Post by Deleted on Dec 8, 2013 16:07:17 GMT -5
The Nature of Fear
“Dat mah gris-gris (1).”
The speaker of said declaration was Caleb Fourchon, who was currently standing at the front of a line to use the metal detectors in Louis Armstrong International Airport. The subject was the felt bag that was tied to his knobbed and rutted wrist. The audience was a dubious Transportation Security Administration agent.
“Sir, you’re going to have to remove it and put it through the x-ray machine,” he informed the hulking giant.
Caleb eyed the device warily, as if using it might damage whatever the bag carried, “Pass.”
“You can’t just pass on being searched, sir.”
“Den take a look fer yerself,” Caleb unknotted the cord and handed off the gris gris to the TSA officer. Without waiting for further instructions he stooped down and shambled through the metal detector’s archway. The agent put the bag on the conveyor belt and smiled at Fourchon.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Hey! Dat durty pool!” Caleb objected.
Nevertheless, what was done was done. Caleb was forced to wait for both the bag and his flip flops, the only items he would be bringing to Las Vegas. The Cajun Crippler always wore his ring gear in public.
The woman whose responsibility it was to monitor what went through the X-Ray device spoke up, “There’s nothing in here but some pebbles and a little doll,” she gave Caleb a quizzical look, “Is this some kind of voodoo thing?”
From what, Caleb would not say.
Fourchon walked down the jetway slowly, shuffling his feet across the tunnel’s rough carpeting. When he reached the door he again crouched down to enter.
“Hello, sir, and thank you for flying Southwest Airlines,” a stewardess beamed at him, “May I see your ticket?”
After finding out where Caleb’s seat number, she directed him to a spot in first class by the window, which Fourchon immediately closed the shutter to.
“Is there anything I can get for you while we’re waiting to take off?”
Caleb fastened his seatbelt and held onto the gris gris tightly in both hands, “You got alcohol?”
“Of course, sir.”
“Give me, uh, sumptin not too sweet.”
“You’re going to have to be more specific, sir.”
Fourchon frowned. Small beads of sweat were forming on his significant brow, “Gin?”
“Alright sir. I just need to see your credit card.”
The transaction was made (yes, Caleb has a Discover Card. He’s not a total savage) and the WCF superstar accepted the small bottle and glass. He stared at it. Unscrewing the top, he sniffed its contents. It had the scent of pine needles. Holding the bottle to his lips, he tipped it back and let the liquor splash against the back of his throat and then downward. Immediately he began to hack and cough. He dropped the bottle and cup onto the floor and started licking the back of his hand to remove the taste of the brew from his tongue.
“Everything okay here?”
It was the stewardess again. She was watching the giant’s fit with a mixture of sympathy and mirth.
“Ech (2)! Dat stuff poison,” the big man sputtered. No wonder Professor Samedi had forbidden alcohol in his carnival. And no wonder Uncle Nermy was, well, the way he was.
“Maybe you’d like some water?”
“Yeah, yeah. Water.”
The woman smiled and nodded. Leaning forward slightly, and in a somewhat conspiratorial tone, she said, “You know, flying is the safest way to travel. I feel safer up in the air then I do on the I-10.”
Caleb thought that sounded stupid. This plane, with all its millions of parts, was about to fly thousands of feet in the air at hundreds of miles an hour. It was all too complicated. And with complications there came chaos. Which was why the man preferred to keep things simple. He didn’t tell her any of that, though. No sense giving her a motive to withhold some vital piece of information from Caleb that could prevent his fiery death in case there was an accident. So he just grunted an affirmation and clutched his good luck charm tighter.
“Excuse me, sir?”
It was another stewardess. Not quite as pretty and poised as the first. This made sense, because she was working Coach.
“I’m sorry to bother you, sir,” she apologized, “But, are you by any chance Caleb Fourchon?”
“Dat me. Why?”
“And you are a professional wrestler for the Wrestling Championship Federation?”
“Yeah, yeah. Why you aksin dese questshuns?”
The young lady explained, “Sir, there is a boy on this flight who is going to your show to Las Vegas this Sunday as part of the Make A Wish program. He recognized you outside in the terminal before boarding.”
Caleb cocked an eyebrow, “He bald kid in de Eric Price shirt?”
“Yes, that’s Andrew. Mister Fourchon, I was wondering if it would be possible for you to maybe say a few words to him once we’re in the air? I’m sure it would just make his day.”
The big man looked reluctant, “How dat gonna work?”
“Well, after we’ve taken off and before we roll out the dining cart, I thought you could move to the back of the plane and-“
“Mah eye (3)! No way Ah leavin dis chair until we on de ground. You want me to talk to him, you bring him up here to me,” Caleb settled in his seat and glared at the woman.
The second stewardess was joined by the first, and the two exchanged glances, “Sir, Southwest policy forbids visitors to first class,” the one who held his drink said.
“Den Ah guess dat makes y’all de bad guys den,” Fourchon pointed out.
There was a pause. Finally, the senior stewardess nodded.
“We’ll work something out,” she said, handing Caleb his bottle of water.
The plane taking off terrified Caleb. His face and neck grew flush, and a yoke of perspiration formed on the bib to his overalls. He sat doubled over, gris gris in his lap, praying in bastardized Latin. The giant could feel his eardrums strain under the increased cabin pressure. Finally, once they had leveled off, and his heart stopped racing, he slowly leaned back in his seat and took in his surroundings.
The two stewardesses were back, and they had brought Andrew with them. All three of them were gawking at Fourchon like he was back at the circus biting off chicken heads. Caleb took hold of his pinnae and waggled them to try and restore his hearing.
“Whut?” he asked of the assemblage.
“Caleb this is Andrew. You feel up to meeting with him?”
Fourchon took his hand and dragged it over his face to smooth out the beads of sweat, “Yeah, yeah. Have a squat.”
Andrew moved to sit in the seat beside Caleb. The boy was in early adolescence, no more than twelve or thirteen. The Jeff Purse trucker cap he wore covered his hairless scalp, and the Eric Price jersey billowed around his wasted frame.
The two considered each other for a while. The stewardess who had arranged the meeting finally spoke.
“Andrew was telling us that you have a big match this Sunday. It’s for a title shot?”
“Uh huh,” Caleb answered. She was referring to his upcoming match against Chase Michaels, which would determine which one of them would go on to wrestle Chelsea Black Armstrong for the Television Championship.
Andrew spoke up, “Good luck,” he told the giant.
“Tanks,” Caleb nodded, “You want me to dedicate de match to you or sumpthin?”
“No, that’s ok.”
“Oh. Why not?”
Andrew blinked, “Well, I really like Chase Michaels, and it just wouldn’t feel right.”
“Heh. Ah ight (4). Dough you gotta know he ain’t beatin me Sunday. Ah mean, Chase Michaels not terribul or nuttin, but he ain’t in mah league.”
“He’s got more wins than you.”
“Chase Michaels bin in more matches den me too. Also, wins against Adam Young don’t count.”
“He destroyed Young in that match.”
“And? So? Chase Michaels ain’t nuttin to sweat over, kid.”
“Dat right, we will.”
The senior stewardess interrupted, “Ok, Andrew, I think we taken up enough of Mister Fourchon’s time.”
“Hold up,” Fourchon leaned forward slightly, his dark, beady eyes focusing on the fan, “You tink Ah should be scaired of Chase Michaels?”
“I, uh, I just think he’s tougher than you think he is.”
“Why, because he beat de stuffin out of Adam Young? Because he once part of a motocycle gang? Dere nuttin scairy about Chase Michaels. You know who de scairy wrasslers in WCF are? It ain’t de ones ridin dere bikes like dey James Dean . It ain’t de ones beatin up referees because dey can’t stand losin. And it sure ain’t de ones who git in stoopid slapfight on de Twitter wit de Nerdsmashers.”
Caleb poked Andrew in the chest with a smirk, “Dat yer boy Chase Michaels.”
“Mister Fourchon,” one of the stewardesses said to him with some concern.
“Naw, de scairy wrasslers only need to do one ting, but it de toughest ting. Dey tell you de gonna win, and den dey do. Jonny Fly ain’t a hard man because he a gangster. He could be baggin groceries at de ‘Piggly Wiggly’ and still be one to fear. It cuz he win. And dat why Ah scairy too. Ah say Ah gonna beat Chase Michaels, and it gonna happen. Dat whut scairy. Dat whut makes me un monstre(5). De parlor tricks don’t madder nun. Knowin whut cummin, and not bein able to stop it, dat terrifyin. De inevitable is whut we fear. But den, Ah reckon who know dat, given yer condishun.”
“Mister Fourchon! That’s enough.”
Caleb gave a shrug of his broad shoulders to the angry flight attendant, and sat back in his seat, “Dun know why you upset. Ah givin him a compliment. You a tough little peeshwank (6), right Andrew?”
Andrew glared at Fourchon. He had to deal with a lot of shit in his young life. Being hectored by an inbred giant wouldn’t even crack the Top Ten. The boy gave a single nod, “Yeah.”
“Good,” the Cajun Crippler untied his gris gris from his hand. Fishing inside, he removed two items: an etched stone and a wooden figurine. Placing them in his palm he offered the baubles to Andrew, “Take dem. Dey good fer luck, and Ah got plenty to spare.”
Caleb is straddling a wodden straight-backed chair. His scarred, orangutanian arms are draped over the back of it. The lighting in the room makes it impossible to discern where he is. He starts talking.
“Before Ah start on Chase Michaels dere sum unfinished business to see to. I hear Mod Deuce got de choux rogue (7) about how Ah beat him last week at Slam. Sayin he dominate our match. Makin it sound like mah win a fluke. Lissen up, fatso: Ah won Sunday because Ah was de bedder man. Bedder den Gabriel Mephsito, bedder den De Original Gangstah, and bedder den you. You need furder substantiashun of dat? Cum find me.”
Caleb smiles his nasty jigsaw grin and then continues.
“Winnin last week git me booked in mah first singles match in WCF. Dat good. Even bedder, dis fer a shot at de Televishun Title, which hopefully at de One Pay Per View.
“Sunday night Ah wrassle ‘De Lone Wolf’ Chase Michaels fer dis chance. He anudder one of dose NWA refugees, dough he ain’t all dat chummy wit de rest of dem. At least dat whut he say. Fer true(8), Ah tink he might be sweet on dat Chelsea Black Armstrong, who de current TV Champyoun. Maybe dat why he given shot to be Number One Contenduh fer de title. Boss Twilight do like her drama. Or, maybe, maybe it out of pity? Ah hear Chase Michaels’s woman tried to off herself.”
Fourchon makes a sad face.
“Dat could be why: a sympathy push to make up fer failin to keep his woman safe. Because Ah can’t tink of anudder reason Chase Michaels git dis second chance fer a title. He lose last week. And while he do have some victories on his record, dere nuttin dat stand out. Chase Michaels was Jack Happy’s chew toy his first couple weeks here, until he git his first win beatin sumone who ain’t even on de roster no more. He git credit fer pinnin US Champyoun Ryan Rhodes in a tag match, but how much? Rhodes bin spendin most of his reign starin at de lights. Oh, also Chase Michaels kill Adam Young. Big deal.”
Caleb raised his head back up.
“Meanwhile, it take Pearl Harbor job by de Nerdsmashers to eliminate me from Battle Royal, and in mah second match Ah beat Gabriel Mephisto so bad he gone from de company. Unlike Chase Michaels, Ah deserve to be in dis match. But whut dun is dun. At Slam Sunday Ah got to wrassle him. And Ah gonna win. Ah don’t care dat Chase Michaels know every move in Creatshun. Fer true, dat not an advantage at all. If he any good at executin dem moves, he wouldn’t need so many. Keep tings simple. Dat how Ah win. Ah bigger and stronger den dat maraguin (9). So unlike him, mah offense hurts. Ah’m gonna ragdoll Chase Michaels until he don’t know up from down. Ah’m gonna stretch him out like Roman taffy. Den, when he can’t go no more, Ah gonna git him on his belly and put him in mah Cocodrie Clutch. Nun of his Mixed Martial Arts kin help him while Ah’m sittin on his kidneys and wrenchin his spine back to a positshun Mudder Natchur never intended. Chase Michaels will tap out Sunday. He might be “De Lone Wolf” of de WCF, but Ah’m its Rugaru (11). And after our match, Ah’ll also be its Number One Contenduh fer de Televishun Title. Ah guarontee it.”
The Cajun Crippler ended his promo. When the camera stopped rolling he spoke again.
A rich, deep voice replied, “That was splendid, Caleb. Pitch perfect. Your gift of language surprises me. Who knew that the Beast of the Bayou could be such a raconteur?”
Caleb rubbed the back of his neck, his tanned features reddening slightly, “We Coonasses (11)good at lots of tings, Judge. Spinnin a good yarn one of dem.”
“Of course, Caleb. Of course. Now, I want you to go with Stansfield. We were able to find some more of Michaels’s ringwork from his NWA days online, and we want you to look it over. The man is quite the versatile combatant, and we want you to be prepared for anything he throws at you.”
Fourchon nodded and rose from his chair. Quickly he shambled out of sight.
Judge Dugas smiled to himself, please with his prescience. Only he had seen the raw and abundant potential in Caleb, back when he was still working the carnival circuit. It had taken time, and money, and favors, but now he had the young man where he needed him: competing for championship gold in the biggest wrestling company on Earth. A sound investment was about to pay off in spades, and he could not be happier about it.
(1) Gris gris: Go back and keep reading. Caleb tells you what it is.
(2) Ech!: Yuck!
(3) My eye!: No way!
(4) Ah ight: Alright
(5) un monstre: a monster. Duh.
(6) peeshwank: a runt
(7) Choux rouge: “red ass”, being pissed off
(8) For true: Truthfully
(9) maraguin: mosquito
(10) Rugaru: beast, monster (specifically a werewolf, though not the space kind)
(11) Coonass: Term for Cajun.