Title: Off the Wagon pt.2
Featuring: Shooter Landell
Date: 11/15/20
Location: Council Bluffs, Iowa

Lifetime Council Bluffs resident, Cheryl Bell, stood on the sidewalk straining her grip against the pull of her labrador on its leash. She had stopped in front of the Landell residence, surveying the pile of mail and newspapers outside the door. No one in the neighborhood had seen Mike Landell in weeks. While he had never been particularly social, some of the community had begun to worry. Cheryl began to walk up the sidewalk, craning her head to peer through curtains, but she couldn’t get a view inside. She briefly considered knocking on the door but thought better of it. Mike liked to left to himself after all.

Inside—slumped lifelessly in a ragged leather recliner—Shooter Landell had certainly seen better days.

The minuscule amount of daylight that managed to battle its way through the haphazardly closed curtains illuminated a home in complete disarray. Discarded beer cans and liquor bottles littered a substantial portion of the floor. Beside the tattered chair, a small nightstand was home to dozens of cigarettes ashed out on its surface. Empty prescription bottles were scattered amid the detritus, a quarter-full bottle resting in Shooter’s lap.

At a glance, one might have assumed he was dead: he sat motionless, eyes fixed dully toward the floor, with no obvious movement beyond a very slight rising and falling of his chest from shallow breaths.

A full relapse. He had been here before.

Through his decades in the wrestling business, Shooter Landell had never been a stranger to alcoholism and substance abuse. Hell, in a lot of ways they went hand-in-hand with the job. For many of those years, nobody thought twice about a heavy drinking chain smoker in the pro wrestling business. And, for a while, it hadn't caused him any real troubles. After all, what harm was there in having a little fun? Unwinding. Taking the edge off. No shame in that.

It hadn't taken long, however, for a few drinks to turn into a dozen. Not long before taking a pill to sleep became taking one pill to sleep, one pill to wake up, one for the pain, and one just for the fun. He had collected a cornucopia of pharmaceutical solutions for his myriad and ever-expanding problems.

The addictions caught up to him professionally. Even after decades in the business, Landell never truly had a solid run: no major championships, no major national or international exposure, no legacy. His skills or wrestling pedigree were never in question, but he had always been hindered by his inability to put down the bottle and flush the pills.

DEFIANCE offered the troubled veteran a path forward; it had been maybe his last chance to make a God’s honest run and retire with some pride. And, just as things had started to look promising, he was back to square one. Now relegated down BRAZEN, the office had told him he needed help. He needed a lighter schedule while he “got his life together.”

Landell lazily tipped the pill bottle in his lap, dropping two pills into his palm. He brought them to his mouth and swallowed them dry, his face fixed in an unblinking stupor.



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