She takes another bite.
And she turns on her barstool towards Kevin, the cook at ‘The Last Resort.’ He smiles.
Kevin: What d’ya taste?
MJ takes another bite of the chicken wing in her hands.
MJF: It’s sweet, and there’s an afterburn. Some kinda hot pepper and sugar?
He picks up a wing from MJ’s plate and takes a bite.
Kevin: Lime salt and powdered ghost pepper with some reduced tequila, and a honey glaze over the top. I’ve been tinkerin’ with the levels the past few days but I think these are ready for WingFest.
As he stops talking he reaches for another wing, but MJ slaps his hand. Their eyes lock and she smiles.
MJF: Rule number one of athletic girls, dude… you don’t touch our food. What’s WingFest?
Kevin leans over the bar a bit.
Kevin: Lu? Refill, when you can, please?
Luanne looks up from her book and gestures to the empty bar.
Luanne: Yeah, I’ll get to it when I can pry myself away from the crowd.
She leisurely gets up and retrieves his pint glass, while he rolls his eyes and holds up his hand in mock indignation.
Kevin: Pedant. Anyways, WingFest is this thing started at Duff’s in Williamsburg, but it’s sort of grown to a huge competition. You’ve really never been?
MJ shrugs her shoulders.
In truth, she has never been a bar hopper. She enjoys bars, she enjoys drinking the vodka that a small handful of bartenders slip her from time to time, and she enjoys live music played at bars. Going to a drinking establishment for the purpose of drinking is still an alien concept to her.
As far as WingFest goes, the buffalo wings at TC’s are hot and tasty but nothing special, and as far ask MJ knows, they’ve never gone to WingFest. Her dad and aunt run TC’s as a labor of love, not with the idea of turning a profit.
MJF: I’m not old enough to get into most bars, remember?
Kevin: Oh, I remember.
He looks at her with a touch of disbelief.
Kevin: Anyways, nobody cards at WingFest; you gonna come by?
MJF: Absolutely. When is it?
Kevin: Next weekend. Starts at eleven in the morning on Sunday.
MJF: This coming Sunday.
MJF: I’mma be out of town, man. Sorry.
Luanne: Where you gonna be?
She puts a pint of dark beer in front of Kevin and a short glass of clear liquid in front of MJ as she asks.
MJF: Texas. It’s a w--
And she stops herself. These people don’t know ‘who’ she is, and she likes it that way.
But they’re still looking at her.
MJF: ...It’s a family thing.
Luanne: Fair enough.
As MJ reaches for the shotglass in front of her, Luanne picks it up first and drains it. She reaches under the bar and produces a fizzy glass that smells like Sprite, and drops the shotglass, face down, next to it.
MJF: That’s just mean.
Luanne: Come see me in two years, hun.
MJF: Keep count, man. Every drink you’ve poured for me and didn’t give me, that’s what you’re gonna owe me.
Kevin: ‘Zat mean you’ll be here for it? Not at your other favorite place?
She takes another wing off the plate.
MJF: Keep cooking like this.
”Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: Jarvis King is an ass. He’s a pompous, arrogant, annoying douchebag of a human being, and that’s not even the worst part.”
“The worst part?”
“He’s earned it.”
“Can’t take that away from him, man. CWF Hall of Famer, Grand Slam champion, the first guy ta’ run the gauntlet as World Champion in Modern Warfare - and you can bet he’s pissed as hell at The Shadow for takin’ away the word ‘only’ from that designation.”
“And, as a matter’a course, I have a deep respect for the people that paved the way in this sport before me. It’s something that my dad instilled in me at a very young age: respect the people that came before you.”
“And I did.”
“And Jarvis King didn’t care.”
“I get it, man. You’re missing in action for months, ya finally make your comeback against a spitfire talent worthy’a your Hall of Fameness, and ya can’t hack it.”
“And let’s not hide behind bravado, man. I’m a two-time CWF World Champion. I headlined Wrestlefest and tore the fuckin’ house down last year. I’m nobody ta be taken lightly.”
“But accidents happen, and the fact’a the matter is, you got hurt and the referee stopped the match. Do I agree with that decision? Disagree? Doesn’t really matter, does it - my position is now and was then, it should’a been up ta you.”
“That ain’t my fault, no matter how much ya took it out on me.”
“And it wasn’t my fault that ya had to open the next show, or that ya got’cher ass pinned against Frankie Eff Eff. Or that’cha keep challenging the poor referees to a fight.”
“Fuck. Be a man, Jarvis. If ya can.”
“Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, and Soul Asylum comin’ at you here on the Rod Ryan Show, 94.5 FM, The Buzz, and I’m hangin’ with former CWF World Heavyweight Champion MJ Flair, in town for Twilight of the Gods, coming at you on Tuesday, May 14th, only on Pay Per View. Heavyweight? Is that the right phrase?”
MJ leans into the microphone as she smiles at the DJ. Next to her, Adrian Evans sits with his own set of headphones on, but he’s reading through his planner, not really a part of the conversation.
MJF: It’s more of a guideline, man. Most people agree that a ‘heavyweight’ is two - twenty - five and up, and I’m about a hundred pounds lighter. Mainly I just call myself a former World Champion and leave it at that.
Rod Ryan: Fair enough, fair enough. So, you come from a large wrestling family, or… extended family, I guess. Your father, of course, the legendary ‘Total Elimination’ Eli Flair, your aunt and uncle, Ivy McGinnis and ‘Triple X’ Sean Stevens. Did they have an impact on your decision to go into professional wrestling? Do you feel like your career is your own, or do you feel like there are certain standards that you simply have to hit based on where you came from?
MJF: So how do we dissect that?
They both laugh.
Rod Ryan: I mean, it’s a--
MJF: No, no. I get you. Did they encourage me? Not... really. But I also started wrestling when I was sixteen or so.
She leans into the microphone.
MJF: Prospective wrestlers out there, don’t do what I did. I had access to not only one of the best wrestlers in the world to train me in Randall Knox, but he’s also probably the only person that had no fear’a my dad or my aunt.
Rod Ryan: That bad, huh?
MJF: I mean, my dad didn’t necessarily discourage me, but my parents both insisted that I finish school and go to college. And you know, I might still do that, but… this is what I do right now. I made a deal with my mom this go-round with the CWF. Legally I was an adult and could make my own decisions from the moment I signed my contract, but we made a deal, I’d give it a year and if I didn’t have significant success I’d be a full time college student. And that was last year, when I won the CWF World Title twice.
Rod Ryan: I’d say that qualifies as success.
MJF: Oh yeah. But, you know, they still sort of want me to have a normal life. I mean, as much as my parents are both celebrities, they’re so not.
Rod Ryan: Of course, you’re referring to your mom, the lead singer of Valerian’s Garden.
MJF: Yeah. You don’t see my parents in tabloids, or on Page Six, or Buzzfeed or any’a that stuff. I mean, my dad is a total private citizen now and my mom does a record, goes on tour, does her press stuff, and comes home. They taught me humility, and doing what you do. I’ve never shown up in some scandalous exposé, I think because of their example.
Rod Ryan: Well, lucky for you.
MJF: Absolutely. I am damned lucky. Not just with who they made me, but… you know, to your second question. My first stint in wrestling when I was underage, I won three of the five available titles in WrestleUTA, and then I was a World Champion by my fourth month in the CWF. Getting that kinda success early really helped me avoid the obvious comparisons.
Rod Ryan: Not completely, I’m sure, though they helped.
MJF: Of course. Daddy actually put this one the best, he said that nobody expected him to be the guy he was. He’s not the guy you build a company around, but he’s the guy who consistently had the best match on the show and has fifteen World Titles to his name as validation. Nobody expected that from him but he did it. Now, I’m the offspring of the fifteen time World Champion, so everyone expects me to succeed.
MJF: So far, so good.
Rod Ryan: Yeah, so far so good. In that vein, here’s Valerian’s Garden with ‘Come on, Baby.’ I’m sitting here with MJ Flair, and this is 94.5 The Buzz.
”Here’s the straight talk, Jarvis: I asked Jon Stewart for a quality opponent.”
“He gave me you.”
“The duration of our match notwithstanding, he delivered what I asked for. In spades.”
“I’m a two-time CWF World Champion, but I spent almost all of my title reigns defending against people who were… not necessarily the biggest threats. Jay Mora. Silas Artoria. Tobias Devereaux. Jimmy Allen.”
“The list goes on. Not that they weren’t quality athletes, not that they didn’t give me the fights’a my lives, but their contendership was rote’a circumstance, not by reputation.”
“Even the two people that beat me for the title, Beauty and The Beast - Caledonia was primarily a tag team wrestler at the time, and Loki Synn… at the risk’a tootin’ my own horn I’d say she became a player after our first match.”
“I never got to defend the title against a former Champ. So you can imagine how happy I was t’see you across the ring from me.”
“Honor the past. Respect those who came before me.”
“Until you prove you don’t appreciate it, and subsequently don’t deserve it.”
Rod Ryan: And we’re hangin’ here with MJ Flair, appearing live on pay per view this Tuesday from the Toyota Center, and you’ll be taking on CWF legend Jarvis King in one of the high profile matches. How do you feel this match will go?
MJF: Honestly, I don’t know. I mean, confidence says I should win, but reality is usually much more complicated. This match should be a big test for me, with all the money on Jarvis - and I’m sure the Vegas odds have him ahead, but most people in my position haven’t owned the company for a year and a half.
MJF: I’ve been saying it for a while now. If you look way back at the first few weeks of my CWF career, what they were hopin’ for was for Elisha to beat me and Jace Valentine to beat him and the Jacehole taking on Harley Hodge, the old guard against the new, in the finals. Not only did Duce Jones flip the script, but so did I. From that moment, the Ouroboros were completely ineffectual. To bite off pop culture, I was like the Mockingjay - the creature that wasn’t meant to exist.
Rod Ryan: Interesting point; so what, on the surface, would appear to be a master against a beginner situation has a lot more gravity to it.
MJF: Yeah, exactly. He’s got more time on top, he’s had more success in the CWF overall and stuff, but I’ve got a comparable amount’a top level success crammed into a shorter space’a time. This should be either an easy win for him or a career - defining moment for me… and it’s so much more even than it has any right to be.
Rod Ryan: I can imagine. This is 94.5 The Buzz, my name is Rod Ryan, and I’m sitting here with MJ Flair, comin’ at you live on Tuesday for CWF Twilight of the Gods. Duce Jones defends his CWF World Title against hometown boy Dan Ryan, The Shadow and Ataxia face off in a grudge match that’s been a long time building, and MJ Flair takes on CWF Hall of Famer Jarvis King in what should be a show stealer. We need to pay some bills but we’ll be back after this. MJ, thank you very much.
MJF: Any time, man. I’ll come on back any time I’m asked.
Rod Ryan: 94.5 FM, The Buzz.
”So here’s the deal, Jarvis. This match isn’t gonna go the way you want.”
“I know what you’re lookin’ for is a quick, decisive victory that cements your return as the Greatest Of All Time and finally shutting up the loudmouth that is Mariella Jade Flair.”
“No. If I had a newspaper and your face I’d currently be smackin’ one with the other.”
“Maybe you’re all the way back, man - and maybe you’re too much for me ta handle. But you want your hand raised - you’re gonna have to fuckin’ earn it.”
“You might’ve run the gauntlet in Modern Warfare once upon a time, but I won an Iron Man match after getting concussed in the first thirty seconds. I won a barbed wire match against The Beast.”
“And that was all without creaky knees from fifteen years’ worth’a wear ‘n tear on my body.”
“You could win this match, Jarvis, and nobody would be surprised. You’ve earned that.”
“All I’m sayin’ man… is that when I win this match… it ain’t gonna be the upset that you’re expectin’.”
“It’s just gonna be business as usual.”