A small hall 

    half filled 

by a bustling gaggle 

    of guys and girls 

with plastic pitchers 

    flowing with watered down beer 

several of the men 

    wear too-tight tees of their idols 

pictures of skulls, tombstones - 

    and an American flag 


a couple of ring girls 

    garnished with glitter and little else 

provide a taste of glamour 

    which is hard to swallow 

over the damp scent 

    of body grease 

and a canvas stained the colour of clay 


a man in a mask 

    with a Mexican pseudonym 

adorned in a gilded waistcoat 

    and snow leopard print lycra 

walks down a well worn carpet 

    both hands extended 

to feel the frenzy of his fans 

    each hand slap an electric charge 

arcanely activating adrenaline 


250 pounds of fake fury 

    follows in his rival's footsteps 

Cannonball is - 

roundly greeted by a chorus of curses and insults

    and a crudely choreographed swilling of beer 

he swallows the negative energy 

    and climbs into the ring 


the promoter 

    donned in tophat, torn shirt tails and cowboy boots 

preens and prances around the ring 

    heating up the furnace of fans even more 


    and two mismatched gladiators collide 


back and forth against the ropes 

    a missed clothesline into a jumping dropkick 

the crowd bathing in sweat and saliva 

    from a powerful back to belly suplex 

the snow leopard growling in pain 

    while Cannonball taunts and teases 

the crowd bay for blood 

    then the leopard's prowling in pleasure 

a low blow then a DDT 

    and a climb to the top turnbuckle 

a 180 degree back flip 

    clumsily lands on the 'Cannonball’s' gut 

a 1-2-3 then 

    it's all over 

in under 10 minutes 


we bask in the spent currency of combat 

    we're all winners 

that's what they write 

    on the autograph cards 

it's no WWE 

    it's got it’s own attitude.

# # #

Paul Adam Short lives in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. He loves sport and supports Newcastle United Football Club and Newcastle Eagles. The North East of England is an influence on Paul’s writing, especially its culture and natural surroundings. You can find more of Paul’s writing at PaulWritesPoems.com and find him on twitter @PaulWritesPoems.