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Author Topic: Pseudopod 333: Gig Marks  (Read 4196 times)
Bdoomed
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« on: May 10, 2013, 02:30:02 AM »

Pseudopod 333: Gig Marks

by Ed Ferrara

“Gig Marks” was first published in LUCHA GORE: SCARES FROM THE SQUARED CIRCLE (Cruentus Libri Press - Kevin G. Bufton, ed.). Links to order the anthology can be found here. “I wrote it specifically for submission to that anthology, and it has not been reprinted since its original publication. If, when you think of professional wrestling, it brings to mind imagery of the WWE playing to packed arenas on television, replete with all the glitz and showmanship of a rock concert, set those thoughts aside. Wrestling’s independent scene is a different animal entirely, taking place in school gyms, armories, and VFW halls, These are the proving grounds for those who break their bodies and spill their sweat and blood for a shot at their dreams and little else. All too often, that opportunity never arrives, but that doesn’t stop the desperate belief that one day it might…”

ED FERRARA is a former television & sitcom writer/producer, whose credits include USA Network’s WEIRD SCIENCE and Walt Disney Television’s HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS: THE TV SHOW. He is perhaps best known for his work in the world of professional wrestling—as a storyline writer, he was one of the primary architects of the WWF’s “Attitude Era,” as well as having worked in similar capacities for both WCW and TNA. He teaches at Full Sail University in the Creative Writing for Entertainment BFA program. He is currently finishing his first novel, a YA/horror/adventure, and attending the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program for Popular Fiction. (Twitter: @TheEdFerrara)

Your reader this week - Patrick “The Voice” Bazille - is a Voice Over Talent and a new and fresh sound in the voice over industry. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Patrick has voiced everything from PSA’s, major product brand commercials, movie trailers, and documentaries. With a deep, commanding voice often referred to as “The Voice of God” Patrick demands attention. You can visit him at his website.



“The second I hear the sick pop of Carlos’ skull hitting the wooden gymnasium floor, I know the Kid is somewhere in the stands.

I scramble off the apron to check on Carlos. He isn’t moving. I didn’t see it happen, although the panicked look on Jesse’s face tells me everything I need to know. The jacked-up idiot wasn’t in his spot to catch the plancha, and Carlos went straight down on his melon. That’s why I leave flip-flop-flyin’ to these younger guys. Hard enough getting my big ass over my head—which I can do if the payday is worth it—but I’m gonna make damn sure I’ve got the right guy to take it and protect me. And not for a fifty-dollar spot show, either. And this is exactly why.

“Where the fuck were you?” I ask Jesse. He is supposed to be my partner tonight. At this point I’m hot and don’t give a shit about kayfabe. The show is pretty much over now anyway. The EMTs are already at ringside, checking on Carlos, and the match can’t continue until they are done. It’s a good thing most buildings require medics to be present, because you know goddamn well the promoters wouldn’t shell out for them if they didn’t have to.

Jesse looks at me, his eyes as wide as his gaping mouth. He knows he was wrong, that it’s his fault. He hasn’t moved, standing a full three feet away from the crumpled body. He was that same three feet away when Carlos sailed over the top rope. If Jesse had only closed that gap, this match would still be going on. The greenhorn didn’t even think to rush forward right after the botch, making it look like maybe Carlos undershot his leap. Nope—he’s frozen in place, a guilty statue, the short distance between him and the broken figure on the floor as damning as any smoking gun. No doubt about it—this one’s on Jesse.

As the EMTs strap Carlos into a neckbrace, onto a backboard, I can’t help stealing a quick glimpse at the bleachers. I scan around for the Kid, just to satisfy my morbid curiosity. I don’t see him. Doesn’t matter, though—I can feel him. Somewhere close.”



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Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 12:13:35 PM »

I thought this story was awesome. Like "The Wrestler" but more visceral less depressing.
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 03:34:41 PM »

I got sucked into this one in spite of my general lack of interest in wrestling. I think it had at least as much to do with the reading as the story. Well done.
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flintknapper
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2013, 09:41:34 PM »

I loved this story. I used to be a big wrestling fan. Story was dark, depressing, and really felt like a behind the scenes look at the sport. It was horror, but not necessarily horror in the traditional sense. The narrator fit the story perfectly too.

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Red Dog 344
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 10:51:16 PM »

I got sucked into this one in spite of my general lack of interest in wrestling. I think it had at least as much to do with the reading as the story. Well done.

I will second that.  But I'll also credit the author for a fine balancing act--"guilty conscience" stories are tricky.  Easy for the reader to just despise a despicable character, or in other cases, to feel that too big a deal's being made of a garden-variety moral failing.  The main character here was relatable and understandable, and also someone who, arguably, deserved to be haunted by a grisly ghost.
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lowky
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 10:57:11 PM »

really enjoyed this.  Was a huge wrestling fan back in the 80's.  And the horror of guilt is a unique take on the genre.
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Just Jeff
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2013, 10:34:09 AM »

Great story. I never cared much for wrestling, but this story was time well spent.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2013, 02:51:21 PM »

I'll join the throng of don't-follow-wrestling-but-loved-this-story reviews. I especially liked Alasdair's outro talking about how wrestlers are a niche between circus performers and boxers. Very interesting comparison. And I think it's a testament to Ed Ferrara's skill as an author that he managed to make so many of us who don't care for wrestling care about this character and his wrestling woes. Kudos. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2013, 09:21:59 PM »

This was a really solid entry.  I particularly liked the way the narrator's repeated denials of responsibility formed a recurring theme that set down strong roots as the backstory was revealed and blossomed at the end to bring it all to a pleasingly complete head.  Top marks, definitely.

And because of "The Wrestler," I had the exact right visuals to go with this one.  :-D
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adrianh
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2013, 03:54:12 AM »

I'll echo everybody else here on the story. Very nice.

The narration was really good too. Right on target for the character.
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warhammer3
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2013, 05:19:37 AM »

I thought this was a very well-written, well-read story that kept me hooked the entire time I was listening to it. The best part for me was how well the protagonist's sense of loss was conveyed in more ways than one.
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Loren Eaton
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 12:56:46 PM »

Great ending. Very subtle and understated, but you know the protagonist is about to come to no good.
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2013, 08:54:07 PM »

Perfect match of narrator to story!  Enjoyable story.
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2013, 10:39:47 PM »

It's been a while since a story has left such a clear mark in my mind and soul. Normally I have to listen to a story at least three or four times before it really hits me, but this one was different. It reminded me a little of the superhero stories on EP, and a few other tropes. It was simple, and so thoroughly portrayed every facet of guilt as I have come to know and loath it. Well written, and well read. I feel that both are very important.
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2013, 08:22:22 AM »

The story was well-written with solid characters and shows the details of an occupation that you don't often hear that much about.  I think I would've given it top marks if I hadn't seen The Wrestler recently enough for it to still linger on my mind.  The things that I thought were best about this story I didn't feel like it did better than that movie which I'd already seen.  There's something to be said for doing it more compactly, but in my memory this story is destined to be remembered as "that story that's just like The Wrestler".

Which isn't a flaw in the story, but just a result of timing.
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Listener
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 01:51:53 PM »

I was a wrestling fan from ages 4 to 24 (and then I decided one day that it just didn't interest me anymore). I lived through the Ed Ferrara/Vince Russo era of WCW. I won't comment on that.

I also used to work with a small promotion in central Florida, writing articles and taking photos, so I know exactly where the MC is coming from. Those guys were all SUPER awesome (except one dude who was an ass, but he didn't get invited to any more shows after that) and we all would go out for food after events ended. One ECW wrestler who worked with the promotion told me I should get in the ring, but I was like... NO. (And he was known for showing lots of color.)

With the background I have in the sport, I know how accurate this story was. Which, I'm sure, was Ferrara's point -- to show us that, yeah, there can be supernatural horror in pro wrestling, but sometimes the scariest thing is how the business sucks you in, chews you up, and leaves you a broken husk just trying to get in one more show before you lose it due to exhaustion. A really good story all around.

And the narration was amazing, as it always seems to be when this narrator is on the show.
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