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  1. #1

    The Bloody Bastards of South Eastern Wrestling: Sizing Up the Challenge

    My Note

    Here’s the beginning of something I’ve been working on in my spare time. The story is about a wrestling fan whose life is in peril, while he finds escapism in an old school style wrestling promotion called South Eastern Wrestling. It’s a story of how wrestling often imitates real life. All the wrestling characters are inspired by true wrestlers, some only loosely, some much more. Maybe, you’ll be able to guess who their inspirations are.

    The Bloody Bastards of South Eastern Wrestling.

    Sizing Up the Challenge

    As they stood by the ring apron, the announcer wore a blue suit jacket and tie, and the wrestler wore white trunks and an oiled, brown body and face. “There’s few men your size speaking so eloquently, KENYA.” Ned Boon said, lifting the microphone above his balding head to the African American’s dark and clean countenance.

    They spelled his name in caps—KENYA— promoters billed him at six-feet-six and two-eighty, and if they embellished that, then they embellished all the wrestlers whom he gripped into his mercy and yanked, like they had wheels for feet, into his headbutts. “Well, size is the least aspect a wrassler will respect,” KENYA replied, “whether it be a sizable problem, opponent, adversary, or alliance, it has no authority over hands and feet willing to climb up to it and look into the eyes of it. Now, I don’t suppose in our sport, we can be too friendly to one another, for we war—”

    In mid-sentence, I admired the southern draw in the word “war” from the athlete from Little Rock, Arkansas. “Waer,” he pronounced it. His deep, slow way of speaking combined with his intelligence animated the words he gave us.

    “We war with each other,” KENYA said. “But it’s the war inside us that we will measure and respect long after the physical war, itself, ends. I suppose a man like Cecil has tackled, has lifted, has dropped a many man my size. Cecil won’t fear my height or my weight; men like him challenge themselves to be nastier and to exert even more strength when they grapple with men as externally as intimidating as I. But, Cecil, in that Rolls Royce Rosemond Cup, it’s going to be the war inside me that overcomes all the turmoil inside you!”

    I ended the video, when I tossed my Samsung phone to the empty passenger seat and watched it slide to the foot, because I caught a cop patrolling. As I continued many miles down I-75 South, the only thing left to entertain was the friction that made red meat out my insides (the friction that drove me, despite that my car may blow up). I turned the radio up to drown it out, but the friction raised the dial to its own volume…

    “You don’t work; you don’t eat!” she replied on our front porch when I begged her to let me do her the “favors” in bed, in order to come in. “All you ever do is drink beer and watch wrestling. You’re not trying!” She’d call my Jack Daniels beer, but with Chica’s temper, which stood two feet taller than her and a foot taller than me, should she minimize this—Put it simple, I’d allow her to call it the beverage with the lesser alcohol content, every time.

    “I kept telling you that you have a daughter; but that if you kept on, you wouldn’t anymore.” She said, while the rain dripped down the windshields of my Buick which awaited me just feet down our small driveway. And did my arms feel empty of a daughter. When I last held Amelia, she weighed sixteen pounds, and the weight of sixteen pounds echoed against my arms, every day since. She smiled smiles with dimples that I didn’t deserve. For it been weeks since I bought her milk before Chica said adios. Those smiles and her sixteen pounds slid from my cuddle like sand and weighed heavy in my memory like bricks.

    “Next time Amelia sees you she won’t call you dad; she’ll call you Lawrence.” She said.

    Her last name is Judge. Are you going to change that, too?” I said.

    “Yes.” She said.

    Bricks…Cecil…Cement…anything but this...

    They christened Cecil “the Cement Block Bastard.” His three-hundred-pound wide frame appeared as sizable as his five-foot-seven height. Without having a phone to see it, I imagined his latest promo. On a sunny day, in the shade emitted by the two buildings in which they stood between, Ned appeared puzzled next to Cecil, who wore a tank top and jeans. Cecil’s black tank spit out arms and a neck as heavy as iron. His neck made a short travel to a hairy beard and pale skin, without evidence of a red cell pumping beneath it. Although his strength carried fat and didn’t parade a pretty thing about it, he didn’t mind. For he built his muscle to throw humans into walls.

    Ned said, “why, Cecil, when we agreed to do this interview you said you would take us to your home, where you grew to be so big and so bad. This isn’t Cardiff, Wales. Why, this is the alley right outside of our Sportatorium, here in Tampa!

    “You’ve seen one alley, you’ve seen all the alleys,” Cecil said, taking a cold breath between syllables and stretching out the vowel sounds. “As a lad, my mam sent me to scrap in the alleys for food. That’s as much of Cardiff as I ever experienced.” He tapped the r in the word scrap. “Scrlap,” he had said, keeping a serious tone with slow words and routine breaths. “Blokes paid to watch me break bones against the brick walls and pavement. One promotor out of the UK, whose name I will not give you, founded me there—found me breaking men.”

    “But, Cecil, I have to ask… Of all the athletes here in South Eastern Wrestling, who will be dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s for the Rolls Royce Rosemond Cup tournament, what makes you the man who’s going to win?” Ned rebutted.

    Cecil sighed and continued, “this tournament offers five hundred thousand dollars and a Rolls Royce. If I’d break bones just for lunch, imagine what I’d do for that kind of money. I’ve not seen a payday like that in my life. I’m going to do what I will to Marquis Kenya in order to advance.”

    “There you go,” Ned said, “Strong threats sent to KENYA and the other participants in this Rolls Royce Rosemond Cup.”

    That’s a promo I kept in my crawl: Cecilis’ breaths, Ned’s send off, the number to order tickets at the bottom of the screen. They gave Cecil the moniker “Cement Block Bastard” not just for his built but his unforgiveness. Cecil’s father fell in love with another pure welsh girl, while his mother carried the boy in her stomach. With another boy already by a third woman, whom Cecil’s dad previously dated before his mother, he agreed to not partake in the child’s life, to stay away from the expense. Behind Cecil’s dad’s back, the grandmother would see the child. After all, to see what their blood brought was only human nature, but without much welcome from Cecil’s mom and with verbal lashings from the father when he found out, those visits became fewer.

    It’s said that Cecil’s father tried coming about when the big man grew. He wanted to introduce himself, but Cecil warned him if he did, he’d beat the fuck out of him for free. Some doubt the veracity of that claim and wonder if it’s the big man’s way of talking about something so painful. Either way, Cecil never forgave his father, never stopped being the bastard. He grew up dangerous and was just as dangerous now.

    As I looked in the rearview mirror to switch lanes, I thought of what it meant to get away. I’d gotten away years ago, leaving my childhood behind, and I got away now. For me it meant putting hundreds of miles between myself and those I left. Yet, doing such, no matter the miles between, begins the world one goes to and the one they left without them in it. For Cecil’s father, he left behind a boy and mom in poverty and the boy to become violent for the mom to eat. However, the mom would rather do that than ask the father to feed them. After all, the father went away...

    I drove two days, hearing my Buick rev up to speeds a twelve-year old car shouldn’t. With the check engine light on, I envisioned myself setting the road on fire, but the faithful car kept surviving. I stopped at a cheap hotel to charge my phone. Hence, by 11:00 PM the next night, my Samsung’s GPS led me to the Pine Trees and the trailer where Chica sent me, a place which belonged to her dad’s sister Maria’s in Lake Worth, Florida and a place which was only a two-hour drive from the Sportatorium in Miami, the home base of South Eastern Wrestling.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 08-05-2019 at 01:34 AM.

  2. #2
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Damn shame this didn't get any attention! I think you've got the beginnings of something very interesting here, Benny. I can envision KENYA and Cecil perfectly, and feel that missing 16 pounds of weight...

  3. #3
    HUGE Member TheLAW's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Abso-fuckin-lutely need more of this! Hooked me right from the jump.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    Damn shame this didn't get any attention! I think you've got the beginnings of something very interesting here, Benny. I can envision KENYA and Cecil perfectly, and feel that missing 16 pounds of weight...
    Thanks a lot, my friend. I'm carefully crafting this one as the goal is to show the escapism provided by the larger than life wrestlers, while also showing how one can find things that ring true to life in the details of the stories they tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLAW View Post
    Abso-fuckin-lutely need more of this! Hooked me right from the jump.

    Thanks a bunch, man. Ironically, when I was thinking of posting this, I recalled your Lenny Wildside columns as a sort of precedent. Good to see you about, again!
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 08-20-2019 at 04:07 AM.

  5. #5
    Chapter 2

    Smashed into Pieces

    That trailer always smelt like water boiling in the pot, with my somewhat ex-wife’s Aunt Maria making coffee or tamales or hard-boiled huevos. Maria being Guatemalan and only speaking Spanish and mam, an old Mayan dialect, she and I communicated in the universal language of bullshit smiling. While they say it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown, when you’re dependent on someone you work out your jaws each day from shoveling the shit with your grin.

    And my jaw couldn’t have ached more than on a good 90-degree July day when guests filled all areas such as the sofa with me, all the extra steel chairs along the wall, and the wooden ones at the kitchen table, sucking any air condition right out. The humidity didn’t stop their good time when out of a small jar, Aunt Maria handed me what, at first glance, looked like chocolate covered raisins. After their crispy feel introduced itself to my fingertips, my detailed inspection revealed that these chocolates exhibited wings and antennas! I shook my head “no”, but the company egged me on, ensuring the dessert to be “mucho beuno.” Two times against their pressuring, I expressed gratitude but unwillingness to go there with them. So, they asked a third time. Then, I locked my smile, while my chin quivered for seconds that felt like minutes. Finally, the heavy-set Aunt Maria let out a laugh, showing her gaping hole from where people who practice dental hygiene sport two front teeth. The entire group laughed with her. They foreknew the gringo wouldn’t crunch on dead flies!

    I smiled against my resentment, knowing these Guatemalans not to be ill-willed. Still, I resented being thirty-seven years old and having no control of my life. More of the nineteen million, four hundred forty-seven thousand, two hundred plus minutes of my lifespan had been made less of than more of. I couldn’t fathom myself showing the aesthetic defects of aging with poor self-keep as Aunt Maria did, but a look in the mirror would reflect that my stomach looked like a basketball and my glasses and beard gave me irrelevant middle age uncle looks. Though I groomed myself not, my beard made its presence known by itching my neck, my glasses by sweating my nose, and my stomach by blocking any view of my unused manhood.

    The only opportunity for joy came through escapism, and even this, I worked around Aunt Maria’s schedule. I purchased, with my disposable money, something I felt necessary to attain any solace, a Roku Stick. I waited until Sunday morning for Maria to go to church and hooked it in her LG’s HDMI port. Here, I must confess shame at what I viewed on an innocent woman’s sofa. For her primal urges transmitted not indecent signals into the air. Mine did. Yet, I sat in her trailer, surrounded by the mango trees on the eight hundred dollar a month lot she rented, and in front of her 32-inch LG TV, viewing not just wrestling but southern wrasslin…

    With the rise in popularity from independent wrestling that’d been ongoing since 2014, the Independent Wrestling Network presented the re-emergence of South Eastern Wrestling, a territory which felt prominence in the 60s, 70s and early 80s with tens of thousands in stadiums, thirsting for the blood of bad guys to be spilt and for the justice of good guys claimed. In the late 1980s and 1990s, two organizations’ national rise saw the end of the territories. South Eastern Championship Wrestling folded along many others in its time. Over the 1990s and early 2000s, legacies like the five-time regional champion’s, the six feet- seven inches tall “Town Hero Marshall Law,” were submerged much the way Miami itself will one day be by rising sea levels.

    However, a rescue squad showed up for the fans of the non-big leagues when the independent wrestling show “All In,” last year, sold out over 10,000 seats and when Ring of Honor and New Japan, earlier this year, headlined Madison Square Garden. Wrestling, like all things with a history, have those who long to go back. With independent wrestling rising from the sea again, there was enough money to be gained from traditionalists, like myself, that the Independent Wrestling Network offered up a revived territory-themed show, from the Sportatorium in Tampa, with the recognizable name of “South Eastern Championship Wrestling.” They promised the vim, vigor, and hard hits from the 70s and 80s to be felt, once more.

    The Network couldn’t load fast enough. I had less ass off the quilted couch cover than I had on, wondering how the territory would look and, more importantly, how it’d feel. Thus far, it’d only aired promos from KENYA and Cecil.

    Alas, the TV loaded, and in the Sportatorium parking lot, next to a white 2019 Rolls Royce Phantom, Ned Boon spoke underneath his frown marks and over a microphone and blue suit jacket, “Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re looking at the Rolls Royce, in which eight of the toughest athletes out there will be competing for. Only one man will win this and the five-hundred-thousand-dollar prize!

    Here, I have with me the man who won the South Eastern Regional Title, going into this inaugural episode, “Crazed F. Kruller. Crazed F. Kruller, ladies and gentlemen.”

    Hearing Ned say that name stopped me. Via the internet, us fans know the backstories of wrestlers; therefore, his story, alone, saddened me. Seeing many farmers suffer how they do with the tariffs going on and knowing Kruller’s dad, a man who in order to not disturb the soil employed no till methods, took his own life. A man, whose hope depended on the forces of nature outside his control and whose moods swung with the seasons, had one swing too far towards the heat that dried up his crops. The man after many fights over money with his wife, the man after watching his black sheep son, Frank Kruller Jr., drop out of high school, get arrested, get married young, leave home, and grow up in a life more hopeless than the farm, that of a wrestling career—Kruller Sr. was found hanging in the shed, next to his favorite hog, Wally. Innocent Wally wanted for nothing; because to Frank Sr., the hog could do no wrong.

    Crazed F. Kruller, with a cowboy hat and branding iron, carried the red strap and the rugged, regional metal that centered it, underneath his opened cowboy vest. With his face clean but enough lines to show his age to be in its mid-thirties and his hair just dark enough to be brown but without a streak lighter, he emerged into the camera's view. His six feet-one-inch tall, wide farmer’s strength neither complained of fat nor boasted of too much cut and chisel. His gold-plated Title hovered over blood red trunks and his mismatch striped, white socks over his blood red boots.

    A young lady brought out a small podium and, on top of it, placed a 38-inch carboard box in front of Boone and Kruller. “First off” Boone said, “me, our promotor Rod Rosemond, and the fans would like to wish our condolences to you for the loss of your father. On the behalf of South Eastern Championship Wrestling, we’ve printed out emails that our fans wanted us to share with you during your difficult loss.”

    “What the fuck business is it of you people!” Kruller said, lifting his gruff voice and his branding iron. An uneasiness seemed to cool my palms, even in the hot weather. He, then, smashed the box with his rod, knocking over the table and the cardboard.

    He went on, shouting, “My deddy, Frank Sr.—he was big enough to wrestle down hawgs but gentle enough to never hurt them! He wouldn’t want this hoo-hah you’ve put together here. Wouldn’t even want to disturb the soil, no more than he had to, for his carcass to lay in it. But that aint none of your fuckin’ business, is it? And you know what—I aint him, god damn you! I came here to plow your fuckin’ land of South Eastern wrestling, and I’m angry! Whoever wrestles me, I’m going to take it out on them!”

    “Well, you have Handy Webber in the first round of the Rolls Royce Rosemond Cup coming next Saturday,” Ned replied. “He’s a legend here in Florida! He started his career teaming with Marshall Law! Matter of fact, he’s been winning titles here for nearly thirty years!"

    “And I’m going to break his leg!”

    The fans booed him, as I sat in awe that a man, fresh from his father's death, wanted badly to be hated and, even worse, actualized it. They call it “heel heat.” The bad guy or "heel" desires to get booed, but, most times, if a tragedy happens in a wrestler’s life, there’s a break between that and getting heat. Crazed F. Kruller may as well scorch himself with his branding iron for the heat he attained.

    Appearing as surprised me, Ned shook his head. He said,” you’re talking about taking a man’s livelihood, F. Kruller! Why?”

    “Because five hundred thousand— that’s life changing Benjamin Franklins... Deddy coulda used some of that. He turned his pain from the camera to a sideways angle and looked the announcer in the eye for the first time and said, “you know, I talked to the guy who runs the NSP, the other day. You know what that is, the NSP, I mean?"

    Ned looked back and said, “Yeah, that’s the National Suicide Prevention group. Why are you calling them up?”

    Crazed F. Kruller’s voice, which had taken a really soft, curious tone for just a minute, lifted again in a wild rasp, “Why are you asking questions if you know all the answers? Well, I called them and told them if I win this five-hundred-thousand—if I win it, I’m not going to give them a plum nickel, because they didn’t do a plum thing to save deddy.”

    “Again, we’re sorry for your loss, but you didn’t have to destroy all those letters, and you can’t just go out there and maim all your opponents.” Ned rebutted.

    Kruller kicked the beaten box and cried, “the fuck, I can’t, and, fuck it, I will!”

    With Aunt Maria’s car rolling up in the driveway much earlier than expected, I raced to the TV and ripped the wire from the port. As I put it in my pocket, I knew two things: one, with wrestling on the network, we’d see something realer and grittier than what old school wrestling was allowed to do on the TV, and two, after one has their life smashed up like that box of letters, somewhere with the home crushing breakage of relationships with their wife and child and somewhere with the political soul searing events that took their career, the very opportunity to escape is, also, in that beat up box. I’d have to come back to it after Kruller left with his hot iron, and try to, at least, piece my escapism together.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 09-03-2019 at 06:38 AM.
    See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom.

  6. #6
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    God, I love your imagination! More please.

    Do you know of a wrestler going by the name Mance Warner? I'm actually not too familiar with him myself but if we're talking southern revival types in the modern day, I hear he's the man to talk to!

  7. #7
    I do know Mancer...pretty good, wild character. Will need to see more on.him to make more judgements...gotta doc him a couple points for wearing jeans to the ring, though. Just a pet peave of mine because Im an old man.

    Thanks again for the read!
    See the latest of my Ric Flair saga click here. View my story inspired by colorful wrestlers I've come across in my fandom.

  8. #8
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    It's true, you should only wear jeans to the ring if you're in a street fight! And then be sure to strap kneepads over the denim for full effect!

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