An Origin Story Pt. 10 (RP 2) Jul 16, 2018 20:57:27 GMT -5
Post by Aaron Kostan on Jul 16, 2018 20:57:27 GMT -5
With a deep breath Aaron walked calmly through the glass doors of Goldfeld's Gym. He looked above him at the ceiling tiles stained with water damage. He looked down at the cracked tile of the floor. At the back, above the two rings, a ceiling fan clicked rhythmically, as it probably had for years. Chances are that if you cut it off it would never again come back on.
It was early in the morning, only one day after the contract had been presented to him. The only people in the half lit gym were Abraham and Aaron.
“What are you doing here so early kid?” Abraham shouted as he walked from his office.
“To be honest, I'm not sure.”
“That seems to be a theme with you.”
“It's a curse of a cautious mind.”
“There's nothing wrong with being cautious. You had made your decision hadn't you?”
“Well I thought-”
“And then you unmade it.”
Abraham put a reassuring hand on Aaron's back.
“Come over here.”
The two men walked over to the wall lined with pictures of decades long gone. Some showed Abraham in his prime, others with him and his students. Aaron's eyes finally landed on the one he had seen way back on the day of the storm, the one of his father standing next to a smiling Abraham.
“You know, your father was skeptical about accepting his first major contract too.”
“Really? He always seemed ready for the day that contract came, and the day he would hold that world championship above his head.”
“You were young when that offer came in. You probably didn't even notice.”
“They gave him a month to decide. Over the course of that month his wrestling was poor...average at best. Outside of the ring he stopped working out, he barely ate. He lost a good deal of weight in that month. The stress of that decision really weighed on his shoulders.”
“I don't understand. What would make that decision so hard for him? It was everything he ever wanted.”
“No, you were. You, your sister, your mother...that's all your father ever needed. He knew that taking that job would keep him away from all of you.”
“Then why did he take it?”
“Your mother told him to. What good is a family if they can't support you when that which you had waited for your whole life finally shows up on your doorstep?”
They stared at the picture for a moment.
“Mr. Goldfeld...it's a good story, but I don't understand how this helps me.”
“Because I know why you can't make up your mind.”
“Well please do tell me!”
“There's a girl.”
“No, I'm not dating anyo-”
“I didn't say you were dating her. I just said she exists, and you are afraid wrestling will take you away from her.”
Aaron thought as he looked at the picture a little longer, then another, and another. He saw many men, but the most noticeable thing about each picture was not what was in them, but what was missing from them...not a single family, nor a wife.
“Let's go sign that contract.”
“Well now listen, I didn't get to the reassuring part about still having time for family.”
“I don't need it.”
Aaron, with a hand on Abraham's back now, began to usher his trainer back to his office. As they walked through the door and Aaron sat down at the chair, he began to look over the last page of the contract.
“What's this 'additional billing' line about?”
“Oh, that's just for nicknames and such. It's not that important.”
“Well hold on now...all the greats have a good nickname.”
“And what did you have in mind?”
“I don't know...”
Aaron began stroking his beard in thought.
“It needs to let them know who I am and what I stand for from the moment I step through that curtain.”
“Well don't ask me for help on this.”
“When I am in the ring I focus on skill, and taking advantage of every opportunity that my opponent's mistakenly give me. No moment is wasted, no move flawed. At least...that's the idea. What encompasses that?”
“Maybe that thing we've been telling you for months.”
“That you are an artist in the ring Aaron...maybe not just an artist...the artist.”
“'The Artist' Aaron Kostan…I like it.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“It's just a notification...it's Anna's birthday today.”
It had been months since Aaron had talked to Anna. If the story of how he made it to this point had been written out in parts it would be easy to think Anna was merely a secondary character of little importance with how little Aaron had interacted with her. The truth is that he had tried to block out the memory of her as the months went on. Suddenly as the memories flooded back Aaron found that which he had hidden from himself.
“W- What's her son?”
“Everything. It's all been about her. Every single bit of it.”
Aaron's eyes grew wide the more connections he began to make.
“I told myself that I left teaching because I didn't like it anymore, but there was an even bigger reason. It was obvious that Anna was about to get engaged. I knew I couldn't be with her, so I had to get away.”
“That was over a year ago.”
“The decisions don't stop there. I think I started wrestling for the same reason. I've always known that wrestlers have trouble building and maintaining steady relationships because of the travel and the time demand.”
“Your mother and I were fine. We-”
“Almost got divorced...I was a kid but I wasn't oblivious.”
An awkward silence filled the room but only for a moment before Aaron continued his thought.
“I accepted the contract to EHWF because I had began to feel those feelings rising up again. Her and Stephen had just announced the date of their wedding the weekend prior, and I knew that traveling the world would get my mind off of her.”
“Oh son, I'm so sorry that I didn't pick up on any of this. I should have been paying closer attention.”
“I got there and I told everyone I was just there for the money. If I won, I was happy to get the winning bonus. If I was champion, I was happy to get the champion's bonus. I told them that I didn't care about wrestling, or the EHWF. Most of the time I didn't care about the fans. Why? Her. All I knew is that I was mad, so I took it out on the whole daggum sport.”
He paused, leaning forward in the chair as if his posture would help his mind work better.
“As I pushed her to the back of my mind the anger faded and I looked for a purpose. Did wrestling need saving? Was I the one to do it? Were the Rissi's trying to save it? Should I join their side? Were all of my opponents prideful villains with a lust for violence, or were some of them good?”
“Was I the villain? Usually the man alone against the world, the lone wolf is the villain...”
“No son, you are not the villain. Don't think like that. You just...you're a little lost, that's all.”
“Maybe, but right now I'm seeing things clearer than I have in months. The uncertainty, the indecisiveness it all stems from one thing...because the purpose that I want to be fighting for...the woman I want to be fighting for I can't fight for...and there's not a single purpose in the world greater than love.”
“So what are you fighting for at Meltdown Chamber then?”
“As far as they know...safety and neutrality for the EHWF World Championship.”
“And as far as you know?”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Purpose...God says in the Bible that we all have one. We all play a part. In everything we do we have a reason for doing it, even if sometimes we are blind to it.”
“The day I found Abraham Goldfeld and started my training to get here I was coming from a chapel in the mountains of South Carolina. I prayed that God would show me the way, the next step, the next purpose for me. At the time I was sure this was it. I was sure that the next big chapter of my life was going to be in the family business of professional wrestling.”
“Yet here I am eleven months into my wrestling career, seven months into my employment here in EHWF, the Junior Heavyweight Champion, and one of the members of the main event meltdown chamber match for a world title and I still don't know why I'm here.”
“Oh I've had some purposes. I've had more reasons for being here than I have hair in my beard. Some I made up in my head, some I said out loud in promos, and trying to make sense of it all has been one mountain of a task.”
“Imagine looking for the truth for this many months then finally realizing the truth is that out of all the purposes you've come up with...none of them are right. The truth is I'm not sure why I am here anymore, and on top of that I never really was. I am starting to think God sent me down a dead end road.”
“Look at all of these people I'm competing again. They are hall of famers, former meltdown chamber winners, former world champions. They are on top of their game, and it's because they know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are fighting for.”
“I've spent the week listening carefully to their words as one by one they have posted their own promos for their chance at the EHWF World Championship. I marveled at how sure they were of their place, their purpose, and their chances in the meltdown chamber. However, I also marveled at the fact that despite how different they seemed, they were all alike.”
“When it comes to my opponents, Thor is the most vocal on his purpose in this match. He has dug up all sorts of history to justify his actions and his place. He says he has the company's best interests in mind, and who am I to tell him he is wrong? Only the man himself knows the true nature of his thoughts.”
“That is, of course, by no means an endorsement of his actions. The man has clearly gone about this all the wrong way, but I agree that maybe it's time the championship fell into the hands of someone who wanted to take on the responsibility that goes with being the World Champion...though I can't say for sure that's me.”
“Then Creed, well his purpose is just to hurt people. To him the belt simply means you are the most violent, the most dangerous. He's too busy making threats to check his facts. I've beaten him three times. Statistics say that's not just luck anymore. Oh and a win over Jason Dave? I've got one of those too. Though, in his defense there was interference...I think from Creed to be honest, but that was some time ago.”
“I do want to take the time to thank him for warning me about not letting the gold go to my head. His concern is appreciated, but I've stated multiple times that the Junior Heavyweight Championship has been devalued by many people to the point where it means little to me. I'm simply keeping it out of the hands of those who would further corrupt it...like Creed.”
“Jason Dave's purpose is the simplest of all, because it goes without saying...he's just got to defend. I have to agree with Thor though that Dave has greatly ignored his duties at World Champion. Is the champion responsible for the imbeciles backstage? Of course not! But he should still try to actively be the voice of reason helping to provide the best product to the paying fans week in and week out. Jason, along with the Rissi family, has only served to create further chaos backstage. That may be because he believes an element of mayhem and pandemonium is needed to be successful in war. I beg to differ, but would rather not waste time right now.”
“Aubree's purpose is to reclaim what was once hers. Her problem lies in the belief that many so called wrestlers hold - that if they don't know someone then they aren't any good. Not knowing what someone is capable of is more the reason to be wary of them Aubree. History has many examples of this, but I won't bore you with those details now.”
“Listen, there's no reason for me to keep going here. You get the point, each person has their own purpose for being there. Yet despite these differences they are all the same. Look at the bedrock, the foundation of these stated purposes and you'll see they all fight for petty grudges, to return to their glory days, or to right history's wrongs...all such dishonorable, ego-centric things.”
“I suppose that sounds better than my campaign slogan 'At least I'm not them.' I can't promise to save wrestling, and I never really said it was my purpose to do so. It's obvious that the fans don't want me to either. I apologized to them for the instability of the company and disrespect for them and the sport that they saw at Sudden Death. Later I wondered why though. They paid to see it, they still pay to see it. They want to see the violence too. This is wrestling now.”
“So maybe I do want to win the EHWF World Championship.”
“I didn't want to because I feared that I would be tempted to try to undertake the enormous task of changing the culture of the locker room for the fans' sake if for no one else's. Since the fans don't want that either (not that that is necessarily a problem, the choice is theirs), then heck...I might as well win it to at least provide a change of pace, a breath of fresh air. They can continue to be violent and draw blood and fight their petty personal wars while the fans keep paying and cheering...meanwhile an actual wrestler, and artist, can be champion for a change.”