Saturday, May 16, 2009

College Boy

Follow DJ to the barn. I secure the door while he tugs off his red sweatshirt and starts stacking bales to clear a space. I pitch in and help, and the two of us work up a sweat real quick, even though it’s under 50 outside.

No smell of livestock anymore, not since Uncle Wayne died and Aunt Maxine sold the animals; more like the smell of black peat, rusted motors, and hay. We stack the bales high, three deep, a good stretch above our height, build up four solid walls with three corners and a passageway.

I wipe my neck and shoulders with a handkerchief. DJ covers the sawdust with horse blankets.

“Learn any tricks up at college, Roy?” he drawls, smirking.

“What, been missing me much?”

He spits into the hay and smiles, wide and toothy. His jeans ride low on his hips, showing off his “iliac furrow”—now there’s something I learned in college, Appreciation of Art, and remember it, too. His red summer tan round his shoulders, neck, and arms, now a faded, freckled pink.

For fifteen weeks, almost every week, I received DJ’s terse, scribbled notes in the mail: “Study all you like boy I can still tear you up”—“Wish you were here I got some steam I need to let off”—“Anybody up there prettier ’n me?” I sent back pictures clipped out of Ring magazine, glued to 3x5 cards, and labeled “you” and “me.”

“You bet. Kind of boring beating up pillows all the time.”

“Boots or no-boots?” I ask, meaning “How bloody?”

He hisses through his teeth and yanks off his boots. I follow suit. He stretches and kisses his biceps. I can see he’s antsy, feeling more elated than he wants to let on. He kung fu kicks a loose bale of hay and pumps his fists in the air.

Truth be told, I wrestled some up at U, but didn’t make the team. Maybe next year, the coach told me. I won’t tell DJ that, though.

We lock up. Right off, DJ snorts and starts to shove me back. He’s psyched and even stronger than I remembered. We circle each other, make grabs for each other’s neck or knee, and come away with nothing. We break off and eye each other, half warily, half totally at ease.

I take a swipe at his jaw and connect—a popping sound, more like a click. He swoops down to my knees and pulls them up, and I land hard on my back. I’m no sooner down than his knee crashes to my right tit. I grunt and roll defensively to my side. He wedges my left arm in his wet armpit and jams my hand down, straining my wrist. I howl, and he just grins.

He holds me there almost paralyzed. My heels grind the wool blankets. My face rests against the side of his hot, salty belly, which heaves as he breathes. I can feel his heartbeat against my forehead.

“Giving already, college boy?”

“Let’s break,” I say, and he lets me go and then runs his fingers through my hair as I lumber up to my feet.

“First fall,” he deadpans.

He’s kinked my wrist real good. I rub it, quietly whimpering. DJ’s the toughest dude I ever met. He loves the give and take of a scrap and only pretends to care about wins and losses. He’s no bully, but he’s got it in him to like hurting people. I’m the only one he fights, though, and that’s play … well, mostly play.

“College made you soft, looks like.” DJ taunts. I can tell by the sound of his voice that I hurt his jaw. Maybe made him bite his tongue.

If I’m soft, it’s because of Aunt May’s cooking. I noticed at dinner DJ only pecked at his turkey and gravy, keeping himself hungry for the fight to come.

“Don’t get big-headed, DJ. Riles me up. And you know if I get riled I can make it hard on you.”

Hard on me is about right,” he sniffs and chuckles.

I nod my head and fix my eyes on his.

We close in. I try out a feint, but DJ clobbers me a good one right in the nose. I feel like I just snorted a bullet. Feel the blood pound in my nostrils.

I grab his head and wrestle him down to the ground. Get my knee on the back of his neck and push his face to the musty blanket. His legs kick in spasms. He screams, and I let up. I grab his hair at the scruff of his neck and haul him up to his feet. A quick knee to his gut makes him grunt. I lock up his head and left arm, lean back, and flip him over my head. The sound of the crash echoes in the rafters.

I want to straddle him in a schoolboy pin, but my hard-on would only get worse, and we’d probably start giggling. Instead, I drop my elbow to his chest and bounce right back up. Shadowbox the bales making up one wall, while he gingerly gets back to his feet.

“More?” I snarl, deciding to play the heel. “You liking this?”

I deliver a roundhouse kick to his flexed-up thigh. Then a short, fast jab to his face. He starts to fall, but I catch him. I hug his lower ribs tight to my chest and squeeze. We’re both hard.

I release him, and his body crumples up against mine, almost in a swoon. I back him to the wall and start punching his gut, one-two-three times with the right to every one-two with the left.

My knuckle prints are like pink valentines on his pale skin.

I back away. Strutting and posing for an imaginary crowd. The standard cue for payback.

DJ is a master of payback, too. It’s brutality with an air of justice to it. DJ plays it well.

He springs to his feet, almost miraculously. He leaps up and looses a flying dropkick to my chest. It propels me to the opposite wall, which I hit hard but bounce back from.

DJ grabs me by the hair and draws me in to him. He applies a bear hug, and, almost involuntarily, my knees rise to his waist. He grips his hands at the small of my back and grinds his knuckles to my spine. This both genuinely hurts and excites.

Then he shoves me back to the wall … with force. I’m winded. I’m even unconscious for a couple of seconds. We’re both slippery with sweat, but now mine feels cold.

He releases and twists around. Grabs my head and snap-mares me to the ground. He digs his right knee into my right shoulder. Lightheaded, I look up at his lean, glistening torso. It seems like I’m looking through funhouse goggles, but still he looks beautiful, heroic, triumphant.

He steps back and hurls a few insults my way. My head’s buzzing, so I can’t quite make them out. I hear the swagger in his intonation, though, and something fucking something.

My elbows connect with solid earth, and I raise myself up. DJ circles me, unbuttons my Wranglers, and pulls them free of my legs. I feel a cool draught on my hard cock, as it slaps up to my belly.

DJ steps back and surveys the pale green bruises and the stiff, purple stalk of my manhood. He smiles with half his mouth, and I smile with half of mine, mirror like.

His chest rises and falls as he breathes. Beads of sweat roll down to his navel, then further down. His unbelted jeans dipping to reveal a corona of pubic curls. The fly stretched to hard bone, clearly outlined in the faded denim.

On my feet now, I squat down, my elbows at my knees. DJ bends his knees and widens his stance.

I lunge at him, and he steps aside like a matador. He gives me an open-handed, almost friendly slap across the face.

We lock up. Push and shove. Then I grab him in a double underhook and tuck his head in my right armpit. My right leg reaches cross his hip and locks his leg from behind. All this in one smooth movement that catches him totally by surprise.

He grabs for my cock, but I wrench his neck upwards and back. The sudden jerk immobilizes him. The veins pop in his neck, and I see the muscles of his back quiver.

“How’s that, DJ?” I whisper. “Enough pain?”

“You asshole,” he grunts, almost squeaking.

“What’s that?”

“Give,” he says.

“Complete sentence.”

“I give.”

“Please?”

“I give please … you’re the boss.”

I let go, and he crumbles to the ground.

I hunker down, and look at him as he shakes the cobwebs loose.

We stay in position, audibly breathing. Cold late autumn air seeps in through the cracks in the roof.

After a few minutes, he starts peeling off his jeans.

“One more,” he says.

“Uh huh.”

“Two out of three.”

Our cocks rise up like sabers facing off.

“Like this?”

“Like this. Loser gets pinned right. Scared a little? Big shot. College boy.” His eyes twinkle. “Let’s play.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mad Mantis

Don’t let the moniker fool you. Tex was born and raised in Quebec, never traveled further south than Illinois, and that was when he was a baby.

Tex’s buddy Marc laces up his white leather boots, the same leather used for brides’ bibles, while Tex, head bowed, enters his zone before the match. Shoulders glittering with baby oil, the transistor radio in the locker buzzing some old Charles Aznavour shit.

I’m ten lockers away, sitting on a hardwood bench, gulping a warm Budweiser, feeling the dull ache of last night’s fight, itching to get my hands on the tall, solid, bony-faced fake cowboy who knows even less English than I know French.

Ordinarily, under normal conditions, I would chat up the babyface before the show, find out whether he has some extra-fancy moves or gimmicks I should know about, settle how soon he’s gonna knock my lights out. Oh, yes, he will win all right, sure as Christmas. They always do. I have not won a match since legit freestyle wrestling in high school, and that was ten Canadian winters ago. Grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma, which makes me three times the Texan Tex is.

I’m Mad Mantis. I wear a black facemask with, inexplicably, a tarantula silhouetted over the front. A puke-green tarantula. Real name is Matt Mathis, so you can see how the name evolved. For the life of me, though, I can’t figure how Tex became Tex—or how he came to enter the ring wearing a white cowboy hat and carrying a rolled-up bull rope he basically just tosses aside when the ring announcer calls his name.

Yeah, we’re in the ring right now, under the hot white lights; we made our entrances while I was telling you a little bit about myself, just to make my inevitable thrashing at the hands of this kid a bit more poignant.

Announcer calls out, “Mad Mantis … parts unknown … 205 pounds,” and the crowd boos and hisses. It’s Tex’s crowd all the way. I grab my right wrist and make an arthritic claw out over the top ring rope, just a foreshadowing of the villainy ahead.

The boy bounces on the balls of his feet and punches the air. He’s a tall drink of water, with a honeyed tan and strong back and thighs, famous for his figure fours. Like me, he likes mat and rope work, not like the high-flyin’ young Mexican turks I don’t know what the hell to do with, half the time. We’re looking at some Irish whip action tonight and maybe, if I can generate the heat, a climactic leap off the top of the turnbuckle.

Bell rings a half-second after I elbow the back of Tex’s head, mid-autograph. He drops to one knee but springs right back up. We lock up and the kid pushes me all the way back to my corner. His chest and stomach press mine, I slip my right foot through the ring ropes, and the ref pulls the boy off me.

He rubs the back of his neck for a little sympathy from the fans. He bunches his eyebrows and glares at me like he wants to hurt me bad.

I’ll spare you the give-and-take minutia—you seen one of my fights, you seen pretty much every one. In general, there’s some scientific rolling off hips, some trading off of headlocks, some slobbery growling at the crowd, and a great deal of working up of sweat, till our bodies flash and spark under the lights. So let’s fast-forward through ten minutes of exposition and hit the climax.

Tex keeps his hair cut close to the skull, not a crew cut exactly, but Roman senator short, so, right now, I’m trying to grab the kid by his hair, strictly illegal, of course, but the kid deftly slips loose and pops me in the kisser. Four or five times. Good solid punches that have a sting to them, but pulled just enough to qualify as fake. The Quebecois cowboy is a real pro, whatever else he isn’t.

His white tights are now glued to his sweaty butt cheeks. BBs of sweat roll down his neck over his smooth chest and belly. I want my lips to feel the heat glowing on his skin.

I jab my knee to his kidneys and he falls on his face. The ref pushes me back, and the crowd momentarily hushes on the off chance that Tex is really injured. The ref kneels over the grimacing boy. I grab the back of the ref’s shirt and toss him out of the ring. He’s knocked out cold on the concrete floor. I circle in on Tex and begin driving my heel down on his strong shoulders—tight as two seaman’s knots and shiny as chrome.

Tex tries two or three times to push himself up but collapses every time. I take a running leap and land my butt hard on the small of his back. The kid groans a real one. I feel a satisfying throb in my groin at the sound of his hurt.

I reach round his head and grab his nose in my left hand and hook my right hand into his mouth and pull both ways and back. I get the back of his head all the way back to my chest, and then I twist his head, feel his cool ear strum my hard right nipple, and howl like a wolf. Tex begins to holler, too, and slam his fists on the mat.

Somebody in the crowd yells, “Mantis you piece of shit,” and the crowd starts to chant encouragements to the handsome young wrestler.

I crook my left arm at Tex’s throat, slip my right arm under his right arm, clench my wrist, and squeeze. I’ve got his back bent up, just shy of L-shaped. The crowd can see his stretched abdomen, palpitating with his heartbeats, and vainly he claws at my forearms.

I lean back to deepen the pain and rest my forehead against the back of his head.

In a lucky thrust, he grabs the lacing of my mask and yanks me forward. I tumble over his shoulders and land with a loud thud on my back, and the fans go apeshit.

Tex locks his powerful thighs round my chest. I feel what I imagine to be his cock massage my upper spine. He tears at the mask, bunches it up at my forehead, exposing my mouth as I scream, “No no no.”

The crowd chants, “Fuck him up, Tex, fuck him up, fuck him up, Tex, fuck him up ….”

He peels the mask further up, over the bridge of my nose. From behind, he slugs me in the mouth with his fist. He strips the mask entirely off. The crowd cheers ecstatically. I feel a bead of precum wet my tights.

He leaps up to his feet and pulls me up by the back of my tights to mine. He chops at my belly with the sides of his hands and forearms.

He pushes me back to the turnbuckle, locks my head into his armpit, and flips me over his head to the center of the ring. My body bounces at the impact.

He climbs up on the top ring rope at the turnbuckle. He stands there like a statue for about ten seconds, then leaps …

I see his lithe body in the air, as if in slow motion, his toothy mouth stretched in a bloodless grimace. In a second, I see the bottom of his boots rush to my face. And …

Lights out. Totally and for real.

I come to on a stretcher, gliding, almost floating through the audience, who pelt me with empty paper cups and wadded up cellophane wrappers.

In the dressing room, I manage to sit up and shake the cobwebs from my head. Tex strides in, arm laced in his buddy Marc’s. His slick shiny body looks like a golden statue I saw a picture of in a book. Marc lets him go and backs out the doorway.

Tex pushes aside the medic who is dabbing a cut with a cotton swab and wraps me warmly in his sinewy arms, kissing my temples with boyish enthusiasm.

Bon combat,” he whispers in my ear. “Tu me branches, toi, salaud.” He chuckles, slyly.

I feel the heat rise off his body and run my finger up his slick sweaty waist. “Well, cowboy,” I say, “I’ve got a boner you could knock a dog out with.” I lick the curve of his jawbone up to his earlobe.

His body tenses, and he grabs me tightly, a little roughly, as if we were still in the ring. A smile flickers across his lips, and his eyes sparkle.

Tu as besoin d’une bonne punition.”

I see the hard look in his eyes and smile.

“You got that right, pardner.”

Monday, May 4, 2009

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