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Stymie Magazine

Autumn & Winter ‘11

girl. Derek went on, picked the guy up, back to chest, turned him in air, and threw him down on his shoulders for the power bomb. He put one foot on the kid’s chest and got the three count. Derek picked the other guy up one more time and hooked his arms behind him, holding him wide open so Penelope could lay a slap across his face. The crowd booed. She pointed her finger toward the ceiling. Derek let go of the guy’s arms and set up to power bomb him again. That was my cue. I bolted down the aisle, holding the chair over my head. I was slow enough so, if it wasn’t fixed, Derek could have hit the move then retreated. As it stood, he dropped the kid and ran. By the time I got to the ring, Penelope was alone, staring at me, frozen in terror. I held the chair at chest level, pointing a finger in her face. The crowd went nuts. I got both hands wrapped around the legs of the chair, and pulled back like I was going to swing. Right on cue, Derek tripped Penelope, sending her face first to the mat. It was a fall we had practiced a hundred times, her best fall. He dragged her to safety out of the ring while I stood there, chest heaving. The crowd knew that was all they were getting that night, and started chanting “NORTON! NOR-TON!” “Derek Houston cannot run forever,” the commentator said. “These men have a date with destiny.” * One week before pay-per-view, I sat in the locker room, my back to Penelope. She stood behind me. I remembered when she used to sit there and rub my shoulders after a match. I gasped. “Don’t be a baby.” Penelope rubbed the cotton swab harder against my back where I got cut on the ring steps a half hour before. “You know, you could just bandage it up.” “And you could just get infected.” The cotton swab went away, and soon enough she patted the bandage down on each side. I looked over my shoulder. “Thanks for taking care of that.”

“No problem.” She got up, took a step away. “Figure you can return the favor after you open up my forehead.” I swung my leg over so I sat the right way on the bench and could really look at her. “Still can’t believe Barry’s making us do it.” “I know how to pick a boyfriend, huh?” I shrugged, picked up a t-shirt. “Barry owns his own company. He can take care of you. Can’t ask for more than that.” “I want to ask you something. She played with the clean edge of the cotton swab. “It’s just, sometimes, I feel like you’re not OK with me and Barry.” “Most of the time, I’m fine.” I coughed. “I just get these moments.” “What kind of moments?” All the boys in the locker room were a ways off. Two of them were arm wrestling, the rest of them yelling, cheering. “Like last Christmas. First Christmas we weren’t together,” I said. “We never spent Christmas together. I went to my mother’s. You always caught a train out to Bumblefuck to be with your family.” “But it’s the first one after we split up. First one when we didn’t talk on the phone, and when I didn’t know I’d see you when I got back.” I scratched my chest. “See, it never bothered me when I knew you’d be there. And Christmas was what it always was. It was like being a kid again—no place I’d rather be. And my old man would tell me I should move back home, and he could get me a job at the brewery. But I knew I had something better waiting for me. “But last Christmas, things weren’t right. I wanted to be at your mom’s, or your apartment, or mine, or the arena.” I looked down. It was bad enough to lay all that down on a woman, to let her that deep inside. I couldn’t look at her. “Then I looked out the window. I know I was just daydreaming. But I saw you.” “You saw me?” “I saw you.” I nodded. “It was snowing, and you were standing in the yard in this white

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Stymie - Autumn & Winter 2011  

The Autumn & Winter edition of Stymie Magazine featuring work from Curtis Smith, Corey Mesler, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Carol Gloor, Nick Ripatraz...

Stymie - Autumn & Winter 2011  

The Autumn & Winter edition of Stymie Magazine featuring work from Curtis Smith, Corey Mesler, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Carol Gloor, Nick Ripatraz...

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