Jacob took great pleasure telling me Miguel was about to make his comeback in the ring in a fight against the muscled marine Colby. I remembered Colby from my first experience at the erotic wrestling ring. Colby was a muscular serviceman with the ego and gumption to work a situation. His erotic match with Saxon had been one of the hottest things I'd ever witnessed. I hadn't seen Colby in the main fighting arena, but going by the way he handled himself in the erotic match, I had no doubt that he would walk all over any opponent.
I begged Jacob to give Miguel an easier opponent to help build his confidence but Jacob's eyes glistened with amusement as he told me it was the end of the line for Miguel. He either won or would be replaced.
I argued that fighters didn't face guys in the same House, but his excuse was that news of disorder in his House had reached gossip proportions. He told me the next round of fights were designed to "counteract the negative publicity" by offering a "clearing house" to the punters, but I knew it was really about me. He wanted his competition pulverised so he was the only one left in my life.
It was the plural "next round of fights" that struck me though, and I was right to be worried. He took even greater pleasure in telling me that Josh would be facing Tucker. Josh was still recovering from his dislocated shoulder. To pit him against the undefeated, malicious might of Tucker was beyond cruel. Even at full strength, the thought of Josh battling Tucker terrified me. Tucker made short work of every opponent, and pounded them well beyond the end of the match. But Jacob made no secret now of wanting Josh destroyed. That was the point: Shoot down my heroes and the only one left for me to worship would be himself. I screamed at him for a good ten minutes, but it only confirmed his decision. Jealousy, in the hands of power, was a deadly combination.
I complained that I wasn't a wrestler; I grovelled that I wanted no one else but him; but Jacob insisted that I had a new role in his domain and had to surrender to the wishes of the paying clientele.
I couldn't cope with the stress of Josh fighting Tucker, Miguel fighting Colby, and suddenly with my own fight against Saxon looming. I was a wreck. I begged Jacob for mercy for days until he finally acquiescenced, although not as I hoped. Instead of changing the roster or taking me off it, he rescheduled my own fight before the others to get it out of the way early. As if making me wait a few hours less was doing me a favour!
Unlike the previous bout in the erotic ring, Jacob chose to let Saxon and I fight it out with no pre-arranged result, which was both a blessing and a curse. I was relieved that I hadn't been chosen as the loser but I remembered Josh's description that Saxon went bunta in a real fight. With his model good looks, slim, toned body, and experience in a fight, I knew I stood zero chance. I knew Jacob wanted me to lose. I was being punished too, for getting so lost in my erotic encounter with Miguel.
When the fight day arrived, I could barely hold my morning coffee cup. I wished Josh was with me to offer words of support but I was locked in Jacob's room as usual, suffering on my own until it was time to be taken to the ring.
"I've never seen you in the ring before," he said uncertainly.
"I'm not a fighter," I said, my eyes filling with tears despite my best effort to hold them back. "I was collateral damage. They took me so they could kidnap Josh."
"Josh? Of course, yes! You're his boyfriend!" Saxon said.
"No! I mean, yes! I mean, I don't know…"
"You're the guy that help Miguel, aren't you?"
"I think so…"
"It is you. What the fuck are you doing here?"
"I don't know," I admitted honestly. "I can't fight."
"Really? Shit. They told me it was a real fight this time." He put an a hand on my arm. "Listen, don't worry. You're a hero man, after what you did for Miguel. It's already legend in our quarters. That guys was serious screwed - no pun intended - but you got him through it. And the way you keep Josh buoyed up?! Trust me - I've been here longer than you. I know how things work. I know you're feeding Josh crap to keep him focused. It can't be easy."
"It's not like that," I said.
"'course it is!" Saxon said. "You don't have to pretend. I remember Jacob's last obsession. He ended up here too, but back then, Silvano was top dog in the ranks and he demolished the guy. At least you don't have to face him."
"I already have," I admitted and Saxon gaped at the news. "Silvano tried to kill me. Thank God Jacob came back early and stopped him."
"Jeeze! Silvano is a nutcase. He gets off on hurting others."
"That's what scares me. He's got it in for me. I know Silvano is planning something worse."
"Listen," Saxon said. "Don't panic about today, okay? I'll let you win. I have to put up a fight, of course, but I'll let you win. You've done more for us than you realise. It's the least I can do."
"Really?" I asked in disbelief.
"Of course! Don't every underestimate the simple things. Between what you've done for Miguel and Josh… Josh is like our messiah. He's giving us hope again. He's reminded us how to lift ourselves above the quagmire of Jacob's world and remember our true selves."
"Josh is an amazing person," I said.
"Yeah, he is. I've been here so long that I'd forgotten who I was. He helped me remember. I had a wife, a baby… I only hope they remember me after all these years. Even if Josh isn't our saviour, he's helped us remember."
"He is!" I insisted.
"How do you do it?" I asked, hoping for inspiration.
"You mean this?" he asked, motioning to our nakedness. He shrugged. "Guys like to get their rocks off. It messed me up at first but once you get past the head fuck and the ingrained homophobia, having sex with another guy is just like masturbating. I can stick my dick in my hand, a pillow or another guy's mouth. It doesn't matter in the end. It feels just as good either way. In the end it's just getting my rocks off. It'll never compare with a woman though." He laughed.
In the adjoining room, I heard Jacob announce us. Saxon high-fived me and we entered the oil pit, my mind singing his praises, thankful beyond measure that he was going to let me win…