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PROMO: "Here's to old times."

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World tours are great, as long as you're a fan living in Europe, Africa or Asia. If you're a fan in the good old United States of America, you miss out on a month and a half of live action. (Come on, it's never quite the same when it's taped.) If you're working for the Federation, meanwhile, you get to go out and do your job every night while dealing with different time zones, bad water, strange food and, in the case of at least one on-air personality, having to tote your own beer with you.


"I've got Labatt Blue," says Tom Flesher, his face buried in the cooler he's toted with him on this trip. "Let's see, I've still got some Alexander Keith's... I think I have some Yuengling in here somewhere..."


It's hard living life in a trailer. Sure, it's homier than a dressing room, and you get to feel a little bit like a movie star, but it's just not the same as having a nice, warm hotel room with a minibar.


"I have a bottle of scotch, but you don't strike me as a scotch man..."


"Nah, I'll take a Yuengling," says Mak Francis, his wheelchair pulled up to the small desk in the back of the trailer. "It's a good Pennsylvania beer." Flesher hands him a bottle, and takes a 24-ounce can of Labatt Blue for himself. He cracks it open, and Mak clinks his bottle against it. "Here's to old times."


Each man takes a sip. Flesher sighs. "So, we're flying out tomorrow night for India. India, dammit. Do you know how hard it is to use those squat toilets?"


The trailer is small, compared to the Executive Suites that Tom Flesher got used to in his time as the SWF's World Heavyweight Champion and his various stints as top heel and top face. As Heavyweight Champion, they paid the extra cost for him. As the top challenger, or when he was drawing as Cruiserweight Champion, he'd have to pay for the upgrade out of pocket... when the desk clerk didn't recognize him and upgrade him for free. He'd still end up with a first-class upgrade whenever he flew, whether the Federation paid for it or not. Living in a trailer for the world tour and having to use a squat toilet is a step down, no matter how you look at it.


Francis merely smirks at Flesher, who takes a moment to realize what he's just said.


"Uh... sorry. I suppose I shouldn't complain..."


"Don't worry about it, Flesher," says Francis, uncharacteristically quiet in the presence of his former tag team partner. "It's an adjustment... but...." Francis trails off, not quite sure how to finish the sentence. He knows he's looking at things a bit differently... about two feet lower, to start with.


"Shit, Mak, you wrestled for years. You were a national champion, for god's sake. What happened to your neck?"


"Just out of shape," Mak says, shrugging as much as he can - still barely moving his shoulders. "When I was in the ring every night and lifting every day, it stayed meaty, but you know what happens when you get lazy." Francis looks down at Flesher's stomach. "At least, you should."


"Come on," Flesher grins. He takes another sip of his beer. He pauses uncomfortably for a second. "So... um... you know, the submission thing... it's a business decision and it's to keep me focused, like I told them... but..."


Francis looks up.


"After what happened to you, I had to do some serious thinking, and... well... the old moveset was just too damn dangerous. It was okay when Kibs was running the workouts and making sure everyone was bulked up enough to protect themselves, but now that Drew..."


"Drew's old-school," Mak says with a nod.


"He's keeping everyone's cardio up..."


Mak nods, knowing Flesher needed to say something nice about one of his best backstage friends.


Once again, two of the closest friends to come out of the Magnificent Seven find themselves unsure of what to say to each other.


"Listen, Mak, I'm sorry."


"Don't be."


"I've been thinking." Flesher takes a deep breath. "The Million Dollar Dream was your thing for a while. There's something I've been working on in the gym, and it's coming along pretty well."


Mak nods.


"They call it a King Cobra hold. It's a grounded Dream with bodyscissors. I'd like to..."


"Yeah." Mak and Flesher are both clearly uncomfortable... Francis is still getting used to not being able to move his legs, and Flesher has never had to make this sort of adjustment before. He's still not quite sure how to treat his friend.


"Are you sure it's okay?"


Mak smiles. "It'd mean a lot to me." Maybe not as much as being able to walk again. Mak never thought he'd see the day where he was jealous of being able to stand up to piss. He knows, though, what Tom is trying to do. It's not all about Mak. That's a big part of it, sure, but it's as much about Tom trying to feel comfortable with the fact that his friend can't move from the waist down. Mak's never going to have sex again, and it's a little bit insulting, like Flesher dedicating an orgasm to him. Still, he knows that Flesher needs to deal with the paralysis as much as he does.


Flesher, though, is oblivious to this. As far as he knows, he's just paying tribute to his friend, and his friend is flattered. Tom smiles a small smile. Once again, he holds up his Big Blue. Francis clanks his bottle against it.


"Here's to old times."


It's hard living life in a trailer. It's harder watching your friend living life in a chair.

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ZOMG HARD SELL!!11!!!1!1q1!!1!!111!!1!oneoneone


Wait... no, sorry.


That was really touching, in a manufactured sort of way.



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