Author’s Assortment #2 – Spider-Man: Spidermania Pt. 1

Posted: December 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

By G.N. Jacobs

Peter Parker breathed easy feeling his pre-match ritual as a wave of tingling that started in his toes washing up to the nerve endings on his scalp. He had other sensations loosely classified as tingling that didn’t apply tonight, which said a quiet night in New York or…right Chicago, the show was in Chicago tonight. He hummed the Battle Hymn of the Republic with made up lyrics about his opponent tonight swatting his hands together beating a crescendo likened in the wrestling and MMA press to Mahler’s Funeral March for its devastating psychological effect on the other guy in the Octagon or ring.

Peter had just finished the part in the song about pile-driving yet another sweaty man-child with a sweet disposition outside the arena into the mat until he begged for mercy. The other senses he didn’t talk about when it was his turn to combatively take the microphone kicked in revealing in the form of hairs standing on end that someone entered his locker room. The Tarantula Hawk.

“Hey, Hank,” Peter said as he turned to see his opponent and sometime friend.

Henry Hawkes raised a hand shifting the line of his ring entrance costume, a bird-man suit with feathers and plastic beak. “Hey, Pete.”

The wrestlers stood close to clasp hands and chest bump. Standing about the same height, there proved great disparity in the respective builds. Henry filled out his just under six feet physique with the muscles most come to expect from professional wrestlers. Peter might have been the same height but, while he had all kinds of definition, he just couldn’t build the same muscle mass requiring waivers to fight in the Open Class in both wrestling and MMA.

“Look, Pete, I know you like to be alone in the five minutes before show,” Henry said. “But…”

“But, Brock and minions dug their heels in and locked out the writing staff,” Peter said. “Your worst kept secret is you’ve been romancing Heather in Story and you don’t want to use the choreography for tonight.”

“Yeah, the size of it, Pete,” Henry said.

“You sure? You win,” Peter said.

“If she’s not writing it, who cares?”

“Sure, you have any ideas?”

Both wrestlers nearly killed the show shrugging instead of stepping up with an idea.

“Crap, we’re doomed,” Peter said softly as the chanting of the crowd out on the floor rose up through the many walls of the arena. “Usually, this is…”

“Where you admit to your worst kept secret being that you’re the anonymous douchebag crank fan that writes to Story suggesting all kinds of inventive stories to play out,” Henry probed. “Heather tells me stuff, Bro.”

“Yeah, but I’m totally screwed on the fly here.”

“Heather also tells me you’ve never written for your own character, Spider-Man,” Henry said in a teasing tone. “Some kind of ethics thing, she thought. She also said ‘give it time.’”

An idea struck Peter with the metaphorical weight of more than enough bricks to suggest an actual good idea instead of horrible that merely sounded good, like the classic – “It was a dark and stormy night” – by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. It played out with chuckles almost leading to full guffaws.

“See, Pete, I told you Heather was smart,” Henry said.

“Whatevs, Hank,” Pete said. “You still win. Do me a favor, have your manager call MJ in.”

“MJ, the redhead card girl?” Henry asked. “Oh, I see. Your second worst kept secret.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure anything else?”

“I’ll have Frank switch us with Tom and Mike’s match,” Peter said. “We might need a few minutes of rehearsal.”

“Good to see someone has an idea, Pete,” Henry said.

They bumped fists and Henry left the locker room.

The air in the arena just beyond the tunnel could go to anyone’s head. Word that Spider-Man and Tarantula Hawk would square off for the first time in the Chicago pay-per-view had spread. Within three days offering a pound of flesh nearest thy heart to a scalper might get you a nosebleeder seat in the top rafters that not even the basketball team in residence liked selling.

In eighteen months, Peter had come to complete awareness how much the crowd charged him up going from a local act from New York to a splashy middle of the card performer that hyped up the crowds. Already the wrestling press speculated why Spider-Man in his green spandex suit hadn’t moved up in the narrative ranks where they could write a championship story for him. Peter had perfected the art of “no comment” and “I just wrestle here,” further stoking the talk.

Back to the present, Mary Jane Watson played her part. She wiggled with the extra firepower expected of a card girl suddenly promoted to the narrative instead of eye candy. She put her arms around Peter’s neck.

“Finally, Tiger,” MJ whispered blowing warm air scent with the mint of her recently brushed teeth. “I’ll be a good wishbone.”

“You sure?”

“Of course, we go semi-public with us doing the kissy-face. Hank plays heel and grabs me. You spool up going pistols at dawn over my pretty little head. You lose at just the right moment. I slap Hank showing that I’m worth fighting for. The bookers set up a rematch…hopefully after Brock makes nice with the writers. I miss anything?” MJ said in a listing tone to her whisper.

“No…wait the slap wasn’t…”

“Improv, Tigger,” MJ asserted in a whisper. “I’m part of the scene too. I slap Henry or I don’t play. I only play fickle witches when there’s a paid writing staff.”

“Oh, okay,” Peter agreed. “You know, you didn’t actually answer the question.”

“Yes, I did,” MJ said adding the kind of wiggle reserved for the hotel or a few minutes from now. “Actress, Tigger, I play things for a living. You won’t believe this, but that telenovela audition in LA I didn’t get was going to have me play exactly this kind of scene.”

“Synchronicity.”

“Yeah, Pete, something like that,” MJ said.

With that she brushed his face with her lips and pulled down the mask before swatting him on the ass as his entrance music and wild cheers rose to a fever pitch.

The bare bones of the match. Spider-Man taunted the Tarantula Hawk at the microphone, something about being the first spider in the world to survive the dive bombing attack of the dreaded tarantula hawk. Henry threw off his feathered entrance costume and expertly expressed that the redhead on the green spider’s arm had also promised the bird-man the same affections. They slapped each other and called out vicious deadly insults.

The match began in earnest. The crowd ate it up catching its collective breath watching MJ sell being the damsel caught in the middle between Titans. When grabbed she showed off being far more fleet of foot than either wrestler spinning just so and hitting every mark. She emoted worthy of that telenovela part that she couldn’t decide between such strong men.

In the ring, Peter and Henry busted out every trick they’d been taught in both wrestling charm school and an actual acting class. They did pile drivers, suplexes and several backhand slaps while stomping the mat to create the illusion of fearsome blows. The jujitsu moves brought the crowd to a fever pitch.

Tarantula Hawk had an aerial motif and gracefully used the top rope and turnbuckles to go vertical. At just the right moments, Spider-Man found new ways to use the web-shooters at his wrists to use webs to gain the upper hand. He laid a clothesline across the ring pushing the temporarily grounded Tarantula Hawk into it. He swung through the lights eating up the rising cheers from the crowd with a spoon.

Halfway though the third round, Peter and Henry shared a nod. The shifting tides of the choreographed match turned permanently against the spider. Peter mimed running out of web fluid frantically begging his corner man for more cartridges to no avail. Henry then took three passes slowly dismembering his opponent’s equilibrium.

The match ended when the Tarantula Hawk threw Spider-Man into a guided cartwheel to a landing flat on his back. Good thing, Peter had gotten used to large bodies falling on him. Henry grabbed MJ’s elbow only to – THWHACK! – get slapped for real. MJ then played up coming to the aid of the stunned spider. The crowd built the noise well past 105 decibels. All three players in the scene had to mentally fight to refrain from bowing.

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