Stuck

No one wanted to be there; work there; live there. It was never their choice. But everyone ended up there, running away from something. They were offered protection. Safety. But it only lasted for as long as they did.

This was a dangerous business, after all.

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4. Dana

“And that wraps up Mayhem for tonight! Don’t forget that Madness is our next event… tomorrow…” Frowning, I scanned through my notes. Shit. Quietly, I turned to Ethan. “I’m gonna be dead on my feet.”

“Then don’t drink so much.” He snapped, out of character for a split second, before grinning at the camera. “So tune in tomorrow morning for more chaotic Madness!”

Finally, finally, the camera’s recording light flickered off, and I could breathe. Ethan stood immediately and started walking towards the ramp, to the curtain which separated us from the complex backstage world. Connor’s voice had stopped buzzing in my ear a little while ago, so it was probably safe to leave, as Ethan had. You could never be too sure, though; he got away with a lot of stuff that I could never even dream of doing out of fear of being fired. Showing up to work high? Completely fine, if you were Ethan. Come in with a hangover? I was shoved straight back to my room and given a ‘severe’ warning (If Management caught me drunk or with a hangover again, I would be out before I could protest).

Collecting both his and my notes, I followed him, pausing by the ring to check on Blaze, who was still recovering from both Seth’s choke hold and the ‘interference’ Connor had planned. To be honest, I was surprised he didn’t use Ethan for it, but, there again, Ethan always liked to be the enthusiastic ‘good’ commentator, while he painted me as the deadpan bitch who didn’t actually have any interest in anything that was going on. Heh… in a way, that was true. The only reason I hadn’t left already was because no one could just leave. Everyone was tied to the company in some way or another. My way was just a little more threadbare and close to snapping than some other people’s.

“My head feels like a truck hit it.” Blaze groaned, stumbling over to the ropes and rolling out of the ring. I offered him a shoulder to lean on and helped him walk to the ramp. “Interference fucking sucks.”

“You got that right.” I kept my voice low, but the crowd was being so loud that they couldn’t hear me even if I shouted… not that they would pay attention to anything I said anyway. “This sport is getting more and more like prowrestling.”

“Shitty and fake.” With a final grunt, Blaze let go of me, pushed himself through the curtains, and immediately fell to the floor.

There was no chance that I could carry him to the doctor, so I just dropped by his room and informed him of the unconscious Blaze, who had been ignored by the busy crew members. After that, my work was done. Well, I probably should have given Ethan his notes for tomorrow morning, but that wasn’t so important. He already knew the basics. Madness, the weekly show, would start at the same time as Mayhem did. We would have to sit there and talk for an hour or two, then wrap up the show and leave. Maybe some blood would be spilt on the commentary table, so Ethan could go on a rant about personal hygiene and working conditions. Management never said anything about his little tirades; if I decided to start mouthing off like that, I’d be out of a job immediately.

My room was small, cosy. It had a bed and a cupboard, so I couldn’t ask for much more. The light flickered a little stubbornly before illuminating the room with its cheap yellow glow, as I sat on the edge of the bed and contemplated whether getting wasted tonight would be worth it. The bottles were just underneath the bed - I could kick one over from where I was sitting, if I really wanted to. But tomorrow… I had to be conscious for tomorrow. There again, it was tomorrow evening. My hangovers rarely lasted that long. Maybe it would be worth it.

Before I could make a decision, I heard knocking on my door. Confused - I never got visitors - I stood and opened it, to see Jey. The little airhead walked in without invitation, and sat on my bed, staring at the wall opposite it and ignoring me completely. Slightly bemused, I closed the door and sat beside her. I had never talked to her much, but she seemed like an ok sort. Harley, her closest friend, was a little violent at times, but also wasn’t the worst person in the world. However, we definitely weren’t on ‘sure come into my room at any time and then ignore me’ terms yet.

“Why are we here?” Finally, she turned to me, asking the question while staring into my eyes. Her own had a sort of scary blankness to them, as if she wasn’t currently in the same world as me. My mind struggled to come up with an answer for her, before settling on:

“Well, if we weren’t here, we’d be somewhere else, and then we’d be asking why we were there too, so I suppose we’re just here because we’re not anywhere else.”

“Oh.” Suddenly, the light came back to her eyes, and she shook her head a little, looking back at me, then around. “Where am I?”

“My room.” Her eyes widened. “No, no! Jesus. Nothing like that. You came in and asked why we’re here.”

“Not again…” She murmured, seeming almost a little frightened. “I have to go. Sorry!”

Without another word, she jumped up and fled the room. Confused as ever, I shut the door and grabbed a bottle of beer from under the bed. Lying down, I took a swig and shut my eyes, faintly hearing some rowdy lovemaking from a couple rooms away and a heated argument next door about hair gel. Drinking solved pretty much nothing, but at least it made the world seem peaceful for a couple of hours. Not much was peaceful these days. Sighing, I pressed the bottle to my lips and felt more of the luke-warm liquid run down my throat. This was gonna be a long night.

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