The Anglo Luchador
Pain is temporary.
Physical pain, that is. Mental anguish is enough to drive a man from a cushy life as a house husband to a wildly successful sales manager for medical devices back into a meat grinder with men and women and non-binary people who may be younger or better than him. It all started with a gif, a social media site, and a reference to a real estate mogul referenced by the President of the United States. That’s kinda where it ended too.
The Anglo Luchador sat in a darkened locker room. No one joined him on this trip. Maybe the former Lollipop and the kids would have come out if he’d beaten Brandon Youngblood and then Impulse and then Cancer Jiles. He didn’t, which is fine. Losing to Brandon Youngblood is like filing your income tax. It’s inevitable unless you’re in the upper crust of earners, and the old luchador was not there just yet. His political leanings would make him want to strangle this omniscient narrator for even daring compare him to someone like Elon Musk, and not just because his unlikely friend, Timo Bolamba, also didn’t like the rat-faced prick richest man in the world.
Oddly enough, despite being rocked to his very core by an acolyte of a false Jesus, one against whom the old luchador had no offensive efficacy other than running for his motherfucking life, the physical pain had dissipated as soon as it had taken hold. He didn’t need his analgesic of choice, at least for the physical condition. But he knew there was a loose end to tie up. At least he hoped it was a loose end. Quite frankly, the ghosts were tiresome after the first one. It’s one thing to know you were on a fucked up path, but it’s another to hear about it from someone else. The beer of choice this time was Pacifico, a fitting choice for what he’d hoped was a final beer, since, well, someone had tried to stab him with a broken Pacifico bottle twice in his former life.
One sip later, and a familiar figure floated in the aether. His name was revealed as unpronouncable to the human tongue. You could be forgiven if you just wanted to refer to him as Stan Chera.
“You again,” the old luchador said dryly as he took a lingering sip of his lager. “Did the gods run out of luchadores to send?”
The ghost chuckled. “No. I’m just here to free you of your compact.”
“You don’t need me to save lucha libre anymore? That’s a real twist.”
The ghost shook his head. “No, you still have THAT task to do. Huitzilopochtli is watching you.”
The old luchador stopped sipping and looked at the ghost right in the eyes. “I thought you said lucha gods. Isn’t Huitzilopochtli an Aztec god? Like…”
“They’re one in the same,” the ghost replied. “One congregation gives way to another. You don’t think gods die, do you?”
“That makes sense that they don’t, y’know,” the old luchador slyly retorted. “Is Zeus still turning into waterfowl to try and get conductance on his lightning bolt?”
The ghost shook his head. “I don’t keep up with the Greeks. They’re too fucked up even for us.” He continued on. “What I’m saying is, you can drink your beer in peace now. We think you’re in a good spot to carry the flag, as long as you don’t backslide.”
“I could’ve used a backslide tonight. Hate having to win by countout.”
The ghost slint his eyes. “See, that’s where you don’t see the big picture. You went up against a monster, someone your hands could not cause pain to. So you used your brain. It took, what we all said.”
The old luchador nodded with a sly grin forming underneath his still-attached mask. “Well, I’m glad I did you guys proud. I follow directions pretty good, don’t I.”
“Well, yes, but you think on your feet too. You’re not a drone. You’ve done a lot of people proud not just tonight. Your brother. Your friends Timo and Rose and the others you touched. Your wife, brother, children.”
From there, the ghost started to disintegrate, become formless. As the ghost changed from a rotund, late businessman who died of COVID-19 into a gray mass, the old luchador rubbed his eyes. The expression on his face turned to shock when the ghost formed into a woman of Japanese descent, jet black hair parted into pigtails. One eye was covered with a pirate’s patch. Her lips were glossed in ruby red. She was dressed in black leather tank top with straps festooned across the chest and waist. The top gave way to a black leather tennis skirt and knee-high black boots.
The ghost spoke in a different voice. “People from your past are proud of you too.”
“She… she’s not dead, is she?”
“Oh no, I am not she, not anymore than I was Stan Chera. I really have no permanent form. And no, Pom Shinjoku is not dead. She’s still alive, running the Pom Academy school in Kanagawa. And she’s watched every moment of your comeback.”
“Fuck.” The old luchador took another slug of his beer. “I really screwed up. Not contacting all those people for so long. Lindsay. Dan. Even Larry Tact or Canadian Hitman or Rocko Daymon or Liquid Snake.”
“People grow apart, my friend,” the ghost said with a resigned look on her face. “But the connections you make with them, if they’re strong enough, they can survive distance. Pom is proud of you. She never forgot the wars you had, both against each other and side by side.”
The old luchador gave a dismissive single chuckle. “I thought wrestling was territorial anyway. Didn’t know you dabbled in joshi.”
“Wrestling is wrestling, it’s all connected. What you did in Japan, with Pom and with Mendoza Suzuki and Diamond Leopard, that informs you as much as what you did in A1E, Empire Pro, Mexico. It’s what you’re doing here in PRIME. It’s all important. And all the lessons we taught you were to make you remember what made you great and what will make you great.”
The old luchador slugged his beer again, but the ghost continued.
“We can’t make you win over hearts and minds. We can only give you the tools. I know for a fact the regret inside of you that you were too late to tell Seymour you were sorry for losing touch. But lucky for you, Seymour was more of an acquaintance for you. You have a chance, a chance for a new beginning, not to have that regret for people you were close with. Like Pom.”
The ghost stood up. “This is where I would take leave, but I have one more question, sir.”
“Pom never called me sir.”
“I’m not Pom.”
The old luchador gulped down a hard swallow of lager.
“I hear you’ve been convening with someone else from the pantheon. What is that all about?”
“Oh, that,” the old luchador replied. “You mean Cuauhtèmoc isn’t one of yours?”
“Well, the gods don’t exactly work in unison all the time, and Huitzilopochtli, well, actually, none of the gods really keep track of him.”
“Isn’t he, like, one of the great Aztec heroes? The last defender of Tenochtitlan?”
“I’m going to level with you. Huitzilopochtli, Quetzalcoatl, all the gods. They all have the same problem as you had with the form I’m taking and others. They lost touch.”
“That’s funny, because he hasn’t lost touch with all of the gods. In fact, we’ve been convening because we’re concerned.”
The ghost went dead silent.
The old luchador continued. “What’s his defining characteristic? Hint, it’s not his skin.”
“He… doesn’t have any.”
“Yeah. So not only do we have a problem with Hoyt either pulling that mask from some other body part, or there’s something even more fucked up going on.”
“Has the Last King been in contact with Mictlantecuhtli?”
“I think real question is, have your gods been in contact with him?”
“I agree. But in the meantime, if Cuauhtèmoc comes calling again? I would be wary.”
“I hate to break it to you, Mx. Unpronounceable, but I have a lot more history with him than I do you.”
The ghost sighed before changing form again, this time into an anthropomorphic jaguar. “Well, we can’t control you. And honestly, we only just wanted to talk to him before anything else. But don’t involve yourself too much in the affairs of the godly realm. You can become too twisted.”
The ghost nodded. “And now, this is where I take my leave.”
“You never told me what part of Konnan putting Quetzalcoatl in the Tequila Sunrise was true and what was myth.”
The ghost let out a muffled laugh. “And I never will.”
The old luchador smiled as the ghost vanished into the air. He sat back down on the chair and slugged down the rest of his beer. He looked at his phone and opened the text app. The contact was never in doubt.