Land down unda 7:Pony

By: Aiden Reynolds

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 29th Apr 2022

Sweat.

Buckets of it.

It drips from the body of one Aiden Reynolds as he takes a few long, deep, calming breaths. His hair soaked, his body shining. The steam rising off his skin. He can’t help but smile as he takes a step back, grabbing his towel and wiping himself down. The sounds of bodies hitting a ring, and grunting as the wolfslair faithful roll on the heavy grappling mats echo through the large warehouse gym of Wolfslair NYC. Kallie Reznik, Aidens better half slowly moves up to his side, reaching out and putting her hand on his shoulder. “You really do love all this don’t you?”

He chuckled with a small shrug. “Aye love, best job in the world. Preparation and training, then the actual match or fight…” He smiles wide turning to Kallie front on. “I wouldn’t have it any other way aye…even if me start wasn’t perfect.”

“What do you mean?”

He takes a deep breath and folds his arms over his chest. “When I first started, my first trainer was a real prick love. He basically took all me confidence and dreams and shit on em…” Aiden swallowed hard looking around Wolfslair, a place that many people have come to love as a positive influence in their careers. Veterans helping young kids get better, steal sharpens steal. “He was a piece of work…”

Kallie moves over to him and leans her head onto his shoulder, covered by the towel. “Lucky you didn’t give up…I can’t imagine what you would have done if you weren’t a wrestler…” Aiden looks up, his eyes go glassy and very slowly everything starts to go wobbly and fuzzy. Almost like vaseline has been slapped on a video camera lens.

And we’re back with Aiden again, his short brown hair spiked up, his hands clasping the edge of a wink and bench in what looks to be a locker room. He stares up and into the mirror, his deep blue eyes shining as he nods slowly. “You can do this…you can DO this.” He starts to pump himself up, reaching over and grabbing a resistance band, stepping onto it and pulling up, the resistance pulling against his arms as he grunts. His blood pumps, his body puffs up as his muscles bulge.

Aiden sneers, he runs his hands through his hair and pounds on the bench a few times, grabbing a black vest as he steps out toward a curtain, he nods at the sound guy.

A beat plays.

It’s familiar to those who are “in the know”. The lead beat to Ginuwine’s Pony. He steps out through the curtain, the light hits him right in the eyes and for a moment he’s blinded. Then a scream. A chorus of female voices. And as his eyes adjusted he could see the stage. A black thin stage moving outward with small lights moving along the border.

And with that Aiden started to dance. His body moved with the beat as women stood and screamed. He bumped, he grinded, he slid on his knees and tore open the vest tossing a black hat across the room, the vest dropping behind him as he popped to his feet and turned, grabbing his black pants and tearing them off. The women screamed again, Aiden smirked and he turned with a laugh, the money flew at him, he stopped as the music died down, going backstage breathing heavily as he went passed the rest of the men, turning to go into the lcokeroom again. He sat down and looked down at his hand, a large roll of cash sat there as he gave a nod…

“Bullshit…”

Kallie’s voice broke through, Aiden raised an eyebrow. “What is?” Kallie shook her head and slapped him on the shoulder, Aiden folded his arms as she giggled.

“Aiden, we both know you can’t dance…you have the rhythm of an alzheimer’s patient” Aidens jaw dropped, he puts his hand to his chest in an over dramatic fashion as if his feelings have been irreversibly hurt. Kallie just laughed and turned away. “Oh stop it…you know I’m right…”

Aiden grumbled, he shook his head and yelled after her. “Yeah but ya didn’t need to say it…”

He moved after her, throwing the towel across into his bag. Kallie stopped and leaned against the lockers. “Seriously. What would you have done if you weren’t wrestling?”

Aiden sat down on the small wooden bench next to where Kallie was standing. He lightly shrugged and shook his head. “Aye I don’t know love. Truth is I never really put that much thought into it ya know?” He laughed to himself and stared out onto the training floor. His eyes moved over the veterans, people who had won world titles, had more wins than Aiden had matches, and rookies, fresh faced young kids just beginning their journey. “Even as a kid I wanted to do this. I wanted to be a wrestler. And now I’ve gone all around the world…”

“But?”

“But nothin love.” He pushes back to his feet, shooting his girlfriend a grin. “I’m livin my dream. Even if it isn’t as good as I thought. I mean, I’m almost a decade into this and I’m not sure what I have to show for it…professionally…” He pauses again, moving from Kallie to the wall at the far end. Replica titles hung in the rafters. Ones from all the different companies. Ones won by people as they became members of Wolfslair. And under Aidens name, there were replicas of the Islands titles, the Apex tag titles…but none that are just his…

“You do….you really do…but I get what you mean…” She pauses, reaching up and bringing Aidens gaze away from the title wall back to her. “And you have a chance to get one of those titles for yourself…so…get back to work…”

Knuckle Deep

“Aye this uis confusin as fuckin shit…” Aiden folded his arms over his chest, back at his apartment he paced back and forth. Shaking his head and obviously deep in thought. “I just don’t get it….”

Dickie’s voice interjected “Get what?”

“The whole title shot thing. I mean, I just got back mate. I went walkabout and went off into the fuckin ether outback and ghosted, yet here I am ready and waitin for a shot at the bareknuckle thing…I don’t understand how or why it happened. I guess it;s an existential crisis of conscience. Kind of like survivors guilt ya know? Like I got something I haven’t earned…”

Dickie just stareed at his friend before blinking a few times “And?…like…the fuck does that matter?”

“I need to feel like I earned shit Dickie…”

“But you did” Aiden titled his head as Dickie stood up with a heavy sigh as if he was sick already of having to have this conversation before it ever really began. “The fight bosses obviously wanted you back, and now that you are they gave you a little test. One you passed with flyin colors and got the title shot from…” He paused and laughed. “You beat that Bourbon rose chick…you showed you were serious…thats what matters bruh…”

Dickie just gave a shrug, tapping Aiden on the shoulder. Aiden grumbled and nodded slowly. As if it clicked.

“I mean. I get it. And I set out what I wanted to do mate. I wanted to show I could be more serious. I wanted to show I was more than just witty one liners, swear words and chiseled yet rugged good looks. And I did it. I really did. And you, well you are a big fuckin part of that. The whole tough love pep talk helped. But now what? Where do I go from here Dickie? I have this opportinity, dropped right in me lap. A title I’ve never even thought about. One that isn’t one of the cleverly named New York themed titles but something different…”

“You live in New York, how do you not see Bareknuckle being a New York theme?…You’ve been on the fucking subway Aiden…”

“Point taken” Aiden laughs to himself and shakes his head. “I dunno Dickie. This is the first time I’ve had a shot at gold where it all was on me shoulders. I mean, shit I walked into Fight and got handed the Island title. And the APex tag titles? We won those ones together. This one is all on me. A bareknuckle beat down knock down drag out fight and I have no one to fuckin blame or rely on but mself…..”

He closed his eyes and took a long, deep breath. “I just don’t know if I can do it….”

There was silence. A long drawn out one that seemed to go on forever. “And?…” Dickie broke it, shaking his head as some of his brown hair falls into his eyes. “You don’t think I’ve had fuckin doubts man? You don’t think all of us have? ]That any champion has? Shit you show me a champion that has thought he was unbeatable and I’ll show you an ego driven asshole that can’t admit his faults and fuckin grow,….something you have clearly done…” He couldn’t help but laugh at his friend. “Just go out there and do what you can do…”

Aiden smiled and started to nod. His chest puffed out as he stood up. “Yeah, you’re right mate. I know what I have to do to beat Centurion. I gotta get the tribes of Germany,, Hannibal of fuckin Carthage and”

“No…” Aiden paused and looked at Dickie who put his hand up. “You’re not doing the roman soldier bit, it’ll go over too many peoples heads…”

“Right…right yeah. Well, I’m gonna rise up aye. See these days Dickie, they’re me days of thunder. I’m gonna start here and get that bareknuckle title, I’m gonna be the fuckin Top gun. And I don’t care if I have to go down swingin like the last samurai. I am gonna reach megastardom. And then I’m gonna scream SHOW ME THE MONEY at you like I’m Jerry fuckin Mcguire…”

“This seems a little too on the nose.”

“Oh…fair play mate that’s a bit much.”

“What is?”

“Centurion can’t help it, he looks like toucan sam with that honker but it’s obviously genetic…”

Dickie just stares at Aiden, he shakes his head putting his hands up and walking away “Nope, I’m out!…I CAN’T WITH YOU…”

“But seriously. I want that title. Not just for me, but for Kallie, and you, and everyone else. I want to prove that the faith was not misplaced. That I can be a star and stand on my own two feet and be a huge part of fight. Man, at the thrill and the agony I’m going to go knuckles deep in this bitch…”

“GODDAMNIT AIDEN….”