Title: After Midnight
Featuring: Amy Jo Smyth
Date: 2019
Location: Miami
Show: Evolution 63

Cause nothing good comes after midnight
Ain't no good love come from pain (whoa, whoa)
Nothing good comes after midnight (Ooo-oo-oo-ooo)
When you play the Devil's game.


Trust No One.

Trust is a funny thing.

You can say that you don't trust people, strangers, but every day, you do. You don't have any other choice. You're forced into trusting that the driver's sharing the road with you will maintain control of their vehicle and not crash into. You trust that they aren't drunk, high, distracted, or completely blind. You trust that your child's teachers are looking after your sprouts with care and won't drown them in a pond. Same with anyone that tends to our pets; the groomer won't stab your pupper with the sheering scissors. 

Our cashiers, the people who make our food, waitresses, service people… We absolutely must trust the people that we interact with every day, no matter how small a role they play in our lives.

Then there are the strangers that are far more important roles… Police, firemen, the doctors and medical staff that take care of us in an emergency? We trust our families, friends, lovers without question. Okay, maybe not always our family. Sometimes our families, especially our parents and offspring, don't have our best interests in mind.

Anyway, that aside. 

We trust our lovers or else they wouldn't be our lover. Same with friends. That is a different kind of trust, however. That's the thing, there are all different kinds of trust. While you would think that the ultimate level of trust comes in our relationship with our partner - that they won't betray us, hurt us, leave us, rob us, kill us… No, no. While all of those things are important, there is no greater kind of trust than the trust we put in ourselves.

As some wise old dude once said, if you can't trust yourself, who can you trust? 

Well, everyone apparently…

You have to trust yourself. You have to place infallible, unwavering trust in your skills. It's that or you perish. Not literally… Okay, maybe literally sometimes… But I meant that in a more figurative sense. It's true with everything we, especially with our professions. It's even more paramount when you're a competitive athlete that lives or dies on the skills you possess.

What the actual fuck are you doing in the ring if you don't trust yourself?

I must trust that I can climb that turnbuckle and leap off of it. I must trust that I will hit my target when I land. I must trust that I will win. 

I can and I will, motherfuckers.

If I don't, then what good am I? What good are you? Why am I wasting everyone's time? I've been in this sport far too fucking long to sit here and doubt myself, to play that rookie game of 'oh, I'm not sure, lemme not do that.' That's just a flat out lack of confidence, as well. Now trust and confidence are interchangeable in some aspects. But not here, not with what I'm talking about.

This is trust, this is the ability to rely on yourself. Not your ego. Not insisting that you're the better competitor. Fuck you can run around and say that until you turn blue and bore the crowd, but it don't mean shit if you can't trust yourself and your skills. Because, baby, there is no better person in this world to trust than yourself.

We're all stuck with ourselves, so we might as well make good use of it, huh?

See, now I trust myself and I trust myself to win this week at Evolution and get myself more points in the AlphaOmega Tournament. 


In the Continuing Adventures of Our Hero...

Porshe leans over, pecks me on the cheek as a gesture of her gratitude. She dragged me out of bed at about three to take her downtown to pick up a friend. From what I was told, said friend was ditched by her designated driver and has no way to get her car and self home. So, the plan is to have me bring Porshe to the club, Porshe brings friend and car home, and leaves with me. 

That better fucking be it.

I only have my Ducati here because it was easier to get here and makes driving around the tourist infested streets easier so I can't be carting around drunk chicks in the middle of the night. I'm lucky that Porshe will get on the bike and fits. Not saying that she's fat or a big girl, just Ducati Monsters aren't exactly roomy bikes and I'm not exactly a small person. 

It's about half past four now. Most bars have closed, the tourists have retreated to their hotel rooms, residents are in the last few hours of their sleep before starting their workday, and the temperature has dropped dramatically. It's that perfect time of day to me, the golden hours. From about now until six, the world is quiet save for the chittering bugs and frogs and rumbling tractor trailers, the air is somehow fresher, cleaner, as if the night winds have washed it to prepare it for greeting the new day, and as the sun's rays begin to touch the horizon, the sky turns a golden-yellowy-green, a blend of colors that only appear then. 

There is just something so magical about it. It literally is the dawn of a new day and fills me with hope. Here is the world at its most peaceful, the calm before the storm, so to speak. Here is this day being birthed before you, unequaled gift - a day for you to make the most of and start over with. It's cleansing, refreshing, uplifting.


Most of those still awake at this hour cannot appreciate that. Most of them have seen it too often to pay it much mind or have lost all track of time. Especially the twink tweekers that been up since, shit, three days straight. Bless their stressed out hearts for they know not what they do. Bless the hearts of everyone in this city

This place is a 24-hour, seven day a week neon paradise of sin and debauchery. There isn't a vice that you can't find here - if you're willing to pay the right price. There is every type of mind altering substance available, from domestic beer to the finest, purest Columbian cocaine. You want sex? There are reputable businesses that advertise classy ladies that will escort their clients to any event and guarentee top-notch, safe service, rentable hunky young men that can be found in the back pages of glossy local magazines picked up for free near the entrance of your favorite gay bar, and of course, those lovely women with a few extra inches under their skirt. Hey, Miami doesn't kink shame. A Cuban cigar? Just ask and a whole box will appear before you as if summoned by Harry Potter. Then again, Harry Potter is a pussy and he would never! Rare exotic animals? Got 'em. Looking to purchase a Soviet era rocket launcher? Somebody knows somebody who knows a guy and can have it in a jiffy. Need to flee the country and simply disappear in the next twelve hours? There's a boat leaving tonight - where it goes, who the fuck knows? 

It's all just beneath the surface, hidden from the snowbird tourists but easily found in shadows by those who are willing to look. There is a seedy, very dangerous underground teeming with activity and I'm about to walk into one of those places hidden in plain sight.

Porshe leads the way and I follow, my helmet clutched in my left hand. In an instant I'm overwhelmed. The bass of the music slams into my chest in a very different rhythm than my heart, the strobe lights shoot in every direction and offer up most of the light in the place, and my ears are assaulted by the electronic music being curated by a computer. The handful of people still here, a couple of tweekers and some fuckboys trying to seal the deal with some generic chicks. 

A Vin Diesel wannabe greets Porshe in Russian. I can't hear what they're saying over the music but their interaction is a little too friendly and familiar for my liking. That ends with flirty giggles and she starts toward her destination once again. Russian Vin Diesel glares at me. His head is so shiny that it's distracting. 

I want to rub it for luck.

When I look back at Porshe, she's standing at a door and talking to man that is just as bald as the other but shorter and far stockier. He might not have much stamina, but he surely packs a punch. He opens the door for her, allowing her entry, and in she goes. Before I get a chance to follow, I'm stopped by a slamming door and beefy belly of the guard.

"I'm with her," I say, pointing weakly and aimlessly at the door. 

He stiffens up, tightens his muscles, and tries to make himself bigger. "No entry," he gruffly answers. 

"Yeah, but," I start.

"I do not care," he says, folding his arms across his chest. "It is private." 

What the fuck am I supposed to do now?

The door swings open. It isn't Porshe. It's yet another one of these Russian cue balls. Except this one has a suit on. Stylish. He shouts something at the guard in Russian then switches over to English. "Get a beer," he demands, pointing at me. The door slams. 

Denied again.

The guard snaps his fingers at a waitress, shouts something - Russian for beer, maybe? - and looks at me, his face snarled up. The waitress appears with the beer, hands it to me, and disappears.

I'm standing in a mostly empty, clearly Russian mob run nightclub holding a shitty beer that I don't want. It could be poisoned or an attempt to drug me and get me to spill my secrets. They'll tie me to a chair and hold me for ransom. One CIA agent in exchange for one KGB agent. Maybe that Butina chick.

Or maybe I'm just paranoid. Mac put some fucked up thoughts in my head. Vetrov isn't a Russian spy. But it is weird that she would just walk into the private area of a nightclub run by the Russian mob. Yeah, but are they really the Russian mob or am I just stereotyping. They could be brothers and their dad owns the place. 

The stocky guard pops a cigarette into his mouth. I watch his hands closely. He flips open his zippo with a metallic pop, brings his calloused thumb over the flint wheel, and with a snap, crackle, pop, the flame ignites. In the amber light of the fire, I spot the tattoos that run across his fingers and the back of his hand. A clear as day sign to anyone with the internet that this guy has had his moments and still has them. 

Fuck me.

...To Be Continued…


To get my points and to keep myself in this shit, I need to defeat Jeff Jackson. God, I fucking hate those alliteration names. If that's your real name bro, your parents need a good knock upside the head for ruining your life. If you picked it, oh, wee, I'm gonna give you that knock upside your head. 

Either way, I'm gonna knock you around, a lot.

Listen, I don't have time for bullshit and games. I very much want to get to that title shot. I didn't fly my ass to Ireland to lose and basically be dead in the water for this tournament. I'm sure you feel the same way, Mr. Jackson, but oh, well. You want it, I want it, everyone in this tournament wants it. But this shit comes down to do or die for me, kiddo. 

This comes down to trust.

I trust myself so wholeheartedly that no matter how much you trust yourself, no matter how much confidence you have your thumping heart, it cannot compare. I've got too much skill, too much experience, too much fucking everything, including annoyance at myself, to go down. 

Yeah, I'm annoyed. I'm pissed as fuck that I lost my second match and didn't do what I had set out to do. Was it a lack of focus? Maybe, but doubtful. Was it a lack of skill? Fuck off. Was it a lack of trust? That's where my needle is pointing. Why I would suddenly lose trust in myself?

Who knows?

Maybe it was just the luck of the draw. Nobody can win all the time. Even the undefeated lose at some point. I'm pissed that I'm going into this match undefeated thus far and Mr. Jackson would so confidently preach that he would end my streak. We can't have everything, after all. I'm mad that I don't have more right now. 

Man, when I'm pissed off, especially at myself, you had better get the fuck out my way or I'll move your ass outta the way. I've done it before and I'll do it again. Hey, you know what? This is probably exactly what I needed to get my ass in gear and get back to who I was, to who I've always been, to the woman who held a world title for a record-breaking number of days, to a woman who has three hall of fame rings, to the woman who excited the crowd, made a name for herself by jumping and bouncing and making three-pound men fall asleep like little babies with just her legs.

Maybe I need to forget all that, stop trying to live up to all that, and just do what I have always done best, wrestle. I should stop worrying about my reputation and the accomplishments that follow me around and make me sought after. I'm more or less back at square one in my eyes. In a way, I'm looking to not rewrite a chapter in my career, but to start a whole new ones.

That starts now and that starts with Mr. Jackson. 

Have no doubt, because I don't.  Have no doubt that I'm gonna get those points, I'm gonna get all the points that are available going forward. Sorry to ruin everyone's plans.

But not really.

I got my own plans and I trust them.

Sorry, Mrs. Jackson, but your baby boy is about to made a fool of by yours truly. 

See ya there, kid.


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