Non classé, prose, short story

Stealing the show

It was night, and quiet, and cold. We parked the car behind the hall just like the big names do. Joe went out and started to grab our stuff from the trunk, I remained in the seat and sighed. I was eighteen, on the road, trying to break out as a wrestler. And I was freezing in a goddamn car. Joe and I went inside, and we met the fed’s booker. A poor soul named Paul, but he was nice and he told us we would make fifty quids by the end of the night. All of a sudden I felt tremendously better, I felt like a rock star, I felt like I was the man. You have to understand that fifty pounds is a damn fine amount of money when you start anything. I’m damn sure Kurt Cobain was glad to get paid fifty bucks when he used to play small gigs back in Aberdeen.
I met Joe eight months ago during a show near London. It was my third show, and he could tell that I was as green as they come. We hit it off right from the bat, and he nicely invited me to travel with him. I think he was lonesome, and I desperately needed the experience. No matter what, it’s a damn lonely business, trust me. Along those eight months I picked up a lot, and there’s really no shame in saying, I kind of looked up to the man. He was lacing his boots wordlessly next to me.
‘Ready?’ I dumbly asked.
‘Hmm. You, kid ?’ he always called me that. I hated it.
‘Hell yeah! I’m going second, screw openers!’
‘Slowing climbing the ladder ain’t ya kid ? Now listen to me,’ I knew the lecture about to come. He always takes this deep voice, ‘you’ve got yourself an opportunity there, don’t screw it up. I’ve seen you. You have something. But you lack focus. And those damn fine fifty quids should give you some.’
You see once or twice during matches, my brain would freeze. Let me preface this for the non initiated, wrestling is planned – for lack of a better term. And please don’t even start with the fake bullshit. People act like we’re not privy to such information, this is just ridiculous. Anyway, my brain would freeze, but I knew what to do and when to do it, that wasn’t the problem. My problem was, I kept thinking ‘what am I doing?’ I didn’t understand why I had to open show for fucking guys who I thought couldn’t even lace my boots, and I certainly didn’t understand why I had to lose to a guy that was definitely not cut out for this business. Like really, I was mad. So you know, here and there, I kind of changed the plans and got myself some victories. I gave myself some Montreal Screwjobs, and obviously people weren’t happy about it, but I got the money, and I got the victories. It’s all that mattered to me.
‘I am Joe, I swear I am.’
Later that night, the first two guys were out there and I was sitting with my opponent. James Gervick was a 6″3, 250 pounds, 19 year old balloon of a dude, and he knew nothing about what made a good match. He barely knew how to run the ropes, but he damn sure knew how to land on you with that top rope splash of his. We were next, so we went out there and I stole the show. Literally. He was supposed to go over with that splash, but I rolled out of the way, got up, and kicked him right on the ear. It slapped like the fine ass of a woman on a Friday night, everyone stood up and cheered. I was the man. I was the main event. I high-fived the entire front row with a huge smile on my face, and people cheered. I mocked Gervick’s physique and style and people cheered louder : I hadn’t seen him get up, in angry-mode, briskly but surely making his way towards me. In a matter of seconds, I went from standing next to the ring smiling to laying on my back, not at all selling a punch, tasting my own blood. And then it ended, I took the splash just like I was supposed to. Whoever you are, there’s just things you can’t avoid; especially if you’re a jerk. You always get what’s coming to you, the wrestling business taught me that.

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