-What? No, Mickey didn't get murdered until later. See, two events surrounding Mickey's life - and death I suppose - changed Darryl's wrestling career forever. The first and possibly the most important was the plane trip. Now, Darryl, Mickey and Von Hess are touring the South, with Mickey and Darryl as a salt and pepper tag team and Von Hess as their "father" and manager. Dividing the audience wherever they go. Now Von Hess doesn't do every show, the team is mostly wrestling as faces even if to some fans they are the spawns of Satan. Von Hess usually does a show and then skips ahead to the next big city and waits for them while they do the smaller cities in between. Mostly they take buses, but after one show in some backwoods town in Tennessee, the boys decide to splurge and hire a plane since the town has a guy with a charter airplane. Only problem is, he absolutely won't take Darryl for love or money. Mickey is going to take a pass on the plane, but Darryl talks him out of it, and Darryl takes the bus with the rest of the crew who are either too broke or too tired or too scared to take the plane. They pull into Nashville hours and hours later and Von Hess is waiting to break the bad news - the plane has crashed - the pilot and three wrestlers are dead - Mickey is in the hospital - his back is fucked up, and the doctors are saying that he may never walk again let alone wrestle.
In a funny sort of way, you could say that that racist good ole boy may have saved Darryl's life. Anyway, besides the three men who die: Sean Swift, and the two Bouchard brothers Pierre and Marc, who use a French Canadian lumber-jack gimmick even though they aren't brothers, lumber-jacks, French or even Canadians because they are actually next-door neighbours from Minnesota, anyway the other casualties are Mickey's back and Jay War Cloud's leg and Bruno the Grizzly's sobriety and Darryl's career...
Or at least his career as a technical wrestler, because promoters in the South were only putting up with that shit because they were buying the whole package, but without Mickey, they don't need or want Darryl anymore or even Von Hess for that matter. Not that big a deal for Von Hess, he was looking to retire anyway, plus Von Hess is supervising Mickey's rehabilitation, but for Darryl just starting out this is a disaster. And it's not like he can complain about it either. I mean his best friend is sitting in the hospital with a broken back, three guys he liked are dead, plus one ass hole racist pilot who he's not so upset about, but Darryl has this religious gospel background, so now he's feeling guilty about not being upset about the pilot being dead, and then he feels guilty about wallowing in self-pity while his friends are dead and hurt. So, I suppose it makes sense that Darryl took the course he did, even if self-flagellation was never a big thing in Gospel churches.
Since no one will book him anymore as a technical wrestler, Darryl decides to go the other route and reinvent himself as a mean, hard-case, bad-ass mother-fucker. More importantly, he becomes a hardcore brawler. Now hardcore then didn't mean quite what it means today, I mean no one was hitting each other with chain saws or electric lawn mowers or fucking live piranha or shit like that, but leather straps, chains, cages, brass knuckles was all in use. Old school shit. Darryl also started eating, again I'm guessing guilt, and pretty soon instead of being athletic and cut at two sixty five, Darryl is a fucking monster at three thirty and with Von Hess' help he starts going on a rampage, just victimizing people. And here is where the old territory system was a benefit. Darryl would blow into a territory like Oklahoma, and the first night he would take one of the mid-card good guys and just destroy him. Then he would work his way through the rest of the roster until only the one good guy was left and the two would start taking each other apart gradually escalating the violence until the good guy would finally beat Darryl in a cage match. After that, Darryl would pack his things and move to the next territory and the whole process would start again, and since Darryl's matches at a certain point in his run in a territory tended to turn into a bloody mess, he became a big favourite of the colour mags again who would follow him around to get some red into their magazines. To the point, where people would get excited when they knew he was coming to their territory because Darryl's cutting a bloody swath across the country.
-How is this self-flagellating?
-Well, think about it. Here is this educated, cultured black man with a university degree and skills and he turns himself into a monster. He turns himself into the white man’s nightmare, this unstoppable crazed wild beast with no respect for anything or anyone. Everything that the racists feared, he became. I guess, the fact that his life was saved by a racist being a dirt-bag made something snap in Darryl, I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t psychoanalyze someone who attacks people with forks.
Also, as a monster, Darryl’s not using those technical moves that he’s spent half of his life learning. A few throws sure, but mostly he’s just punching and kicking people and battering them around and biting them the odd time. It’s like a mockery of his entire amateur career, as though all the tournaments, all the training just never happened.
The other issue is that life as a monster heel is hard. Now, me, I’m your snake in the grass, ambushing ass hole. I blind side people and then do my rat bastard best to never get caught. If you can’t win, cheat, if you can’t cheat, run. But a monster heel like Darryl, they’re like a freight train that comes barreling down the track and you have three choices: Get the hell out of the way, get crushed or stop the train. Now that’s hard on the people getting hit, but it’s just as hard on the train. Plus on a three to six month tour per territory, Darryl is doing strap matches and chain matches and a cage match in every territory. I mean, he’s doing more cage matches in a year than some guys do in a career.
And the way the psychology works for these kinds of showdowns is that at some point Darryl is going to bleed, because the whole point of the monster is that he is unbeateable until the day that the hero convinces the monster that he can actually lose, that he is vulnerable. And the symbolic way for that to happen is for the monster to taste his own blood. So, Darryl has to bleed at least once per territory. Which is why his forehead has those grooves in them. I usually joke with him that by this point, I can make his forehead bleed just by breathing heavy on him.
This is where Darryl starts picking up all those other names, like the Hammer, King Cage, King of the Cage. He always had a great rant about the cage.
“My name is Cage and the cage is my home, the cage is where I live, the cage is where I belong. And your precious champion, Billy Bravo wants to step into my world. Well, Billy I see you handing out those autographed Polaroids to all the girls. I hope you kept one of those pictures. Cause you’re going to need it to remember what you looked like when you were pretty! And your doctors are going to need it to put your face back together when I smash it like a jigsaw against this cage. You’d better stop thinking about winning or losing Billy, you’d better start thinking about living or dying.”
The irony of course, is that Darryl has never actually won a cage match. Which makes sense, I mean a three hundred pound plus man finds it hard to climb out one of those things. I mean Darryl would do some crazy shit like climbing up half-way and then jumping on the poor bastard he was facing. But Darryl would never actually win the match, it was how the hero got his win before Darryl went to the next territory. Of course, Darryl would never actually get pinned either, the good guy always went over the top. So, Darryl started claiming that he had never been beaten in a cage match. Inevitably, in whatever territory he was in, the visibly terrified back-stage interviewer slash victim would contradict Darryl, “But Mr. Cage, Billy Bravo beat you in a cage match three months ago.” “He didn’t beat me, he ESCAPED me. There’s a difference.”
So, even when he loses, Darryl is winning, and as he makes the tour of the territories, until almost inevitably, Darryl pulls into St-Louis...
I like feedback. I like pieman! I feel a great deal of love for the room.
Originally posted by piemanLlakor, you are extremely prolific.!
Yeah, well astonishingly, there are people in Montreal who have FINISHED their novels and are debating starting a second. Hatred rising. On the plus side, this is an exhibition not a competition, please no wagering.
Originally posted by piemanHow many hours have you been at this so far? It is quite impressive. Keep it up!
I'm averaging about two hours a day (just under to be honest.) I'm about three hundred words away from cracking 25, 000 words which is half-way, which is good news. The bad news is that we are the 16th today, so I am behind quota.
I think that according to nanowrimo standards, I would be considered a "turtle" a slow and steady wins the race writer. My general goal is to write a chapter every day before going to bed. (Sleeping is my reward.)
The local chapter of nanowrimo gave me a sticker (which I can't find dang it) which says "I'll sleep in December." Feeling very appropriate right now.
My sister in Halifax has said that she might do illustrations if I finish and decide to self-publish.
Just wanted to say that I like the reposting of older columns on slash. I liked this column a lot. Many people have tried to come up with formulas to analyze a guy’s workrate. Most have given up. I am also a numbers guy.