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A Clash of Styles (Vs Tony Savage)
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TactilizingOne Offline
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(the perfect heel; hated even by the fans who usually cheer heels; pisses off internet fans too)


Post: #1
02-21-2022 01:16 AM

We find ourselves in the offices of Tact Enterprises, with desk staff typing away furiously and the Advocacy team at work on exploring partnership opportunities using the company’s investment pool, helping advertise and elevate smaller startups to a new level, forming strategies with businesses needing a revitalization, and other ventures.

In the corner office of the company’s namesake, Larry Tact sits at the meeting table at one end of the office. His golden blonde hair is tied back neatly, face has a chinstrap full beard, and he wears a button-down light blue dress shirt and grey slacks. Larry was joined this day by his son, Logan, who is on his midwinter break. He is an athletic high schooler with an already solid frame, something his father passed onto him. Logan has on a black school hoodie from his Varsity football team, the letter emblazoned on the upper left, and a pair of blue Levi’s. His light brown hair is styled in a fade and is covered by a NY Mets cap. Both of the Tacts are in thought as they view something on their phone.

Larry suddenly snaps his fingers, “Got it.”

Logan doesn’t look up from his phone, “Did you?”

“S-H-I-L-L baybee,” he proclaims, then frowns moments later.

“Nope, close though, like one letter,” Logan laughs.

“I don’t need a hint, thanks,” Larry says sourly, before quickly punching a few buttons. “SWILL.”

Logan looked up and made a gun motion with his thumb and index finger, “Bingo.”

“Who even says swill anymore? Swig, sure,” Larry grunted, looking for an explanation from nobody in particular. “Stupid Wordle.”

“I thought that was a word you people used,” Logan chimed in, “You know, your generation.”

“Yeah, and the world moves on. I should write Merriam-Webster a note to have it removed.”

“Please, who uses a dictionary anymore? Even you Google everything,” Logan replied.

“I’m not ancient, Logan. You’ve really got that notion in your head, but the fact is I’m still in my thirties. In wrestling terms, it’s a halcyon period. People see you’re still around, and they can say, ‘You suck,’ ‘You’re a one-trick pony,’ or ‘You have to prove yourself,’ but it sounds entirely moronic. Who sticks around for 20+ years and sucks or is bland and boring? I don’t know a promoter running a successful company who would hire a person like that. Not that it stops people from saying things that make them sound ridiculous,” Larry chuckled, “But the next wave of insults after that go something like, “You’re old,’ ‘Just retire,’ and ‘You don’t have it anymore’ or ‘You’re at the end of your line.’ There will always be something people want to criticize. It’s practically a language unto itself.”

“What if they’re right? Maybe you should hang it up. You don’t have to prove it to them, anyway, you’ve already got a career’s worth of highlights and titles,” Logan retorted, to which Larry shook his head.

“If I didn’t still have something to prove, then I would walk away. There’s a whole new generation of wrestlers for me to compete with. Last year, I joined Level Up Wrestling because I wanted to get out of the box I had been in and get different. Nothing against the F-Wrestling circuit at all, but I needed to challenge myself with something completely fresh and find out if I could make it. Now, Level Up is one of the fastest rising companies around, and I’m leading the way.”

“You and the Game Changers,” Logan interjected, as he looked back down at his phone.

“Absolutely. I proved I could rise up on my own last year, but 2022 is about taking Level Up to its own next level. To do that, it requires some resetting and collaboration is key,” Larry set his phone on the desk. “But I’m also getting back to my roots with PRIME, and I joined Pro Wrestling Valor to find more new challengers. It’s all a matter of picking your spots,” he explained.

“Okay,” Logan seemed unimpressed as he looked up at his father, “Make sure you come home for dinner once in a while.”

Larry sighed, “You know, for someone who’s seen my career for most of his life, and knows I run a business – of which you’re in the offices of – you certainly lack confidence that I know how to set priorities. Family is never forgotten. I wouldn’t have taken six years off to help raise you if I didn’t care, Logan.”

Logan continued to look irked at his father, “Yeah well, I guess you should look into a TIA sponsorship if you’re gonna be jetsetting, at least make use of their flight service,” then back to his phone.

“What flight– wait, how do you know about TIA Promotions?”

“They have a podcast, it’s cool,” Logan commented without looking up. “It’s a wrestling fan, journalist, whatever, and his son. Collaboration, right? How about that,” he snorted, still not looking up.

“Funny, kid. What are you playing, anyway? When did you figure out the Wordle?” Larry asked.

“Uh, maybe 12:30 in the morning? It comes out at midnight, come on,” Logan shot back. “And I’m playing Wordix. It’s better cuz you get as many words to solve as you want, instead of one stupid one.”

“Oh, where’d you find it?” Larry said, feeling behind on this one.

“Mom told me, she plays it a lot,” Logan said, and typed out, “B-O-X-E-R – ugh, see this one was lame, but I just get another.”

Larry seemed to recall his wife was on the phone a lot in bed after he came out of the shower. “Huh… I guess she’s added to her Zillow and IG addictions,” he mused.

“And TikTok, she’s pretty current actually. You need to catch up or we’ll all pass you, even Morgan,” Logan cautioned.

“Yeah, it wouldn’t surprise me if schools started to just stick ‘data hats’ on kids, pump data into their minds, and call it an education – bury the parental consent in the enrollment fine print somewhere,” Larry groaned at the notion, but drifted briefly towards how different his and Cindy’s infant would someday be educated. The thought was daunting and a little wild. “Anyway, what I was trying to say is I’m in a position where people don’t know what they’re going to get out of me, and that’s an advantage. They think I’m old and broken down? Hardly. It’s especially ignorant when people see stars with far more mileage, like Centurion, winning titles in their mid-forties. A World title, even. I knocked him off, though,” he smirked.

“I guess you know best,” Logan said mirthlessly.

Larry furrowed a brow. “Someday, you’ll believe that. Maybe I’ll be six feet under by then, but the words will hit different at some point in your life, kid.”

“Right, when I’m old,” Logan snorted.

“You know what? I’m downloading Wordix. Let’s see who can get more words in 30 minutes.”

“Don’t you have some work to do?”

“This is, uh, bonding time.” Larry quipped.

Logan laughed at that. “Mom mentioned something about that. Isn’t that term really meant for newborns? You’re about fifteen and a half years late on that,” but he smiled.

No matter what people thought of Larry, it wouldn’t deter him from his goals. He knew he had plenty of verbal jabs to dispense for those who obstructed his path to achievements, and battles to contest in the ring. He didn’t care if his opponents, the fans, and the announcers all hated him because wrestling may as well be the most popular and charismatic sewer on Earth: filled with all different types of unique creations and creatures from a unique blend of factors, bringing them all together. At the end of the day, though, he was still human. So when his son, whom he’d had some contentious disagreements with of late, came around and spent some time, even gave a smile? That already won the day for Larry.

But back to business at hand.

Later in the day, the drone camera fades into the office of Larry Tact. Logan has departed, likely gone to school practice for one of his three sports, which their coaches claim don’t receive breaks. Larry liked that style. He looked coolly at the camera with hands clasped together and rested on a solid cherrywood stained desk, a laptop and assorted accessory items moved to one side, for ease of viewing.

“Before we begin, I’d be remiss if I didn’t humbly acknowledge the organizers. Primarily, Denzel Porter, who I’m not on particularly good or bad terms with. He’s a decent man, and doing this for a good cause. That’s what I heard, and it prompted me to offer my services in a match because I’m not above contributing to a legitimately positive effort,” he shook his head briefly. “In fact, there aren’t enough of those in this wrestling industry of ours. I applaud those who take the time and effort to put together something of this magnitude, three nights and all. It’s an accomplishment that is worthy of praise.”

At this, Larry gave a gentle few claps of his hands before his hands returned to the desk.

“It also gives me another chance to find an opponent with whom, ideally, I’ve never faced. When I returned a year ago, I sought out somewhere I literally didn’t know a soul, and was considered a nobody. Now, I’ve risen up to become a champion. You can check the footage, it wasn’t easy, but the best rewards are begrudgingly earned – or Tactfully surrendered, of course,” he said, a smirk forming on his face. “With that, I wouldn’t want to deprive my Savage opposition some film for his training camp, or training week, whichever this invitational allows for,” he offered.

Larry stands from behind the desk and takes a manila envelope in hand as he came around the desk and learned against it. He paged through the envelope, “It looks here like Tony’s got quite the list of activities: former Afghan vet, boxer, wrestler, a true student of the game if you want to call it that,” he rings off each of the notes, then sends the manila envelope onto the desk with a smacking sound, resting his hands on a thigh. “Tony, from what I’ve heard you’re a no-nonsense kind of guy. You don’t like to be served crap on a stick, and told it tastes like chicken, right? You’re here for the sport of wrestling, and I could respect that. You want to break things down and sort them into categories and check your boxes in camp, all very calculated and secure. It’s nice to see someone who enjoys their work, for a change,” Larry cheerfully remarks, but as he pauses his countenance takes on an icier vibe.

“I don’t really like you, or respect you, Tony. You know, it’s interesting this match is taking place at all. It must be by chance because it was supposed to have happened in PW Valor a month or so ago. For some reason, though, Tony Savage took his ball and went home, or wherever you like to sleep at night. The universe works in strange ways, Tony, and here we are,” Larry spreads his arms, “Except this time, I’d hope you won’t bail on charity like you did on the wrestling date you were actually going to be paid for.”

Larry crosses his arms over his chest, looking off to one side and shaking his head. “It seems like you must be comfortable picking and choosing where you’ll compete these days, no worries about collecting your check. I know some veterans, and it’s a real mixed bag whether they’re broke and dealing with a meth problem; or if they have themselves together and are making ends meet, or better.” He looked back at the camera, “This may be where someone will say, ‘Too soon?’ but I really don’t give a crap if you’re dealing with something or not. We all have demons, Tony; that’s almost mandatory in wrestling. The bare minimum is that you be prepared for our match, or else I’m going to make people question if you’re a two-sport athlete, or more like an indecisive manchild, dipping toes in two pools without deciding which you want to truly commit to.”

He moved his arms to his sides and held the end of the desk as he looked up. “You hear about combat sports athletes crossing over to wrestling, thinking they’re hot stuff because they can tap out people in a cage. That’s all well and good – in a damn octagon. Thinking you can fluidly transfer that process to a wrestling ring is a slap in the face to those of us who have bled and given years of our lives to this craft. Boxing is at least closer to the format, but Tony your process sounds static and dated. I’m sure it works against a majority of opposition, giving the ole one-two combo and leveraging that mental intimidation of, ‘What style is he going to show next?’ With me, I’m just not phased by it, simply because I’ve not only had to adapt on the fly over a 20 plus year career; I’ve also continued to push myself towards a more dynamic approach.”

He walked over to the meeting table on the other side of the room, the drone camera following, and picked up a bottle of SmartWater to drink from. “We used to be more similar. I have a technician’s background and spent countless hours training and studying film on how to find the edges of mastering the wrestling craft. You could call it a camp, but I call it my life’s work. Along with judo, that disciplined process became the foundation for my early career.” He took a sip of the water. “As the years piled up, though, it became clearer and clearer that the best way of learning is in the ring. There’s a smaller pool of wrestlers who I can do an actually useful spar with, and watching film only takes you so far. I’m an experiential learner, these days. I want to see live matches, study them in the moment, think in the moment. I want to hear reactions, process them as if it was me in the ring. That opens up scenarios and gateways to creativity; as opposed to a calculated, formulaic camp. Did they bring you any mouthy talkers to spout off some lines for you to feed off of, too? I bet that’s real helpful, great motivation,” he chuckled.

“Power and brutality, that’s where I’ve taken my game. Sure, I’ll grapple with you if you want, got my BJJ black belt. But tell me this, Tony: look at you, and look at me, and realize there’s a reason Greco Roman wrestling is by weight class. Your history as a veteran points to resilience and your background in boxing and wrestling lends itself to skill. I’m not denying you’re a dangerous opponent because that would be pretty foolish. It also doesn’t make a victory over you worth a damn, so like I said, I expect you to be prepared. But here’s a big difference between us: it seems you’d find comfort being boxed in – pun intended. By that I mean, as someone with your history, you don’t mind being able to have things tidy. You have your camp, you have an opponent with a shortlist of companies he works for, and a funny name. You can form some comments off that, form a few opinions. It’s putting me in a box, and that’s where you’d be fatally wrong, in the context of our match.”

Swirling the water in the bottle for a moment, Larry shrugged.

“Truth be told, I haven’t listened to a word you’ve said ahead of our match. Not yet. I’ll have a listen before the match, but not while I’m training because it’s easier to expect the best out of you, and prepare accordingly. Oftentimes, I’d be woefully disappointed in the level of competition when I tune in too far ahead of bell time, so I adapted. I minimized my disappointment.”

“Here’s a Tact Fact for you, Tony: it appears you want to live like your name. Savage. Live hard, die hard. Train hard, win big. Give maximum effort, reap maximum rewards. Maybe you’ve altered that in certain parts of your life, but I imagine that’s the gist competitively.”

He turns his back to a floor to ceiling window overlooking a piece of Manhattan, New York skyline. “I’m not like that, Tony. I don’t live by my name: Tact. That’s not what defines me, in fact, I find it puts me right into one of those neat little boxes and categories when people randomly see my name booked on a card. If people looked at this card, and saw ‘Savage Vs Tact’ they’d think it’s a battle of contrasts. They’d happen to be right, but ignorant to the reasons.”

Larry turns back around, a sneer on his face. “We’re different because our style clash. I’m a man of dynamism, explosive plays. I strike thunderously and with definitive purpose. I don’t need to destroy you, only score a three count or submission. But if I happen to leave you incapacitated because you didn’t see me for who I am, Tony? Well, I won’t be asking Denzel to set aside any money for your hospital bill, either. That’s on you if you think I’ll spare any ounces of precious tactful energy on you.”

“Instead, I’ll humble you to the ground.”

FADE OUT.
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