Who The Hell Names A Candle Man Town?!
Posted on 09/26/22 at 2:20pm by Private: Ria Lockhart
Event: ReVival 16
Private: Ria Lockhart
Candles. Candles candles candles. Ria Lockhart has found her way into a Yankee Candle store. She’s wearing a black PRIME hoodie over top of a white TAL shirt. It’s a zipper hoodie, of course. Pull over hoodies suck, ask anyone with taste. She’s also got on a pair of black, semi-opaque tights over top of a denim miniskirt. On her feet are calf high boots. Casual, but alluring.
Lockhart is browsing candles. It’s Yankee Candle, what the hell else would she be buying? She looks at different labels, picking up the torches that intrigue her and taking a sniff. The haphazard way she goes about it makes it clear she had no plan in mind, no pre-purchase thoughts before coming into the store.
Schnitzel With Noodles? Smells like puke that became sentient, puked, ate THAT puke and puked it up again. So, ya know, not great. Man Town? Lots of problems with that name and we haven’t even gotten into the actual scent! Taint and sweaty ass, in case you were curious. A candle called First Down… Who the hell is coming up with these?!
As Ria continues her unfocused browsing, an associate makes their way over to her.
“Hello ma’am, can I help you find anything?” The associate asked. Her brown hair is pulled into a ponytail. The red apron she wears over a white blouse and black slacks lets you know that, yes, she does indeed work here. Ria cringes slightly at being called ma’am. Not even 30 yet and getting ma’am? That’s an ego blow. Better than being called sir, so there’s that.
“I dunno, I’m just looking around…” Ria trails off as she checks the associate’s name tag. It tells you her name is… “Jeff?!”
Confusion takes up residence on Ria’s face. She could just ignore it and move on. People name their kids weird shit all the time. Plus, she’s always all for inclusion and acceptance. That being said, Lockhart has never met anyone female named Jeff. Screw the candles for now, she needs answers.
“Oh, that!” Jeff giggles. “That’s not my name. This is my boyfriend’s name tag. I’m just wearing it so I don’t get written up!”
Ria does her best to hide the disappointment surely trying to creep up on her face. Have you ever went into a story expecting something unique and compelling, only to have a doozy of a let down? No one likes egg on their face. Not to mention, any manager that even paid the slightest bit of attention would see it’s not her name tag. This woman’s plan? Not well thought out. Back to the candles…
“Anyway, I’ve been a bit stressed lately. Got any suggestions?” Ria inquires. The woman thinks for a minute.
“Hmm… Maybe some edibles?” The woman absentmindedly suggests. “You could have a few drinks! Maybe go on a nice, long drive?”
Ria shoots a deadpan look the woman’s way. “And what candle scent would any of those be?”
The employee’s hands shoot up to her mouth in embarrassment. Her advice was rather questionable to begin with. It becomes doubly so when you’re in a candle store looking for suggestions on a purchase.
“I’m so sorry! I thought you meant in general!” The woman sputters out in shame. Ria waves off the awkward situation.
“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” Ria assures her. The infliction in her voice says different, but the associate doesn’t pick up on such a subtly. Air rushes out of her lungs, her relief apparent.
“Thank God! So you want a candle?” The woman now cheerfully asks the incrementally agitated Lockhart. A less than polite nod, intricacies still above the woman’s head, lets her know to continue.
“So we’ve got a few that might help you!” The woman says. “Lemon Lavender, Midnight Jasmine and Refreshing Eucalyptus and Mint are all pretty good choices for aromatherapy.”
She picks up each candle as she names it, handing them to Ria. The wrestler takes a sniff of each as they find their way into her hands. Lockhart grabs one those weird spiral carrying bags that are convenient because they’re less bulky than baskets but also look kinda stupid and puts the candles in there. She gives the worker a mildly impressed look.
“You actually know your candles.” Ria muses, a line more insulting that she probably intended. The associate beams.
“Thanks! I’ve won employee of the month a bunch of times.” The woman nonchalantly states. One might consider such a thing a humble brag, but her tone is genuinely placid. Seeming satisfied with what’s in her basket/bag/satchel thing, Ria looks ready to check out. There’s still things that need done. Unsolved mysteries, cold cases, wonders of the world that must be uncovered.
“I meant to ask… What is your name?” A curious Ria inquires. Forget the lack of manners in going that long without asking, this information must be revealed!
“Oh, right! Well, my name is Roberta. All my friends call me Bob. We just think it’s funny.” Bob reveals. Ria stands motionless for a moment. Bob? Really? Would Jeff had been better? Why not Bobbie? Or Robbie? Or Berta? Fucking Bob?! Lockhart can only shake her head and make her way to the register.
We next join Ria back in her apartment. One candle in the living room. One in the bedroom. One in the bathroom. Gotta achieve Feng shui, whatever the hell that is. In her bedroom, she leans on a large oak dresser. Attached to the top is a mirror. She can’t help but look into it any time her eyes make contact with the furniture. This time is no different.
Ria stares forward. Anna lost. Brandon Youngblood lost. Cancer Jiles, piece of shit that he is, was now the Universal champion. Johnathan Rhine was in the hospital. Things are kinda shitty. What could she do? She isn’t a champion. She isn’t a top level star. Really, what could she do?
“HOW ABOUT YOU STOP BEING A PUSSY ABOUT IT?!” Ria screams into the mirror as she slams her hands down on the dresser! No longer looking into the mirror, she starts pacing around her moderately sized bedroom. Believe it or not, even without the multiple personalities, Ria still talks to herself. She’s just smart enough to keep it confined to her apartment.
“Things aren’t great right now. So what?!” Lockhart fumes, her pacing becoming faster. “What, am I just gonna stand by and sulk? Retreat to a corner and cry? Fuck that! It’s time to step up! Change can only happen if you make it happen! People look up to me! It might not be millions, thousands or even hundreds… But they’re out there! PRIME deserves better than this! I’m gonna be the change I want to see happen!”
10 minutes later, Ria steps out of the bedroom. Yoga pants, a sports bra and running shoes adorn her figure. A small gym bag is slung over her right shoulder. There’s a Gatorade bottle in her left hand. Lockhart storms towards the door, grabbing her keys with her right hand before slamming the door behind her.
A local gym. There’s the things you’d expect; various weight lifting equipment, different cardio machines, yoga apparatuses, the usual fare. This includes an employee who looks more like he works in tech support rather than a gym. Pressed khakis and a polo shirt emblazoned with the gym’s logo on the right breast. Ria has only been in this establishment for moments before the man approaches.
“Hi there, I’m Blake! Welcome to Fitness Fanatics, where we work out to work you out!” Blake exuberantly bleats out, enormous smile on his face. “How can we help make a better you today?!”
Oh for the days of Nightshade… While perturbed, Ria takes the bait.
“I’m looking to up my fitness level.” Ria drily responds.
“Oh great! I’m sure we can help with that!” Blake answers with a chipper tone. “We can get you membership for $25 a month! Totally worth it, by the way. Or, if you’re really looking to go hardcore, you can get the VIP membership for $50! It comes with round the clock access to a personal trainer, a Fitbit personalized for your specific goals and all sorts of fun gym swag!”
Maybe smacking around Blake a bit would be a good enough workout? Ria exhales, a tinge of frustration evident. She hasn’t even been here for 5 minutes and this dude was stopping just short of trying to get her to buy stock in the company. A cooler head needed to prevail here.
“Look dude, I just wanna get some reps on a leg press and put some miles on an elliptical.” Ria explains, doing her best to keep her calm. It’s true she planned to do far more than that, but she’d say whatever she needs to say to get this guy out of her face.
“Okay, cool cool. It sounds like maybe the basic package would work for you.” Blake continues to pitch. “You can always upgrade to VIP whenever you want! Or, you could go with our gold package! $40 a month, a meeting with a trainer to plan a routine to meet your goals and reserved parking!”
Lockhart’s eyes slowly grow with anger after every word that leaves Blake’s mouth. He’s certainly persistent. Annoyingly persistent. Take him into the bathroom and give him a swirly because he won’t shut the fuck up and stop trying to sell shit persistent. Ria rolls her eyes and gives her head an unconvinced shake.
“I’m not sure this place is for me.” Ria says. Understatement if there ever was one. Would you be surprised to hear Blake isn’t deterred?
“I’m sure we can find something that works for you!” Blake reassures her. “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a pro wrestler.” Ria states, sounding like she hopes a meteor crashes into the gym to end this conversation.
“Well that’s just perfect! We have specialized classes for combat sports training!” Blake points out. “MMA, wrestling, lightsaber dueling, you name it, we have a training class for it!”
She was about ready to leave this bullsh– Did he say Lightsaber Dueling? Anyway, enough. Despite the diamond hard sell, Ria isn’t swayed. She adjusts the bag on her shoulder and sighs.
“Look Brick, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but I’m good.” Ria sardonically says. “This whole atmosphere bugs me. It comes off as a place that’s more concerned with the image of working out rather than the actual process. I need a place where I can really sweat, where I get pushed beyond my limits to become something more. This? This ain’t it. I don’t wanna talk about how to make a ‘better me’, I want to actually do it.”
The Rainbow Rock expects something. Outrage? Agreement? Spontaneous combustion? Blake crosses his arms on his chest and nods, his creepy plastic smile having never left his face.
“Well that’s too bad.” Blake replies, tone still upbeat. “I think you’ll find no other place compares to Fitness Fanatics! You’re more than welcome to come back after checking other places out. I think you’ll find we put our customers first!”
Ria gives Blake a half hearted nod before exiting the gym. She walks back to her car, flopping into the front seat. With PRIME starting to tour in the near future, would it even be a good idea to get a monthly gym membership? She barely liked keeping an apartment in the area. It just seemed like an unnecessary expense.
That still left the question of how to get better. Maybe she should just order some weights and a stationary bike for the apartment? It’s not ideal, but it would keep the corporate bullshit out of the equation. She wonders if maybe she just needs to check out more gyms. Maybe one a bit more low key?
She drives back to her apartment. Entering the space, she feels a bit ridiculous for having gotten dressed to work out. The only things that got a work out were her ears and patience. She plops onto the living room couch, frustratedly tossing her keys onto the dining room table.
“There has to be some kind of solution here.” Ria thinks out loud. “I have to find a balance. A place that doesn’t require a monthly membership, but where I can get a great workout too.”
She looks at her phone. The card for ReVival is public now, with Ria matched up against one Alex Steel. Great, add scouring the internet for anything about her onto the gym problem. The PRIME website would have her basic info. Actual matches, though? YouTube her and cross your fingers.
“The fuck do I keep getting matched with the new people for?” Ria grumbles. “I guess I should be grateful… Could not have a job at all.”
A true statement, but one that did little to ease her frustration. She really needed to work out. Training first, plunging into whatever videos on Alex Steel she could find later. Ria is about to put her phone in her pocket when she stops. She pulls it back up. After tapping around on it, a smile slowly forms on her face. Such an obvious solution. She felt foolish for not thinking of it sooner.
Lockhart grabs her keys and bolts out of the apartment again, less anger and more excitement this time. She gets into her car and drives. Hey demeanor is completely different. The frustration and irritation from earlier is gone, replaced with energy and enthusiasm. She didn’t know if this was a good idea, but the idea excited her. Past experience told her this is a good sign.
She arrives at her destination, stepping out of the car. She gazes at the building in front of her:The Asylum. Timo Bolamba’s gym. Ria strides forward, opening the door.
“It took you long enough.” Timo Bolamba is standing by the door leaning on the wall. “I thought you might show up eventually, but I guess with everything going on, we all have a lot on our minds.”
Ria shrugs, but flashes Timo a big smile.
“At least I’m here now.” Lockhart teases. “I’ve got some frustrations. Frustrations with myself, with the PRIME landscape, fucking candles… I looked around at a gym. Hated it. I should’ve come here sooner, for a few different reasons.”
The old Samoan nods solemnly. “It’s cool. This is new and I am not entirely sure they all understand it is for everyone in PRIME yet.” He motions for her to join him by the smoothie bar. “I’ve been around a long time and it seems like some people just want to tear you down, no matter what you try to do for them.”
He reaches beneath the counter and pulls up a clean pitcher.
“Would you like a smoothie? I have been working with the farmer’s market to help support local growers. They really have top notch produce.”
Ria raises her eyebrows. “Oh yeah? That’s awesome! Sure, I’d absolutely love one!”
Who says no to a free smoothie? Ria’s shoulders loosen as Timo starts getting supplies together. She knew it. This was the right decision all along. It made her think about her recent talk with Anna. It seems that any time she talks with friends, it helps her mood. Funny how that works. This is what she needs. She still planned to use the gym equipment, but her mind was more clear now.
Stress, negative feelings, doubt… When you have the right friends, those things seem to matter less and less.
The Samoan Silencer mixed up a specialty blend (the secret is, no surprise, pineapple) for his young friend, purposely thinking over his words. “I have to tell you something, Ria.” He clasps the top on the blender and hits the button. After the machine has come to a stop he continues. “I failed my sons. I waited too long to be there. I have always known how to take care of everyone around me except those closest to me.”
“What is the message in that?” he asks solemnly. “This business…” he gestures around at the garish mural on his gym walls, “It’s God-damn difficult. I guess that’s part of why I try to guide you. But, maybe I pushed you a bit too hard, too.”
The aging referee isn’t great at acknowledging his own limitations, but occasionally, it does happen. Timo hopes that the sentiment isn’t lost on Ria. “I just want you to know you’re always going to have a place here, but you also need to find your own way. If that is in this gym, then know it will not be easy, but you will emerge from the forge tempered in a way you never knew.”
Ria nods her head. “I get it. I might not see the whole picture, but I see the majority of it.” Ria locks eyes with Timo. The mood had shifted. She was jovial when she came in, especially since her thoughts were now clear. Another time, Timo would have probably shot that smile back and they could have just shot the shit. However, there was one thing on his mind now and Ria could feel her blood pumping already.
It was time to work.
Hm. Another newbie, huh? Not entirely sure how I feel about that. Am I being treated as a measuring stick or a stepping stone? Am I looked at as someone ready to break out or am I an also ran? Maybe I’m being put in a position to make that decision myself? Truthfully though, it doesn’t matter if that’s the intention.
It doesn’t matter because I am making that decision! I’m tired of feeling like I’m a bench player! I’m not asking for the ball anymore. I’m taking it! I work too damn hard and have been for too damn long to be shoved into the background! Measuring stick or stepping stone? Fuck both. I’m going beyond measuring stick!
That leads me to you, Alex Stone. New to PRIME, but not new to wrestling. Quick, strong, confident. I respect all that. Respect only goes so far, though. All that means is I’ll play by the rules. I’m still gonna beat the hell out of you! You might not know this, but I’m on a hair trigger right now. I’m pushing a bit harder. I’m upping my aggression. Respect won’t keep me from blasting you in the mouth with a Lockjaw.
You’re at a disadvantage. You might not know that. You might not believe that. It’s true, though. I’ve had to grind against some of the best around here in PRIME. Iron sharpens iron. You face the best, you don’t have a choice but to progress or flame out. Maybe I’ll be iron for you eventually. Right now, though? Despite your name, I’m the steel in this situation. You wanna sharpen yourself on me, I’m gonna break your ass!
You’re at a size disadvantage. Boy, do I know that struggle! You might throw me around a little. I’m not naive, I’ve read up about your strength. You wanna chuck me back and forth with suplexes? By all means, you’re welcomed to try. Try is the key word there. You’re gonna have to work for it. You’re gonna have to earn the right to suplex me!
Do you have that kind of drive and determination? Are you stubborn enough to keep working to break my defenses to that point? Are you tough enough to hang with me for the time that’s gonna take? I’m a real hard headed bitch to deal with when I set my mind to something. Bring your work boots, babe. You’re gonna have to work overtime and you ain’t even getting the extra pay for it.
I wish you luck, Alex. I do mean that. I don’t hate you, I don’t have some irrational animosity towards you. This isn’t about you. This is for me. This is MY match! I won’t be embarrassed two matches in a row! I’m sure you’re gonna do great things here. It doesn’t start now. After we’re done, you won’t be questioning where I belong in PRIME. You’ll know. I’ll see ya in the ring. Make sure you got icepacks ready backstage.