Tables are overturned, chairs go flying across the room, a fork flies by my head, embedding itself into the wall behind me! Clothes and debris are strewn about in a wild cacophony of chaos, as in the midst of it all stands my father, a fuming Bobby Dean.
“I’m going to end him!” Bobby bellows in a rarely seen sense of rage, as Uncle Cancer and Uncle Dooze casually stand across the room, shoulder to shoulder, whispering amongst themselves. The two seem to be enjoying the scene as Dooze throws an occasional smirk Bobby’s way, as the big man continues to rage, oblivious to everything around him.
I can’t help but be curious, why aren’t the two of them more concerned? I’m scared shitless, never seeing my dad this angry before. I don’t know if I should try and calm him down, or simply run for the hills. All I really want to do is cry, I hate seeing him in so much pain.
“Why aren’t either of you stopping him? I demand as I walk up to my Uncles, hands on my hips, a stern look on my face. Cancer doesn’t even bother to acknowledge my presence, simply standing there, continuing to watch the show before him, but Uncle Dooze gently pats me on the shoulder.
“Your dad is known to throw the occasional temper tantrum here and there.” Doozer explains with a comforting smile. “They’re usually pretty entertaining to watch, granted, we’ve never seen him *this* worked up before. But the game is usually to see how long he goes before he tires himself out.”
“I bet 20 he gives himself a heart attack this time.” Cancer deadpans, causing me to gasp, looking daggers at my too COOL uncle.
“Bet.” the Old Bull calls out, offering a hand to seal the deal which is quickly done before the old goat turns his attention back to me. “Don’t feel too bad, your dad will be back to normal in no time.”
I turn my gaze back to my dad just in time to see him literally reach out and rip a row of lockers from the wall. This mass of heavy metal crashes to the floor with an almighty commotion, as Cancer and Doozer share a look of surprise.
“I could be wrong…” Dooze lamely puts out.
“If you’re quite done,” Cancer calls with annoyance clear in his voice as he steps away from the wall he was moments before leaning against. “Seeing as how you’re not going to keel over with a bum ticker, and I’m now 20 dollars lighter, alloy me to remind you all, we’ve got a jet to catch.”
It’s been a few days and in that time I have laid eyes on my father a handful of times. Seriously, I could count them on two hands with fingers to spare. I’m used to that sort of thing when I’m at home with my mother, but my father is a nuisance. I know he means well, but he cannot go an hour without poking his nose in my business.
He would literally pop his head into my room for two seconds simply to tell me he had to take a shit. As if 1. I needed to know, or 2. I even cared to know. As annoying as it is to deal with, I guess it’s kind of sweet at the same time. What I’m trying to say is, after all of his meddling, when you go two days without seeing a man you normally wish to go two days without seeing, you begin to grow worried.
I’ve stood outside his door on and off countless times. Knocking gently but never hearing a response. Putting my ear up against the wood, hoping to at least hear his heavy panting he calls breathing. But alas it has been nothing but silence. I’ve expressed my concern to the two he calls friends, but neither of them seem overly worried. Both claiming that if he’s locked away in his bedroom and refusing to answer, it’s probably not something I would want to see anyway.
Alas, my concern never wavers, as I stand outside his door once more. Gently placing my hand on the wood, hoping to at least feel his presence. My eyes alight as the door gently pushes inward with the slightest pressure. Sheepishly looking around I quickly step forward, poking my head into the opening.
In the time that I’ve moved into the MGM Hotel I have yet to step foot into my father’s bedroom. My Uncles claim that that’s for the best, but yet here I stand, at a complete loss for words. My father is a disgusting person, I admit, he’s constantly got a stain of some food or beverage on at least one article of clothing at any given time. He rarely picks up after himself, and let’s be honest, he isn’t the most hygienic man you’ve ever met.
Yet standing there, looking around the room I find myself speechless, as the room is… immaculate.
The bed is made, military style, with crisp corners. There is not a stitch of clothing littered on the floor, or hanging off of any of the furniture. There is not a single crumb, cookie, or leftover dish to be found. It is unlike anything I dared expect, to the point that I’m beginning to wonder if my father isn’t a complete psycho serial killer.
The only thing that causes me to look sideways is what appears to be the leg of a stuffed animal, positioned on the top of his dresser as if it were a trophy. The white marshmallow-like fluff, stained with specks of red peeking out from the tear where it should have been sewn.
“Dad?” I call out tentatively as I step further into the bedroom, leaving the door slightly ajar behind me, just in case I need a quick escape.
I spot the overly large man sitting on the floor in what I can only describe as Bobby’s version of lotus position. Except his legs struggle to be crossed, so they simply sit cocked at the knee with the soles of his feet pressed together, heel to heel, toe to toe. His hands resting palms up on his beefy thighs. The room is dark, his eyes are tightly closed; if I didn’t know any better I’d say he was sound asleep, except I don’t see any hint of drool, and I don’t hear him choking from his horrendous sleep apnea.
“Dad?” I call out once more, leaning over him to get closer to his face. “Are you… meditating!?”
Poor little Bobby Dean.
My teat once again being lent out to satiate the crybabies of PRIME.
Sorry to say, but you might find the milk to be a bit sour this go around, Champ.
Poor little Bobby Dean.
Always the convenient stepping stone to help others along their rise.
I’m curious, have you ever watched Takeshi’s Castle? Or perhaps the Most Extreme Elimination Challenge? I ask because they had a game on there where these people would try and run across a body of water, using stepping stones to get across. It seemed simple enough; they would run down a hill, building up some momentum before leaping from one stone to the next, huge smiles on their faces, laughing as if they were having the time of their lives.
The only problem being most of the stones were false, and as soon as you stepped on one that was false, it sank. These poor saps, who moments ago would be so full of joy and laughter, would suddenly eat shit, sinking under the water in an effort to hide their shame. I hear that body of water was made entirely of tears.
Brandon Youngblood, you are a poor sap about to eat shit. You’ll soon find out that I’m not the convenient stepping stone you think I am.
You’re a serious man, and this is serious business. Look at your bio for crying out loud. Here reads a man who puts forth a lot more effort than is required. Going above and beyond, like a good little boy scout. Counting every win. Every loss. Hell, you even counted the draws for crying out loud! I couldn’t even begin to tell you what titles I’ve won throughout my career, not even the one I’m currently holding for sVo!
It’s not that I don’t care. I mean, I don’t. But it’s not that. It’s the fact that there are more important things in life than records, or titles, or accolades.
I’m sorry to say, but the truth is, you’re fake.
Everything you do is to further this image of you that is not real. It’s all a façade. You play video games with sick kids. You shake hands, kiss babies, help old ladies cross the street. Hell you’ll even sign 100 autographs knowing that the schmuck you’re signing for is going to then turn around and sell them online anyway. He’ll make a killing off of you and you’ll do it with a happy smile on your face, because heaven forbid you disappoint a “fan”.
You want the fans to love you, to cherish you, to worship at the Altar of Babel. But I hear when PRIME was closed, and LT was off fighting in the 97red seas, Brandon Youngblood wasn’t spending time in hospitals, singing nursery rhymes to sick kids. He wasn’t serving soup at the kitchen for the homeless. He wasn’t playing bridge at the nursing homes. He was nowhere to be seen.
You know why?
Because the cameras weren’t around. There was nothing to gain for him. He doesn’t do these things because he’s just a swell guy. He does them because he has an image to cultivate. Heaven forbid the people see the shadowy man lurking behind that crystal image. I dare say THAT man would make a fine Bandit…
One thing you don’t have to worry about with ole Bobby Dean, I wouldn’t know the first thing about cultivating an image. What you see is exactly what you get, which isn’t always a good thing. But I’ve accepted who I am a long time ago. Maybe one day you’ll accept who you truly are as well, B.
The following day.
I feel like I’m 13 years old again, being called down to the principal’s office, as I sit in the waiting room just outside Lindsay Troy’s office. My palms are sweaty, my leg is twitchy as I can’t seem to sit still. My knee rising rapidly again and again and again. Cancer always refers to this as my workout routine, as he’s fond of pointing out, me being nervous is the only time he actually sees me doing anything remotely physical.
It’s funny, the last time I was called down to the boss’ office it was because Brandon Youngblood threw a hissy fit. “Waaaaaaah, he destroyed my stuffed animal! Waaaaah!”
I get it, I really do. Youngblood’s a man of action. A man that is used to getting what he wants, when he wants. Snap his fingers and people jump to. No real surprise either, considering that when he doesn’t get what he wants, he immediately goes crying to mommy. “They’re being mean to me. I want to destroy them.”
Funny how an inconsequential gnat can sting such a giant.
Paying Lindsay Troy that absurd amount of money for Brandon’s hurt feelings brought the biggest smile to my face.
Odd how I can respect Paxton Ray for not running to Lindsay Troy, crying after he got doused with yolks. But Brandon Youngblood immediately cries foul when his fragile ego is dinged… Still doesn’t make me want to punch Pax in the face any less, but still gotta hand it to the guy.
“She’s ready to see you now, Mr. Dean.” I hear, draining me out of my contemplative state.
Smiling awkwardly, I rise to my feet, sure to wipe my palms along my pants leg as I go. Entering the offices of Lindsay Troy is always an event. I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that THE eGG Queen herself is the person in charge. The woman who would took us under her wing; who helped guide the Bandits in the fiery pits that was High Octane, is now in charge of the very daycare center itself.
“LT.” I greet with my most monotone voice, showing my unhappiness in having to be here.
I’m a little off guard as I see her rummaging around in her desk, grabbing papers and stuffing them into an accordion file methodically. She doesn’t bother to greet me, doesn’t bother to ask how things are. Simply says, “Bobby. I told you last time, you can’t destroy other people’s property.”
“I didn’t!” I defend myself, well, more like I whined. “I didn’t touch anyone’s things.”
“You destroyed PRIME property, Bobby.” Lindsay explains, as she gathers her things and starts walking towards me. “I have to fine you. I don’t want to, but someone has to pay to replace the things you destroyed, and to fix the holes you put into the walls, and it’s certainly not going to be me!”
As she nears me my body tenses, I’ve never actually been beaten up by Lindsay Troy before, I wonder if I’ll enjoy it?
“I know you’re angry, but find better ways to channel it, other than throwing a temper tantrum next time,” she admonishes me as she walks by me. Doesn’t bother to look at me, doesn’t bother to console me. Simply reprimands and continues on her way. “Sorry, but I’m running late. I’ve got a flight I have to catch, if you need to discuss the situation further, give Melvin a call. I’m sure he’ll happily discuss whatever is on your mind.”
With that she turns the corner and disappears from view, leaving me alone in her empty office, feeling equally as empty inside.
Walking into the gym area of the MGM Grand always makes me nervous. I don’t know if it’s seeing a bunch of half naked people covered in sweat, or if it’s the palpable testosterone in the air? The clanging, and banging, or the very sexual in nature grunting that could easily be mistaken for porn.
But I’ve got a problem, and my dad is so caught up with the upcoming match with not only Paxton Ray but now with Brandon Youngblood, I don’t know who else to talk to. I tried Uncle Cancer but I think his feelings are still hurt that I broke his T-Shades, accidentally. I didn’t think he’d cry about it, considering he’s got a wall filled with them, like John Wick with guns.
So with my dad preoccupied, Cancer ignoring me like a 15 year old girl, Aunt LT off on a plane, Uncle Dan Ryan being made of cardboard, that left me with one last choice.
“Uhm, Uncle D?” my voice calls out haltingly, as it is filled with trepidation and fear. “I think I fudged up.”
“Oh?” Doozer asks, lowering the single dumbbell before looking at me expectantly. “On a scale of 1 to Bobby Dean, how bad is it?”
“Like 3 Bobby Deans…” I answer after contemplating the situation for a moment.
“Damn.” he exhales heavily. “Lay it on me.”
“IstartedadatingprofileformydadandI’vebeencatfishingwomenhe’snowgotthreedatesandhedoesn’tknow.” The words fall from my lips rapidly, so quick that Doozer looks at me like a deer in the headlights, holding his hands up in the universal sign of timeout.
“Try again. But pretend I’m hard of hearing.” he offers, not realizing the significance of his words right away, but clueing in as the smile lights up my face. “Shut up.”
“I started a dating profile for my dad. He’s been getting a lot of hits. Like a LOT!” I start to explain once more, but am interrupted by the look of shock on Doozer’s face.
“Seriously?” the Old Bull asks. “How is he getting ANY hits?”
“Oh, well,” I begin to shuffle nervously, fidgeting, unable to meet his eye. “I sort of used a picture from his old sVo days. You know from like 10 years ago…”
Shaking his head in dismay, he motions for me to continue.
“Anyway, I’ve been messaging a few ladies and I think I’ve found one that would be perfect for him!” I fish my phone out of my pocket and with the nimble fingers of a teenage girl I’ve got my phone unlocked, opened, and on the intended app before he could even blink his cataract inflicted eyes. Turning the screen around the Old Bull immediately slides off the bench he was seated on and tumbles to the ground.
With many curious eyes on him, Dooze climbs to his feet as his face grows red in embarrassment. “Yes.”
“Yes what?” I ask, not having asked a question.
“Yes I will help you set Bobby up on this date. Whatever it takes. But allow me to be the one to tell him.” Uncle D answers, a mischievous grin beginning to grow, causing me to somehow feel a mounting sense of unease. Perhaps I should have just stuck with Cardboard Dan Ryan instead…