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The Crush

“Just one more match.”

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They call me, The Crush. On TV, they say I’m “bigger than life”—a real world superhero in the world of professional wrestling. I have rippling muscles and soar around the ring like an eagle. I’m the defender of good, destroyer of evil. The kids look up to me, the women love me, and the men want to be me. What could be better than being, The Crush?

The thing is, I don’t really feel much like a superhero these days. My body always hurts now. I get real bad headaches all the time. Hell, even my vision ain’t so good no more. But what really bothers me, my muscles have been shrinking. I try my best to stay in good shape, but I’m getting old. No two ways about it.

I first noticed when the boos started. I never got booed in the old days. But now they boo; even some of the kids. They chant, “Same old shit!” when I go through my routine. They scream, “You can’t wrestle!” when I do my signature moves. This is why the boss don’t put me on TV much anymore. Says I’m too old to relate to, but not old enough to bring the nostalgia crowd.

I’ve noticed less people ask me for autographs after the show, too; I only get a few of the older guys or some stragglers who are waitin’ on one of the bigger names to come out. Seems like the boss is embarrassed to send me out into the crowds after the show. I don’t blame him, I feel embarrassed sometimes, too—standing there with a whole crowd of kids ignoring me like they don’t know who I am.

Even my son seems embarrassed to tell people his dad is, The Crush. He used to look up to me, but he’s a teenager now. Maybe “wrastlin’” isn’t cool to him no more. Maybe he just forgot about what I used to be. Seems like everyone else did.

I think about retiring all the time—I wish I could. But something about walkin’ down that ramp—the lights shining bright and my music ramping up—it’s a feeling like no other. It’s the only time I don’t hurt—the only time I forget about the headaches. I can even remember all the moves I’m supposed to do—and anymore, my memory ain’t so good either. But it’s crystal clear when I’m in the ring.

I’m old, but when I step into the squared circle, when the crowd starts gettin’ riled up, I feel like it’s ‘92 all over again. And no matter how many times I’ve done it, it always feels like the first time.

“Just one more match.” That’s what I always tell myself. But I can’t stop; I’m addicted. Sometimes, I feel like I’ll die in that ring. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Because even though I’m not as fast or as strong as I used to be, I still can’t help thinking to myself, what could be better than being, The Crush?

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If you liked this, check out some of these other cool flash fiction pieces.

Pit Stop

In Bloom

Just a Dream

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