A Trudy Tolliver Story
"Tolliver, get your ass in here!"
I sighed. "Coming," I hollered right back. Mr. Peterson was a major pain in my aforementioned ass, but when he called, you didn't dally.
I shut the door to his office, behind me. "You bellowed?"
"Can the cutesy stuff, Tolliver," he said, talking around the chewed up stogie clutched between his teeth. "I have an assignment for you."
"I can hardly wait." So far my assignments, if you could even call them that, had been covering society functions and gardening club shows. Here in the south, society ladies loved their garden parties. There were, however, only so many different ways you could write about mint juleps and magnolias.
"Are you familiar with the Dastardly Duo?"
"Are they a new rock group?" I asked, tentatively.
"Christ, Tolliver, don't you pay attention to the news? I mean you help write it, for shit's sake! They're a wrestling team, part of that group performing this weekend at the Arena. My friend inside the police department called earlier. Seems like the pair have been charged with..." he looked at a sheet of paper on his cluttered desk. "... rape and masochism."
"That's what I was told. A woman named Delta Murphy has brought the charges against them. They haven't been arrested yet; they're waiting for a judge to come back from golfing or hunting or some such bullshit, to sign the warrant." He sat down behind the desk, propping his feet on top. "I want you to get down to the Arena, ASAP. I want the scoop on this story. You fuck it up and I'll see you busted back to the mailroom, understand?"
"Is that a threat?" I didn't like threats, even when they were from my boss.
He grinned, his tobacco-stained teeth making my stomach cringe. "Of course not, Tolliver. It's an ultimatum. You do want your name on a byline, don't you?"
Only slightly more than I wanted to fuck Harrison Ford. "Of course I do," I replied.
"Give me this story, before the Sun runs it, and you've got your byline."
"I could just kiss you," I said, not able to keep a smile off my face. I could see my name in print already.
He grunted and gestured toward the door with the cigar. He didn't have to tell me twice.
I stopped at my minuscule desk to get my purse.
"Where are you off to in a hurry?"
Shit! I'd hoped to escape without "it" noticing me. I turned around, the biggest, most fake smile I could come up with on my face. "What makes you think I'm going to tell you, Dirk?"
Dirk Drummand, my rival there at the Daily Press. He was the one that got all the stories I wanted. If you asked him, he'd tell you he was God's gift to women. If you asked me, I'd tell you he was an A-1 asshole. If you didn't sleep with him, that automatically made you a lesbian. He'd been trying for the past three months to figure out which secretary I had my eye on.
"You ever ask out Shelia?" he questioned. If there was anything faster than his hands, it was his ability to switch topics.
"Shelia's that new girl down in payroll, right? The brunette with the big rack?" Shelia wasn't my type. Now Eric, down in the mailroom, he was definitely my type.
I shook off my adolescent daydreaming and noticed that Dirk was practically drooling. "Yeah, Shelia, that's the one." I wondered if she'd turned him down, too.
I shouldered my bag and looked him in the eye. "Bite me, Dirk." I turned around and walked off without a backward glance.
"You're just frustrated because you want it, but it's not in your nature," he shouted out after me. I held up a hand and flipped him the bird.
"She needs to get some pussy," he muttered under his breath, sitting back at his desk.
"I think it's a phase he's going through, dear," elderly Mrs. Beermeir said, patting me on the hand as I passed by her. "Venus is approaching its equinox and Mars is at its zenith, you know." She had been cleaning the newspaper's offices for over 40 years. I think that's the only reason management tolerated her eccentricity. I found her quirkiness refreshing.
"Either that, or he's got something stuck up his ass," she added, an absent look on her face.
I bit back a laugh and walked out the door.
The Arena was packed even for the middle of the day, and parking had been a bitch. I brushed a lock of shiny, blonde hair behind my ear and adjusted my bra. I'd changed clothes before heading downtown. If I was going to be an honest to God reporter, I figured I had to dress the part. To me that meant wearing whatever I could that would ensure I got the story. From the stares and catcalls I was getting from the construction workers across the road, my choice of black denim mini-skirt, red tank top and high-heels had been the right one.
I showed my Press credentials to a burly man at the side entrance and he let me in. I guess it was up to me to find the wrestlers.
It didn't take me long to find them, after all.
I stood on the fringe of people crowded around the ring, and looked for someone who could help me. A middle-aged, bald man with bulging biceps and horn-rimmed glasses started walking up to me. "Can I help you?" he asked.
"I'm looking for the Dastardly Duo," I replied, batting my eyelashes for good measure.
"That's them up there," he said, jabbing a finger at the two guys in the ring. "They should be done in a few minutes, if you want to wait for them."
"Thanks." I studied the men in the ring. I might be a blonde, but I wasn't as ditzy as I let people believe. I'd stopped off in research before leaving the newspaper.
The Dastardly Duo was actually Hank and Henry Smith, originally from Cooperstown, Alabama. They were examples of the "small town boys made good" story. Young boys leave their hometown in pursuit of their dreams, and overcome insurmountable odds to make it rich and famous on the pro wrestling circuit. Both weighed in at 230lbs and topped out at 6 foot even. Not bad looking either, if you liked them tall, muscular and sweaty.
"Can I ask you a couple of things?" I said, turning to baldy.
"First of all, is it always this crowded before a show?"
He laughed. "This is nothing, you should see it on a holiday weekend. Then, you can't even scratch your nose without bumping into someone." He looked around. "This is your typical mix of agents, trainers, go-to boys, groupies, lighting crew and various other technical people. It'll clear out some before the first match starts."
"Okay, now, about Hank and Henry up there. What in the hell are they saying?" I'd been listening to them for over ten minutes, but they might have well been speaking Greek for all I could understand.
Baldy laughed again. "It's some kind of made-up language they use to communicate in the ring. No one understands it but them. They say it's to keep their opponents from anticipating their moves."
"Idioglossia. That's the term for their made-up language."
"You a teacher or lawyer?" he asked, suspiciously.
It was my turn to laugh. "No, I'm just a fan, hoping to get an autograph, or something."
The action in the ring stopped and I watched as Hank and Henry edged through the ropes and hopped down to the concrete floor. People immediately surrounded them. I decided my original plan wouldn't work. Finding a young boy setting up folding chairs in a row, I slipped him twenty dollars and hiked my skirt up a bit. In no time, I was heading down another hallway, on my way to the Dastardly Duo's dressing room.
I was ready when they came in. Lucky for me, they were alone. I was sitting in a corner of the dilapidated couch, legs crossed and skirt hiked up once again. I'd also freshened my red lipstick and knew that with my long blonde hair and baby blue eyes, I made quite a picture.
"Hey, Hank, lookit what we got here," the brother with red- highlights in his hair said. He must be Henry, the older of the brothers by 2 years. His face was a bit battered, attesting to the violent nature of their chosen profession, but, in my opinion, it only added to his character.
Hank had been busy inching out of his tank top, but turned our way when he'd tossed it aside. The glint in his eyes let me know that my chosen method of introduction had been right on the mark.
"What are you doing here, little miss?" Henry asked, taking off his tank top now.
"Why, I just wanted to meet y'all up close," I said. I laid on the southern charm only when it suited me, like now. "I've been a fan of y'all ever since y'all started wrestling." I stood up and adjusted my bra strap, even though it was perfectly fine. I could practically feel the testosterone level in the room rising.
"Isn't that sweet," Hank finally spoke up. "A fan, come to show her admiration." I knew from my research that he was the only one of the two to have taken some college classes.
"What can we do for you, Miss?" Hank continued.
"Trudy. Trudy Tolliver." I stuck out my hand and Hank took it and planted a kiss on the back of it. I giggled.
"A nice name for a nice lady," Henry said, not wanting his brother to get all the attention.
"Why, thank you." I twirled my hair. "I was just hopin' I could get an autograph... or somethin'."
"We have time set aside to sign autographs after our match," Henry supplied.
"But, I guess I'd do just about anything to get an autograph. It's for my collection." I formed my lips into a small pout.
"What did you have in mind?"
"I dunno," I said with a small shrug that caused my tank top to fall off one shoulder. By the way Hank's tight wrestling trunks had become tighter, I could tell he was interested.
"I think we can come to some kind of arrangement," Henry said, carefully. He wasn't as slow as I'd thought he was.
"Oh goody! Can we have a drink or something? My throat is a little dry." I only hoped they had something that didn't taste like piss-water. A good southern girl does have her standards, you know.
"I think I have a bottle of '96 Ch'teau Fourcas Loubaney in the fridge," Hank said.
I almost fell back onto the couch. I quickly composed myself. "Well, it's not a '98 Domaine de Pouy, but I guess it'll do," I said, nonchalantly.