Fine by me. By the way, how’s that French kid doing?
Lindsay Troy: Believe it or not, he’s the top ranked wrestler in PRIME right now.
Henry Keyes: Shut the front door!
The two of them heartily chomp on the amazing Detroit-style pizza stylings of Jet’s Pizza in an immersive experience that would be seriously ruined if it was that crappy Little Caesar’s $5 Hot N’ Ready malarkey.
Lindsay Troy: Well. Maybe we had something to do with that, I don’t know. You know he’s been wrestling down in New Orleans for BRAZEN.
Henry Keyes: Of course. I was thinking of giving him a call about taking another shot at the Tag Party tourney over there.
Lindsay Troy: You know Kaz is there too. He’s told me a few things.
Henry Keyes: I take it they’re-
Lindsay Troy: -feuding, blood feuding, yes, they are. And normally I’d let my kid handle his business on his own, but this feels…personal.
Keyes strokes his annoyingly groomed Van Dyke style goatee.
Henry Keyes: That settles it, I’m tagging with Flampanada. We’re winning it. And we’re gonna talk. He’s going to understand a few things by the end.
Keyes finishes his slice and dabs his face with a napkin.
Henry Keyes: I’ll leave you to it, busy night and all. Anything you want me to tell Kerry?
Lindsay Troy: Tell him I’ll stop by at some point, but I think you boys need some bonding time first.
Henry Keyes: Drinks and movies with Helen after the show, you and Wade in?
Lindsay Troy: Wouldn’t miss it.
Keyes salutes and bows, exiting Troy’s office.