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FWO reAction

March 4, 2009

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Cross Country

The Mecca was nervous.

Alex Creed slowly paced the length of the small office / dressing room that his agent, Pearl Ladune, had commandeered for him. She'd given him strict instruction to relax and focus on his match scheduled for later tonight.

Not just any match. A tag match.

With Crucifix.

The Zen Assassin had been flown back from Kabul a few days ago. He was alive, but was not returning fully intact. David Cross had taken a beating, and somewhere along the way he'd lost a finger. Alex never asked what happened. He was still feeling guilty about his friend being left behind in Afghanistan, and couldn't really step up to ask about his time in the warzone.

Pearl and Alex met David at the airport. Alex was so guilty and shaken about seeing Cross again that the entire time he waited for David to clear customs, he felt as if he was about to vomit. Pearl kept trying to calm him, telling him it wasn't his fault. In the end, though, it would be up to David to absolve him.

David came out, smiled, and the two friends embraced.

Now, the friends were about to embark on a tag team career. Assuming, of course, Crucifix could get the deal he was looking for.

"We're baaaaack," Cross sang as he opened the door. Alex searched his friend's ruined face for confirmation of the happiness detected in his voice.

The pin-striped brunette followed Crucifix into the office. "David Cross will no longer be employed by the FWO on a pay-per-appearance basis." She smiled at the Mecca. "Your friend now has a very lucrative one year contract to his credit."

“That’s awesome news! Did Beaven give you any trouble?”

“We were holding all the cards in this negotiation. However, there were a few areas of contention that we were able to meet them halfway on. David here has agreed to tow the proverbial company line and not bury them in the media. He’s also agreed not to sue.”

“And you got the contract?”

“David will make in one year, what many of his cohorts will make in five. He’s making Mecca money. The fact that Mister Cross wasn’t going to bleed them dry in court was enough for them to sign pretty much on the spot.”

“Didn’t even read the fine print,” David said, unzipping his wardrobe bag. He pulled out a pair of black, baggy kung fu pants as well as a black mask with a red cross on the front of it.

Alex looked at the mask. “You’re going under cover?”

“Starting tonight.” David picked up the mask and stared at the mesh-covered eyeholes. “We wouldn’t want to upset the fans too badly at the start of our contractual career, would we?”

Not a word reached Alex’s ears. He was distracted by the lack of index finger on David’s left hand. There was a nub just above the knuckle, with spiny stitches sticking out of the black mass of surgical thread and dead flesh. God, what did they do to his –

“They cut it.”

Startled, Alex saw that David was looking at him, looking at his finger stub. “I’m – I’m sorry Dave. I didn’t –“

“Two soldiers pistol whipped me for about an hour,” Cross said. “Then they dragged me over to a crate, put my hand on it, pulled out what looked like a meat saw, and...”

“God.”

“I would expect nothing less from that miserable bastard.” David closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and pulled the mask over his head. “But that was then, and today is a new day.”

Pearl cleared her throat. “Well my business here is done. David, good luck to you. Alex, always a pleasure.”

The Mecca smiled half-heartedly. “Thanks again Pearl.”

His agent departed, Alex picked up his bag. “Well, time to go to work. You ready for this Dave?”

Crucifix extended his left hand. “Time to start living the dream,” he said behind the mask.

Alex looked down at the hand, the missing finger, and felt his guilt crawl up into his throat. He swallowed it down and shook his friend’s hand. “Here’s to living the dream.”

“Here’s to living,” said Crucifix.