Fifty-Two Pick-Up

 
* * * * *

 
[We fade in on the rather unremarkable setting of a hotel room. A queen-sized bed lays in front of us and Scott Cruise lays on it. He is sitting with he back propped up against the wall and his legs splayed out in front of him. I glass punch bowl rests at the other end of the bed, nearest us. An array of playing cards litter the area around the bowl, a few actually in the bowl itself. With the casual flip of his wrist, Scott twirls one of the cards towards the bowl. It flutters off to the right and skids off the edge of the bed. His expression is one of absolute boredom.]

Every day that passes lately seems to be more excruciating than the last.

[Flip.]

My life is on hold.

[Flip.]

And it seems there is no escape.

[Flip.]

*sigh*

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I was *supposed* to come home, take a few weeks off, then start my ascent on the ladder to immortality. Granted I never expected that to be *easy*, but I never in my wildest imagination thought it’d get bogged down like this.

[Flip.]

“The NWC is the place to go”, they said. “WCW is dying. The WWF is bloated beyond capacity. Go to the NWC. They’ll take care of you; give you the shot you deserve. It’s the place to be.”

[He stops in mid-flip and looks at the camera. A slight snort and a silent shake of the head follows. Then…]

[Flip.]

So I did like they suggested. I signed with the NWC. Three weeks and a thousand follow-up calls later and *finally* I get word that they’re shipping me out to New York. LCW. Loki’s place. Fine. Cool. I’m down with it. Just tell me when to show up for my first match and I’ll be there. With goddamn BELLS on.

“We got a big supercard coming up. Let us get through that first, then you’re good to go.”

[A shrug of the shoulders and a…]

[Flip.]

So I waited. Took some indy dates as sort of a tune-up. I figured it was a good thing, you know. Knock some off the rust off. Hell, it’d been over a month since I’d had any real active work. So I cooled my jets, humbled myself a step, and returned to the roots of the business. You know I gotta admit, it was a good thing too. Gettin’ back to basics. Rememberin’ how and why I fell in love with this business in the first place.

[Flip.]

Then this SMIT thing popped up. “Great”, I thought. “Another chance for a tune-up. Get to work against some NWC caliber competition, maybe see where I stand. This’ll be perfect.”

Granted it took those people a good week-plus to process my app, but compared to the three weeks or so it took the main office, I figured this was considered “quick”. Boom, soon enough I got myself a match. Dez Bradley out of Hawaii. Perfect. Let’s do it.

[Flip.]

And we did. Seventy goddamn minutes we did it. Tore the place down. Maybe not my best work of all time, but a damned impressive beginning to my NWC career if I do say so myself. Not many guys I know who can go an hour plus in their debut and make it work. But I’ll give Bradley credit… he was up to the challenge. Thankfully, so was I. So there I was… off and runnin’. LCW had their little supercard, all was right with the world.

[Again he stops in mid-flip.]

Or so I thought.

[Flip.]

“Sorry, brother, no room for ya on this week’s show. Check in next week, we’ll squeeze ya in.”

*sigh*

[Flip.]

Meanwhile the SMIT airdate comes and goes. No footage. I gave the bastards seventy minutes of sweat and toil and they give me “technical difficulties”. Grand. Looks like it’s more indy dates for our boy Scott.

[Flip.]

So back to the trenches I went, workin’ dingy high school gyms and rec halls, wonderin’ just when it was I was gonna *really* get rollin’. “It’s only a matter of time, right?”

Wrong.

Another LCW show comes and goes and another DNP for me. I guess it’s time to put in a call to the big guy himself. Loki’s response?

“And you arrrrrrrrrre?”

[Flip.]

Cruise, jackass. Scott F’N Cruise. You SIGNED me, don’t you remember?

“Nope.”

*sigh*

“But I liked the promo work you did in SMIT. Tell you what, I’ll put you on next week’s show.”

Well it’s about goddamned time!

[Flip.]

Only one problem.

Next week’s show… no Scott Cruise.

Good God, man, how incompetent can one company be?

[Flip.]

Which brings us back to SMIT. Two months later. Two *MONTHS* later we finally get back on track. And what do I get for my trouble? Scott Mitchell, a guy who says his career is over once the tournament is. A guy who comes out and admits his heart isn’t in it anymore. A guy with all of the excitement of a piece of roadkill. Thanks for the opportunity, gang. I guess I’ll just generate all the heat by myself. ‘Preciate the hand, Mitch. Thanks for keeping up your end of the bargain.

[No flip this time. Scott just plops his hands down on his lap and stares at the camera.]

I left behind a lot of good memories and a lot of perks to come back home. I packed in a solid career over in Japan where I was damn near a legend, something not easy for us gaijin. More importantly, I had worked my ASS OFF for years in this business, workin’ every dump in every back-asswards country that would throw together a ring. You name it, I’ve worked there. I did my goddamned time. Paid my dues. It was time to come home to the states and collect the spot I had EARNED with all those years of work.

It was a simple plan, a good plan. Come to the NWC, where the “elite” supposedly play; start at the ground floor; work hard; climb the ladder; prove myself to be one of the greatest this sport has ever known. Not for a second did I expect things to be handed to me. I was – and AM – willing to work as hard as anybody in this whole damned company to become the best. All I asked for was an opportunity.

Instead I get jerked around like some dog on a leash, then left to rot in the backyard with that leash still around my neck, choking the very life out of my career.

[Flip.]

Well the time has come for all this bull[bleep] to end. In a few weeks my lawyer’s gonna have me free from this stupid NWC contract, the one YOU guys refuse to honor to begin with, and then I’m leaving this rotten memory behind.

But before I go, I want to take something from the place. A little token to remember the experience by. And that something is this Tournament Championship. I am going to *prooooove* to every one of the idiots in the NWC that dickin’ Scott Cruise around was a mistake. I am going to slice my way through every pretender you’ve got in this thing and walk out the winner. And then?

Then you can all kiss my ass.

[Flip.]

[Fade.]

 
* * * * *

 

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