A Roller Coaster

By: Ricky Rodriguez

Date: 3rd Sep 2021

The last thing I remembered was being spiked on my head. By the time I was able to get my head back about me, it was too late. Enforcer couldn’t hold on any longer and Mason was announced the winner and new Brooklyn Champion. The second I heard that announced, that wave of disappointment crashed down onto me, sweeping me out into the new reality. And in that reality, I had failed. I failed to do what I said I was going to do. I let myself down. I let down everyone that was backing me along the way. I was devastated.

 

It was more than just losing the match. This was my first big shot and I dropped the ball. Joe. Paul. Bobby. Toddy and Austin. I let them all down. The thoughts were already drowning out the noise of the audience. I had to get out of there. After rolling out of the ring, I made my way straight backstage. Didn’t acknowledge any fans. Didn’t stop once. Nothing. I went right to the back, grabbed my bag, and went back to my spot. As soon as that door shut, I was free to react as I felt I should.

 

I threw that bag across the room with no regard. Didn’t care if something broke or not, I just had to do something. When throwing that bag proved to be not enough at all, I yelled out at the tops of my lungs. Surprisingly enough, it helped. That disappointment turned into anger and I got pissed. Pissed at myself for losing. Pissed at Enforcer for not being able to hold on for just a little while longer. Pissed that I wasn’t even involved in the final decision. 

 

Looking at that couch, I wanted nothing more than to just go up to it and flip it over in a fit of rage. I barely got close to the couch and my fucking phone started ringing. Man, that’s frustrating. All I wanted to do was trash my spot to try and make myself feel better but nooo. Someone just had to want to talk. Looking around that living area, I saw where my bag went after I threw it and walked up to that bag. Unzipping it, I dug around inside of it until I felt that phone. Once I saw the screen display who was calling, my heart fell into my stomach.

 

Alessa.

 

Should I answer it? We didn’t really end things on good terms so just what could she have to say? I let it ring a couple more times and just before it would have been sent to voicemail, I answered it. She didn’t even give me the chance to say hey before I heard that damn voice speaking on the other end. Even now, after everything that happened, her voice still brought me a strange comfort. However, that comfort only lasted for just a few words before I realized just what she was saying.

 

‘I saw your match. It shouldn’t have ended like that. How was that fair to you, at all? I saw how much you gave out there, Ricky. You and I both know you deserved so much better than that. All that work and effort you put into getting ready? And it ended like that? It wasn’t fair. It’s not something that would have happened in our life.’

 

Even as she talked, I couldn’t say a word. Instead, each word she spoke had me feeling uneasy in a way I couldn’t describe even if I wanted to. It only got worse when she said ‘our life.’ At that point, I still couldn’t utter a single word. Near hundreds ran through my head but my mouth was dry and it felt like I just couldn’t get a word out.

 

‘All you have to do is say the word. Just say that one single word and we will happily accept you with open arms. It’s so much better here, Ricky. That never would have happened here. You would be a champion, right now, if you just would have come with me. But the offer is still there. Just take me up on it before you have to rather than you want to.’

 

The line went dead after that. I pulled the phone away from my ear and just stared down at it. All of those feelings I couldn’t feel while I talked to her, they all came boiling up to the surface quicker than I could realize or react to. Yelling out, I threw that phone with all of my might, watching as it connected with the wall and shattered. Pieces of the damn flew everywhere and honestly, it felt nice.

 

I laughed a bit, shaking my head until a knock at my door caught me totally off guard. Walking up to that door, I opened it up and on the other side stood a near giant of a man. His skin was an almost grayish tone and his cheeks were pretty sunk in. Dude had to be old but he rocked that suit pretty nicely tho, it was a good look. He pushed a white box towards me and I took it, not even thinking twice about it. Looking down at it, I went to ask a question but damn if he didn’t cut me off.

 

‘Please don’t do that again, Ms. F requires all of you to be reachable at all times.’

 

How the hell did they know? Even more confusing was how in the hell he got there so fast. Questions filled my head as I looked up from that box only to see that he was gone. I poked my head out from inside the apartment to look back and forth along that hallway. It was like he vanished without a trace. Backing up into the room, I pulled that door closed and locked it, sighing out.

 

‘This fucking place. I swear to God.’

 

Shaking my head, I decided to let it go and walk over to that couch. Sitting down on it, I moved to lay back and try to get comfortable, that match weighing heavy on me, body and mind.

____________________________________

 

There wasn’t any time to dwell on losses, especially when another opportunity is right around the corner. After being talked up, while he was still feeling down, by Austin Ramsey and Jordan Parker, Ricky took the two up on their offer to join that workout. It was everything Ricky needed to get his head off of that loss and focused back on the one on one rematch he has coming up against Mason, another shot at the Brooklyn Championship. Suffice to say, Ricky wanted to go into this in the best form possible.

 

The workout was finished and Ricky took his first step outside in a while, his eyes closing as the warmth of the sun enveloped him. There was little to no time to enjoy it, however, as the sound of a vehicle horn blared loudly. Almost instantly, Ricky turned his head to find the source of who was blowing that horn. Within a moment or two, he caught sight of Big Ass Bobby in his big ass Truck. 

 

Laughing out a bit as it was Bobby who hit the horn. Bobby waved Ricky over and watched on as he jogged over to the truck. Opening up that door, Ricky climbed up into that truck, closing the door behind him. It was clear Ricky was shocked to see Bobby there. Pulling out of that parking lot, Bobby began to drive off towards an unknown, to Ricky, destination.

 

Bobby: ‘Hope you’re not too beat up after your workout. I saw what went wrong in that match and figured out how we can get you ready so you won’t get caught up like that again. It’ll just be you and him out there. You’re not going to be able to wait until one of them takes out the other. You have to change things up. Work a new game against him and he’ll never see it coming.’

 

After listening intently to what Bobby had to say, Ricky nodded in agreement. As they drove, Ricky leaned himself to the side, letting his head rest against the glass window next to him. Getting what little rest he could while Bobby drove, Ricky closed his eyes, almost instantly feeling himself relaxing. It was nice while it lasted, however short that was, but still made a big difference as they pulled in front of that modestly sized townhome. 

 

The pair left that truck and made their way inside after making sure it was locked. Once they stepped foot inside that building, Ricky was automatically drawn to that professionally sized wrestling off to the side. Bobby walked past Ricky and made a b line towards the large structure. Dressed to spar, Bobby wore a loose fitting white t-shirt that he pulled off and tossed to the side and a pair of black gym shorts secured to his waist tightly.

 

Ricky slid in next before popping up to his feet. He kept his eyes locked onto Bobby as the two began to circle one another, inching closer and closer to the middle of the ring. Having just left that other workout, Ricky was good to go as well, dressed in orange gym shorts and the tanktop he took off before getting into that ring. The two never look away from the other as they continued to circle.

 

Ricky: ‘So, what’s your big plan?’

 

Bobby: ‘It’s the size. You went into it, counting too much on Mason and Enforcer kicking the fuck out of each other. That’s not an option for this match so you’re going to need to work around that. Mason’s a big guy. He’s got you by six inches in height and around fifty pounds in weight. That doesn’t sound like a whole lot but you’d be surprised how much of a difference that makes.’

 

Judging from the look on Ricky’s face, Bobby’s explanation made a lot of sense to him. He began to put two and two together. Mason and Bobby were around the same height and weight. Bobby knew his way around a wrestling ring. A seriousness grew across the face of Ricky as he locked eyes with Bobby, who put on a grin and nodded his head.

 

Bobby: ‘You’re going to use the speed advantage you have over me, the advantage you have over Mason. If you push it, he won’t be able to get his hands on you, much less spike you on your head again. Now, let’s begin. It’s simple, I’m going to try and slam you and you are going to avoid it. Try to avoid it, rather.’

 

There was just the slightest hint of a challenge laid out after Bobby spoke those last few words. And as soon as he did, Bobby dove in on Ricky. Wrapping those big arms around the legs of Ricky, he hoisted the smaller man up and off of his feet before twisting and slamming Ricky down, making sure to use his size for the added impact.

 

Ricky arched up after being driven down, completely caught off guard by Bobby’s quickness. The larger man was quick to get back to his feet and took a few steps back, that smugness showing on his features. Nodding his head, Ricky pushed up to a seated position before rolling back to his feet. Brushing himself off a bit, he motioned for Bobby to come back at him.

 

And Bobby did just that. He rushed Ricky again and just as before, Bobby went low, aiming to grab at Ricky’s legs again. The more agile wrestler was ready and jumped up to avoid it. However, it was all part of Bobby’s plan. When Ricky came back down, Bobby caught him midair and drilled him back down onto that canvas with another slam. The impact of this one knocked the air from Ricky’s lungs, causing him to roll over onto his side, struggling to regain his breath.

 

Bobby: ‘He’s not going to go half assed on you and neither am I, Ricky. Get up.’

 

An audible groan rolled free from Ricky as he began to push himself up to a kneeling position. Bobby bounced back and forth from foot to foot as he waited for Ricky to get back up. The moment Bobby saw him get back to his feet, he dove in on Ricky. At the last second, the smaller man rolled to the side, avoiding Bobby entirely. The two got back to their feet and locked eyes for just a moment before Ricky awaited Bobby’s next move.

 

When Bobby rushed Ricky, he took the same approach, rolling across the canvas, passing Bobby up and causing him to stumble a bit. This continued for a while and after those first two slams, Ricky knew just how serious of an issue it was to avoid the grasps of Bobby. He did everything in his ability to keep away but after doing the same one a time or two, Bobby changed up his approach as well. This forced Ricky to not ‘go to the well’ and better his ability to think on the fly. 

 

Well over an hour had passed and both men leaned into separate corners, worn down and beaten up by the session. Bobby glanced across the ring at Ricky, droplets of sweat falling freely from his body. He couldn’t help but to feel proud of him at the ability he showed and just how quick he was able to adapt. With his back against those turnbuckles, Bobby slid down into a seated position, still looking across at Ricky. 

 

Bobby: ‘I could spout off at least fifty sayings about second chances but I’m living proof. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to completely turn everything around for you. Hell, look at me. I wouldn’t be here right now if your dad didn’t give me a second chance. I was just a kid who made the most stupid ass decisions. Your parents saw something in me that nobody else did.’

 

Those eyes of his never looking away from Bobby, Ricky had his full, undivided attention on Bobby. It was a story he had heard before, but Ricky hoped for more detail than before, at the very least. All the times he told that story, Bobby never revealed just what choices he made or even what Ricky’s parents had done for him. Despite that, whenever he told it, Ricky always hung on every word, hoping to learn more.

 

Bobby: ‘The second chance they gave me is something I’ve worked to repay for so long now. Even now, looking over your punk ass, making sure you don’t get yourself killed. That is how I’m repaying them. And now here you are. You’ve got a second chance, just as big as the one I had, staring you right in the face. You seem like you’re ready to make the most of it.’

 

Giving off a slow nod, Ricky was disappointed at the lack of new information but the story always helped to motivate him. And now that it could be applied to himself? Now that he’s in that situation? It meant all the more to him. Ricky rolled to a kneel and then pushed right up to a standing position as he started to stretch out his arms a bit.

 

Ricky: ‘I am. More than ready.’

 

Between the way Ricky moved and those words he spoke, Bobby couldn’t help but to laugh out loud. Reaching up and grabbing hold of that top set of ropes, Bobby used them to pull himself up to a full upright position rather quickly. Without another word shared between the two of them, they both bolted at one another, their training session starting anew.

____________________________________

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘This has been..a week, to say the least.’

 

That voice coming through first would be followed up by the reveal of Ricky Rodriguez. He sat upon the apron of the very ring he and Bobby were training in a few days earlier. Over the past days, Ricky had been spending a lot of time here, putting forth as much effort as humanly possible as he headed closer and closer to his second shot at the FIGHT NYC Brooklyn Championship.

 

Plus, with everything else that had happened, Ricky really didn’t want to partake in his usual party scene with the usual list of suspects. Even despite that, Ricky looked tired, both physically and mentally both. His torso was partially covered with the thin material of a white tank top while his lower half wore a pair of solid black gym shorts. Leaning back against those ropes, he pressed his hands into the apron on both sides of himself as he spoke up.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I talked all that shit, made all of those claims and when it came down to it? I lost at Toxic Tag. Sure, I didn’t get pinned. Didn’t tap out or get choked out. I didn’t take the fall. But I didn’t leave with the Brooklyn Championship. That’s where the first problem was. Losses suck, everyone knows that. But when there’s a championship on the line? It becomes a whole new level of disappointment. A whole new level of beating yourself up.

 

I let myself down. But worse than that, I let people down who were backing me up, people who were hyping me up. Joe and Paul. Toderick and Austin. Big Ass Bobby even. I appreciate all the good things you all said about me and I’m sorry I couldn’t hold up to the praise you gave. I told myself if I ever had the chance to do good by it, I would. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do by taking what I should have taken at Toxic Tag: The Brooklyn Championship.’

 

Bringing up one of his hands, Ricky ran it across the top of his head, brushing the free strands of hair back towards the back of his head. Using that same hand, he rubbed it down across those tired features. A half assed laugh escaped from Ricky as he shook his head. Parting his lips, he looked as if he was going to speak only to stop himself before even a sound could escape. 

 

Closing his eyes, Ricky laid his head back against those ropes. It was clear that everything was just piling up and it was taking a toll on Ricky. Totally not something he was going to mention but it was there to see. Bringing his head back forward, he shook his head before finally getting those words out.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘And then there’s the whole thing with Sahara. I don’t even know what happened, really. One minute we’re just hookin up then the next she’s gettin pissed cause I hooked up with Ani and I didn’t even know why. I mean, I don’t know. Then fuckin Dane came through when we were out, started spoutin off his bullshit, claiming her as property. And yeah, it pissed me off when she was cool with it. I can’t hook up with Ani but she can get claimed by Dane? My number of relationships is one I can count on one hand but goddamn even I know that shit ain’t addin up.

 

So, I said fuck it and left that night. Came back here and I just..pushed till I crashed. Wasn’t but a few hours till the news dropped. Her and Allison Riggs got snatched up. Felt like I got punched in the stomach..with a brick. I guess they’re not in the worst danger? Even though Damon’s stupid ass didn’t bother to check a goddamn weather report. But it’s not all his fault. If I never would’ve left then things might have been different, that’s on me. So suffice to say, I’m in a pretty fucked up headspace.’

 

Once more, Ricky shook his head. Taking in a deep breath, he sighed out clearly trying to regain his composure. Those hands returned to his face as he vigorously rubbed them against it, giving off a firm nod afterwards. 

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘But, even with all of that? My head needs to be in the right place when that bell rings and it’s going to be. Physically? I’m a hundred percent primed and ready to go. I’ve gone over that match time and time again. I saw my mistakes. I know what I did wrong. But at the same time, I saw your mistakes. I know where you lacked in that match and I’m more than ready to capitalize on each and every bit of it.

 

This time? It’s just me and you, Mason. No buffer in between us. Just Ricky Rodriguez and Mason Alexander Vanderbilt for that Brooklyn Championship..for your Brooklyn Championship. Say whatever you want, Mason, but I’m not the one that took the fall. There’s that bit of uncertainty just lingering there and until this match has concluded, we don’t know. But when that bell rings and all is said and done? There will be no questioning who should be the Brooklyn Champion.’

 

With every word that Ricky spoke you could hear the resolve in his voice growing. The clearly ragged feeling radiating off of the young man lessened, replaced by a growing intensity. Shoving off of that apron, his bare feet hit the outside mats with a thud.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘This is where I’ve been. Working on something that I know will help me put you down, Mason. See, I talked all that shit about second chances with you and here I stand, little to no time before my own second chance. The world saw what you were able to do with a second chance. And now? They’re going to see what I can do with mine. 

 

Now, I’m sure you’re coming into this with one hell of a load of confidence and you got every reason to do just that, don’t get me wrong. But this is a whole new match. An entirely new approach. I want you to treat this match just like you did the last and see exactly how well that goes for you. When that bell rings and you stare across the ring at me, you’re going to find out just how right I am with this.’

 

His lips tightened into a near scowl, the intensity dripping from every word Ricky spoke.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘You’re going to see exactly why the Montuoris chose me to join them in Dynasty. They see something in me and after our match? Everyone else is going to see it. After I use what I’ve learned to take that title from you? After I stand above you and you see what should have happened at Toxic Tag? You’ll know too.’

 

Having said what he wanted to say, Ricky turned his back before moving to roll himself back into the ring beneath the bottom set of ropes. And with that, the feed was cut out. But it wouldn’t last long before picking up at an entirely different location. Thanks to the video recording of a cell phone, it was revealed that Ricky Rodriguez stood on a balcony with a beautiful cityscape view behind him.

 

As compared to the last showing, Ricky was all smiles, in an elated mood even. It was unknown who was recording him but from the music and voices heard from the other side, there was a party in full swing. There was a night and day difference in Ricky as he held a half full bottle of beer in one hand and a lit joint in the other. Laughing out, Ricky took a long hit before exhaling it.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘In case you were wondering, Mason, my head is exactly where it needs to be now. Everything’s all lined up just how it should be. In no time, that bell will be ringing and it’ll be time for us to go at it. You, looking to shut up any doubters still lingering after Toxic Tag. Me, looking to do what I should have done in that match. This is going to be something great, Mason. And it’s all going to be for your Brooklyn Championship..or should I say Sienna’s championship?

 

I mean, that’s the big thing, isn’t it? She’s the reason you won. That is what’s being said, ain’t it? That’s a pretty bad take, let’s be honest there. I mean, I didn’t know it was her out there, throwin hands like that. Hell, maybe it’s her I should be fightin for that title then. And to think, even with your big announcement, what difference did it really make? I mean, after something like that, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than one of your little public statements to make people forget about it. Pretty shitty place to be in, if I do say so myself.

 

So now, there’s a whole nother level to it, Mason. You won it cause of her..are you gonna defend it cause of her? Will that wind up being your thing? The one thing that drags you down when you have literally everything else pushing you upwards? But hey, it’s not all bad. You hafta find the silver linings to these kinda things. You won it cause of her. You’re defending it cause of her. When I kick that ass and take the win at Venom, at least you can say you lost cause of her.’

 

Shooting a wink, Ricky brought that bottle up to his lips, drinking down the last of its contents. Setting the bottle off to the side, Ricky began dancing in tune with the music. That ear to ear grin dominated his features as he went on with what he was saying.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘This life is a fuckin roller coaster, Mason. Up and down and zipping back and forth. Just when you’re finally used to it going one way, everything just fuckin rips to the side. If you’re not ready for that, it’s gonna whip you around, prolly give you whiplash and shit. You hafta be ready. See, me? I’m ready. Shit, things don’t ever stay calm in my life. But I’m learning, I’m adapting. I’m learning from every high. I’m adapting to every low. 

 

Like I told you before, I know where I went wrong last time. I’m gonna have a whole new game plan lined up and it’s something you ain’t ready for Mason. Question is are you gonna be able to learn and adapt? Are you gonna be able to work past things changing every time you turn your head? If not, you have got no chance out there.’

 

Turning around, Ricky backed into the railing surrounding that balcony. Trusting it enough to lean into it, he brought that joint back up to take another hit off of it. Flicking his thumb against the butt of it, he watched as the ash fell to his black shoe covered feet.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘This is it, Mason. All the work I’ve been putting in this week. All the adjustments. All these improvements. It’s time to put it to the test. This isn’t going to end the same way, Mason. Nah, not at all. I’m putting it all out there. I’m going to leave it all out there. All except the Brooklyn Championship. That bad bitch is gonna go right where it shoulda went last week: Draped across my shoulder.

 

Now? I’m gonna go back in and enjoy the rest of my night, I hope you can do the same, Mason. I want you to be ready to bring it all. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that you will. I gotta lot to catch up on tho so I’ll see you at Venom, Mason.’

 

Ricky let that smirk of his shine bright. Taking the last hit off of that, he put it out in an ashtray. Pushing off of that railing, the scene slowly faded to black with Ricky making his way back inside.