“Lights, camera… ACTION!”
She sits beside him. She’s giddy. Practically ecstatic.
Vickie Hall: Just, like, what a dream, you know? What a grandiose dream!
She tilts her head and rattles in her chair, almost like she was being electrocuted. But she’s filled with glee and that tiny little frame of hers has overdosed on excitement and promise.
She’s in the middle of fixing her hair, yet she knows the cameras are rolling. She’s already staring directly at the lens. He, on the other hand, remains motionless and expressionless. Although his eyes quickly shift to her, as if waiting to play off her cue.
Vickie Hall: And like, he hits his finishing move and I’m all “IS THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENINGGGGGGG!?” I could barely contain myself!
Her energy hasn’t faltered. In fact, she’s been shaking in her chair so much, she’s moved forward a couple of inches and now sits ahead of him.
Vickie Hall: It’s just sooooo nice to see progress, you know?
She looks to her side, realizing he’s not exactly across from her. He immediately tries to skimp his chair across the floor in an attempt to catch up. She reaches for his hand and the second she takes it, a sense of calm and happiness crosses his face. She looks at him while she speaks.
Vickie Hall: We often talk about progress. It’s incredible to see these steps become reality!
Same position. Same environment.
Vickie Hall: I can’t believe it. My man, he’s going to win the whole thing! EEEKKKKK!!!
For a brief second, Jonathan-Christopher’s eyebrows raise and face turns pale.
Vickie Hall: Who is Ray Ray La Bomba? Like, what kinda story can he put out there?
She rubs her man’s hand with her thumb.
Vickie Hall: Not a love story. Facts. Boom. Preach!
Vickie Hall: …Then we went to KFC after, it’s my favorite guilty pleasure.
She lets go of his hand, takes out her cell phone and starts to scroll through.
Vickie Hall: Already made reservations for The Olive Garden in Greensboro!
Vickie Hall: The stress I’ve been under, the emotions I wear on my sleeve. It’s good to be a winner. Rewriting those hardships. Gosh golly, I’m a lucky lady!
He reaches for her hand. He’s able to touch it for a moment, before she places it back on her phone.
Jonathan-Christopher Hall: I love you.
Vickie Hall: I know, baby, I know.
— — — — —
FINISH THE ST
A true love st
An honest friendship
Ray Ray gonna know the real definition of family ASAP
— — — — —
He said it’s all in your head. Fight it! Your mind will want to quit but your body can most certainly sustain. He said this. He promised this was true!
Well Jonathan-Christopher’s mind is trying to shut down, that’s for sure.
“Yeap!” JC wishes he’d be able to say more, then maybe the torture would end!
The mind wants to shut down frequently at the first signs of struggle. It does not mean he can’t do it. It does not mean it’s unbearable.
At least that’s what he said.
“AAAAHHHHH!” Now it’s more than a squeak, it’s a full blown cry!
“That’s what I wanna hear, boy! Ohhh yeah, it’s music to my ears!” However, the tone of this voice sounds pleasant and grounded. Does he understand what he’s doing?
Jonathan-Christopher didn’t know there was a threshold, where it hurts so inexplicably bad, that when he opens his mouth, absolutely nothing would come out of it. From scream to squeak, emptiness travels throughout his windpipe.
Furthermore, he’s trapped. He can’t wiggle his legs free. His arms are locked into position. His entire body is at the mercy of another man and he hopes this man knows he ’ s a b o u t t o p a ss
“Daddy!” She beckons, and suddenly, some of the pain subsides. “You’re going to put him in the hospital!”
He lets go.
Like a blast of adrenaline, a defibrillator to the heart, a serious jOlt of life jumps back within Jonathan-Christopher’s system. He’s left, laying there, face down, panting for dear life.
Thankfully, however, his abilities to recalibrate his mind, body and spirit start coming back sooner than expected. He sees Reed dust off his hands as the middle aged gentleman stands and walks to the ropes. There, on the outside, is Vickie, with a complicated look on her face, an expression Jonathan-Christopher feels is out of concern for himself and frustration towards her father.
Reed leans across the ropes. Vickie hands him a bottle of water and Reed sprays a shot of H2O on his face.
“That was for him, daddy,” she snaps, shaking her head.
“Gotcha,” Reed chuckles, waltzing back towards the kid who’s recovering. He kneels down and offers the water bottle. “Here, my boy. This is apparently for you.”
The Young Family Manner
Minot, North Dakota
August 19, 2015
A severely exhausted, practically dehydrated Jonathan-Christopher reaches for the bottle with an unsteady hand. Reed playfully squirts a bit of water on the boy’s face before giggling to the disappointment of his daughter. Young finally helps JC grasp the bottle so the kid can take a swig. A pat on the shoulder follows, while Reed drops to his knees and sits down beside him.
“You did well, hung in there for a while,” Reed mentions with a sense of pride. Jonathan-Christopher is trying to listen but he also needs to take another sip. “I was surprised you didn’t tap out!”
Truth is, Jonathan-Christopher would’ve tapped out, if he knew what it meant.
“Daddy,” another stern call for attention beckons from outside the ring. “How could he tap when you had his arms trapped!?”
Reed chuckles and rolls his eyes. He dismisses the comment with a wave of the arm, as Vickie crosses hers and stomps towards a nearby folding chair to collapse on top of.
“My son,” Reed says, noticing Jonathan-Christopher has regained his senses. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
A less shaky, although still shaky-enough right hand of JCH places the water bottle on the mat.
“No sir, not at all,” the boy replies.
“Ah, yes. Now that’s the spirit! Even though I told you not to call me sir,” Reed winks discreetly in JC’s direction.
Jonathan-Christopher can’t help but notice Vickie sitting across the way, her arms remain crossed and her face, which is normally a delight of many different facets, looks disinterested.
“I told ya,” Reed continues, while taking his right index finger and poking it against the side of JC’s temple. “It’s all in your head. Pain can be managed, your mind is only telling you it’s bad. Doesn’t mean it is!”
“Wise, daddy,” the sarcastic response of Vickie jumps in there almost immediately after. “How long are we going to be down here?”
At it for more than two hours, Vickie yawns despite being in the middle of the day. Her father, on the other hand, has ramped up his energy as the seconds tick by, while Jonathan-Christopher remains a mere passenger. On the bright side, Hall no longer needs further sips of water.
“Well, did you two have other plans, princess?” Reed asks, “I thought you were coming to visit.”
She doesn’t offer a reply.
“How about another octopus stretch, son? This time, I’ll even teach you how to counter it!”
— — — — —
October 28, 2002
The memories slowly start to fade.
He knew he was tall. Wait, was he? He thinks so. Yeah, yeah, definitely tall. Long, brown hair, falling past the tips of his shoulder blades. Blue eyes like the ocean. Blue eyes like his. A couple freckles. He was slim. He wasn’t chubby. Maybe he was somewhere in-between.
Past the personal profile, the boy remembers him as happy and carefree. Always full of laughter, never unapproachable. He thinks so. Hmmm, he isn’t sure. The boy doesn’t have any bad remaining memories though, which means they would all have to be good, right?
The memories are fading.
And it’s not like new ones are blossoming, either. The small boy hasn’t seen him for a very long time, but it’s not like the boy remains busy. Yes, he has since listened to his mother’s advice. He no longer waits idly, day after day, night after night, by the very same windowsill. Mom said he isn’t coming back, yet the boy would still like to hold out hope. After all, he was promised. Why would a promise be broken?
Staring at the window inadvertently meant he would interact more with his mother’s friends. Most of them are mean friends. He usually sees mommy’s friends leave before the night is done or in the early morning. Wow, is mommy rather popular.
The boy wishes he was popular. It would be great to have things to do. In the school yard, his classmates can never stop talking about the fun they have before school, after school and in and outside of their homes. The boy is starting to forget what fun sounds like. He would love to be enrolled in sports, but he isn’t. He dreams of knowing what video games feel like, but he doesn’t own any. They don’t even have cable television.
The house has been quiet for weeks. Too quiet. Mom’s friends haven’t been around and mom also hasn’t been present. She is working when he gets home from school and he is gone in the mornings before she returns. The past couple of weekends the boy figures they just haven’t run into each other.
The innocent six-year-old wanders into the kitchen. At his young age, he’s quite good at looking after himself. While he can’t reach every cupboard or item in the fridge, he knows he doesn’t have to. If, ever, he was pressed for an extra cup or spoon, he would drag a kitchen chair over and position himself perfectly on it.
Another weekend and another afternoon of bread and cereal without milk. The boy was told he doesn’t need milk, it’s not good for you and it is way too damn expensive. His mom only says “a lot” when the boy asks how much it is.
He eats breakfast in peace and quiet but can’t help shifting his eyes towards the window across the way, through the kitchen and into the living room, past the countless bottles of liquid and clothing scattered around the floor. The boy is going to do his best to clean up more of them later on today. He tries to keep the home tidy. He does the best job he can.
But no, he should steer clear from the window. Nothing is going to change so he wonders what else he could do with his time.
That’s when he hears it. Oh my goodness, that’s when it happens! The door, the very front door! It’s opening!
It can’t be his mom. His mom would be working at this hour. It can’t be her.
It has to be him!
He drops the spoon in his hand as dry corn flakes fall out of his mouth. He races around the kitchen at a speed he didn’t know was possible.
He hears a voice. It sounds like a man. It sounds familiar!
He moves into the family room. The voice comes into clear view…
“Dadd-” he pauses with a sense of bewilderment. “-y?”
This man is not his father. In fact, there are two of them. One dresses in a policeman costume, the other in a black and blue suit.
“Hi there,” the man in the suit tries approaching with calm and gentle movements. His voice sounds relaxed and reassuring, despite the boy struggling to make sense of what is taking place. “My name is Derek. I’m with the DCFS, Child Protection.”
He kneels down as his eyes scan the home and the policeman behind him slowly starts walking around.
“When was the last time you saw your mother?”
— — — — —
REAL RESULTS Fitness (Gym)
Las Vegas, NV
October 8, 2023
Bright and early, “sharp as a whip” Vickie says. Jonathan-Christopher is so eager to start his morning workout with Dan Celetti that he’s arrived thirty minutes early! Luckily, the last twenty minutes have passed briskly, he only has ten more to go.
“Wow and I thought I was going to beat you!” Dan exclaims, slowly approaching the building, purple duffle bag in hand. He extends his arm and embraces Jonathan-Christopher in an awkward half-hug. “Fucking congratulations, bro! What a big win!”
Jonathan-Christopher blushes, while Dan removes himself from the half-hug and looks the wrestler over.
“You seem like a new man,” Celetti adds.
Jonathan-Christopher is at a loss for words. He usually is. He typically doesn’t know what to say in general so JCH merely smiles, grabs his own PRETTY PINK© duffle bag and they wait for the gym doors to open.
“I appreciate what you said,” Hall pauses for reflection. “Today. Last week. Two weeks ago. It was nice to hear the positive affirmation. Vickie says positivity is what binds us and I wasn’t feeling too positive before my match.”
Celetti takes his arm and wraps it around Jonathan-Christopher. He pats Hall a couple of times on the chest.
“You’ve been working out,” Dan laughs at his attempt to make a joke. “Bro, you’re good, give yourself credit. And look what you did! Past the first round, alright ya tiger, you!”
Jonathan-Christopher never realized just how rock solid Dan is as he feels Celetti’s massive tree trunk arm swarm around his neck.
“Vickie says I should be proud, too,” Hall replies, taking a moment to run through the past two weeks. “All she wants to see is progress.”
“You’ve fucking showed it!” Dan announces. “You’ve been on a roll!”
Outside of Nate Colton, which was the only recent setback, Dan Celetti is correct, Jonathan-Christopher’s had a hell of a run. He’s held his own inside the ring and his skills are growing. The critics, Jonathan-Christopher hears them. How can you not hear wrestling detractors? They are very outspoken. Hall has gone from wrestling doormat, to a man who can perform serious wrestling maneuvers, like his double-arm inverted facebuster, which no one has kicked out from.
“Thank you,” Hall acknowledges. “I’m only starting to understand wrestling. It’s not living and dying off every victory or loss, it’s an accumulation. Your entire body of work. I’m sorry, haha, I never followed sports as a kid. I didn’t understand them. Vickie helps me see the light each day. I just care so much for her. I want to fulfill her dreams.”
Celetti finally removes his arm from his workout friend, realizing Jonathan-Christopher’s said more in this last minute than the year and a half they’ve known each other.
“I have no doubt Vickie is proud,” he says.
“She’s my whole life.”
The REAL RESULTS receptionist opens the entrance doors as Celetti picks up his purple bag. Meanwhile, Jonathan-Christopher is about to do the same when-
He turns around, seeing his Amazing Life Partner scampering towards the gym. He wonders how she got here since he was the one who took the car.
“Honey! Honey, honey, honey, honeyyyyyy!” A little out of breath, Vickie takes a moment to lean forward and huff out before she can continue. Celetti is going to offer her water, but Vickie politely waves Dan’s arm away.
“Honey… [breath] wow… longer distance [breath] than I thought…” she finally looks up and into Jonathan-Christopher’s eyes. He’s paid full attention since the second he noticed her. “You’re needed back at our place. The crew wanted to do more in-depth interviews so you’ll have to return to the gym later today, okay?”
Celetti surveys the situation. The look on his face may suggest the importance behind JCH putting in the hours here at REAL RESULTS, but Dan knows he’s not in a place to intervene.
“I have to go,” Jonathan-Christopher declares. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow it is!” Dan playfully punches Hall on the shoulder, while averting his eyes from Vickie. “Go get ‘em!”
Vickie lowers her voice for Celetti. “Oh, he will get them. He’ll get them all.”
And back with a loving, lighter tone towards her ALP. “Come along, honey. You can drive us back.”
— — — — —
Can you hear me, Ray Ray? It’s me, Jonathan-Christopher.
Vickie says she knows your family, she’s watched them on and off. She says you are a Last Minute Charlie, so I’m not sure when I’ll hear from you. It doesn’t matter, I am quite the Last Minute Charlie right now, too, aren’t I?
It’s because I’ve been engulfed in a whirlwind of activities. Vickie has this ESPN camera crew following our every move for the duration of the tournament. I’ve barely had time to read up on your wrestling file or work out at the gym.
On the flip side it’s nice to be flexible. I have a sense of purpose. It’s awesome!
It feels even more incredible to have the monkey off my back. That’s what Vickie tells me. The monkey is gone, I won my first round match! After a year and a half of very hard work, the results are starting to show. Every week I hit a little harder and absorb a little more.
Vickie says you’re all about family. I like that; I’ll respect you. Yes, family is so mightily important. For the first half of my life, I never had one. As long as I continue in this tournament, you’ll see my story unfold. ESPN has asked me to open up about every facet of my life. It’s been difficult to do.
Thank god I have the loving hand of Vickie to help me walk across the field.
Family. Oh, family is so vital, isn’t it? Vickie says your motto is “anything for family”.
What are your secrets to making family work? What’s your favorite part of them?
Only one of us can win. One will be letting our family down.
My family is pure. Vickie says yours is misguided.
My family allows for mistakes. Vickie says yours will not be so forgiving.
My family is wholesome. Vickie says yours is self-serving.
I am showered with love. Vickie says you are the antithesis.
We will see soon enough.
— — — — —
Derek shuffles rather uncomfortably in his chair. Jonathan-Christopher was taken to the nearby police station and sits inside an office while Derek, behind a large oak table, leans both arms against the desk and studies the boy’s face. Jonathan-Christopher can’t help but think he’s feeling a mix of emotions, even though Derek’s face looks warm and nurturing.
“Your mom…” Derek’s voice begins softly. “You haven’t seen her for a couple of weeks?”
At first, Jonathan-Christopher doesn’t know what to say.
“Yes- I mean no,” he peeps. “She was home a couple days ago. I heard her, I just didn’t see her, s- sir.”
Derek doesn’t push.
“Ummm sir,” Jonathan-Christopher starts as he looks around the room. “Do you know where my father is? He’s the one I haven’t seen in a while.”
Derek’s forehead crinkles. The man leans back in his chair, looking down at his paperwork. He slowly flips through a couple of pages, then a couple more a little faster. He returns back to the first few sheets and studies them again, his eyes scanning back and forth, back and forth, quicker and quicker. His forehead continues to crinkle. His cheeks start turning red. He moves aside the paperwork and leans forward once again.
“Son,” he says in a quiet whisper, “I don’t have any documentation on your father.”