Charlie Nav presents Spider Monkey
* * * * *
[The camera eye lifts its lid and finds itself staring at the familiar logo of a Motel 6. The voice of Spider Monkey barrels ahead.]
We’ve got it *easy*? Well, Michael, I think after the show this week you and I need to go out and grab a beer, because I need to pick your brain and figure out exactly what it is you’re doing that makes living this wrestling life “easy”.
[A slow pan down from the giant sign soon brings us past the rooftop, past the second floor, and settles us at ground level where we find the aforementioned Spider Monkey standing just outside of room 105. He is dressed in a pair of time-worn denims and an “Eyewitness N.E.W.S.” tee, his garish yellow Spider Monkey mask tied tightly around his head. A black traveler’s suitcase drags behind him.]
Clearly I’m doing something wrong. Apparently there’s a smoother ride to fame and fortune than the one I’ve been on. Musta got on the wrong bus that first day out of wrestling school. Damn my luck.
[With a shake of his masked head that seems to say “you gotta be kidding me”, SM turns and thrusts his room key into the lock and quickly throws the door open before stepping inside. Our camera follows.]
Ten years I’ve been doing this gig, Michael. That’s a full decade with almost *zero* breaks of driving all over this country in a shitty pick-up truck just trying to make it to the next podunk town. You got your monotonous stretches of dead highway, your backbreaking jaunts down barely paved roads, fighting through God-awful rush hour traffic just to make it to some National Guard Armory for a $25 pay-off.
Yeah. Piece of cake.
[The suitcase gets dumped just inside the doorway. The inside of the room is just as you would imagine a motel room to look. Simon Donovan already covered this ground in greater detail, so if you’ve done your reading this week you won’t need any more than that. Either way you ain’t getting it. Monkey flops himself down in the chair which sits next to the TV stand and slowly sinks back into the upholstery.]
Technically I’ve got myself an address back in Kansas. It’s really nothing more than a dumpy little room over this dude’s garage, but considering I’m only there for maybe 20 days out of the year, that hardly matters. But yeah, that’s “home”. The rest of the time I’m ping-ponging from town to town and shacking up in places like this. Motel 6 knows my face very well. Hell… they even know my *real* face.
Yet according to the wisdom of Michael Iashvili, I’m living the good life. I should be just counting my lucky stars that I’ve been blessed to compete in such an “easy” profession.
[While on the one hand, Spider Monkey is doing his best to look exhausted by draping his slender frame all over the chair in a sprawling display, on the other hand we can tell he is far more excitable and wound up than at first glance, as tipped off by the way his right leg continues to bounce up and down on the ball of his foot in a spastic rhythm. Call it hyperactive irritation if you want.]
You know, I could bust out a list of all the injuries I’ve suffered over the years, but I’m not sure I want to waste the next year of my life that it would take to do so. Let’s just say I’ve had more bumps, bruises, breaks, sprains, tears, cuts, scrapes and concussions than an entire pro football time sees in a full season. And setting aside for a moment the pain and discomfort associated with all these things, I want you to stop a minute and contemplate just how *expensive* and how much of a hassle it is to take care of these injuries without the benefit of health care. Stitches aren’t cheap, my friend. And don’t even get me started on the cost of surgery.
[Reaching down, SM rolls up the jeaned pant leg on his left leg, slowly revealing a long scar running up the left side of his calf.]
Did you ever have a metal plate put in ya just to make sure the bone heals correctly? I have. It sucks.
[He continues rolling the pants up past the knee, now showing off a heavily scarred and purple looking kneecap area.]
Mmmm. That looks pretty tasty, don’t it? You know that thing they call “knee cartilage”? Well I’m pretty sure once upon a time I had some, but those days are long past. Yeah, I tell ya, Mike, there’s nothing like coming home after a long day at the gym and making a pit stop at the local clinic to have the build-up of fluid drained from my knee to remind of just how good I got it. Hot dog! What a life!
[Even through the mask we can sense the look of disgust that creeps across Monkey’s face as he rolls the pant leg of his Levi’s back down.]
I missed Christmas with my mother last year because I got lost on the way to her house — the same house she’s been living in since, oh, the day I was conceived — all thanks to the fact that I’ve had more steel chairs wrapped around my skull than Wendy’s has sold burgers.
[He leans forward in the chair, resting his forearms across his thighs and cups his hands together, staring intently into the camera.]
I’m real sorry that the whole lawyer thing didn’t work out for you, Michael. Sounds to me like you had the best intentions in mind and would have made a difference if given the chance. And I’m happy for you that you were able to go visit your father’s homeland and discover something you cared about, namely this great sport we call wrestling. That’s sincere, brother. You sound like a decent guy.
But don’t you for a *SECOND* think that any of that gives you the right to judge me and what I’ve been through. I’ve been at this game a hell of a lot longer than you, and I’m here to tell ya that it ain’t all wine and roses. It’s a hard life. The hours suck, the travel sucks, the injuries suck, the pay sucks, the promoters most definitely suck, hell lots of things in this business suck. It took me a long time to learn that lesson. I logged a lot of miles before that realization hit me, but by then I was too far into it to change things. Not only is it getting late in the game for me to suddenly up and change my life mission, there’s the simple truth that for all the bitching and moaning I’ve done, there’s nothing in the world that could ever take the place of the high I get each time I step foot into that ring.
[Spider’s head drops solemnly forward.]
There it is. The hard truth. I love what I do, even if I hate how it’s done. It’s a f[bleep]d up existence, but it’s mine.
[His gaze rises upward, once again settling itself at camera level.]
I’ve given my life in the pursuit of something, Michael Iashvili. And no, it’s not money. Or fame. Those things are merely the benefits.
All I’ve ever wanted was a fair shot. For somebody to recognize the hard work I’ve put in and the dedication I have to perfecting my craft and to reward me for that with an opportunity to showcase what I can really do.
[The eyes inside the mask are hard and focused.]
Ten years I’ve been waiting.
[Again the head drops forward, the eyes falling out of sight. This time, however, the gesture is followed by the sight of Spider Monkey thrusting himself up and out of the chair before breaking into an agitated pace around the tiny motel room.]
For ten long, HARD years I’ve been pulling out all the stops. You’re gonna be hard pressed to find anybody in this sport today who has spent as much time studying the ins and outs of the squared circle like I have. And while I can certainly recognize that there may be guys in this thing who are just more naturally gifted than I, I won’t for a minute admit that they work harder than me.
There’s nothing I won’t try. No move I won’t attempt if I think it’ll help me get that next important win. I give it my all EACH and EVERY time I step through the ropes. All in the hopes that one day someone would recognize what I’ve done… acknowledge the skills I have… and give me a chance to be something more than “opening attraction”.
I’m sorry if you and all the others out there are sick and tired of listening to me bitch. Maybe if you’d put in the time that I have and had as many doors slammed in your face as I have, *maybe* I’d take your complaints to heart.
[The pacing stops. The Monkey stops with his hands on his hips, his head tilted down in controlled contemplation.]
But there is no way in HELL that I’m going to sit back and take it while some ass-rammer, who is 0-for-his-career in DWS, calls me “lazy” and “self-indulgent”. No sir, Mr. Iashvili — *THAT* I won’t stand for.
[Back with the pacing.]
I see you got yourself one of those fancy DWS sponsorships. Good for you. You’re right, Lysol may not be Nike, but considering you haven’t won a damn thing yet, you should be happy with what you got.
Which of course begs the question: where’s mine?
[Again the pacing stops, this time with Spider crossing his arms over his chest in that kind of sarcastic “Hmmmm” stance.]
I’ve got a win. You don’t. I’ve got a catchy nickname and this stupid mask that no doubt would be a big hit if you were trying to market to the kiddies. You? You’ve got a name that’s hard to pronounce and no discernable personality traits. So where’s my Toys-R-Us sponsorship? Where’s my big push?
Christ, even your manager agrees with me. Maybe I should see if she’d manage me too. Be a hell of a lot better than my current situation: crazy Charlie Nav the absentee manager. But her? What’s her name, Mary? Well she gets it. She sees what I see, except she sees it happening to you. But it’s the same thing. What’s going on with you now is what’s been going on with me for my entire career.
No support from the higher ups. No fancy entrance. I’d settle for a couple of high school cheerleaders holding sparklers at this point. Anything. Better yet, how’s about rewarding me for what I *have* accomplished by letting me advance up the ranks like a normal person. You see, usually when you defeat someone, you move on. Not the Spider Monkey. I defeated some rube named Brian Buchanan, then had to sit back and watch while the same guy got placed in the battle royal right along side me. Of course he got eliminated without much of a fight and I surged ahead, nearly winning the damn thing. The winner got a shot at the Crown Jewel title. Surely the runner up would be in line for a TV title shot, right?
[The head cocks sideways, looking up at the camera at somewhat sinister angle.]
Oh, no, my friend. My reward is to go one-on-one with a guy who hasn’t won *anything*. A victory over you this week means… well…
I just go to the end of the growing list of guys who have beat you. And the rankings? Kinda hard to move up when the guy your facing is already at the bottom. So next week it’ll back to the drawing board with an Anthony Rydel or a Jonas Starcrusher or whatever no-name makes his debut in this place, running in place on the career treadmill to nowhere.
[The eyes again. Those eyes.]
…And I’m not supposed to be bitter?
[A pause, as once again the head drops down.]
See ya in the ring, Michael.
[A deep sigh, then Spider Monkey reaches over and grabs his suitcase, tossing it haphazardly onto the bed as he prepares to unpack. Fade out.]
* * * * *