Become a Fan
Murder on the Ropes
By Susan Furlong-Bolliger
Friday, January 06, 2012
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Delaney expects it will be difficult to convince her father to leave behind his career as a pro-wrestler and get a normal job; but what she doesn’t expect is that he’ll be accused of murder in the process. Will she be able to sort through a cast of quirky characters to find the real murderer, or will she find herself on the wrong side of the ropes?
I was sitting at the bar next to Calvin the Cyclone. He was swigging down beer like it was water. Even in the dim light I could see a trace of neon yellow makeup left over on the underside of his earlobe. I tapped his shoulder and pointed it out. “Missed a spot.”
He muttered something and started swiping at the side of his face with a bar napkin. “If I was smart I would have used a gimmick that didn’t require this stuff.”
I nodded. As a woman who barely managed lip gloss and mascara, I could appreciate the downside to putting on a yellow face with a black lightning bolt down the middle every day.
I was already on my second drink and still no sign of my father. The show had finished over an hour ago and most of the guys were already here. For as long as I can remember, my father and his colleagues had been gathering after their shows here at Hell’s Kitchen, Home of the Flamin’ Burger. An unknown neighborhood establishment, it was the one place they could get together outside the ring without fear of running into fans. “Any idea what might be keeping my dad?” I asked.
The Cyclone took another long swig from his beer before answering. “No idea. Could be that he’s screwed up from his match. That was a hell of a slam—” He stopped short.
I turned to see what had interrupted his focus. Nikki Fox, queen of pro wrestling, was sashaying across the floor, turning heads with her trademark big hair and bigger boobs. Funny thing about Nikki, she pretty much never left character. I wondered if she looked like that when she did her grocery shopping—must put a new spin on low-priced meat.
To my surprise, she sauntered right over to our portion of the bar.
“So, Mac’s little girl is back in town, huh?” she said, eyeing me with her raccoon-lined eyes and motioning for a drink.
“Hello, Nikki. Good to see you again, too.”
“I thought you were at college studying to be a doctor or something?”
She tilted her chin back and laughed, her long dangling earrings reflecting the light as her head shook. “Did you hear that?” she snorted. “Mac’s little girl is going to be a lawyer. You all better be nice to her just in case we need her to get us out of trouble one day.”
I smiled politely and glanced toward the door. What was keeping my father? I really wish he would have let me take him someplace else to celebrate his birthday. It wasn’t that I didn’t like his wrestling friends, just that…well…since going to school, I had outgrown this crowd. Besides, I’d had enough of wrestling growing up with a single parent that made his living on the pro circuit.
Further on down the bar, The Sledgehammer leaned forward. “I’d rather be going into the courtroom every day than into that ring. Shit, I can hardly walk when I get out of bed in the morning.”
“That’s nothing,” Cyclone started. “After my last match with Triple P, I thought I was going to die. What’s with that guy anyway? He surprised me with a spine breaker that about put me in the hospital.”
“Yeah, what’s his problem?” Dangerous Dan chimed in. “That S-O-B can’t seem to follow the story line.” He’d come up behind me to place an order at the bar. I was shocked by how much he’d aged in the past year. He wasn’t looking quite so dangerous these days. I’d even heard he wasn’t allowed in the ring anymore. Instead, they had the poor guy washing towels at the club. If Dad didn’t get out of the business soon, he’d be like Dan—a washed up has-been.
“Hey, leave Trip alone,” cooed Nikki as she drained her first drink.
“I just happen to know that outside the ring he’s a real gentleman,” she said, raising a suggestive brow.
That brought a few hoots from the guys. One of them lifted his glass for a toast. “To Nikki, the woman who can—”
I took that moment to make my exit.
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