A Wrestling Tale: Artie Sighed

“Todd, you gotta get up. I have company coming over.”

Marty wasn’t good friends with the main event wrestlers, and so when three of them walked right by him he wasn’t offended. They must have heard about Todd, they probably even felt a little bad, but not bad enough to offer a kind word to Marty. A condolence maybe.

“Todd, wake up man! You sleep like a goddamned bear.”

Marty laced up his boots. He couldn’t believe he was about to wrestle. The boss hadn’t said one word to him in the past few months but Marty figured this to be a special occasion. He thought that the boss would give him the weekend off at the very least, but no one from management had talked to him about the incident. Marty’s friends and some of the younger wrestlers couldn’t stop asking questions, but no one from management and no one “above” him seemed to give a crap. Marty briefly thought about just walking out.

“Todd, don’t make me drag you off my couch. You’re seriously starting to piss me off.”

But the thought passed. Marty was a professional wrestler in the biggest and grandest professional wrestling company in the world. He had fought for this. He had clawed for this. So had Todd. Todd just didn’t have the height that a professional wrestler should have. Todd sure had character though. Marty had to rank Todd in the top 10 all time gimmicks and characters. Todd was a tiny guy but he refused to sell himself as the underdog. He was the comic relief, a fun wrestler with a huge ego who had to run to escape the claims of his own words. He was original. Marty was not original. The only reason that Todd was fired while Marty retained his job was because Marty didn’t complain as much as Todd did.

“Todd, I’m going to call up your wife and tell her where you are. Todd! Your wife! You’re supposed to get all scared and come on Todd.”

He was up first. The show started in 10 minutes. Marty was working with one of the new guys management was high on, Brian Something Spanish. Martinez? Marty didn’t particularly care. He’d carry the kid and do the job. Maybe he’d work in a bulldog as a tribute to Todd. Why bother? The fans wouldn’t care except for the few of them that read the Internet sheets. Even those guys probably forgot the bulldog. It had been so long since Todd had been able to get a win with the bulldog. After his initial gimmick which worked so well management had no idea what to do with Todd. Same thing with Marty. One big gimmick and then shuffled back to oblivion. Marty would just do the match straight. He wouldn’t be able to take it if he did the tribute with the bulldog and the fans didn’t react.

“This isn’t funny, Todd. Wake up. Todd?”

Brian walked up to Marty and introduced himself again. Brian then thanked Marty for doing him the honor of blah blah. The kid was big, polite and from what Marty had seen Brian sucked in the ring. He’d go far in the company. Marty told Brian to not be afraid to call a spot but to try to lay off Marty’s right ankle. Brian nodded his head way too much, like he was agreeing with everything Marty was saying without listening. Marty silently sighed. Brian was going out first and started to head towards the entrance way when he stopped and clenched his fists like he had forgotten something. He ran back to Marty and said he was really sorry about Todd. Marty sincerely thanked him and Brian nodded his head and left.

“TODD!”

It was a funny position Marty was currently in. He wasn’t Todd’s brother or cousin or any kind of relative. He was one of Todd’s very good friends in the business but he hesitated to call Todd his best friend. People felt like they had to say something since it had happened in Marty’s house but after that they didn’t know what to say. After all of his friends had expressed their condolences they hadn’t spoken to Marty again. Even now, walking towards the entrance way, all he got from people he was close with were understanding nods of the head and looks of empathy. People were nodding their heads way, way too much. What the hell were they saying? ‘Yes, I know.’ What did they know? Had they found their friend dead on their couch after just a normal night of hanging out?

“TODD! OH GOD! HELP! I NEED HELP! Todd, come on man, you gotta listen to me. You need to hear my voice. Listen to my voice Todd. Todd, I’m going to call an ambulance. Okay? You shouldn’t be so cold Todd. Todd? TODD! OH GOD! YOU’RE DEAD! YOU’RE I’m going to call an ambulance Todd. They’ll you’re dead. You’re too young to be dead. Maybe I’m going to call an ambulance.”

Marty walked out to the sounds of his music and the slight sound of boos. He looked for a Todd sign. Nothing. He looked for he had no idea what he was looking for. It amazed him how he was doing all of his moves on the way to the ring. The cocky smile. Stopping at the end of the ramp and staring with fear at the face in the ring. Rolling under the bottom rope and attacking when the face turned his back on him. Todd had no children. He was about to get divorced. There would be no tribute show as there would be no one to benefit from it. So routine. So everyday. This was not a routine week. This was far from a routine week.

“Yes, I need an ambulance. It’s my friend. No, I think he’s dead. I don’t know. He fell asleep on my couch and now he’s dead. He’s cold. No. We had some beer last night, but he didn’t do any hard drugs in his life I don’t think. Um, well, he’s a professional wrestler. What? Yeah, it’s fake but it’s real and we get hurt and he got hurt and HE’S DEAD! 17 Mapleway Dr. No, it’s a house. No, he he was a small guy! Steroids? Stop being such a I NEED HELP! PLEASE!”

Marty put Brian in a headlock, thought about it for a second and hit a bulldog. No reaction from the crowd. Marty knew it, but it didn’t faze him as Marty thought it would. He went for a cover, got a two count and then Brian kicked out. Marty picked Brian up by the hair and Brian called a spot. It was an awful spot that went totally against the flow of the match but Marty did it anyway. He slapped Brian in the face and Brian got all angry and punched Marty. Three people cheered. Marty counted them as he lied on the ground. Three people gave a damn. The rest of the match was Brian hitting power move after power move on Marty so Marty bumped the best he could until Brian grabbed him by his right ankle and spun around and flung Marty. Marty briefly grabbed his ankle in pain.

“Todd, they’re on the way. Just you’re dead. I should do CPR. No. You’re cold. CPR won’t you were very homophobic. I don’t think you would want me kissing your dead corpse. I’m not thinking I don’t TODD! I’ll get you some water. Let me just go to CRAP! You left your shoes in the middle of the room Todd! I tripped my ankle Todd. Ow. Todd, you can’t be dead. This happens to other guys Todd. This doesn’t happen to us. I’m talking to management, I mean, I’m trying to. I’ll get you your job back. You were golden, man. Remember when you were golden? You don’t be dead and I’ll get you your you’re dead.”

Brian didn’t even have an apologetic look on his face as he picked up Marty and powerbombed him. 1. 2. 3. Marty was still for a few seconds and then rolled out of the ring and made his way gingerly towards the back as Brian Ricardo posed in the ring to a few cheers but a lot of scattered boos. It didn’t matter. The kid would catch on and be a star for a bit. Most big men are. Very few little men get that. Todd was special. Brian Ricardo was crap.

“You’re dead. I am so sorry.”

Marty limped past the boss and the head writer. The head writer noticed Marty and whispered to the boss, “How about Marty? He doesn’t do anything.” The boss whispered back to the writer, “Todd Allensworth died on his couch two days ago and that guy didn’t even ask for the weekend off. You see his eyes? He’s in mourning and isn’t complaining a damn bit. Marty is not someone we fire. I sincerely hope that a guy like that is someone we never fire.” Three days ago, the boss would’ve fired Marty and not thought twice.

“I am so sorry.”

Marty went to the dressing room and unlaced his boots. Brian came in and thanked Marty for doing him the honor of blah blah blah. Marty considered screaming at Brian for hurting his ankle but instead just congratulated Brian on a great match. Marty put on a towel and took a quick shower. He then got dressed and exchanged understanding nods with about fifteen wrestlers who did not understand. Then the champ walked up to Marty. Marty was not friends with the champ but the champ had been an acquaintance of Todd. Todd had been upper-card when the champ first joined up and Todd had given the champ his first big victory. The champ told Marty he was sorry to hear about Todd’s passing and asked Marty if he needed anything. Marty thanked the champ but said no. He walked towards the wrestler’s exit.

“I promise you I’ll I am so sorry.”

The boss was standing at the exit waiting for Marty. The boss said he was sorry and asked if Marty needed anything, any time off. Marty thanked the boss but said he was fine. As he walked past the boss and into the parking lot Marty heard the boss say, “Hey!” Marty turned to the boss who had a look of admiration on his face. The boss said to him, “Way to show up, Artie.”

Marty stopped, sighed, and left the arena.

This is dedicated to Stephen Richards.

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Just a few quick links. Hanukah was sort of cancelled for my family this year due to an emergency. I’d like to give my brothers and my mom and dad a pretty nice surprise when everything goes back to normal and they realize that we missed the holiday season. Just some gifts to surprise them. Nothing too special. My Amazon wish list is here. Thanks. My Black Diary! Killer moose, Godism, my living diary and Jack and the prostitute fill my weeks with adventure! Check that out too.