V/O: “Some people ask me why I do what I do.”
“Thank you so, so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this.”
The children’s hospital in Cleveland, Ohio was a dreary place despite the brightly colored tiles on the hallway floor and childish portraits drawn in marker and crayon hanging on the wall. Thankfully the mask hid Finn Donovan’s grimace quite well, allowing him to carry himself forward while maintaining the confidence of the nurse escorting him through the building. He waddled along beside her in full garb as she led him to a particular room where a bright-eyed, bald child waited for him. Finn composes himself. Then, looking up to the nurse, he speaks.
“Not a problem, miss.”
They continue a little ways further in silence until they draw short of a door. A drawing of a young boy standing atop a pile of stick figured men with Xs drawn across their eyes was hanging on it. The boy held a large belt in the air, with an air bubble drawn to the side with the words “World Champion” written within it.
The nurse looks down at the masked man.
El Trébol Jr nods.
The nurse opens the door and a scream of utter and pure joy echoes in the hall. El Trébol bursts into the room, leaping with grace onto the edge of the bed where a child laid, no more than eight. Like Spiderman, or perhaps Tarzan, El Trébol crouched on the edge of the bed, staring into the ecstatic eyes of the boy. On knuckles—he was selling this oddity theme to the extreme, Trébol was—he pulls himself closer.
“What is your name?”
“Timothy!” the child practically shouts, his voice breaking from his excitement. “But you can call me Timmy.”
The two hold the stare for a moment until finally the masked man holds out his hand.
“Well it’s nice to meet you, Timmy. The name’s Trébol. El Trébol.”
Gag. Though the child was eating out of the palm of the masked man’s hands, figuratively speaking. In reality, he was just holding Trébol’s outstretched hand in both of his own.
“I know who you are, El Trébol! Or should I say Elk Trouble?”
The child giggles at the absurdity of the statement. El Trébol plays it cool though as he shrugs and seats himself, leaning on both arms. “Call me what you’d like. This is your day.”
“It is?” Timothy asks in surprise?
Trébol nods. “It is. It was rather spectacular actually.” He points to the window. “While other people looked out the window last night and saw fireworks, I saw a spotlight in the sky with my shillelagh cast in the clouds. It was the message requesting that I visit one Timothy Granger, whom I can call Timmy, who had a wish to ask of me. And here I am now,” he gestures, arms wide, to the hospital room, “here to grant your wish.”
The kid stares, his mind processing the situation. “You mean you’ll give me anything I wish for?”
El Trébol nodded and braced himself for the question he hoped the child wouldn’t ask. Despite all of his boasts and claims, he was no messiah. But, for the sake of young Timothy, he would try his best. And then Timothy spoke.
“Can I wear your mask?”
A moment of stillness before El Trebol’s gloved hands moved up to the neckline. “You would like to wear my mask?”
El Trébol slowly pulls the mask upward. When he spoke, it was through the bared lips that Timothy, the nurse, and all could see.
And the scene closes abruptly to darkness.
V/O: “I do it because it seems these days no one else does.”
“A child looks forward to adulthood not because it is a better part of their life, but because it only then that they considered worth more.”
El Trébol stands in an empty ring in what appeared to be a school gymnasium. A local independent wrestling promotion was running a show later that evening and could hardly turn down an autograph session from UTA’s resident little man in exchange of using their ring pre-show for promo purposes. So there he was, pacing.
“I haven’t a clue who told me that, years ago, but the message stuck with me even to this day. My uncle paraphrased it, though, for me when I was a little bit older: children want to grow up so at least then they can hear all the things adults say about them at eye level.”
El Trébol stops pacing, and looks down at himself.
“If he only knew the half of it.”
El Trébol waves his hand dismissively and resumes pacing.
“The point was clear, though, that childhood was not a time to experience equality or respect from the men and women towering over you. Maybe it’s the youth, the lack of experience with the ways of the world. Or maybe it’s the fact that if nothing else, even if the child is as smart and as wise as you, they still couldn’t beat you in a fight. They’re small and frail and weak, so what do they deserve except the chance to look up and see man’s nose turned up away from them.”
El Trébol watches the camera as it circles the ring outside, capturing his stare from a revolving angle while he continued to speak.
“I for one, have seen the inside of a few competitors here in the UTA in my short time here, and I’m not younger than some of them. So it has to be the other deterring quality that children and I have in common. And it’s just pains me to witness it each and every day.”
El Trébol throws a hand up, as if to stop the thought process being performed on the other side of the camera lens.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to it; they’re hasn’t been a single competitor here in the UTA who hasn’t tried to use my size against me. Well, save for SkyMont, but I’m sure he’s at least mentioned it in one of his Texts.” He shakes his head. “No, what pains me is watching kids, the fans in the UTA universe, suffer at the hands of my opponents in a sick, twisted attempt to prove an unnecessary point.”
El Trébol moves closer to the camera on the outside, placing his hands on the ropes to steady himself as he leans closer, sticking his head through the ropes. Viewers can see his hands grip tightly around the ropes.
“I could only watched as a family fell apart because a child called me their hero; Chance used me, in his own weakness and shortcoming, in a symbolic gesture that tore a family apart. And as to my opponent this week.”
Suddenly, El Trébol releases the rope with his hands and slams two closed fists. The rope vibrates from the blow.
“He didn’t even say my name, you ass!”
El Trébol’s body was shaking from the emotion hidden, yet still evident, behind the suit and the mask.
“He just wanted to sit with you, a man and a figure he looked up to. And instead of looking down and seeing him for who he was, a child who had met a hero in his life, you looked down--”
El Trébol’s legs seem to give out under him as he drops to his backside. Sitting there, he points to himself.
“And saw me.” The masked man shakes his head. “You saw me and more so you saw an opportunity to make your point. Well, the point was made, and my focus has one hundred percent been obtained. Not that it hadn’t already been there before.”
Another shake of the head from the little man as he composes himself.
“That the thing’s people always overlook about me; I never walk into these matches without an awareness at just what stood against me. I looked at you, Kendrix, just like I have with every other opponent here in the UTA: as a competitor who can beat me. Because the thing is, even with all the hype and all the momentum on my side, I’m never on the right side of the expectations. And you, Kendrix, were getting my utmost attention because, despite everything, you’re a damn good competitor.”
El Trébol throws his hands in front of his eyes like horse blinders.
“So I was already coming into Wrestleshow #51 looking to bring you the best fight I could, knowing you would do the same. I mean hell, look at what we’re about to. Two rookies headlining the first show of 2016 and the last ever Wrestleshow. I could see we were destined for a great thing, so I was focused, I was in tunnel vision mode.”
El Trébol points off-screen.
“And what do I see at the end of that tunnel but Kendrix kicking the proverbial dead child-horse while the Prodigy Championship was just lying there, already tucked in bed and waiting for me to kiss it good, mine.”
A strong pause.
“And like a train, I’m looking to burst through the tunnel full-steam to prove my point. I’m coming into Wrestleshow #51 to fight the same fight I’ve fought since day one, to prove that expectations aren’t always the outcome.”
El Trébol rises to his feet and to his cause.
“I looked into a young boy’s eyes earlier today and saw myself in them, because it wasn’t too long ago since I had been in his shoes. Now, the doctors weren’t telling me how long I had to live, but they did tell me all the things I wouldn’t and couldn’t do when I reached adulthood. And the fact that I stand in this ring now and come Monday night defies everything I was told. That’s my fight, Kendrix.”
One final, suspenseful pause.
“To show these kids that you adults aren’t always right. I’ll see you soon, Kendrix.”
And the scene fades out.