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> A fresh start
Posted: July 12, 2019 03:00 pm

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Joined: June 30, 2019

A small flock of birds’ cruise high above the crowded parking lot on the cloudless afternoon. The sun sits almost directly overhead beaming its warming rays onto the asphalt rendering it supple and the occupants of the lot, the cars, hot to the touch. Carrying a faded brown handbag Gina Osborne walks through an aisle between rows of shiny vehicles of a multitude of colors, her steely grey eyes scanning each of them intently. She pauses beside a beater white Ford Escort and lifts her black ballcap, using the sleeve of her tightly fit white tee shirt to wipe the sweat off her brow before resuming her scan of the vicinity. Looking ahead she spies a small, gas cart puttering through slowly and steps in between the Escort and a brown Camry in front of it, kneeling to tie her shoes. Listening intently she waits for the rumbling of the single cylinder engine to approach and watches from the corner of her eye as the security guard, a young, pimple faced man of 25 or so years drives on by, his mind occupied by the over stuffed Burrito, dripping guacamole sauce over his hand than his job.

Satisfied, she stands up, casting back a glance to the rent a cop meandering further away and turns her attention back to the Escort, a white, mid-90’s model. Pressing her body against it, she shakes the ride to test for an alarm, but not a peep is heard from the one and a half ton sub-compact and she digs into her pocket removing a pen-sized cylindrical device, encased in metal and grips it tightly into her gloved hands hand. Her left picks up a piece of the flannel shirt tied around her waist and wraps the plaid cloth around both hands pressing the object against the glass when a shriek suddenly rings out through the heated air enveloping the valley. Anxiously she drops her hands and spins around towards the source of the distraction; a man and a woman, exiting the Wal-Mart and dropping an armload of goods in thin plastic bags. The security guard stops his cart to help as a small handful of customers gawk at the noisy couple.

False alarm.

Heaving in a deep breath, Gina scans the lot once more to ensure that nobody is approaching and returns to the task at hand. Pressing the spring-loaded shank against the window she depresses a button at the tip which sends a pointed steel blade shooting out. The impact promptly shatters the glass and after surveying the landscape once more she brushes aside a few shards and takes the driver’s seat with a waft of spent cigarettes assaulting her nostrils. Reaching into the handbag she pulls out a small slide hammer and fumbles through the bag for the appropriate fitting. Finding a specialty screw, she affixes the fitting to the ignition lock and then attaches the heavy rod, screwing it into the key slot of the cylinder. Taking grip of the heavy barrel shaped center she pushes it forward towards the ignition and then violently yanks it back with a resounding clang. Loosened but not yet out, she gives the ignition lock another try and finally a third before the two inch long cylinder pops free of the plastic encasement of the steering column. She thrusts the slide hammer, with the ignition lock still stuck on the end into her bag and fishes out a small, flathead screwdriver. Inserting the tip into the hole previously occupied by the ignition lock she twists the tool as a key and brings the four-cylinder engine to life. With her left foot she slowly lets up on the clutch while gently applying gas until the car creeps into motion, lurching back from its’ space. Gripping the five-speed stick shift she slaps the handle into first gear and guides the Focus slowly from the parking lot, her eyes continuously checking the rearview mirror for signs of trouble, but none are to be found and following a left turn onto Tropicana boulevard she joins traffic. Her nose wrinkles, agitated by the overflowing ashtray in the center console, prompting Gina to snap the tray from its holder and dump it out of the window and discarding it to the passenger side floor. Passing the famed Las Vegas Strip, she slides into the left turn lane carefully steering the car onto the 15 south bound on-ramp. From here Primm is no more than a 30-minute drive and she slides back into the driver seat, allowing the tension in her muscles to finally ease up as she aides the process by turning on the radio. With a twist of the dial she selects KOMP 92, one of the few remaining rock stations in the valley, but the dull droning sales pitch of some faceless mannequin on this sweltering Sunday morning pitching yet another miracle cream immediately brings about another twist of the dial where she settles on 96.3, a station favoring older pop and rock hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The electronic Bass of Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’ filters through the windy cabin as she settles into a lane on the freeway.

“I could use one of them”, she mutters to herself, turning the volume up to compensate for the wind noise flowing through the shattered window.

Her thoughts begin to wander, bantered about by the synthesized beat and carrying her along the road of remembrance. Due in Primm in a scant few hours and scheduled to compete in an exhibition match against an unknown opponent, her first for Sin City Wrestling, a small, local promotion and one of the precious few willing to offer her an opportunity to earn a legitimate living, and perhaps, one of the last chances to right the erratic course of her life. But how? Although having seen wrestling many times Gina has never practiced the craft; Mixed martial arts being her preferred endeavor. But after being blacklisted by two promotions and deported from the country of Japan she suddenly found herself at a crossroads in life. Back home in the low-income neighborhood at the corner of Donna and Carey in North Las Vegas she began taking part in unsanctioned street fights, held a few times a month by the local gang – the Donna Street Crips, one of roughly 300 in the Las Vegas Valley – to earn money for food. Following a few weeks of living in an abandoned apartment building adjacent to the railroad tracks, she managed to wrangle the owner of a small, dusty MMA gym nearby to allow her to stay in exchange for keeping the place tidy.

It was here that the wrestling bug bit her as a pair of local wrestlers held a workout in the gym, and while she knew little about the sport the mechanisms reminded her greatly of MMA and striking up a conversation with one of the wrestlers and detailing her history in MMA the rugged brawler convinced her to give the local promotion of SCW a try. Skeptical at first, she nevertheless filled out and submitted an application detailing her athletic history and agreed to take a physical. She was surprised to hear back from them less than two weeks later with an unofficial offer and invited her to a show being held in Primm, Nevada, at the state line to which she is already EnRoute. Passing the by 215 airport connector the road begins to clear and approaching the city limits she heaves a relieved sigh, comforted by the fact that the Nevada Highway Patrol greatly favors operating inside of the metropolitan zone.

Wandering further she recalls her brief stint in mixed martial arts, a turbulent affair that twice landed her in hot water with various sanctioning bodies and lead to an investigation of her past by Japanese officials leading to her subsequent deportation. Her entire life up to this point has been one catastrophe after another; thrown out of numerous foster homes, coupled with school suspensions and a handful of arrests. By the time she was 17 no foster home would touch her leading the state of Nevada to essentially force her into joining the military. She barely made it out of boot camp, but it wasn't long after that she found herself a civilian once more. Yet, despite the penchant for trouble she finds herself unexpectedly blessed with another opportunity, an opportunity she could not afford to squander. How many more will there be? Looking up from her reverie as a tow truck tends to a broken down Cadillac on the right shoulder she shakes her head, unsure of the answer. Pressing down on the gas the small hatchback responds with a growl, surging forward at a heightened pace and Gina slips back into her pool of thought.

Professional wrestling, as it was described to her, is just like MMA, only with fewer rules. This strikes her as a good sign as fewer rules to break, inadvertantly or otherwise, means less of a chance to screw things up as she has so many times in the past. She has heard it described as a sales driven endeavour; meaning ticket sales. The more butts she can park in the seats the more money she can earn and wrestlers, much like MMA fighters are pretty much left to promote themselves. But without a background in sales, advertising or promotion she lacks the general knowledge to do things properly. At least, she thought she did, until one of the visiting wrestlers offered a tip; "The more chaos you make", he said. "The more loot you take". Simple enough, she reasons. After a lifetime in and out of trouble she regards herself as something of an expert at raising hell. Glacing to the right side of the road she passes by a green sign alerting her that her destination of Primm, is a scant ten miles. She breathes in deeply,

"Time to kick some ass".

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