Post by Thaddeus Duke on Jul 26, 2021 10:13:09 GMT -5
OCW Arena || Key West, Florida || 10:47 PM
“My Name Is Human” still blasts over the OCW Arena sound system as Ian and I make our way back through the curtain. In the Gorilla Position, Who’Re, Tony Savage, Adi Gold and no less than a dozen producers and road agents are present. Savage, hard at work, reaches back over his shoulder to smack my hand for a ‘five’ as we walk by.
Adi watches a monitor for a moment and makes eye contact with me for a short moment before Ian and I exit Gorilla to the backstage area where we run into Edward Jones, backstage journalist extraordinaire.
“Thaddeus Duke,” he calls out, interrupting our path to the locker room. “Can I ask you a few questions?”
“Of course,” I answer back.
“Folks are gonna ask… why’d you kick Peter Vaughn?”
“I’m on an island, Ed,” I begin. “There’s a target on my back and I’ve intentionally put it there on my own. Kicking Peter Vaughn wasn’t personal, it’s just business. I was one hundred percent willing to uphold my end of the deal we made but then he’s planning something else with someone else and didn’t bother to fill me in, neither publicly nor privately and that’s a bad foundation for trust.
“I have no idea if he was planning a double cross or not but if you’re me, with the target I’ve already said that I’ve placed on my back… would you trust that? All it was, was a preemptive strike to protect myself from any potential double cross.”
“What do you think of Xavier Lux interrupting your match to make an entrance?”
“One, it was a shit entrance… two, it’s very clear that I’ve hit on an insecurity of his and if he thinks I won’t exploit that insecurity when the time comes then he’s not paying attention.”
Edward eyes Ian Dream, still holding my briefcase and my XWF Hart Championship in one hand, for a moment before returning his attention to me. “Thaddeus, you pulled some strings to get Ian Dream by your side tonight despite his official start date being tomorrow… why Ian Dream? This Golden Age that you call it… what’s it mean for OCW?”
Pondering his question a moment I look over at Ian and offer him a ‘five.’ At its conclusion, I pull him into a bro hug before answering Ed. “Look at him. He’s young and inexperienced, yes. He’s good looking, talented, comes from a successful family line and reminds me a lot of myself five years ago. He’s a marketable star in the making and in six months, a year from now, OCW will be over the moon that they got in on the ground floor.
“Five years ago, I wish there was someone looking out for my best interests the way I am for Ian. He’ll take his lumps like we all have and we all still do, but Ian has winning in his blood Edward.”
Looking over at Ian, he has a light smile on his face. Grabbing him firmly, yet gently, by the back of his neck, I continue on. “The Golden Age isn’t just a buzz name to put on t-shirts. It’s a way of life. I said I was bringing change to OCW and I meant it. Not just change for the sake of change, but positive change that will carry OCW into the future and Ian Dream is a part of that vision… a part of that future.
“OCW’s ascension up the ranks of promotional power started by signing me and with Tony Savage, who shares a similar vision, now controlling the purse strings… It’s onward and upward from here.”
“Thaddeus,” Edward begins. “You just won a battle against Ed Houston… Do you have anything to say to him after that match?”
“Listen, I know how I carry myself,” I begin. “I know the perception I give off but it’s just business. After the final bell rings, believe it or not, I’m really as humble as anyone. Ed had the unfortunate task of being the guinea pig for the initial OCW Thaddeus Duke Experience.
“For the minority of people still pretending I’m not anyone… it’s hard for people that know me to beat me and that’s not ego, it’s just facts. Ed was game from start to finish. It didn’t end in his favor tonight but I want him to keep his head up high because he’s truly a great competitor.”
Just as I conclude, Adi Gold walks past and gives me the old locker room ass slap diverting my attention to her. “Good game champ,” she says while strutting off down the hall.
In response, Ian bounces his eyebrows up and down as Edward looks at me staring at her. “So the rumors are true?”
“What rumors?” I answer, finally taking my eyes from Adi.
“That you and Adi Gold are…”
Ian nods his head. Snapping my head in his direction, he stops nodding instantly and smiles.
“...in a romantic relationship.”
“Ed I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I reply quickly.
Again, Ian nods behind my back and again, I snap my head in his direction. Once more, just smiling Ian.
“Stop that,” I tell him.
“Stop what?” Ian asks.
“Doing whatever it is you’re doing.”
“Fine!” he calls out as he wipes the smile off his face.
“That’s not what I meant,” I tell him and he shrugs.
“So you and Adi Gold are NOT romantically linked?” Edward asks as I look down the hall toward Adi Gold.
“This has been real Ed,” I say with a slap on his shoulder. Turning my head toward my new partner in crime. “Ian,” I say, looking him in the eyes. “Thanks for having my back tonight… I gotta go.”
Quickly making my way up the hallway, Ian calls out, “What about your briefcase?…. And your belt?”
Turning back and backpedaling up the hall, “Hang on to ‘em ‘til tomorrow!”
“Where are you going!?” Ian asks.
“Key West!” I call out as I catch up to Ad Gold. She grabs my hand as we continue up the hall.
“You’re already IN Key West!” Ian shouts out toward me.
“Not yet I’m not!” I call back, looking at Adi.
Edward looks at Ian… “Ian, they’re very clearly in a relationship… right?”
"He's been using 'Key West' as a euphemism, hasn't he?" Ed asks of Ian.
Again, Ian nods.
“Stop nodding, Ian!” I call out as Adi and I enter my locker room and the scene fades.