November 2, 2015

  • Wrestling with the Heart - Day Two

    She peered around the hall and again goggled at the sheer number of people. “Are there really that many people in Ashland coming to watch wrestling?” she asked. Kiera laughed and waved around the room.
    “They're not all from Ashland,” she said, “Like I said before, Tri-State area. Some of these people follow the promotion. Some of them probably just crossed the bridge because it's nearby wrestling. Beats the heck out out of hitting Rupp Arena and spending fifty, sixty bucks for a seat in the nosebleed section.” She pointed at the metal fence. “Odds are good that some of the wrestlers are going to crash right up against that fence during the match. Anyhow, Jeremy can hold our seats again while we get food, right Jeremy?”
    “Right,” Jeremy said, none too enthusiastically, “Tote that barge and lift that bale, right?” Kiera reached over and ruffled his greasy hair.
    “Whatever makes you feel special, kid,” she said, “C'mon, Vi!” As they walked off, Kiera discreetly wiped her hand off on her jeans. “Nice kid but he could use some shampoo.”

    The concession stand was running a brisk business. It was standard local sporting event fare, boxes of candy, rotisserie hot dogs, paper cartons of nachos. Above the stand was a list of prices and a note saying that Paul G. Blazer High School students were serving and a portion of the proceeds would go to the school.
    “So, how do you know Jeremy? And does Richard know about him?” Violet ventured. Kiera laughed and waved her hand dismissively.
    “I met him through Richard. Rich's littlest brother went to school with him and then Rich runs into him at one of these events, NWA Appalachia, I think. Anyhow, Rich and Jeremy realize they know each other, start swapping stories of going to Blazer and some of the teachers, and before I know it, we're sitting beside him at every show. He's not that bad of a kid. A bit of a perv, but he'll get it out of his system eventually. He's like one of those puppies that humps everything, you know? Anyhow, what are you in the mood for? Buying here.”
    “Oh. Um... diet Coke if they have it. Hot dog and nachoes with cheese on the side... that OK?”
    “Sure. We'll come back at intermission and get some more if you're still hungry. Kind of a shame they don't sell beer, but the last event I went to where they sold bottles, someone got drunk and started throwing them at one of the heels. Wrestler needed ten stitches. The guy throwing the bottles got laid up in the hospital. Not the wrestlers, funnily enough, but the guys around him, picked him up and threw him through some of the seats. It was a mess, kind of killed the buzz of the event.”
    “Does... do things like that happen often?” Images of riotous sports crowds ran through Violet's head. Kiera chuckled and held up one finger as she moved up the counter and ordered their food.
    “Almost never. I've seen more fights at Putnam Stadium during the high school soccer games. Nah, the spectacle here is practically cathartic, so no one gets really physical.” When Violet narrowed her eyes at her, Kiera threw up her hands. “What? I can't use the occasional five dollar word?” Violet shook her head at her friend.
    “I just never expected it from you. What other mysteries are you hiding under that uncultured facade?” she said. Kiera just chuckled and grabbed a tray with their food order. She then swore under her breath.

    “Damn it... now we're stuck with this. Better head back to the seats... I was going to walk you around the wrestlers' tables, introduce you to the ones I know by name.” She nodded her head toward the perimeter, where Violet noticed tables stacked with T-shirts and manned by men in a variety of costumes.
    “Those are the ones who'll be wrestling tonight?”
    “Some of them. Some of them just show up to sell merch or to swap tales. Bobby Blaze is out there. Rich had him as a substitute teacher a few times. He lives in Ashland now, works as some sort of fitness consultant. He wrote a book, just like just about every other wrestler out there... it's OK stuff. Not real riveting and he rambles, but hey, he's about as close as Ashland gets to a local celebrity. Anyhow, a lot of the wrestlers are back there,” She nodded to one side of the room, where a curtain screened things off. “Like I was saying before, they can't really script out matches, so they're probably discussing spots and doing a little bit of light sparring to figure out their styles.” They'd made their way back to their seats and Kiera handed a hotdog to Jeremy, which forestalled further conversation on his part as he wolfed it down.
    “It sounds complicated,” Violet ventured, “Are you sure you aren't overselling what they do?”
    “Nope,” Kiera said, “If anything else, I'm probably underselling it. I'm a mark through and through. I just like to watch these guys wrassle, but I pick some stuff up when Jeremy and Rich gab, y'know?” Violet just shook her head at her friend and started in on her food. Kiera continued to babble on about works and shoots and kayfabe, and Violet just let it wash over her. Her friend was enjoying herself and that was what was important. As she finished her nachos, and a man in a tuxedo started approaching the ring, something occurred to her.
    “Oh hell... I forgot to put the shirt on.” Kiera looked at her quizzically for a moment, her brain and mouth still in the middle of discussing some storyline involving a dispute over a chicken between two hillbilly characters, then comprehension dawned.
    “Oh honey, you don't have to worry about it. You fit in just fine with what you're wearing.”
    “That's kind of what I was worried about,” Violet muttered, then stood. “We have, what, ten minutes until the bell rings? I'll hurry. Be right back.” Waving off Kiera's protests, she excused herself down the line of people in the front row and hit the aisle.

    The lady's room was serviceable. It smelled a bit, but it seemed clean. Violet found herself a stall and quickly stripped out of her current T-shirt, tossing it over the door and unfolding the shirt that Kiera had given her. It was then that she realized that it was a size smaller than what Kiera had said.
    “Damn you, Kiera,” she muttered, certain that her friend was having fun at her expense, and she turned toward the stall door, only to see her recently doffed country shirt slide off the hook to land in a plop in a suspicious puddle. “Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn!” she snarled, then looked back at the shirt in her hands. “Shit.” She quickly gauged the possibility of washing out her original T-shirt, but judged it unlikely, no time to dry properly and the idea of sitting in front of a crowd, let alone that scuzzball Jeremy, in a damp white T-shirt... she sighed and offered up a prayer for the ability to hold her stomach in for the duration of the show, then skinned it on, exiting the stall, leaving the other shirt fallen where it lay. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and did a double-take. The shirt definitely fit snuggly against her, and whatever they made the bottom half from, it was actually acting almost like a support garment, binding her stomach in and pushing her breasts up and out.
    “Wow...” Her reverie was broken by the realization that the first fight of the evening was being introduced. She broke from the mirror, ran for the door, and planted herself face-first into a perfect set of pectorals.

    Her initial embarrassment was overshadowed by the sharp pain as nose hit breastbone. She recoiled backwards, reaching up to clutch her injury, when she realized a bigger problem, namely that she could barely see. Oh God... I've gone blind. Did I hit I my head? Did I... wait. She reached up and pulled off her glasses and the world assumed the blurriness of myopia instead of the smeary mess the world had been.
    “Damn,” a masculine voice with a hint of local twang said from a blurry mass in front of her. “Here ma'am, let me...” his hand reached forward and plucked the glasses from her hands, did something to them, then handed them back. “My fault... Buddy got a little overenthusiastic with the oil, and when you ran into me...” As she slid the glasses on, the world came back into focus, and she found herself staring at a hairless and very muscular chest. Her gaze slid up to reveal the face of a young man with shaggy midlength blond hair and a very concerned look on his face.
    “Oh,” she said, and immediately glanced down, noted toned abs, followed by some very brief black trunks, muscular legs... her eyes shot back up to his face again, her cheeks blushing. “Oh...” He smiled sheepishly and then his head darted toward the ring.
    “Hell, they're playing my music... sorry!” And then he was jogging toward the ring. Violet found her eyes following him, absently noting that the trunks fit him quite nicely. She started and started walking toward Kiera and Jeremy. Down girl... he's probably half your age, and he's one of those lunkheads who's getting paid to get hit by metal chairs. With a rueful chuckle, she started down the aisle again, the roar of the crowd nearly drowning out her internal monologue. At the front, she ran the gauntlet of the front row again.
    “Where've you been?” Kiera said over the crowd, “You missed out on the pre-match announcements and Warren's entrance. Shirt looks good on you, though.” She cocked her head off to the side and chuckled. “Your shirt now. It never look that good on me. Oh, Warren's coming to our side!” She immediately broke away and joined the cheers of the crowd as the wrestler in the ring bounced off of the opposite ropes and ran up to land on the second rope on their side, raising his arms in greeting at the crowd. Violet looked up at the form silhouetted by the spotlights above her and her breath caught. Of course... of all the people to run into...