Real in Memphis
Purple Haze Night Club
140 Lt George W Lee Ave
Memphis, TN 38103
Post-match bar rituals were usually second to most exciting of all rituals firstly being in the ring. They involved the talent getting really drunk, really fast, as they bragged with such stern voracity of their recent actions. Whether it was a rat they banged, car they brought or a match they had, they were always so amped up and often had a ton of money on them. With that deadly combined bravado, often it got out of hand, and nine times out of ten there was a fight involved, usually with publicans or fans who thought they could take the phony fighters.
The boys loved it of course. Slapping a fan about was par for the course for talent. It made them look more like real fighters, if they gave a fan a pasting. Only trouble being is, Harvey, like all promoters was very traditional about things. If a guy lost a fight, he had to fire them for not protecting the business, otherwise they would look like phonies.
“If you lose tonight, then don’t come to work tomorrow pal” was always his take on such matters.
As beers were sunk and laughs were heard, there were only two people not drinking heavily, as Nelson who had brought his wife alongside him, and was being silently mocked for it, and Hex Clearfield. Hex didn’t drink much, but enjoyed the proceedings from afar as he sat in the corner, and watched his prospective co-workers regale one another with tales of opulent debauchery.
They were a peculiar sight, as they sat at the bar at the Purple Haze nightclub in Memphis. Even at a venue that had punk nights, they often stood out with their brash ways and eye catching appearance. The women of course flocked to them and the other patrons stood around in awe, and clenched fisted.
The Monroeville Mauler entered the bar, and was greeted with approval from the boys as they roared at the sight of the big man. Nelson who was slightly out of place due to the office connections offered him a seat and was the most cordial of them all.
“You queers ready to party?”screamed the Mauler as he pulled out a funnel with a tube on it, which was his party trick in bars, and positioned it inside his mouth and ushered his pals on to fill it with drinks.
They did, and he chugged as they chanted his name. Beer sloshed everywhere, all down the big man’s mouth and chest and many of his pals were enriched with spilt ale.
When Nelson’s young wife returned from the ladies, she noticed her seat was now taken by a big mighty biker, and was far too apprehensive to ask the mighty lug to move. Hex politely spoke to her.
“It’s Bethany, isn’t it?”
“Bethany isn’t it?”
“Oh yes it is…you’re Hex right?”
“That’s right Madame, Hex Clearfield”
“You’re the Chattanooga Nightmare?”
“That’s right, forgive my intrusion, but I see you don’t have a chair?”
“Oh it’s not a problem honest”
“Oh please, a pretty young thing like you shouldn’t have to stand around like some idiot, take my chair.” he said as he pulled the chair upwards for her.
“Why thank you”
She sat down with Hex as the two were separate from the shenanigans of their group. Everyone else was preoccupied with the Mauler’s bawdy antics. The Mauler downed the beers, and then hoisted his arms up high and grunted in his signature growl. That was like a howl as everyone laughed and egged him on.
The Mauler looked around at the cheering and then noticed that Hex wasn’t cheering him on, and seeing this newbie talking friendly to Bethany, he stared at him further and then roared loudly.
Nelson was perturbed and looked on before talking
“Yes Mauler, can I help you?”
The Mauler now stood, and was surly and bold. More so than usual as the boys were now quiet and paying attention.
“You’re a brave man Nelson. Let’s hear it for Nelson’s bravery!”
The heel wrestlers applauded and hollered for Nelson as instructed.
“Thank you…But why am I brave?”He said, confused
“Braver than me; bringing your girl here”
Everyone laughed, heels and baby faces alike.
“Its fine, I trust you all to be respectful to her and keep a polite tongue…”
“Oh you can trust us, can’t he boys?”said the Mauler, as the talent cheered him on. At this point the boys were so amped up and in agreement with the Mauler they would’ve agreed to anything he said and often they did.
“You can always trust the boys you work with…”he said arms open to his posse of fellow employees.
“But not the ones from the outside!”
He looked over at Hex, as the boys all went quiet now.
The Mauler was a total alpha, and wasn’t someone you messed with. Despite his ideas on life being almost animalistic at times he commanded a certain loyalty from the boys. He was deemed a “locker room leader”, which was wrestling speak for being a sort of enforcer who’s unofficially in charge of sorting out any dissidence. Thus when he declared something or someone was a problem, it was to be resolved.
Nelson stood up slowly, Bethany was his girl and he needed to be the one to quell the situation if there was one. But at the same time, standing up to Hex wasn’t something Nelson wanted to do. Hex was a real life beast, who had a deep scar running down the side of his black face from a previous bar fight, and apparently was rumoured to have bitten a man’s index finger off in a fight one time. He was a real tough guy and Nelson merely played one on TV.
“Hex…”he said nervously as he stood up
“Yes booker man?”
“I would prefer it if you didn’t talk to my wife”
“You would now, wouldn’t you?”
“Nelson we were just talking…”
“Bethany, not now”
“But we didn’t do anything wrong?”
Nelson shot her a look of disdain, and she sighed before answering him back
“Why do you have to do this? Every time we go out you ruin things.”
“Bethany, enough now.”
“I can’t believe you’re doing this again to me…here in front of everyone, why do you always make a show of me?”
Nelson was beginning to get agitated, he didn’t want to fight anyone and he knew if he pulled Bethany aside it wouldn’t look good in front of the boys. But he had to act, and act fast and being management he needed to not back down.
“Bethany, shut your cunt mouth up!”
And with the “C” word being spoke, there was a silence in the room. A cold industrial silence, as the music stopped playing so loud, and security guards were now present though even they wisely hung back at the sight of these two behemoths about to kick off.
“Alright boys, keep it friendly now we don’t wanna have to ask anyone to leave.” said a security guard whose words went unnoticed by all.
“Mr Knucks…or should I say officer Knucks…”
Hex stood up and got real close to Nelson, Hex was lean, and even in his plum pinstriped suit you could tell he was leaner than Nelson.
“If you don’t want your lady talking to a Negro that’s fine. I understand that…But don’t be calling your lady wife a cunt now.”
“That’s cowardly and it demeans her.”
“I think you should apologise to the lady?”
At this point it seemed like time had stopped, everyone was silent and attentive now. All the wrestling fraternity was present accept for Sam South, Vixen, Harvey and Ruby Tuesday, and the place felt like it was about to go nuclear.
“Yes Nelson?” said Beth, as she folded her arms together expecting an apology forthright.
“Get your things together, we’re leaving.”Said Nelson, as he tried to ignore the big black tough guy, as both he and Bethany tried to pass him. Nelson felt a big black hand that was firm and long upon his broad chest.
“Whoa boss man, I don’t think we is done here yet?”
At this point, Nelson was swathed with mixed emotions, as he looked towards his congregation to study their faces. If he walked he would look cowardly, and lose the respect of the boys. If he tried his luck he would lose in seconds to Hex. There was no way out of this situation and he knew it.
“I reckon, we are done here!”Said the Mauler stepping in, as Nelson breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of having to go through the Chattanooga nightmare alone.
At this point everyone reluctantly got up in support of Nelson. The Canadian Pugs arose, as did Rod Golden, Bucko Rogers, The Flying Kidd, Baz, Fetu and Loanne, even Charles Chortle, the ring announcer in his twilight years thought to raise up and front the supposed outsider.
“So it’s like that. Is it?”
“Yeah it is…I don’t care how much money Harvey offered you earlier, don’t think this company is letting someone like you in here.” said the Mauler chiming in with racial motivated support for his boss.
“Are we gonna have a problem?”
“Yeah we’re gonna have a problem alright, and the problem is you!”
“Well you best be careful boy, I have a way of solving problems my own way.”
Hex clicked finally; this wasn’t about a woman, colour, or being an outsider. It was simply about money as always that was the only colour that matters.
“You think I wanna work with a bunch of banjo twanging inbred toothless cocksuckers like you guys?”
“I’ll tear through here like I do everywhere else, take all your money, beat all your talent and won’t lose to none of yo crackers.”
“Maybe I’ll tear through a few of your woman too…”he said, smiling at Bethany who was being pushed behind by her husband, as a fight was to occur.
“Maybe even a daughter?”he said, looking at Rod Golden and smiled through his gold teeth as he did.
“You what?”said the world champion in disgust.
“Tear through this your chain dragger!”said the Mauler, as he wrapped a bottle around the big black man’s head hard, knocking him backwards as the bottle smashed and liquid, glass and foam hit the man’s head with a fervent clash.
The group all tried to rush the big man, and he quickly instinctively popped the Mauler one in his eye, and then hid amongst the bodies of security and patrons who quickly got involved in the brawl that ensued. Everyone was hitting everyone in seconds, and the neon lights of the venue quickly turned bright white as the lights came on as the scuffle ensued.
Bethany ran to hide; she hated violence even more so than being treated like a commodity by her husband. She was nearly out of the door when she felt a big long hand grab her wrist again and pulled her aside.
“This way Bethany…”
Hex grabbed her with his big strong arms and held her wrists. He led her away from the main door that would no doubt be filling with cops any second now.
“Trust me it’s safe this way” He said, as she nodded and ran with him. Both Hex and Bethany could hear the strains of violence, broken furniture, and glass. They ran into a back room that led to the toilets and the big man stopped, and opened a hole in the floor that had a silver square around it that led to a cellar.
“Come on Mam, trust me, the cops will be here any second now and we’ll need to hide out.”
“I’m not sure about this Hex”
“Fine please yourself, but a pretty dainty thing like you don’t deserve to spend the night in no jail cell surrounded by lesbian dykes.”
“I don’t deserve any of this…”
“I know you don’t Bethany, you deserve so much better.”He said, as she sucked a tear up in her eye as best she could to stop her makeup from running. She joined him as he held out his hand for her and descended a ladder to the cellar.
The wrestlers hit fans, patrons, girls, security officers and even one another during the brawl. Nelson looked around and couldn’t see his wife anywhere as he looked around the darkened bar with its garish neon purple lights abound that flickered on and off between the normal lights.
“Bethany where are you?”He called out. She was nowhere to be seen.
Down in the basement, Hex was being tended to by Bethany as they sat in a poorly lit room that housed a million different kegs of beer. The single light bulb that wobbled side to side barely shined on them and the floor above pounded.
“Does it hurt?”she said, as she pulled glass from his mighty afro, thankfully his big hair had protected him somewhat.
“No it doesn’t mam…”he said, as he held her hand now tightly against his head as she checked for damages.
“You have such a soft touch Bethany. It’s like an angel just healed me.”
“Married?”“Marriage is just a job you do to stay in the game; it isn’t who you are Bethany.”He said, as he towered over her and leaned in for a kiss. She tried to force him off her, and began slapping him lightly, but not hard enough to stop him and not strong enough to let him know that she didn’t want him. Eventually gave in like they always did for Hex, his charm and masculinity was too much for her.
Above ground, finally the police had arrived. It took about thirty minutes, and in total about twenty of Memphis’s finest cops to get every wrestler and patron to calm down, long enough to be apprehended by the law, and about ten of them just to arrest the Mauler himself. When he was on a rage it was ugly alright as Nelson and his friends were slowly taken out of the venue and arrested. They would spend the night in the cells, and the following day’s publicity would sell more tickets to the next show off the back of it. Any scars and bruises would be seen as a badge of honour as they had protected their business once again.
Below ground Bethany was also getting honoured in a different way, as she felt Hex’s love protrude her insides. She felt like she was being overpowered and overwhelmed, yet didn’t have a smile on her face while it happened. Unlike a lot of other wrestlers’ wives, who routinely cheated while their husbands were on the road, Bethany never did much. When she did she didn’t enjoy it like she felt she should have.