Title: Blackjack & Booze
Featuring: Malak Garland
Date: 6/19/2020
Location: Wrestle-Plex

1500 hrs
Saturday, June 19, 1999
Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA

The rainstorm came out of nowhere that afternoon. Up until that point, it was a rather quaint day in rural Cheyenne. It didn’t last longer than a few hours, but it was enough of a blip on the radar to cause concern in a set of soon-to-be-parents, who were eagerly stationed inside the local hospital. The storm felt like one of life’s many oddities, as if there was a glitch in the vortex of time that was alluding to something great but unknown.

“I hope we don’t lose power,” The man said to his wife.

Losing power was the least of her very pregnant concerns. Sweat populated on her brow as she focused all her energy into birthing the creature that had festered inside her for the past nine months.

“It hurts,” She stammered.

The lights in the room flickered just as a doctor in a white lab coat stepped in. It felt touch and go but the birth of the child was an eventual success. The doctor held the newborn baby boy up for the world to see.

“Do you have a name for this fine baby?” The doctor asked the parents peculiarly.

“Malak. Malak Jonas Garland,” The mother replied.

The baby wept uncontrollably.

“Perfect,” The doctor smiled.

1449 hrs
Friday, June 19, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

“Ten minutes,” Cyrus said to Malak.

Malak leaned back on the black leather couch he was stationed on. The Wrestle-Plex was surprisingly quiet for a Friday afternoon. Usually, wrestlers galivanted around, making weekend plans but it was almost as if Malak forced things to be quiet. He sat in a locker room, with Cyrus and Teresa hanging out.

“That’s ten minutes and twenty-seven seconds,” Malak corrected after looking at his watch.

The countdown to Malak’s birthright was on. He always tried to go above and beyond to celebrate his birthday. However, this year was particularly special. For the first time in his life, Malak was financially stable, actually employed, and about to become legal drinking age. To him, that was the most important aspect about turning 21.

1453 hrs

“Do you remember your first words, Malak?” Teresa whispers.

Malak crossed his legs as he turned towards his most trusted female friend.

“My first comment? Yes, of course I do. I distinctly remember running into the den and screaming the word ‘FIRST’ at my parents. It was great,” He smiled mischievously.

1455 hrs

The locker room looked as normal as ever but that was because Malak demanded it be that way. Every detail, every moment had already been accounted for. All the booze and decorations were out of sight and put away until it was EXACTLY time to celebrate.

1458 hrs

The feeling in the room was palpable as it was getting close to the seminal moment. However, it was sizzling hot outside and there wasn’t a chance of showers, which was different than 1999.

“So close,” Malak muttered to himself.

1459 hrs

All eyes were glued on clocks, watches, and phones. Basically, anything that had the time on it.


1500 hrs

As if on cue, streamers burst, strobe lights flashed, confetti fluttered from seemingly nowhere, fog machines dispensed, disco balls dazzled, music blared, champagne bottles magically appeared and one, Malak Jonas Garland, immediately rose from his seat and SPRINTED around the room with airplane arms extended. He even made airplane noises.


Cyrus comforted his best friend with a humungous hug. Teresa joined in after.

“Happy Birthday, buddy!” Cyrus rejoiced as he wiped a single tear from his eye.

“It really is blackjack!” Teresa enticed through whispers.

A card dealer dressed to the nines entered the room.

“Anyone want to play?” The dealer offered with a sketchy smile on their face.

The party was on. It didn’t take much to get Malak drunk, as this was the first time alcohol had ever legitimately touched his lips. Throw in gambling on top of it and Malak was living large. The trio partied like it was 1999. It was a truly unforgettable birthday bash.

0809 hrs
Saturday, June 20, 2020
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

The sunlight peered through some crevice. It didn’t matter from where. It was annoying as it was. Malak’s head pounded. He wasn’t too sure where he was. His eyelids opened slowly. He awoke in the aftermath of a party warzone. Broken everything was everywhere. His phone, the one thing that mattered most to him, was within arm’s reach. Upon powering it up, he noticed a plethora of social media notifications, text messages and two very important missed calls.

“Shoot,” He slurred, “Gotta call Mom and Dad.”

His fingers lazily pecked at his phone as he had no idea what sort of a hangover day was in store for him.

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- Malak Garland




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