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Nuthin But A C Thang
04-28-2018, 07:08 PM
Post: #1
Apologies for the late post, had all of my uni assignments in this week.



As I walked down the ramp to the ring at my first every Warfare appearance, flanked by my Crip ‘associates’, I remember thinking to myself that what would follow in the weeks after would be a homage to those last few scenes in Goodfellas where Henry Hill totally loses the fucking plot. I had in my head images of paranoia, seeing Fade and TwoTone everywhere, hiding under tables in diners and peeking through my blinds in hotel rooms at each car that passed outside.

The XWF funded seat on the first plane I could get back to LAX from Auckland was, of course, economy. I travelled straight from the arena, stopping only to pick up my luggage, before making a beeline for the airport. Throughout the taxi ride to the airport I was looking constantly over my shoulder, expecting to see Fade and TwoTone in Caddy they’d somehow ‘liberated’ within two hours of touching down in New Zealand but they never came. It’s because of their absence that I managed to arrive back in LA with no issue, and it’s because of their absence that I managed to book into a dilapidated apartment in Compton without having to return to Fade’s run down smack den.

I’m in that apartment now. I haven’t left since booking in. It was with a combination of pleasant surprise and lingering fear that I saw my pay for the match had arrived directly in my account. The figure was considerably more than I’d expected. It turned out that the prospect of an untrained rookie going up against two hardened ring veterans was quite the draw for the XWF’s sponsors, management and fans, and that was enough to get our encounter bumped up to the main event slot, which brought with it a bonus enough to get me back to the UK and even get a deposit down on a decent flat. The fear came from the prospect of returning there, where I had no doubt that news of my new career would have reached my friends and family. It also came from the fact that I had no doubt that, after a few days, Fade and TwoTone would arrive to collect the money.

That, then, combined with my aching back and the neck that was so bruised I that I still can’t even look to my left or right, that I’ve stayed in the darkened bedroom of this apartment, leaving only to the front door to collect the food and alcohol delivered by Ubereats, the app that I’d lived off since my less-than-triumphant return. The floor of the room was covered in pizza boxes, McDonalds wrappers and emptied cans of the cheapest beers I could get delivered. Old habits die hard, I guess.

I’ve not turned the light on since I’ve moved in. The solitary glimmer of illumination in the room now came from the torch on my phone, which was considerably less harsh on my pounding head. I received an email from XWF management, which confirmed my next match, a few days ago. A Google search of the name ‘Mezian’ brought several images of a man who, unsurprisingly, looked like he could easily eat me alive without a second thought. The YouTube videos of his best moves were even more worrying and even his entrance music sounded catastrophic for my health.

I’m lying in the bed now. The sheet underneath is hanging off the side and the duvet is poking out through the cover. I reach down for another can, but the crate next to me is empty. I sigh, which in itself shoots a bolt of pain through my body, and slowly shift my legs out of the bed. I stand up and yawn, forgetting for a second about my practically crippled neck, and growl in pain. Without thinking I aim a kick at the bedside table, which causes even further agony to my leg. I take a deep breath and leave the room limping. With the light off I squint my eyes, trying to acclimatise to the dark of the living room. I jump so hard that I nearly hit the roof when the silence is shattered by the sound of a can opening. I turn my head too quickly again and once more my neck screams in pain.

‘Sup, cuz.’

TwoTone is sat on the stained sofa. He has a beer in his hand and a new crate on the table.

‘For fuck sake…’ I mutter. TwoTone smiles slightly and shrugs.

‘Long time no see.’

I stare at him for a moment and take a deep breath.

‘Look I’ll send you this money, I just wanted a few days on my own.’

‘It’s your money, man.’

The concussion must really be fucking me up because for a second it sounded like TwoTone had turned up to my squalor shithole to tell me that I was keeping the money I earned.

‘What?’

‘The XWF money. I’m guessing that’s what you’re on about. It’s yours. Why wouldn’t it be?’

I feel the same stupid, dumbfounded look still staining my face.

‘You’re fucking with me? Great, cheers, that’s what I need.’

‘I’m not fucking with you man. Our interest in this wasn’t your pay cheque. You’ve done your job. You were fucking great.’

‘I lost.’

‘You didn’t lose. I mean, you didn’t win, but you didn’t lose. You did a lot better than we thought you would,’ he says. ‘Will you sit down? You’re putting me on edge.’

I hesitate for a second. I stare at him once more, before I move next to him and take a seat. He’s been here for about two minutes and it’s already the most I’ve ever heard him say. As soon as I sit down he passes me a beer. I look at it in the dark for a moment before cracking it open. I take a sip. It’s a lot better than the Walmart own brand shit that I’d been drinking.

‘Where is he then? Hiding in the kitchen? Ready to slap me on the back? I’d prefer it if he didn’t do that.’

‘He’s not here.’

I look at him again.

‘No I mean Fade. Where’s Fade?’

‘I know who you mean. He’s not here,’ TwoTone says. ‘I don’t know what he’s doing but he’s not around at the minute. It’s just me.’

‘I didn’t realise you did conversation,’ I say without thinking. I close my eyes, waiting for the threat. Instead he just laughs. There’s no malice in the laugh, just genuine amusement. He raises his can to his lips and downs it. He squeezes it, burps, and puts it on the table, before reaching for another.

‘You don’t get it, do you man?’

‘What?’ I take drink from the can. It goes down beautifully. The beer is cool and fizzy, a far cry from the grim, warm cans I’d had to make do with.

‘You think I like doing any of this shit? It’s just what has to be done isn’t it? You really think that if I had a choice I wouldn’t rather get a proper job?’

I laugh this time.

‘Oh yeah you seem really reluctant to do it. Have you forgotten you’re talking to someone you literally kidnapped and forced to bum fuck New Zealand to fight in a fucking carnival?’

‘I said I don’t like doing it. Not that I won’t. I’m good at what I do.’

I laugh again. I look down at the floor around me, and I realise that, although we’ve been speaking for what I swear is a matter of minutes, we’ve already made a heavy dent in the previously full crate of beer that TwoTone had brought with him.

‘Yeah, well, I’m not good at what I do, and thanks to you I’ve got to go up against someone else who looks like he’ll kill me.’ I said.

‘I saw that. Mezian.’ TwoTone looks at me hard for a second as if he’s trying to keep a straight face. After a few more seconds he fails and bursts into laughter. ‘Yeah he’s a big guy.’

‘I hadn’t notice.’ I mutter.

‘You’ll be fine. It’s not as scary as last week. There’s only one of him to break your neck.’

‘Great.’

I sit back on the sofa. The beer’s numbed my body somewhat, and it’s now gone from a nuclear explosion of pain every time I move to a minor dirty bomb.

‘I guess you watched his promo about you, huh?’ TwoTone asks.

‘I feel like he wants me to prove him wrong.’

TwoTone laughs.

‘Do you think you will?’

I stare at him.

‘No. Of course I fucking won’t.’

‘I dunno, cuz. You proved me wrong last week.’

‘Still lost.’

‘Didn’t die though.’

I breathe deeply. Take a drink. Throw the can to the floor.

‘What are you doing here, TwoTone?’

‘Paying a friend a visit.’

‘We’re friends now?’

An expression of mock offence appears on his face. He’s annoyingly good at that.

‘CJ, after all the stuff we’ve been through you don’t consider me a friend? We took on Christian Andrews together! We took on Callib Wallace together! And only one of them dropped you on your head!’ His voice is exaggerated and dramatic, the type a voiceover artist would use for a blockbuster.

‘….and now I’m being fed to Mezian and his shit blonde highlight.’

‘Exactly! We’re facing this together now as well!’

I sigh and sit back again. I look at him. My eyes have acclimatised to the lack of light in the room and I can see his face. He’s got a big, patronising, beaming smile plastered onto his face like wallpaper.

‘So you’re telling me you didn’t find out where I was staying and come round with a crate of beer to manipulate me into not dropping out of this match against Mezian?’

‘No, CJ, I’m not saying that. I think we both know that’s exactly what I did. How has it gone, man?’

I shake my head.

‘Zero chance am I doing this match.’

He stands to his feet. I don’t even flinch. I consider that personal growth.

‘Look, man. You saw the money you got for your last match. Good, right? Well just how good do you think it’s going to be when you drop that fat fool on his neck? You keep grinding and keep grinding and you can make yourself rich. I know you’re not in this to win a shiny belt. Who really gives a shit about that. Don’t do it for glory, CJ. Don’t do it for pride. Do it for the money, man.’

I look up at him. He looks proud of himself. That same smile is still on his face.

‘Fine, fuck it, it’s not like I can afford the lawyers’ fees for a breach of contract lawsuit anyway.’

‘Well yeah, that’s true.’ TwoTone says. He reaches into his pocket and takes out the most obvious burner phone I’ve ever seen in my life. He throws it at me. ‘That has one number on it. I think you know what to do.’

I roll my eyes. I’m now basically a drug whore.

‘Thanks.’

TwoTone pauses now.

‘Good luck, man.’

He slaps my hand and pulls me in for a brief hug, before turning on his heel and leaving through the front door. I stand there for a moment, confused at the slight display of actual affection, before I grab the remaining cans and retreat back to my room.
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