At ReVival 18, there were the expected fiery action in the ring, the intrigue and blend of personalities who would otherwise never have made contact in their lifetimes, and the literally made-for-television flavor added to the contests by Nick Stuart and Richard Parker. Naturally, the PRIMEates were faithfully engaged in the action, chanting for their favorites and letting their derision flare for those who weren’t playing a tune of their interests.
The atmosphere backstage, naturally, was as bursting with blasts of kinetic energy throughout the corridors. From top to bottom, the wrestlers were invested in what PRIME had to offer. They were taking full of advantage of the content production, the platform to reach the audience with their missives and metaphors, seeking the lifeblood of each wrestler’s career:
Recognition from the audience.
It didn’t have to be positive, only that it was a strong feeling that resonated with those soaking in the promo or altercation, whichever it may be. Be that as it may, the gears of PRIME talents were always in perpetual rotation. Most of them had been champions elsewhere, and a good number could even declare themselves World Champions at some point. It led to the energy of a powder keg, short fuses at the ready, and only a spark to get the respective kegs exploding towards stiff competition in the ring. Therein lies the kicker: No one was an easy out in PRIME. Which led to an interesting question:
How many times could one come up short, and still believe they weren’t the negative in each equation?
Follow up: Then what?
Larry Tact was still struggling in PRIME, and he had even dropped crucial matches elsewhere this year. His year end outlook was a bitterly cold winter, starting early. This brought us to the backstage area, where Larry packed his bags after a shower ahead of his flight back to New York. He would once again leave his PRIME problems behind, and try and address his business and personal problems, instead. If anything, though, PRIME was the problem he felt he could end more quickly.
The frustration was that his efforts had come up short to do just that. As he grabbed his travel bag and exited the locker room, he looked to his right and spotted none other than Simon Tillier talking someone’s ear off. No doubt that wouldn’t last too long before his victim would grow tired of the young journalist’s efforts to endear himself, and Simon would need a new target for his song and dance. Larry wasn’t looking to engage anyone, much less someone aspiring to find the next notch towards a promotion.
Larry had grown wearisome of being the next notch on other people’s belts.
Looking to his right, he found a saving grace of sorts he could conceal his exit: the PRIMEporium. He had no fondness for the merch hocking entrapment, but he was prepared to endure it long enough to find the exit on the other side. Stepping out of the locker room, he took care in not letting the door slam closed, and then proceeded across the hallway and into the PRIMEporium. Walking past the booths, Larry was largely able to ignore his apathy towards most of what was present, only giving a snort of derision or hilarity here and there at the spectacularly bad or outrageous. As he neared the exit, his eyes betrayed him as they landed on an Anna Daniels section. Larry didn’t get the amount of varying reaction he heard about this… This. It was as inane a flaw in some people’s designs as the some of these merch brainchildren brought to living color. Larry didn’t want much to do with this Daniels, but it was clear to him that there was something truly… annoying there. The polarization or absolute uniformity of reaction around someone can be telling of what they’re capable of. Backstage, there was strife surrounding Anna Daniels.
What bothered Larry most was the level it had crept up to. People cared to see her, hear her, and contest her. That Larry had been placed in a ReVival 19 opening match against unproven talent? That was a sign of what type of energy he was generating around him. It made him all the more determined to resolve the issues he was working through. If only he could will them away, it would make things much easier. If there was one thing about Larry he would never relinquish, it was his will to make things right and not stay home. He never had a yellow streak, just a motivation to do whatever was called for to get where he wanted to be. Yet PRIME had gone off course, and Larry had yet to reach the switch back. He needed a new spark.
While he was in thought, Larry had wandered over to the display of Daniels’ merch. Aside from how it all looked, he found it utterly distasteful to demand people buy shirts. “If anything was worth the price, and that’s saying something,” he muttered as he felt the weight of recent setbacks suddenly needing to be unburdened. “The Daniels wave isn’t going to last. She’ll have plenty of these left to send intercontinental, the ignorant cretin…” Larry rationalized, and grabbed hold of a shirt with full intention of defacing it for social media to critique and belittle. That was practically its primary directive.
As he removed the shirt from the table, he was promptly hit with a wave of nausea. His vision was blurring and for a few moments, he couldn’t tell which way was up, up, down, down – anyway, you get it.
When his seeming spin around the world in seconds concluded, Larry would have fallen right onto the table with the merchandise – had it been there. Instead, he found himself landing his ass on a bench. With a jolt, he looked around and found himself in a park. “What the…” Larry gazed in astonishment at the grass softball fields, trendy restaurants that had landed a spot in the ripe consumer loitering space, food stands trying to squeak into a less budget-busting confines, and other benches here and there throughout the expanse.
All empty. Vacant of people or things. People say the difference between night and day is in the lack of buzz from social connections and a bulk of commuters. Well, the difference between having anyone or anything around versus nothing? Pure silence. Pin drop stillness. Even a light breeze had come up MIA.
“Has the world frozen?” Larry voiced with a tenuous note of sarcasm.
“Not yet, dad.“
That was the moment he nearly got startled out of his Hanes. He gasped and looked to the spot on the bench next time him. A blind spot he hadn’t even checked. Next to him was his son, Logan, wearing Aviator sunglasses and a NY Giants ballcap, a leather jacket, black sweater and grey khakis. He looked straight out at the park, only a hint of a smile at the reaction he had just elicited from the elder Tact.
Larry readjusted in his spot at the bench, and upon settling in, he seemed to return into a comfort zone he hadn’t felt when he first looked around. It was almost like he had been waiting for a response, even though he hadn’t recalled the previous words exchanged between them.
“I was merely breaking the silence, you seemed to be in deep thought on something,” Larry chuckled and felt more relaxed again. “I hope you aren’t about to tell me you think I can’t handle what you’re clearly considering whether to tell me or not.”
“No, never. You won’t ever know how much I trust you, dad,” came from his son, and Larry felt warmed that his son could still say that.
“Logan, you will never need to think I’m out of reach. You can always contact me, regardless of being at home or college, if I’m probably asleep, or in a meeting. None of that matters more than family. I’m never going to be out of contact with you,” Larry reached over to give a pat on the shoulder.
“I’m… not Logan,”
The response gave a mental adrenaline jolt to Larry, who watched as his would-be son remove the hat and shades. Rather than Logan’s cropped hair, locks flowed to about shoulder length and brunette, like his mother. He looked like Logan, with the hair kept underneath. Larry would swear to it, and yet, upon closer inspection there were differences. He noticed his mouth was slightly agape.
“What?” was all Larry could get out.
“… Dad, have you forgotten you have a son named Morgan, too? I thought you were being sentimental, but I guess there’s the shade shining through.”
Larry’s brain was on fire. “Morgan… that’s my daughter’s name.”
Morgan’s eyes glazed over for a moment, perhaps being hit with a similar wave as Larry had experienced.
“Dad? No, can’t be, this isn’t where you should be. Why are you here? I’m sorry, I think we’re crossing the streams here, so to speak. We aren’t supposed to meet yet.”
“YET?!” Larry exclaimed, his brain finally kicking in.
What exactly was happening?!?
In a flash of the next moment, Larry was back at the PRIMEporium, looking dumbstruck.
Maybe a break was in order, after all. His sanity was already checking out.