A Lindz and Asa joint.
The Morning After ReVival 13.
If it isn’t already common knowledge, you’re not supposed to operate chainsaws inside the MGM Grand, so passers-by might be confused to hear one behind the door to a one-bedroom suite. However, if brave enough to enter, they’d be relieved to recognize the noise as some hall of fame-level snoring.
And further confused to see the bed empty. Not a pillow disturbed or a sheet untucked. Instead, the big frame of Wade Elliott is found on a couch against the far wall. For those who know, Ol’ Wade never found himself in traditional sleeping environments. A couch felt more akin to a reclined seat in his pickup than a bed ever could.
So here we find him, sawing logs with mouth half open, worn fingers laced over a bare chest, old blue jeans still on with feet crossed at the ankles. A man content in a still-unfamiliar environment.
But never for long.
Three sharp raps against the door jerk The Bad Dog from his slumber with a snort and a spasm. Three more and he realizes it’s not a dream. Three harder thumps and he swings his feet to the floor, rubbing his tired blue eyes with the palms of his hands.
“Alright! Alright, I’m comin’, god-damnit…”
He grumbles to his feet, thudding to the entry of the studio, foregoing his t-shirt and unlocking the door, but still met with three more harsh knocks.
“Hold yer horses!” he hollers, swinging the door open. “I said I’m comin’…”
However, the patience of Queens is limited.
Lindsay Troy says “good morning” by jamming her forefinger into his chest and backing him into the room. She stomps inside, flipping the light on by the door before kicking it shut behind her.
“What did you do?” she hisses, hazel eyes ablaze.
For his part, Wade doesn’t even try to feign ignorance. “I let the little shit know what’s what,” he growls, pulling away from her spear-tip nail. He gives his chest a quick rub and snatches a gray t-shirt from the back of a chair, pulling it over his rugged frame.
“What does that even mean?” she asks, incredulous. The hand that poked him falls open beside her while the other white-knuckles her wallet and her keys.
“Ya don’t git away with that shit, Lindsay! Not while I’m ‘round!”
He takes a beat, tugging the bottom of his shirt into place. He glances at her like a dejected puppy before taking a seat at the kitchen counter, leaning over and reaching with a long arm.
“With everythin’ you’ve told me ‘bout the past few years, everythin’ with HOW, and Lee fuckin’ Best, all the shit that sonnuva bitch has pulled on you…”
Lindsay walks over to where Wade sits and tosses her things on the marble countertop. He turns to her with a half-empty handle of Basil Hayden’s bourbon in his hand and pulls the cork, offering her the bottle. She nods “yes, obviously” despite her burning glare.
“An’ this little ball’ve shit pulls a deal with that old cunt? Had t’let Melvin know there’s consequences to gettin’ in bed with the devil.”
With his free hand, Wade pulls a glass from the drying rack and pours a few ounces in, handing it over to the Queen. She snatches it quickly, like a viper to a mouse. Wade takes a pull from the bottle and exhales through his gray beard. Lindsay downs the liquor in one go, then motions for the bottle to pour herself another. The bourbon tumbles in and she sighs.
“Listen to me…” The bottle’s placed next to her bag and she stands in front of him. Her expression softens to match his. “This isn’t like the old days, okay?”
“That’s fer certain,” he snorts. “In the old days someone woulda run ‘im over in the parkin’ lot.”
“That’s not funny,” she says, swatting his arm, despite the truth of it. If this was 13 years ago and Tyler Rayne was on the roster, Melvin Beauregard might’ve been run over in the parking lot much like Wade was once upon a time. “I’m being serious.”
“And I aint?”
“God, you’re so bullheaded,” Lindsay huffs and pinches the bridge of her nose. A few seconds pass before she composes herself and the softness returns. “I know what you were trying to do, Wade. I do. And you know I appreciate you sticking up for me and for PRIME. But we’re dealing with someone who isn’t going to see it that way, who’s going to try and make things miserable for me, for you, and for everyone else here. And yes, you’re right, we can’t let that happen, but we’ve got to be smarter about it.”
The Southern Sparkplug nods and takes another pull from the bottle, swallowing and shaking a frustrated head.
“Little bastard. I didn’t even swing a fist. Just gave ‘im a shove and a few words to put the fear in ‘im.”
He visibly softens, then lifts his eyes sheepishly.
“What’re they sayin’?”
“He’s in the hospital. I don’t know much more than that right now.”
“The god-damn hospital!?” he barks, standing abruptly from his stool. “Lindsay, I’m tellin’ ya, all I did was give him a hard shove against his car! Then he went on an’ made a big show’ve it! That’s a bunch’ve horseshit!
The Queen, calmly yet firmly, grabs him by the shoulders, holding him steady. Her grasp mitigates any further outburst, probably the only two hands on Earth that are capable when dealing with a bristling ‘Bama Bruiser.
“I believe you, OK? Just sit back down a minute.” Lindsay pushes him towards his seat and, finally, sits next to him. “You and I and everyone else knows Melvin’s a weasel. I don’t know what he’s said to whom, or if he even remembers anything. Whatever it is, I’ll get us out of this.”
“God-damnit,” Wade exhales, taking a beat. “I thought takin’ the security gig would’ve made things more simple. Went an’ fucked that up pretty damn quick.”
He turns his eyes to the Queen.
“I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t’ve come back at all.”
“Now that’s a bunch of horseshit,” she scoffs, then smiles. “It’s been a barrel of laughs so far. Besides, when has anything with us ever been smooth sailing?”
A laugh from Elliott, and another sip.
“Shit, lookit you, gettin’ me outta trouble. Just like the ol’ days.”
He pours another shot into her glass with an eased smile.
“Maybe this time ‘round I can actually pay ya back for it.”
“That would be nice.” The bourbon slides down smoothly and Lindsay sighs in satisfaction. “Okay. One more time. Run me through what happened…”
ReVival 13. End of show.
“On second thought, lemme give ya a hand…”
Melvin finds himself defenseless, pinned against the driver’s side door of his car. He can feel the growling breath of Wade Elliott on his neck, The Bad Dog taking a two-fisted grip of his cheap, stained suit.
“GET OFF OF ME!” Melvin bleats. “This is ASSAULT!”
“Twenty years ago you’d be damn right,” Wade snarls. “This is just a message. I must be gettin’ soft.”
“Please…don’t hurt me…I can have you fired…”
“Oh don’t give me that shit, I ain’t gonna hurt ya…”
The Bad Dog’s glaring blue eyes take a moment, breathing sharply through his nostrils.
“..but you ain’t leavin’ til’ you understand a couple things…”
Melvin catches his breath, still locked in the clutches of the ‘Bama Bruiser.
“First, you went an’ fucked with PRIME. An’ I ain’t much’ve a company man, but the place still gives me a couple warm ‘n’ fuzzies, and you decided to put us in a rough spot. That’s strike one.”
Sweat pours from Beauregard’s forehead, but he manages to offer a quick nod. Wade tilts his head toward the MGM’s main building.
“An’ second, that one in there? Lindsay? That’s no-go territory, an’ you put ‘er in the position t’sign that fuckin’ contract. That’s strike two.”
The Bad Dog pulls Melvin away from the door, his eyes darting around the garage for some manner of escape. Wade growls through his grayed beard, and leers in close.
“Strike three an’ you find yerself in the river. Understand?”
Melvin nods quickly.
“Git th’fuck outta here.”
Elliott shoves Beauregrad hard into the side of the car, his back slamming into the door, but remains on his feet.
And then, a pause.
And then, Melvin throws himself to the pavement.
“AHHH, GOD!” he shrieks, landing ribs-first into the ground, his head whipping violently and cracking against the pavement. Wade cocks his head, squinting his eyes at the fallen PWA liaison.
“AH! MY HEAD!” cries Melvin. Wade curls his lips and squats down next to him.
“Oh fer fuck’s sake. Get yer ass up…”
He pauses. A legitimate pool of blood forms under the liaison’s head, and Melvin clutches at his side. Elliott stands, confused, while Beauregard fumbles for his cell phone.
“Th’fuck’re you tryin’ to do, you sonnuva…”
“Hello, yes, 911? I’ve been accosted! I’m bleeding!”
Elliott backs away, teeth grit. Stifling his rage before things get any messier.
“I’m at the MGM Grand parking garage! PLEASE, send someone quick!”
The Southern Sparkplug spins ‘round and walks quickly, leaving the sounds of Melvin yelping into his phone behind him and pushing a concerned grumble under his breath.