Chapter 3

The clock on the classroom wall seemed to be moving slower and slower every time Mari stole a glance of it. Homework was light that week and she had finished up everything in the study hall that never seemed to end. This allowed one last long hour of imagining how the prowrestling event would go that night. She was informed that this live event wouldn’t be like what she saw on TV each Monday. The presentation would be less glitz and glamour, with focus more on the matches themselves. Even with this information in mind, she was bursting at the seams and anxious to get home to prepare. Once the end of school day bell finally rang, she was off like a pistol to grab her stuff and dash home.

“Mom is late!” bemoaned Mari, who was pacing around the living room. Magnus had no reply to this as he sat reading “A Game of Thrones”, his newest book purchase, to pass some time. The sound of crunching gravel out in the driveway punctured the silence, as Roz finally returned from her shift.

“Sorry everyone, my replacement was late again, and I could not leave until he got there. My manager is mulling over having to let him go soon, due to frequent tardiness.”

“About time he showed up!” exclaimed Mari, “He almost made us miss the show.”

“I know dear, and I gave him an earful about it on my way out.”

Roz moved to grab a quick shower and freshen up for the night’s festivities. Everyone else was primed and ready for the event. Mari was sporting a black shirt with a graphic of Sting, her favorite wrestler, over an embossed scorpion. Magnus had on a blue flannel shirt and some jeans. Time was starting to press again until Roz finally descended the stairs fifteen minutes later, ready to go and looking as best she could with the available. Roz chose a simple sweater and hair in a ponytail. They all converged into the car and drove off to the arena.

“Now remember mom, Sting is still a good person, he has to be! There is no way he would join that turncoat Hulk Hogan and those outsiders.”

“Right, Sting is still good” said Roz, making mental notes. She knew who Hulk Hogan was from the 80s when he seemd to be literally everywhere, but she wasn’t aware that he had turned “bad” somehow.

The parking lot was packed, as wrestling organizations rarely recognized Wellsville as a place to hold shows in. Tonight they were and it felt like the whole town was there to welcome them. Magnus found a parking spot on the far end of the lot. The marquee read “Wellsville welcomes WCW. Main event: Sting/Luger vs 4 Horsemen” in big bold lights. The clouds opened up and it started to sprinkle as the Astra family reached the arena entrance and fell in line.

“Wish we had thought to bring some umbrellas” said Magnus as he presented their tickets, “looks like it is going to get pretty bad out.”

Once accounted for, they made their way to a concession stand near their seats. Roz and Magnus opted for some bottles of water and a large popcorn they would share, while Mari settled on nachos and a small soda pop. The three of them took their places in the balcony area, offering a clear, though slightly small, view of the ring. Mari didn’t care, she was just happy to be there. The event was scheduled for two hours with the card showing a mix of main eventers and mid-carders. The entire family was having a good time, but Mari was anxious to get to the main event. Sting and Lex Luger were best friends and both had tumultuous and shaky histories with the Four Horsemen stable. Tonight the two would be facing off against Arn Anderson and Chris Benoit. The match proved to be grueling and it looked like Sting was finished. Roz leaned over to re-assure Mari.

“Don’t panic, Mari.”

“I won’t panic” she returned.

“Don’t panic, he’ll make it.” reasurred Roz.

“I won’t panic” said Mari, with a hint of doubt in her voice.

The two had done this type call and answer since Mari was little, and would often help calm her down. After what felt like a lifetime, Sting finally managed to get a tag to the fresh Luger, who entered the ring and began cleaning house. Another tag exchange, and a few more minutes of battle, finally allowed Sting to apply his trademark finisher to win the match via a submission. The crowd was going wild, with Mari cheering loudest of all. The wrestlers made their way around the ringside area giving high fives to the fans on their way to the back. Shortly after, the ring announcer thanked them for being a wonderful crowd and advised everyone to be careful on the way out as the rain really came down during the event.

“We best get going” said Magnus, standing and gathering the remnants of their concessions. “Did you enjoy the event dear?”

“It was the best birthday gift ever, dad. Thanks!”

“Glad to hear you had a great time, honey” chimed Roz.

The three of them lingered a few more moments to allow the crowd to disperse some more. Mari soaked everything in one last time. They stopped at a merchandise stand to pick up one last item before making their way down to the exits as the rain let up long enough for them to scramble to their car. Just as they exited the parking lot and turned towards home, a fresh torrent of rain began falling.