Dexter “Madhouse” Martin was too tired to wake up his wife and child. He limped up the stairs and stood by the door to his bedroom, changed his mind and entered the guest bedroom. It was 3 a.m. If his toothbrush wasn’t in his suitcase downstairs he would have brushed his teeth, but instead he just went to sleep. He slept until 10 a.m. He dreamed.
He was going to be lowered to the ring as part of a super hero gimmick. That was odd. He could have sworn that professional wrestling companies didn’t do this anymore after what happened to Owen. He was checking the apparatus that would lower him to the ring, which had a giant mouth in the center of it. It looked like the Rolling Stones’ logo.
Dexter turned to his wife who was hovering five feet above him and said, “Time to finance William’s college fund.”
Why had he said that? William had been stillborn. Diane was their only child. He wrestled to finance Diane’s college fund. His wife smiled at him and suddenly launched herself at the giant mouth in the center of the ring. She wasn’t falling. She was shooting towards the giant mouth. She paused right before she hit the mat, and the giant mouth opened and a forked tongue appeared. The tongue wrapped itself around Dexter’s wife and then sucked her into his mouth. Dexter began to have second thoughts about jumping. He wasn’t sure whether or not that giant Rolling Stones’ logo in the center of the ring with the forked tongue would eat him also.
“What should I do,” Dexter asked William, whom he discovered was sitting on his shoulder.
“Jump!” The stillborn opened his mouth and Dexter could see that William had a forked tongue as well.
The conversation ended there as the stillborn turned into ash. The ashes began to swirl all around Dexter. It prodded at his eyes, his nose his ears. It was trying to find any opening on Dexter’s body to enter. The ash suddenly disappeared, and Dexter looked down at ring once again. When he raised his head Diane was hovering five feet above him. She spoke, but her mouth did not open.
“Play with me Daddy!”
Dexter wanted to play with his daughter, but he had a match to wrestle. He had a performance to put on. He had a job to do. He smiled sadly, shook his head no and patted his daughter on the foot.
“Maybe later sweetheart. Daddy has to wrestle now.”
Diane’s eyes rolled completely around in her head.
“Daddy always has to wrestle. Daddy never has any time for me. Daddy only has time to think about wrestling and William. That’s why Daddy drinks. That’s why Daddy drinks all the time! Because of wrestling and William. That’s why Daddy drinks. Daddy doesn’t love me.”
Dexter shook his head no. He patted Diane’s foot again. He wanted to hug her, but she was too high above him.
“Honey, I do love you. I’m sorry I drink. It’s just something that Daddy does. It’s not an addiction or anything. You’re my addiction. If you weren’t here ”
Diane rudely cut her father off as her left arm began to violently swell up.
“I’m not here! I’m not here because you don’t know me! I’m never here! You hate me! You hate me!”
Diane’s left arm exploded and rainbow sprinkles plummeted towards the ring. The mouth in the center of the ring opened and the forked tongue licked up every last sprinkle. It then licked its lips and returned the tongue to its mouth. Diane’s right arm began to swell up.
“You never liked me! You always resented me for surviving when William died! Why’d the girl have to survive? Why not the boy? You wanted someone to follow in your footsteps! You wanted someone who’d be a wrestler! That’s why you drink! Because of wrestling and William! Because of wrestling and William! BECAUSE OF WRESTLING AND WILLIAM! BECAUSE OF WRESTLING AND WILLIAM!”
Diane’s right arm exploded and chocolate ice cream plummeted towards the ring. The mouth in the center of the ring opened and the forked tongue licked up all of the ice cream. It licked its lips and returned the tongue to its mouth. Two wings sprouted out of Diane’s stumps. Dexter looked at his angel with sad eyes.
“I always liked you. I always loved you. I do drink because of wrestling and William. You’re right. But I do things with you. Remember last week when I took you out for ice cream? You had chocolate with rainbow sprinkles. Weren’t we happy then?”
Diane’s eyes rolled completely around in her head as her wings burst into flames.
“Daddy, that wasn’t last week. That was three years ago. You’ve missed it all. You’ve missed the whole thing. It’s all over now. My wings are burning.”
Diane’s wings turned into a black ash which circled Dexter, probing for an opening. Diane plummeted toward the giant mouth in the center of the ring which quickly opened and swallowed her whole. Dexter sucked all of the ash into his mouth and jumped after her. The rigging apparatus disappeared and Dexter plummeted towards the mouth. He began to scream as the mouth got closer and closer to him. The mouth smiled, opened, and flicked its forked tongue at Dexter. The mouth spoke in the same voice that William had spoken in.
“You were meant for this.”
Dexter plummeted into the mouth and found himself in the locker room. Bill Nickels was having sex with an underage girl on a bench. The underage girl was screaming in pain and crying.
“NO! PLEASE STOP! OH OH OH OH OH NO! PLEASE STOP! PLEASE!”
Randy Smith was injecting himself with a needle filled with a black liquid. Thomas Anderson was busy throwing a rope over a rafter. This was very odd. Bill Nickels had been fired from the company for sexual misconduct. Randy Smith had been fired for rampant drug use. Thomas Anderson had been Dexter’s best friend. It had been two years since Bill had committed suicide in his basement after he had found his wife sleeping with another man. Bill smiled at Dexter and waved his hand, silencing the girl. Her mouth was still moving and she was still crying, but no sound came out of her. Her voice was muted.
“Welcome to the party man! Want a turn? She’s so tight I can barely fit it in. I love it when they struggle. I love it! Oh yeah! Come on man, I got her ready for you. I got her good and wet.”
Dexter turned away and looked at Randy Smith. The black liquid that had been in his needle was gone and the needle was sticking out of his arm. Randy began violently shaking as his eyes turned black. His hair fell out and the black liquid poured out of the top of his head. His mouth opened and the black liquid came streaming out of his mouth. He ripped off his pants and the black liquid shot out of his penis. Dexter closed his eyes. When he opened them Randy had gone back to normal. The needle was still sticking out of his arm, but his hair was back on his head and his eyes were blue again. His pants were back on, but there was still a black film around his mouth. He glanced at Dexter.
“Want a hit? Or do you still prefer Jack Daniels? They’re both drugs, man. This black shit makes you feel alive. You’ll feel alive man.”
Dexter turned away and looked at Thomas Anderson. Thomas was fashioning the rope into a noose.
“Five years as a boy scout didn’t go to waste, huh Dex?”
Dexter smiled and nodded his head. He walked over to Thomas and shook his hand.
“It’s been a while Thomas.”
Thomas shook his head yes and smiled as he completed the noose.
“Two years, Dex. You still wish that you can save me?”
Dexter nodded his head yes. Thomas shrugged his shoulders and placed the noose around his neck. Dexter tried to reach out his hands to take the noose off of his friend’s neck but his arms would not move. Still, he remained calm. He knew how to help his friend.
“Thomas, don’t do it.”
Thomas let out a long laugh and then levitated into the air. He hovered there for a few seconds and then pointed at Bill.
“Check out the girl.”
Thomas stopped levitating and the noose snapped his head off. It rolled over to Dexter’s feet and then turned into black ash. The black ash surrounded Dexter and then turned into a noose around his neck. It raised him up in the air and turned him around until he was facing Bill, who was mercilessly screwing Diane. Diane was screaming in pain, but no sound came out of her mouth. Bill licked her face with a forked tongue. Bill smiled at Dexter, who shut his eyes.
When he opened his eyes he was a circus elephant being corralled into a train car. His wife and Diane were standing in the way. His bossed and fellow wrestlers disregarded his wife and daughter and were poking Dexter with hot pokers to make him continue on into the train. Dexter fought it for as long as he could, but the pokers were hot and the wrestlers and bosses had forked tongues. Dexter began walking towards the train and with one step crushed his wife and daughter under his foot. All the wrestlers and bosses laughed sinisterly and Dexter entered the train car. They shut the door and all was dark. Although he couldn’t see it, Dexter knew his wife and daughter had turned into black ash and it was circling him, probing his body in the dark. He had crushed his wife and daughter for his job. He did it everyday.
Dexter woke up. Like most people, he didn’t remember his dream.