Wednesday, March 21, 2012

He Hoped She'd Come Around

First published at MudJob

I met Charlie at the first gator wrastlin' contest I promoted. Most of the female competitors looked like they ate airboats for lunch. Charlie was different. She had curves and all her teeth.

I watched her muscles strain against the tail-snappin' beast, saw the determination in her eyes, and fell in love. I chased her around Florida for a year before she agreed to be my wife. That was twenty years ago. We made quite a career together but age was catchin' up, and it was time for us to think about retirin' from the sport, especially Charlie. In the past two years, she lost a pinkie, suffered a dislocated hip, and ended up in the hospital for a week after comin' back too soon from a concussion.

I told her I was tired of the travelin', asked if she'd like to have a baby. Said I thought it would give us somethin' new to wrastle. Her eyes lit up like a volcano, and she stomped around the Winnebago and yelled so loud I thought she'd blow a wall down. I sneaked into the bathroom and waited for the floor to stop shakin'.

A few nights later, while we did the dinner dishes, I suggested we start a gator farm and sell admission. I told her she could still wrastle a gator now and then, as long as it was a small one. I was doin' okay until I got to the small part. She glared at me, picked up a fork with both hands, and bent it into a right angle. That's when I headed back to the bathroom.

Not knowin' what else to do, I spoke to Preacher Frank this mornin'. He's not a real preacher. He dresses like one, shouts preacher-like words, and then swallows fire and spits out the flames. That always gets lots of oohs and aahs and amens--and a few chuckles. He told me to be patient, that it took some people a long time to settle into the idea of retirin'. He also told me it might be a good idea if I didn't use the word baby again.

I can't say he helped much. Well, maybe the baby part. I love Charlie and want her to be happy. Hey, maybe I should take her to Disney World. She's never been there, and she might find a job that doesn't require wrastlin'.

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