Post by Dom Strife on Feb 13, 2021 23:08:35 GMT -5
Andrew Burke was shaken out of a deep sleep.
The digital red numbers on the alarm clock dimly lit the room in a faint crimson glow. Andy sat up and looked over at his wife, Jessica. She was panicking, her nightgown soaked in sweat. She pointed downward and mouthed the word 'listen'. Right on cue, Andy heard the rustling that was going on downstairs.
"Somebody's in our house." She whispered in terror. "Why didn't the alarm go off?"
"I'll take care of it."
She latched on to her husband lovingly. She didn't want him to risk his life because she didn't know what she would do without him. This sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen in the neighborhood that they lived in, and if it did, it wasn't supposed to happen to them. Yet they were both well aware that this was always a possibility, even in their suburban middle-class split-foyer home.
Andy pulled himself away from the king-sized bed. Dressed in plaid pajama bottoms and a plain white tee, he carefully tucked his feet in a nearby pair of slippers and tiptoed over to the closet. He disappeared for a moment and returned with a long-barreled twelve-gauge shotgun with wood trim. The rifle was passed down from father to son for generations in the Burke family and was primarily used for hunting even though Andy himself wasn't the type. It would do well in a pinch.
"Honey, be careful, I love you-" Jessica clenched her goose-down stuffed duvet tight.
He nodded at her. "I love you too," he replied, working up his own nerve just to be able to squeeze the handle on the bedroom door. He turned the knob slowly. He didn't want to give the intruder any indication.
Andy closed the door behind him and shuffled his feet down the hall. From what he could tell, the sounds were coming from the kitchen area, as he explicitly heard the distinct sound of the refrigerator door opening and closing. Did this person have the audacity to break in and steal his food, too? He made it to the top of the stairs, thoughts of his wife and his daughter's safety prevailing over his own. Fight of flight, and the adrenaline that followed, had his heart thumping so hard he could hear it in his ears and feel it through his chest. He wrapped his fingers around the gun and started making his way down the hardwood stairs one at a time, not knowing who or what would be waiting for him down on the lower level.
Andy crept down to the middle level of the foyer and ducked down by the stairs for cover. The closer he got, the louder the noises were. Whoever was in here wasn't trying hard enough to conceal their presence. Peeking around Andy saw the shadows of a person across the floor as they moved about in the kitchen area. Andy's hands shook as he decided to move down the second set of stairs.
Twenty feet. Fifteen feet. Ten feet. Five. The light that was coming from the kitchen was practically blinding to someone who had just come from upstairs. But as he peeked through the doorway barrel first, Andy saw the back of a man as he was reaching up into one of his cabinets, going through his wife's fine china plates.
Andy cocked the shotgun. The intruder nearly dropped the plate in his hand.
"I don't know who the hell you are but you need to get the hell out of my house right now!"
Andy squinted as the man in his kitchen turned around.
Dom stood there with a sandwich and a kosher dill pickle spear high above his head.
* * *
Andy returned to the ground level after informing his wife and putting his gun away. He was a bit shaken up, as was Jessica, as was Dom for that matter. But Dom sat at the dining room table eating his way through the sandwich anyway, mainly because he was starving when he got there. Andy pulled out a chair and sat next to him.
"Jesus, son." He said as he patted Dom on the shoulder. "You really scared the hell out of us."
"I'm sorry, Mister Burke." Dom said between bites. 'You did say that I could come over anytime."
"Yeah, well," Andy glanced over at the wall clock. "I guess three-thirty in the morning still fits. But maybe let us know you're coming over if it's going to be real late?"
Dom nodded his head.
"It won't happen again, I swear."
"Aww now I didn't say it to make you feel unwelcomed here. I-"
"I know, I know. It's all good Mister Burke." Dom sighed. "I stopped by because I thought Isla would still be up but she's obviously not, so... I thought I'd just crash here for the night."
"Well what about that new apartment you got? You know Isla has been telling me all about it."
"It's not bad," Dom replied. "A lot better than the last place. But I dunno. It gets real quiet at night and I don't have a whole lot to do. Sometimes it just gets-"
Andrew folded his hands on the table.
"Son, I completely understand. Did you know that before I met Jessica I used to stay up all night?"
"Absolutely." The elder Burke had the confidence of experience in his voice. "I used to have to work the night shift because I couldn't stay awake most days. The only time I was ever awake during the day was on the days I'd be too restless to sleep, and even then I'd be up 'til two, three, four o'clock in the morning."
Dom looked over at Andy confused.
"What changed all that? Meeting your wife... getting married...?"
Andy cupped his chin in thought.
"I'd say it's just the overall comfort," he replied. "Life's hard enough, but it's ten times harder when you feel like you're going at it alone. Does that... make any sense at all to you, Dom?"
Dom nodded his head. "Yeah, it kind-of actually does. A lot of sense, really."
"Good." Isla's Dad replied. He stood up from the table and pushed his chair back in. "I know you've been going through a lot with your family and all. Trust me, you're all my daughter talks about. And you seem like a good kid. You really do. But you really need to stop and think about one thing."
Dom looked up at him.
"You're in a position now where you're the only one in your life that can dictate where your life is going to go, alright? Your past that age now -- it's not up to your parents anymore. What you choose to do is on your terms. And if you do things right, it'll be well worth it in the end. Trust me. Think about it."
Andrew turned to walk away when Dom stopped him.
"Mr. Burke, hold up-"
"How will I know if I'm doing things the right way?"
"Oh, you'll know." Andy said with a smirk. "If anything ever comes easy, then it's probably wrong."
He reached down and picked up Dom's sandwich and took a bite.
"It's Andy, by the way."
Story Time with Uncle Dom
"Not Too Keen on Willy"
The latest youtube video listed under Dom Strife's account opens up with Dom standing on the streets of Baltimore. It's daytime, though the chill of the arctic air blasts Dom in the face as he eyes up the large storefront window of a local florist. Good thing he has his trademark leather jacket to protect him. Situated behind Dom is his old rusty truck, which has some sort of smoke or steam coming from underneath the hood. (There's a good chance the truck is on fire.) It doesn't seem to phase him one bit, though. What does phase him though is the plethora of bouquets and the large sign front and center that reads in bold plum lettering:
DON'T FORGET YOUR SWEETHEART THIS VALENTINES DAY
Dom sighs, and walks in.
"Man, it smells like a funeral in here."
The footage is clearly shot with a handheld camcorder of some sort. Perhaps a GoPro that Dom has aimed at himself or whatever he wants the audience to be looking at. A clerk behind the desk asks Dom if he needs any help but Dom shakes his head.
"Nope, I'm just looking."
Dom leans down and whispers to the camera.
"Jesus, a pack of flowers costs how much?!"
"Sir, are you filming in here? You can't film in-"
"Nope! Not filming! Absolutely not! Just came in to buy something reaaalllyyy expensive!"
Dom looks down at the camera and gives a little 'eek' face.
"So let's see here. Gotta grab something for both my valentines this year." Dom ducks behind one of the displays as he heads over to the bargain section. "First off, Willy Keen-"
There's a bin in a dark corner of the store that appears to be flowers sold in singles. These must be the undesirables, the ones not bright enough or pretty enough to be used in an exquisite bouquet. For a moment, Dom resonates with these flowers. These are damaged goods, like him he imagines, they always looked better alone with nothing better around them to compare them to.
Whispering, he picked up a wilted rose.
"Ain't seen, ain't heard much from Willy Keen. Dude rode Zack Tyler's coattails to, I guess what you could call, a tag-team victory a couple weeks ago. But other than that, what can I say about him? He's uhh, easy-going, apparently, and lanky. And Candian. Yep. Good work Dominick, your homework assignment is over."
Dom eyes the red rose for a moment before purposefully dropping it on the ground.
"Oops, I just dropped your present Willy. My bad."
Dom steps on it.
"Oh, shoot. Damn it. Well would you look at that? I am so sorry Willy. William. My bad. I bet it's William."
From afar, the clerk watches as Dom repeatedly stomps on the rose.
Dom looks up at the clerk after kicking the shit out of the rose.
"Uh, no." He shakes his head. "That was like that when I got here. I nearly tripped over the damn thing. You're lucky I didn't fall and break my neck or something cause I'd sue the shit outta this place."
"Sir, I told you no filming-"
Dom ducks back behind the display. He looks down into the camera.
"Look Keeny, I can't say much about ya, cause I don't know that much about ya. But I'll say this, I worked damn hard to get to where I'm at in Carnage Wrestling, so it's kinda a slap in the face that a sumbitch like you waltzes in and doesn't give it your best effort. So you think it's not personal, but yeah, fuck you buddeh. You ain't gettin' shit from me other than a superkick that'll teleport your ass back to the land of maple syrup and, I dunno, grizzly bears or some shit."
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you-"
Dom looks up to see the clerk standing right behind him.
"Aaahhh! Shit! Where in the hell did you come from?"
"Put down the camera and leave or I'll call the police."
Dom stolls to the other side of the store.
"Are you really about to kick me out when I'm about to clean out your entire inventory?"
"Sir, if you need help with anything I will be glad to assist you so that you may leave."
"Great, good to know. Now assist me in finding a Willy Keen promo."
"A what?" The clerk asks. "Are you on drugs?"
Dom chuckles. "I wish. Now, tell me, you got any of those 'I came to Baltimore and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' shirts? I'm thinking about getting one for a friend."
"Well then, what kind of store is this?"
"We're a florist." The clerk deadpans. "We sell flowers."
"Ugh. Fine." Dom replies as he moves over to a massive pink bouquet of roses, lilies, and tulips in a stunning vase. "Ahh now this is more like it. Nothing quite says 'I'm sorry for kicking your ass and making my bitch on Chaos' like beautiful bedside spread. I can still have these sent to a hospital room, right?"
"You can have them delivered anywhere you want, really, as long as you're willing to pay for the delivery fee."
"Oh yeah? How much is that going to be anyway-" Dom looks down at the pricetag on the bouquet. "Geesh, you know what? Nevermind. I'll take the one on the floor back there, please."
The clerk looks at Dom like he's crazy.
"And can you wrap it up real nice, please? Make the card out to Willy Keen. K-E-E-N. Write something poetic underneath like, 'so close, yet so far'."
"You can't be serious."
Dom purses his lips and nudges his head toward the stomped rose on the floor.
"Totally am. Doesn't matter the price. Money is no object, especially not for our Canadian visitor, eh? You know, I hear he's good-natured. But you know, he is Canadian. So I guess it's one of those, 'what do you expect really' kinds of situations."
The clerk sighs, hating their job.
But then something catches Dom's eye.
"It's it's... it's... beautiful."
Dom walks up to a big spread of black roses, arranged in a heart shape, perched on a stand.
"Isla's going to love this." He mutters to the camera as he pans the lens over to it. "Black is like, one of, if not her favorite color."
"Sir, that's for funerals."
"God damn it." Dom replies. "How much though."
"Sir, might I recommend if you're actually being serious, we have a wide-selection of Valentines Day arrangements right over here."
"What makes you think I'm not serious?"
In the background, the hood of Dom's truck is engulfed in flames.
"Sir, is that your truck?"
"Look, I decided to come into your fine establishment to not only by something for my opponent this week, but for the girl I very much care about, and I wanted it to be a surprise for both of them. But all I've gotten since I've walked in here is flak from you. Don't do this, don't film that. And now you want to insult me because of the way my truck looks?!"
"No Sir, it's just that-"
"IT'S A CLASSIC. Call it what you want, but I'm telling you right now. The ladies love an old truck. It's one hot ride."
"You know what? Nevermind."
"Look. I'm going to make this simple. I want what I want. I just don't know what I want. Because I don't know what she wants. I don't know what William Keen wants, either. But whatever it is, he's not getting it. Only one of us are going to walk out of Chaos with the right to continue fighting for the Baltimore City championship, and I know in my heart of hearts that that's going to be me. It's about time a Baltimore Boy stood up and showed these people what this city's all about! And if that doesn't light a fire under you, then I don't know what will."
"Ooh, I've got a few ideas." The clerk replies, watching Dom's cab start to burn up as the people on the street gather around. "Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to go call the fire department."
"Fire department. Ha. Good one." Dom looks down at the GoPro and smirks. "Hey bud, by the way, you willing to sign a contract stating that I can post this video on YouTube?"