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Mar 14, 2019

A Visit to the Secret Lab of Insane Dick Lane

(Parts Unknown) - I was blindfolded in the back of a van as we approached, so as to not know the location to which we were traveling. When the van door slid open and I was pulled out, stumbling and falling down to one knee, the blindfold was ripped away. The light immediately hurt my eyes; the green hue of everything, beakers bubbling, and the constant beep-beep-beeping of a dozen machines the likes of which I had never seen. He stood at the end of the last row of machines, leaning into a man sized switch and throwing it into the on position. When the electrical current began collecting on the receptor nodes atop the machine, the man smiled the craziest smile this intrepid reporter has ever seen before noticing me out of the corner of his eye. Immediately, the metahuman supervillain’s face turned from smile to scowl; he grabbed onto the switch handle and pulled back with all of his weight causing the nodes to cease glowing. Wiping his hands on his long white lab coat, he walked toward me with his hand extended.


 

“Dick Lane. Professor Dick Lane. Doctor Dick Lane,” he started.


 

“Doctor Professor Dick Lane, actually.”


 

“Esquire.”


 

I nodded and shook his hand while trying to take in the breadth of the operation that he was running. He noticed my eyes looking over his shoulder and pulled me close, not letting go of our handshake.


 

“What brings you to my laboratory this evening, my good sir?”


 

Lane’s words were courteous, but his gaze never settled on anything, looking me up and down as if searching for clues. Before I could respond, he did so for me, raising his finger and wagging it to know one in particular as he began pacing around.


 

“You’re here from the magazine.”


 

His bottom-to-top study of me restarted as he paced, going from side to side in a semicircle and nearly bumping into his henchmen as they stood by stonefaced.


 

“And you’re going to ask me about wrestling, correct?”


 

I began to nod, but he never even looked up before starting again.


 

“I’m much more interested in talking about my plans for world domination, among other things. Weapons I’ve created, strategies I’ve developed, the plagues that I could unleash upon all of humanity with just the flick of a comically oversized switch...?”


 

There was only a second between me attempting to redirect to conversation back to wrestling and me spotting an actual comically oversized switch just feet behind him. The same one he had been fooling around with when I arrived. Lane, being the super genius that he is, watches me putting that together in my mind play out on my face and immediately begins yelling out, again to no one in particular.


 

“HE’S SEEN IT! REPEAT, HE’S SEEN IT! ABANDON SHIP! DOOMSDAY SCENARIO NUMBER ONE IN PROGRESS!”


 

A siren blares out from air horns I cannot see, but they feel as though they are right above my head. No one moves except Lane. My feet are glued to the floor out of fear. I have no idea what type of disease this man could unfurl upon the masses with whatever dark fiction he’s pulled from his mind and brought to life. Lane is tearing around the lab, grabbing papers and stuffing them into a leather case. It’s already overflowing and most fall out as soon as he adds them. Lights flash, buzzers buzz, and all of the things that were beep-beep-beeping on the way in now shake like electric cake mixers left on the highest setting. A countdown begins, going backward from five.


 

“EVERYBODY RUN!”

 

Lane’s cry is coupled with him running only three or four steps before crouching down and covering his head with his now nearly empty leather attache. When the counter reaches two and I’m still a few feet from the door marked “exit”, I decide to get down as well, shielding my eyes and bracing for impact.


 

Then….nothing.


 

Still standing completely still, one of his henchmen coughs. Lane peers out from under his briefcase with one eye still closed. When he realizes that nothing has happened, he pops back up, cocking his head in my direction before laughing to himself.


 

“It’s a work in progress, you see.”


 

His eyes twinkle.


 

“Could you move a little bit to your left?”


 

I shuffle a few steps until I’m standing in the middle of a square, marked off by tape, on the floor.


 

“Show’s over, Mr. PWT Magazine.”


 

There is but a second before Lane throws a switch on the console next to him and the floor beneath my feet vanishes. I’m sent down a chute, cruising at speeds faster than I’m comfortable with, before crashing through the ceiling of a run down convenience store and landing flat on my back near the coffee counter. A man wearing a polo shirt bearing the establishment's logo comes around the counter in no particular hurry, looking back over his shoulder at the hole in the ceiling. He leans down slowly, on one knee, and gets close enough that I could smell the menthol he’d just enjoyed.


 

“How IS Mr. Lane doing?”

 

I blink. Confused. He helps me up.


 

“I see that the doomsday switch thingamajig is still a work in progress?”


 

-XXYXX

 

Aug 02, 2018

Brad Epik Interview

    When I arrived at the so-trendy-I can’t-name-it restaurant for our interview, Brad Epik was already waiting for me, sitting with his back to the wall in a lamplit corner, sipping a bourbon and checking his watch. For Epik, time is money. Or rather, time is family money. And Brad is the one usually entrusted to keep an eye on the family’s coffers, lest his younger brother, Chad, be left alone with it for too long. The family resemblance is undeniable, both in Brad’s dark eyes and in his quick wit, a hallmark of the Epik clan. But the similarities between the brothers begin to fade when Brad begins talking business, his fundamentally ethical stance in direct opposition to Chad’s slimy used-car salesman tactics and shady reputation. I sat down across from him and immediately our food arrived; he had ordered for the both of us.  When I placed the recorder on the table and started it, he didn’t look up from his antipasto, he was completely at ease and ready to talk about everything including himself, his family, his brother, and PWT.

 

“The wrestling world has known about Chad Epik for years, as he’s a been a regular presence on the east coast indy scene for a number of years now. But you have no background in professional wrestling. Why now and why PWT?”

 

“First of all, while I may not have the proper background that one looks for in someone who is making the decisions for a wrestling company, I do come from the business world, and almost all of the same rules apply. In fact, in a lot of ways, I’m a fixer for my family. I handle the problems or issues that tend to pop up from time to time whenever Chad makes an investment. See, the money that he throws around, signing these wrestlers to contracts and paying for them to travel all over the country plying their craft, that money does not exactly come from Chad’s bank account. That’s family money.”

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

“Our father, rest in pieces, founded a sizable company with some partners years before either my brother or I were born. When he sold his stake in it only months before he passed away, it made my mother a very wealthy woman. And it’s afforded our family the opportunity to maintain a certain lifestyle, one that we are very grateful for. But in recent years, as my mother’s judgement has begun to decline alongside her health, Chad’s ability to convince her to take investment risks has increased. I mean, look at him. How many things does he have his hand in currently? How many wrestlers does he manage? How many tag teams? How many designer suits does he own? And then, the companies, the promotions; he has one that’s one hundred percent his, a deathmatch outfit, that’s where mother drew the line. Nothing new after that. Until May, that is.”

 

“Chad Epik invaded PWT’s “Rise of the Machine” in May and, after his henchmen cleared the ring, Mr. Epik announced that he had purchased a portion of the promotion behind the back of the current ownership from someone named Lucas Troy, effectively attempting to forcefully takeover the company.”

 

“How’d that work out for him? A lot like everything else he does, right? And to be honest, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, even though the camel was made of nothing but cold, hard cash. He’d finally gone too far. So, at my mother’s request, I capped his bank account and stopped his credit cards. He had enough cash to buy some of PWT, but much less than half. A minority share for sure. But upon getting my hands on the books and seeing what’s what plus meeting with the existing ownership and all of that, my initial inclination to pull the plug on any Epik money being spent changed. I see something in Pro Wrestling Takeover. I’ve watched my brother fail countless times and embarrass the family even more than that with some of his ideas. But investing in PWT? Might not have been a bad idea after all.”

 

“What are some of the things you like about PWT?”

 

“The roster is top notch. I’d put it up against anybody’s. Mike Orlando, Allie Recks, Tyler Nitro? Those are the types of talents you can build an entire company around. And that’s just the start. Glass and Falco? Christina Marie? Future stars in this business, end of story. When you make an investment, you looking for building blocks.”

 

“How do you feel about your debut at ‘There’s Something About Allie’? What about what happened to Chad at the end of the show? Do you have any updates on his condition?”

 

“I thought being at PWT was an incredible experience. The fans were awesome and the men and women in the locker room treated me with nothing but courtesy and respect. The beating that Chad took at the hands of King Leon the Sixth was reprehensible and completely uncalled for. However, I will not say that it was unprovoked. Chad had been needling King Leon and Squire all evening and I believe that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

 

“Was this appearance a one time thing, or is Brad Epik here to stay?”

 

“I’m not going anywhere. As long as our family has money tied up in it, I’m part of it. Could be any business at all. In this case, it happens to be PWT.”

 

“What will your role be? Is it more of a consulting thing or are you moving in on the day-to-day operations as well?”

 

“No, like I said, I’m a fixer. However the current ownership sees fit to include me is fine with me. My main concern will be keeping an eye on my brother’s affairs, as they pertain to PWT and otherwise. I have a directive straight from the top.”

 

“From your mother?”

 

“Correct. I only answer to one person.”

 

“She must be an interesting woman. Your mother, I mean. To have raised you and Chad. Any chance she’ll be making an appearance in PWT at some point soon?”

 

“I would seriously doubt it. Or, let me put it this way instead. Pardon the expression, but if she were to ever show up, it would be because the shit had hit the fan.”

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