by Ed Ferrara
“Gig Marks” was first published in LUCHA GORE: SCARES FROM THE SQUARED CIRCLE (Cruentus Libri Press – Kevin G. Bufton, ed.). Links to order the anthology can be found here. “I wrote it specifically for submission to that anthology, and it has not been reprinted since its original publication. If, when you think of professional wrestling, it brings to mind imagery of the WWE playing to packed arenas on television, replete with all the glitz and showmanship of a rock concert, set those thoughts aside. Wrestling’s independent scene is a different animal entirely, taking place in school gyms, armories, and VFW halls, These are the proving grounds for those who break their bodies and spill their sweat and blood for a shot at their dreams and little else. All too often, that opportunity never arrives, but that doesn’t stop the desperate belief that one day it might…”
ED FERRARA is a former television & sitcom writer/producer, whose credits include USA Network’s WEIRD SCIENCE and Walt Disney Television’s HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS: THE TV SHOW. He is perhaps best known for his work in the world of professional wrestling—as a storyline writer, he was one of the primary architects of the WWF’s “Attitude Era,” as well as having worked in similar capacities for both WCW and TNA. He teaches at Full Sail University in the Creative Writing for Entertainment BFA program. He is currently finishing his first novel, a YA/horror/adventure, and attending the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program for Popular Fiction. (Twitter: @TheEdFerrara)
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“The second I hear the sick pop of Carlos’ skull hitting the wooden gymnasium floor, I know the Kid is somewhere in the stands.
I scramble off the apron to check on Carlos. He isn’t moving. I didn’t see it happen, although the panicked look on Jesse’s face tells me everything I need to know. The jacked-up idiot wasn’t in his spot to catch the plancha, and Carlos went straight down on his melon. That’s why I leave flip-flop-flyin’ to these younger guys. Hard enough getting my big ass over my head—which I can do if the payday is worth it—but I’m gonna make damn sure I’ve got the right guy to take it and protect me. And not for a fifty-dollar spot show, either. And this is exactly why.
“Where the fuck were you?” I ask Jesse. He is supposed to be my partner tonight. At this point I’m hot and don’t give a shit about kayfabe. The show is pretty much over now anyway. The EMTs are already at ringside, checking on Carlos, and the match can’t continue until they are done. It’s a good thing most buildings require medics to be present, because you know goddamn well the promoters wouldn’t shell out for them if they didn’t have to.
Jesse looks at me, his eyes as wide as his gaping mouth. He knows he was wrong, that it’s his fault. He hasn’t moved, standing a full three feet away from the crumpled body. He was that same three feet away when Carlos sailed over the top rope. If Jesse had only closed that gap, this match would still be going on. The greenhorn didn’t even think to rush forward right after the botch, making it look like maybe Carlos undershot his leap. Nope—he’s frozen in place, a guilty statue, the short distance between him and the broken figure on the floor as damning as any smoking gun. No doubt about it—this one’s on Jesse.
As the EMTs strap Carlos into a neckbrace, onto a backboard, I can’t help stealing a quick glimpse at the bleachers. I scan around for the Kid, just to satisfy my morbid curiosity. I don’t see him. Doesn’t matter, though—I can feel him. Somewhere close.”
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