Private: Ria Lockhart
Respect. I’ve been in PRIME for a minute now and I feel like I’ve gained some traction. Despite that, respect I don’t feel like I have much of from others. Part of that’s my fault. Some of it is out of my control. I’m one of the smallest members of the roster. Even if I were to go live in the gym and put on 50 lbs of muscle, that’s not gonna make me any taller than 5’6″. Is that what it is? Do people see me and want to treat me as if I’m fragile or tiny?
Maybe it’s due to in ring stuff. My record is 1-3. That doesn’t even deserve to be called mediocre. On top of that, I’m not exactly sure how in the hell I didn’t get disqualified in the 1 win I do have. Pretty sure I hit Tact in the balls more often than Joe Fontaine’s been Canadian Destroyed. For those not keeping track, that’s a lot. If that’s the case, I guess I’ll just do what I always do; prove idiots wrong.
I might be undersized. My record might be poor. I may not be a 20 year vet, or the most technically proficient wrestler. None of that is gonna stop me. I’m stubborn, to the point of doing stupid shit to prove a point. I’m determined, willing to put myself in harm’s way to get the job done. It’s what I know best. There’s one more thing I have up my sleeve, a side the roster has only gotten glimpses of so far.
I’m violent. People joke about the stabbing, but that’s child’s play. Barbwire, glass, explosions, fire… I’m willing to push the limits of good taste and decency in the name of my opponent’s suffering. Ever wonder why I’m so drawn the Intense Championship? I feel confined, chained down. I want to cast off this oppression, to express myself through one of the most basic human emotions there is; pain. I know pain. We’re very close. I want to show the world my pain, which in turn is my pleasure.
I’ve had Timo Bolamba on my mind a lot lately. He’s been nagging me recently. Like, even more than usual! He wants me to train with him or some shit. Something about seeing some of himself in me. Dude gave me a shitload of money to gamble with not long ago. I have no idea where the hell it came from. I tried to give it back, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I ended up coming out ahead at the end of my night of gambling. I was gonna get it all cashed out and cash bomb him later, but his stubborn ass would pick up every single dollar and make me take it back. So I… donated it.
I just don’t know what his deal is. Maybe he really does want to train me out of a desire to see me succeed. There’s a problem, though. I know he’s close with TAL. Makes me pretty suspicious of his motives. What if he wants to give Anglo some advanced scouting tips on me? What if he just wants to throw my name out there to publicize his new gym? I don’t think he’s the kind of guy to do any of that… But I didn’t think TAL was a user either.
I have a lot to say about The Anglo Luchador. A whole hell of a lot. When the time comes, I’ll go deeper. For now though, I’ll still share a few thoughts. I’m not sure TAL really understands my end of things. Sure, he knows I’m angry. I don’t think he quite comprehends why. Even if he says he does, there’s more there than he realizes. Now he seems like he’s trying to get himself hyped up or some shit. Fine. Whatever. I’ll have more words later, but I’m pretty sure getting in the ring is the only way to progress past this now. I’ll show you my pain, Tom.
We join Ria Nightshade in a place where she sticks out like a sore thumb, even more so than usual; Forever 21. She couldn’t really explain why she was in the store. The merchant didn’t really suit Nightshade’s taste. Lockhart? Maybe. Yet, here she was, meandering around somewhere she theoretically didn’t belong. She was looking at a rack of sunglasses she’d sooner run over than wear when she noticed them.
Looking through a bin of bracelets was a teenager. The oversized pink hoodie they wore almost covered the black pleated skirt they wore underneath. A pair of black stockings started just above their knee, inches below where the skirt ended. Black Doc Martin boots adorned their feet. A mask with an anime style cat face covered their own, along with an unstyled mass of thick black hair hanging just past their shoulders.
Ria casually began to make her way in that direction. She stopped here and there, pretending to look at crap she couldn’t care less about to keep suspicion off of herself. She finally arrived at the bin herself, masquerading as a person interested in the bargain garbage in front of her. It didn’t take long for her to drop the act, opting to stare at the young person until they noticed. It took a moment, but soon, their eyes would meet hers. They froze, much like a deer in the headlights.
[Ria] What’s your name?
The teenager swallowed a lump in their throat.
[Teen] L-look, please don’t say anything! I’ll just leave, I don’t want any trouble…
Though they did their best to disguise it, it was fairly easy to tell the voice belonged to a teenage boy.
[Ria] Calm down, honey. I just want to know your name.
The teen looked down at the ground prior to mumbling an answer.
Edgar continued his staring contest with the floor for a moment before peeking up at Ria. What he saw was a smile. This wasn’t Ria Nightshade’s usual smile, full of malice and mischief. No, this one was warm and welcoming.
[Ria] No, sweetie. What’s your real name?
Edgar stared at Ria blankly for a minute before it seemed her words clicked for him.
[Edgar] Crystal… With a K.
Ria’s smile grew ever so slightly.
[Ria] That’s a cute name, Krystal! You seem a little nervous. Would you mind if I shop with you?
A look of surprise appears on Krystal’s face before she composed herself. Despite her next words, her body language relaxed.
[Krystal] I… I guess so.
Ria trotted off before returning with a basket. She followed Krystal around, who did more window shopping than anything else. That is, until she set her eyes on a rather stylish black dress. There’s a section intentionally cut out of the side midriff, but Krystal had little to worry about there with her lithe frame. Her eyes grew after looking at the price tag, leading to her disappointedly relieving the dress of her grip.
[Ria] Looks like you really want that dress. Why aren’t you getting it?
[Krystal] The price…
[Ria] Pssh, fuck that! I’ll get it for you!
Before Krystal could object, Ria snatched the dress and tossed it into the weird collapsible bag basket thing. This happened a few more times over the next number of minutes; Krystal would see something she liked, the price worried her, Ria ignores her and grabs it anyway. Wash, rinse, repeat a half dozen times. That is, until they came to the bra section. Ria glanced at Krystal, who stared at the undergarments longingly.
[Ria] Why don’t you get one?
Ria’s words snapped Krystal out of her daze. An obvious panic began to overtake her.
[Krystal] I can’t!
Ria calmly stared at the teen.
[Ria] And why not?
[Krystal] Because!… It’s embarrassing. I don’t even know my size… Also-
Krystal cut her own words off as, yet again, Ria had walked off. The teenager could see her at the checkout counter, having a conversation with a staff member. Moments later, another staff member came over and joined the talk. This new woman was with Ria as the two approached Krystal.
[Staff] Hi honey! Your sister here explained what’s going on. Come with us to the dressing rooms!
Krystal timidly followed as the staff member unlocked the small room and the three of them crammed inside.
[Staff] Okay Krystal, I’m gonna need you to take your sweater off for a second.
Krystal hesitated briefly before pulling the hoodie and the black cami top she was wearing underneath off. She shyly covered her bare top.
[Staff] Nope, arms out to the side honey. Don’t worry, it’s just us here!
Krystal waited a moment before tentatively raising her arms. The woman took the tape measurer that’s been hanging around her neck and carefully wrapped it around Krystal’s chest, just under where her breasts would be. When satisfied with the measurement, she let Krystal relax.
[Staff] Okay, your band size is 32. You don’t have to worry about cup size at the moment, but it’s something for you to think about in the future.
Krystal, who’s been blushing this whole time, managed to murmur out a thank you before the staff member took her leave. She got dressed before herself and Ria exited the dressing room.
[Ria] Okay, no excuses now. Let’s pick some bras out for you!
They grabbed 4 bras, with Ria insisting on two of them being padded. After grabbing some underwear and a few makeup items, they headed to the checkout. The clerk started to ring things up, bagging them afterward. Once everything’s processed, the cashier looked at the two of them.
[Cashier] Okay, your total is $384.64.
Krystal’s jaw dropped open. Before she could utter a word, Ria’s debit card was already in the chip reader. After the payment cleared, they each grabbed two of the large bags and exited the store.
[Ria] Well that was fun! I’m kinda hungry. Food court? Food court.
The teen’s mind was spinning. One moment, she was looking at bracelets, her nerves on high alert. Now, she was sitting in the food court with some strange woman, eating pretzel dogs. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see some boys a few tables over. There’s clearly snickering and chuckling going on… And it’s obviously at her expense. Krystal took a deep but shaky breath. The last thing she wanted was to cry in public. It’s then that she felt Ria’s hand on top of hers. She looked into the woman’s neon green eyes.
[Ria] They don’t matter. People like that, they take joy in being nasty. They’re shit and they’re not gonna matter the moment we leave. They’re not worth your pain or your tears. They’re garbage.
Krystal wiped away a few tears before nodding. Despite herself, she even let a small smile cross her lips. Ria followed suit. The two resumed their meal, with Ria doing most of the talking between them. Once they finished, they exited the mall. Initially, they stood just off to the side of the entrance, an awkward silence permeating the air.
[Krystal] Well, um… Thanks. For everything. I can take those bags.
[Ria] I’ll help you carry them to your car.
[Krystal] Uh, actually… I don’t have a car. I was just gonna take the bus home.
[Ria] Fuck public transportation! I’ll give you a ride.
Krystal looked around nervously.
[Krystal] I really shouldn’t…
[Ria] Honey? I might not be super famous, but there’s a decent chunk of people that know who I am. If I do anything to you, I can promise you I wouldn’t get away with it. Now get in my damn car.
Krystal trepidatiously followed Ria to her car. They put the bags in the trunk and she got in the passenger’s seat. After getting the teenager’s address, Ria started google maps and they were on their way. As the drive moved along, Krystal keeps glancing at Ria.
[Krystal] Why did you do this?
[Ria] Do what?
[Krystal] The clothes, the food, all of it…
Ria shrugged while keeping both hands on the wheel.
[Ria] We’re alike, I think. You kinda remind me of myself from years ago.
[Krystal] What do you mean?
[Ria] Before I transitioned. I see a lot of myself in you from back then.
The car went quiet. Unsurprisingly, Ria’s the one that broke the silence.
[Ria] I can help you, ya know. Things nowadays, they-
[Krystal] I’m not like you!!!
The outburst caught Ria off-guard. Sensing more coming, she remained quiet.
[Krystal] This is just a phase! I’ll get over it eventually! I’m not gonna transition. I don’t want to transition! Someday, I’m gonna meet a girl that loves me and I’ll get over this bullshit!
Ria maintained her silence, staying that way until they arrived at the address. Once Ria put the car in park, Krystal clumsily opened the door and went around back. Ria was quick to pop the trunk open. After grabbing all the bags, Krystal slowly made her way to the driver’s side door. Her head is hung low, much like when the two first met.
[Krystal] I’m… I’m sorry… That was really mean of me. You’ve been really nice to me and…
Unlike earlier, there was no holding the tears back now. Krystal’s face was red as she blubbered, both unable and unwilling to look at Ria. Sure, this woman was strange, but she had shown Krystal a kindness she rarely received in person. She couldn’t believe she had said all of that, acted in that way. When she finally began to compose herself, Krystal cautiously looked up at Ria. The woman was holding a piece of paper out to her. She meekly took the scrap.
[Krystal] What’s this?…
[Ria] My number. There’s also the number and website for the Trevor Project on there.
Krystal stood, frozen in stunned silence.
[Ria] I should apologize. I sometimes get too into my own headspace. I occasionally forget that just because someone who wasn’t born female wears female clothes, that doesn’t mean they’re transgender. They can be crossdressers, or non-binary, genderqueer, etc… Regardless, I’ll be here to listen if you need it. I know this is a confusing time for you. Just know, myself and many others are here for you, okay?
Krystal weakly nods. Another beat of silence. This time, it was Krystal that broke the silence.
[Krystal] Can… Can I have a hug before I go?
The warm smile Ria showed earlier appears again.
[Ria] Of course, babe.
Ria climbed out of the vehicle. She took the slightly taller Krystal in her arms, enveloping her into a hug. The young adult buried her head into Ria’s shoulder, bawling once again. One of Ria’s hands moved up to gently cradle Krystal’s head while the other soothingly rubbed her back. After Krystal calmed down, Ria tenderly cradled the teen’s head in her hands.
[Ria] Just remember, I’m only a phone call away.
Krystal wearily smiled and nodded before grabbing the bags and going on her way. Ria got back into her car and began her drive home. Shortly after taking off, Ria Lockhart slowly materialized into the passenger’s seat.
[Lockhart] That… was incredibly sweet of you.
[Nightshade] Shut the fuck up.
Lockhart simply shrugged, but didn’t leave. The pair stayed quiet as they traveled home. Once more, the voice of Ria Nightshade shattered the silence.
[Nightshade] Fucking Timo…
Insert sexual innuendo about threesomes that won’t be as good as GREAT SCOTT’S. Two guys, one who’s pretty much a linebacker and the other who’s a linebacker that ate a linebacker, Mortimer Kjedelig and Balaam The Mask of Malice. Two beefy boys, to be sure. I’m gonna address each of you separately, despite the fact that it’s gonna be a waste of my time.
Mortimer Kjedelig… Who’s the brain ditcher that gave you that name? Sure as hell wasn’t your parents. Ya know Shell Digger, I’m not entirely sure GREAT SCOTT is totally accurate that you’re a mafia member. Between your awkward ass name and the fact you wear a mask I’M embarrassed to see you in… Well, there’s certainly some credence to that theory. Doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is your shit luck. Like, seriously. First, you live in North Dakota, which is like the Great Value South Dakota. I’ve been to South Dakota. It sucks. Not only that, but you seem to have some dumbassed problem with Anna Daniels. If there’s one other person that’d be quick to smack you stupid for trashing Anna other than herself, it’d be me. On the plus side, I’m not sure I’d even have to smack you for you to hit the stupid level.
You’re bigger than me, Morty. Undoubtedly stronger too. I’m probably faster. I’m sure as hell smarter. I also have more experience than you. Hell, I have more experience in PRIME alone than you do in your whole career! My suggestion to you? Don’t worry about Anna. Worry about me, because I’m fitting to give you a pair of concrete shoes!
Moving on, we have Balaam. You know, I should like you. I should giggle and shake your hand after the things you did to Anglo. And yet… Thinking about it just pisses me off. Maybe I can’t separate that time from the present. Either way, that’s not good for you… Because I wanna pay you back. I’ve wanted to for a while, so I’m looking forward to stepping in the ring with your ginormous ass.
Most people would probably be, at the very least, nervous stepping in the ring with you. But really? You’re just a weapon, a puppet for your codpiece, Hoyt Williams. There was a time in the not too distant past that old Hoyt tried to pull me into his stupid little cult. I passed. I’m a pretty flawed person, that’s obvious. Hoyt Williams is a piece of shit, bordering on being a monster. Truth is, he’s more of a monster than the brainless brute he leads into the ring.
I’ll be honest, Balaam The Mask of the Phantasm… I wanna rip that stupid fucking thing right off your face! What would you do? How would John Kennedy Royko Jr react? How would he deal with the atrocities he’s committed? I can’t answer that. I bet old Personal Jackass wouldn’t be much help there. I’m not even worried about the two other fuckwits that dick around with the two of you. Much like with Morty, I know I have the brains advantage. Hoyt can only do so much thinking for you.
The two of you are standing in my path on the way to the Intense Championship. One straight line. You’re first, Shell Dell. I’ll do whatever I have to in the name of putting your ass down to get to Balaam. Balaam… Be ready. They can call you a monster. They can say you’re invincible. I WILL find a way to put your ass down! I WILL get payback for what you did to Anglo! I will be a monster slayer!
Go ahead and line up, boys. I’ll be on my way through, chainsaw in hand to cut your asses down.