Potatoes. The Donovan household were true to their Irish roots, so their meals had to be founded on such a stark starch. Boiled, their white goodness was still encased by the dull brown skin. Finn’s potato sat on the white porcelain plate beside the beef roast her mother had made, covered in onions and a dark gravy. Not quite as dark as the Guinness on the right side of the plate, but the image was clear to say the least. His mother across from him at the dining room table had opted for a side salad instead of the roast. But still she too had her stereotypical potato in front of her, a tumorous cancer on the pristine porcelain that was their otherwise menial, American existence.
All Finn could think about was how he wished he had some nice tater tots instead.
“How was Canada, honey?” his mother asked casually over the clink of silverware.
“Cold,” Finn replied, as he eyed the alcohol before him. Something told him he’d need more before the night was over.
“It’s a good thing you wear that super hero suit then, sweetie. Wouldn’t want you to run around and catch a cold with your friends.”
Fourteen years. It had been over a decade and his mother was still trapped in this state of quasi-reality where she recognized the world had moved on, even if she hadn’t. She looked at Finn across for her, seated at a high stool instead of the usual dining chair, and did not see a man half the time. Just the boy who had never really grown up in her twisted mind.
Finn took that drink.
“I did good there, mother,” he continued, wiping the foam off of his naked face. “Fought hard, won both of my matches. Even beat a fairly big name, someone no one thought I could overcome.”
His mother gives him a warm, empty smile. “Just don’t forget to eat your veggies, honey, if you expect to grow up to be big and strong.”
Finn sighs, taking another drag of the beer. He glances to his right at the empty chair between them, at the head of the table. A plate of food had been set and everything, destined to be untouched until his mother finally cleared it away after dinner.
His mother catches him looking at the food and her smile wavers for a moment. “No need to worry, sweetie. Daddy will be home soon.”
Fourteen years since his mother had been whole. And his heart broke once more with her.
V/O: “Nothing ever changes.”
The Charles River in Massachusetts had been a place of memory, of childhood, in the life of Finn Donovan, better known as El Trébol Jr. He had vague memories of having family picnics at the Esplande Park in Back Bay in the fall. His mother would sit him under a tall oak tree amongst the leaves in their various hues of orange and red, while she laid out the food. His father, within sight of them both, would skip rocks across the blue water, often skipping seven or eight times before his projectiles sank to the river bottom.
Fourteen years later, El Trébol in his full lucha suit was having a bloody difficult time at it on the same bank of the Charles River. He stood on its edge, a pile of rocks beside his boot within reach, dark gray against the white, snow coved ground, staring out across the water. One piece of ammunition rested in his palm, waiting to be launched.
“I beat Chance von Crank.”
El Trébol throws the rock; it skips twice before sinking out of sight.
“Two weeks ago if someone would have told me that, I would’ve told them they were crazy and half believed it too.”
The ripples of the water fade away.
“Tell me that after that big win, I would feel like shit . . . well then, I would’ve told that person that they were just mental.”
Time to make some more; El Trébol bends down to reload.
“I guess I owe a hypothetical individual an apology, then. I secured the biggest win of my young career here in the UTA over a veteran of the business and here I am moping around. I should be elated, not deflated.”
El Trébol tosses the rock up in his open palm for a few moments.
“But that’s life, right? Like hands who take a balloon that had just had being filled and squeezes the air out of it simply because it makes a nice farting noise with it last, dying breath.”
Possible bad analogy, although a better throw from El Trébol. The rock skips three times this time.
“That’s life, though.”
El Trébol Jr looks at the camera.
“It never truly changes.”
He bends down to pick up another rock.
“So when I left Canada still high on the mountain air and the victory under my belt, maybe I truly thought things would be different. I thought maybe, going into Chicago, into a match that was much, much bigger, that I had done enough the at least make my fellow man question. Maybe not accept, but at least question, that I was a competitor not to be overlooked.”
El Trébol shrugs as he returns to his full height.
“Eh, should I have honestly expected different from my opponent, Sean Jackson, this week? Man can’t even accept he lost to Zhalia Fears the same night I was showing Chance the color green.”
“And that’s not a knock against the man, don’t get me wrong. A good competitor forgets the losses once he has learned how to repeat the loss. The thing is, I don’t think Sean Jackson has learned. He ignores his loss to Zhalia simply because it would kill his chance as appearing as a viable threat, without recognizing the obvious point.”
El Trébol holds up the stone to the camera.
“He has a nasty habit of being the Goliath to the Davids who come along here in the UTA.”
He chunks the rock, no finesse with the throw. It lands with a loud clunk off-screen.
“And with but a single stone, a giant can fall. A giant who knew what he was doing, who was mentally sound and an intimidating presence. A champion. For forty days he shouted at the lines of the Israelites and there was no shift in them, no change, no challenge. But on that forty first day . . .”
El Trébol shakes his head.
“No let’s round up for the sake of clarity. On the fiftieth day.”
Beneath the mask, a smile forms.
“On Wrestleshow #50, I take the challenge where others have either failed or ignored. Men have beat you, Sean, even women, but they haven’t equaled you. They call you the Mental Rapist because, regardless of the outcome, you have left a mark on your opponent, left them questioning themselves. But you’re too late for me, Sean, because my whole life has been one big question: Why?”
El Trébol can feel the passion building as he counts off the questions, rapid fire.
“Why do you want to be that? Why do you think you can compete? Why do you think you will be the one to succeed? Why don’t you just give up? Why bother? So many questions with one simple response.”
A suspenseful pause.
“Because I can.”
El Trébol throws up a second hand along with the first in defense.
“And don’t take that as some rebellious, anti-establishment jargon either; take it as simple fact. Beneath all the pressure and the doubting eyes, the overused jokes and the expectation of failure, I still stand and fight. And you want to know why, Sean?”
If one had been paying any attention to this at all, they could predict his next words.
“Because nothing changes.”
“David didn’t just suddenly acquire the experience and ability needed to kill Goliath; he went around killing lions and tigers and bears—oh my—to prove himself. He had been given a task to protect the sheep and by literal God he protected them. I’m no different, Sean, if my recent string of victories has anything to say to that. I can beat you.”
El Trébol gestures with arms held wide to the park and the river and the memories around him.
“I didn’t come back to this park to remind myself of what I had lost, Sean, but what I had had once and know I could have again: happiness. And as I come closer and closer to our match at Seasons Beating, I see the same notion wherever I go. I look at you Sean and I see a former World Champion and the biggest opponent I’ve ever faced in my career. More so, I see one more face bearing the same basic image of my three greatest adversaries: size, strength, and experience. The key is to remind myself that I’ve overcome it all before and can again.”
El Trébol shrugs.
“Besides, you all look the same in that that breath of moment before I spike your head to the mat.”
El Trébol picks up one more rock, holding it up to the camera.
“So you can say I look forward to Season Beatings, Sean, where I can showcase the talent I’ve always had against the big name I’ve never been given. And as you can see, my stone is at the ready. The question is are you ready to be knocked on your back?”
El Trébol throws the stone, watching it skip across the water four times before sinking. Not quite as good as his father, but hey, he was claiming to be good a wrestling, not rock throwing. The camera focuses on the water where the stone sinks.
“I know it’s been a while since that’s happened to you, Sean.”
The water ripples.
“Like a whole two weeks.”
With that final jab and the calming of the waters, the scene fades out.