|The hiss from the phone static covers his silence.|
A deep breath.
"I don't know. What are you offering?"
"Redemption? Listen I got that covered already."
Curtis Slamm lifts his head with the phone on his ear. The sunlight bursts over top his patio deck. It reflects so brightly through the sliding glass door that it forces Slamm to put his arm up and readjust his position in his living room lounge chair.
He reaches over, grabs his trademark Oakleys from off the end table. Slamm is in his comfort clothes, khaki shorts and a tank top, which reveal visible scar lines from various surgeries, years of wear and tear, and just plain old age that have settled in permanently. Slamm primps his glasses crooked on the bridge of his nose and runs his hand through his soft, short, prickly blond hair. The cut of his styled locks glisten from the mixture of gel and the sunlight's glare.
He chuckles."Do you really think Hobbes is the reason I am back in the FHW? Please that pimple was stridexed already."
"That is not the redemption we are speaking of."
Slamm sits up, removes his glasses and glances up at the wall closest to him.This is a virtual dedication wall to the Hall of Fame career of Curtis Slamm.
Framed magazine covers and not just your typical trade pub fare like FPWI and Wrestling World but Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, and even Time Magazine.
Still photographs of moments etched in time like the best of 4 falls cage match for Slamm's first BAWA title (United States Title) against Creed, the crowning of Slamm as the first SWWF World Heavyweight Champion, the infamous stare down between Slamm, The Sentinel, and Daemon Krav in Toronto, a bloodied Slamm applying the Texas cloverleaf to JW Oswald after the brutal I Quit Match between The Demi-Gods (The Idol Bill Stevens and Ra) and The Mysterious Ironman and Slamm, the bump that ended Slamm's night on The Jester's Pyramid at 2006 Iron Man Memorial Tournament, and Tori St. James raising her man's arm in victory as he clutches the EWWC World Heavyweight Championship.
Underneath all that, smack dab in the middle of the wall is the near life size poster of Curtis Slamm with the SWWF World Title slung over his shoulder and Tori St. James draped on his other side posing for the FPWI Wrestler of the Year spread.
Slamm looks down and wipes at his eyes and nose.
"No, it runs much deeper then anything I know."
Slamm gets up out of his chair, pulls back the sliding glass door, the subsequent screen door, and steps out onto his deck into a gorgeous California day. The musty beach sand coupled with the brisk salt permeating from the ocean gives Slamm comfort as he bends over the railing of his deck and soaks it in.
"I am not saying that at all. I am down with whatever you're trying to do. I told you that. I'll do whatever you need me to do. You know you made the right choice but just know when I lure him in, I aim to finish the job my way."
Slamm turns around, walks towards the door, and reaches down into a cooler and grabs a beer.
"I know I am still under FHW contract and that you are going to make this the easiest money I have ever made. I don't doubt that. Why do you think I did it?"
Slamm takes a swig.
"You are not talking to Marcus Ash here. I may be a lot of bad things but one good thing I am is loyal. Remember the 3 Kings? I, to this day remain Bad News Brown's friend. You know in this business that says a lot."
Slamm walks over to the edge of the railing and looks out, taking another swig.
"Well, yeah, I can't help it, I have to do this. She deserves to rest in peace and I deserve to let go and move on with my life."
Slamm is about to take another drink and as he lifts it to his lips he stops, and pulls it down.
"Listen, you need to stop worrying about me I will carry my weight I promise. Just remember what I said, don't get hung up on these three losers there's a bigger picture ahead."
"What? You don't think I know how you are? You liked all that nonsense with Hobbes. Truth is I sold that better than he could ever have imagined. It's carried him till now, hasn't it? Look, he's losing steam, let him peter out. We don't need him thinking he can recapture his magic on our time. I am not here for that this time and if that's the plan then maybe we should part ways now and go at it on our own.
Slamm looks out to the ocean, closes his eyes, takes a deep breath through his nose, and tilts his head back for a moment.
His eyes open and he swings himself back towards the house.
"Okay, okay, I just needed to here you say it."
Slamm turns back around and leans out again as he takes a finishing swig.
"Leave Vulpine to me. I will make sure he has something to really cry about."
"For real. How do you put up with that guy? All he does is whine. He reminds me of Todd Lane. (mocking Vulpine in a whining voice) I never get my chance and everybody always ruins it. Boo-hoo."
Curtis laughs, almost dropping the phone, but he calms down and straightens out.
"Yeah I guess I am getting back into days of our fucking lives. I love this business. Listen I am going to go watch my Eagles do their thing. Do me a favor fax my office that thing you were talking about and meet me at the arena a couple hours early. Yeah I got a couple things I have been working on, I'll show you. Alright, take care."
Slamm hangs up the phone, walks over, opens his patio door, and tosses the phone onto his living room chair. Slamm turns around, flips open his cooler, and stares down at the pile of beers sitting in the ice.
"What am I doing?"
Slamm stares up at the sky.
"You just need to stay with me a little longer. I can't do this with out you."
Slamm nods to himself, closes the cooler, looks out for a moment to the ocean. The waves crashing and the seagulls chirping calm him.
Slamm goes back inside and shuts the screen door behind him.