Consciousness comes spiraling toward me like a flak-riddled bi-plane, with a dreamy vapor trail and the fires of a long day ahead incinerating the pilot of the extended simile.
It's going to be one of those days.
My eyes flutter open gingerly. I'm staring right at the motel room alarm clock, which reads "12:09." Not bad. I've got a Wrestling Channel cameraman to meet outside St. John Arena at 12:30. Assuming Steubenville doesn't have ridiculous lunch hour traffic, I should be able to make it from my berth by the river to my promo with plenty of time to set up.
As I brush my teeth with the complimentary toothpaste, I look at myself in the mirror. It's funny how a few years, a few experiences, can change a person. Back when I started in the OWL, I never would've dreamed I'd come this far.
Sure, there's the obvious accomplishment of being promoted by not one, but two national wrestling promotions. But more has changed since then. Looking in the mirror, I can almost see that kid I was looking back. Walking into that abandoned school with his shaggy hair, his untoned body, his replica Peter Freedom mask. Just a fanboy with a dream, really.
Well, kid, wake up, because it's real.
I took to cutting my own hair after my second match in OWL. It's simple and utilitarian, hard to get a hold on, but it won't exactly get any girls to look my way twice unless it's to point and laugh. My physique has filled out a bit, but I'm still only at the high end of the middleweight bracket. I still have the same mask I started with. It's taken a bit of a beating, but nothing a few hours with needle and thread hasn't been able to fix. My face has received roughly the same treatment, as necessary, though usually at a lower priority than the mask.
Who's to say whether my real face is skin and fat or nylon?
But it's the skin and fat that I'm scraping down with a disposable razor. That patchy, scraggly shit I sometimes pretend is facial hair is okay to have when I'm not working, but it's kind of unprofessional. Also, it's bad for the mask.
No time for a shower before the promo, just enough to pull on my ring attire and make a run for it. So it goes.
There are some wiggas out by my car throwing up West-Side symbols. "What the fuck is that for, West Virginia?" I ask before I can check myself.
We get into it a bit, but I figure they'll be okay. Shit, maybe this'll teach them a thing or two about messing with a guy who dresses like this in eighty degree weather.
I play Russian Roulette with my car radio, jamming the Seek button and randomly letting it go. This time, it's some nineties nostalgia station playing Dynamite Hack, but there's always that risk I'll have my brains blown out by Air Supply.
It's promoin' time