Continuing the story of Penelope Primrose, taking place during the start of the Beautiful Angels of Boxing Entertainment league.
The author of these stories goes by the DeviantArt handle of thegeorgiapeach. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed his post-match analysis of B.A.B.E. matches very much. But now, he’s covered a year in the life of the former UK Foxy Boxing champion.
Without detracting from the current B.A.B.E. storylines and keeping true to (and in some cases building up) the personalities of B.A.B.E. fighters, this story presented an outsider (UK) view of what was going on with the league. These stories helped make my own fictional world seem more real to me! In fact, as far as I’m concerned, these stories are canon to my own stories.
This doesn’t usually happen but I was so into this storyline, that I actually wanted to help bring some of it to life. And with the author’s permission, I will be re-publishing these stories to the B.A.B.E. blog.
So, (around) every week, you can tune in here for the stories with some associated images. (Not everything will have images… just the action-oriented stuff! And, please, visit thegeorgiapeach ‘s DA page for his stories and analysis. It’ll be worth your time!
Story by thegeorgiapeach and art by cpunch . (Please note, some of the images in these stories may have been previously published. Click the highlighted links below for refreshers as you go along.)
Rocky Balboa leaned back and swiveled in her leather executive chair, beaming with content. What a difference a week had made, and Rocky reflected on how grateful she was to have Liberty Lane’s sage advice still. After the double debacles of Penelope Primrose and Sonya Redding’s B.A.B.E tournament losses she had been frustrated, yet her longtime mentor had counseled patience. Last night she had been rewarded for that patience as she watched Lana Sinclair tame her old rival Vanity Vale with a 3rd round knock-out to advance to the tournament semi-finals. Lana had delivered, “Babe’s Shining Light” indeed grinned Rocky to herself.
The tournament had now gotten interesting with this fan favorite one step closer to the B.A.B.E. belt, and Rocky was in a much better mood to deal with some nagging B.A.B.E business. The first of that business was waiting outside her door in the form of Ms. Primrose herself.
While it hadn’t taken Penelope a week to wake up from the slumber Ivanna Payne had put her in, she had dealt with a week of headaches and severe bruising to her ribs. She wasn’t altogether happy about having to come into the B.A.B.E offices on a Saturday morning to talk to the boss, especially not after having celebrated Lana’s victory last night down at Trixie’s. She was nursing a whole different kind of headache this morning, and that Lana had won was just about all she could remember from Friday night. It’s fairly routine to chat with Rocky after a fight, both for a report on welfare as well as possible future fight plans; Penelope just hoped it could have waited another week. When Rocky’s assistants intercom buzzed followed by Rocky’s “Send her in” command it felt as though a jackhammer had wrestled her from her thoughts.
“You can enter now Ms. Primrose,” came the assistants echo.
Mindy or Melinda or something like that thought Penelope searching for her name before settling on just walking to Rocky’s door as her response.
“Good morning Penelope! Have a seat,” greeted Rocky as Penelope entered. Surely she can’t still be hurting from the pounding Ivanna gave her last week thought Rocky as she watched Penelope heavily trudge across the floor to her seat. “Lana certainly put on a show last night, huh?! Vanity isn’t what she once was, but still, a good win.”
“Cheers to that,” responded Penelope, “Me and a bunch of the girls celebrated the night away down at Trixie’s last night.”
“Been doing a lot of celebrating down at Trixie’s these days, haven’t we?” responded Rocky a bit brusquely. She regretted it the moment she said it, but sighed in relief when she saw Penelope hadn’t garnered the hidden meaning. “Of course, we all were hoping to have celebrated your victory over Ivanna, but . . . well, how are you feeling? How are the ribs?” continued Rocky, trying to bypass any more pleasantries and get to the point of the meeting.
Penelope had drifted, “ . . . mm-hmm . . . I’m sorry, what?“
“The ribs? How are they? You getting back to work?” repeated Rocky with a hint of irritation.
“Oh, better. Still some bruising. Hope to be back training in the next couple weeks. Ready to get back in that ring after that unlucky set back. Ivanna . . .”
“ . . . was not all ‘pomp and bluster’ now was she?” Rocky finished with emphasis. “She’s been doing this for a long time, longer than both of us actually. You can’t be taking fighter’s like her too flippantly Penelope, you’ve got to want it and you’ve got to work for it.”
Rocky’s tone, if anything, seemed to be what snapped Penelope into paying closer attention to what was being said, “What are you getting at Rocky? That I wasn’t prepared for that fight? I am always prepared, I . . .”
“Yes, that is exactly what I am saying, and I am not the only one saying it,” interrupted Rocky again. ‘Pen, we sat in this office shortly after the tournament draw and saw that you’ld be fighting Ivanna. We spoke on how dangerous she was. We talked about how you had to be better than you were against Pepper. Better defense, better movement. How if you got hit by those shots Pepper was hitting you with, especially to the body, by Ivanna, you wouldn’t be making it to the 5th round as you did with Pepper. You never talked to Liberty or Candy about Ivanna like I suggested . . . did you do any additional prep for this fight? I talked to your pal Missy back in England, and she was also surprised how fast you seemed to tire . . .”
“Wait, Missy saw . . .” and Penelope sat up, and despite her hangover, Penelope could sense she was being chastised and didn’t like it one bit. She was the former UK champ. She didn’t need to hear such ridicule or questioning as to her motivation and she quickly got defensive. “ . . . As a champion fighter, I am always prepared. One lucky shot to begin the 2nd round, I never saw it and it twisted me up a bit . . .”
“Don’t delude yourself Penny. I’ve been in the ring with Ivanna, she hits you exactly where she means to and when. You wilted under her body assault and never had the legs . . .”
“But . . .”
“You know what Penelope, I am not going to get into a rehash of the fight. I just want to know what your mindset is going forward. Will you put in the work here in B.A.B.E? This place is littered with former champs like yourself. You are going to have to want it. As you can see by the way things are going here, either Rayne or Payne will most likely be our first champion. The public likes heel/face match-ups. I need fan favorites like yourself to be up for the task to taking them on. I am looking at you, and girls like Sonya and Lana, and that new girl Powers to show me that you want to be in the champion mix.” Rocky paused. She tried to read Penelope’s face for any hints at what she was thinking as Rocky knew she wasn’t used to being challenged like this very often. She wanted to light a fire under Penelope, not lose her completely. She saw Penelope blush, but wasn’t sure if that was embarrassment or anger or last night revelry.
She continued in a softer tone, “We have big plans for you Pen. We know what you have done in the past. What you’re capable of. You started well here, but we’ve seen some cracks. Pepper was leading on all three judges cards before you finished her off and then what happened with Ivanna. We need less of you telling us and the press how good you are, and more showing us. In a few weeks we will have a champion. Do you want to be in the mix to get that belt yourself?”
“But of course I do! That is why I am here,” Penelope answered quickly, and a bit heatedly.
“Good! Now here is what my plan for you is. You, Sonya, Shani and Vanity, all the first round losers, and the new girl Ashley, will be in action in the weeks after the tourney concludes. Amongst you we will see who stakes the biggest claim to being ready for the first title shot. I would like to see you in action against Hurricane Hannah, or possibly that new fighter Shadow. What do you think?”
“That would be splendid,” replied Penelope. She planned to say anything if it would get her out of this office faster. Her headache was pounding and she had had her professionalism questioned by this American tart. Knowing that the new girl Ashley had just beaten Hannah she added with non to subtle snark, “I think a fight with Hannah would be a good match to get back ‘to work’ with.”
“Good, Penny. We’ll have you put on the undercard in 5 weeks, second to last fight, followed by the Ashley bout. I am glad your ribs are better, but Penelope, get back in the gym this week, not in a couple weeks. Hannah is not Ivanna, but she is no slouch.” And with that Rocky got up and beckoned Penelope to the door. Penelope rose gingerly and followed as Rocky opened up the door.
“Take care Penny, and have Mandy serve you up some coffee on the way out. Looks like you could use it . . . Hey, Ashley come on in!”
Penelope slammed the door to her jaguar and wanted to scream, but for her headache just grumbled, “Undercard! To this Ashley floozy!” Her gripe was quickly followed by a rare flash of admission for Penelope to the fact that these fighters in B.A.B.E were consistently greater than she had experienced in the UK. From top to bottom there were not many easy fighters. After devastating losses to Rayne, Mace and now Payne self doubt was starting to make a bed in her head. She knew she needed to work harder.
Had this rare flash of honest self reflection for Penelope continued just a little bit longer, before she had wallowed back into the self pity of having been harangued by her boss on a Saturday morning, she would have also reflected on how everything had come so easy for her on her run-up to becoming UK champion and how she had coasted on talent alone, most acutely her speed and agility, rather than any herculean work ethic. She had worked of course, but had she ever put in the maximum effort? Had she continued with her brief self reflection she would have answered, ‘no.’ Instead she tossed her coffee out the window, dropped the car in gear and headed for Pappi’s Liquors Store. She could use a pint to unruffle her feathers she thought. And I’ll call Missy! What had she been saying to Raquel Balboa.
Lying on her couch later that evening, having slept off the worst of her headache, Penelope Primrose adjusted the waistband of her royal blue yoga pants that were pinching into her sides a little too tight and picked up the phone. Missy should be home now from the arena calling the Saturday bouts back in the UK. She was happy Missy picked up on the 2nd ring.
“Hello, Missy here.”
“Hey Missy, Penny here. How are you?”
“Penny! Good to hear from you. Tried reaching you all week to see how you were doing. Sorry hun, tough match that one. You okay?”
“Oh, all’s fine. I am sure it looked worse than it was.”
“Well glad you’re feeling better. Though your fight has been all the rage back here. It’s all most folks are talking about round the gym.”
“Like what . . .”
“Oh, you know. We’re not used to seeing you lose, that’s all. Bit shocking for a bunch of the girls. Course, some were snide, happy to see you lose. Mace and the like . . .”
“I bet they were. . . there are some tough fighters here Missy. Say, you’ve been chatting with Balboa?”
“Yeah, I called her up when I couldn’t reach you. See how you were doing and all. She asked about my impressions of the fight. Why?”
“She said you thought I tired fast. You know I don’t get tired! Payne hit me with some good shots. Not sure why everyone keeps playing that I was tired.”
“Relax hun, just an opinion. You didn’t seem as quick and sharp as I remembered. You looked great in the first round, but even in that round you slowed your pace at the end. You weren’t really moving your head.”
“Whatever, Missy. Payne was just faster than I thought, that’s all.”
“Are you sure Penny? How has your training been going? I mean I was commentating the match with McKenna, and she kept harping on how you looked out-of-shape. I kinda had to agree with her . . .”
“You what! Rose McKenna! She doesn’t know what the bleedin’ hell she’s ever talking about! You agreed with that loud mouthed wrench. Thanks Missy . . .!!”
“Penny! Come on! We’ve known each other for a long time. You’ve not been the same since Rayne and Mace . . .”
“Oh shut it Missy . . . thought you were on my side . . .”
“I am! You know that . . .”
“Not when you take Rose McKenna’s side! On a B.S.N telecast no less . . . screw you Missy!”
Soon followed a crash as Penelope threw the phone across the room into the wall. “Bloody hell, Missy! Rose McKenna!” screamed Penelope. The loss had hurt, but knowing it had been telecast in the UK made the hurting worse. She had hoped to put on a good show to her many fans, but that had gone up in smoke with her poor performance. Image meant a lot to Penelope Primrose, and lately, in big fights, the image has been of the UK’s biggest star comatose on the ring floor. She knew there was chatter after the Mace fight and had hoped to change the tone of it with the Payne fight. That had failed. And then she had to sit in the office and get ridiculed by Rocky Balboa, and soon after hear of Missy’s treachery to a UK audience. Hell, now her iPhone was probably smashed. Screw doing yoga tonight she thought to herself in her misery, and she lumbered to the fridge and pulled out some of the leftover chili Lana Sinclair had left. In five weeks time she would show them all what Penelope Primrose was all about.
To Be Continued . . .