Justine Calvin, I’m going to get right to the point. I think you’d be wise to really think about whether or not you want to go through with facing me in a wrestling match. Maybe instead, you would prefer to join The Love Convoy? Is that such a brash thing to question? I don’t believe in selling jobs and I really don’t have to sit here and tell you why you should join. You should want to. You should already know. It is the greatest group in the world. Who wouldn’t want to be included? I know I would and my view isn’t even biased!
So, it’s a simple offer. Why fight? Why not become a distinguished member of The Love Convoy instead? Done deal. We could shake hands on it. Nay, we could NUZZLE on it. Speaking of which, sidebar, it has come to my clear attention that I have perturbed certain individuals in the PRIME Jabber social media channel and to them I declare shame on their spirits. Nuzzling is a harmless act. It connects us within a tightly woven community fabric so those of you who don’t support nuzzling, well you can all go fly a kite off a bottomless cliff and never come back. If HATE persists over LOVE, rest assured I will be taking matters into my own hands. The Jabber will become my domain of love no matter what! Embrace it. You have no choice.
But Justine, don’t get blindsided by that. Others can be toxic and you don’t need that in your life. Besides, you haven’t offended me in any way… yet. I hope you never do. Oh, for your sake I hope you never do. I hope you don’t disrespect my offer either because I’d much rather spread my love across the land than have to face you in a bloodsport. If it ends up being the latter, you leave me no choice but to FORCE my love on you which you will eventually accept. I will infuse you with love and tenderness either way.
Let’s get back to basics, though. You’re Justine and I’m Tristan-Crispin. Let’s get to know each other a little better. You’re a forty-two-year-old Virgo. Interesting. Let’s deep dive into what it means to be a Virgo, especially for someone in your unique circumstances. I enjoy your personality strengths of loyalty, practicality and your unwavering will to work hard. I think these traits would fit nicely into The Love Convoy. Assertive, but never brash. Yet, I must advise that you will have to work on your weaknesses of being a shy worrier if you want to fit in with us. The Love Convoy is filled to the brim with fully actualized individuals. Self-confidence is key and you know what my lovely cousin, Jonathan-Christopher always says! “Being caught in a worry bind creates an uneasy mind!”
Don’t worry though, he’s lectured me on my self-confidence too and look at where I am today! You must first love yourself before you can love others and with that, I guess we just came upon a crossroads. Maybe you can’t join yet. I jumped the gun on it and I am owning that right now but you can’t join us. Not at the moment, at least. First, I must teach you how to truly love yourself and maybe then you will be in a better headspace to join my exclusive group.
It is heartwarming to note that our compatibility is there though, so we won’t have to work too hard in the ring to put on a stellar match. That is, if you can get over your damn worrying. Silly Virgo trait. BE MORE CONFIDENT! See what I am trying to do? I am trying to prop you up, not tear you down! You do a good enough job of beating yourself up and I barely even know you. You know, like, the REAL you. The person behind the curtain, after the show lights turn off. What really makes Justine Calvin tick? What kinds of toppings do you put on pizza? The important stuff in life. That’s the foundation I’m interested in exploring the most!
I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle here and not in the traditional way you might think. I just think that your zodiac sign shrouds so much darkness around you that I will have to PUT THE TIME IN to really get through to you. It pains me that someone with so much potential just sits around wasting it. When was the last time you did anything meaningful, Justine? Go for a walk? Eat a falafel? Meander in a mall? I think this is going to be your wake up call, I really do. I will do my loving duty to get you on the correct path though because I am so giving. I wouldn’t do this for just anyone, Justine but I will for you. All I am asking for is credence. Give me a shot. Give me a chance. Just be open to me, Justine. Is that asking for too much? Are my ideals too heavy for you? Are my views too radical? Heck, am I asking too many questions?
I DON’T THINK I’M ASKING ENOUGH QUESTIONS RIGHT NOW, JUSTINE! SO LAY OFF!
Questions are how we learn and grow but most importantly, questions are HOW WE LOVE! Are we star crossed nuzzlers? At Revival, we’ll find out! The more I think about it, the more I think you might suffer from trust problems. Consider me the fixer. I will give you a glimpse into the way the Gladhappy family loves. Furthermore, I will show you snippets of love from Vickie Hall, my cousin Jonathan-Christopher and of course myself. We all love in unique ways and it’s not that you’re not worthy, you’re just clearly misguided. You need help and I get that. Help is on the way for you, Justine. My heart beats and breaks for you simultaneously. If it were up to me, we’d meet in the ring IMMEDIATELY so I can UNLEASH my love upon you.
Just promise me one thing. Bring the true validated you to the ring. I don’t want anything cheaper because it’s clear you already devalue yourself and the world does a good enough job of doing that as it is.
Like super far from Sacramento, California, the greatest place on Earth. Like so far that they are on opposite sides of the country and TCG will tell you there’s a reason for that.
“Free anime stickers!” Tristan-Crispin shouts at the top of his lungs.
He sifts through a crowd of high schoolers on a late fall afternoon. It’s clear these kids want nothing to do with the slightly older Nuzzle Lord but he persists, sticking his nose into small circles, asking everyone individually if they would enjoy receiving a sticker.
“I have all the popular brands! And you don’t even need to worry about the glue being laced with drugs! I have checked them all personally!” TCG chimes.
He grins and squints as if he is an anime character, which again, the collection of students easily find annoying.
“Uhhhh, go away dude,” A random teen quips.
Hurt but not deterred, TCG decides to take his business elsewhere.
“You’re missing out. It’s clear no one loves you, kid. Did your mom drop you on your head when you were little?” Gladhappy remarks passive aggressively.
TCG waltzes on until he finds the prototypical group of nerds. Good thing school just let out or else who knows what the Nuzzle Lord would be up to.
“Anime stickers anyone?” He offers with pep in his step.
The eyes of all the nerds light up behind their respective set of bifocals.
“Do you have Totoro?” One slurps, “I love me some Totoro. I watch that move every week in my room alone!”
TCG rifles through his collection real quick and comes up smiling… again.
“I have Evangelion, Naruto, Totoro, Hello Kitty, Eyeshield Twenty One, Dragonball, and even Spirited Away! I have it all! Here you go, my love and may the rhythm of love flow through you to a successful life!” He exclaims, handing the kid a totoro sticker, “Anyone else? Fullmetal Alchemist seems to be popular nowadays!?”
One of the scrawnier nerds, if there even is such a thing, pipes up.
“Why are you going around handing out anime stickers to high school students, man?” He asks.
“Why, that’s a good question you little scallywag!” TCG says as he taps his chin, “It’s simple really. Watching anime is a DEEP passion of mine. I love it so much! The stories are always fantastical and it provides me with a warmth I can’t even begin to describe. So I thought I’d come to this decrepit place in an attempt to spread my love to the underprivileged. Namely, high school students with no chance at having a real life. Hence, here I am because everyone knows Boston is a dead end town full of drunks and low lifes! If I can impact just one of you to do better then I’ll consider my trip a success!”
The student scratches their head as he listens to the unwieldy answer.
“I see. That’s kind of weird, don’t you think mister? I mean, there are predators out there that do this sort of thing. What is stopping me from calling the police?” He responds.
Gladhappy heartily chuckles as he crosses his arms, dismissing the very serious nature of potential allegations.
“Haha, you see, I’m not worried because, like I told the group of kids over there, I already checked these stickers for drugs. I bought them from a reputable local card shop so I know they’re good to go and in all honesty, look at me! I am just trying to SPREAD THE LOVE ACROSS THE LAND!” Tristan-Crispin speaks with confidence.
These kids really don’t care to probe too much more into the dribble TCG provides as an answer.
“Why Boston?” Another kid asks.
“Why not?” He replies quickly, “Look, I’ll level with you guys. When I heard Justine Calvin was from these parts, I got on the first flight I could book to come check out this sad sack of a town out and now it makes all the sense in the world to me. I felt extremely bad walking the streets of Boston and not for the reasons you might think. Sure, I was terrified I’d get jumped and depressed that I had to look at how rundown this place is but have you actually stopped to look around? I mean, pathetic is a nice way of putting it. Boston apologists defend this crummy town because they never had enough money to travel outside it. If they did, then they’d realize much nicer places like Sacramento, California exist and they’d move out there. Tell me, do your families have much money?”
He doesn’t even wait long enough for them to answer.
“Exactly, probably not and all of you hormonal spirits have been cooped up in Boston for your entire lives so I thought it was the least I could do to come here and spread some love in the only way I know how and who knows, maybe I could divert someone from becoming just like Justine Calvin in the process. Maybe Boston would get a little bit better with a sprinkle of Gladhappy juice. Maybe, just maybe this town would get more respect than being known as a dirty sports town,” TCG rants.
The nerds sit there, stunned out of their skulls. By this time, they just want to go home but TCG isn’t done. It’s not until they have no choice but to start walking away does Gladhappy carry on.
“Nuzzle hug anyone? Really? Come on now, don’t be shy. It’s a bond of friendship between people!” He says, arms extended out wide.
The crowd around him slowly dissipates. TCG sighs at first but then realizes his mission is probably a success overall. He gazes out to the horizon of the metropolis that is Boston.
“This place is a dump! I can see why Justine wanted to get out. I’ll have to tell her good job when I’ve got her in a headlock in the middle of the ring! Welp, I’ve got a good number of anime stickers still to hand out and I remember seeing a soup kitchen a couple streets back! LET’S SPREAD THE LOVE! OH YEAH!” He yells.
Two months ago
He hasn’t seen her for some time.
Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy slowly lowers the pack of anime stickers in his hands. It’s his Tuesday night collection meeting, in the dwells of a basement unknown, in a private location only a select few can receive an invite.
Which is why he’s stunned when he sees her enter the room. How’d she get past security? Did she know the secret knock?
She wears shades of pink, exclusively. Some hot pink, some light pink, other shades in the middle. She marches with a purpose on her high heels. It makes her look a foot taller and even then, she’s rather short.
She commands attention without saying a word. TCG noticed her the second she walked into the room but now the others have taken notice, too. Everyone’s anime cards are either lowered or laying on the table in front of them. There’s no trade talks, no showing off exclusive rare items. The focus is on her.
As it should.
“Hello everyone,” she begins, taking a moment and placing her gaze upon each person individually. “I am looking for Tristan-Crispin Gladhappy.”
She speaks as if she doesn’t know who she’s looking for but he knows she knows.
And she knows he knows.
“Hi,” TCG raises his voice, albeit slightly. “Hi! Right here. It’s me, Vic. ‘Member me?”
Typically she prefers the name Vickie and despises Vic. For now, however, she’s willing to let it slide.
After all, it’s been a while.
“Aw, yes,” she sees TCG and smiles warmly. The others in the room aren’t sure if the smile is genuine or not. Even Tristan-Crispin is set a little back. Regardless, the Nuzzle Lord allows Vickie the space to continue as if this was a heartfelt moment.
“You are needed,” she says to the young man. “Your cousin is in shambles.”
Vickie wipes a tear away from her eye. One of the anime friends at the table swears he doesn’t see a tear but why would she do that otherwise? She has to be crying.
“Jonathan-Christopher?” TCG asks. “He’s not well?”
Tristan-Crispin could have sworn his cousin was doing great. Every time they talked, JCH only had positive things to say. About his life. Mental health. Physical health. And always, always about his Amazing Life Partner. Sure, these were conversations over the phone but the Nuzzle Lord never believed it was a lie.
They spoke last week, too.
“Oh…” Tristan-Crispin’s voice is low. He’s concerned as Vickie paces over. She stands in front of the anime fan and extends her hand.
“Like I said, you are needed,” she reminds him, then bringing her attention to the rest of the group. “I’m sorry but Jonathan-Christopher’s cousin will need to be away from your meetings for an extended period of time.”
She turns to TCG, “You’re required in Vegas.”
He starts to clue in. To be honest, he doesn’t follow wrestling closely, not anymore. There was a time he was close with his cousin and they trained together with the idea of becoming a tag team. It was Vickie’s dream to be a wrestling manager although Jonathan-Christopher didn’t know the first thing about wrestling. His cousin did. Tristan-Crispin enjoyed his anime. He also enjoyed a good ol’ smack of the canvas, too. The two of them worked together for a couple of years but with TCG being five years younger than his cousin, his progress was stalled. When Jonathan-Christopher and Vickie moved to New Orleans, followed by Las Vegas, TCG went back to his lucrative anime collecting exclusively.
Realizing Vickie’s hand is still stranded and extended, JCG reaches out and takes it.
“Okay, sure. I’ll do whatever he needs,” Gladhappy replies to Vickie, after reflecting on his relationship with JC and his ALP.
“Great,” she grins from ear to ear as if this is a triumphant victory which could have been in question, even though it never would’ve. Tristan-Crispin pushes his chair against the cement floor, making a loud squeaking sound as he stands and collects his gear.
“Sorry, everyone,” he exclaims. “My cousin needs me.”
Vickie’s attention is fully on TCG, it’s as if no one else in the room exists anymore. “Follow me, I’ve got a car waiting outside.”
TCG does as he’s told while the rest of the room tries to go back to their card conversation.
“He will be so happy to see you. So, so, happy, Tris.”
TCG always hated the nickname Tris but he lets it slide. He’s going to help his cousin and this is what truly matters.