Private: Abe Lipschitz
It was shaping up to be your typical Monday for me. The casting director thanked me for coming, then told me she’d be in touch. A phrase I’d gotten used to hearing since June when I’d first made my way out to Hollywood from the comforts of the east coast.
Apparently Miss Casting Director hadn’t seen my recent appearances on PWA: TV. It was a golden opportunity to get me at a discount before my stock begins to rise. This was a point I made sure to yell out while security escorted me off the stage. Her loss. If she wants to continue to think that wrestlers are only appropriate as musclebound action heroes, then I wish her well on finding someone who can do the Whole Shack Shimmy as good as Abraham Lipschitz. I won’t lose any sleep when Gilette’s sales of the Venus razor are down next quarter.
I couldn’t have predicted what ended up happening next as I dusted myself off after being flung out the back door.
“They gave you a debut match against Jared Sykes,” said an unfamiliar voice. It was squeaky in pitch yet dulled by the sound of gravel caught in their larynx.
I stopped short of walking down the stairs, contemplating spinning on my heels to confront whoever it was. At first, I was a little excited – maybe Ned had finally come to his senses to embrace our destiny of crossing swords. This voice sounded a lot more weinerlike than anyone on the PRIME roster, though.
“They gave you, a zoomer degenerate, metal-mouthed simpleton…a debut match against Jared Sykes?”
Now normally I wouldn’t take offense to such trash talk, not even if they were making fun of my orthodontic work. But I’d just lost another part. I really wasn’t in the mood for some stalker to insult me. Quickly, I turned around to confront the jerk, a finger extended to let them know that they’d messed with the wrong Hebrew.
Instead, a wave of pity crashed over me as I laid eyes on him for the first time. Stringy bleached hair hung down past his shoulders, and his sunken eyes stared lasers upward into mine from his wheelchair. What was even more pathetic was the man’s attempt at theatrical makeup. An orange star-like shape covered one side of his face, crudely inked in as if it were a child’s attempt at adding background to a drawing of the solar system.
“Yeah, they gave me a debut match against Jared Sykes,” I muttered back. I didn’t have the heart to return verbal fire to the man. He looked like a mixture of shit and hell.
The strange man cackled back at me. “You are a FOOL! Too naive to realize the DANGER you’re in!”
”Is that so?” I mused, mostly ready for this lunatic to wrap it up so that I could grab a cup of decaf. “And how exactly would you know?”
The emaciated yet somehow chubby man craned over to me and pointed at himself. Inviting me in for a closer look at his face. “Because that man ended my career. Recognize me now, kid?”
I didn’t recognize him. But I didn’t want to offend him, so I took a wild guess as to how Jared might have ended his career.
“Did he complain to the manager at Dairy Queen?”
“Wha…” he stammered, his peeled potato complexion slowly turning the same color as the makeup on his face. “I’M SPACELY! From planet Zarflon, just outside of You Idiot, you idiot!”
I scratched my head and shrugged my shoulders. None of what he was saying made any sense.
“The Galactic Galileo! The Enigmatic Extraterrestrial! I had a talking dog for fuck’s sake!”
It had become pretty clear to me that the incoherent rambling would go on forever if I allowed it to happen. And I really wanted that coffee.
“Oh, yeah. Space-T. I remember now,” I lied.
“Space-LY, god dammit,” he screeched back at me. “SPACE-LYYYYYYYYYYY!”
“Right. Listen, sir, I don’t have any spare change. Sorry.”
As I turned to head toward the stairs, I caught a glance of the drone that had been behind me the whole time capturing the exchange. I smiled at it and delivered a cuckoo gesture, then beckoned for it to follow me away from the scene.
“Oh, so I’M the crazy one, huh?” Spacely yelled. “Well, will see who ends up being crazy when Jared Sykes ends YOUR career too, you dickhead! I was just trying to offer my help, but NOOOOOOOOO!”
I’d gotten one foot down the steps when a thought occurred to me. The PRIME press had an obvious interest in what was going on with this derelict, so much so that the drone had followed him to where I was. Maybe this was a test. Abe the Babe was described on the company website as “a young, handsome go-getter who is up for anything.” OK, maybe Lindsay forgot to tell the website guy to add the word “handsome,” but still.
“Even if this isn’t a test, you can’t argue that footage of me hanging out with some random maniac wouldn’t be good television.”
“HEY! I’m not a MANIAC!”
“Oh, shit,” I piped. I accidentally said out loud what I was thinking again. I turned back around to the silver-clad man and hung my head in fake shame. “I’m sorry. I thought you might have been talking about some other Spacely that I knew a while ago. But you’re obviously not the same guy.”
Spacely nodded, apparently buying my fake apology. “It’s OK. So, do you want my help or not?”
“Yes,” I lied again, “I would appreciate your assistance.”
“Excellent!” He perked up, and his spirits immediately lifted. “Let’s go to my apartment, then!”
“Cool. Um,” I paused, looking at the staircase and then back at his wheelchair, then back at the staircase, then back at his wheelchair again. “Do you need help getting down, or anything?” I started to regret my decision to hang out with him instantly, as the only rational explanation as to how he got up there must be that he’s actually a magician. Grown men who do magic are the creepiest of the creepy, and I refuse to associate with them.
“Nah, I got it,” Spacely replied as he took a look around him. He then stood up and hoisted the wheelchair to his chest, walking past me down the steps with ease. Once at the bottom, he plopped back into with a casual demeanor.
“Gotta keep up appearances in case SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE Social Security is spying on me,” he informed me with a hushed tone. Except for the “SPAAAAAAAAAAACE” part. That was pretty loud.
The walk/roll over to Spacely’s place was pretty uneventful to start. He rattled off various fun (weird) facts about Jared the entire time. I guess it was to prove to me that he really did have an intimate knowledge of my opponent for ReVival. To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention. Much like any Gen Z’er would when an old person is trying to tell you things, I was busy Googling his name on my phone to ensure that he was not on any local police registries. I had to scroll a few pages to get past the blurbs about the pudgy little person from the Jetsons until I found him.
Oh! He was a wrestler! That’s what he meant when he said Sykes had ruined his career! You couldn’t really blame me for not knowing him, as it looked like he’d only been around for a little over a year. I read about his talking dog, his ring entrances involving a thrown-together model of a flying saucer, and the Jump Like An Idiot Splash. Seemed pretty gimmicky and try-hard, if you ask me. I’d never make myself look this stupid just for a small taste of fame.
Wiping the phone screen off with my Gilette Venus Womens’ Razors t-shirt, I kept the traffic going on the information superhighway. Here it was: the details of his friendship-to-feud with Jared over a group called the ‘Dead Man’s Hand.’ This needed a little bit of context, so I pulled up a separate browser window to Google exactly who the Dead Man’s Hand was.
“Ah, here we go.”
Now that I had the context for this nefarious group of baddies that reigned over Sin City Championship Wrestling, I did what only an experienced scientific researcher would do.
I looked up recent photos of all the ladies in it to see if they were still hot.
As always, even better with age. I wonder if there’s any shots of Desade from the back…
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY, YOU FAIRY!”
Oops. I looked up to realize that I had gotten separated from Spacely and was standing right in the middle of the street. Thankfully, he didn’t seem to notice, as he continued to coast down the sidewalk. Despite the fact that the drone camera made circles around him in the attempt to get his attention.
“…and you know what Jared did after I told him I don’t like bell peppers? He brought back the pizza…LOADED with bell peppers! Inconsiderate asshole!”
I caught back up with him, and we eventually made it to his apartment. The building seemed relatively clean, which surprised me. I’d banked on the fact that we’d have to dodge several mice and bugs just to get to his door, but it didn’t appear that the bitter blond lived in squalor. Honestly, it made me somewhat apprehensive to walk in. I felt better knowing that the drone was with us, prepared to alert the cops in case of foul play. But if Spacely started insisting that we sit down on his bed and watch the Exorcist III, I was fucking outta there.
Once inside, I breathed a sigh of relief. Everything appeared to be pretty normal. I mean, “normal” by a complete dork’s standards. Tons of Star memorabilia (Trek, Wars, Battle Galactica) lined the walls. The trash seemed to have been taken out recently, save the exception of an empty bottle of Old Fitzgerald on the counter. The only thing that stood out was his couch: fitted with a sheet around the cushions and a pillow on the end. No bed. Maybe that was the sacrifice he had to make to afford the rent on this place.
“Cool telescope!” I exclaimed, walking toward the window at the edge of the living space. “Do you ever see other planets and stuff out of this thing?”
Spacely shook his head as he stood out of the wheelchair and pushed it to the side. “Not really. I just use it to look through the windows of that building over there.”
My first instinct was to immediately verify my suspicion that he was a pervert, but I didn’t remember there being another apartment cluster across the street when we walked in. I glanced across the second story view and saw that Spacely was voyeuring an Amish furniture store. Somehow a lot more disturbing to me than if he were spying on someone in the shower.
“C’mon,” he urged, pointing toward a door to the other room in the place. “I wanna show you something.”
I followed him to the threshold. Since he’d opted to use his loveseat to sleep on, I was curious about what he kept in his actual bedroom. That said, this is generally the point in most stories where something really disturbing would be revealed. I closed my eyes and silently hoped for the opposite as he opened it. A lifetime supply of Dunkaroos. A collection of rare stamps. Amish furniture. Literally anything but a life-sized hair doll made out of Jared’s pubic shavings.
“Here we are! This oughta help you in your match.”
He followed up the comment with a deranged laugh, which wasn’t exactly motivating me to open my eyes. I reached out my hands instead, figuring it was better to feel the horror first before I saw it.
“Huh,” I mumbled as I opened my eyes. It was a Blu-Ray box. Wedged between the plastic covering and whatever movie the jacket once held was a piece of torn notebook paper. The words “JARED SYKES’ RING FLUBS 2006 – 2022” scrawled on it.
“Oh. You know, throughout this whole time we’ve spent together, this was the last thing I thought you’d be doing when you said you wanted to help me,” I admitted. A mixtape of his weak points? “This is actually great. Thank you.”
“Wait,” the Zarflon Don quipped, holding up an index finger. “There’s more where that came from!”
Spacely reached into the bottom shelf of his dresser, this time pulling out another Blu-Ray case. One with the original cover still on it.
“Oh, neat. I love Evan Almighty,” I lied.
“No, no, no,” Spacely replied. “Look what’s inside!”
I opened it up, and to my surprise there was no Blu-Ray inside. Instead, it was a plastic baggie filled with a certain white powdery substance. This wasn’t going to be great for our friend Spacely once the drone footage aired on the network, and I started to freak out a little bit.
“Is…is this anthrax?” I stammered.
Shock spread over his face, which was soon replaced by a look that he’d taken offense to what I’d assumed would be a great way to beat Jared Sykes. By killing him.
“What? Are you serious right now?” Spacely seethed. “Do you really think I would want to endanger someone’s life like that? Do you honestly think I would be so irresponsible as to hand you a bag of literal poison?”
“Wellllllllllllllllll,” I started, but was quickly cut off by Spacely snatching the bag out of the case and opening the Ziploc seal.
“If this were anthrax, would I be stupid enough to do this?” he asked, sticking his finger right inside the residue.
I quivered my lip a little bit. “Wellllllllllllllllll…” Coming from a guy committing welfare fraud and an odd fetish for people shopping for hand-crafted dining hutches, it wasn’t exactly a fair question.
“Of course I wouldn’t. I’d never do something as ridiculous as providing you with a biological weapon. That’s just crazy talk. Yeah, I want you to beat Jared. But I want you to do it the right way,” he explained. Fair enough. It still left me with an unanswered question.
“What is it, then?”
“Well,” he replied, “it’s definitely not something as dangerous as anthrax.”
“That’s a relief,” I sighed.
“No, no. This is the secret to your success. Something that will assure your debut victory so you don’t fall into the abyss that is losing to Jared Sykes.” Spacely pinched a bit of the powder between his thumb and forefinger, bringing it up to his face.
“Ya see, this here is PCP! Ozone, that is. Angel dust, Texas P.”
The fact that he’d further described the drug’s other nicknames in the same vein as the Beverly Hillbillies theme song wasn’t of much comfort. And I’m pretty sure he made up “Texas P” to fit the cadence.
“All you need to do is put some of this shit in a cigarette and smoke it right before your match,” Spacely explained. “You’ll be unpinnable! You’ll be unsubmittable! You’ll be unknockoutable!”
I’ve only been wrestling about a couple of years, but this plan already had an obvious flaw that would contradict the rulebook. Well, an obvious flaw in addition to the other obvious flaws of taking a hallucinogen before a match..
“Yeah, but what if I get counted out?”
“Well, you uh…” Spacely stifled a response. A possibility that he hadn’t quite thought through. “Look, I’m trying to help, here. Unfortunately I don’t have a miracle SPAAAAAAAAAAAACE drug that can account for every possibility. You’re just going to have to maintain enough focus to not go outside the ropes.”
I nodded. “Got it. Maintain enough focus. While high. On PCP.”
“Look,” he responded, getting a little ticked off at my bull shit. “I’m just trying to be helpful here. You’re a young up-and-comer with a ton of talent, just like I was. And I don’t want to see another one like me become a footnote in the roster just because they lost to that guy.”
I’d been through quite the roller coaster of emotion for the past thirty minutes. It had started with pity, took a couple of loop-de-loops around irritation and fear, and then climbed right back up the pity hill again. This man had built up in his mind that Jared was the sole force behind his failures as a pro wrestler. Rendering him incapable of rationale.
I looked around the bedroom. Walls lined with every piece of press that featured Spacely in his brief career. A couple of framed T-shirts. A little plushie caricature of him and a golden retriever wearing a cute little set of antennas on his head. Ring-worn gear, also displayed in a nice casing along with a photo of him holding a championship belt triumphantly on top of a domed cage.
I was right about him not having a bed. But that could have easily been something for him to acquire if he ever decided to sell any of this memorabilia. I started to realize that it was this room that represented everything he valued about himself, unable to let go of the past. And he placed all the blame squarely on one man who had nothing to do with his downfall.
I knew what I had to do. I needed to help Reform his behavior. I needed to make this a teachable moment and show him the error of his ways. Much like some other guy in PRIME tries to do it whose name I can’t quite remember right now.
“Sorry,” I replied, gently patting his shoulder. “While I appreciate what you’re trying to do, I don’t necessarily need to beat Jared Sykes in my debut.”
He raised an eyebrow and prepared to object, but I cut him off at the pass with a wave of my hand.
“When you approached me today, I had just finished up with a failed audition,” I explained. “I know I’m not getting the part. But do you think that’s going to stop me from trying to become an actor? Hell no, bitch! It wasn’t the first time I blew it, and it certainly won’t be the last. Because I won’t quit.”
“But it’s not just acting, either! Lindsay Troy is literally the hottest cougar I’ve come in contact within the past couple of months,” I gushed. “And she still has yet to say that she’ll go out with me despite asking about six times. Do you think that’s going to stop me from quitting? Hell no, bitch!”
“Yeah, about that,” Spacely interjected. “Look, you might want to just let it go. She’s obviously not interested.”
I wasn’t sure what he had just said because I really didn’t care. I was on a roll. “Because out of the 99,999 times she rejects me, there’s always that possibility on the 100,000th time that maybe her and Wade want to spice things up a bit and include a cute young twink in the mix that night.”
“Hey,” I piped up defensively. “Don’t you dare judge me. Things are different nowadays in 2024, and sometimes you gotta be flexible to get what you want.”
“It’s not 2024, th…”
“ANYWAY, my point is that I am going to give it my all at ReVival,” I continued. “I’ll throw everything I’ve got at Jared, fully aware that he’s probably better than me. And I’ll accept the reality that I’ll lose, or that I’ve underestimated myself and pull out a victory. But either way, Spacely? I’ll refuse to let one match define my career. And hey, it’s not too late for you to take the same approach. Ditch the wheelchair, get back in the gym, and go be that guy again.”
I pointed to the display of his SCCW Gateway Championship victory, which caused him to turn and stare at it thoughtfully. This continued uninterrupted for a couple of minutes. I wasn’t sure if he was lost in contemplation as to what I’d just said, or if the angel dust was starting to hit.
I got my answer when he finally turned to me and said something that I will never, ever forget.
“One time Jared told me that he thought Barbra Streisand was an ugly, no-talent hack who couldn’t sing or act her way out of a wet paper bag.”
A tiny little flame erupted inside of my belly.
“Verbatim?” I asked.
Spacely nodded. “Word for word.”
The glow rose through my esophagus and began to soak out of my pores. Make fun of me, my Black Metal Friends, my family, my pets all you want. But Babs? A national treasure to us all?
“Gimme that fucking PCP.”