Spit mixed with sweat sailed through the humid air and splattered on Pablo’s forehead. Pablo’s eyes crossed as he watched the fluid drip down his slender nose. Normally this would be disgusting, but today it was beautiful. It was a sign.
Just moments before, El Oso Loco planted a slap on Hector Gigante that was so viscous it shook the entire ring. The rowdy crowd cheered as Hector’s giant body hit the canvas like a lame bird falling out of the sky. His green and red mask, his identity, his alter-ego, nearly flew off his head, what a disgrace that would have been; for a luchador without a mask is nothing more than a mere man.
Pablo had swallowed two corn dogs and was now feverishly working on his mustard flavored fingernails. A stabbing pain from his bandaged elbows quickly reminded him of the match he snuck into just a few days ago. From what he could remember, it was an exciting bout between Mucho Dinero and Mas Problemas. Although he was there until the end, Pablo had to peek in the newspaper the next day to see who won.
Today’s event was special. Today’s event featured the biggest, the baddest, the furriest, the meanest luchador to ever step into the ring, El Oso Loco. But, Pablo could not ignore the twisting knot in his stomach. It was the type of knot that reminded you every second, every breath that you lied to your mamá about your whereabouts. And then there was the gut-wrenching fear of being caught…again! Pablo winced at that dreadful thought.
But Pablo had a dream, a goal to one day be the most exalted luchador to ever fight in the sweat-stained ring. He HAD to be here, it was his calling. Plus, he didn’t completely lie to his mamá. He did go to the library to do his homework. He just didn’t stay very long; about 5 minutes to be exact. No matter, she was working late at the diner and El Oso Loco was about to put an end to Hector Gigante and the night. Pablo would be home safe in 15 minutes and she would never know.
With the power and playfulness of a fattened bear, El Oso Loco climbed to the top rope. The bright stadium lights sparkled off his gold and brown mask like a lighthouse calling home ships lost in a hellish storm. Everyone in the crowded bleachers knew what was coming. Pablo knew.
El Oso Loco faced the crowd. Pablo stood and faced the crowd. El Oso lifted his huge arms populated with dense muscles. Pablo lifted his skinny arms populated with dirt and scratches. El Oso huffed and puffed while moving his head like an aggravated bear. Pablo did the same.
“O-SO, O-SO, O-SO” echoed off the rafters and out the open dome up into the heavens.
Pablo took a deep breath as he bent his scrawny legs. His crafty brain transformed the crowd’s chants into “PA-BLO, PA-BLO, PA-BLO.” Pablo was living his dream. He was the luchador fighting in the ring. With every ounce of power in his eleven year old body he jumped into the air, thrusting himself backwards. All went silent as hundreds of cameras flashed in a fabulous sequence.
First Pablo saw the sky, then the ring, and then the pavement.
“It’s Pablito again”
“Is he knocked out?”
“I’ll call his mother.”