The white Pontiac Trans Sport rolls to a polite stop in the parking lot of Retama Elderly Care. As we approach we notice the little stick figure family represented on the back window- parents and two sons and what looks to be a yorkie terrier. The passenger side door opens and out hops a short, slender little kid no older than maybe fifteen. He looks around with a precocious, somewhat irritated look on his face- he rounds the pointed nose of the minivan and folds his arms across the vintage pro wrestling t-shirt he’s wearing.
An image of Lindsay Troy peers out from above the boy’s wrists as he taps his foot impatiently.
Out of the driver side door steps a tall, handsome drink of water that looks like he should probably be making his way to home room with a backpack slung over his shoulder. The fresh faced young man who’s probably older than he looks is dressed in a plain blue t-shirt tucked into a pair of creased blue jeans- indicating that this guy’s mom is definitely still in charge of the choosing and maintaining of his wardrobe. He closes the door- the slender kid looks at the older teen incredulously.
“Is this some sort of weird joke, Dabney? You said we were going to see Lindsay Troy’s gym- not friggin’ Grandpa. We’re always going to see Grandpa- ”
Dabney Doubleday shakes his head with a warm smile. He places a brotherly hand on Douglas’ shoulder- he knows he has to let him down gently-
“My interview at TCS with Ms. Troy is this afternoon across town, buddy. This is- I just think that- I mean, Dougie, this is the most important day of my whole dang life- WRESTLING school, man. You understand that, right? Heck, I don’t even need to ask that- I know you do. I haven’t forgotten this ain’t just my dream- it’s our dream. Yours, mine- and that old fella’ in there. I’d be crazy not to pop in and get some advice from Grandpa Cecil before I head across town and sit down across from one of the most accomplished athletes in the sport we all love so much. And you know- I uhhh- I gotta’ make a heck of an impression on a lady like that, know what I mean Dougie?”
Douglas Doubleday’s expression sinks flatly accompanied by an immediate sigh of acceptance. In his heart he knew this was coming.
“You’re leaving me with Grandpa, aren’t you?”
Dabney pats Douglas’ shoulder-
“I’m totally leaving you with Grandpa, buddy.”
Douglas knows there’s no bucking his brother on this particular issue. He realizes he’s lucky Dabney brought him at all. Dabney gives his brother a playful shove accompanied by a warm smile
“Hey! Remember- Once I get my foot in the door, little man? In a few years the Amazing Doubleday Brothers are gonna run the territory! Greatest tag team Florida’s ever seen, my guy!”
Douglas rolls his eyes, unable to resist grinning at the very idea- this is it, it’s not just a dream anymore. It’s not just action figures in front of the TV watching Grandpa Cecil’s old wrestling tapes. Dabney was several hours away from being face to face with one one of the greatest of all time. Dabney’s really, actually doing it-
The boys head towards the front entrance of the elderly care community their grandfather Cecil Doubleday has called home for quite a long time. It was Cecil’s choice, by the way. He wasn’t PUT there- nobody puts Cecil Doubleday anywhere he doesn’t want to be. In his words, he “didn’t want to futz with it all anymore”- still sharp of mind and able enough of body the man who spent a lion’s share of his life in one professional wrestling ring or another under the moniker “The Amazing Cecil Doubleday” honestly enjoys the simplicity and the comradery of the quiet little Floridian retirement community.
The nurse sitting at reception and Dabney exchange smiles as the boys approach.
“He and Bill are hollerin’ at one another in the common room, boys.“
She points with her pencil down the hall. Dabney laughs-
“Thank you, ma’am. We’ll try and talk ’em down.”
We fade away from the scene as the Doubleday brothers head down the hall.
Nowhere in particular.
“There’s too many villains in professional wrestling nowadays for my taste- everybody’s got so much dang snark. Seems like even the ones that call themselves heroes, role models, white hats, good guys- some of them are almost as bad with the way they carry on. Back in my day- well, ok- back in my day was a very long time ago, admittedly. Things were just different back then. “
“Heroes, villains, that never ending story. The wonderful, ridiculous stories professional wrestling can tell, it’s unlike anything. That? That hasn’t changed. It’s more than just entertainment- more than just some distraction. The stories weaved between those ropes- it’s a balm, it heals. When fans invest their time and attention in a professional wrestler they aren’t investing in lines on a page- wrestlers are flesh and blood. That investment is real. That connection is special and unlike anything else in sports or entertainment. Like those two things were ever not one in the same when it comes to the sport of kings.”
“Professional wrestling is special.”
An old CRT television screen appears from the void- it’s playing a very very old professional wrestling match. We can tell from the video quality and muted color palette we’re looking at perhaps the late sixties maybe early seventies. The match is between a long bodied, almost hulking individual in a plain looking orange wrestling mask and a much smaller competitor sporting a thick mustache and bare feet. The smaller, more athletic wrestler is doing literal cartwheels around the giant masked man- the masked giant lunges for his opponent again and again, catching only the air where the mustachioed acrobat had just occupied-
“I’m under no illusions that things don’t change- the inevitable march of time is one opponent I tapped out to a long time ago. With nearly seventy some-odd years of life under my belt I’ve accepted change is just- life itself. But in my humble opinion there’s some things that are constants- from Jean Valjean to Atticus Finch to that ferkakte Harry Potter kid, there’s always room for goodness and kindness and honesty and BRAVERY, by God! There’s always room for a real good guy. Professional wrestling today is filled with more irrational, cynical, selfish, self serving behavior than the blasted US congress. It’s disheartening, by God. There’s hope though- there’s at least one swell fella’ left in pro wrestling.”
“I know that because he’s my grandson, Dabney- and he just got signed by PRIME.”