Private: Tyler Adrian Best
The Anglo Luchador.
Cultural Appropriation: The Musical, starring some guy so desperate to be accepted as a major player that I heard he picked up Auntie Lindz’s dry cleaning for a month just for the right to face me at Revival this week. This motherfucker is ranked number two in PRIME, but still has all the fake pretend titles he won in his other little fake pretend companies listed in his official bio. How much do you enjoy the smell-o of your own fart-os, guy? And yeah, I’m only gonna speak fake Spanish to a guy stealing Latinx culture under the guise of being from the most prestigious lucha school in all of… North Philly.
By the way, hermano, my dad was El Hombre Blanco when you were still filling los diaperones, so when you cut him those royalty checks, make sure they’re not in fucking pesos. Even in attempting to steal from an entire culture, you’re managing to do it unoriginally. Of course, that’s pretty on brand for the modern wrestling industry— you self-fellating dorks love nothing more than to rehash something Mike Best did ten years ago and then masturbate in a circle over how new and innovative it is. It’s a damned shame, too, because unlike half of the paint-by-numbers, “My First Promo” Fisher Price motherfuckers that are squatting around the PRIME hallways, you’re actually a ridiculously talented wrestler.
You can actually fucking fight.
Like you’re actually REALLY good.
It physically hurts me to admit that, but I gotta give credit where it’s due. Without that doofy fucking mask and all the arduous bullshit that turns you into a clown, you’re one of the best and brightest in PRIME Wrestling. Which I mean, that’s kind of like being the tallest dwarf at the circus, but it’s worth something. You could be the Universal Champion. You could be the face of this entire dog and pony show. You could be almost famous, man, but you committed to this doofus mentality. This stupid persona. Those people out there, they cheer your name and they buy your shirts, but fuck, dude. There’s a glass ceiling for silly motherfuckers, and you’re knocking on it.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m the end of that line, Tom.
I’m the fastest rising star in PRIME Wrestling, and I am a professional wrestler. Full stop. I don’t have a bunch of goofy side shit to distract me from my goals. I don’t travel through time. I don’t have a fucking Chalupa named after me. I’m here to become the Universal Champion, and every single waking moment of my life is dedicated to achieving that goal. Maybe that doesn’t sell a ton of T-shirts, and it certainly doesn’t make you a lot of friends, but do you know what it does?
It wins matches.
It wins championships.
Look at me, Tommy Boy. Lined up to face numero uno himself, the by golly gee whiz Five Star Champion, Nate Colton. I’ve been here for less than a tall chai latte and I’ve earned myself a title match, while you’re on your way down from bonking your head on a big glass ceiling naked Paxton Ray. You’re a talented guy, Tom. Shit, maybe I’ll start calling you Tommy Talented. But there is one discriminating fact that separates us in this world, and it’s the reason that your very stoppable force will never overcome my immovable object.
I am a winner.
And you are a loser.
I’m not talking about who does a better headlock, or who can do more push-ups. I’m not talking about win/loss records or athletic ability. I’m talking about DNA, Tommy. I’m talking about a man and the sum of his parts, and the simple fact is that no matter how hard you work, and no matter how talented you are… you’re a fucking lemon. You’re a giant capital letter L. I can smell it on you. I can see it in your eyes.
You’re just a loser, man.
Two second generation wrestlers, children of prodigies. Both hungry. Both talented. Both eager to prove something to themselves and to the world. See, that’s what PRIME management has the big hard on for right now— putting me into the ring with guys like you, and Timebomb Jr., thinking that we’re cut from the same cloth. But we aren’t even made out of the same material, much less cut from the same cloth, chief. You’ve got a whole lot more in common with Eddie than you do with me. And when you step into that ring with me… when it matters most… you won’t have what it takes. You won’t get the job done.
You’re gonna choke, Tommy Boy.
And when you do?
I’ll fucking swallow you whole.
“Ayyy, Penny, you wanna suck my dick real quick?”
The question hangs in the air like it was uttered in zero gravity, as Tyler Adrian Best finishes the last push-up in his set, picking himself up from his knees and climbing to his feet. Sweat drips in slow motion from his hairline– the whole world is moving at half speed as P3NNY L4NE stares at him with a look of absolute disbelief on her face.
“Ex–excuse me?” Penny asks, her eyes locked on the side of his head.
Her fingers hover ever so slightly above the keys of her laptop, frozen in place as her jaw hangs half open. She had to have misheard him. There’s no way that he just asked her a question like that in the first place, much less with such a dismissive, matter-of-fact tone. In the year and a half that they’d been working together, she’d endured a lot of disrespect from Tyler Adrian Best, but nothing so… on the nose.
Tyler grabs a towel from the end table, dabbing at his forehead and wiping down his arms on either side of his sleeveless t-shirt. A year’s worth of new ink paints an intricate picture of douchebaggery up and down his biceps. A wild smirk falls over his face, as he turns to face her directly.
“A blowjob, Pen.” TAB raises his eyebrows, like he’s confused. “I’m stressed as fuck right now. It would really help me relax.”
The silence is immediate.
The silence is long.
The silence is uncomfortable.
Well, for Penny, anyway. Tyler Best doesn’t seem to feel anything at all, as he moves from the floor toward the doorway. He hoists himself up onto the bar at the top of the door frame, transitioning to a set of pull-ups as though he’d just asked her to pass the salt.
“Go fuck yourself.” Penny snaps at him, with a particular amount of venom. “Don’t talk to me like that. I’m not kidding.”
The third generation wrestler pulls himself up effortlessly, tucking his chin over the bar again and again as the sweat begins to pool once more around his thick black hair.
“Come on.” Tyler stifles a laugh, mid pull-up. “It’s just a little head. It’s not like I’m asking you to fuck me. It’ll be good for my mindset. Which is good for my career. Which is good for my brand. Which is good for your career. Whaddya say? Little gluck gluck in the name of mutual prosperity?”
Finishing his set, TAB hops down from the doorway and lands sharply on the hardwood with both feet, wiping his hands off on his gym shorts. It’s a day off from the gym, but much like his father, Tyler Best is not one for days off– even a light workout is better than no workout at all, especially with so many big things on the horizon for him. He picks his water bottle up off the coffee table, taking a long sip as he glances down at his phone, looking to see how many notifications he’s missed since he last–
He hears it before he feels it.
The sharp sting of flesh on skull is soon to follow, as P3NNY L4NE’s open hand collides with the back of his head with more force than it has any right to. Tyler stumbles forward into the table, his water bottle spilling out onto the floor as he verbally yelps at the shock of the impact. This was not a mild or playful attack– Penny just slapped the absolute shit out of Tyler Adrian Best.
“OWWW!” TAB yells, almost in shock. “What the FUCK, dude?!”
As he snaps his head around, he is met with the beet red face of his public relations manager. She is not smiling. She is not laughing. She is not taking anything in stride.
Penny is fucking angry.
“How dare you.” she grits her teeth. “Who in the fuck do you think you are?”
She rears back her hand again, very seriously considering slugging him one more time. Tyler recoils with his hands in front of him– he might be a professional wrestler, but that doesn’t mean he enjoys being physically attacked. Plus, that shit hurt the first time.
“Whoa! RELAX!” Tyler laughs, nervously. “It was a joke, fuck.”
But she doesn’t relax. You know, in the same way that absolutely no one relaxes when they’re told to fucking relax. Penny shoves him backward with two hands, knocking him into a seated position on the couch. She stares down at him with fury in her eyes, finally having found her boiling point.
“A joke?” Penny feigns a laugh, snarkily. “Oh, my bad, Ty. It was a JOKE! What’s the punchline? What’s funny about it? Is it the part where you tell me it would be good for my career to put your fucking dick in my mouth? Is it the menacing undertone that not sucking on your little boy penis might be bad for my career? Which part of it is funny, Tyler? Explain it to me. Explain to me why it’s funny.”
She swings another wild open hand, but is so angry that she manages to miss the side of his head entirely. Tyler tries not to laugh again, as he puts his hands back up.
“Jeeeeeesus.” he shakes his head, now actually laughing. “No, fuck, chill, alright? I’m just stressed out, dude. My bad. Seriously. Next time I’ll ask for anal.”
He braces for impact, but she doesn’t swing on him again.
In fact, she doesn’t react at all.
Instead, Penny Lane turns around without another word, walking to her makeshift work area and closing up her laptop. She slowly tucks it into her work back, gathering her things off the desk and packing them up.
“Whoa, hold on.” Tyler stands up from the couch, putting an arm forward. “Hey, look, stupid joke, alright? I really need you to finish this shit up today. I’ll order from that Thai place you like, I’ll shut the fuck up, just don’t bail out on me. This can’t wait till tomorrow.”
For one solitary moment, Penny stops gathering her things and stares at him.
“Tomorrow?” she asks, incredulously. “Tomorrow, Tyler? There is no tomorrow. I’m not leaving for tonight. I fucking quit, dude.”
She goes back to stuffing her work tools into her satchel, picking her glasses up off the desk and tucking them onto the top of her head.
“You’re an asshole.” she mutters, not even looking back at him. “And honestly, I accepted that when I took the job. Like, you’re King Piece of Shit, for sure. But you were a likeable piece of shit, at least. But you’re so beyond miserable in Las Vegas… I can’t do this anymore. I’m not going to be sexually harassed. I’m not going to be treated like a maid. I’m not going to be treated like your fucking Mommy, either. Go fuck yourself, Tyler.”
She slings her bag over her shoulder, doing a once over of the area to make sure that there isn’t anything that she’s forgotten. No amount of money is worth dealing with this kind of bullshit, day in and day out. The Best Family was a handful in the first place, but without a doubt, Tyler was the worst of them.
PRIME hadn’t even seen the tip of the iceberg.
Penny Lane knew all of it.
She bursts toward the door, walking at a full clip and vowing not to even turn back to look at him before she leaves. She isn’t even going to give him the satisfaction of giving her one last dismissive smirk.
“Penny… wait.” Tyler sighs, his face almost blank. Just… hold on, alright?”
She does stop, but it isn’t out of sympathy.
Slowly, she turns to face the grandson of Lee Best, her eyes still bright with a fire that has been building for a very long time.
“Don’t.” she shakes her head. “Don’t give me some big heroic I can change speech, because I won’t believe it and I don’t want to fucking hear it. Do you have any idea how humiliating it is to sit here and be talked to like that? How it feels to know that you… someone who I work with… someone who is like, kind of even my friend, is sitting there thinking about fucking my face? Let me ask you a question, Tyler… how many women have you been with?”
“I, uh.” Tyler swallows, hard. “I mean, it’s a lot. You probably don’t even want to–”
She cuts him off, loudly.
“No, I promise you.” Penny interrupts. “I fucking do. How many girls have you fucked, Tyler? That you think you can make a joke and I’m going to just crawl across the floor, on my hands and fucking knees, and service you like King Tyler the FUCKING FIRST. How many girls, Tyler? How trivialised has my entire fucking gender become to you, that you think it’s FUNNY to treat me like a FUCKING HOLE?”
“Penny, stop.” TAB shakes his head. “It isn’t even like that. I don’t want to–”
She throws her water bottle at him, stopping him mid-sentence as he narrowly dodges out of the water. Penny takes an aggressive step forward, her volume increasing as Tyler looks more and more uncomfortable by the second.
“HOW MANY GIRLS?” Penny yells, literally a foot in front of his face.
“FUCKING ZERO.” Tyler shouts, looking more afraid than angry.
He winces, cowering almost like a child as Penny can see real fear in him for maybe the first time… ever. It’s jarring. Uncomfortable. It doesn’t make her any less furious with him, but the sudden change in his condition is at least enough to shake her out of the spiral she’s in.
“…zero. None.” TAB averts his eyes, looking ashamed of himself.
“Wait.” Penny is absolutely bewildered, as she tries to process this. “I’m sorry, what? You’re… wait. No. You’re a…”
Tyler Adrian Best was a virgin.
She’d never before considered the possibility, but it made all the sense in the world.
For just a moment, she’s angry with herself that she never realized it earlier– for all of his “talking about pussy all the time”, little tough talking, shit stirring Tyler Best was bound to have never actually had a single moment of sex in his entire life. He’s been all but locked inside of a training facility since he was fifteen years old, and under his father’s wing every waking moment since. Suddenly, everything about him makes a lot more sense to Penny Lane.
“Yeah.” Tyler nods his head. “Look, I’m sorry. Seriously. I don’t apologize to anyone for anything, and you know that. It was a stupid joke. It wasn’t even a joke. It was just a… shitty thing to say. You’re really, really good at your job, and you’re probably my best friend, and you’re… all I have, right now. So please don’t quit your job and please don’t leave. I am very sorry, and it will never happen again.”
There it is, again.
That uncomfortable silence.
But for the first time, it’s Tyler that is uncomfortable.
Penny washes her hands over her cheeks, and then over the back of her neck. Her heart is nearly pounding out of her chest– it isn’t lost on her that at any point in the last ten minutes, Tyler Adrian Best could have grabbed her by the throat and literally murdered her. And that isn’t just anxiety talking… it’s a very unfortunate reality. It wasn’t easy to quit. It wasn’t easy to say everything that she needed to say.
Her heart is still pounding halfway out of her chest, but finally, she speaks.
“It isn’t even remotely okay.” Penny says, softly.
“I know.” Tyler nods, still averting his eyes. “But I’m still sorry.”
For what feels like an hour, but is probably only about thirty seconds, the two of them stand there together, stuck in the most uncomfortable moment imaginable. In the end, though, Penny slowly begins to set her satchel back down on the desk.
“I want a raise.” Penny says, with authority.
“Done.” Tyler nods. “If my dad won’t pay it, then I will.”
Next come the glasses, as Penny takes them back off of her head and gently places them back on the table.
“And this never happens again.” Penny goes on, with her very fair demands. “Not just this. Any of it. No more disrespecting me. No more treating me like the maid. No more treating me like an employee. You’re my client. And… my friend. You wanna be an asshole to the rest of the world, you do you, be a fucking dickhead, I don’t care. But you treat me with fucking respect.”
“Absolutely.” Tyler agrees, without even a second thought. “Never happens again.”
She slowly nods at him, as the pair stand face to face, just… looking at each other. She’s been with Tyler Adrian Best from his very first day as a professional wrestler, and this conversation has been a long time coming. Maybe she should leave. Maybe she was right to quit. But it isn’t about the codependency, or the tenure, or any fucked up sense of loyalty. She sees something in Tyler that most of the world doesn’t see, behind all of the fucked up bullshit that it would take years of therapy to get to the bottom of.
She sees the real Tyler, even if he doesn’t, just yet.
“By the way, you flinch like a bitch.” Penny smirks, as she sits back down at her desk.
Tyler laughs, as he throws his sweat towel onto the hardwood and begins to wipe up the water that he spilled all over the place.
“Yeah, well.” TAB shrugs. “You hit like a girl.”
She pulls her computer back out of the back, opening it up and getting her workspace back in order. Las Vegas was going to be an adventure– this probably wasn’t the last time things would get tense, but for the first time in almost a year, the room is completely without tension.
“Hey uh, Pen.” Tyler swallows nervously. “You’re uh, not gonna tell anyone about…”
He looks up from the floor, still cleaning up his mess, both figuratively and metaphorically. Penny crosses her arms in front of her, leaning back in her chair as she smirks down at Tyler Adrian Best.
The power dynamic has changed.
“I don’t know, Tyler.” she smirks. “Why don’t you suck my dick real quick?”