Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Playing with Dolls

"Come alone," the letter read. In fact, the "come alone" was stressed so much that it was underlined three times. Surely, anything underlined three times must be serious. I've been asked to interview people in places like restaurants and locker rooms, but an empty warehouse, near midnight? This was a first. And to tell the truth, "come alone" was not something I was too happy about. I don't like to go anywhere alone at midnight, let alone a strange part of the city, based on nothing more than a cryptic letter I received from an unknown source.

"Stop right there," a voice called out. The warehouse we are in is dark and eerie. At one time this would have been a busy factory churning out industrial materials for use in an emerging world but now, technology has taken over that world and rendered places like this obsolete. "Are you alone?" the voice asked from the shadows.

"Yes, I'm alone," I stuttered.

I had made a few phone calls just to see if any of my trusted contacts would know why someone would write me, asking to meet them here above all places... but no one knew why. I had thought about bringing someone with me, just in case. I had also thought about not coming at all, but I guess I'm just too nosy—I had to know if the mysterious letter was a hoax or not. As I stood in the darkness of that abandoned warehouse, the high heels that echoed on the wooden floor as they approached me, proved that this was no hoax.

"Who are you and why did you ask me to come here?" I inquired.

The figure cloaked in black stopped in front of me, still keeping their distance. The voice and figure were definitely feminine but the face was obscured by a sort of masquerade mask.

"Follow me," the voice said, before turning and heading across the vast floor of the building. For a moment I hesitated but soon followed.

In the corner of the room stood two other figures, again both clearly feminine but like the first, their appearances obscured by a mask. The first joined the others so that all three now faced me, and I felt even more threatened than ever! I didn't even care anymore who they were or what they wanted; this was ridiculous and I wanted to go home.

"You are here because we want you to carry a message," one of the other women said.

"What message?" I asked. "And why me?"

The figure in the middle stepped forward. Even in the dark she carried a supreme air of confidence and authority.

"You were asked to come here because it's you who can carry the warning," she said. Her voice is one that I recognize but can't remember where.

"What warning?" I sheepishly asked.

"A warning for the TNA Knockouts," she replied, almost angrily. "You see, our sisterhood has sat by and watched for too long as the same parade of women try to take control of a division that they have no right to claim. Women's wrestling, like technology, is in a new age, and do you know what happens when things don't keep up with the new age? They end up like this building, empty and obsolete, a forgotten memory of yesterday just begging for someone to tear it down. When my sisters and I look at the Knockouts division, that's what we see: a broken down relic of something that used to be great, that has now been passed over. Once upon a time, the Knockouts division was the be all and end all of women's wrestling but hell, those days are gone. Ask anyone and they'll tell you that there's a roster of women in NXT doing more for women's wrestling right now than any so-called Knockout is, and that needs to change. Mahatma Gandhi once said that you must be the change you wish to see in the world... Well, for women's wrestling, we are that change."

"A change to what?" I asked.

"A change to a better way, a new way. The Knockouts division right now is a house of cards, and that house will come tumbling down."

"To be replaced with what? I mean, I know the Knockouts division isn't perfect, but it's still pretty damn good."

"Pretty good isn't good enough," the woman fired back. "The house of cards must be torn down and in its place, a new house built. No one gives a damn anymore about Beautiful People or Amazonian women or established veterans—all of those things are passé. Fresh blood is what's needed and more importantly, fresh ideas."

"Your ideas? And just what exactly are your ideas?"

"To tear down the division, to eliminate the Knockouts and build a new house in our image."

"Well, since you mention image, why will you not reveal yourselves?"

"We will reveal ourselves to the world soon but until then, take this message to Impact Wrestling, the TNA Knockouts and the fans... We are coming, and the walls that you've built won't save you now. If you're smart, you'll leave while you have the chance. Consider this your warning."

There are more questions I want to ask. Who are these women? Where have they come from? Are there more of them? What do they mean about building a "new house" of Knockouts? I don't get to ask these questions because before I can, they are gone and I am alone in the darkness of the empty warehouse. I take a few moments to gather myself and think about what's been said.

Ultimately, I find myself more confused than ever and decide I best head home. On my way out, I see a collection of dolls, old and worn, discarded on the floor. I find it odd. Who would be playing with dolls in here? I hesitate a moment, almost wishing those dolls could talk and tell me their story, but I soon move on. I have a story to tell and the characters in it, don't sound like they're playing.