Today is going to be a good day.
I have it set and so it is as I rise from my bed. I love my bed. It’s so cozy and nice. But if I don’t wake up, nothing gets done around here. But first, I have to stretch. Stretching is important. They say so. So that’s what I do. Nice big stretch, nice big yawn. Body, wake up! It’s almost time for the day to start and I have to wake them up so that can happen. My feets go clicky-clack against the dark wood. I’m walking. I don’t mind walking, but I’d rather zoom. Zooming is much more fun. So that’s what I do.
I zoom past an empty room and skid into a full room.
In the full room, there is another bed. It’s taller than mine and it’s shaped like a birb. How would I know? Simple! I know it’s shaped like a birb because I’ve seen them before, floating on the water. They make funny noises. What were those noises again? WACK? SMACK? KRAK? I don’t know. I don’t understand birb speak. But that’s not important. I gotta wake him up. DAD, WAKE UP. He doesn’t wake up. In fact, he cuddles even closer. This happens every time, but the day doesn’t start without him. I get closer, making sure to sneak. I prop myself up to look at them.
DAD, WAKE UP.
This time, one of his eyes open. It’s almost the same as mine. He isn’t my actual father and technically, he’s not even my first. But he’s the one that matters and that’s enough. GOOD MORNING, I say, though it’s not quite morning yet. Morning’s not morning without him. He smiles, reaches, pets my head. “Hello, Bucky. Good boy.” He said the words with a bit of excitement. That’s the guy he used to be sneaking out. The guy he still is at times. Kurri Kurri Iron Fist. The guy who had to warm up to me. Best friend. Dad.
Right beside him, my other best friend mumbles. “Let L.M. handle it.”
“He’s not even a year old, beloveds.”
“He abandoned his obligations. Think it’s only fair he does your job for you full time.”
He kisses her and murmurs in her ear. “Just say the word. I’ll destroy everything for you.”
And she grumbles. Because even though she says that stuff, she doesn’t mean it. At least, not completely. “Fiiiiine! Fine. As long as you come back.”
It’s always silly when she says that because he always comes back. He never really leaves either. He’s everywhere. But what do they say? Old habits die hard? Something like that. The covers are flung off. I dodge them because I am the fastest thing alive. I have done my job. The day is starting, thanks to me.
It was twenty years ago today…
Actually, that’s a lie. It certainly wasn’t today. It was some day in the summer for certain and we don’t think it’s been twenty years yet. Somewhere along the line, we have forgotten the exact date. Even the year is kind of a mystery now. 2003? 2005? 2004? And all the people we could ask for clarification are either dead or out of the public eye, living lives they never wanted and being very much forgotten. And if I, She-Who-Writes, can make an honest observation as to why we don’t remember anymore, it might just be because we never expected to last nearly as long as we did.
It started as a lark. It started long before we as Multitudes fully made ourselves known. Firebug was at the helm at the time, even if she didn’t know she was Firebug then. At that point, she was just Anna. She was the one locked out from the War and sick of searching for a place called home. She didn’t want to be a Time Lord anymore. She didn’t want to bebop all over the timelines and multiple universes anymore. She was tired. Just so fucking tired.
She has erased so much of this part since then that we can’t even remember how we heard about the Academy. Or was it the Asylum at the time? Doesn’t matter. Everybody inside called it “The Asademy” anyway. Some shitty building in the middle of fairgrounds in Tennessee. And we couldn’t fault anybody listening to this tale for assuming that this was where we were trained. Spoilers: we were never really trained. Firebug just…stepped in and said she was a wrestler. And for whatever reason, the bumpkins actually believed her. That’s how it started, officially. With a stolen last name. Pretending to be the edgelordiest (is that a word? Fuck it, it is now) human being on planet Earth.
Needless to say, Firebug sucked at it. She says it herself often. She also isn’t afraid to say that should it not pan out or if she got bored of the whole ideal, that she would’ve just disappeared and found something else to do. And there were plenty of chances to do that when she was still in charge.
So why in the hell are we still here, lacing up our boots and dealing with annoying mat masters, most of them just as naive as she used to be?
“Want some pepperoni, Buckaroo?”
Oh boy! I love pepperoni! YES, I say. Of course I want it. It’s a nice snack. My tail is happy. I am happy. Delicately, Mom peels it off the cheese disk. She says I can’t have cheese. That makes me a little sad but the pepperoni is better anyway. She puts it on a separate plate and sits it on the floor. I OM NOM NOM with gusto. She pets me on the head. I knew it was going to be a good day. I can sense her smile a bit too. One of the other hers turn back to the book she’s been writing in all this time. Another one looks around. I got so excited over pepperoni, I forgot what we’re here for.
Where are we again? Loss Vaygus? That’s a strange name for a place. Anyway, we’re in Loss Vaygus in a pizza place with a big old rat on the front. It’s very loud in here but Mom doesn’t seem to mind. She tells us we’re here for surveillance. Apparently, she’s gonna do a wrestle here soon. I hope it’s not one of those that hurt her. She heals pretty quick but it’s still kinda sad to see. Mom’s signing up for a lot of wrestles lately. Keeps her busy, she says. I ask why she needs to be busy. She shrugs. I think my mom is the type that doesn’t like boredom. It drives all the hers mad to be bored for too long.
I guess I can understand that. I’d rather zoom though.
It took maybe three months tops to be called up to the next stage.
It wasn’t because Firebug was any good. They just ran out of people to bring in. Tends to happen when most newbies find out they can’t cut it on a bigger stage. The fact that said bigger stage was broadcast nationwide and we were wrestling in front of a crowd that was, on bad days, 50% tourists and 50% diehards probably didn’t help matters. But that’s the price one pays working for a promotion stuffed in a shitty soundstage in Florida.
When you’re trying to find your place and you don’t know yourself very well, you’re desperate to connect with something. Or most likely, someone. We did that. A tall boi with self harming issues and low self esteem. But even back then, even with us not knowing a damned thing, we could smell the possibilities. Sense the potential. One can almost taste it in the air. And because she could sense it, Firebug wanted him to tap into it…by talking him into destroying anybody else trying to get in through the Asademy and, when that didn’t work, by seducing him into beating up a newly made friend of his who was actually a big deal and a hell of a draw.
Looking back? Yeah. Bad idea. One of many things we would carry the guilt of for way too fucking long. It fractured our relationship, albeit not enough for us not to end up in a short lived stable together. Literally it got formed, we kicked out the leader because he sucked even worse than all of us, we all got wasted and swore loyalty towards each other. And then just as quickly, they left. Leaving us to clean up the mess and deal with the fall out when said ousted leader decided to get his revenge against well, at that point, the only fragment of the ones that betrayed him left.
Yet despite everything, Firebug did not leave. Why was that, ‘bug?
spite. pure unadulterated fuck you too spite.
…Sounds on brand, yeah.
We’re back at home.
Mom’s standing on her bed, writing on the wall. That always confused me. I always thought it was a bad thing. The colorful thing in her hand goes skritch-skritch as it forms letters along the greenish-black surface. It’s a list! A list of names, some I heard before in passing while Mom and Dad were talking. All of the hers are in the room now. It gets crowded but I can still find a comfy spot on the floor to where I can see things. Some of the hers pet me. Others bring me toys.
They go down the list, one by one. Try to sort out their feelings and thought processes with each person they fight in the situations they are in. More trios matches. Mario Kart for a thing called a belt sash. A potential barroom brawl shortly thereafter with another group. A three way “lifematch” at the rat place. Each battle brings something else to the forefront. An endless shifting as to who talks and who doesn’t. A mix of speeches, poems, and essays. I don’t pretend to understand why this is. It all bleeds together. It keeps going until the very last name.
The Mom holding the colored thing taps the end against the surface. Her brows furrow as she grumbles. “Another damned technical wrestling jackass. Between him, Filmix from last round, some of the potentials in the Almasy, and dealing with Tapp and his clones, this is going to get really boring fast.” She stares at it for a good ten minutes. None of them speak. At least not out loud. The buzzing in the room is faint. Finally, she huffs.
“We need to clear our head.”
Well, that I can help with! LET’S GO FOR A WALK.
Months would pass, turn to years. Firebug would pass the torch to Dodobird. Dodobird did whatever the hell she wanted with no real care for what anyone thought. She was the antithesis of Firebug–spitting out facts in lolcat, warping reality to the point of absurdity, and strangely actually getting better at this wrestling thing.
Slowly, we inched forward.
Slowly, we got better.
And ever so slowly, but at the perfect time, Dodobird became a champion.
Ironically enough, from the very same tall boi we saw potential in.
(we now pause at this point to throw this ball for our dear doggo all the while internally cackling about how said tall boi fluked into a title “win” in the first place. when the champion was clearly high as a kite, in the midst of a mental breakdown, and was bitching out the company live on pay-per-view for their horrible wellness protocol–)
Firebug, you’re rambling and being snarky. Focus.
it never stops being funny to me.
Something shifted the moment we touched that title belt and raised it to the skies for the first time. Dodobird didn’t change what she did or how she did it. That being said, we hit our stride. There was no looking back. No other way forward. Though she isn’t here to say anything, the feelings looking back make it clear. It wasn’t enough that she became a dominant figure because she didn’t even care about that. In that moment, the spite was gone.
In that moment, she was having fun. Having fun was enough.
I like going on walks.
There’s always nice things to sniff and new friends to make. Each walk is an adventure filled with mystery. It’s a little chilly but that’s okay. Dealing with the chill makes a doggo stronger. I zoom and leap into the snow banks, mangling my dark fur with the white snow. I jump and shake most of it off. And she laughs. Her laughter sounds jangly like the bells at Christmas time. That alone makes me happy. I zoom to her as she brushes more of it from my fur. I give her kisses. She tells me to stop, still laughing. I don’t know which her this is or what the others call her. I just know this is the one I met first.
We walk. We can walk forever. We can walk through fields and mountains, through ruins and back alleys. Past and present. Every now and then, she throws the ball and I catch it. The walking lasts for hours. The walking lasts forever. And then finally, we get a little tired and sit down. We can always find a place to rest. It could be a bench or a stoop or a sturdy tree stump. It doesn’t matter where we are.
We protect one another and we have fun together. That’s what counts.
Fun doesn’t last forever.
Something about Dodobird must’ve tipped the humans off to us not being one of them. For the life of us, we cannot determine what. But once our otherness became well known, it came with a whole new set of problems. The mockery and name calling were something we were used to. After all, the idiots on this mudball cannot comprehend what they have never experienced before. As the promotion finally closed down after two years and some change with us still having a stranglehold on the belt (albeit not purposely) and we had to start again, the word started getting around. At that point, Dodobird couldn’t deny it if she tried.
Suddenly, the humans began to shame us for not saving them from dictators and wars and natural disasters and the problems they made for themselves. Because of some stupid half-baked television show, they had it in their heads that we were supposed to be their savior figure. That’s exactly what Dodobird tried to be. She started degrading herself into seriousness and tried to salvage parts of the multiverse that were better off dying. We did it, in part, through professional wrestling. And as much as she tried to keep what made it good for us, it stopped being fun because we tried so hard to fit into this role that was never meant for us.
July 19th, 2017. All the ‘verses we tried to save were gone. The majority of people we fought for left. A wretched old fuck who is best left forgotten made it his mission to try to kill us that night. Technically, he succeeded. Yet in the process in our rebirth, we killed him as well.
The cycle started again.
She’s laughing again.
I open up an eye. Was I napping? I must’ve because I’m laying down in a comfy spot. It’s not too cold and not too hot and it’s a little bit dirty but I like it because it’s so close by. I don’t feel like moving quite yet. I’m cozy here. Mom’s looking at the phony thing. Some man is shouting through it. He calls himself Mister Pepperman and he sounds rather rude. She keeps laughing at this, replaying it. It must be a video. I keep forgetting they can do that now. She sips her hot chocolate and another her sits next to her. I know this one. She barely talks and her face looks cold and she wears a really long and thick robe. What do they call her?
“Five-of-Four, what do you think of this?”
Oh yeah! She’s the number lady. They pass the phony around. Number lady’s face doesn’t change as the guy screeching gets louder and louder. He echoes all over the place. Her eyes are scanning the phony and then they dart over. She pokes a finger to the screen.
“We can use this to our advantage. In this video, he is clearly angry. It looks like his head is about to explode. But look closer.” Mom leans as number lady talks. “He is turning every color of the rainbow. Despite this, he still has enough wherewithal to perform a chicken wing. Most people would see this as a flaw and it can be. But he still has the slightest amount of control. There’s rage, but it is not quite blinding rage.”
Mom smirks. “Even the greatest mathematical mind can make a mistake when their emotions bury their logic. We’d have to push him just that little bit further. Stay fluid. Make his fury burn off the last frayed strand of reason. Take every opportunity we can.” She sips off of her cup.
“Considering what we are, that would be easy enough.” Number lady nods. “He can still be dangerous but there is a path here.”
The smirk turns into a smile. “Plus it’ll be less boring. Like putting Frank’s hot sauce on everything.”
Number lady says nothing. She’s gone within a blink. They all do that. Okay, it’s time to go home. I rise from the comfy spot and so does Mom.
Many times after our regeneration, we thought we were officially done with wrestling.
We have done everything a person could do. We have won so many title belts of varying degrees, we’re certain we’ve forgotten a few. Made friends, lost friends, regained them again. Met our husband in a wrestling ring. Married him in a wrestling ring. Even ended up in a hall of fame…until the powers that be soured on us for personal reasons and scraped our name off. And yet, we’re still here. We’re not just preparing for one match but several at once with different implications for each. Every now and then, we ask the question.
Why are we going to end up at the MGM Grand going toe-to-toe with the love child abomination of Bob Backlund and Scott Steiner?
Why after everything that’s happened do we still feel this urge to keep going?
The Prime came to a consensus a little while ago. One we couldn’t really come to before this past year because we were burdened with so much bullshit and ancient shame. It’s so damn strange to admit it.
The artform of professional wrestling is one of the very, very few things in life that hasn’t disappointed us.
The people in the business have. They do it all the time. Promotors, promotions, fellow wrestlers. But everything else from the moment we enter the building to the moment the lights turn off and we go off hunting for junk food and beer scratches a strange sort of itch we cannot define. And every time we think we’re done, there’s a new path that smells just fresh enough to capture our curiosity.
Why are we a wrestler?
Because we are a wrestler.
That’s reason enough. For now.
Sun’s going down! I can see it!
Mom’s outside again to watch. She does that a lot now, ever since the ascendancy. She looks at the sky no matter where she is. Sometimes, it makes her calm and sometimes, it makes her sad. She watches every bleed together. The parts where day shifts into night and night fades into day. This time, she dances. Her hands sway like she’s painting colors in the air. I like zooming after her. I want to paint the air too! The stars are peaking out. They are dead but also alive. HELLO L.M., I say. The stars whisper back.
And after a while, when the blackness comes, Mom will go in the house. She’ll get my dinner ready and give me scritches and maybe Dad will stop by tonight too. The other hers will rattle about in her head. Eventually, I will get tired and go sleep. She smiles at me.
It’s been a good day, thanks to me.