“All Business” Alex Bruder rarely has an expression on his face more positive than self-satisfied, but even for him his disposition is glum. He’s perched on a stool, sitting in what appears to be the back of a moving cargo van. He rocks and bounces with the motion of the vehicle, and has dark circles under his eyes. Even his normally neat mutton chops have flyaway hair poking out parallel to his face.
He speaks slowly, but louder than usual, so that he can be heard over the sound of the vehicle. “Last week, I was hunted, pursued by a wild eyed maniac. So when I heard from Classic Wrestling this week, I expected to hear that ‘Feral’ Freddy Kilgore had been fired, or possibly even arrested. It was much to my chagrin that they didn’t care about my personal safety. They were merely letting me know that I had a match coming up against Desert Eagle.”
Bruder throws an arm against the side of the wall, bracing himself as the van makes a hard turn. Cursing under his breath, he rights himself and narrows his eyes.
“I’m not going to act surprised that Desert Eagle’s still around. I certainly saw him make his Classic Wrestling debut a few weeks back. And I won’t pretend that I don’t know all about the man’s storied career. Hell, he’d been winning major matches while I was still getting in fights behind the junior high, well before I’d ever stepped into the ring for the first time. Desert Eagle, there are a few things I want you to know.”
Bruder holds up his pointer finger.
“One, just because you’re older than dirt doesn’t mean I’m going to go easy on you. You know more than most what it means to step into that ring, and the chances that you’re taking every time that you do. In my opinion, you’d be better off figuring out which nearby restaurants have the best early bird special, but you’re a grown-assed man, and you get to make your own terrible choices. You want to step in the ring with me, and you’re going to get the full Alex Bruder experience.”
The jostling continues as Bruder briefly bounces off the seat of the stool and just gets his hands up in time before cracking his skull against the roof. He shoots a menacing glare in the direction of the driver’s seat, before holding up two fingers.
“Two, don’t for a second mistake this as just another match in a long line for you. Back in the day, you were the man, going town to town, sometimes two matches a night! When you step into the ring though, it ain’t in the middle of your glory days – it’s in the middle of mine. You’re squaring off against the first Real World’s Champion and the only man to beat the current one clean in the middle of the ring. Don’t be fooled by my current circumstances. I might have to lay low for the moment, but that just give me more time to game plan against you.”
The van lurches to a stop, and Bruder holds up a third finger.
“Third and finally, with ClassicMania just around the corner, I’m not looking to hang another loss on my record. I have to beat you, old man, no two ways about that. But I don’t have to hurt you. You push me though, and I’ll have you feeling like a baby again – unable to walk or eat solids.”
Natural light floods the cabin as the side door slides open, and a heavyset mustachioed man beckons Bruder out. Squatting some, Bruder makes his way to the door, stepping out to a wide open clearing. The man, presumably the driver, turns to Bruder. “This is where you wanted me to drop you? I don’t even see a cabin here. You must be about as far away from anything as you can be without leaving the country. This far enough away for you?”
The whooping of helicopter blades drowns out the driver’s voice, as Bruder grabs a maroon duffle bag with his monogrammed “AB” on it from the van. He hands the driver a wad of cash, and starts walking towards the clearing’s center, looking to meet up with the landing helicopter.
Bruder sneers, “No. But I’m getting there.”