Wrestling for Top, Part 2
Jack Stevens © 2016
All rights reserved
“Doug!” said Mae automatically.
“Sorry,” said Doug, equally automatically.
“Europe,” Terry said again, as if perhaps simple repetition could win the day.
“Look, this could go on all night at this rate.”
“Terry,” said Mae in a placatory way, even as she glared at the unrepentant Doug. “We’ve talked about Europe before.”
Terry held his hands out in front of himself to forestall her arguments. “I know, I know. And why? Because Europe still has promotions like ours. They still want to see the kinds of bouts we put out. Not the sort of showbiz crap Critical MASS and others like it are into.”
Mae and Doug exchanged glances across the small kitchen table at which all three were seated. “And we’ve always come back to the fact that we just don’t have the resources, the contacts to crack the market over there,” she said.
“Plus, The Hardman here―” Terry cocked a thumb in Doug’s direction “―has his thing about crossing the Channel.”
“So what’s changed?” growled Doug.
Terry took a deep breath. “I’ve got the contacts.”
Mae looked surprised. “What kind of contacts?”
“Promoters. Venue holders. All the kinds of people we need.”
“How?” said Doug.
Terry took another deep breath. “I’ve met someone.” He looked to Mae, as much as anything to avoid the sarcastic look from Doug. “His name’s Mark. You’ve already met him. He’s the guy who came here to the house the other night and you sent him down to the ring.”
“Smith. Yeah. It turns out he’s just back from Europe. He’s training to be some kind of entertainment entrepreneur, on some sort of scheme to find out how they do things over there, what the market is after. And he’s mad about wrestling.”
“Handy coincidence,” Doug suggested drily.
“Not really. I mean, he wouldn’t have looked me up if he hadn’t been into what we’re into, would he? In fact, it was being in Europe and seeing the sort of wrestling they’ve still got going over there that kind of relit his interest. He’s been travelling around for a couple of months now, learning how things work, even getting some wrestling in, and making the contacts. He just didn’t know how it was all going to come together until he came back and…bumped into me.”
“You’ve said that, Doug. Sometimes things work out, y’know? The world isn’t always doom and gloom.”
“And it isn’t always fun and games, either.”
“Money,” said Mae with a sigh, putting down her knitting and verbally forcing herself between the men in her life. “You know it always comes down to money, Terry. And we haven’t got any. Not enough to finance some grand European alliance.”
“I know, Gran.” Terry reached down into his kitbag. He pulled out an already dog-eared card folder, took a sheaf of papers from it and spread them out on the kitchen table. “And this is the plan we’ve come up with. Mark’s come up with,” he added with reluctant honesty, “but only after I agreed.” Mae re-donned her glasses and scrutinised the columns. “A tour of Europe that puts POWer back on its feet and on the map. The whole thing is designed to be self-financing, almost from the start. More than that. We go during Britain’s off season…”
“Which is just about any season these days.”
“…and we can bring in more in three months than we’d make in a year here. Plus, we big up our rep, get bookings for another year at least, hook up with some of the better wrestlers they’ve got over there, bring ’em back here for bigger and better shows than anything Mansfield can put on, backed up by the new promoters we’ve linked with. We’d still be wrestling. I’d still be wrestling.” He looked at Mae and Doug. “We’d still be in the business.”
Mae, the woman who for over forty years had guarded POWer Promotions’ finances with the tenacity of a bulldog, studied the rows of numbers. “He seems very thorough, your new friend,” she said grudgingly.
“Like I said, it’s what he’s training to do.” Terry didn’t like to add that actually he, too, had been surprised when Mark had turned up the day after their wrestle with the wallet of printouts. The organised expertise they represented hadn’t quite squared with Mark’s blunderbuss approach to wrestling. And to sex. But then that was Mark’s job, or the job he wanted to do. Some guys approached work and pleasure in very different ways, he guessed. Not everyone could mix the two as easily as he liked to.