Monday, October 13, 2008

Hunter v Hook

Handsome Marco Hunter enters the ring. Silver fight shorts highlighting his olive skin, reflecting up on the often-photographed tattoo tracing the bottom contour of his pecs:

“Todos guerra es el engaƱo.”

He flashes his black armpits to twenty upraised camera phones, held by twenty screaming fat girls.

Covered in baby oil, he looks like he’s already sweated out two rounds, and the match bell hasn’t rung yet. Clearly he’s been working hard to move up to the next weight class, more definition, more bulging roundness in general, but no steroids, according to his press releases, shooting for the kind of mass that can get him a shot at the main event.

He runs both sets of fingers through his curly hair—the styling alone cost what my first match paid me, some twelve years ago. So Handsome Marco, with his glittering grease and bouncing locks, will have to go through me to make it to the main event.

I’m here to ensure that that never happens.

He bounces on the balls of his feet, and the crowd screams louder. He makes crisp, lightning-fast boxing jabs into the gray air under the hot lights. His chest rises and falls with each jump.

Punching himself hard in his compact stomach, his pinpoint navel winking arrogantly, he backs into his corner, and then rests his arms against the top rope, nonchalant. He turns his head and flashes a perfect smile to the fans—his lavender lips framing 20 years of perfect dentistry.

I glance over at Lord Travladore, and he’s frowning, rubbing his pockmarked chin with his stubby fingers.

Travladore has managed me for the last five years. He retires next year. Not too old, but definitely tired of the circus hijinks and frathouse humiliations of the business. A fan grabs the tail of his white tuxedo; he turns and waves his lion-headed cane threateningly at the crowd, roaring in a fake British accent.

I stretch my arms out and loosen them up in a rowing motion, pacing distractedly in a tight circle. Never one of the most glittering of jobbing heels, dumpy, bearlike, crewcut hair, and an easily forgotten moniker (“Brian Hook”)—but I am dependable, professional—able to sell a snarl of contempt or a grimace of pain with the best of them, with a taut white beer belly just begging to be kicked and clawed and punched.

Plus I wear briefs three sizes too small—a kind of subliminal code for impending sexual humiliation.

The ring announcer bellows his intros—in the red corner, from Hollywooood, Califooornia, weighing in at twooo hundred twenty-eeeight pounds, Briiii-an Hoo-oook; and in the bluuue corner, from Cleeearwater, Floridaaa, weighing in at one hundred niiinety-five pounds, Handsome Maaar-co-oooo Huuuuunterrrrr.

The startup bell rings, and Marco and I leap towards each other, locking arms in the center of the ring. This is the customary strenuous clinch, during which the handsome face gets to show off his chiseled delts, traps, and lats to the crowd. Five or six times he spectacularly clenches and unclenches his ass muscles.

The fans shout out encouragement to the young wrestler, while Lord Travladore circles the outside of the ring, motioning them to pipe down.

Young Marco pinches my bicep. We’re breathing into each other’s face in regular staccato huffs. In a flash, he ducks under my armpit and twists my right arm behind me. I grimace. The pain is real, but I play it bigger to the delight of the fans. I hop on one foot in a semicircle, totally controlled by the young stud, who makes a show of tugging the trapped arm upward, intensifying the pressure and the pain. At moments like this my balloon-like white belly is particularly impressive.

Both hands holding my right arm, Hunter spins around under the arm, as if to wrench it from its socket.

I drop to one knee. My free hand upheld in petition for mercy. But then, in a flash, I fall back on my shoulders and drive the heels of my boots into Marco’s chin. He flies backwards against the ring ropes, and grabbing one of them, he lifts himself up to a kneeling position.

I’m still on the mat. Shaking my head after the fall.

Lord Travladore scurries to ringside and clubs Hunter in the head with his silver headed walking stick.

The crowd boos.

Marco spits through the ring ropes and circles in on me. Elbow drop to the left shoulder and then he bounces back up, all in one smooth motion. I yowl in agony. He makes a short circle back and again pounds his elbow into my shoulder. Once, twice more, the same thing. I cradle my aching shoulder with the opposite hand, my face red and contorted with helpless rage.

The handsome boy is good. He parades the inside of the ring with arms outstretched in a Y. The crowd cheers him on.

The slender blond ref motions for him to hold back while I pull myself up to a fighting stance. He charges anyway, clobbering me up beside the head and driving me headfirst into the turnbuckle. Sticks his knee into the small of my back and yanks my arms back.

The crowd throws empty paper cups and wadded-up programs at my agonized face.

My belly wobbles, the picture of vulnerability, as I sink to my knees, Marco’s right knee still planted on my spine. I manage to push my head through the ring ropes, and the ref slaps the boy’s beefy arms and orders him to release me and step away to the other side of the ring.

Instead, Marco hurls himself through the ropes and chases sweaty, clumsy Travladore around the outside of the ring. The folks in the first row grab at the fat man or try to trip him. Marco shoves the fake aristocrat into the outside of the corner post and steals his walking stick. Carries it with him back into the ring and brandishes it in triumph.

I cling to the ring ropes, pull myself up rung by rung, in slow motion.

The ref tries to remove the stick from Marco’s clutch. Marco pantomimes that the stick belongs to him now, further mimes the idea that he has no intention of using it as a foreign object against me.

Half of selling any fight to a large crowd is pretending you’re in a silent movie.

I am standing now, back to the turnbuckle, arms and legs stretched out. Marco’s back is to me, while the ref waves his arms, eventually gaining possession of Travladore’s stick.

Holding the ring ropes, I scrape my feet against the mat, like a bull about to charge. A dozen or so crowd members scream out warnings to Handsome Marco, but he doesn’t seem to hear them.

I charge Marco, aiming low. He turns just before the collision, his face widening with surprise. His lithe body flips weightlessly over my shoulders, and I shove into the skinny blond ref, knocking him through the ropes, onto his back on the concrete floor.

Travladore does a bit of Disney-villain comic relief, waving a lacy white hanky over the ref’s face, in a half-assed attempt to revive him.

I turn on Marco, flat on his back on the canvas. Grab the heels of his boots with both hands, then circle my arms around his lower calves and squat down on his chest, the boots sticking out between my armpits. Marco’s left hand is on the ring ropes, so it’s not a legal pin. But the ref is unconscious, and me, I’m not a very nice guy.

I bury the stud’s face in my hard smooth belly. Forcing the legs further into a hairpin. With his free hand, Marco slams the canvas in protest and pain. Travladore wobbles over to ringside again and pounds the count of three onto the mat. I’m getting an erection, which I try to hide by grinding my butt into Marco’s chest. It certainly can’t be a secret to Marco, not now.

I let go and stand, bending forward, hoping nobody notices the sudden upswing in wood. I pull Marco to the center of the ring by his boots. I can’t resist an elbow drop to the back of Marco’s knee. He writhes in pain. He’s good, this kid. His young muscles even involuntarily quiver. I grab his legs and flip him over to his chest; he pounds the mat like a spoiled brat, but clearly the audience knows that he is in tremendous pain. Confident that my black briefs, however skimpy, won’t betray my semi-hard secret, I apply a Boston crab—his boots again in my armpits, but facing the other way this time—I squat on his back, while he groans, futilely grabs behind him, and pounds his forehead against the mat.

With each groan, I lean a little further back, racking his body with sublime agony. He’s sweating in earnest, now. I glower at the audience, standing in their seats and poking their thumbs downward. Somebody throws a full, unopened can of 7-Up into the ring, missing my head by an inch. I rock back and forth on Beautiful Marco’s back. He mouths his agony to the crowd, strings of saliva linking his lips. His belly lies squashed against the canvas. Just inches from my slowly limbering cock, his ass, beautifully outlined in the silky silver shorts, bunches up into a perfect rock-hard valentine.

The skinny ref hoists himself back up into the ring, grasping the ropes. Lord Travladore, having recovered his lion’s-head cane from the unconscious ref, now holds it like a bat, intimidating an orange-skinned sexagenarian lady in a NASCAR cap. The lady’s companions laugh good-naturedly, but the lady plays the scene to the hilt. Travladore backs away, swinging the cane in the air.

The ref grabs my forearms with his bony fingers, attempting to liberate the beautifully incapacitated stud.

He signals, in broad gestures, that if I don’t comply, he will end the match and award it to Marco. I let go. Grunting and smoothing down the front of my briefs, while madly massaging my firm round gut, I shake my head disapprovingly.

I circle round the ref and pull Marco’s head up by his gleaming black curls, about waist-high, his nose nearly poking the skin of my gut. With a fistful of hair in my left hand, I wallop the rookie’s face with my right forearm.

The ref shoves me away with both hands on my chest. I go right back up to Marco and yank his head back up, this time delivering a knee to his left cheekbone. The crowd roars its disapproval.

Again, the ref intercedes.

Travladore pounds the palms of his hands on the mat. Marco is up on all fours, but shaky. I back against the ring ropes and bounce back to Marco, grapping his curls once again.

This time Marco drives his fist into my belly. The crowd goes crazy.

This is the appointed time.

Marco slams his fist into my belly again. I’m staggered, but still clutch the coal-black hair.

Now Marco uses both fists, left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right. I let go of the hair to defend my stomach. Marco’s up on his feet; bent over, he jams his right elbow into my gut. The crowd is hysterical.

Now Marco rises to full height, arching his shoulders back for maximum torso photogenicity.

At this moment he has never been more beautiful and heroic. His thick eyebrows furled in intense concentration. His dark eyes flashing. His nose never more Romanesque, his ears never so petite and graceful. His lips pucker slightly, not for a kiss, but inhaling deeply to fuel a roundhouse slug to the side of my face.

I hear the whoosh of his flexed arm through space.

I stagger and collapse like timber. Almost in slow motion.

Marco stomps the mat with both feet, his fists held tight in front of him.

The ref nervously moves between us. I help myself up with the ring ropes. Marco charges me. His shoulder smacks against my chest, driving me back into the ropes. He Irish-whips me into the opposite ropes, and I bounce back stumbling to the center of the ring, only to meet his club-like forearm across my nose.

I stand there dazed, but still standing. Again, Marco attacks my stomach. He grabs the top of my briefs with his left hand to keep me from stepping back and drives one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten lethal jabs to the midsection.

He then dives into a handstand, locking his legs around my head, his boots crisscrossed behind my head. At this angle, I see Marco too sports a bulge in his shorts. And with that, he pulls me headfirst into the ropes. I’m tangled in the ropes upside down. He slips on something a fan threw into the ring, but recovers to turn the accident into a head butt to my belly. The crowd roars. So he does it again.

He lifts my head up and pulls me off the ropes, locking it between his solid biceps and pecs. I hear his heart pounding in my ear. I rest the palms of my hands on either side of his waist. He grinds my head against the side of his chest. My cheek smacks against the taut curve of his pectoral. His chest feels cool and solid like a rubber innertube too full of air. He works his arm like a wing, pummeling my head on all sides. Vainly I punch at his sides, but nothing connects. I am dizzy in the bright lights, and the room seems to spin.

My head still secure in a headlock, he bounces the both of us off the ring ropes and drives my face into the canvas.

I collapse on my back, and he covers my face with his chest and belly, while grabbing my thigh to hoist my leg. He pinches my black briefs by the butt and pulls me up, a fair and square pin. One of my arms flails between his legs, clutching his silver shorts at the ass. His sweaty stomach, still smelling sweet of baby oil, rises and falls on my mouth.

Camera phones flash all around us.

I buck like a fish just dropped on the pier, trying to free myself.

The ref bends down close to my head and drums one, uh, two, uh, three, uh, onto the mat.

Against the inside of Marco’s wrist, my hard cock throbs. Against my cheekbone, his reciprocates. He arches his back, almost to drive it into my head.

Lord Travladore and the ref do some clowning, pretending the finishing clinch is so tight that Marco and I are welded together as one. They tug at our feet and shoulders, giving us time to loosen up, shift our weight so that our cocks can return to more decorous angles in our briefs.

The ref lifts Marco’s arm in victory. Sweat rolls down from his bicep into the black hair in his armpits, and from there rolls down across one half of his tattoo motto. Lord Travladore claims that the count was too quick—a moot point since I still lie flat on my back, with Marco’s full weight on top of me.

The ref pushes Travladore away, all but pushing the fat man through the ring ropes.

Marco rolls over and bounces to his feet. He comes down with one knee on my chest and flexes his biceps for the adoring fans.

He stands and then repeats the gesture, bending with the other knee.

He leaves the ring, and the fans stretch out to touch his sweating, heaving torso as he strides with confidence back to the dressing rooms.

I sit up and stare after him, then roll under the bottom rope, and wrap my right arm around Lord Travladore’s neck. He props me up, as if the make-believe defeat had been a serious injury to me. No camera phones record our exit. The make-believe Briton places the palm of his hand on my belly, right next to my navel. With his other hand, he gently massages the small of my back.

Like Marco before us, we disappear behind the curtain.

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