Unidentified Voice #1: “You got that thing on record yet?”
Unidentified Voice #2: “Yep, just started.”
Unidentified Voice #1: “Awesome. I can’t believe this loser’s slumped out back here calling his parents to cry like a big baby. What an epic meltdown, though. We can post this on youtube or something and torch this dumb fuck’s career before it even gets started!”
The video comes into focus. The loser at hand, none other than the proud owner of FWF’s worst in-show promo to date. If you missed it, well… Larry probably would like us to leave it at that, but you can always find the tape in the archives.
Lunchbox, as so eloquently described by Unidentified Voice #1, is currently slouched down on a sidewalk directly behind one of the back exits of the MGM. With his large arms resting on their respective knee, Larry stares painfully at his lit up phone screen with the name ‘Dad’ in bold, white font across the top.
Dad: “Sorry, boy… but I told you this was a mistake from the start.”
When it looked like Larry couldn’t possibly slump over any further, somehow it happened with a depressed drop of the head.
Lunchbox: “I kno-”
The father’s voice on the other line interrupts, now in a more frustrated tone.
Dad: “But you don’t! You don’t know shit.”
An awkward, yet fleeting moment passes.
Dad: “Sorry, son. It’s just… knowing things, well… that was never your strong point.”
The head, defying all anatomical odds, lowers further. You can hear the owners of the unidentified voices behind the screen snickering again.
Dad: “But that’s what made you so good at what you did back here. Back home. Driving truck for your dad. You kept things simple and did your job. That wrestling crap? There’s nothin’ simple about that business, Larry. I don’t know how many times I gotta say it.”
Larry lets out a heavy sigh, slowly returning his head to its normal, upright position.
Lunchbox: “Maybe you’re right, boy...”
They call each other “boy”... it’s just a thing they do. Get over it.
Dad: “You’re god-damned right, I’m right! So come back home. We miss you.”
A slight pause.
Dad: “You wouldn’t believe the jackass I had to hire when you decided to… to go find… y-yourself…”
Yes, it was said in a very demeaning meets condescending tone. Almost realizing it himself, Larry’s dad clears his throat and changes his tune quickly.
Dad: “Look. I know it’s fun chasing your dreams. I moved out to Colorado when I was your age and tried becoming a professional skier. See where that landed me? Right back home, where I belong, doing what I was supposed to do… what you’re supposed to do. Leave dreaming to the Dems, boy. Living in a fairy tale land is what they do best. Not us. Not our kind.”
Before the last few words were voiced, you could hear loud footsteps rapidly approaching the other end of the line. They’re accompanied by a distant shout,
Female Voice on the Other End of Line: “SHUT YOUR UGLY FACE, FRED!”
Now we have a name for Lunchbox’s dad, at least.
Larry’s head, which yet again reached droop levels never before seen, snaps up. His eyes pop as they continue to stare at the lit up phone.
The voices behind the recording snicker yet louder this time. Larry hears them and inquisitively shoots a glance in their general direction, but he sees nothing in the twilight.
You can hear Fred let out a deep breath over the phone; a sound best described as disgust with a side of fright. You know the sound over the phone when someone on the other end grabs their phone from the person who has it? Yeah, that’s what followed. I think it’s safe to assume the female voice here is Larry’s mother. You can hear her clear her throat a la Dolores Umbridge before she addresses her son in a very different tone.
Mom: “Hiii honeyyyy, how are ya babe?”
Larry didn’t have a second to answer. You know how it is with that question.
Mom: “Don’t you listen to your dumb, ol’ dad. He’s still upset he never made it with his skiing racing thing. Funny how he doesn’t seem to realize that he wouldn’t have come back home, met me, and created YOU! Ya know, if he didn’t fail and all...”
A slight pause. You can feel her shooting daggers at Larry’s dad, Fred.
Lunchbox: “I dunno, ma… I think he maybe ri-”
The sudden fury sends Larry into a perfect posture sitting position like he just got scolded by a nun or something.
Another Umbridge throat clear from his mother.
Mom: “I mean, hun… you gotta give this a real go. Or you know what?”
Larry rolls his head back and forth between his shoulders like a little boy.
He knew she wouldn’t continue without the unnecessary response.
Mom: “Well you’ll end up like your grumpy, old father. That’s what. You’ll have a kid of your own. And you’ll piss on their parade when they want to see what they’re made of. I know my sweet Lar-bear doesn’t want that, does he?”
Louder snickering this time. Larry definitely heard it, but seeing nothing around he shrugs it off. Or maybe the shrug was in response to his mother’s weird motherly question...
Lunchbox: “I guess not, no…”
He brings his non-phone hand up to the side of his head, scratching above his ear.
Mom: “Of course you don’t, sweetie. Now pick up that chin and do what you gotta do. You might not feel like much right now, but I can tell you one thing you aren’t, Mr. LaVeen…”
Larry nods his head while rolling his eyes. He knows what’s coming. He even mouths the words before his mother speaks them.
Mom: “You’re not a quitter!”
Mom: “So you get off your boo-hooey butt, get out of sulk city, and go do your wrestling thing you love so much!”
Lunchbox, despite being in an ultimate state of funk (not the good kind), can’t help but crack a smile. Without even being able to see it, his mother seems to know it happened.
Mom: “I love you, Lar-bear. Time to deliver some of those knuckle sandwiches! Right? That’s what you’re calling your special thingy that wins you the game?”
Larry’s smile grows as he shakes his head.
Unidentified Voice #1: (whispering) “Holy shit this is priceless…”
Unidentified Voice #2’s owner tee-hees as quietly as possible.
Mom: “WAIT! But you’re one of the good ones, right? I watched that first show and they had some nasty people. You’re not going to be one of them hooligan types, right?”
Lunchbox shakes his head innocently. Continuing the telepathic communication, as if she heard him shake his head, she continues.
Mom: “Alright, I knew my little Lar-bear would be a good one. Shows those bad ones who’s boss. Maybe even throw a brick in that lunchbox of yours and get to swinging, if ya gotta?”
Larry brings his free hand to his face, smiling wide underneath.
Lunchbox: “Okay, ma. I should probly get going…”
A less fake throat clear from the other end this time.
Mom: “Right. Before you go, your dumb ass father has something he’d like to say...”
Unlikely. Further confirmed by the under-the-breath-threats of which you can’t make out the words, but can definitely tell are serious… The phone changes hands.
Dad: “Y-yes. Just wanted to apologize for how I got earlier?”
It was clearly more of a question than a statement.
Larry rolls his eyes.
Dad: “I-I mean it, though. If you want?”
It’s almost like he’s squinting through the phone…
Dad: “If you want… to beat… these bullies? Well…? Well… you have my full support.”
Lunchbox nods his head, like it’s customary.
The FWF rookie snaps to. This was his father’s actual serious voice.
Dad: “I’ll love you no matter what.”
The unidentified voices giggle yet again. Larry doesn’t even hear a lick of it. He smiles, instead.
Dad: “I think you gotta go meet those bad folk.”
Larry’s smile grows.
Dad: “I think they’re hungry…”
Lunchbox starts to nod enthusiastically.
Dad: “And I think they need-”
Larry stands up for the first time since the start of this conversation.
Lunchbox: “A KNUCKLE SANDWICH!”
His dad starts to respond, but doesn’t even stand a chance.
Lunchbox: “His name’s Chad Chaos! He’s the worst! Dad, you’d hate him!”
More giggling from behind the recording. Larry pauses for a split second, but convinces himself that he’s hearing things in his excitement.
Lunchbox: “He’s basically part of a gang! They’re a bunch of cheapshot artists! I think I could take any of them one on one with a ref involved, though!
What Larry also did not notice… was his father hanging up on him.
Lunchbox: “And that’s pretty much all I know about him because he hasn’t done anything to promote himself and when you google him absolutely nothing comes up, but that’s cool! I know he basically just wants to be scary and threatening and stuff like that and I won’t let him! Not with you and ma on my side, at lea-”
The rookie’s enthusiastic spiel is cut off by a dial tone. He removes the cell from the side of his face, where it naturally progressed as his excitement level rose. Staring at the screen, seeing no connected call at all, Larry lowers the phone and nods while walking off.
Lunchbox: “Chad Chaos… as low energy as they come… welp, I hope you’re hungry… You need the protein… and lucky you, I've got a KNUCKLE SANDWICH… WITH YOUR NAME ON IT!”
Larry walks off into the darkness. The voices chuckling louder and louder as their subject fades away.
"I NEED CHEESEBURGERS"
- Kentucky Tarzan