It only took Blair and Blaine about ten minutes to give Matt and Mike the grand tour of Al Sharp’s Wrestling School. They showed the new recruits the lockers, dressing areas, the washrooms, showers, the training areas and The Pro Shop.
Al used the Pro Shop to generate extra revenue for his business. He kept it well stocked with the latest nutritional supplements, training gear and body building and wrestling magazines. His store also held on extensive collection of professional wrestling videos that the students could watch. After about three months Al expected that all of his serious candidates would have studied and learned from every video in the library. His students’ knowledge would often be tested by an off the cuff question that Al would throw at them during training sessions.
After the tour the four young men met in Al Sharp’s office. They all took a seat on a well- worn black leather couch in Al’s office. The walls in Al’s office were well covered by old wrestling posters, autographed pictures of pro wrestlers that had paid a visit to his training school. One whole wall was reserved for memorabilia from Al’s personal wrestling career.
Al’s desk was cluttered with his paper work. To the right of his main desk he had a spot for his computer. Al’s PC was displaying a Gorgeous George screen saver.
The front of Al’s desk was reserved for pictures of his family. He had a picture of his wife, his dogs, his adult children and his grandchildren. He kept a special place for pictures of his pet turtle and parrot.
Chapter 15 of The Cover Up, A Novel
“What kinds of things would Bret do to piss off Simon and Matthew?”
“Bret would spoil their game. If he witnessed anyone bullying the other residents Bret would quickly put a stop to it. Bret didn’t have to do or say much to get a bully to back down. A good stern look from Bret was usually sufficient. Bret still went to the gym four or five times per week and he had developed an impressive physique. Simon and Matthew did not exercise at all and appeared scrawny by comparison. Another factor was that Bret was their intellectual equal. He had a university degree and read books voraciously. He was onto their game and they knew it.”
“So, Simon and Matthew would like to have Bret out of the program? asked Barnes.
“No doubt,” Rick responded.
As the line of questioning continued Rick was starting to feel unwell. “Look detective, I haven’t had much sleep and I am really not feeling that well. I also have to phone Brett’s community mental health worker and try to get a hold of his parents one more time. Could we continue the interview at a later date?”
“Of course, Rick. I would like to see the medical examiner’s report anyway so that we would have more to go on. The ME’s report will likely not be completed until at least tomorrow morning. Can I call you tomorrow? “ asked Detective Barnes, stifling a yawn.
“Absolutely,” replied Rick.
After Detective Barnes left Rick tried calling Bret’s mental health worker but only got her answering service. Rick also left a phone message for Bret’s psychiatrist. Rick then put on his sport jacket and informed Holly that he would be leaving the facility or the day. He asked her to call him at home if there were any updates on the situation..Rick also told Holly that she could give Bret’s parents his home phone number if they returned his call.
Rick drove home in his dark brown Chevy Impala. As soon as he got home, Rick was about to call Central Pharmacy to order a new bubble pack of meds when the thought suddenly occurred to him, “Wouldn’t the pharmacy wonder why he was ordering replacement meds for a dead client?” Rick
Jim: Man, that mask is cool! When’s your next match?
Steve: I’m the Mauler’s manager. We’re out here scouting for a new territory for the Mauler to wrestle in. He’s barred from all our old territories because he has a nasty habit of hanging promoters over the
bridges of local rivers. Mauler gets really upset when promoters don’t book him in the main event. I’m going to register Harry for some anger management classes in the fall. Hey, Jim, do you know of any wrestling promoters out in these parts?
Jim: Yeah I do, General Kane. He’s the guy I’m running this errand for. He says that these wrestling cards are good for the troop’s morale. I’ll tell you what. You buys boys ride back with me to Roswell after I finish this errand. The General might be interested in booking the Masked Mauler. He likes to book wrestlers with lots of attitude.
Steve: Gee, Thanks Jim. We could sure use the work.
Jim: One thing I should warn you about. General Kane doesn’t believe that wrestling is fake. He wants to see plenty of blood and pile drivers done right on the cement floor outside the ring.
Harry: Well the General has nothing to worry about. I’ll give him all the blood, guts and pile drivers he wants. Good to know that some people up there know the truth. Wrestling is not fake!
Narrator: Harvey and Hoss, the two dogcatcher start walking back do and in about thirty minutes make it back into the downtown area of Roswell.
Harvey: Look, Hoss. There’s our truck parked outside the radio station. I bet the yahoo that stole it is inside the radio station right now.
Narrator: Harvey grabs a large piece of wood and uses it as a battering ram against the rebuilt radio station door. The two dog catchers fall over and roll onto the carpet of the radio station.
Rick: Hey you goofs! Have you ever heard of doorknobs and turning the handle first?
Dwight: Rick, look at our station! Now we have splinters of wood to go with all of this broken glass. Everybody who comes to the station is tries to destroy the place.
Harvey: Don’t get your shirt in a knot Dwight. Just send the repair
bills over to City Hall. The City of Roswell will reimburse you for all the damage.
Hoss: Yeah, we’re dog catchers here on official city business. Some guy stole our truck. He’s got to be in here.
Harvey: Right, we were trying to take the guy to the hospital and he repays us by stealing our truck.
Rick: Well, he’s not here now.
Dwight: A few minutes ago we had our special guest Mick Russell on the air. He just starting telling our listeners about how he was kidnapped by the Air Force and thrown in the back of a truck with a bunch of dead aliens.
Harvey: Did he say that he got a shot of horse tranquilizer in the butt while he was at the hospital?
Rick: How did you know?
As the five o’clock rush was coming in Al Sharp knew he would be very busy for the next couple of hours. Al was a very hands-on owner. He liked to keep his overhead down and hired only a few very competent staff. Al made a point of talking to and getting to know every aspiring wrestling that walked through the doors of his training school. Al wisely decided to delegate the job of giving Mike and Matt the grand tour to Blair and Blaine.
“In time you guys are going to love it here,” said Blaine addressing Mike and Matt.
“In time?” asked Matt.
“We’re not going to kid you guys. The first month here is pretty punishing. After that, your body gets used to the pain and Al and the other trainers will start to ease up a bit on you,” said Blair.
“First thing we’re going to do is take you guys on a tour of the facility. Within a few days you’ll easily know your way around this place and will know all the club rules and regulations,” said Blaine.
“What are the rules and relations?” asked Mike.
“As soon as our tour is finished the coffee should be ready for us. That’s when we all meet with Al in his office. He’ll give you the full lowdown on what you can and can’t do,” answered Blaine.
Detective Barnes shook his head. “ A structured routine is part of the treatment plan.”
“Exactly,” replied Rick. “There are other similarities to a prison. There is a pecking order among the residents. There are weak residents and strong residents. The stronger ones like Simon use manipulation and intimidation to control the weak ones.”
“Can you give me some examples?” asked Barnes.
“Sure, replied Rick. “ Most of our residents are heavy smokers and cigarettes are the equivalent of money to most of them. Several of the residents are on smoke plans where they are only allotted so many cigarettes per day for both health concerns and their financial limitations. Naturally, most of the residents run out of their daily supply of cigarettes long before their day is over. Then, the wheeling and dealing begins. Some of the weaker residents that still have cigarettes left over can be intimidated into giving their cigarettes to the residents that they fear.”
Barnes looked puzzled,”Can’t your staff do something about this?”
“They try their best. Often if they catch one resident trying to take advantage of another resident they will make the offender pay back the resident that they bummed the cigarettes off. The problem is that they can’t see everything. There is often only one staff on duty per shift. It’s like a referee at a hockey game. He can’t watch the whole ice surface all of the time.”
“That’s ridiculous!” said the detective. “One staff for twenty plus residents?”
“That’s all we can afford on the limited budget that they give us.”
“Okay, let’s get back to Bret,” said Barnes impatiently
Harry: Hey, look what it says on the dash. It says location Roswell, New Mexico, year 1947.
Steve: Harry, we just took a trip in a time machine! What luck! Who would’ve thought of a better escape?
Gary: Ha! Ha! I bet the Warden and and Sam and Charles are looking all around the arena for us right now. Ha! Ha!
Steve: I can just see those two guys now. Sam and Charles running around all over the arena looking for us and the Warden and the guards chasing after them.
Harry: Meanwhile we’re in a different state fifty years in the past!
Steve: Man, I’m getting pretty hungry. We need to find a truck stop. Maybe if we do some walking around we’ll find a highway.
Harry: Good idea. We’ll wait for a trucker on his way into town.
Narrator: Jim, the security guard is now driving down the highway on his way to Corona to get the General his burgers, pepperoni sticks and cigars. He sees two hitch hikers trying to thumb a ride. Jim stops to pick them up.
Jim: Howdy boys, I’m going as far as Corona. Will that help you out?
Harry: It sure will. Are there any restaurants in Corona? We’re really hungry.
Jim: Well, there’s a Burger King and a 7-11. It’s about a two hour ride to Corona from here. If you guys are really starving I’ve got a couple of old, stale boxes of Animal Crackers in the car. Well, hop in boys. I’m running an errand for the General.
Steve: Thanks a lot, man. We really appreciate it.
Narrator: Harry and Steve get in the back of Jim’s old Volkswagen Bug. The two convicts introduce themselves to Jim.
Jim: Hey, Harry. How come you’re wearing wrestling trunks and boots?
Harry: Well, during my last match, two criminals broke into the dressing room and stole all my street clothes.
Jim: Man, you really have to be some kind of low life to steal another dude’s clothes. It’s really gets hot in the daytime but by nightfall it’s awful chilly out in these parts. We’ll find you a new set of clothes when we get back to Corona. It won’t be easy though, Harry. You’re a pretty big guy.
Steve: Harry’s stage name is the Masked Mauler. Put on your mask Harry.
They came in all shapes and sizes. Young people who had plenty of muscle and definition, those who were skinny and those that were either obese or morbidly obese.
They came from various classes on the social and economic scale, but the majority were poor. Several held down day jobs and some were on social assistance, devoting themselves full time to pursuing their dreams.
The common denominator was the dream of one day becoming a professional wrestler. They were taking the first step by joining a club that trained aspiring wrestlers.
It occurred to Al that nearly everyone has a dream built inside them. For some, the dream is to become a professional wrestler. Others dream about a career in mainstream sports such as football, baseball, basketball or hockey. All of them want to make the professional leagues.
Some people aspire to success outside of sports or sports entertainment. There were those who wanted to become famous in the fine arts. Others hoped to become a published author, a movie star or a rock star.
This idea fascinated Al. He often wondered why all these people would believe in their dreams. Some, of course, wouldn’t take any action to attain their life goals. There would just be moments in the day when they would wistfully dream about a better life for themselves. They longed to leave their often boring nine to five jobs. They daily felt the pain of having to work at jobs they disliked and didn’t have any passion for.
Then there were people like Al’s students. They had a plan for achieving their dreams. Firstly, they would learn all the fundamentals at Al’s Wrestling School. Their next step would be to try and get some matches booked on the independent circuit. Lastly, they would hope that a talent scout from the WWE or TNA would offer them a try out in the big leagues of wrestling.