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Author Topic: Chapter 2: The Ticket (RP 2/2 vs Gabriel Cash)  (Read 304 times)

Max Wu

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Chapter 2: The Ticket (RP 2/2 vs Gabriel Cash)
« on: October 25, 2014, 07:39:25 AM »
Hi, Gabriel.

My name is Maximilian Wu.

If that’s too much of a mouthful, just Max Wu will do.

Asides from the face that we’re both new faces in SHOOT Project, I doubt we’ve got anything else in common.

From what little I can gather of your background, you’re practically the son of Hollywood royalty. Goddamn, what a life it must be up to this point.

Admittedly I don’t go out to the movies much; I’ve had plenty of excitement and plot-twists in my life to keep my interest occupied. So forgive me if your old folks’ names don’t ring a bell with stupid Max here.

But it must be nice growing up in a world where you’ve lacked of nothing, least of all the bare essentials. I couldn’t even begin to imagine growing up in the kind of luxury you may well have taken for granted.

I don’t hold that against you, in fact it’s a wonderful thing – a life where nothing is beyond your means or out of reach. Good on you for lucking out, I’d urge you to make the best of your position in the prime of your youth.

The countless opportunities and the near-limitless means with which to pursue them…

Which leads me to one question:

Why the hell did you pick this shit-fight for a career?



-


Present Day.

Las Vegas, Nevada.

“…98…99…100!”

Maximilian Wu lowers himself cautiously from the pull-up bar, careful to avoid any movement that may lead to sudden injury.  He picks up a folded towel from the ground, wiping the deluge of sweat from his face. Slinging the towel over his shoulder, Max makes his way to a nearby rack of dumbbells.

The 24 hour gym that Max had taken out a membership for was empty, which is not surprising given that it’s quarter to 4 in the morning. It suited him fine, no need to compete for equipment and the relative silence meant no distraction from his workout.

As he approaches the dumbbell rack, Max reaches down with both hands to pick the appropriate weight for his strength training. As he curls his fingers around the grips, Max looks up to find his own reflection staring back at him from the wall-mirror.

He hasn’t stepped into a ring for more than 15 years, his face hasn’t aged too much since then. Max still retained a youthful appearance for a man his age; he could easily pass for a man in his mid-to-late 20s. Still, the life he’s led since then had hardened his countenance, there were lines in his expression that betrayed the ordeal of his own journey through the darker recesses of humanity.

Max’s physical state, from honing his abilities on the street and constant training, remains in a fighting fit condition. He couldn’t let his physical talents go to waste, even if he wanted to – there is little room for sloppiness in the trade he plied over the years since he left Japan.

Still, it wasn’t good enough. Max needed to be at his absolute best for his debut. There is a kind of simplicity to a straight match in the ring that forces both competitors to be honest to an extent. In the street, things are constantly in a Darwinian state of nature - any confrontation is held hostage by the environment, with survival being the constant objective amidst the utter chaos.

In the ring, there is some semblance of order. There were rules, which could be bent, or at times broken, but they were present nonetheless. While it may not necessarily be the case for all matches, the objective in this case is to triumph over the competitor and proving oneself worthy of being recognized as the better man – the winner.

Max Wu smirks at himself in the mirror before lifting both dumbbells off the rack. He adjusts his posture and stance for weightlifting before beginning his reps.

He had no intention of embarrassing himself on the coming Revolution program, in fact, Max had every intention of giving his younger opponent a run for his money.


-


Maybe you’re bored with a charmed existence, maybe you’re looking for a challenge, maybe everything just comes too easy for a person like you, or perhaps you’ve got something to prove by getting in that ring and running the risk of mangling that perfect face of yours…

That you’re capable of standing on your own feet and achieving something by the strength of your own abilities – getting your own hands dirty for once – I get that.

Or maybe deep down, there’s a sadomasochist eagerly waiting to legally inflict physical punishment in a sanctioned match. Maybe you just want to hurt people and get away with it.

Does that get you off? You’re one of those cases?

I don’t know, and I’m not going to pretend that I completely grasp what makes the man behind the photogenic, movie star looks of Gabriel Cash, tick.

I’m certainly not one to pass judgment.



-


Present Day,

“So why’d you get back into wrestling after all these years?”

Max looks up to find his newly conscripted assistant, Andrew White, with an inquisitive expression on the younger man’s face. They are both in Andrew’s studio apartment, seated across from each other on a dining table.

“So, how’d you end up as a drug-dealer?” asks Max. Andrew shrugs his shoulders in response, “It pays the bills, I guess,” he answers.

“But why the fuck push drugs in the first place? I mean, bright college-grad like yourself from a good family, I’m sure you’ve got options,” queries Max, smirking as he awaits an explanation from Andrew, who breathes out a deep sigh.

“The moment I graduated, my dad cut me off completely from the trust-fund and told me I was on my own. After sending out what must’ve been a zillion resumes and getting back an equal sum in rejection letters, I decided I wasn’t going to hang around and wait for an eviction notice,” explains Andrew, pausing for a moment as if in reflection before continuing, “So I called up a good friend of mine with a solid hookup and away I went.”

Max crosses his arms in front of his chest, raising a questioning eyebrow – the explanation still didn’t sit right with him.

“But why not get a job waiting tables or stacking shelves or something before something better comes along?” asks Max. Andrew lets out a chortle in response to the question,

“I guess I couldn’t stand the idea of punching a card and putting up with shit for minimum wage,” answers Andrew, before deciding to add a retort, “Could you?

Before Max could counter, his phone rings from the confines of his jeans pocket. He retrieves it and inspects the screen, before immediately rising from his chair and walking towards the balcony to take the call.  Andrew shakes his head as Max presses down on the answer button and raises the cellphone to his ear.

“Go ahead,” greets Max after picking up the call. The male, slightly accented voice on the other end sounded less than pleased.

“What is this I’ve been hearing about you joining some professional wrestling outfit in Las Vegas?” asks the voice in a disapproving tone.

“Just indulging in an old past-time of mine, nothing more,” answers Max casually, gazing at the view from the balcony as he converses. He looks below at the street to find it relatively quiet which is typical of early mornings; the pedestrian traffic would pick up as the day progresses.

“Listen Max, if you jeopardize your assignment in Las Vegas – it’s your head,” says the voice, reminding him of his obligation.

“It’s not going to affect anything, so don’t you worry about that list, nothing’s getting in the way of me working through it,” replies Max coolly; any other person in his position would be shitting bricks.

“So have you found the old man’s daughter?” asks the voice on the other end. Max hesitates for a moment before answering; it was one of the few grey areas in his scope of priorities that fell in between the realm of business and personal relationships. He usually did his best to avoid getting both worlds mixed up, as he saw no good, or profit, resulting from such reckless disregard of boundaries.

Goddamnit Johnny…

“So you found her?!” asks the voice again, bringing Max’s attention back to the conversation at hand before he could revisit the past in his thoughts, another folly he normally steered clear from; in his opinion, people wasted obscene amounts of time trying to find where everything went wrong as opposed to doing something, anything, to move forward.

Fuck you Johnny, fuck you very much.

“It’s looks like a dead end, turns out she pulled a disappearing act some time ago, no leads…” answers Max before the voice interjects, “I’m not buying it, and you can bet your precious neck that the old man won’t take that for an answer,” he says admonishingly, sounding irritated. Max’s grip tightens around his cellphone; he answers as calmly as he possibly can without losing it altogether and unleashing verbal diarrhea on whoever the caller was. He came close to giving him the business and letting the irritable caller know what he really thought about the clusterfuck of a mess from the start.

He didn’t sign-up to hunt for runaway rich princesses - especially those fucking dumb enough to throw it all away for some Mills & Boon fantasy and risk the kind of fury no sane person would even attempt to reason with.

“Look, honestly, I didn’t ask for this. YOU dumped this shit on my head and got me playing detective out in the goddamn desert! Do I look like Dick Tracy to you? I’m a fucking COLLECTOR damnit!” Max retorts, raising his voice as he spoke. Andrew retrieves his iPhone and begins swiping through the screen, attempting to look occupied as he listens uncomfortably to the one-sided exchange.

“It’s clear that you were the best man for the job, given your proven track record for getting results…” replied the caller dryly, before proceeding to state what Max had anticipated with equal measures of dread and annoyance, “and also, given YOUR prior history with the person responsible for this…”

Max decides to interrupt, having heard enough, “If you’re going to accuse me of anything, you might as well spit it out. Nobody likes a bullshit artist,” he snaps back. He had put up with enough spin from debtors and deadbeats almost on a regular basis: all for the money. Of course, there was to some extent, credibility and good standing built up over the years when he pledged his loyalty to the outfit.

Even that counted for little more than token recognition these days, readily discarded when it suited the purposes of certain individuals within the upper echelon.

“Nobody is accusing you of anything…” was about as far as the voice got before Max cuts him again, “Then why did you put this shit on me? Did it ever occur to you that I was as clueless as everybody else was when they pulled that disappearing act?”

“Need I remind you…” said the caller and Max braced himself for the condescension that would soon follow,  “…that when YOUR sworn brother took her away from her rightful place among us, he brought dishonor and grief against her family and the values of our association,” he explains in the all-too-familiar stern and scornful manner that Max had grown to resent over time.

Some of them only brought up honor when it suited their purposes. Max knew better, it meant a face-saving exercise was underway.

“You are aware that she left on her own volition, right? Nobody stuck a gun to her head and hauled her off kicking and screaming,” he replies, revealing the obvious. “It made sense, all of you losing your shit over the beloved daughter of our revered crime lord,” explained Max, before dropping the proverbial bomb he had been saving for this moment:

“She eloped, didn’t she?”

Max pauses for a few seconds to allow a response. When he heard only sighing over the line, Max takes it as a confirmation and decides to continue.

“She wanted out, plain and simple. Maybe the old man had her set-up for some arranged marriage that she didn’t want, or maybe she just wanted get away from all this secret society bullshit. Either way, it’s clear she was looking for a fresh start,” says Max, wishing he could see the man on the other side of the line wince in discomfort at being confronted with the truth they had tried to keep buried within the confines of the inner circle.

They assumed that Max would dive straight into the inevitable confrontation with guns blazing and tank full of rocket fuel – eager to dispense his special kind of punishment reserved for the kind of scum that would turn his back on his own brothers.

You know what they say about assumption.

It never occurred to them that Max would do anything otherwise.

“You’ll take the word of a traitor over your brothers?” asks the voice, Max picked up the not-too-subtle threat in the tone.

“He was a brother too, gave up the best years of his life to clean your shit up - no questions asked.” he answers, reminding the caller of the exemplary, unwavering loyalty that the man they now branded a traitor once demonstrated.

Max couldn’t believe they bought into the hype. It reminds him that they were young once.

“You’re treading on dangerous ground Max…” warns the voice before Max interjects again. One corner of his mouth turns upwards into a smirk, he had the pompous bastard by the balls.

“Really? Because the way I see it, we’re all standing on the lake of thin ice. Why, all it takes is a careless rumor making the rounds through the lower ranks for all of us to go under,” replies Max, barely able to contain the malicious glee in his own voice. While he personally viewed the feudal, scheming nature of internal politics with utter contempt; over the years, he had picked up on the intricacies of it through sheer observation.

Max knew enough to recognize leverage when he had it, and when to best apply it to his advantage.

“Don’t you ever forget, you’re a collector first and foremost. Your word to us is bond,” says the voice before the call abruptly ends. Max removes the handset from his ear and breathes out a deep sigh. After slipping the phone back into the confines of his pocket, he leaned slightly against the railing of the balcony before gazing off into the distance.

“You still haven’t answered my question.”

Max turns back to find Andrew standing at the entrance to the balcony. He merely smirks and shifts his attention back to the view in front of him. One by one, the windows of the apartment building across the road are lit up; people would soon begin shuffling out of the entrance below to be greeted by the start of a brand new day.

“I’ll tell you,” replies Max, turning back to face Andrew with a grin before he continues, “After I’ve stepped into the ring again.”


-


For you, Gabriel, it’s going to be your big debut – your proper introduction to the fans and stakeholders of SHOOT Project.

I’ll bet you haven’t been this excited since you were a kid waking up on Christmas morning.

Then again, for the likes of you – everyday’s Christmas in comparison with what most of the world has to slog through.

Still, I’m sure there’s a part of you that’s eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to square off in that ring, in front of all those people who’ve shelled out decent money for a good show.

You must be thinking to yourself: It’s my big moment, my time to shine.

As your opponent for the night, it falls upon me to introduce you to the reality of the sports entertainment business, and what it takes to step into that ring.

It would be an honor to break you.



-


Two Weeks Ago

“You alright, brother?”

Holding an icepack against the side of his bruised face, Johnny Yang leans back on the front passenger seat of a moving car. He smiles through bleeding lips while stifling the pain of cracked ribs, his free arm clutching the affected area.

“Never been better,” answers Max Wu from the drivers seat. There are bruises and graze wounds visible on the knuckles of his hands on the steering wheel.

While it’s clear who’s in better shape out of the two, it’s clear that neither walked away unscathed.

“The old man ain’t going to be happy,” remarks Johnny with a concerned look. Max nods in acknowledgement.

“Yeah, but nothing any of us can do about it if she can’t be found,” replies Max. His longtime friend and acquaintance, Johnny, concurs with a nod of his own.

As he turns into an intersection, Max reaches for the cigarette packet sitting on the dashboard. He deftly flicks it upon and fishes out 2 cigarettes between his lips. After lighting them up, he immediately passes one to Johnny, who places the icepack down to accept it.

“Thanks,” he says before taking a drag. Max inhales deeply from his own cigarette before exhaling the smoke out through the open car window.

“So what are your plans now?” asks Max. Johnny shrugs weakly, his expression showing uncertainty.

“I’ll probably leave town once I’m all fixed up, not sure where I’ll go next though,” answers Johnny. Max smiled; he thought Johnny wasn’t cut out to be a bartender in a dump like Mesquite.

“What about you? Next stop?” asks Johnny, who flicks some of the cigarette ash out through the open car window on his side.

“Vegas,” answers Max without hesitation, his voice clear and filled with certainty.  Johnny turns to look at his old friend.

“Vegas? What for?” he asks and Max smirks before pulling over.

“There’s a promotion up there, SHOOT Project, thought I might give it a shot,” he answers. The car comes to a complete stop in front of a building; the sign above the entrance indicates that it is a medical center. Max shifts the gear up to park and pulls the handbrake for good measure.

“Shit, it’s been so long since Tokyo,” remarks Johnny. Max taps a button that unlocks the car doors. Johnny slowly reaches for the door handle, gripping and pulling it to let himself out. As he slowly maneuvers a foot out on to the pavement, he turns back to look at his old friend.

“Why now after all these years?” he asks. Max reaches for a pair of sunglasses, sitting on a dashboard compartment. He slips them on, smirking and studying his own reflection briefly in the rear-view mirror.

“Could use the extra paycheck,” Max replies. Johnny slowly ambles out of the passenger seat and exits the car. “Best of luck,” he says as he painfully straightens himself and raises his free hand in a mock-salute.

The passenger door slams shut and Max speeds off towards the freeway. Johnny looks at the car turn a corner and disappear from sight; leaving only the fading noise of an engine.

“Lying sonofabitch,” says Johnny as he limps his way towards the entrance of the medical centre, hurting and laughing.


-