"Please don't bury me
Down in that cold, cold ground
No, I’d rather have 'em cut me up
And pass me all around"
“Pease Don’t Bury Me” –John Prine
A funeral parlor with a body lying in the center of the room resting peacefully in a casket is where we find our savior. If you’ve been to enough funerals, you know that smell; it has hints of high-end colognes, mixing with perfumes, mixing with the smell of death and formaldehyde. We spend our entire lives covering up our stench (at least Americans do).
The old man in the casket is wearing a nice black suit and is caked with makeup trying to give a hint of life to his face. It’s failing. An old woman dressed in all black is heading up the line greeting the people lined up to pay their respects to her dearly departed husband. Two 40 something men stand with her also dressed in black most likely her children.
Hoyt lingers in the back of the room eating a pastrami and swiss perfectly cut triangle sandwiches. He watches the sad faces, the children holding back laughter confused by the whole thing, and the elderly friends of the man contemplating their own mortality as time marches on. Hoyt smiles as an old lady walks by grabbing Hoyts wrists lovingly.
Elderly Woman: Thank you for coming young man how did you know Irv?
Hoyt Williams: He was a dare close personal friend.
Elderly Woman: It’s terrible how the Alzheimer got him in the end.
Hoyt gets lost in the glaze of her sad eyes for a moment as he starts thinking about how Alzheimer would be a great finishing move for an evil German wrestler. Perhaps recency bias from the last tour overseas mixed with sleep deprivation is causing his genius mind to drift ever so slightly.
Hoyt Williams: A hell of a finisher.
Elderly Woman: Yea I wouldn’t wish that on my own worst enemy, he didn’t even know his own children near the end.
The social justice samurai’s mind again goes adrift as he chuckles to himself how funny it would be if Ariel Shadows would get Alzheimer’s, and then maybe she could finally forget about that loser dead husband of hers. I mean it might be a good thing for her in the end he ponders.
Hoyt Williams: No, no, me neither.
Elderly Woman: You should probably go say your final respects.
Hoyt Williams: I was thinking about getting another sandwich first before they are all gone.
Elderly Woman: Oh, honey we have plenty of food. Don’t worry about it. I’m sure this isn’t easy for you go ahead hon, get it over with. How did you say you knew Irv again?
Hoyt Williams: Ummm we used to golf together at the club.
Elderly Woman: I didn’t think Irv enjoyed golf?
Hoyt Williams: Excuse me, I should pay my respects.
Hoyt exits the conversation and gets in the short line to say good-bye to the man in the casket. Hoyt finishes up what’s left of the sandwich as he thinks for a moment how funny it is that he has to wait in line to visit a dead guy. He’s distracted for a moment as he notices in the hallway the catering company refilling the sandwich try. He takes a sigh of relief. Hoyt gets to the front of the line and pays his condolences to the family.
Hoyt Williams: I’m going to miss Irv he was a hell of a man.
Widow: Oh thank you. How did you know him?
Hoyt Williams: Dear close personal friend from way back.
Widow: Oh did you play poker with him?
Hoyt Williams: YESSSSS!!!
The second coming of Christ catches himself after being a bit over excited to agree.
Hoyt Williams: He was a great player. He taught me everything I know about Poker. He was a hell of a player.
Widow: Oh, that’s nice. Well, thank you for coming. Help yourself to the catering we got Manny’s it was always Irv’s favorite deli.
Hoyt Williams: Oh, thank you! It’s mine too!
The miracle man approaches the casket and falls to a knee setting it on the kneeler. It reminds him of all those Sunday’s sitting in church in the hard pews constantly standing up, sitting down, singing, standing up, sitting down, knelling on the kneeler, standing up, singing all the while missing football or sleeping in. The whole process sucked which is why they call those benches pews…because they stink. Hoyt leans into the casket by the man’s ear.
Hoyt Williams: Say pal, when you get upstairs talk to Saint Pete at the front of the line. Tell ol’Pete that Hoyt sent you, and that you should skip the line. No joke. You’ll get right in. Pete loves to take smoke breaks. Tell him I said he can take one if he gives you any grief, or if he doesn’t believe you. As soon as he hears that he’ll know you really do know me. Enjoy heaven pal, you’re going to love the waterslides and the fact your favorite TV show is always on with new episodes. I’m on the 51st season of NYPD Blue.
A quick kiss to the dead man’s forehead as Hoyt gets up and starts heading back to the catering table in the outside hallway. He makes a bee line for the pastrami sandwiches. He grabs two and a handful of chips. A guy in a gray suit makes his way over to Hoyt with a sandwich of his own in hand.
Man: Say aren’t you that wrestler Hoyt Williams?
Hoyt Williams: I am.
Man: Dude I used to watch that stuff all the time when I was a kid. Your dad was one of my favorites. I enjoyed your stuff too, when you were God’s son or whatever.
Hoyt Williams: Yea, thanks.
Man: Do you still wrestle?
Hoyt Williams: I do. I’m the next champion of CWF as soon as I win a tournament. It really is God’s will I become champion.
Man: That’s fantastic. I think my son still watches will you take a selfie with me?
Hoyt Williams: I mean its kind of an odd place to do that given the circumstances of our dear friend Irv’s passing.
Man: Aww come on it would give me so much credibility with him!
The man is not taking no for an answer and already has his phone out as he moves in next to Hoyt. Hoyt musters up a half smile as the man snaps the photograph of the two.
Man: Thanks man! Say how did you know Irv?
Hoyt Williams: Oh, umm we were old poker pals. You?
The man looks sheepishly around as he leans in towards Hoyt.
Man: To be honest I hardly knew him. I was his insurance agent and I just had to fulfill the claim. So really, I’m here for Mrs. McDonald more than anything. I want to keep her as a customer.
Hoyt Williams: Well since we’re being blunt here. Truth is I have no idea who that man is.
Man: What you just come to random funerals?
Hoyt Williams: Not just any funeral but you see I live across the street and I saw the Manny’s catering truck pull up and it’s my favorite deli in the city.
Man: So, you’re here for the sandwiches?
Hoyt Williams: Well yea that and the ambiance.
Man: I mean I must admit these are some really good sandwiches.
Hoyt Williams: I know right?!?
Man: It’s still a little weird.
Hoyt Williams: So is driving halfway across the city in traffic to get a sandwich and they don’t deliver. Here I kill two birds with one stone.
Man: That takes skill.
Hoyt Williams: It was a pleasure to meet you.
Hoyt grabs three more sandwiches and puts them on his plate as he makes his way to the door.
*****LATER THAT DAY*****
Hoyt is standing next to a man with a microphone in front of a CWF backdrop. The man wearing a suit is none other than CWF update correspondent and Hoyt’s personal interviewer Burt Perlow.
Mr. Perlow: Alriggggt. I’m standing here now with CWF megastar and the savior of wrestling YOUR KYUSEISHU, HOYT WILLIAMS!
Hoyt Williams: Thank you Mr. Perlow. It’s a pleasure to join you, the CWF sinners, and all of Hoyt’s witnesses tonight on this webcast.
Mr. Perlow: With one loss in the Alpha and Omega tournament and the field so tight how important is your next match with Ariel Shadows?
The savior takes a minute to pick a piece of pastrami out of his teeth. He smiles his million-dollar smile and looks directly into the camera like the old veteran that he is.
Hoyt Williams: It’s important. Every win matters as we count down the opponents and the score until we have a champion. A champion who is a son of God, and worth the company’s massive PR system behind him. I tell ya Burt a woman isn’t what the people want to see as the head of a fight-based company. People want a legend, like me. The sinners deserve salvation from the horrible champions of the past. The last guy turned his back on the company and walked away like a child. Sinners are going to sin, sin, sin. It’s just who they are……..
Your “Personal Jesus” looks past Burt Perlow looking behind him with concern. The interviewer turns around and tries to discover what Hoyt sees to no avail. Burt looks confused at God’s champion as Hoyt’s gaze intensifies.
Hoyt Williams: Do you see that?
Mr. Perlow: What?
Hoyt Williams: Yes, I can hear you.
Mr. Perlow: Who me?
Hoyt Williams: You have a message for your wife?
Mr. Perlow: What is going on?
Hoyt Williams: Burt, it appears that the ghost of Madman Szalinski has joined us. I can translate with the afterlife. It’s one of the benefits of being a savior’s son.
Mr. Perlow: We have a CWF exclusive as apparently Madman Szalinski has joined us from beyond the grave. What could he possibly want?
Hoyt Willaims: What’s that? I can’t say that it’s 2019 Madman, things have changed. Oh, ok. He wants to send a message to Areola Shadows his widowed wife. He demands I call her Areola as that was his pet name for her as I guess she has…
Mr. Perlow: It is 2019 PLEASE!
Hoyt Williams: Look, I know, I tried to tell him the same thing. I tried telling him how juvenile that is but he won’t listen. Hey, don’t twitter shame me I’m just the messenger here if this offends you.
Hoyt stops talking puts his hand up and listens to the ghost intensely.
Hoyt Williams Oh, no, come on Madman. Ok!?! Apparently, he wants Areola Shadows to know that he’s found a much better “lay” in the afterlife. He says he had no idea how terrible of a lover she was until he thankfully died. He says his life has gotten so much better since he shredded that nag out of his realm and hes finally living his best life.
Mr. Perlow: Best life in death. Who would have guessed? What does he think of your match against his wife this week in the Alpha & Omega tournament?
Hoyt Williams: He said that was a great question and you should replace Tara on Tuesdays. He says that Areola should be honored to get in the ring with a legend like Hoyt. OH thank you! He says that her kicks are shitty as her cooking, and she should just no show the match. Madman I don’t like to use that kind of language can we refrain from words like shitty?
Hoyt pauses and his face gets angry as he listens to the response.
Hoyt Williams: Fuck you too….
Hoyt pushes the air as if a man was standing there and he was shoving him. Burt Perlow is watching in amazement at this spiritual medium act.
Hoyt Williams: Ok, ok, ok I’m glad you admit that you could never take me. That’s kind of you to say. So anyway, the Madman says Areola should just hang up her tights and retire. That she’s embarrassing his legacy of the loser pot head that he was. He says, as he promised her, he’s been watching her very closely, and her wrestling is a tarnish to the family name and really the history of wrestling in general. He says that he wishes their child would go blind just so he would never have to see his mother again. He said that Shadows is so bad she makes celebrities who wrestle one offs look good.
Mr. Perlow: Harsh.
Hoyt Williams: He also wants her to know that she’s going to hell and they will never reunite, and he couldn’t be happier about it. He said his death was the peace he needed from her nonstop nagging. He must go now. Ok bye Mad Man!
Hoyt waves as the invisible dead man walks away.
Hoyt Williams: Oh Mrs. Shadows your husband was a pleasure to meet. I’m glad we had that moment. Tuesday, we have our moment together. I’m sorry I must be the one to shatter your caught dreams, but business is business. You stand in the way from me unifying God’s title with the CWF title. Fear not woman for your kingdom has come. Get ready to be Crucified and saved.
The camera cuts off.