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Cross Recoba

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003 - A Blizzard of Information
« on: October 03, 2017, 10:33:27 AM »

CROSS




The days had flown by since Recoba had last sat down in his office, the working arrangement with Costello was one that they made work where other companies and individuals might shy away from the unconventionality. 




Costello had rung the night before to inquire about when he might be ready to put forward the plan he’d alluded to almost a month ago. It had been a long month, Recoba’s preparations were made well in advance but even he couldn’t have foreseen High Calibre Wrestling closing after its first show; without a viable company for Recoba to wrestle for the plan’s viability was severely weakened.




He scrolled through his emails, his other hand nursing a Lucky Strike resting in the ashtray, he’d managed to shake the habit earlier in the year but the unusual sense of a plan faltering before it got out the gates was not a welcome one. Once the plan was back on track he’d kick the habit, he knew Dakota would be on his case to make sure of it. 




He found Elliott’s email and double-clicked it open to download the attachment, his brow now unfurrowed with a sense of relief. He quickly glanced at the time on-screen and felt relaxed, he had more than enough time to go through the findings before he had to meet his boss. 




“Do you know how cute you look when you’re working?” The words from the door startled Recoba, he’d purposefully gone into the office early so that he could gather his thoughts. He looked up and wondered why Dakota was up this early, he’d left her sound asleep in bed.




“Sorry, it’s a busy time - I just need to get this bit of work done and then I’m all set for however you want to spend the day…” Recoba’s smile grew as he looked at Jennings. Being before eight she only had to take the lift from the villa down a couple of floors, safe in the knowledge that no-one would be around. Still, she’d insisted on showering and doing her make-up. 




Cross, in contrast, was rocking a particularly strong case of bedhead and had managed to throw his old high-school football training top and a pair of jeans on before polishing off his work for the morning.




“I missed you, I wanted to see what you do…” her eyes suggesting that she wouldn’t be satisfied being just a spectator. 




“Look, it’s early - you can ask me all the questions in the world you want today but right now I have to prepare for this meeting with Costello. Phone Justin in the kitchen, tell him I told you to order whatever you want...have it delivered to you. I’ll be less than an hour, besides - I’ve had to settle for what my mother would have called a ‘working girl’s’ breakfast of coffee and nicotine.” 




Dakota let out an audible sigh, it was only a short flight from Scottsdale to get to Vegas but Cross had promised her he’d keep work to a minimum, in her mind that meant almost zero - not an early office shift and a dinner meeting she wasn’t invited to.




“Better question, are you coming to the show? I know you’re not on the card but it’s my first televised match!” His eagerness to swiftly change the conversation was not as well hidden as he wanted it to be.




“Possibly, I mean - whatever we get up to there, I can always tell you ‘we’re not in Kansas anymore!’ after!” She laughed at her own joke, Recoba smiled along.




“Kota, honestly - I’ll be finished before nine, out the shower and ready by half-past, and then we can go shop for whatever you desire or do whatever you want to do.” 




“Except no Kamikaze shots because of your meeting, right?” Recoba wasn’t sure if her teasing tone was hiding some other inferred message. The smile on her face suggested he was looking for a meaning that didn’t exist.




“No shots, besides - you’d find the meeting with Al incredibly boring, I’m doing you a favor.” 




“Fine, but if you’re not in a towel when you say will be, I’ll change into something that might make it very difficult for you to continue working, your staff might catch an eyeful too!” There was a glint in her eyes that told Cross she was only half-joking.




“I’ll be as quick as I can, I promise.”




*****


CROSS




He looked at the names that Elliott had found, the brief gave him plenty of scope to find the right people. Wrestlers were well versed in what The Sands had to offer and Recoba always told them not to worry if they ran up a marker, the wrestling business was one where a light paycheck one week might turn into a year of extremely lucrative paychecks the next. One thing he didn’t expect was that he would find his hospitality would be tested by his pet hate.




Degenerative gamblers came in all walks of life, the gamblers who stay at the table far beyond the time a rational mind would allow. They’d always be around, it was a necessary evil of the gambling industry, but Recoba hoped that he wouldn’t find someone in this category he knew. 




Society explained a gambling addiction as a disease, one that should be treated with compassion, the legislation put in place that companies such as The Sands shouldn’t look to exploit or target them. Recoba paid lip service to the legislation, but to him, he saw degenerate gamblers for what they really were - mentally weak. They were the reason that people at The Sands could miss out on bonuses, their outstanding debts meaning that a worker’s family missed out on that holiday, that departments might have to make cuts and put a family on welfare. Recoba thought back to his own childhood, his mother becoming a single parent, and the pains she went to to make sure that this possibility never became a reality for her children. 




Cross looked at the marker figures and rolled his eyes, the names next to them must have realized they would never be able to pay them off before the casino came calling. He’d long accepted that the nature of his work would mean he’d have to come into contact with people like these, but as part of his acceptance he had also made peace with the fact that as long as they could serve a purpose to him on a personal or professional level, they’d be relatively safe from harm.




The first name on the list was one he hadn’t seen in the casino for an age, James Piercy. Piercy was in the unenviable position of being almost undoubtedly the ‘King of the Independents’. He was a great wrestler, his name always being linked with tryouts across the globe for some of the most reputable wrestling companies across the globe but for whatever reason, namely a distinct lack of charisma or marketable personality, he never seemed to catch a break. 




Cross looked at the data and saw his place of residence - Burbank, CA. It worked in terms of proximity for what he needed but he wasn’t an ideal candidate - if one would ever exist. His partner, Lillian Walker, had made the leap from jobbing actress to being a regular B-character in a network show earlier this year. He suspected that she’d have the means to clear his debts, but the fact that they had remained unpaid heavily suggested to Cross that she didn’t know about James’ casino trips or performances. 




He made some notes on Piercy, he was a viable, but not perfect, candidate for his proposal. He lifted the Lucky Strike out of the ashtray but found it had burnt down to the butt, he deftly pulled another out the pack and struck a match to light it first time. 




The next name on the list was Ed Wooderson, his tale was unremarkable, his marker was the most interesting thing about him for it was the largest by a distance. Wooderson, a Colorado resident, had shown flashes of brilliance but his inconsistency was the largest defining wrestling ability. He could stink up an arena one night and deliver a match of the night contender the next time he stepped between those ropes. These days though he was almost a ghost within the business, an urban legend that fans and wrestlers would whisper about alike. Did he really wrestle on a gym mat for a company that didn’t have a ring? Was it true that he turned up to a show in the middle of nowhere without being booked and then beg the promoter to let him be the ring announcer for the night? Recoba’s favorite was the most incredulous - he’d won a modest sum in a state lottery and spent the money on cosmetic surgery and was, in fact, John Blade. 




However you looked at it, Wooderson’s tale wasn’t a happy one, he’d have a think about how to address it but for this exercise, he wasn’t going to be of any use. His schedule and career aims were too vague to be able to predict his behavior. If there was one facet he needed to rely on in these people it was their ability to do what he told them, Wooderson seemingly had nothing to lose and nothing that Cross could tell was a career aim at this point. He made a mental note to ask a PI he knew to find out what Wooderson did for a day job, partly to find out if there was anything he could exploit in a quest for at least an installment, mostly to try and work out the mystery that was Ed Wooderson.




The last name on the list caused Recoba to take a sharp intake on his cigarette, it was a name he knew incredibly well - Rob Blake. He almost wished he’d made his coffee Irish style that morning.




He looked at what Elliott had pulled from their CRM system and unfortunately he couldn’t fault his charge for Blake’s inclusion. His account was littered with building up a marker, partially paying off some of the debt, and then accruing a larger amount on top of it. His history looked like a man swimming against a rip current, every effort to escape it took him further away from safety.




He didn’t need to look up his details, he’d been in the same place for over a decade now. His career definitely in the ‘heading down the mountain’ stage, much like it had been since Cross had met him when he was just getting started in the business. He knew that Costello would recognize the name, that his exclusion wasn’t an option.




The sound of the office Sonos system took Recoba away from his thoughts and he welcomed it. He listened to the opening sounds of ‘Audio Grenades’ by Mirrored Theory and knew who it was immediately.




“Morning, Elliott!” Cross tried to be cheery in his greeting.




Elliott was always first into the office, it was one of the many positive traits that had made Recoba earmark him for bigger things. He’d married his childhood sweetheart late last year and they were expecting their first child now, the worst scandal he could inflict on the business would be missing a Young Republicans meeting, even then it’d probably be to attend an antenatal class with his wife. 




“Would you like a coffee, Cross?” Elliott asked from the other side of the office. 




“I’m on my way out in a minute for the day, are you clear what I need you all to focus on today?” 




“The cage-fight?” 




“Mixed Martial Arts, cage fighting makes people think of no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle brawls, but yes, that.”



“No problem” Cross saw him making notes as he left his office.




“If you need me today you know how to reach me, just remember, Dakota is in town so unless it’s vital, try and work it out for yourselves. I wouldn’t take days like today unless I was confident the team can work in my absence!”




“Got it!”




Cross walked past Elliott, his mind now able to focus on his match against Aidan Collins and more immediately, how to entertain Kota.




*****