Private: Larry Tact
Things had further devolved at ReViVal 08, hadn’t they? Larry was left dropped in the ring by Ria Nightshade, and hardly from wrestling maneuvers, alone. In the moments when he laid flat on the mat, and heard the three count, he couldn’t help but wonder if he was ever, in his entire career, treated so disrespectfully in the ring? For someone who had found a numbered few to respect, and little about the rest who inhabited this industry that deserved anything approaching respect, it felt like this feast of subterranean blows by Ria may have been the worst he had been besmirched. That may have been a worse low blow than any Larry suffered in the actual match.
After he rolled out of the ring and hobbled to the curtain leading backstage, Larry heard a few fans at ringside getting their own barbs in…
“Hey buddy, Wrestling 101: Cover your jock!”
“Larry! Olvir Arsvinnar puts on better shows than that one, and I don’t pay half as much as I did to get in here! Outta here already!”
“ ’Ay what happened t’ Tact from Empire Pro days? Yer nothin’ but an Empire Joke!”
“Phil Atken looks like a spring chicken compared to your tired ass!”
“Yo man, go swipe a mask from The Anglo Luchador so stop embarrassing yourself! Flex some old men strength!”
Larry shot a look here and there while his groin sizzled with each pace, but he couldn’t tell which of these idiots were giving him shit. They all blended together like a cesspool of adrenalized pigs, and he undoubtedly gave off the stench of failure at the moment – a scent they were eager to attack like a familiar favorite meal from the trough that was likely their daily lives.
Backstage, he found an equipment case and took a few minutes to collect himself. The PRIME event staff either felt the seething aura he gave off, or didn’t bother to take notice of him whatsoever as they passed by. Once he felt a little steadier, though no less incited, Larry proceeded down the hallway towards the locker room. At one point, he passed by a door with a scotch-taped sign reading, “PHONE BANK – DO NOT DISTURB.” No doubt one of the lame-brained ideas of The Anglo Luchador and Ria Nightshade – to be fair, though, this reeked of the veteran luchador’s handiwork. He heard some chatter inside, and imagined TAL and whichever of the ridiculous associates of his he had recruited were having a grand old time sharing stories and cracking jokes. He had zero desire to be apart of some faux-political scheme, much less in the context of wrestling, but the thought of these wrestlers managing to succeed in their efforts to gain TAL and Ria an Intense Championship match left Larry all the more disgusted at what had transpired not long ago. He moved to tear the sign clear off and his groin flared, causing him to nearly headbutt the door. He stopped short and swore under his breath as he limped back to the locker room, his night’s defeat complete.
Days later, Larry walked the campus of San Diego State University with his son, Logan. The two sat near one of the campus’s landmarks, the “Aztec” statue that had been there for close to a century, with a couple of foil-wrapped sandwiches.
“I have to say, for a West coast university, the atmosphere isn’t so bad,” Larry commented with a nod.
“I’m just surprised you’re alright with my looking here,” Logan replied, biting into a grilled chicken sandwich, then continuing. “Pretty sure football and soccer are the sports they’re more known for.”
“Yeah, I thought you said you’d been serious about football, though,” Larry started in on a chicken parmigiana hero. “Plus, it’s not that far from Vegas, and I have another PRIME match coming up. Seemed like a good idea to make the trip, and it got you out to California for a little break before you start your summer work,” he shook his head as a definitive lack of sauce flavor registered, and Larry remembered how little he missed college cafeteria food.
“I am interested in football, but I just thought,” Logan peered up hesitantly at his father, “You know, you may want me to focus on wrestling.”
Larry groaned, “Nah, I’m doing what I want to, and you should, too. I know we’ve had some disagreements about my going back to the ring full-time, and where you feel like that puts you in my priorities, Logan. But I’ve never wavered in saying, put your health and studies first, and don’t overextend yourself to let your grades slip. You do those things, you can pursue whatever you want, wrestling or not,” he forced down another bland bite of the sandwich. “Even if I think you’d make a hell of a wrestlers, and your coaches back in New York back me up.”
“Yeah, well, maybe someday I’ll go pro anyway, who knows,” Logan offered small grin as he continued eating. “By the way, what are you going to do with PRIME, now?” he looked away and then back. “Just being honest but It seems like you’ve been getting lapped. Like you said, I wasn’t really sure this return was the best thing for you. It’s worked in a couple places, but maybe you should… like, reconsider PRIME?”
Larry shot his son a look that wasn’t disdain, but stern nonetheless. “I’ll be sure to tell you when I’m done, thanks. I don’t have to tell you again what happened in my last match,” he scoffed, thinking back to the series of groin shots.
“No, I saw it, too. Looked to me like she didn’t just want to stop you from winning the match, but have any more kids, either,” he started to chuckle, but quickly caught himself as his father side-eyed him. “Too soon?”
“Your baby sister seems fine, so I guess second time’s the charm?” Larry smirked, to which Logan objected until Larry raised a hand. “You know you weren’t getting away with that one. Anyway, as far as Ria goes, I’ve got an opportunity to take it out on her dance partner for the upcoming Pay-Per-View there, Great American Nightmare. An old opponent of mine, in fact, in The Anglo Luchador.”
“When I Googled him there were matches that popped up from like, the 2000’s on Dailymotion. I didn’t even realize that site still existed! But he was Empire Pro World Champion, right?” Logan asked.
“Sure was, and he competed in some unique a1e matches,” Larry confirmed.
“Don’t worry about it,” Larry nodded. “Point is, I thought he and Ria were coexisting nicely, and it turns out they had something of a falling out. Now, I’m going to make him regret he ever associated with her. He didn’t have anything to do with my match with her, but he’s still directly tied to her with this Intense Title business. I’m going to show people that even if Ria managed to snake her way to a win, I can beat her Great American Nightmare opponent ahead of their possible match.”
“Okay, two things. First, if you do that, will you be able to regenerate the testicular fortitude she slapped around and abducted?” Logan snickered.
“Keep it up, wise ass. I’m not above getting you a second summer job,” Larry shot back.
“No way!” Logan bristled, “It’s bad enough you want me to work as a camp counselor with bratty kids.”
“Consider it penance for the past sixteen plus years,” Larry grinned. “What’s your second point?”
“Whatever, I’ve been so much better than other kids at school. Second, right. Even if you beat the The Angular Luchadork, it’ll be your first win in PRIME. That doesn’t really get you anywhere on the Pay-Per-View, right?”
“No, it won’t, but that’s not the point. For one thing, I just need to patch up all these wounds on my record, and winning is a great salve, right? For another, I’ve got to knock of the gorilla that’s been on my back ever since I joined PRIME. You could even say part of that’s tied to Empire Pro, and the way I left the wrestling industry on a sour, sputtering note,” he finished his sandwich and crumpled it into a foil ball. “If that means coming full circle to beat a former EPW World Champion and throwing a giant bucket of ice water on TAL and Ria’s Intense title match, I’m all for that. Not to mention, this is professional wrestling. Things change quicker than—”
“A Ria Nightshade ballshot?” Logan cut in.
“…How long are you going to let this hang over me?”
Logan shrugged, “I dunno… for sure longer than you could stay upright after she smashed your testies like a Whack-a-Mole.”
“You’re such a little shit.” Larry sighed and Logan snickered, again, as they got up to keep walking.
When they were done, the pair drove over to Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres happened to be hosting the New York Mets. Orange-and-blue through and through, they got field seats right near the home dugout and were enjoying the game with some concessions. As the game wore on, the Mets were not faring well, being shutout. By the time the 7th Inning stretch came, it seemed the game was in some peril, with the Friars holding a 4-0 lead. While Logan was off to get snacks, a couple fans sitting in front of him noticed Larry wearing a Jacob deGrom jersey.
“Hey ‘deGrom,’ ” one looked at Larry with a lobster-colored face, “Looks like your team should stay away from the West coast, just like deGrom has stayed away from baseball this year.”
Larry was about to respond when a guy sitting next to the first, in a Vegas Raiders jesey of all things, tapped. “Dude, do you know who that is?”
The first guy, perhaps further revealing his sobriety level, shook his head, “Yeah, he’s ‘deGrom’ right? He’s got a back that gave out trying to carry his weight, and isn’t bothering to show up.”
“Dude, it’s Larry Tact! He’s in PRIME Wrestling, remember? We went to the last show.”
The first guy paused and drank some beer before looking at him again. “Ohhhh Larry? Yeah yeah, man that last match!” he busted out laughing.
“Glad you were entertained, pal,” Larry said, as dryly as he could.
“Hey, you know we came up with a name for you, wanna hear?” Sir Sober chirped.
“Not really, believe it or not,” Larry said, trying to ignore him and watch the San Diego Chicken dancing like a fool on the Padres’ dugout.
“What was it, man?” Sir Sober elbowed his friend.
“I, ah, I don’t think we need to.”
“Stop being a pussy, dude!” Sir Sober shouted in his friend’s face, drinking more of the contents in his plastic cup.
“Guy, I know you’re living it up here, having snagged one last brew before they shut down the piss beer stand you could afford,” Larry commented “But there’s maybe only a couple innings left in the game. Let’s keep it down.“
“Wait, I got it!” Sir Sober pressed on. “Loose Legs Larry! That was the one. Because you could hardly stand after your balls took a pounding. You got slapped around like a dime store bi—”
Larry abruptly tossed the container of his ketchup and mustard laden french fries into the face of Sir Sober. “Whoops.”
“Son of a bitch!” Sir Sober wiped condiments from his eyes, and the ketchup almost matched the color his face had started to turn.
“Nah, don’t talk about your mother that way, chump. Why don’t you go fill up your gullet with something greasy to soak up that piss beer you can’t even handle? Learn your place, stay in your space,” Larry finished.
Sir Sober suddenly leaped up onto the chair he was seated in seconds before, which was a minor feat given the padding he carried in body weight. Despite his friend’s calls for him to stop, he tried grabbing at Larry, but ultimately slipped on the seat and nearly tumbled into Larry, who moved from his seat to allow the drunk fan to faceplant into his seat. Larry laughed as Sir Sober yelled and clutched his nose as he got back up. “You should contact Phil Atken, maybe look into getting some glue from the ole factory.”
The fan looked up at Larry and yelled out, charging and immediately Larry tripped him and sent him falling down the steps. Unfortunately, he grabbed Larry’s jersey as he went down, and took Larry with him. The two began rolling down the stairs a short distance to the dugout. Sir Sober was flailing to try and hit Tact, who immediately rolled on top of him as they stopped moving. Larry looked to restrain the man when suddenly the ever-unpredictable San Diego Chicken mascot decided to grab him from behind. He almost was trying to use a full nelson hold, it seemed, except his feathered arms were a little too unwieldy and, well, Larry was much stronger than whoever was under the costume. Rather than fight the Chicken, Larry decided to take the quick route…
He mule kicked the San Diego Chicken. That was about when security came rushing down to stop the proceedings. Larry caught the ballpark’s big screen showing him being hauled away in handcuffs, and imagined this wouldn’t necessarily go unnoticed nor over well with Lindsay Troy…
Later that evening, Larry was in the bowels of the ballpark, locked in the “Drunk Tank” with Sir Sober.
“Dude, I don’t know if you have any idea how much my head hurts,” the fan groaned to Larry, who was sitting on a bench with his arms crossed.
“Your stupidity may have cost me a lot more than a headache,” he scoffed, only responding because there literally wasn’t anything better to do. “What were you even thinking?”
“Uhhh, I could ask you the same thing,” Sir Sober replied, pressing fingers to his temples.
Larry was about to retort but stopped. In fact, this embarrassment had fit in nicely with his awful run of matches, and maybe he should have thought better of it. It didn’t make him any less pissed, though.
“Hey, but did you hear who your next opponent is?” Sir Sober managed.
“What are you talking about?”
“PRIME’s next show. You’re facing The Anglo Luchador, he’s got that mask and campaign going on, you know?”
“Yeah, I’ve heard he’s my next opponent,” Larry responded flatly.
“You think you’re gonna beat him?”
Larry didn’t respond. In fact, he had no desire to talk to one of the people who probably laughed at the barbs thrown Larry’s way at the lasts show. He wasn’t going to lower himself any further to the level of talking with a fan, much less this moron who had just instigated a fight with him. Instead, Larry stewed in the tank wanting nothing more than to get into the ring, so he could unleash the hell he wanted to put upon this fan and anyone else who questioned whether he could break his losing stretch. Fortunately, an officer came by to let him out shortly thereafter, where Larry met an excited Logan outside.
“Wild night, dad! I think maybe, this was just what you needed to get yourself back on track! Something out of left field,” Logan said.
“I know one thing is for sure. The next match with The Anglo Luchador can’t be any worse than what’s happened so far,” Larry replied ruefully, and the two walked off back to their hotel.