TWENTY AND TWO
The first thing we see is a close-up of Matt Mills framed from the chest up. He looks nervous, red-faced, like he’s just spent the last few minutes sweating and desperately tried to wipe it away before going live.
Matt Mills: Ladies and gentlemen, I’m joined here tonight by…
There’s a good reason for that.
The camera pulls back to reveal the rest of the shot.
Matt Mills: Ummm…
On a casual glance you wouldn’t think there’s anything to be afraid of. After all, he stands a good seven inches taller than his guest and outweighs her by a solid eighty pounds. Of course, everyone in PRIME to date who’s managed to get on the wrong side of Justine Calvin – every single one of them – has spent a night staring up at the lights and wondering where the last three seconds ran off to.
None of them had a biweekly rumor column on the PRIME website.
None of them had the misfortune of working with the problematic reporter known only as Gary.
So if it looks like she’s concentrating real hard on trying to make his head explode with only her mind, it’s because she is.
Justine Calvin: Matthew.
You don’t get a nickname like “The Murder Valkyrie” by not trying to murder people.
Deep breath, Matty.
Matt Mills: Earlier… uhh… Earlier tonight I had the chance to speak with the Winds of Change about the challenge they issued two weeks ago, about hoping to be the ones to bring what’s been a record-setting championship reign to an end…
He removes a pocket square from his jacket and dabs at his forehead. Don’t ask how many times he’s done this so far, the answer is “a lot”. He also, almost reflexively, brushes an invisible hand off of his shoulder.
Matt Mills: What…
Justine raises a hand and Matt’s voice trails off. This is also where her facade finally cracks, and the smile she’s been holding back starts to show through. Because if you’re going to commit to fucking with the a senior reporter, you really have to commit.
But will the joke now over, it’s time to get serious for real.
Justine Calvin: Two chances, Matt. Two. Twenty years, and two chances.
She shifts the weight of the championship belt that’s currently held over her right shoulder.
Justine Calvin: This belt? It took me twenty years to get this far, to be able to hold this in the air and say that it’s mine. I didn’t come from a family of wrestlers. I didn’t have an “in” to the business. Everything that I got came the hard way, and it didn’t come along for a very, very long time. My first year out of training and all I heard was, “Sorry, but you’re not quite what we’re looking for.” Promoters would tell me, “Hey, have you thought about being a valet?” That’s why my first year was. No shots at world championships, because I couldn’t even get a foot in the door. So you’ll understand if I seem a little protective, or a little standoffish. It’s because I am.
Her left hand begins drumming a slow, steady rhythm on the faceplate of her title. One finger after the other.
Justine Calvin: Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Joe or Sid as people. They’re great kids, they have all the talent in the world, and the future is theirs for the taking. But under no circumstances am I prepared to hand mine over. And they know this, Matt. We’ve done this twice before. Once last fall, and then again in Japan over the break. Both times we threw down the results were the same. Maybe Culture Shock is different. Maybe everything that Jared and I have spent the last eight months building finally comes undone.
Her eyes turn directly to the camera.
Justine Calvin: Or maybe it’s the same song played to a different beat. You know for a long time we were the “Kings.” I never really vibed with that name, but I understood the significance. And if I can paraphrase a little pop culture, when you come for the Kings you best not miss. More nicknames than Odin, was that what they said? Well, after Culture Shock there’s only one thing you’ll need to worry about calling us, and that’s the PRIME Tag Team Champions.
Matt Mills: And what of the news that broke earlier this week? Last night there was a Royal Decree naming the Dangerous Mix as your next challengers, to take place in New Orleans two weeks from now.
Justine nods slowly as she shifts the belt from one shoulder to the other.
Justine Calvin: It’s been a rough year for Mushi and Fox. I know it hasn’t gone the way that they wanted it to, or hoped that it would. This business… sometimes it gets to you like that. But they stepped up when it mattered. They walked into Colossus and took on two other teams. They earned their win, and now they finally, finally get a chance to try and write their names in the history books. Make no mistake, under no circumstances are we looking past them. Those men are extremely capable in the ring, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. Like I said, it’s been a rough year for Mushi and Fox…
A smile curls at the edge of her lips.
Justine Calvin: Unfortunately, it’s about to get a whole lot rougher. The Kings might be no more, but your Eminence still rules this division.
Matt Mills: For Justine Calvin, I’m Matt Mills, and…
Justine Calvin: Seriously though, where the fuck is Gary?
And with that, we go elsewhere.