On this day, we are inside the offices of Tact Enterprises. Inside his executive office we find Larry Tact reviewing his monthly itinerary with his assistant, Tiffany. They are currently reviewing quarterly figures on their tablets as they sit across from one another at a desk in the office.
“Well Tiffany, it sounds like the next quarterly meeting will have overall steady progress to report,” Larry nods as he pages through the reporting. He picks out a few pages, handing them to her. “I would like to have these included in the presentation. We need to show our growth in particular with our top 10 accounts, and marketing gains with our newest models.”
“Yes, Mr. Tact, I can have those included and the accounts sorted on a separate slide, with graphics,” Tiffany confirms for him. “Now, we should discuss your travel for PRIME, since it’s over in Las Vegas. That will be your furthest flight of the month, and we should build in a day so you can be settled and have time to do any last-minute preparations,” she noted, looking over her tablet. “Your opponent this month, Ria Nightshade, is currently 0-2, including—”
Larry looks up from his tablet and cocks an eyebrow. “I know about Ria’s record, and as far as this match goes, it doesn’t mean anything. As it stands, I have a worse record than she does, so why are we bringing this up?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, then,” Tiffany replies, caught off guard. “I just thought that record would be an indication of..”
“What, exactly? An indication of talent? Success? What?” Larry retorts, calmly, setting the tablet down on the table.
“I, uh, I guess so, yeah… why else have records?” Tiffany answers.
“Then what does it mean for me to be winless in three attempts of my own?” Larry shoots back, still levelheaded but certainly with a focus.
“Honestly, Mr. Tact, I didn’t mean anything by it. In fact, I didn’t know you were winless in PRIME, or I wouldn’t have brought it up,” Tiffany admits, looking a bit concerned.
Larry stands and walks over to his desk to pluck a couple of SmartWaters from a rack of sport drinks. He returns to the desk and offers one to Tiffany, who declines. Larry leaves it on the table, anyway, and uncaps his bottle, taking a sip. “It’s not you, really. You don’t know any better about wrestling, the industry, and I should understand that. You’re still relatively new… what has it been, five months now?”
“Yes, just about that long, Mr. Tact,” Tiffany says.
“I’m just adjusting to having a new assistant. The one I usually went over itineraries with was, well, my friend. He rose through this company, and was a long-tenured part of our culture.”
“I… I guess he knew quite a lot, then,” Tiffany says, unsure why this tangent was occurring.
“Yes, he certainly did, and now… I guess he’s found something different,” Larry muses, but snaps back to the conversation. “Anyway, we knew the ins-and-outs of the wrestling industry. I shouldn’t expect you to know all of that.”
“No, uh, I don’t know much about wrestling,” Tiffany says with a hint of annoyance. This wasn’t really what she expected to get into discussion about. This should be a quick and easy rundown, and she has a party to get to in a couple hours. She didn’t care if he took the rest of her time to go on some rant, but was leaving at exactly five and that was that!
“As far as this show, and Ria goes? I would like you to make sure the press release is ready, on company letterhead, to make it clear that I’m not looking at this as anything but punching my way out of the wet paper bag that is Ria Nightshade. My wife used to love watching this show, Daria, on MTV. I could see Ria being angstier than Jane Lane. Unfortunately, when you send her to the mat, I can’t assume she won’t have as much resiliency as that character. Knowing my luck, she may even have help,” Larry takes a drink from the water.
“Help? I did read something about wrestlers having people, like, managers who went around with them? That sounds sort of like business executives,” Tiffany tries to give something.
Larry waves a hand, “While that’s not untrue, it’s not what I meant,” he crosses his arms. “It’s more like, someone who may be around to make sure she’s not harmed. The Anglo Luchador, who’s been campaigning for he and Ria to have a title match against each other. The Intense Title.”
“Ohh-kay… that sounds dangerous,” Tiffany is lost again, and doesn’t truly want to know. “But they’re definitely having the match?”
“The Intense title match? Not for sure. I’m unclear clear on all the criteria to be selected,” Larry remarks, “Other than shallow displays of ‘intensity,’ or whatever that means to this bunch. From what I can tell, they’ve been campaigning already around the arenas. Handing out flyers and everything. It seems desperate and a little pathetic, and even a little surprising that Ria would partake. I expected her to be a little more rational, and her approach more cynical. Make sure to include that in the press release. I took her for more of a cynic, but it seems she’s been cooperating on this effort,” he continues after another sip of water, “And not to be hanging around that too-many-hits-taken Anglo Luchador. He’s a bit over the top with the scheming and such.”
“Sometimes opposites attract?” Tiffany offers as she types away at the tablet. “So what happens if you win against Ria?”
“What do you mean?” Larry asks, leaning back in his chair.
“I mean, if you win, and they are trying to get the title, or match for it? What does it mean for them if you win?”
“That’s a very good question,” Larry leans up again, stroking his golden blonde beard. “If I were to win, then I’d imagine that it would entirely ruin their chances of being selected for the Intense title match. After all, they don’t have much excuse for why Ria would lose. Neither do I, though. This is where the rubber meets the road for us. Another loss will only send us deeper down in the spiral we’re in,” he says, then nods more to himself than Tiffany. “But a win? Well, that will at least stabilize me. As for Ria, a win for her would only make her lament being in the Intense title match, if they were selected. She’s only able to climb so far up before she expects something to go wrong for her. I am that hiccup in the plan. I’m playing spoiler this show, and then…” he chuckles, “Maybe I would be placed against The Anglo Luchador, if I ruin his plans, as well. It’s all within the realm of possibility.”
He regards Tiffany and nods. “That was a good thought you had. See, this is some of what I would do with Cesar. A free flowing exchange of ideas. Sometimes you need that to breakthrough to where, or what my focus should be on.”
“Yeah, sure, it sounds good,” Tiffany says with some idea of what she was supposed to be taking down. She had been scrolling through a couple outfit choices for the party, and would need to ad-lib some of what she figured Mr. Tact was saying. She earned a business degree with a communications minor, and would figure out the messaging. Not wanting him to catch on, she added, “But if you win, you’ll still have just the one. A champion should probably have more, right?”
“Of course, but like I said, records aren’t more than numbers on a page,” Larry motions momentarily to the quarterly report. “I could present these figures from several different perspectives, right? It’s not only about the numbers, but the story within them. If you act like a win doesn’t mean much, or the opponent isn’t all that special? It won’t mean a damn thing. But when you take each match seriously, and regardless of outcome, show that you are invested, then the wins mean more. People take notice when you care, and they’ll believe what you say. Simple social currency equation, right? With a win, I wipe away the tag of one of the few winless wrestlers in PRIME. From there, I can work on making the most of what I have shown, and begin building. I’m not underestimating Ria, but she does already appear to have a direction, a narrative she’s following. I need to begin setting my story straight, and making tactful adjustments.”
“Well, it’s a good thing we have an extra day built into your schedule for this trip!” Tiffany sounds chipper as she can produce, as she saw the clock on her tablet reading 4:55.
Larry was thinking about his previous match, and stroked his beard. “Making the most of wins, the impact of them, is certainly important. But at the last ReViVal show I wrestled, I did gain something even from the loss. I understand Phil Atken a little better now. He’s obviously more motivated than I gave him credit for, and even has that fledgling ‘business’ of his off the ground, I guess. He was a good example of something maximizing the value of his win over me. Even though I haven’t won in PRIME, the man made a damn buck off of me. I’ll admit, he’s got a method and he’s stubbornly determined. Maybe I should even see about having a discussion with him, and find out what else he has brewing,” Larry trailed off, then caught sight of the time. “Oh, sorry, we seem to be running long. Why don’t we pick up the rest of the travel tomorrow morning. I don’t think I have any meetings.”
“No worries! We can do that,” Tiffany exclaims with a hint of eagerness. She was about ready to throw this damn tablet at him if he went past five!
“Great, have a nice evening,” Larry dismisses her with a grin.
As Tiffany makes haste, she mutters, “4:58… screw it, I’m using the bathroom and am out of this place,” as she gathers her things.
Larry, meanwhile, returns to his desk with the SmartWater, replacing the extra bottle on the rack. He sits and settles himself in for another round of work before he’ll head home.