As kids on family road trips, my little brother Brian and I held pay-per-view wrestling extravaganzas with wrestling figures in the back of the van. We loved pro wrestling but were more interested in telling our own stories. Action figures that weren’t wrestlers entered the fray: M.P. from G.I. Joe, Jack Slater (Arnold from Last Action Hero,) Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood. But the most notable proved to be Corsair (a third-rate comic book character and the father of the X-Man Cyclops.)
For months, Corsair lurked in the rafters like Sting; my brother trying to push him to the upper card. His gimmick was the ability to withstand absurd beatings. This proved instrumental in him getting over.
The exit signs slid by and eventually someone had to pee. We went in a jar. Mom didn’t look. We were haunted by the idea of her looking. The why is unclear. She birthed us, nurtured us, bathed us. But that which made her girl and us boy caused us pause as we got older.
Dad drove in profile. What he thought about I’ll never know. We visited his parents in Georgia and Florida a handful of times a year. They were retired.
From the front porch of the Georgia house, the Appalachians tumbled across the horizon. My grandma learned the names of the different mountains. Brian and I played catch barefoot in the front yard as the sun plunged behind them.
The Florida house was in a neighborhood of similar houses. We spent most of our time going down to the beach in Nokomis. Punching the waves which we pretended were wrestlers or playing football on the sand with Dad as all-time quarterback.
We played tackle and Brian always lost. I was four years older, bigger, and stronger. But he never gave up. He took absurd beatings. Banged his fist on the sand in anger after allowing a long catch. Spiked the ball and spit out sand, brushing himself off after getting tackled for a loss; despite the comical absurdity of it, he felt the need to establish a run game.
The main event was The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels. Theirs had been a long gestating feud. Brian loved the Shawn Michaels action figure. It was easy to manipulate into performing Sweet Chin Music. I loved The Undertaker. He’d once been buried alive then rose living; a purple hand emerging from the dirt something Romero.
Corsair brooded in the rafters.
We decided the outcome. Went through the motions of the matches. Made considerations based on Kayfabe, though we didn’t then know what that meant. No matter how well scripted, inevitably one of us would conceive an outlandish disruption of the match if our wrestler was slated to lose. They rarely played, drawing only the other’s ire, but every once in a while, a twist presented itself that’s brilliance could not be ignored.
Corsair’s moment arrived halfway through the match. The championship belt no longer mattered. It was about Corsair gliding down on an invisible cable in the middle of the title bout and performing his finishing move on both The Undertaker and Michaels; an absurd double-jackknife that defied the laws of physics. Both lay prone on the mat before rolling out to watch like us and the rest of our fictional 89,000 fans.
Corsair stood in the middle of the ring alone, lacking adversaries. A legend. An ending scripted wrestling could never provide. Our ending. But really, my brother’s ending, which I was happy to let him have.
Wilson Koewing is a writer from South Carolina. His work is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y, 101 words, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Loch Raven Review, Spelk and The Cabinet of Heed. Though he no longer lives in New Orleans, he did for a decade, and was widely known for yelling at bartenders who put ice cubes in Sazeracs.