Coins Upon the Eyes: 001

...everything rots?...

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  • Kharrion
    EWA Tag Team Champions

    tuesday. july 10, 2018.

    “It’s official,” sighed KC, “we are, once again, out of a job.”

    Rockefeller backed away from the laptop as he pulled a pack of Pall Mall reds from the pocket of his ash chinos. Jennifer scowled at him, her gaze affixed to the cigarette held between his fingers.

    “I thought we went over this, guys?” Jennifer asked, forceful and, above all, disappointed. She backed against the front door, her arms crossed over her chest, and shook her head.

    “I once thought many things that were later proven untrue as well, my dear,” KC replied, “such as our seemingly gainful employment.”

    He popped the butt between his lips and sat down on the old, torn recliner. His hands fumbled through his pockets, both of his pants and of the army surplus jacket wrapped around his waist.

    “Per chance, a lighter?”

    A little over a year prior, he and Johan had been forced away from the ring with injuries, KC’s loyalty to the big oaf such that he’d refused bookings in his adopted brother’s absence. A torn ACL was rarely a reason for such a long absence, of course, but Dietrich, eager to pay the bills in his shortsightedness, had found a source of income that did not require the passing of a physical examination.

    This, of course, ended when Benjamin Prescott, infamous head of the Prescott crime family, had soured on the duo. This ended with blood and guts, broken bones and spent shell casings.

    It ended with Johan Dietrich facing murder charges. Not for any of the bodies he’d buried for Prescott in years prior nor the ones he’d actually pulled the trigger on, both proverbial and literal, but for the gaping hole where Benjamin’s forehead once was.

    As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for the trio’s relationship with Cliff Young and, vicariously, Corey Lazarus? The services of famed lawyer Timothy Price, brother of agent Gregory Price, would have been a fantasy. Timothy had argued with investigators, filed injunction after injunction, and, through the power of discovery, stumbled upon various personal vendettas between the arresting officers and Johan.

    “Ain’t this some fuckin’ bullshit, huh?” Dietrich chimed, “an’ I think there’s a lightah ovah in the junk drawer.”

    KC rubbed his eyes and breathed deep, letting a grunt escape as he rose from the battered chair. He hummed the melody of the RoboCop theme, grandiose and Wagnerian, as he marched toward the kitchen.

    Dietrich rolled his eyes, slumped down into the equally destroyed couch, and clicked his SmokTech Alien on. He’d quit smoking months prior, not long after their legal troubles had subsided and Gregory negotiated a new deal with the EWA, so to see that KC, his brother-in-arms for the last four years, had not irked him.

    “Hey, Rock, wanna grab me a ‘Stone?”

    “Of course, Jojo. Jennifer, my dear, would you like anything?”

    She played with her pomp, face awash with malaise, and held up her hand.

    “N-no thanks, Rock,” she uttered, “I’m just…oh, fucking Christ…”

    Jennifer Dowling was a peculiar case, even to these two. Whereas Johan had grown up on the streets of Worcester, his size juxtaposed with his temper, and KC in Brockton, his resiliency greater than his stature would suggest, she had been a victim for most of her life. The day she and Dietrich had met was one they both remembered fondly, her panhandling met with an attempt at forced prostitution from a particularly arrogant middle-aged man, and Johan’s defense of her had caught her completely off guard. In time, she had grown to respect her new friends, even going so far as to call the both of them her lovers at various points.

    More importantly, though, she called them her family.

    “I mean, we were going to move to a nicer place, right? Somewhere near Shrewsbury? Get a house, build a fence, plant a garden,” she trailed off, her head hung low and face focused on the stained carpet beneath her clearance sale running shoes.

    “We…we had fucking plans, guys…”

    “Yeah, and now they’re gone, Jenny, so let’s just, ya know,” Dietrich searched for the right words, his brain racked from the news and his Kharrion family’s sorrow, “let’s figure out what the fuck we’re gonna be doin’ ’bout it. Are we gonna be sittin’ here on ah fuckin’ asses, poutin’ an’ cryin’ an’ writin’ some lame-ass emo bullshit poetry, or are we gonna get out there an’ find some fuckin’ work?”

    KC slammed the junk drawer shut, his disappointment obvious with every inch of his stride back to the torn recliner. The lighter in his hand sparked to life, the cigarette burned, and his lungs inhaled the smoke of the discount tobacco. He held it for a moment before it spewed toward the ceiling, a blank stare to the window on his face as he fell into the chair.

    “Speaking solely from my personal perspective, Jojo, I feel it may be in our best interest to…” KC trailed off, his words lost in the static of his mind, “I have no idea.”

    “Blood and semen?” asked Jennifer.

    “Nah, nevah again,” answered Johan.

    “What about Mac?” she inquired.

    “He ain’t been too fond a’ me since uncle Ben, ya know?” Dietrich replied.

    “There is a pawn shop down the road, is there not?” Rockefeller added.

    The three sat quietly for a minute, their minds focused on the singular goal of establishing a new means of income. On the table between Dietrich and Rockefeller rested the EWA Tag Team titles, their presence atop a mountain of bills and empty beer cans once a symbol of pride and bliss and, now, another reminder of how petty corporate squabbles could be.

    Upon their official return, the targets had been scouted – Sahara and Indrid Calder, holders of the titles that Kharrion had bestowed genuine value upon – and the plan set forth. First, they would deal with the Erinyes, the trio of femme fatales including one Jane “Lagrima” Doe, formerly of the Vice Squad. Second, they would have the EWA Tag Team belts, their belts, returned to them, by any means necessary. After that? All bets were off. Any challenging team would be given their fair chance, the term “fair” in this case meaning “barely survivable,” and the trio would use their leverage as the most dominant team in EWA history to double, perhaps even triple, their wages.

    “We aint pawnin’ nothin’, Rock. News sites said that there’s a chance the place may come back, and if we show up without ’em do ya really think the brass is gonna keep them paychecks comin’?” Dietrich barked. “I don’t wanna yell at ya, or nothin’, but it’s jus’…fuck, man, ya didn’t even grab me a ‘Stone…”

    Dietrich rose from the couch and made his way to the kitchen. As he nearly ripped the refrigerator door from its hinges, the familiar two-tone chime of a fresh e-mail bellowed from their laptop. Jennifer rushed over and opened the folder, the depression on her face replaced by curiosity and, soon, slight revelry.

    “Guys, you’ll want to read this!” she shouted, her presence before the computer screen soon crowded by the diminutive Rockefeller and the gargantuan Dietrich.


    Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that an old associate and I have entered into the promoting business. Corey suggested you by name, and I’d like to arrange a meeting soon. Please get back to me ASAP so we can hammer out some details.


    Jennifer’s jaw hanged low as her hands found their way to the pockets of her cargo shorts, an expression shared, to one degree or another, by her brothers. She closed her eyes and shook her head, wondering if her vision had deceived her.

    “Is that…is that, like, the Gregory Price?” she inquired. “As in, like…”

    “Yeah, same fuckin’ guy,” Dietrich replied. He sucked on his vape and blew a cloud at the laptop screen, slamming it shut before he rose from the couch.

    “You almost broke it, Jojo!” KC barked, “And, lest we forget, these are not particularly inexpensive items.”

    “So? So fuckin’ what, Rock? Ya think there ain’t no catch, or somethin’? Nah, brothah, nah, there’s always a catch with these kinds a’ people. Always. Ain’t evah been a suit I could trust. Not Duane, not Core, an’ def’nitely not the guy who bailed Core outta trouble all a’ the time.”

    KC dragged on his cigarette and forcefully blew the smoke ahead as he re-opened the laptop. The screen, now cracked and scratched from the impact of Johan’s slam, came to life once more, frozen on the e-mail from Price. Dietrich ripped a can of Keystone Light from the refrigerator and tore it open. Foam spewed all over as he chugged it down, the can emptied within seconds.

    Years earlier, Johan Dietrich had fought throughout the field houses and small arenas of North Carolina, his face hidden beneath a dragon-like mask. Kvlt Drachen had been his name, devised through an evening of brainstorming with Cliff Young and none other than Gregory Price himself. It was Price who’d put him into contact with Darren Ridel, who’d convinced him that becoming the muscle for the final instance of the MoA would prove fruitful in both exposure and financial gain.

    It was Price, then, who’d sold Johan a bill of goods.

    “I do not understand,” KC paused, the proper verbiage on the tip of his tongue, “I do not understand why you are so willing to forego guaranteed money.”

    There was no way for KC to know of his past, let alone Jennifer. He never spoke of it and, beyond the “KVLT” tattoo across his stomach, saved nothing of the era. The mask had been torn apart and buried, the Spartan warrior-inspired gear burned in a dumpster, and all ties to the area long forgotten.

    “Let’s jus’ say he ain’t ‘xactly the kinda guy I trust, ya know?” Dietrich replied.

    “Do you think either one of you were the type I’d listen to?” Jennifer interjected. “Hell, I pulled a knife on both of you the first day because you freaked me out so much, and here are, asshole! Two years later, still going strong, in this together, the fucking three of us.”

    She turned to him, her eyes aflame as Johan pulled another can from the refrigerator, its fate the same as its predecessor.

    “So what, Jenny?” Johan asked.

    “So get the fuck over yourself, is what!” she exclaimed. “Money’s fucking money, Joey, and these…THESE?”

    She raised one of the EWA Tag Team belts up and threw it at him, the big man shook by her aggression.

    “They aren’t worth shit if the company’s not around anymore, asshole! Sure, maybe they’ll open back up, maybe the fucking bullshit between Alyssa and Alexander will get settled, but fuck, man, in this business?” Jennifer sighed and thew her hands up, exhausted from the thought of it all. From the idea that she, as both Johan and KC very well knew, was right.

    “Just…just give him a call, okay? A paycheck’s a fucking paycheck,” she said as she collapsed into the couch, her eyes affixed to KC’s cigarette. “And put that fucking thing out!”

    KC took one more drag and obliged, stamping it out on the other Tag belt left on the table. He turned and looked over his shoulder, a blank look on his face as his eyes met Dietrich’s. Johan lowered his head and thought for a moment, another sip of his beer taken to cement it. He nodded and blew another cloud as he turned back to Kurosawa Chavez Rockefeller, as he turned back to Jennifer Dowling.

    “Fine, whatevah,” he said, “let’s jus’ make sure we’re gettin’ paid upfront, got it?”

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