Days Like this

By: Murphy Doyle Maher

Date: 14th Jul 2021

There are bad ways to wake up. Wrong side of the bed, ‘why am I awake for this’ kinda ways. When I was in prison, every day was one of them. Cots so small you can only sleep one way comfortably, which means you can only get up one way. 10 years of going to sleep the same way, waking up the same way, and both of those absolutely ruined anything even a tiny bit beneficial by the other. You want a good night’s sleep? Sorry. The depression train called forth by how you know you’re gonna wake up isn’t early, it’s right on time.

Put your feet in the same place, stand up in the same way. Piss it the same silver seatless bowl the same fucking way as the time before this and the time before that. Those were rough days for sure. There are good ways to wake up. Middle of the road, not the worst, not the best, but pretty good ways. You, in your own studio apartment. In a bed that’s not the tempur-pedic mattress with the advanced pressure relieving power from their Adapt collection, but it wasn’t a cot that was mostly springs covered by a tissue. It was a full size bed, with sheets that weren’t made of plastic that had the distinction of not being shared by hundreds of other men. These were your sheets. And if you take that for granted, that’s on you. But there are days, great days, where you wake up next to the woman you love, the woman you’ve loved since you were basically a kid. To the smell of the auto brewed coffee. To the sun coming through the windows and gently warming your faces. You both take turns in the bathroom but you both go in at the same time. Brush your teeth. Wipe your ass. Switch. All the while you’re talking to the literal best friend you ever had. You go into the kitchen and take out the strawberries and melon, and you discuss the day. It wasn’t always like that. Once upon a time the only chance you got to be near them was to go out after a show. She wasn’t a performer but she was adjacent to the business. The little sister of the biggest fuck the business ever saw. She was as cute as a button back then. Everyone thought so. And she knew it. And she would use it like a weapon. She’d go to the dive bars with the lower guys and dance by the jukebox and watch as the temptation of her washed over these ring rugrats like a bucket of paint dropped from a rafter. Murphy would sit, and talk to Gallo, his tag team partner, all the while wishing he had the balls to even try. But that was then, and now, he didn’t have to try. They were together. And every night they’d lay down and fall asleep next to each other. Sometimes. She worked a lot, but she always worked. Work was like oxygen to her. Which is why today was not a great day. Today he woke up and she was gone. Like usual. Her side of the bed was made so well you could bounce a quarter off it, like usual. He’d get up, take a shower, and eat his breakfast, mostly fruit, while looking down on the city that never sleeps as he sips his coffee and finally wakes up. She’d call him around lunch and they’d make plans for dinner. One of them would cook, or they’d go out. Like usual. But today was not the usual at all. In fact, it was as the kids say “weird aye eff.” First off, the shower wasn’t as hot as usual. He assumed it was because she took an extra long shower. She did that from time to time. He often asked if she masturbated there and she said no, she’d fall over. He’d always ask if she wanted him to be in there so she could, and she’d say “if you’re there why am I masturbating?” And he’d say “because your hands are dry” or “sometimes you gotta tune up before you have a big race” or something equal to get her to laugh. He loved making her laugh. It was what he was best at. Secondly, the shower wasn’t as hot as usual. Yes, that was so important he said it twice. But also, the fruit wasn’t as sweet. And the coffee is not as hot. The city wasn’t the view that he recalled from the day before. It was not teeming with life, it was infested with assholes. The buildings weren’t tributes to architectural genius; they were giant stone cocks jutting out from the mud like shards of glass, cutting into his view.

And then he got a text from her that said he should make dinner plans, as she had to work.
Today was not the usual. At least not anymore. Murphy was known for his humor, for being a genuinely nice guy who liked to tell a joke, drink a beer, and have a laugh. But today the water was cold and the coffee was weak, and the fruit was sour and the city was a disgusting mess of bricks and assholes.

Murphy found himself in the kitchen, staring in the fridge for something that was going to bring him out of his mood. But nothing edible was going to do that. At least, not in a fridge. Murphy closed the fridge and moved to the pantry. After a minute at the pantry, he moved back to the fridge to find that in the 3.4 minutes since he was last there, and which comes as no surprise at all, nothing had changed. And something needed to. Boredom of this kind would only lead to day drinking and trouble, neither of which he could really afford. Things were looking up. Sure he was now obligated to be on the East coast, at least once a week anyway. And while he missed Minnesota, he also knew that his career had enough time off. It was nice lounging about, pretending to be retired. But like The Sopranos always said, ‘just when I thought I was out.’ Getting drunk in his apartment was bad enough to make him prank call someone, or worse, expose someones secrets. God did Murphy love that. It was a fucked up move and looked down on in this business, but fuck did it make him giggle. In previous places, promotions we call them, it had not gone over well. But fuck it, he had so who cares? But this place. This promotion. Was different. This was ran correctly. The talent was not seen as an obligation or worse. They were seen as…Well to be quite honest, they were seen as humans. People who could benefit the company as a whole. Something most owners never could understand. But Xavier was different. He knew what it took to be successful in the business. And loyalty among all others was paramount. Also he was not a big fan of people who sleep with his sister so starting trouble at this point was probably a bad idea. So Murphy got dressed in his denim jeans and flannel t-shirt, and put his hair into a lovely Chignon Sarah had showed him, and hit the streets of New York. He went around the tower, and toward central park. He ended up on 56th street, after following several very friendly dogs while trying to catch up to pet them. He then looked into the park, and saw how quiet it was. How peaceful. And then he saw bar was nearby because he searched for bars nearby and ended up running toward it. That was a week ago, and since then he’s spent every day in that bar. But to be honest Tanner Smiths wasn’t just a bar, tho. It was a speakeasy. Which is way fancier than a bar, we all agree. Murphy was excited to see what kind of cocktails they specialized in, As he was a man who enjoyed a good cocktail now and again. And again. The bartender Danny was on the precipice to douchebaggery, but was distant enough from the line for Murphy to let it go. As soon as he sat down, a napkin was slid in front of him, and Dani, a very petite blonde who looked apprehensive about Our Man, but was there at his beck and call despite.

Dani The Bartender
Hey Handsome. What can I get ya?

Murphy Doyle Maher
What d’ya got that’s good?

Dani The Bartender
…you don’t know by now? Got the old timers?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Sometimes.

Dani The Bartender
We’ve got Pabst.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Line ‘em up.

Dani The Bartender
Never met an Irishman who didn’t love Pabst.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Well…

Dani The Bartender
I know, it’s imported to Ireland. You keep telling me. So,what’s the feeling of the day?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Boredom. See, they never tell you about days like this. Where nothing is going wrong, there’s no drama, there’s nothing to worry about, or be obsessively concerned over. They don’t tell you that these days, where you just exist, they’re the worst. Because they start, and they don’t stop, and they blend. You know the day something terrible happens. You know the day something amazing occurs. But the days where nothing happens, almost at all. Well. Days like this tend to be more and more, don’t they..

Dani The Bartender
Well your tabs on the boss. So that’s gotta change things up. We made more money on Friday than we made all month. You guys could pee on him and he’d be happy about.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Oh well I’m also related to the owner if that helps. So I could get him to pee on him too, if it means free.

Dani The Bartender
You’re already getting a free one, don’t push it.

Murphy Doyle Maher
A man can try.

Dani The Bartender
You guys aren’t moving on anytime soon, right?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Nah. We’re permanent, centralized.

Dani The Bartender
Wow, that must be a nice change of pace.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Quite the opposite, actually.

Dani The Bartender
You like to travel? Fuck that noise.

Murphy Doyle Maher
You have to understand. Wrestlers for the most part are tortured people. You don’t get into this business because you’re right in the mental. You get in it because you need a way to legally put your feelings on another. And part of that is not having to do so in the same place twice. We keep moving because for some of us, if we stop and look, we might see something we don’ wanna.

Dani The Bartender
Is that why your bored? Because you’re not traveling?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Among other reasons,yes. We as a profession aren’t used to sitting still. There’s flights teh catch, things to fill the time between shows. This whole sitting still. It’s not for me..My mind isnt a nice place ya see. Best I stayed out of it, much as possible.

Dani The Bartender
ok well I’m gonna go talk to Lou. See if I can pull him off that book he’s writing, make you some of them pretzels to start.

Murphy Doyle Maher
That’s a Lass. Whatever else he feels like making, you tell him to make one for me…

Dani The Bartender
And one for ya girl. How come she never comes in here? She shy or something?

Murphy Doyle Maher
She works a lot. So she eats when she gets home.

Dani The Bartender
You’re a good one, Murphy Doyle.

Murphy Doyle Maher
I’m just fearful of a hungry woman.

Dani The Bartender
Smartest thing you said yet. Besides the bit about the sausage thing.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Premio makes a tasty sausage. Why add heat to ‘at? Their regular old italian sweet sausage is the bar at which all other sausages is held up teh. They’re the watermark of sausage. And the hot version is jus’ like pouring siracha over filet mignon.

Dani The Bartender
You have a lot of opinions about food. Let me go put your order on. Bee Arr Bee.

Dani disappears behind the kitchen door, and Murphy reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small business card. It is crumbled at the corners and a bit twisted from being in his pocket, but looks almost new. He holds it between his fingers and looks at it long, and hard. Almost looking through it, or trying to burn it with heat vision he doesn’t have. He stares at it so intently that it’s a good second before he notices that Dani has returned. Clearing her voice not once but twice to get his attention, she holds up a marlboro light, and raises her eyebrows.

Dani The Bartender
You mind?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Me Pulmones, Es su Pulmones.

Dani The Bartender
Gracias.” Danis eyes squint as the heat from the lighter makes its way up to her eyeballs, cigarette smoke as well. Depressing the lighter, she drops it down on the bar and looks up to see that card in Murphy’s hand. She exhales a gray puff, bits coming out more and more as she asks…”Whats that?

Murphy Doyle Maher
This? Oh, it’s me reward. Well, it’s a reward, I suppose. Don’t know if it’s for me or not.

Dani The Bartender
Rewards are dope, dude. What for?

Murphy Doyle Maher
For joining fight. Friend of a friend owns it. He gave everybody something or another to say thanks. This is what he gave me.

Dani The Bartender
Seems pretty cheap if you ask me. What did other people get?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Not a clue. I can imagine. I’d say Dane probably got some sort of fancy wrench or another. Dickie Watson prolly got himself some clips to keep it’s hair out of the eyes. And my opponent for this week, prolly just got a six pack of these wine coolers he likes. Simple enough fella, it seems. Smart as a whip, too. Well, Let me be honest. He’s a lunatic, but he’s my kinda one. Drives around with a goat in an RV. And if that ain’t the life, I don’t know what is. He’s been riding the tails of this one other fella tho. Paul Montyouri. Him and his brother started up some new thang or something. Dyn-nasty. Die-Nasty. Nasty is the only part that makes sense since most of them are it. But anyway. Tk seems like a good enough guy, but he’s on Joe Mont’s side and Joe Mont is against me boy Dane, and so that means, I hate TK, and he’s gotta hate me, too. Despite the fact that I think he and I would get on famously. Seems like my type of crazy, you know?

Dani The Bartender
…What wine cooler?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Jaysus I says all that and this is what you comes away with? Zuma or something or another.

Dani The Bartender
Zima?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Ok sure. Listen, I like the fella, I do. But any guy going around at this age drinking shite some high school kids sneak outta their little sisters birthday party, isn’t gonna register very high on me list of people to be concerned off. Perhaps for, but not of.

Dani The Bartender
You never had a zima?

Murphy Doyle Maher
Dani, stop heading it, and realize I didn’t even know it’s name a second ago.

Dani clenches the cigarette between her teeth, reaches under the bar, and pulls out an ice cold bottle of Zima. She pops the top and slides it in front of Murphy. He looks as if he was just told to smell his own colon, and recoils away from the very sight of it.

Dani The Bartender
Just try it. Hey, Know thy enemy.

Murphy Doyle Maher
I’ll do no such fucking thing. That there might as well be a crystal pepsi that went bad on ‘em and they slapped on a new little label for the shelf. It even looks old as shit. All foggy like a nelson.

Dani The Bartender
Try it and your meal is on me.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Fuck, fair ‘nough. Fair ‘nough.

Murphy picks up the bottle and takes a swig. He places it back down on the bar, and begins to swish the liquid about in his mouth, letting it land on all of his taste buds. Finally swallowing, he looks at Dani who is exhaling smoke through the side of her face, to avoid it getting in Murphy’s. She smiles, and leans back against the shelf behind her.

Dani The Bartender
Well..

Murphy Doyle Maher
That was fucking delightful.

Dani The Bartender
See. Zima got a bad name.

Murphy Doyle Maher
You like it?

Dani The Bartender
Fuck no, I got pride, I’d never drink that shit.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Funny.

Dani The Bartender
So, what’s your reward?

Murphy Doyle Maher
..I do not know. I’ve not called the number yet. Something tells me I might not wanna know.

Dani The Bartender
That’s not cool. What if it’s something they went through a lot of trouble to put together. Where’s your gratitude?

Murphy Doyle Maher
I got plenty of gratitude, I’ll have you know. Truth be told, Murphy was grateful for many things. For Dane Preston having had his back from the moment he met him. He didn’t have to, he could have turned his back and been done with him. But there was a bond there. It wasn’t easy to form, seeing as they are both hard headed and impossible people to deal with.

He was grateful that his kid still wanted to get to know him, despite being raised by a better man, and by a lot, and never even knowing him. He didn’t see her a lot due to school, but they texted all the time, and he was grateful every time the little alert went off. He was even grateful for Thomas Kain. Because as much as Murphy may be a used to be, Tommy was a Still Is. And fighting him, win or lose, was going to raise him up to a level he’d not been in a long time. Blood Money was one thing, but this was something else entirely. And he was grateful for the chance to prove himself against someone established. But Murphy didn’t like surprises. Especially ones with good intentions. And this entire business these days seemed to be hinged on surprises. While it may seem he is only facing TK, chances are he was also facing all of his friends. Which at this point, and the foreseeable future, was a greater number than that of Murphy’s.

Dani The Bartender
I say call it. Be grateful for it, and check it out.

Murphy Doyle Maher
When I was a kid, Me dah got me a six speed bike. I loved it. Navy blue, fast as shit. It was a hit of the neighborhood. One day I was riding down this hill nearby, used to call it vegetable hill, because if you weren’t careful you’d end up one. I went all the way to the top. And I peddled me ass off toward the drop, and when i went over, the fucking pedals flew off. Shoddy craftsmanship on Dah’s part, god being a jerk off, who’s to tell. But the brakes didn’t work either. But as I was going down the hill, I put my foot down and tried to slow me down that way. And it started to slow down. And I was so grateful it was working. Until a fooking truck ‘f sheeps pulled out and creamed me, sending me fucking flying into the next county. Had I not done the foot brake, I’d have cruised right past. But because I did something that I was grateful for, I got meself fucked up worse than ever. Moral is, what makes you grateful might not be the best thing for ya. Some things you hate and they wind up…just being right.

Dani The Bartender
..you’re full of shit.

Murphy Doyle Maher
I am but you see my point.

Dani The Bartender
Look, I gotta get. Enjoy your dinner, Don’t give Fred a hard time, and bring that girl of yours sometime. I’d love to meet her. See if she’s real.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Will do.

Dani The Bartender
See ya tomorrow, Murph.

Murphy Doyle Maher
Aye.

Dani grabbed her stuff from under the bar, and hightailed it out the back door, as Fred came out from the kitchen. A plate full of Pastrami Reuben Tacos with seasoned fries in front of Murphy, and putting a to-go box wrapped in butcher paper and tied with twine next to him. Murphy nodded, and took a bite, the sauce drenching his mustache as well as the sides of his mouth, but he didn’t care. He looked down at his phone, Texted Sarah, and went about eating. His mind, a mess of situations he could not predict, he chewed slowly and thought fast. He wondered how things with TK would go. All that happened the week before, Murphy had rust. He’d been inactive for a long time. TK was on a high. Having held his own with guys like Paul Montouri. Who yeah, back in the day hadn’t meant much. But these days, He was as big as they got. Was almost the first FIGHT champion. Murphy wanted to bet that he’d be the second. Now if only anyone would take that bet. 20 minutes gone and Murphy slid the clean plate away from himself. He downed the rest of his beer, and the rest of the zima, and dropped some cash onto the bar. He didn’t feel the need to say good night, so he didn’t. He didn’t feel the need to walk around the city, taking in the sights on a lovely night, so he didn’t. He had to go work out anyway. TK might not be the biggest and the baddest but as of right now he was both of those more than Murphy. All that he had done to probe who he was in that other place had done nothing to cement his place in this company. In fact, if he built anything of a career. It was made of sand. And while sand may be annoying, and get everywhere. It’s nothing compared to getting the chance to beat a guy like TK, and mucking it up to start. That was more annoying than anyone. Even that british girl Vin hung around with. Stopping outside the building, Murphy looked up at the sheer height of the thing, and took a deep breath. If Dane was here he’d get a laugh out of it. Murphy Doyle Maher fears nothing. Nothing but heights. And maybe one other thing. Dane had taken to a slogan of sorts when it came to dealing with Murphy and high places. He’d shake his head and say ‘you and heights.’ As if they were associated with one another and by all means they were not. Exiting the elevator, Murphy placed the card from his pocket on the fridge, and put a napkin over it. He then opened the door, took out a beer, and put the butcher wrapped left overs into the fridge, along with about 13 others. Taking his beer to the couch, he leaped over the back, grabbed the remote, and tuned to ESPN. He’d finish that beer, and then a few more, and go to sleep. Hopeful that tomorrow he’d wake up to one of the good ones.