We return form commercial to the backstage and pan to a commotion being caused in the hallway. A familiar face cuts into frame as Dave Gibson saunters into view. Wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of cowboy boots, he almost struts through the backstage area.
Dave Gibson: Hey, you, where’s catering?
A young woman who is scurrying in the back with a load of cables stops and looks at Dave with more than a little disdain on their face before scurrying away.
Gibson furrows his brow before continuing on, spotting the locker room. He slings the door open and his cowboy boots clip-clop as he makes his way to a locker located conveniently next to the showers. He opens it up, snorts, and dumps the contents on the ground before putting his own duffel bag inside. Judging by the clothes and dinosaur embroidery on the gym bag as it is tossed on the floor, it’s clearly the locker of the friendly neighborhood FDP.
Dave Gibson: Veteran’s prerogative, kid. It ain’t personal.
As Dave walks back outside of the locker room he is met with three men from the AV crew. John Kaplan, Pete Berch, and Juan Castroneves stand, arms crossed, waiting for Gibson as he comes out of the door.
Dave Gibson: Gentlemen…
Dave extends his hand to shake each of theirs, but the only response is three cold, unflinching stares.
Dave Gibson: I guess some traditions die out, huh?
Again, he is met with silence.
Dave Gibson: Look, have you seen Eddie Cross? I gotta talk to the boy. Real man-to-man shit.
John Caplan: Eddie don’t got nothing to say to you, Judas.
Gibson’s eyes narrow and he assesses the three men in front of him.
Dave Gibson: What the hell is wrong with everyone? Where is the respect? I put years into this business so that people like you could even have a job, and…
Suddenly a voice interrupts him from behind the AV crew.
Voice: And what? That makes you think you can just walk onto the show and say and do whatever you want?
Eddie Cross walks into the frame, leather gaming jacket, backpack, glasses, etc. He looks ready to do business right here and now. He thanks John and his friends before pulling off his glasses.
Dave Gibson: As a matter of fact, Ed, yeah I do. You of all people know what I sacrificed to train you and get you on this damn show. Now what, you’re gonna tell me I aint earned that respect?
Eddie Cross: Oh I respected you alright. I respected you so much that I never questioned you. I did everything you said. For three years I listened, I watched tape, I ran the ropes in your dirty ass gym. I took bumps. I learned to talk. I learned to be the bad guy, and I also learned that just isn’t who I am in my heart.
He shakes his head.
Eddie Cross: And then you did what you did. You kicked me out with nothing. You left me.
Dave rolls his eyes.
Dave Gibson: When are you gonna get it through that thick head of yours, kid? The only one you can count on in this business is yourself. You knew exactly who I was when you started training with me. The type of man I am… the things I did… Don’t get mad just because an old man like me got the drop on you.
Now it’s Ed’s turn to roll his eyes.
Dave Gibson: You know, back in my day, we didn’t whine and throw a temper tantrum when things didn’t go our way. We paid our dues and maybe if we did our job well, we earned respect from the locker room. If not, well, we got a little reminder about how things go in the business.
Dave’s student ran his finger over a scar on his forehead. He locked eyes with his former mentor and spit on the ground at Dave’s feet.
Eddie Cross: That’s what I think about your respect and your word. You can call it whatever you want, but you’re my father’s best friend. I called you Uncle. You’re aiga (family) to me, and you did this to prove some ass backwards point.
He shakes his head at his teacher.
Eddie Cross: You think tradition is the only way? Let me tell you about my people and tradition. On the island, traditionally, men run the household. Women are abused constantly, and there is nowhere for them to turn. Violence is just a way of life, and women die, Dave. Literally get beat to death for shit like missing curfew.
Dave Gibson: What’s your point?
Eddie Cross: My point is sometimes the traditions are outdated and if people don’t stand up for what’s right, then these beliefs never change.
Eddie Cross: I tried to do things your way. You know what they said about me? I was a bully. I was ignorant. I was full of myself. I needed to be humbled. And they were right. I was all those things… and so are you.
Dave curls his upper lip into a snarl.
Dave Gibson: Oh you think you got me all figured out do ya?
Eddie laughs and puts his glasses back on.
Eddie Cross: Dave, all you know is this business. You put it on a pedestal and sacrificed everything for it. Your words, not mine. What have you got to show for it? A run down gym, an old truck, and tainted memories. Face it bruh, you’re depressed and you think this is your ticket back to something you know.
Eddie pauses and steps back among the AV crew. John claps him on the shoulder and nods in support.
Eddie Cross: I’m the only person who has truly loved you unconditionally, maybe ever. And you turned on me to get… all this…
He holds his hands out.
Eddie Cross: Ivan was right about you, Dave. Hope it was worth it, because now you’re on your own.
Dave Gibson: Eddie you don’t know anything I…
Eddie turns his back on his mentor and Dave turns beet red.
Dave Gibson: Don’t you dare turn your back on me, you ungrateful little shit!
Eddie doesn’t turn, he keeps walking and Dave steps forward, with veins popping out in the roadmap of scars on his forehead and small bits of spittle flecked on his lips. John, Pete and Juan stand their ground in front of him and Dave cracks a malicious smile.
Dave Gibson: Oh what the hell is this now? You’re gonna stand in my way? When I was in OSE, clowns like you wouldn’t have been allowed to look at me without my approval.
John speaks up.
John Caplan: With all due respect, Mr. Gibson, that was twenty years ago. That kind of behavior isn’t tolerated anymore.
Dave scoffs and tries to walk past the three men. John holds his shaking hand up, and puts it on Dave’s chest.
John Caplan: I… I think it’s best if you go. Maybe let’s just all walk away from this for a bit and give the kid some space.
Dave looks down at John’s hand, and without warning, grabs it and twists it into a Cobra Clutch. The veteran cinches the hold and starts constricting the airflow of John, who rapidly turns an unsightly shade of purple. Juan and Pete try in vain to get him to release the hold, and finally Juan runs off momentarily. He comes back shortly with several Enemigos and they manage to pull Gibson off the old man.
Dave Gibson: What are you all looking at? I’m a veteran of this sport. I paved the way for y’all! You owe me that respect!
He looks around as the small crowd starts to talk amongst themselves and point, and a couple have their cell phones out, video recording the event. Dave backs up slowly, grabbing a cell phone from one of the onlookers and smashing it on the ground.
Dave Gibson: You tell Eddie this is only over when I say it’s over.
The Carolina native turns and stomps off screen and out of sight around the corner.