The Box/How did it feel?

By: Ricky Rodriguez

Date: 15th Jul 2021

I just wanted to sleep. Blood Money had me utterly fucking physically wrecked, every inch of my body hurt in the worst way. But even that was manageable. It’s what happened in the following days that really hit.  Mentally..I’m fucked, not so much because of the match, but for other reasons entirely. Things happen for a reason, I guess. Wrong place, wrong time kind of thing. Sure, I feel some type of way about it but I can’t let it take me under. I can’t let myself feel like this. No matter how shitty I feel about the whole thing, I have to figure out how to..not feel this way or none of this is going to work out. I know where her head is, where she’s looking to and I got to be okay with that and figure out the same thing for myself..but fuck it’s hard. I don’t know. The whole situation is just fucked and..no, nope, I can’t get into this.

 

Wait..what was I thinking about? Oh, right..the match. I’m happy I lasted as long as I did in that type of environment. Especially considering I have never been a part of something anywhere near close to that before, in my life. But now I know. Should I ever be in that kind of situation again? I’ll be ready. But that’s later. Right now? I just wanted to sleep. 

 

Laid up in my bed, it felt like I had just fallen asleep when I heard that stupid doorbell thing. At first, I was just going to ignore it but when it rang a second time, something told me not to do that at all. With a groan, I rolled out from under that white sheet and onto my feet. Without a doubt, this apartment was much bigger and nicer than any I’ve ever lived in before.

 

Unlocking that door, I fully expected someone to be on the other side so to say I was a little taken off guard when nobody was there, would be an understatement. While nobody was there, there was a package. A white box with my name written across the top of it. Leaning down to pick it up, I was surprised with how light it was. I looked back and forth along that hallway before stepping back in and closing the door behind me.

 

Instantly, I walked over to the couch and sat down on the edge of it. With that box in my lap, I stared down at it, a million different possibilities of what could be in it running through my mind at a mile a minute. Curiosity finally got the best of me as I grabbed hold of the lid and pulled it off. My eyes widened as I saw just what was inside of that box.

 

I reached in and pulled out that silver chain. Looking it up and down, I couldn’t help but to focus on that ring that dangled at the end of it. At first, I couldn’t place it but once I saw that symbol on the front of the ring, it hit. That memory came flooding back and it was like I was Eleven years old all over again. 

 

Dad always wore that chain around his neck and every time, that ring hung from the bottom of it. I was never quite sure about it. Whenever I’d see it, there was this nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. As I got older and spent plenty of time away from him, I chalked it up to just a kid being a kid. But even as I sat there, a grown ass man, I felt that same feeling as I did when I was a child. 

 

It had this symbol on it and to this day, I’ve never seen the same marking anywhere else. As a child, of course I asked him about it. What did the symbol mean? Why did he wear it around his neck and not on his finger like rings should be? Where did he get it? Never a clear answer. Always so vague. Most of the time, leaving me with more questions than when I started.

 

The symbol was a representation of our family. He wore it around his neck because something like that needed to be tucked away, close to his heart. Not out and displayed for the world to see. As for where he got it? His answer was always the same: You’ll know when you get older. Well, here I am. Older and still none the wiser of where this ring came from.

 

I don’t remember slipping it over my head, not until I felt the coldness of it against my bare chest, did I even realize what I was doing. As it hung from around my neck, I grabbed it with my fingers, my eyes focused down onto it. There it was. That feeling in the depths of my very soul. It felt almost..ominous. I almost got lost in the feeling until the cold metal of the ring against my flesh shook my thoughts.

 

Looking down at that box again, I noticed a folded up piece of paper. Picking it up, I unfolded it and saw the words that were written across it.

 

We’re proud of you

 

Even though there was no name on that note, I knew exactly who it was from. A warm feeling washed over every bit of me, my lips curling into a soft smile. I folded it back up, keeping it held within his hand. Relaxing back against that couch, I sighed softly, feeling completely at peace. With that feeling taking over, it took no time at all before I crashed hard, falling asleep.

 

____________________________________

 

The feed picked up, far away from that New York apartment. Focus fell upon a picturesque scene, a sandy California beach. Not a cloud in the sky, a nice breeze blowing off of that water, and none other than Ricky Rodriguez laying sprawled out across that warm white sand. His eyes closed, Ricky seemed to be at the peak of relaxation. With his fingers laced at the back of his head for a makeshift pillow, there was that confident smirk plastered across his face. Those lips parting, Ricky spoke up.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Blood Money was..well..it’s safe to say that it was a match that nobody, in it or having seen it, will ever forget. Now, while I didn’t walk away with the win, I accomplished something better, at least I think so. I showed the world..I showed Brandon Moore just how serious I am with what I say. How serious I am about the fight I bring. But it’s like..it wasn’t enough. 

 

That smile Ricky wore slowly faded as he pulled his hands out from behind his head. Pressing them into the sand, he pushed himself up to a seated position.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Each time I blasted you with that piece of steel, Brandon, felt better than the last. If that proved anything? It proved you don’t dictate shit. You can’t duck me forever and the next time? You won’t be saved. You won’t avoid the beating that’s coming for you. I’ll be seeing you soon enough.

 

As those last few words rolled off of his tongue, Ricky winked, that confident smirk grew back out across his face. Bringing his right hand up, he slicked back that hair of his. Slowly, he turned his head to let his attention fall onto that restless ocean. His smirk faded noticeably as he began to speak once again.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Past couple days, I’ve been..distracted..to say the least. But shit happens for a reason, I guess, and I can’t spend long dwelling on it or I’ll drown. I can’t afford that right now..can’t afford that at all. Which is why I’m looking forward. And who’s that standing right in front of me?

 

He brought his hand up to rub at his chin, clearly feigning an expression of deep thought. Letting go, he held a single finger up as if he just made a great realization.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Pixie Sloane. See, I’ve done my homework on you and I’m fully aware of the type of fight you bring and I’m going to be prepared for it. I’m going to bring every bit of fight you bring and then some. I can sit here and run my mouth until the sun sets about how I’m going to kick your ass but all the bravado in the world isn’t going to make a bit of difference when that bell rings. Do you know what is going to make a difference? How you feel.

 

He paused for a moment, seemingly searching within himself to find the answer he was looking for. A flash of visible distress came across his face, being able to catch himself and shake it off.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: How does it feel to get your ass handled by Elena DeDraca? The very woman who called you a charity case. A charity case. She called you a charity case and you couldn’t do anything to prove her wrong. Now, I can’t speak for you, but if it was me? That would be something that’d weigh heavy as hell on my mind.

 

He turned his body around, pushing himself up to a kneeling position before brushing sand off of the blue swim shorts. From there, he moved up to a standing position, bringing his arms up to cross at his chest.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: What you can do in the ring aside. How does it feel to get straight up showed up by Savannah Sunshine? What was it? Three and oh in an assortment of various television obstacles. And you didn’t just lose those obstacles, oh no. You lost in pretty humiliating circumstances. I mean..you rolled your ankle, stepping on a tennis ball. The rope you were climbing across straight snapped. Aren’t Pixies supposed to be petite? That’s totally not a petite occurrence. I’m not going to flat out say it but I’m sure you can read between the lines. The bird is in the bird house, yeah.

 

He puffed out his cheeks, clearly making a statement.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: And the smoke? Don’t even get me started on that whole debacle.

 

He couldn’t help but to scoff, as if absolutely flabbergasted by the thought of the whole thing. A look of the utmost lack of impression broke out across his features, shaking his head as it did so.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: It’s not just the losses though, Pixie, that I’m curious about. It’s the wins too. Especially when they’re given to you. How did it feel to play backup to Julius Fairweather? To Savannah Sunshine? You actually relied on those two to carry you to a victory. 

 

A soft sigh rolled free from behind his lips, the expression on his face showing nothing but great disappointment. 

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Pixie, I’m not one to judge..but I’m judging you pretty fucking harshly right now. And just like what happened with Elena? You’re not going to be able to shut me up. You aren’t going to be able to prove any of this wrong. We’re going to meet in there and you’re going to fight like hell but in the end, the result is going to be the same. You, flat on your ass, wondering just what the fuck happened. Wondering where you went wrong with it all. While you’re wondering that? I want you to look up at me and I want you to accept the fact that I’m right. I want you to realize that I am everything I say I am. I am every bit as good as I put myself out there to be. At Venom? You’ll see for yourself.

 

Those arms fell from his chest, dropping down to his sides. He tilted his head, looking back towards the camera with a rather inquisitive gaze.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: How is it going to feel, Pixie, when you realize exactly what you’re going to get from this match? And what’s that you’re going to get? You’re going to get, what’s probably, the only dose of Real Style you’ll ever get in life. And when I’m done with you, Pixie? I’m right back on my path straight..to..the..top. Prove me wrong, Pixie.

 

Ricky raised up the both of his hands up to lace behind his head, that bare upper half exposed for the world to see. Turning away from the camera, the feed slowly faded out as Ricky began walking towards that water.