Eterno maybe killed Obaluaiye, my first mentor, who I didn’t really know but I think was a good person. And Eterno maybe killed a washed up old wrestler who maybe killed werewolves because he thought it was the right thing to do.
What next? Go “home”.
When I got back to Tallahassee, I sat down at Kim’s kitchen table and awkwardly explained that I felt like I should be moving on. I had lived off his charity long enough. He scoffed. He said if it made me feel better, I could pay him 500 bucks a month rent. When I told him I couldn’t afford that, he asked me what I was doing with my money. He said “not spending it on clothes clearly” and laughed like a jackass.
He asked some very pushy questions about my finances and then said if I didn’t at least double what I was charging, I was a fucking moron. I would have been less surprised if he stripped naked and did a triple backflip. I told him with my name recognition, none, and my skill level, none, I was lucky to get booked at all.
He told me if I increased my rate my bookings would go up, not down. He told me I was charging nobody rates and I’m not a nobody. When I disagreed with him he blasted me with complimentary abuse. He said that I have an interesting look, I can work better than most people with twice my experience, and that I have name recognition because of my real fights.
I told him my real fights were either me getting my ass kicked or me taking a dive. He told me to stop thinking like a fucking mark. He chewed me out for doing the same thing I criticize in other people. Not thinking creatively. He said that just being in those fights made me more of a draw than 99% of people. He claimed that if he was my manager, he’d ask for $250 a show plus travel expenses. I told him he was crazy.
He told me to stop the lost little lamb act and “get some confidence, stupid”. He said that people may hate my guts but they know who I am. Then he asked me if the story about Sid Boechen was true. I didn’t know there was a story.
I don’t usually have an issue working with guys, but Sid was one of the ones who felt the need to fuck with me. When I said “Why not, red equals green right?”, he continued to bust my chops by asking if he needed to show me how to gig. I said “Just hardway me, I don’t care.” And when we were in the ring that’s what he did.
When I told this to Kim he laughed again and said “you think a fucking story like that isn’t going to get around?”
After that discussion, he got quiet for a minute. I never heard him shut up for 8 seconds before. He looked at me for a long while before he spoke again. He asked me if I was stoned out of my mind or if I had been born a man or what my “deal” was. When I asked what he was talking about, he said that he watched my bare-knuckle fight. He said that he watched me get hammered for 10 minutes and not take a backwards step. He said that he saw people get hurt less than that in prison riots.
“And then there you were three days later fresh as a daisy working a match. I saw some dumb bitch in Shreveport drop you on your head on the ring apron and you were fine. You don’t look Samoan to me, so why are you still alive?”
I told him I have good genes. He snorted and told me to start charging more.