Chapter Eighty Eight
Saturday October 30th, 2010: Early Afternoon - Late Night
Party At Madison Square Garden
“We’re here sir!” Jack stated. Randy got out of the limo and felt the downpour of rain slamming hard onto the back of his neck. The Garden’s doors were only twenty or so feet away. His and Kolleen’s warm salvation just needed them to move, but Randy was rooted to the spot. No matter how cold he was, the presence he saw made him feel colder than ever. He saw something standing up on top of the Garden. The same figure that he saw just outside the shower. A girl, with long bushy black hair stood on the roof, gazing out into the city.
As if she sensed him, the girl turned her head towards him and Randy’s heart skipped a beat. She raised a hand towards him, pointing and then she fell forward. Randy immediately sprinted as fast as he could towards the front of the building. He knew he could catch the girl, if he just leapt and he did, right into a soaking puddle of water. The girl wasn’t there however. W-What the hell? Randy thought. “Randy, are you okay?!” Kolleen asked. He felt her hands pulling him up to his feet. He stumbled a bit and gazed back up to the roof.
“What the hell is she doing to me, Kol?” “What is who doing to you? You’re not making any sense.” “That girl… She fell from the roof of this building and I tried to catch her… Where did she go?!” Randy spun every which way as he tried to search for a body nearby.
“Randy…? RANDY?! Look at me!” Kolleen ordered. “Let’s get inside, okay?” “Yeah; Yeah, okay.” He followed her into the building and saw a giant sign nearby some steel doors at the opposite end of the room. It read: DWL Party this way. He still felt confused as his mind buzzed from the incident he just saw. He and Kolleen walked through the doors, into a dimly lit hallway that branched off into different rooms. They passed the girl’s locker room and towards a hallway that veered to the right. At the end of this hall, Randy could see a door that was propped wide open.
They passed through this door, and were welcomed to an enormous arena which had a giant basketball scoreboard hanging from the ceiling. Below, they could see the crew setting up the ring which had black ring posts and orange turnbuckle pads. The top and bottom ropes were orange with the middle being black. Though all of these things were laying strewn across the floor as the crew members tried getting the pieces separated. “Hey Randy!” Marcos’ voice called out. He and Kolleen gazed up into the top level, in a V.I.P. box and saw him waving out of an open door.
Randy immediately started ascending the seats until the box came more and more into view. The box itself seemed so enormous, almost like an overlarge closet. Inside there were a few DWL wrestlers including Mana who had been wearing yellow jeans and a matching sweater with his hair dyed yellow and his irises were yellow as well. He had been eating a bagel over in the corner when he spotted Randy. When he entered Mana raised a glass up to him, so he nodded back. “I’m so glad you could make it homes!” Marcos stated.
He was wearing brown jeans, and a black hoodie. They fist bumped and then hugged a bit. “What do you think of this whole set up?” Randy asked him. He nodded back towards the crew and the entire arena. “Man, they’re putting their balls to the wall here. They’ve got everything from the illuminated pumpkin that’ll be at the top of the ramp, to black and orange lights running down it. It’s gonna be one hell of a show homes.” “Randy?” Samantha called out. He turned and saw her smiling as she walked up to him. She had a very tight pair of black jogging pants on as well as a matching sweater. “How are you feeling?” She asked.
They hugged and then gazed at each other for a bit. “And why are you wet?” She added. “I’m doing fine Sammie. As for the wetness…It’s a long story. How are you?” She started fiddling with her hair and kept staring down at the arena below. “I’m nervous as all hell! I got that DWL Diva’s Knockout Championship match in less than a day and I’m just all nerves.” “Hey, you think you’re nervous but look at us two. Marcos and I not only have to defend our newly gained Tag Team titles but we each have a major singles championship match of our own as well.” Randy replied. “That’s true. Well I’m gonna go take a look down in the arena. You wanna come Marc?” Samantha asked.
She grabbed a hold of his arm and pulled him towards the door. “Have fun, Marc!” Randy said to him. “You know I will!” They fist bumped again and Marcos laughed as he was yanked out of the box. Randy gazed down at the ring once again, resting his head against the glass windows. “A penny for your thoughts?” Carl’s voice stated.
Randy jolted a bit but calmed down when he turned and saw Carl. He had a baggy green shirt on with a pair of black jogging pants. “Sorry dude, I didn’t mean to scare ya! What’s on your mind?” He sat down and started sipping on an orange soda. “You like orange eh?” Randy asked him. “You have no idea man. I’ve been drinking this flavor my entire life and don’t plan on abandoning it now.” “Orange is an amazing flavor, though I lean towards Pepsi a lot.” Randy replied. Carl reached towards an open cooler and tossed one over.
“Right on time!” Randy stated. He cracked it open and decided to sit down on Carl’s right side. Kolleen had already interested herself into the pizza over in the far corner. Randy looked over at her and saw her nibbling politely on her food and she saw him staring. She laughed slightly and raised her pizza up to him. He nodded in return and then went back to Carl’s and his conversation. “Tell me what’s on your mind man.” “I’ve been seeing things. Things that I honestly can’t even begin to explain. Like earlier today, I got a really sickening call from this girl who’s apparently my stalker now…” Randy trailed off.
He stared across the arena towards the crew as they were tweaking the neon signs. “What else?” Carl asked. “I…I saw a girl outside of the shower this morning. I swear to God on my own life I saw her standing and just staring into my soul through that misted glass. I then saw her up on the roof of this building. Though I can’t tell who this girl is; someone’s following me around man. She looked right into my face, Carl. She then pointed and fell off, as if it were her plan all along. I tried to catch her, but her body disappeared…Am I going crazy?” Randy asked.
“It seems to me, this stalker girl you’re talking about, is getting into your head. She’s messing with your psyche and it’s causing you to become delusional.” Carl replied. “How do you know?” Randy stared over at him and saw the concern not only in his expression but through his eyes as well. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Not ever at this magnitude anyway. I mean, it seems as if I’ve been forgetting things lately. Like things I should be remembering but forget within a few minutes. Could that have anything to do with it?”
Carl set his drink down and gave Randy one hundred percent of his attention. “So let me get this straight. You’ve been forgetting things, like important things. Now you’re seeing and hearing people that clearly aren’t there? Hmm…” Carl said. He leaned back in his chair as he racked his brains for a solution. Just then Gorgon came up to them with a couple of slices of pizza. He handed Randy the plate, “Compliments of Miss Sparks over there.” he stated. Randy looked over, past Gorgon and saw Kolleen blowing a kiss at him. “Love you.” Randy mouthed. She nodded in return and raised a drink to him.
“Thanks man!” he said to Gorgon. “Don’t mention it dude. You need to eat something, right?” “Right you are.” Randy waited until Gorgon exited the box before continuing the conversation. Carl cleared his throat a bit and then continued. “From what I can gather, you have the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease and the delusions are caused by a manic paranoia and a tiny bit of Schizophrenia.” Carl now looked concerned as he stared into Randy’s eyes.
“H-How do you know all of this?” “Randy, when I was in college I got a PH.D in Psychology. I decided to devote my natural strength to wrestling, because my entire family did it. That doesn’t mean I’m any less smart than others. My advice is this…” Carl leaned closer with a hand on Randy’s shoulder and looked him square in the eye. “Go see your doctor again. Get this illness in check before it gets out of hand. It’s not your fault that you have these things, but it’s best to stop it earlier rather than later.” he stated.
This news hit Randy so hard that he almost forgot to breath. “Hey, buddy, breathe. Take it easy. It’s not the end of the world and this doesn’t mean you can’t wrestle. You should probably just get it checked, like I said, soon. Perhaps Monday, since you have the pay per view tomorrow night.” With that Carl got up and left the box as well. Randy got up and walked over to Kolleen who had been chatting with one of the DWL Divas. “Hey Randy! Good luck on your matches tomorrow night!” Natalie stated. “You to Natty!” Randy replied.
“Natty? Really?!” Kolleen said. He turned towards her and saw the jealousy in her eyes. “Don’t worry Kol. Everyone apparently calls her Natty, I just use the nickname, that’s all. Anyway, I talked to Carl, you know, about my issues with the memory problems and that girl I saw today…” Kolleen folded her arms as she gazed down at her feet. “So, what did he say?” she asked him. Randy lifted her head up by her chin so they could see eye to eye.
“First of all I want let you know that the man has a PH.D in Psychology. He told me that the memory problems are most likely early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and as for the girl…He said it could be manic paranoia and the delusions are part of early stages of Schizophrenia.” “Oh my God!” Kolleen replied. Her mouth was covered now by her hands as this news hit her. “W-What should we do?!” She added in. Randy leaned against the wall, staring down at his colleagues as they roamed around the arena.
He then started fiddling with his hands, but Kolleen stopped him. She grabbed a hold of them drawing his attention. “Listen to me Ran-Ran. We should get you to a doctor and fast. If what Carl’s saying is true, then the sooner we get you checked, the better.” “I hear you Kol, but I can’t do it right now. I have two very important matches coming up tomorrow night and I just can’t abandon them now.” He felt the sadness tugging at him. That same sadness he got when he thought he’d never walk normally again.
“Just listen to me Randy. Please look at me.” He did as he was asked, and saw the even more saddening teary eyes of his girlfriend. “At the very least, tell Mr. Lawrence so he knows what’s going on with you. Maybe he can find a way to help you.” Randy dropped his head, turning all of his attention to the carpeted floor of that room. “It isn’t much of a party anymore, now is it?” he asked. He ripped himself free of Kolleen’s grasp, grabbed a few sodas and then left the room.
Kolleen watched as he descended the arena steps towards the ring that was now being set up. God, please help him… She thought. She had her face up against the glass, as Randy continued to descend. He was at the bottom of the steps, right up to the barricade that was now in place for the spectator’s safety. He set his drinks down onto the barricade and cracked open another one then sipped as he watched. The ring seemed to be coming together perfectly. The crew had it propped up by the ring posts and were already reinforcing it.
They tied all the ropes tightly around the corners, until the ring was standing perfectly upright. The only thing they had left to do was slide the sidings across, to cover the bottom which looked amazing as well. The Haunted Hallows logo had been stitched in with italics and DWL was stitched on the siding to the left. In the center of the ring, a giant pumpkin rested in the canvas with DWL Haunted Hallows seemingly carved into it’s flesh. “God that looks amazing!” Randy stated.
One of the crew workers turned and smiled at him. He was tall, but fat as well, with a familiar face. “Oh my God, Bruce? Bruce Lexington Sr.?” Randy called out. “Holy shit! It’s you; it’s really, really you! In the flesh!” Bruce replied. He walked up to Randy and immediately stuck his hand out. Randy shook it and smiled brightly at the man. “I didn’t know you were set up crew.” “I’m senior coordinator of this crew, hired specifically for Madison Square Garden needs. I’ve been working here for over twenty years. It’s so nice to see you in real life. Did you get my letter?” Bruce asked. “That I did my man, thanks!”
“Listen, since I’m head coordinator at these events, I get free tickets and my kids and I will be sitting front row, actually right behind where you’re standing at the moment.” Randy turned and saw a bunch of padded orange folding chairs. The same logo that was on the canvas rested on the back and seat of the chair. “Dang. Mr. Lawrence goes all out for these pay per views, doesn’t he?” Randy asked. When he turned his attention back to Bruce, the man was already dialing his phone. “Please hear me out. The kids would be absolutely thrilled if they heard your voice through the phone. Could you please talk to them? Both of them are HUGE fans of yours.”
“Absolutely my man. I’d love to talk to the little ones.” He watched Bruce excitedly type in his number and wipe the sweat from his brow. “Hey; Hey Junior? Is Hailey nearby?” “Great, ask your mom to put the phone on speaker… Great! Hey honey! I wanted to give the kids an early pay per view present.” Bruce handed the phone over, which Randy gladly accepted. “Hello?” Randy called out. Immediately he heard screams of excitement and joy from the kids. “Are you Randy Rodriguez?” a woman asked.
“The very same, ma’am.” “It’s Phantom! It’s Phantom!” Bruce Junior was yelling. “Mommy, it’s Randy!” Hailey yelled. “I can hear that honey. These kids are so excited to hear your voice, you have no idea.” Mrs. Lexington replied. “Literally, they were drawing up title belts of their own and are going to bring them by the event tomorrow night.” Randy’s heart was melting at this news. The fact that he touched the hearts of children, became overwhelming for him.
“You tell those two that I’ll have a special gift just for them.” Randy replied. “Oh I will. And Randy? Thanks for talking. Bruce Sr., the kids and I all love your wrestling and the DWL in general. You’ve made their day, I assure you that.” “Okay Mrs. Lexington. You have yourself a good day.” Randy stated. Then he heard Bruce Junior and Hailey speak at the same time. “Bye Randy!” They yelled. “You two stay good and remember to always eat your vegetables and drink your milk.” Randy said. “We will.” The kids replied.
He hung up and handed the phone back. “Thank you so much! The look on their faces when I get home, is going to blow me through the roof. Listen, I gotta get back to work. It was very nice meeting The Phantom himself, in person.” Randy shook Bruce’s hand again and watched him get back to the arena construction. As he stood there, arms folded he began to feel his mind wandering off. Off in the distance, inside the eye of the pumpkin on the stage, he saw a face. The same girl that had been plaguing him all day was here in this very room.
Randy abandoned his drinks and walked swiftly up the ramp, towards the giant pumpkin. The woman was still there, staring a hole through him. He entered the mouth of the pumpkin and saw a makeshift staircase leading up to the left eye. As he ascended the stairs, his adrenaline began to fuel him. All of his senses seemed to kick into high gear as he drew closer towards his destination. He could see a light coming from the arena, through the eyeball, and continued to ascend. He was inches from the eye, now mere centimeters, and then he was there.
The woman was gone though. Who is this woman? he thought. He stood there, gazing out of the pumpkin’s eye and saw all the way across the arena. Kolleen was still in the V.I.P. box entrance and she was chatting to Mr. Lawrence who then turned, as she pointed towards the pumpkin. He nodded at Kolleen and began his trek towards Randy. Crap! I can’t have him questioning me, not now! Randy thought. He quickly descended the steps and slammed hard into Mr. Lawrence. “Oh god, I’m so sorry sir!” Randy stated. “Oh, no harm, no foul.” Wow! He was fast…
Mr. Lawrence waved an arm towards the arena and guided Randy back to the stage. As they stood at the top of the ramp, a new kind of adrenaline began to course his veins. Something like his first match in the DWL but amplified by the thousands. “What do you see here Randy?” Mr. Lawrence asked. Randy looked around the arena and suddenly he could hear cheering. Thousands of fans were screaming, chanting his name. He then began to see the seats filling up as they rose to the rafters. “I see what tomorrow night will be like.”
“Right, but do you see anyone in particular?” he asked. Randy gazed at his boss’ face, seeing the same concern that he received from Carl. That concern that Kolleen displayed before Randy left her up at the box. “She told you, didn’t she?” he asked in return. He turned his attention back up to Kolleen who had been leaning against the box’s doorway. “Miss Sparks is merely concerned for you my boy, as am I. From what I’ve heard, you’re seeing things that aren’t actually there. Miss Sparks told me you saw a woman jumping from the roof of this building, but she didn‘t exist.” Mr. Lawrence said.
He crossed his arms, staring off into the empty arena. Randy did the same, as he watched the crew setting up more lights in the distance. “I don’t want you to go, yet. Not at least until tomorrow night is over. But when Monday hits, I recommend you go back to your doctor in San Diego, and get that brain checked. If we’re lucky, we can put a pin on all of this before it spirals out of control and hurts you beyond repair. So…” Mr. Lawrence said, turning towards Randy. “Look at me boy, please.” Randy did as he was told, and stared directly into the man’s eyes.
“I am concerned greatly for you. The physical, mental and spiritual well being of all my athletes has always been my top concern. You seem to fill these seats whenever your name is mentioned to be on the card. You are a naturally gifted athlete and are down to earth as well. I simply cannot risk losing you because you’re afraid of what may happen. And it’s alright to be afraid my boy, but it takes a great deal of courage to face that fear and find the solution that haunts you so.” “Wow, that was very insightful.”
“Believe it or not, my father was a famous philosopher back in his day and I took up philosophy in my college studies as well. The DWL was my idea, which sparked off of my interest in college wrestling. I received a Master’s in Philosophy then immediately went after a Master’s in Business so I could construct my own wrestling league. You are the reason why I continue to put my suit on every day. Athletes like yourself are what makes my world go round, and I can’t risk hurting either of you. It feels like I’m letting my own children get hurt, and I won’t tolerate it.” Mr. Lawrence stated.
They both walked down the ramp, towards the now abandoned ring, climbed up and entered it. “Look around you. Do you hear the cheers pounding down on you even harder from here?” Randy stared at his boss who had been holding onto the corner ropes and was gazing back at him. “Yes. They’re so much louder now…” he said. “Your future hasn’t even began to come to you, and you’re already receiving physical and mental problems. To be honest, I was skeptical to even sign you back into the league after that last situation.”
He looked down at his feet and sighed. Randy walked up to his boss and grabbed the man‘s shoulders. “Mr. Lawrence, I hear you and I hear my colleagues well. Most of all, I hear Kolleen loud and clear, as if she’s right in my ear, whispering it. I’ll get checked Tuesday, since we’ll be leaving to San Diego Monday afternoon.” Mr. Lawrence looked back up now, and smiled at this news. He then pulled Randy into a hug, which took him aback. “Uh… Sir?” he asked. “I’m proud of you. No matter what happens tomorrow night, you are definitely a winner in all of our eyes. If there’s anything I can do for you, please ask.”
An idea struck Randy’s mind so he whispered into Mr. Lawrence’s ear. “Is that all? And for some fans to boot? I’ll have them ready for the two kids by tomorrow night.” With that, Mr. Lawrence exited the ring, leaving Randy in the very center. No matter how scared he felt, he knew he had to face these problems head on. He rested against the opposite ring ropes, and looked back up at the box. Kolleen had been staring back. She waved and he returned it. His heart was pounding, but with anger; not love.