Once again we have a Flash Fiction Challenge from Patti Abbott. Patti says: “On Saturday night, we passed a young woman on the street who was talking to her male companion and said, “I really don’t mind the scars.” A good startup line for a little challenge perhaps.
I ended up writing about ex-professional wrestler Buster Bash, star of my Derringer Award nominated series. I haven’t written anything new about Buster since 2004.
To see a list of all the stories, you can go here.
Here’s what I came up with.
CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH MYRON THE MAULER
“I need you to scare a couple of people,” I said. “Do you mind?”
“Buster,” Myron said, “That’s what friends are for.”
Myron the Mauler and I sat across from each other in a booth in the restaurant I opened after I quit wrestling. He was shorter than I was, six-foot-two to my seven-feet, but he was also larger than I was, three-hundred-and seventy pounds to my three-hundred-and-fifty.
In addition to his size, there was one other little detail that made Myron distinct. On his big, bald head, he had numerous scars from years and years of cutting himself with a razor blade so he could bleed in the ring. Blading was one of this trademarks and he did it in any match he could. One of the marks was so deep, that he could tilt his head back, put a silver dollar in the groove and the coin would stand on end. “I really don’t mind the scars,” he would say. “They add a couple hundred dollars to each personal appearance.”
We’d been traveling companions back when I was with World Wrestling Corporation. We’d rent cars together, share hotel rooms, anything to save a couple of bucks. We’d even gone around the ring a couple of times for some programs. Once you had a man’s blood on your hands, you had a bond. His real name was Larry Shaw, but that didn’t sound as intimidating as “Myron the Mauler.”
Whenever he was in the Currie Valley area, he stopped in at the Lunch Box to catch up.
“Who needs a talking to?” Myron asked.
“These two goofs named Billy and Waylon. They come in once or twice a week, tonight’s one of their nights. They act like jerks, steal stuff.”
“Little stuff – silverware, salt and pepper shakers. They also bother Maggie Anne, my waitress. They’re just a nuisance.”
“I thought the customer was always right?” Myron asked.
“If you think that,” I said, “Then you’ve never dealt with customers.”
Myron smiled. “Why don’t you handle it? You’re not exactly a shrinking violet.”
“This is a small town, they see me all the time. I don’t want to start some beef with them.”
“I don’t know if you doing something will have any lasting impact.”
“Who cares?” Myron said. “I love stuff like this! Guys like that, it’ll be fun to put disquieting thoughts into their heads.”
At that moment the bell on the door jingled and Billy Weston and Waylon Preston came in. They were both in their late-twenties and wore flannel shirts and jeans. Waylon wore a jean jacket. They went to a booth towards the back and sat down.
“That’s them,” I said as I got up to head back behind the counter. “I don’t want to scare them away permanently if I don’t have to. I just want them to chill out.” Myron nodded his understanding.
I stepped into the kitchen to check things, the heat hitting my skin at the same time freshly-cut onions hit my sinuses. Everything looked under control, so I went back out front to watch the festivities.
Myron took his time eating his food, a chili and cheese double-omelette with two sides of bacon and one side of toast. Billy and Weston ordered, told Maggie Anne she had a nice bottom and finished their dinner before Myron was done. They got up from their table, leaving a three percent tip, and started toward the door.
“Put that back!” Myron’s voice made the metal napkin dispensers on each table dance. My two favorite customers stopped in their tracks.
“I saw what you did,” Myron said as he unfolded himself from his booth. “Put it back.”
“We didn’t…” Billy started.
Myron approached them. “Put it back!”
Billy and Waylon looked up at Myron’s face. From out of his coat pocket, Waylon took a salt shaker.
“What are you doing with that?” Billy asked.
“I wanted it.”
“I don’t know. I just wanted it.”
“You shouldn’t take stuff.”
“You don’t need it. It’s not worth anything. What’s the point?”
“Hey!” Myron interrupted. “Put it back.”
Waylon put the salt shaker down on a table. He and Billy stood for a moment, not sure what to do next.
“You leaving?” Myron asked.
Waylon looked like he might have something to say, but Myron stared into him. Better men had trembled at that stare. “Yeah,” Waylon said, “we’re goin’.” Billy agreed.
“When you come back here,” Myron said, “Behave!”
Billy and Waylon slunk out the door. Myron winked at me as they went.
I comped Myron his meal.
One final note – Myron is based on Abdullah the Butcher, who’s being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next month. You can find videos of him online, putting things into his scars.