Lo-fi beats to wrestle by: [link]
I have a theory, and it’s that my husband is a moron.
I’m a musician, not a scientist, but I think I have enough clear evidence to say that. I know it’s probably bad to say that about someone you’ve known and loved and shared your life with for almost two decades, but let me present you with the title of my thesis:
“Coral Avalon is a professional wrestler, and all professional wrestlers are morons.”
My theory probably doesn’t make me very popular in Coral’s social circles, which is just… gosh, I don’t know, stacked up and down like a pancake platter full of absolute dinguses? Like, do you know what Joe talks about most of the time? Does Sid really think I know anything about his powerbears or whatever the hell he’s talking about? Does Anubis really believe he’s a god? Does Claire not realize that she’s kind of cute when she’s being all huffy and puffy towards my husband? And what the hell is “lunch law” and why does Gavin practice it?
This whole profession my husband’s wrapped up in is made up of a bunch of people who make their living throwing themselves and each other to the ground, traveling all across the world to do it. Sometimes, they beat each other unconscious with furniture. Sometimes, like what Coral’s going to do soon, they’re fighting over a gaudy accessory that doesn’t even do a good job at holding up your pants.
Don’t worry, though! This thesis of mine doesn’t mean that your Wakana disapproves of the International House of Pancakes that is my husband’s life.
After all, that’s why I find him so fascinating!
Every girl waits their whole lives to hear those magical, special words from the one they love the most.
“Hey, Annie,” Coral told me with his usual casual tenor, “We’re getting the head out of the garage today.”
Okay. So. Out of context, that whole “getting the head out of the garage” thing is pretty sus. Believe me, the context is much stupider.
Back in November of last year, Coral got this bright idea of wanting to do a very special training session ahead of the Belmont Classic. It was based on some sort of game show he grew up with as a kid. It sounded like Takeshi’s Castle to me, but it was some game show about a hidden temple and there’s this big talking Aztec head he called “Olmec” that served as the show’s host. I grew up in Tokyo, so I don’t really know.
He was planning to rent out a bigger gym for a couple of days to do a big event with all of his students, a few students from the Silver Lining School that our friend Sonny ran, and even a couple of his students from Japan. And then, well… that whole mess with the Belmont happened.
Coral’s a big dummy and he does big dummy things, but we all knew his big dummy training session wouldn’t avail his kids against Paxton Ray, so he stuck with the basics and canceled the whole thing. Not quite sure why he ever thought it was a good idea to begin with, personally, buuut… I’m not a wrestler.
Problem was, he’d already built his “Olmec”, this… hideous abomination against God. Hence why that abomination’s been in our garage instead of some landfill somewhere where it belonged.
“Olmec” looked like an arts and crafts project made by a twelve-year-old on a slightly better budget. Coral has a lot of talents – this is a guy who learned how to play guitar just to impress me and learned fluent Japanese before he turned thirty, and he’s good at the big wrestling and teaching other wrestlers how to do the big wrestling – but sculpting art clearly isn’t one of them.
“Olmec’s” head was all misshapen, maybe from the moisture that’s always in the Seattle air or maybe it always looked like that. I don’t know. One eye drooped much more than the other. If the nose had been on a real person, it’d take up almost their whole face. The mouth was supposed to move for the host that stood behind it, but the mechanism didn’t work properly without damaging the rest of the sculpture, which you could tell from all of the cracks formed around the lips and cheeks from when Coral tested it for the first time.
So, as I said, it’s an eldritch mistake and I’m glad Coral’s finally getting rid of it. I mean, I’ve only been complaining about it every day we’ve been at home together for the past six months.
Have I mentioned yet that I had a lot of evidence that supported my whole “my husband is a moron” theory? That fucking thing should be Exhibit A. Is there a letter higher than A? That should be it. Number one with a bullet, right there. Something before the Alpha. A pre-Alpha?
Anyway, Coral rented a little trailer to hook onto the back of our car, and loaded “Olmec” onto it. He covered it in a tarp at my insistence so we didn’t get pulled over for driving men insane if they caught a mere glance at it, and then we were off to his new school. Vroom.
If you’re wondering why I’m coming with him, it’s because I enjoy traveling around with this dingus. I always have.
The best part about Coral is that he’s a moron who somehow manages to attract ever-increasing levels of morons, so he’s always been very entertaining to be around. He’s like a magnet if magnets could only attract things with single digit brain cells. He’s also great to have around when you get drunk and need someone to drive you back home, because despite being a moron, he’s smart enough to stay away from alcohol.
Me? I have a reputation to uphold.
Coral’s the kind of guy that doesn’t waste his time judging people for who they are. He’s someone who appreciates his profession in all ways. He appreciates all of his friends, even the really dumb ones like those Mega Job dipshits. Sure, they might do stuff he might not agree with. Sure, a few of them would be more than happy to kick him in the face if given the slightest opportunity. But a lot of his friends and acquaintances respected him, if nothing else.
Morons attracted morons, after all.
Wait, I wonder what that said about me?
The new gym wasn’t the same.
It’s the way the back wall seemed to have too much room to put that makeshift mural of children’s artwork that always puzzled everyone when they first looked at it. The media room was in the far back of the place instead of the left side when you first walked in, which meant that you had to walk across the entire floor of the gym before you reached it. Both of the rings had to be replaced after the move, the old ones were somehow damaged in the move… probably because of something stupid. That expense made Coral even more agitated than he already was about the whole situation.
If you replaced every part of the wrestling school, including the building… was it really still the same school?
Neither of us knew the answer to that question.
The paperwork was still getting organized between him and Sonny Silver to take the old gym. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the gym’s previous owner. I knew he also ran a school in Seattle, just as Coral and Sonny did, and prescribed some of the same sort of harsh training methods that Coral’s own trainer used to do. Coral described him as someone who walked with a limp and talked about a lot of pseudo-philosophical stuff that really sounded smart until you actually stopped to think about it.
Coral’s assessment of the man was that “only an idiot would buy what Rocko Daymon tried to sell you, but he was still a good trainer.”
Adding to the feeling that it wasn’t the same was the fact that the place was empty.
Most of the students Coral took before Merlin happened had scattered to places like the Silver Lining Gym or even out of state. Joe and Sid had been training at the Devil’s Ditch down in their hometown of Phoenix, and hadn’t visited Seattle since before Colossus. The other members of the Crownless Kingdom were doing just fine on their own. With Franco ripping his ACL, MCL, and all his other important knee bits apart in Japan last month, Coral hadn’t been able to take new students yet.
So, it was just the two of us.
But Coral still trained in one of the two rings, with me as the witness. I’d probably be enlisted as the referee, but I just bought these shoes…
Anyway, Coral got behind his opponent, and with a mighty grunt, grabbed his opponent by the waist and heaved them up and onto their head with one of those fancy suplexes he knows.
Well, I say “onto their head” because it couldn’t land any other way. It was all head. Coral was suplexing Olmec to death, clearly for my amusement.
Or, I don’t know, maybe that’s just something he’d do even if I wasn’t around? He seemed to have an enmity for particular inanimate objects. You haven’t lived until you get that phone call from that special someone in your life where he complained about something called a “Homicycle”.
That’s probably Exhibit H – for Homicycle – of the theory.
This bullshit, on the other hand, was Exhibit B. For… I don’t know. Bullshit is too obvious. Boron? No, that’s an element… Oh, brainless! Nailed it.
Coral had this lovely high-arcing bridge to his German suplex. I’ve never claimed to know a lot about what Coral did for a living, since I still think that wrestlers are morons (and let me tell you, watching this display has given me a validation like nothing else) but Coral was always very good at the mechanics of what he did. Excellent body control was pretty important for a pro wrestler. It also made him look very hot. Also important!
Olmec was in ruins after that first suplex. That’s what happened when you suplexed something that probably shouldn’t have been birthed. Cthulhu itself would probably also fold like that if Coral suplexed it like that.
Coral dropped it with a second suplex, caving in Olmec’s head (body) even more.
Then he jumped up to the top rope and did that double stomp thing off the top of it, like he was Mario or something. One of his “Armaments”. He probably picked that one because it was the only one he could feasibly do to Olmec. Olmec exploded beneath him in a brutal display of flying debris.
He’s not even sweating when he rolled under the bottom rope in front of me and sat on the apron.
“I’m not sure that breaks the top five of dumbest things I’ve ever seen you do,” I told him, stepping around whatever was left of his abomination.
He smiled at me with that vacant, radiant grin of his.
“You know, this wasn’t what I intended to do when I came out here to train for the Colton match, but… anything to entertain you, my dear.”
I returned his smile, now knowing the answer to my earlier question, “You’re so sweet.”
There was a pause. His smile faded. The wheels in that hamster wheel that was his brain turned.
“The Coltons are good people,” Coral said, “And… Well, I didn’t think I’d be in a spot where I’d try to take something from one of them. But…”
He hesitated. I didn’t like it when he wanted to say something, but needed someone to tell him it was okay to say what was on his mind. It’s so frustrating.
Oh well, time to humor him. “But?”
“Well,” Coral said, and then tried (and failed, mind you) to hide a sigh from me, “I don’t know. It just seems… nice to be born to a family that supports what we do, you know? Nate, and Jenny, and all of those kids had such a strong support network right from the get-go.”
I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I pretended to be offended when I asked, “And you don’t?”
“Before I met you, yeah.”
“Oh, so the bad times.” I said, trying to sound solemn in agreement but unsure if I succeeded.
Coral would often describe the years between starting out in pro wrestling and meeting me as the hardest of his life. He was in poverty, living in a halfway house in Cleveland for several years. He was in bad relationships with women that took advantage of him at the worst possible moments, whether it was Keith Scott Zimmerman’s shitty shrew of a wife or that one blonde bimbo referee. Even when he met me, it took months before we ever considered how compatible we were with one another despite how easily we got along.
In his case, it’s all of those bad relationships. In mine, well… he was a guy.
“Yeah, the bad times.” Coral said, “Anthason taking what little money I had and teaching me next to nothing because I had no idea he was a parasite. All of the times Joey Malone trained me like he wanted me to join the SEALs or something. Not having a permanent, stable home. Not being successful enough to do anything but drift. Even when I got to the top, I was never treated like I belonged there.”
Coral paused, unsure of himself in that way I always found adorable, “And Nate… Nate got the whole world right from the start. He’s the guy everyone’s gonna talk about in the next year, Annie. He’s the guy with the great wrestling family and the winning smile. He’s the guy that’s gonna be on billboards. Already is, actually. He’s the one that the ACE Network wants to talk to. Who am I compared to that guy?”
My laughter came back. He’s such a moron.
“Come on, Coral, you have something he doesn’t.”
“Twenty years of experience?”
Oh, please. “No, not that.”
“A key part of a web cartoon with millions of views?”
Moron, moron, moron.
“How does that help you with wrestling?” I asked him, aghast that it was the second thing he could think of. “No.”
“A wrestling school that just produced five guys good enough to make it to the Belmont, even if it’s in, uh… a between state right now?”
“Not even close.”
“Uh, my ability to change my wrestling style on a dime to counter whatever the other guy does?”
I loved my dumbass husband, but he’s impossibly dense sometimes. I’m surprised we’re not all being folded into the Coral Avalon Black Hole. Hayes Hanlon and his big ‘ol Event Horizon badonkadonk couldn’t compare. “Definitely not that.”
Coral shrugged and gave up, “What, then?”
I sat down next to the doofus on the ring apron, hands in my lap. Perfectly harmless. After a few moments, I reached over and flicked him on the nose. He reacted as though Claire just kicked him in the face again, falling back onto the apron like he’d been knocked over by a wrecking ball, covering his face.
“You know, I’ll just say it. You’re such a moron.” I bluntly told him. If Coral and his social circle were a pancake platter full of absolute dinguses, then Coral was the piece of hot butter on top of it, “Sweetie, you can beat him. We both know you can. Don’t think about losing, or what you’re going to do if you lose. Just do the thing you usually do and think about his weaknesses before you worry so much about his strengths.”
Coral straightened up in his seat at my words, and placed a hand under his chin.
My husband was a moron, but when it came to professional wrestling, he’s a savant. The deep analysis he made of the Godslayer’s wrestling style before the TC-X two years ago could be used as a thesis if he’d ever put it to pen… though I’m pretty sure no accredited university would ever accept such a thing. Claire and I definitely listened to him for an hour outlining his plans, though… but I admit it might have been more than an hour because I fell asleep. Sorry, sweetie.
Point was, I knew that he was running through all of the Nate Colton he’d ever seen in his head, formulating a plan in his mind. When he looked up, he had this smile on his face like everything was coming together.
“Yeah. You’re right. As usual. I got this.”
“See? Was that so hard? Like I said, you have something Nate Colton doesn’t,” I said. I stood at my full regal height of exactly five feet tall, and placed my hands on my hips. If I were obnoxious enough, I’d have winked. I behaved. “You’ve got me.”
Coral knew that, as usual, I was the smart one and he wasn’t. He smiled back at me.
He didn’t say anything, but his face told me exactly what I wanted to hear.
“What would I ever do without you?”
I’m not a wrestler.
My contributions to Coral’s work are minimal at best. Maybe I’ll play a little Debussy for him and his boys to walk to the ring. Maybe I’ll agree to lend part of my home to those that need it. Maybe I’ll drink some of his rivals under the table for funsies. Don’t knock it, I’ve done it before.
Scientifically speaking, I’m not an important part of the formula that makes Coral the wrestler he is. I don’t understand the nuances of his profession any more than he fully understands my music.
I am, however, an important part of what makes Coral the man that he is. I know that. I stick with this moron because he’d be lost without me, and… quite frankly, maybe I’d be lost without him, too.
It’s magic how love works sometimes. Sometimes, you find someone that you’re simply meant to be with. Sometimes, you find someone who fits you like that perfect puzzle piece.
Twenty years of this, and our magic formula remains the same.
One plus one, just me and him.
Things have been weird lately.
I’m talking extra weird, not the weird so common that it becomes mundane. You know, like Coral coming back home to talk about getting wrecked by a bicycle. Or Coral telling me that he had a Chiba Champagne Death Match, which was exactly what you think it would be and must’ve sucked for a teetotaler like him. Or Mega Job, just anything to do with those dipshits.
And for once, all of the extra weird had nothing to do with anything Coral brought home with him.
It had to do with me.
I’d been feeling unwell for a couple of days. It started before I even went to the gym with Coral.
I thought I had food poisoning at first. I couldn’t keep my food down. One second, I’d be fine, and then the next… worf, onto the floor. Like Worf in Star Trek when anything threatening showed up and Picard had to do all of the work to keep everyone alive. Coral and I had to clean up after me several times as though I was one of our cats.
Things came to a head during dinner tonight.
I finished eating, and usually, I’m like a rabbit. I don’t eat much at all. Today was different. I ate everything on my plate, and then I started stealing food from Coral’s. That lasted until I had to do the dishes, and looking at the dirty water triggered something in me that made me run to the bathroom and puke my guts out.
It was Coral, ever the moron that he was, who realized what was going on. He looked as pale as I did when he put the pieces together and asked, “Annie, are you pregnant?”
I’m adrift in the seas of confusion, asking myself all of the questions while I was praying to the porcelain throne.
That can’t be right, can it?
We only just started talking about this seriously before he went off to Japan, right?
This isn’t really morning sickness, is it?
Coral sat with me even in my least dignified state. Outside of asking his question, he didn’t say anything. He never judged. He never made fun of me. Maybe he was being as considerate of me as usual. Maybe he was just in shock from the idea he might actually become a father.
But I had to test his theory. And test, and test, and test…
So, I guess the formula for our magic just found itself a variable.
Just me and us.