The Hollow Way

By: Ricky Rodriguez

Date: 30th Jul 2021

I’m waiting, impatient, up in my head.

Taken back to the sidewalk where we met

And carved out our names.

Do you remember that?

 

After how things went down, how I was feeling because of..everything that happened? I needed to be as far away from there as possible. Thanks to having the week off, I was able to do just that. Without saying a word to anyone, without even thinking it over, I just up and hauled ass. Didn’t even look back for a second.

 

But I mean, that’s my problem isn’t it? Whenever things get to be too much, I just..bail. I don’t look my problems in the face and confront them. I run until the problem is just..gone. I’ve done it more times than I can count before and here, a grown ass man, and I did it again. As self confident as I put myself out there, when it comes down to it? I’m a kid. I don’t know why, I really don’t. 

 

It’s just like when Tyler needed me. I ran then too. We were at a party and he had a little too much to drink. He..got into it with someone from a different school and they fought. It wasn’t long before the dude’s friends jumped in and they started beating him around like a dog. I could have helped. Back then, I more than likely have gotten my ass kicked but it would have been okay. I would have shown that I had the back of the kid who was supposed to be my brother.

 

But I didn’t. When someone tried to drag me into the fight, I ran off. I ran my ass back home and I went to bed. Pretended I was never there. Some brother I was, yeah? 

 

The next morning, I woke up and dad told me the cops brought Tyler home last night. I guess that was the last straw and dad decided to send him back to the group home. His things were gone and I never saw him again. Never heard from him. Never came across him on social media. Nothing. I don’t blame him, not even a little bit. I let him down when he needed me. That was the last interaction with him and that’s something I have to live with.

 

It’s not just in my personal life either. There was this one time, I was working this promotion with someone and I was screwed over. Lied to and used. I could have solved that problem. I could have put his head through a wall and proved a point. But I didn’t. I left the company and never looked back. That’s almost what I did this time. Almost.

 

I drove back home. All the way through. It had to have been one of the most calming, centering, reflective experiences I’ve ever had. Up until that point, of course. First place I went to when I got back was to my parents house, where I grew up. I fully expected them to be there with arms wide open. But I knew they wouldn’t be. 

 

The old house, it was the first time I had been back in almost four years now. It was exactly the same as it was when Ieft. Everything was just in the same places. That, I didn’t question. But my parents hadn’t been here in two years. You can tell when a house has been abandoned for a while. It gets a musty smell to it. Stagnant almost. But not here. It was like someone had been there the whole time.

 

It wasn’t right. There was something off but before I could get too into it, I heard that voice. Even though it was a voice I hadn’t heard in such a long time, I recognized it instantly. Alessa Holloway. We grew up together. She would even work with me in my parent’s store. When I decided I wanted to wrestle, she was always there, always supporting me more than anyone else.

 

As soon as I turned around and our eyes met, it was like all these feelings came flooding back. Looking back, that was the moment where I SHOULD have run.

____________________________________

 

The scene slowly came into view within the interior of a local nightclub. Loud, thumping music filled the air as various colored lights flickered and flashed. The drink was flowing and everyone looked to be having a great time all together.

 

Moving past the various groups of people, dancing and conversing, focus falls on a secluded corner table and the people seated at it. On the left side was the rather intimidating looking man known as ‘Big Ass’ Bobby. Bobby was dressed to impress in his khaki colored slacks and white buttoned up shirt over a grey tanktop.

 

On the right side was the young lady known as Alessa Holloway. She leaned against the one in the middle, decked out in a pair of near skin tight black pants and a matching crop top. And just who was that in between Bobby and Alessa?

 

It was none other than Ricky Rodriguez! A rather confident smirk was plastered across his features. In one hand was a half filled glass and his other hand and arm was around the shoulders of Alessa. She was the first to part her lips to speak as Ricky took a drink from his glass and Bobby checked out the various patrons of that establishment.

 

Alessa Holloway: Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you who don’t already know, my name is Alessa Holloway. And I am here at the side of Ricky Rodriguez where I should have been from the start. You see, Ricky? He has a destiny, as everyone does. But his destiny? It’s highly important that he realizes his destiny. Not only realize it but to see it through. That’s where I come in. It’s my place to make sure Ricky stays on the right path. The path that will lead him to fulfilling his destiny. And a part of that place is to make sure nobody distracts him, nobody gets in his way.

 

There was a bit of an ominous tone to the words Alessa spoke as she continued on with what she was saying.

 

Alessa Holloway: Which brings me to you, Valkyrie. You are in the way and have to be moved. So, here’s your choices. You can step out of the way. Pull out of the match like you did when you were too much of a spineless coward to face someone like Michelle Moore. Get out of the way. Or you can stay in the way. Throw yourself between Ricky and his destiny and get your head taken off of your shoulders. Stay on this course and find out just what happens when you try to intervene with what is meant to be.

 

Who are you to interfere with destiny, Valkyrie? Of what importance are you that you think you can alter the course we’re on? This isn’t your story. It’s his. You see, Ricky is a novel. A grand tale that nobody will ever forget. And your’s? A collection of short stories, none of them ever properly finished. A collection of failures. This match will be just another in your long line.

 

As those words smoothly rolled off of her tongue, she looked at Ricky with a devious grin before turning her head to look at Bobby. She gave a single nod of the head as the largest man at the table spoke up.

 

Big Ass Bobby: It’s Alessa’s place to guide him but it’s my place to make sure nothing gets in that way. I want you to remember that while you’re out there, Valkyrie. Every time you turn your head to see me standing at ringside, I want you to know that it is my job to make sure what is supposed to happen..happens. And just look at me..

 

For emphasis, Bobby rises up from his seat, standing tall. He unbuttoned that over shirt before pulling up that tank top to reveal his muscular torso.

 

Big Ass Bobby: I’m more than capable of making sure you don’t get in his way. Hell, I’m more than capable of making sure nobody gets in his way. Just remember what we’ve told you, Valkyrie. When you see us circling ringside, inching closer and closer. You have to be ready. Primed and prepared to attack at the drop of a hat.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: And when that happens? It’ll be too late. The only thing you’ll see is the backs of your eyelids as I kick you in the back of the head. Bring you up on my shoulders and drop you harder than you’ve ever been dropped before. You heard them, Valk. It’s my destiny. Get out of the way or get taken out of the way. It really isn’t a tough choice at all.

 

Bringing that glass up, Ricky drank down the rest of his drink before placing the glass back down onto the surface of the table. And with that, the scene slowly faded out as it focused upon Ricky’s smirking face.