Diary Entry #3 – When One Door Closes, I Kick In Another
By: Paul Montuori
Date: 30th Jun 2021
What a night. What a last show. OPW went out with a bang. Helluva card. Mainly thanks to the Montuori Brothers. We were the best part of the show. Even with all the shenanigans involved with people trying to interfere in our matches, we still came out on top. I successfully defended my OPW Southern Championship, thee last time that title will be defended. Paul Montuori will forever be etched into that titles not so glorious history, thanks a lot Vhodka. She defended that thing less than Strat.. And my brother Joe gave Dane Preston a beating within an inch of his life. Completely embarrassing him in front of the world and his soon to be ex-wife Allison Preston-Montuori..
Tommy Kain, Miss Michelle, Joe Mont and myself walk back down the aisle, watching fY whatever acting like they accomplished something tonight in the ring. Fuckers. Let them have their little fleeting moment. Theyíll come smashing down to reality sooner rather than later.. We back through the curtain and weíre quickly ushered over to the press area. The room is filled with reporters and camera men. The four of us sit down at a table with microphones in front of us.
“My question is for Paul, what was up with the officiating tonight? You completely screwed Dane Preston,” asks some dumb reporter.
“How dare you question my officiating? I called that match right down the middle. Iíd even say I favored Dane a bit. No way I wanted to show even a hint of favoritism towards my brother Joe. I didnít want to give Dane any excuse. And as expected, Dane sensed he was going to lose so he purposely blew the match for himself by having his cronies show up and put their hands on me, an official. You know they saw the stripes. But Dane knew the end was near, he was going to lose everything. His self-respect, his wife Allie, his kids, his side piece Bella, his career.. Heís lucky OPW is closing or he wouldíve gotten a huge fine and a suspension. I wouldíve made sure of it. You never, ever put your hands on an official. Especially one as handsome as me. Next question..” I point to some dood.
“This question is for Joe. Joe, is this over between you and Dane?” Another silly reporter asks.
“Is this over? Things are just heating up now if you ask me. I was about to win that match when the pussies of a group jumped in and even had one of them throw me a message saying RAT† So between the letters of I G and S and this RAT thing. Hands down Damon and the Riggs Legacy are behind this and it’s only a matter of time before we take them down and who is WE? All you need in this world is FAMILY Myself and P Mont can do this but it won’t hurt to have some solid allies with us in Miss Michelle and TK,” Joe says. Then he proceeds to take a dramatic pause. “Now J Mont and Dane Preston are the talk of the wrestling world and the ONLY way it can be over is if one of us is dead. Call the paramedics, call the limo drivers, call the casket people. The next time I get Dane in the ring, he’s a DEAD MAN. And as for Allie and the kids, they will be fine. I got the money, I got the houses, I got the cars, I got it all baby. POWER COUPLE of 2021 Joe and Allie taking over. Mark it down in your books. I said it, call VEGAS. Dane is dead and J Mont and Allie are getting married with the best wedding and honeymoon.”
“Ey, Dane Preston ainít shit. His little crew ainít shit. Paul Montuori, Joe Montuori, Tommy Kain, Miss Michelle, you canít top that. Not by any group that Dane Preston is a part of, let alone in charge of,” I add. I always gotta add my two cents. Iíd be doing the world such a disservice if I didnít. Before I can call on the next reporter, Joe puts his hand up.
“One more thing. Make sure you all check your emails, your mail, text messages, tv commercials because coming soon in 2021 is the wedding of the century of Joseph Montuori and Allison, her 2 last names are not needed at this time. With Vhodka Black and Paul Montuori the Maid of Honor and Best Man. Be on the lookout. Can’t wait to share this day with you all, but now back to the dumb ass questions. Love you Allie.”
“Are you worried now that Murphy Doyle Maher is on the scene?” They just keep coming.
“Who?” I ask. No really, who? I know Iím a bit self-centered and donít really pay attention to anyone else in the industry, but I seriously have no idea.
“Murphy Doyle Maher. Dane Prestonís best friend and tag team partner,” he replies, seeing the confused look on my face. Why is this guy asking me about someone I donít know? “The man that unmasked in the ring moments ago.”
“Think about this. Dane and Murphy have something in common with the likes of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka. Lance Bass and Michel Turchin. Darren Young and Nick Villa. Josh Manhunt and Dane Preston before Murphy got involved. They are gay and love each other and only care about pleasing themselves with each other. Does that answer your question? And I bet Murphy wears that mask in the bedroom for Dane and gets called all kinds of crazy names by that bitch. And this is the reason why Iím getting Allie away from this freak. He has a dark side that no one knows about but it’s about to come out,” Joe says as he sits back in his chair and motions for me to go ahead.
“Just so weíre clear, Joe loves the gays. Heís just saying Allie shouldnít be with a guy whoís carrying on a sexual relationship with another guy while heís married. No wait, Allie has a girlfriend with Bella. So heís not saying itís OK for two women but not two men.. Actually Iím not too sure, folks please direct your hate tweets to Joe @JMontFocus.. Your question? Oh Daneís boy, so thatís his name, huh? No clue who he is. Couldnít be worried about a guy I donít know. Especially if heís Dane Prestonís boy. If this Murphy guy is anything like that bitch boy Preston, well then, heís a bitch.. And that was terrible. One too many blows to the head tonight. But it doesnít matter even if I knew who he was. OPW is over with. Tonight is the last night of itís inception. Weíll probably all go our separate ways.” Right? I mean, no oneís said anything. Been trying to get my agent to give me some kind of information. Iím a Cham.. I was a Champ..
“Paul, it took some shenanigans and help from a goat for you to retain your title tonight. Any comments?” Well at this oneís kind of hot.
“Any comments? My brother Paul doesnít need help beating anyone, anytime. Heís a Montuori. And Montuoriís are winners! We run the wrestling world here. He’s a champ, I’m a champ. He’s got a hot woman, I got a hot woman. He’s got a badass car, I got one too. You see the pattern here. We are the two best and hottest things going today in the wrestling world. OPW gone? Great, we can go anywhere we want, when we want. Maybe it’s time to do some movies? Who knows. Shit maybe the MONTY python returns,” Joe finishes before I jump in.
“Hey Joe, itís alright.. Austin Ramsey and, hate to say this, Apathy put up a valiant effort. They came into the last show for OPW, which mightíve been their last match ever, ready to show the world what they could do. But unfortunately, it wasnít their night.. Thatís what Iím supposed to say right? Fuck outta here, if you want to talk about shenanigans, letís talk about the Cure coming out. Fucking Crocadilly and Mr. Eats His Own.. Gross.. Came out to help Apathy.”
“Actually Tommy Kain came out first,” she says, interrupting me. How rude. I shouldíve known sheíd be rude. I know a couple of broads sheíd fit right in with. You know who you are..
“Actually Tommy Kain came out to distract me, not help me. I was handling bidness in the ring. I had them right where I wanted them. I was so close to ending the match, whenever I wanted of course, and on to defend the OPW Southern Championship for my first and last time. But he had to come out and put my title reign in jeopardy. Then the Cure came out and started the ruckus. Then suddenly Iím the bad guy. Why? Because Apathy got distracted when she saw GOATíS RED ROCKET and wanted to blow him too? She fucked an Irishman and a Crocadilly, know for sure sheíd be into a goat. And Iím in the wrong for not calling a timeout so Apathy could compose herself? Bruh, what kind of silly ass shit is that to think? Iím a professional, eyes on the prize at all times. Especially when a Championship is involved, MY CHAMPIONSHIP Or was my Championship. I guess this belt means jack shit,” I say, looking down at it. I give it one last look and toss it to the ground. The flashes start to go off, thatíll make the front page of someoneís blog tomorrow.
“Goats red rocket,” Joe blurs out, laughing. “I bet that is something Dane would wanna work on in his so-called Car Shop. He likes to play with mufflers, exhausts and cocks.”
“Again, @JMontFocus on Twitter.. Next question.”
“This questions for Michelle, why these guys?”
“Things are changing and to keep things moving in the right direction you learn that you have to change as well. I never thought I would be involved in anything with Joe Montuori after the things he had to say about me when I split with Brandon, but you know what they say, keep your enemies close. “ She glares in Joe’s direction before turning her attention back to the press mob. “Joe said some shitty things about myself and my character but I guess I’ve come to understand that that is just how he rolls. He doesn’t know how or when to shut the fuck up, but at least he knows I’m the right bitch to handle what’s coming up with. I guess we got Tommy over here to be the bag boy, because like I said before he ain’t shit and I proved that when I beat him just like I said I would.”
She smiled sarcastically at Tommy Kain. This is the Michelle I missed, that bad bitch who doesnít give a fuck.
“Donít even get me started on Paul. He can barely keep himself alive, that’s why he needs me. Poor guy would be living off of microwaved fish sticks and pancakes from a pour bottle if it weren’t for me. So why these guys? Why not these guys? With OPW ending and none of us knowing anything, I think these guys are the perfect guys to walk off into the unknown with.”
“Tommy Kain, same question.”
“Same question? Same question my guy?† Why am I running around with these guys? I mean sure, Michelle isn’t very nice to me. And yeah, when you put P Mont and J Mont together, the flying Montouri Brothers are a couple of grade A Canoes full of douche. Easy to pick up but hard to put down. But all that aside, they are also the top of the line around these parts. The lords humongous, humonguses, humongi in this soon to be wasteland formerly known as the OPW. See I know how it looks. It looks like we are the new clique in town. The newest Posse on Broadway, the newest Familia in the Barrio. But it is more than that my friend.† Because these guys love me, we have sooooooo much in common. But most of all, the tide is rising, and there is a storm a coming. And to survive that storm we are gonna need strength and our strength will come from our numbers. And a considerable amount of booze and Cool Ranch Doritos but mostly from our numbers. And that’s exactly why I chose these guys. Donít think for one moment the Montuori Brothers are scared of Dane and company.”
“Tommy Kain has been nothing but a great amigo since I returned GOAT. Heís helped me when I got dumped by Brandon Moore to be able to smile again. And for that TK, I thank you,” I look down at him and give him a nod of approval. He looks honored to receive it.
“So tell us about your time in OPW.”
“My time in.. Itís still crazy, whatís there to say? OPW is done for. The place that brought me back from the abyss. Place where I resurrected my career. Proved the world, and the locker room wrong. I wasnít a flake. I wasnít washed up. I wouldnít get bored and just disappear. Iíve stuck around and won two titles, holding two belts. I finished OPW as the Southern Champion, successfully defending it more than Vhodka did. AND SHE HELD IT FOR 6 MONTHS I was part of thee greatest tag team in the modern era, Wrecked and Worthless. Winner of the 2020 Tag Wars Tournament. As well as holding the OPW Tag Championship, even going as far as destroying F2B Wrestling with our hostile takeover.. And if it werenít for us dropping the belts in a political move, we wouldíve closed out OPW still holding them. But in great fashion, Brandon Moore went on to win the XKore belt and I won the Southern. Both of us achieving great success as singles. And thereís no doubt that if the doors of OPW stayed open, one of us wouldíve been holding the Immortal Championship.. And who could forget about Focus. At two different points, we held all of the belts. Nobody was as dominant as we were. We ran Johnny Stylez out and destroyed the Syndicate. FOCUS WAS OPW Weíre the reason OPW stayed open as long as it did.”
“So does this mean youíre staying in Focus?”
“Focus is dead. It had itís time. That times over. Iím here to carve out my own legacy, create my own Dynasty. A Dynasty led by yours truly wherever we go. Wherever we end up, weíll be N 2 Gether Now.”
“FOCUS is dead but not because anyone took us out but we decided to kill it ourselves. Think about it for a moment. Strat was World Champ. Moore was the XCore Champ. P Mont was the Southern Champ and I was the Tag and X Tradition Champ. We were running things and the Syndicate was dying and the Cure is just a clown show. We could have stayed together and ran things but it would have been boring. So now, it’s time for something new. I’m supporting my brother P Mont in the DYNASTY he wants to do and good luck to anyone trying to stop that. We are gonna be more dominant than Jordans 7 Championships or all the Super Bowls Brady won. We will be the number 1 DYNASTY when it’s all said and done. No one can stop P and J when we are on the top of our games and we sure as hell are on the top of our games right now. Game over for all.”
“Listen, thanks for taking the time. I need a shower,” I said as I stood up. The reporters all stood, shouting questions all at once, flashes blinding me. Weíre led out of the room by a PA but I quickly run back into the room and pick up the OPW Southern belt. No way was I leaving this behind. Back outside the room, Joe and I part ways with TK and Michelle. Joe and I head back to the locker room. I sit down, catching my breath for the first time.
“That was great! The Montuori Brothers back on top!” Joe says, all hype, pacing back and forth. I nod, setting the title down next to me and start to untie my sneakers. “Letís go grab Allie and Bella and go to the party.”
“I can only swing by for a minute or two. I gotta go pick up Madison early as fuck in the morning.”
“Madison,” I say again. I look up from taking off my sneakers. Joe stares at me with a blank stare. “My kid, your fucking niece?”
“Oh.. Was that for real?”
“Bruh.. Iíll meet you there,” I say as I take off my shirt. Joe was wildín. Even after everything that happened tonight, heís still all about Allie. Itís sweet. Sure Dane doesnít think so. He seemed a little bothered tonight. Little on edge. He really needs to learn how to chill.
“Alright brother. Iím heading to the Producerís suite to clean up. Iíll see you at the party.”
I nod. He leaves. In the next moment Iím in the shower. Water pouring over me as I just canít help to think about everything thatís happened in the last year. Crazy to think July 5th is the one year anniversary of dropping that first ĎEl Gran Luchadorí joint. A year, no one thought Paul Montuori wouldíve made it this long. ĎHeís a flakeí or ĎHeíll get bored and leaveí preceded me. Haters will always hate.. One year ago when El Gran Luchador first appeared. Looking back, that shitís kinda racist. Oop. Please donít cancel me again.. It all started with ĎEl Episodio Numero Uno,í holy fuck was that trash. Straight basura. To think I used to fuck on film, wearing a lucha mask, itís nuts. And that was my only option at that point. Iíd burned every bridge in wrestling, no promoter wanted me around. A little slip of the tongue during my acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, Hollywood banned me. No way was I getting a 9-5 job, working in some office with Michael Scott selling paper. Even though I could sell the hell out of some reams.. Few months later the mask came off, and the world was reintroduced to Paul Montuori. There was nothing OPW could do. There was a clause in the contract that stated the mask could come off whenever the contract would still be valid. Suckers.
As Iím drying off I canít help but think about joining Focus. Brandon & Michelle Moore, Stephen & Demi Stratford, Cameron Vincent, and Joe Montuori. We were supposed to take the world by storm. But my head wasnít in the game at the onset and neither was Killa Camís. That match we were supposed to win against the Riggs Legacy was supposed to be our coming out party. But our heads werenít in the game. I remember Strat was pissed about that one. I did win Tag Wars with B, Wrecked & Worthless, DUB DUB BAY BAY Made Vinnie Black momentarily quit over it. He was a little upset that he lost to us. I even dropped a promo over it. There was the stuff with Vhodka and Blair Buchanan, boy did I dodge a bullet with those two.. Even went on to win the OPW Tag belts. That was dope, even though it was short-lived. Once TK and GOAT became involved, Dub Dub was never the same.. Then there was the OPW Southern title win. Having to share it with Tommy Kain. Another short-lived title reign. Wherever I end up, Iíll make sure the next reign is one for the history books..
I pull out a brand new “Strat Strat Champ Champ” t-shirt and pull it on. Fucking Strat, pulled the wool over everyoneís eyes. It worked. Just like he wanted it to. And the guy goes out on top. Walk off into the sunset like Clint Eastwood, fuck John Wayne.. Good for Strat, he deserves it. Demi deserves it. They’re the only ones who ever called to check up on me over the years. Only ones to have me over for Thanksgiving. Cajun Turkey is bomb.. I open my locker and toss my bag in. Iíll come back and get it. I hope.. That when I see a flyer.
“If youíre a fighter, you must Fight. Saturday July 10th. Hearst Tower, NYC.” The fuck? I fold up the flyer and put it in my back pocket, closing the locker shut. I need a drink.. I make my way up to the Ultra Club inside the arena for the goodbye party. A DJ plays music in the corner as the place is full of OPW crew, staff, and wrestlers. I make a beeline for the bar, fist bumping various staff and crew members along the way.
“What can I get you?” The bartender asks.
“Shot of tequila, and none of that cheap shit,” I reply. He nods and grabs some bottle off the top shelf. Iím not a picky bitch. He sets a shot glass down and pours a shot.†“Leave the bottle.”
He gives me a funny look so I reach into my pocket and slam a couple hundreds on the bar. He sets the bottle down and scoops up the cash.
“Let me get a beer too. Something fruity.” I take a shot. Then another as the bartender sets a beer in front of me. OPW Wrap Party. THE END OF AN ERA I look over, spotting TK in a booth, sitting across from GOAT and that evil fuck Pierre. I scoop everything up and make my way over. “Tommy K.”
“Hey uh.. Pauly M,” TK says. “Have a seat.”
I slide into the booth next to him, setting the bottle and my beer on the table. We sit in awkward silence for a few moments.
“Crazy night,” I finally say.
“Since you brought up tonight, we would like to discuss some of our reservations, that quite frankly, have yet to be addressed,” that little fuck Pierre says. Heís doing everything in his power..
“What reservations?” I ask. I knew what he was going to say.
“Well, quite frankly, we are quite uncomfortable with Thomas paying for the dealings of Focus.”
“Focus is done P. Pauly Mont said so tonight. Now turn that frown up upside down and letís have some fun,” TK says as he raises his Zima. Pierre doesnít look satisfied.
“Listen, Pierre, I get it. Youíve got TKís back and you want to make sure nothing ever happens to him. Me too. Weíre all on the same team here. And Iím sorry you guys got dragged into Joeís beef with Dane Preston. It was never my intention for this to get so out of hand. But here we are,” I say. I see Pierre digesting what I said. Before he can interrupt, I see Michelle walking in. I call out for her and she pretends not to hear me. I wouldnít let her off that easy. I stand up and start shouting as everyone starts to look at her. She walks over to the table, embarrassed.
“What the fuck Paul?”
“I didnít think you saw me.”
“I saw you.”
“I know. Sit down.”
“Uh.. No thanks.”
“Come on, one drink. Weíre celebrating,” I reply. Please donít ask me what weíre celebrating, I have no fucking clue.
“Iím not sitting next to a goat,” she says, as she looks over at GOAT and Pierre. I stand up and offer her my seat and sit next to GOAT. Again we sit in awkward silence. I thought for sure weíd have some great conversation. Tommy Kain, Paul Montuori, Michelle, Pierre and GOAT, who needs Seinfeld. Lucky for us a waitress comes over.
“Thank God,” we all say at once. We glare at each before laughing. Michelle starts to order a drink when I see Alexis Hunter from across the room, standing at the bar. Damn she fine. I stand up from the table, picking up my beer and bottle and turn back to them.
“Iíll be right back,” I say as I start to walk away.
“Paul, donít you leave me with them!” I hear Michelle yell. I pretend like I donít hear her. Howís my breath? Fuck I didnít brush after the show. Breath probably smells like ass. Couple chugs from this bottle should do the trick. Swish swash, gross.. Now I probably smell like a fucking drunk. Let me chug this beer to hide the liquor smell.. I have to really smell like a drunk now..
Iím about a foot from her, with her back to me. What a body on Alexis. Damn.. Wait, I canít talk to her right now. Iím dressed like a schlub. Iím wearing a professional wrestler’s t-shirt for crying out loud. No way. Did I even put on deodorant after I showered? Bruh abort! Abort! I turn and see Todrick & Austin Tabor leaning against the bar, talking. Or is it Austin & Todrick Ramsey? Iím sure Iíll see that conversation on an episode of the Life. I step over to them
“Todrick, Austin, whatís going on?”
“Hi Paul,” Todrick says as Austin looks like he’s more interested in his drink than talkin to me. After tonight, I donít blame him.
“I just wanted to say thank you for earlier. Coming out and helping me with the Cure. And Austin, hell of a match dood. You got one mean right hand. Thought for sure I was going to need some veneers.”
“Thanks,” Austin replies, his mood towards me suddenly changing for the better.
“You know Paul, Alexis is right behind,” Todrick says, with a devilish smirk.
“Oh, is she? I hadn’t noticed.” I try and play it cool. Iím probably sweating bullets. Todrick whispers something in Austinís ear and they both start giggling.
“Hey Paul,” I hear Alexisí fine ass voice say. Here we go, no turning back. I slowly turn around and Iím instantly mesmerized by her beauty. But I gotta play it cool. No broad as fine as Alexis fucks with dweebs..
“Alexis, wadap girl. How you doing?”
“Better now,” she says, all sensual as fuck. What do I say? I donít know what to say. I was used to banging porn stars on and off film that I guess I forgot how to do this. You donít have to sweet talk a chick into banging you when you were balls deep three hours ago in a room full of people filming you.
“Buy you a drink?” I ask.
“What about a shot from your bottle?” She says, pointing at the bottle in my hand. Duh, ya fucking idiot. I got some fresh glasses from the barkeep and proceeded to take a shot with Alexis, Todrick and Austin, trying not to make a complete idiot out of myself. And thatís where the night starts to get blurry.. Or pretty much ends for me..
For I wake up in my hotel room. Fully clothed. Pounding headache and my mouth tastes like Damon Riggs sandy vagina. I slowly sit up in bed, trying to compose myself. What time is it? 9:45AM. Oh my head.. 9:45AM?! Awww fuck. Iím late to pick up Madison. I stumble to my feet and grab the car keys off the counter. Whereís my bag? I left it at the arena. Fuck. Howíd I know I was going to do that? No way was I going to get hammered and remember to do something responsible..
Fucking Jersey. I hate Jersey. Everything about it. With itís weird roundabout turns to make a left hand turn. What kind of shit is that? But no, she just had to see her grandparents again. It wasnít enough that the dad she never knew ended up being a bad motherfucker? That he ended up being Paul Montuori? A fucking Champ. OPW Southe.. Oh yeah wait, that championship is no more.. Didnít I have a point? Shithole Jersey.
After that crazy first show and the after party, the last thing I wanted to do was get up early to drive out to Jersey. I hate Jersey. I hate driving to Jersey even worse yet. I tried to send Madison a car to pick her up but she said her grandparents would freak. No way theyíd let her precious granddaughter ride into the city with a stranger. But itís ok if I pick her up, another fucking stranger. So here I am, in Jersey somewhere. Picking up Madison. After what seems like an eternity, I finally arrive at the address.
I sit in the driveway, flashing the lights. Only to realize itís morning. They wouldnít be able to see the lights. Should I honk the horn? What if theyíre sleeping? Theyíre old, no way theyíre still sleeping. I tap the horn, nothing. I tap it again and it barely beeps. I try one last time, scaring myself to death when it beeps loud A F in my face.. Did I just say A F? Iím too old for that right? I figure at some point there has to be a moment when you transition into adulthood and stop with the slang. I donít see older people still saying ĎGroovyí and ĎFar Out.í Am I at that point of adulthood? Do I need to start wearing my pants higher up? Is there a chart that tells you how far up your pants need to be pulled depending on your age? That would be crazy. Adulthood sounds crazy. And scary..
“Bruh, you scared the fuck out of me,” I said as I unlock the door. Madison gets in, trying not to laugh. Sheís still trying to act like she super hates me and too cool for school. But Iím growing on her.
“Whereís the Notorious P I G?” She asks as I point to the backseat. She reaches back and grabs Piggie Smalls, giving him kisses. “You smell like alcohol.”
“No I donít,” I say. Uh.. I brushed, I ate some Now & Laters. Red, not banana like a cretin.
“Yes you do.”
“You donít know what alcohol smells like.” She doesnít know. Right? I took a shower right? Fuck Iím in the same ĎStrat Strat Champ Champí t-shirt. I donít remember putting on my sneakers this morning. Did I fall asleep with them?
“Yes I do.”
“No you donít.”
“Yes I do.”
“No you donít”
“Yes I do.”
“You donít, youíre a kid. What do you know?”
“I know you smell like alcohol.”
“No I donít.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I.. Why am I arguing.. I had one or two adult beverages last night.. I donít have to explain myself to you. Youíre not my mommy. My mommyís dead. Unless you ask Vhodka, THAT MORBID HO I have a headache, and I gotta turn around and drive back to the city. Take a nap or.. Shut up..”
“Thatís rude. And you have a headache because of the alcohol.”
“For the love of..” Why? Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Was I not a gentleman to women? Donít answer that. It was always consensual. And I never stepped over the line. Iím like a Gold Medalist fucking beam walker. Laurie Hernandez in this bitch..
We drive in silence most of the way back. Which is fine by me. I talk so much shit all day, everyday, itís nice to be able to turn it off and shut the fuck up once in a while. Plus Iím running out of my material, my normal shit doesnít work with Madison. Sheís worse than Michelle. I wonder if that little shopping trip ruined her. Michelle would teach Madison some shit that would piss me off. I can never let those two be alone again. No way Jose. Please no conga line.. It isnít until we hit the Hudson Tunnel that she finally says something.
“I saw you on HBO last night,“ she finally says, somewhere in the Lincoln Tunnel.
“Oh yeah? Everything?”
“Whatíd you think?”
“You werenít so bad in your match,” she says, all nonchalant and shit. I feel a huge grin come on, like cheesy ass grin. But I have to stop myself. I canít let her see. I gotta play it cool. I hope she didnít notice.
“Thatís cool,” I somehow blurt out. O M G, she thinks I wasnít bad. Bruh, that means she thought I was good. Because if she thought I sucked, you know she wouldíve told me. No way in hell would she have let an opportunity to talk shit to me slip on bye. I knew it. I fucking knew it.
“But..” she says. Whyíd there have to be a but? “Whatís up with you cheating?”
“Cheating? Moi?” I know what she was referring to. My officiating during my brotherís match with Dane. I didnít cheat, too bad. Right? I just didnít follow all of the rules.
“Not cool,” she says. Why do I suddenly feel bad? Iíve never felt bad about any of my antics. I actually loved relishing in the moment after successfully pulling off one of my schemes. We took the hurt to Dane until his little cronies showed up. Always needing help.
“Iíll try and never let it happen again. Pinky promise?” I ask, holding out my pinky. She looks at me like Iím crazy. Better for me, one less promise I have to worry about breaking. Hanging out with Joe, thereís zero chance heíll stop scheming altogether..
The rest of the ride was a breeze. Before I knew it we were there, 44 Hudson St. Somehow Iím lucky enough to find a spot as I park and get out. I look up at the building. I wonder which apartment it is.
“Mr. Montuori?” I turn to see a blonde lady in her early 50ís. She smiles as she walks towards me and shakes my hand.
“Jennifer Reardon. Iím actually the executor of your motherís estate. Weíve waited years for you to claim this property. “
“Yeah, it just never seemed like the right time,” I say as I turn to look up at the building. “Which floor am I on?”
“Which floor?” She says as she laughs. “All of them.”
“All of them?” I ask. One, two, three, four, five.. “Five stories.”
“With a basement and a roof terrace. Want to see the rest?”
“Yeah,” I hear Madison say as sheís now standing next to me. The lady unlocks one of the storefront glass doors and leads us in. She turns on the light.
“This building is located in the epicenter of Tribeca. It dates pre-war, built in 1902. Itís a 25í wide townhouse with approximately 12,500 sqft. The building overlooks the historic Duane Park and is currently commercially zoned on the first two floors with residential on floors three through five. You could set up an office on the first two floors or rent them out and still live upstairs.”
“Office? Iím not really an office type of guy,” I say. Paul Montuori, sitting in an office, working a 9-5? Or a landlord? Come down the stairs in a bathrobe and slippers, ready to collect the rent. What a sight..
“Or you could sell it,” she says. Sell it? I never thought about that.
“Youíre not selling it,” Madison interjects. “If your mom, my grandmother, gave it to you, it must be for a reason.”
“How much?” I have to know.
“Heís not selling. Youíre not..
“OK!” I say, interrupting Madison. Girl is so fucking nosey. Sheís not the boss. Iím the fucking boss.. The lady leads us up each empty floor after empty floor. So much room. So much potential. My mind starts to race, ideas after ideas on how to turn this into my secret lair. Non-assuming from the outside, but fucking wonderland once inside. If Madisonís making me move to New York, then Iím going to make the best of it.. Weíre on the rooftop terrace now, I hate heights. Shudder just thinking about looking over the ledge..
“Well, what do you think Mr. Montuori?”
“What do I think? Itís awesome.”
“Alright, if you would follow me downstairs, thereís some papers for you to sign.”
And sign some papers we did. Crazy all this time my mother left me a fucking building. And I just let it sit. I couldíve built a porn empire in here. Been a regular Dirk Diggler. But without the limp dick from all the drug use. As I stand, staring up at the building, some dick runs into me. Not a real penis, and no thereís nothing wrong with penis. @JMontFocus.. Some guy runs right into me, dropping some flyers.
“Whoa, watch out,” I say. That was weak I know, but Iím trying to clean up my image. The guy keeps on walking. I reach down and pick up the flyers because, ya know, Mother Earth and shit. Right before I toss them in the trash can, one of them catches my eyes. I flip it over. I pull out the flyer from my back pocket. Same flyer that was in my locker room. I look up to see the guyís gone.
I take Madison back to the hotel. This damn flyerís got me all fucked up. First in my locker in DC then some guy bumps into me on the street with the same flyer. This has to be Xís place, the one he was talking about at the end of Showcase. Hsa to be the next place the entire roster migrates over to. Fuck it, Iím going to check it out. Fuck waiting until July 10th. Iím a Star, a Big Dog, I should have l already been told about this place. Already shown this place. Not kept in the dark like everyone else. Like Iím Crocadilly or Dane Preston.
My plan goes right out the window once I realize Iím sitting in a hotel room with Madison. I canít take her. Itís already dark out and I donít know what lies ahead. Iíd be a real shitty dad if I put her in danger. Iím supposed to be responsible now, an adult. Or at least try.. I can leave her by herself right? Just tell her to stay put, donít answer the door. Itís not some fucking motel, sheíll be safe here. Put on the TV. Make sure thereís no toothpicks she can stick into the outlet. I was left alone at 12, in far worse places and situations than this. And I turned out OK. Well, sort of..
“Hey uh, Iím gonna go out for a bit. Stay here. Donít open the door for anyone. Iíll be back in a couple of hours,” I say, all nonchalantly.
“Where you going?”
“No where, just take a walk. Clear my head.”
“Youíre going to that place on the flyer.”
“Fight or something. I wanna come.”
“I donít know wha..”
“Please! I wanna come with you!”
“No, Iím not going to any place like that. Iím going for a walk. Now you stay here,” I saw as I make my way to the door. “Or else!”
I step out of the room and close the door behind me. I think it worked. Sheís starting to respect me and respect my authority. Finally. Iím outside and standing on the street before I know it, hailing a cab. I open the door and get in. Just as I close the door the other door opens and Madison hops in, closing the door behind her.
“Uh, no. No way,” I say.
“Where to?” The cabbie asks.
“Go back upstairs.”
“Madison, go back upstairs.”
“Youíre going to let me go upstairs by myself?”
“Where to?” The cabbie asks again.
“This isnít a joke. Get back upstairs.”
“I might get mugged getting out of the car. Or kidnapped on the elevator. Do you really want that on your conscience?”
“Where to?” The cabbie asks again, annoyed.
“Fucking Hearst Tower,” I say to the cabbie. I turn back to Madison. “You stay close to me. You hear me? No games. You have to 100% listen to me. Got it?”
She nods. I know sheís full of it. But I feel like I had to give her that speech. The responsible part of me.. We ride in silence the rest of the way, looking up at all the buildings. I kinda did miss this city. Maybe itíll be different this time around. Bunch of cool stuff I can take Madison to see. I donít have to get on planes anymore. Hearst Tower is half an hour from the new place. Iíll have to get a driver though, not down to fuck with these cabbies anymore. I need to ride in style. And this cab stinks. Gross.. We pull up to the Hearst Tower and get out. Standing on the street, we look up in awe at the mostly glass building.
“Now what?” She asks like Iím supposed to know.
“No idea,” I say. We walk to the front doors and pull on them. Locked. Duh. “Well, looks like theyíre closed.”
“Really? We came all the way uptown for you to give up that easy?”
“Fine, letís go around the side.” So that is what we did. We walked around the building until we found an alley. But I stopped her from walking into it.
“Whatís the problem?”
“I donít know.”
“Whatís not to know? Look, thereís a door with a light on outside. That must be the after hours entrance.”
“Nah, it doesnít look safe.”
“Doesnít look safe? Come on, I thought you were some badass wrestler guy. Youíre scared to go into a dark building at night?”
The worst part was the look on her face as she said it. That look of ĎYeah you heard me, ya Ďlil bitch.í And she was right. I was being a little bitch. But not because I was worried for myself. Bruh, IíM ON THAT LEGEND STATUS. I ainít scurred. But I was scurred for her. What kind of person would I be if I put a kidís life in danger? All over some piece of paper I found in a locker. No, no fucking way am I putting her life in danger. No way Jose.
“Madison, weíre not doi..” Iím able to get out before sheís already down the alley and pounding on the door. I run up to her as she steps back behind me. A slot opens in the door as I see a pair of menacing eyes staring back at me.
“Yeah,” the guy growls. I hold up the flyer. “Youíre early. Come back July 10th.”
The slot closes. I turn to Madison.
“Welp, we tried,” I say and start to walk towards the street. I stop at the sound of Madison kicking the door. Repeatedly Great. I turn around just in time to see the door swing open and a gorilla of a man wearing a suit steps into the alley. I run up, putting myself between him and her.
“You better get her out of here,” the guy growls.
“Or what?” I ask, pushing Madison further back. “The fuck are you going to do?”
“I will hit a girl.” he snarls.
“Wow, you’d hit a little girl over her knocking on your door?”
“I was talking about you, pretty boy,” he says, chuckling. I am pretty. I guess I don’t move fast enough because next thing I know he puts his meaty paws on me, picking me up off the ground. I go to jab him in the eyes when..
“Lawrence, put him down,” I hear a woman say. I strain my neck, trying to see who it is over the burly ape. He reluctantly sets me down.
“Today’s your lucky day,” he says as he steps back towards the door. A lady in her fifties in a business suit steps out from behind the ape.
“Mr. Montuori, I presume. The younger of the two, hm? It appears you are a wee bit early my dear,” she says as she turns around.
“Wait, I didnít come all the way down here for nothing. Let me at least get a good look around.”
“I apologize but I have strict orders not to let you in the building.”
“Strict orders? From who? X? Pft.. Whereís X?” I ask. I know I didnít come all the way down here for the top guy not to be here. Iím a fucking STAR, A BIG DOG.
“Who?” She replies? Who? Is this broad slow? I mean mentally challenged..
“Xavier Wolf. Your boss. The guy that owns this place. X! Come out bruh! Quit being a little bitch!”
“Oh yes, Mr. Wolf. Unfortunately, he is not here. He is out tending to some more important matters.”
“More important than me? Get him on the phone and you tell him Paul Montuori is down here. His BIG DOG.” For real though, because thereís no way I was going to call him. We didnít do that. We admired each other from afar.
“I apologize if you were under the impression that you would be allowed in, but I must ask you to leave. Youíre more than welcome to come back on July 10th of course. But leave her at home,” she adds, pointing at Maddy. “Good night.”
And with that she turns and walks into the building. Lawrence gives me one last dirty look and walks her in, slamming the door behind her.
“That was.. Awesome. I thought that guy was going to eat you,” Madison says, all excited. What the fuck. We walk back onto the street.
“Seriously? I thought it was all kind of anti-climatic. Supposed to be the unraveling of this UNKNOWN only to be stopped at the door.. And I had that guy right where I wanted him.”
“Sure you did.”
“I did. But how about we keep this between ourse..” I look down and see her pushing buttons on her phone. “You recorded me huh? And just sent it to someone?”
“Yep, to Michelle” she replies. Great, now everyone’s going to see that video. “What is that place?”
“A fight club called Fight? Guy I know I guess owns it. All these damn secrets. They should be telling me all the juicy gossip, I kept Stratís secret. I even put my amazing fucking acting skills to the test by playing along. I deserve an Emmy.”
“Youíre taking me with you when you come back,” she says. She obviously could care less that I was a vault when it came to secrets.
“Yeahuh, you have to. Weíre N 2 Gether Now.”
“Wait, you know what that means?” I ask, all excitedly.
“Not a clue, but I saw a clip of you saying it.”
“Boo.. Well, you think you know everything, but you gotta lot to learn. Wanna get some ice cream?”
“As long as itís vegan.”