The Ghost Of Gimmick Fall by John Patrick Robbins

John Robb new

The Ghost Of Gimmick Falls

The damn air conditioner was on it’s last leg and a thousand some dollar television camera, was yet again on the fritz.

And with Saturday’s television taping approaching, most bookers would be pulling their hair out.

Freddy Carson, was far from most bookers of a professional wrestling territory, as you could get.

Half mad genius and a hundred percent bullshit artist, he had one of the best minds in the business.

As he sat in the offices that stood over top the television studio. Where sunshine state pro wrestling was filmed going over bookings and numbers. It was just another day at the office for the semi retired wrestler.

“Jesus Christ  Skip! It’s bad enough you can roast chickens in here without you cutting those stinking ass farts of yours!”

“Hey you’re the one that ordered the take out from that greasy spoon, so don’t blame me pal.”

“Hell I don’t recall you eating a damn thing, unless you count a bottle of Johnny Walker you prick.”

Freddy said, as he shot back to his best friend and the man whose voice was synonymous with S.S.P.W. television.

It was just then there was a knock at the door, as one of the production crew let Freddy know a young guy was looking for him, downstairs by the ring.

It wasn’t unusual for young kids to stumble in off the street, it was usually all the same old bullshit.

Either they had a belly full of beer and wanted a fight, or they were some amped up jock wanting to chase what they believed was their dream.

What stood before Freddy was the latter of that equation.

A bleach blonde giant, who looked to be six foot six and ripped like he was born with a barbell

In his hands.

“Mr Carson?”

“That’s what they call me kid, how can I help you?”

“Sir I want to be like you, I mean I want to be a wrestler.”

And with that Freddy like a robot went into the spiel.

The kid was a mark as they called them and even though he looked chiselled from granite.

Upstairs he was still green as a glade of grass.

The kid was persistent and he kept just begging for a chance.

But just like Freddy himself understood, when it came to this business just because you knocked at the door didn’t mean anyone had to let you in.

It was a life few understood and most never truly wanted.

But as they kept talking the television crew started to pay more and more attention.

They were eager for entertainment. It was a side to the business that was a harsh reality.

“Please Mr Carson, I just want a chance!”

Freddy knew there was no talking the kid out of it so he just told him to get in the ring.

And as he stopped before leaving the studio to go smoke a cigarette, he whispered to Shooter Stevens who simply looked at him deadpan as always and replied.

“Alright Boss.”

Freddy enjoyed watching the loudmouths get stretched, hell when he had a snoot full he was known to still get in there and do it himself from time to time.

And as the crew started taking bets and one even bothered to film the damn thing.

Freddy was already out the door and behind the building when he noticed the guy hunched down near the dumpsters.

“Fred!”

The dishevelled brute called out, as he struggled to pull himself to his feet in vain as he fell on his ass.

“Hell Doc, don’t hurt yourself let me come to you.”

Freddy said as he sat down next to his old tag team partner as he tried to ignore the stink.

Doc had shown him the ropes and together they had drawn big money in New York.

They were one of the best heel teams so they say.

Freddy had made a real name for himself and Doc had fallen from grace so to speak.

“Hell chief, how long have you been out here?”

“Long enough to catch a buzz you old bastard hell I’ve missed hanging with you!”

“Yeah we had some damn good times, I see rehab went well.”

Doc busted up laughing and launched into another coughing spell, which had Freddy worried his old friend was going to drop dead right there.

Which although he had respect for the man. He damn sure didn’t want to have to be giving C.P.R. to someone. Who smelled like they drank Kentucky dry of it’s bourbon and maybe chewed on dead dog’s ass somewhere in between.

Finally his friend caught his breath.

The two friends spoke for a while talking about old road stories and ring rats.

All the highs and lows and that shit that goes somewhere in between.

Doc stared off into the distance.

“Sometimes I wonder why I’m still alive man, I used to be something, kids asked me for my autograph now people act like they don’t even see me.”

Tears began to flow from Doc’s eyes as Freddy just put his arm around his shoulder.

The business was a cruel bastard to some and a dream come true for the rare few.

Freddy stayed with his friend as long as he could but time was money even Doc understood that.

“Hell Doc, I got to split man but I almost forgot hell you lent me some money when we were out in Kansas running the loop figured it’s about time I paid up.”

Freddy handed him what he had in his wallet and told his friend to swing by the motel, just down the street where they would have room for him.

And with that Freddy was halfway back to the entrance of the studio.

When he noticed that kid being supported by two of the crew members.

Apparently old Shooter, had broken his leg or at least he thought so.

Freddy told the crew to take him to the emergency room and get it looked at.

He also told him if he still wanted this, to come back if he really wanted to train.

He prayed he would never see that kid again but he knew he most likely would.

The business treated wrestlers like the diving horses down at the local state fairs.

Soon as a horse broke its leg, they just shot it in the head and found another.

Freddy was one of the fortunate ones unlike his old friend Doc.

The kid had a broken leg but that was no match for a man with a broken soul.

Doc was a sad reflection of what he himself could have easily been.

The show went on and so did Freddy Carson.

Avoid that rear-view at all costs for its truths can easily haunt you to the grave.

 

John Patrick Robbins, is the editor of the Rye Whiskey Review and Under The Bleachers. His work has appeared here at Punk Noir Magazine,  Piker Press, The San Antonio Review,  San Pedro River Review,  Heroin Love Songs, Romingos Porch,  Sacred Chickens,  Oddball Magazine, The Blue Nib, The Dope Fiend Daily. 
His work is always unfiltered