Forrest Gump Chapter Nineteen
The deal in Muncie is this: I am to get whupped by the Turd.
Mike tell me that on our ride up there. It seem that The Turd has got “seniority” over me an therefore he is due for a win, an bein that it’s my first appearance, it is necessary for me to be on the losin end. Mike say he jus want to tell me how it is from the beginnin so there won’t be no hard feelins.
“That is rediculous,” Jenny say, “somebody callin theyself ‘The Turd.’ “
“He probly is one,” Dan say, tryin to cheer her up.
“Just remember, Forrest,” Mike says, “it’s all for show. You can’t lose your temper. Nobody is to be hurt. The Turd must win.”
Well, when we finally git to Muncie, they is a big ole auditorium where the rasslin is to be helt. One bout is already in progress – The Vegetable is rasslin a guy that calls hissef “The Animal.”
The Animal is hairy as a ape, an is wearin a black mask over his eyes, an the first thing he does is to snatch off the hollered-out watermelon that The Vegetable is got over his head an drop kick it into the upper bleachers. Nex, he grapped The Vegetable by his head an ram him into the ring post. Then he bite The Vegetable on the han. I was feelin kinda sorry for the po ole Vegetable, but he got a few tricks hissef – namely, he reached down into the collard green leaves he is wearin for a jockstrap an grapped a hanful of some kind of shit an rub it in The Animal’s eyes.
The Animal be bellowin an staggerin all over the ring rubbin his eyes to git the stuff out, an The Vegetable come up behin him an kick him in the ass. Then he thowed The Animal into the ropes an wind them up aroun him so’s he can’t move an start to beatin the hell outta The Animal. The crowd be booin The Vegetable an thowin paper cups an stuff at him an The Vegetable be givin them back the finger. I was gettin kinda curious how it was gonna wind up, but then Mike come up to me an Dan an say for us to go on back into the dressin room an get into my costume cause I’m on nex against The Turd.
After I get into my diapers an the dunce cap, somebody knock on the door an axe, “Is The Dunce in there?” an Dan say, “Yes,” an the feller say, “You is on now, c’mon out,” an off we go.
The Turd is already in the ring when I come down the aisle with Dan pushin hissef along behin me. The Turd is runnin aroun the ring makin faces at the crowd an damn if he don’t actually look somethin like a turd in that body stockin. Anyhow, I climbed up in the ring an the referee get us together an say, “Okay, boys, I want a good clean match here – no gougin eyes or hittin below the belt or bitin or scratchin or any kind of shit like that. I nod an say, “Uh-huh,” an The Turd be glarin at me fiercely.
When the bell rung, me an The Turd be circlin each other an he reached out with his foot to trip me but missed an I grapped him by the shoulders an slung him into the ropes. It was then I foun out he have greased hissef up with some kinda slippery shit that make him hard to hold on to. I tried to grap him aroun his waist but he shot out from my hans like a eel. I took a holt of his arm, but he squished away from that too, an be grinnin an laughin at me.
Then he come runnin at me head on to butt me in the stomach but I stepped aside an The Turd go flyin thru the ropes an land in the front row. Everbody be booin an catcallin him, but he climbed on back up in the ring an brung with him a foldup chair. He start chasin me aroun with the chair an since I got nothin to defend mysef with, I start to run away. But The Turd, he hit me in the back with the chair, an let me tell you, that hurt. I tried to get the chair away from him, but he conked me on the head with it, an I was in a corner an there wadn’t no place to hide. Then he kicked me in the shin an when I bend over to hole my shin, he kick me in the other shin.
Dan is settin on the ring apron yellin at the referee to make The Turd put down the chair, but it ain’t doin no good. The Turd hit me four or five times with the chair an knock me down an get on top of me an grap my hair an start bangin my head on the floor. Then he grap holt to my arm an begun twistin my fingers. I look over at Dan an say, “What the hell is this?” an Dan be tryin to get thru the ring ropes but Mike, he stand up an pull Dan back by his shirt collar. Then all of a sudden the bell rung, an I get to go to my corner.
“Listen,” I says, “this bastid is tryin to kill me, beatin me on the head with a chair an all. I is gonna have to do somethin bout it.”
“What you is gonna do is lose,” Mike say. “He ain’t tryin to hurt you – he is just tryin to make it look good.”
“It sure don’t feel good,” I say.
“Jus stay in there for a few more minutes an then let him pin you down,” Mike says. “Remember, you is makin five hundrit dollars for comin here an losin – not winnin.”
“He hits me with that chair again, I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” I says. I am lookin out in the audience an there is Jenny lookin upset an embarrassed. I am beginnin to think this is not the right thing to do.
Anyhow, the bell rung again an out I go. The Turd try to grap me by the hair but I flung him off an he go spinnin into the ropes like a top. Then I picked him up aroun the waist an lif him up but he slid out of my grip an land on his ass an be moanin an complainin an rubbin his ass, an the nex thing I knew, his manager done handed him one of them “plumber’s helpers” with the rubber thing on the end an he commence to beat me on the head with that. Well, I grapped it away from him an busted it in two over my knee an start goin after him, but I see Mike there, shakin his head, an so I let The Turd come an take holt of my arm an twist it in a hammerlock.
The sumbitch damn near broke my arm. Then he shoved me down on the canvas an begun to hit me in the back of the head with his elbow. I coud see Mike over there, noddin an smilin his approval. The Turd get off me an commenced to kickin me in the ribs an stomach, then he got his chair again an wacked me over the head with it eight or nine times an finally he kneed me in the back an there wadn’t a thing I coud do bout it.
I jus lay there, an he set on my head an the referee counted to three an it was sposed to be over. The Turd get up an look down at me an he spit in my face. It was awful an I didn’t know what else to do, an I jus couldn’t hep it, an I started to cry.
The Turd was prancin aroun the ring an then Dan come up an rolled himsef over to me an started wipin my face with a towel, an nex thing I knew, Jenny had come up in the ring too an was huggin me an cryin hersef an the crowd was hollerin an yellin an throwin stuff into the ring.
“C’mon, let’s get outta here,” Dan say, an I got to my feet an The Turd be stickin out his tongue at me an makin faces.
“You is certainly correctly named,” Jenny says to The Turd as we was leavin the ring. “That was disgraceful.”
She could of said it bout both of us. I ain’t never felt so humiliated in my life.
The ride back to Indianapolis was pretty awkward. Dan an Jenny ain’t sayin nothin much an I am in the back seat all sore an skint up.
“That was a damn good performance you put on out there tonight, Forrest,” Mike says, “especially the cryin at the end – crowd loved it!”
“It wadn’t no performance,” Dan says.
“Oh, shucks,” Mike say. “Look – somebody’s always got to lose. I’ll tell you what – nex time, I will make sure Forrest wins. How’s that make you feel?”
“Ought not to be any ‘nex time,’ ” Jenny says.
“He made good money tonight, didn’t he?” Mike say.
“Five hundrit dollars for gettin the shit beat out of him ain’t so good,” Jenny says.
“Well it was his first match. Tell you what – nex time, I’ll make it six hundrit.”
“How about twelve hundrit?” Dan axed.
“Nine hundrit,” Mike says.
“How bout lettin him wear a bathin suit instead of that dunce cap an diapers?” says Jenny.
“They loved it,” Mike says. “It’s part of his appeal.”
“How would you like to have to dress up in somethin like that?” Dan says.
“I ain’t a idiot,” says Mike.
“You shut the fuck up bout that,” Dan say.
Well, Mike was good for his word. Nex time I rassled, it was against a feller called “The Human Fly.” He was dressed up in somethin with a big pointed snout like a fly have, an a mask with big ole bugged-out eyes. I got to thow him bout the ring an finally set on his head an I collected my nine hundrit dollars. Furthermore, everbody in the crowd cheered wildly an kep hollerin, “We want The Dunce! We want The Dunce!” It wadn’t such a bad deal.
Nex, I got to rassle The Fairy, an they even let me bust his wand over his head. After that, they was a hole bunch of guys I come up against, an Dan an me had managed to save up about five thousan dollars for the srimp bidness. But also let me say this: I was gettin very popular with the crowds. Women was writin me letters an they even begun to sell dunce caps like mine as souvenirs. Sometimes I’d go into the ring an they would be fifty or a hundrit people settin there in the audience wearin dunce caps, all clappin an cheerin an callin out my name. Kinda made me feel good, you know?
Meantime, me an Jenny is gettin along fairly good cept for my rasslin career. Ever night when she get back to the apartment we cook ourselfs some supper an her an me an Dan set aroun in the livin room an plan bout how we gonna start the srimp bidness. The way we figger it, we is gonna go down to Bayou La Batre, where po ole Bubba come from, an get us some marsh land off the Gulf of Mexico someplace. We has got to buy us some mesh wire an nets an a little rowboat an somethin to feed the srimp wile they growin, an they will be other things too. Dan say we has also got to be able to have us a place to live an buy groceries an stuff wile we wait for our first profits an also have some way to git them to the market. All tole, he figgers it is gonna take bout five thousan dollars to set everthing up for the first year – after that, we will be on our own.
The problem I got now is with Jenny. She say we already got the five thousan an so why don’t we jus go ahead an pack up an go down there? Well, she have a point there, but to be perfectly truthful, I jus ain’t quite ready to leave.
You see, it ain’t really been since we played them Nebraska corn shucker jackoffs at the Orange Bowl that I has really felt like I done accomplished somethin. Maybe for a little bit durin the ping-pong games in Red China, but that lasted just for a few weeks. But now, you see, ever Saturday night ever week, I am goin out there an hearin them cheer. An they is cheerin me?Cidiot or not.
You should of heard them cheer when I whupped The Grosse Pointe Grinder, who come into the ring with hundrit dollar bills glued to his body. An then they was “Awesome Al from Amarillo,” that I done put a Boston Crab hold on an won mysef the Eastern Division champeenship belt. After that, I got to rassle Juno the Giant, who weighed four hundrit pounds an dressed in a leopard skin an carried a papier-mache club.
But one day when Jenny come home from work she say, “Forrest, you an me has got to have a talk.”
We went outside an took a walk near a little creek an Jenny foun a place to set down, an then she say, “Forrest, I think this rasslin business is gone far enough.”
“What you mean?” I axed, even though I kind of knew.
“I mean we have got nearly ten thousan dollars now, which is more than twice what Dan says we need to start the srimp business. And I am beginnin to wonder jus why you are continuin to go up there ever Saturday night an make a fool of yoursef.”
“I ain’t makin no fool of mysef,” I says, “I has got my fans to think of. I am a very popular person. Cain’t jus up an leave like that.”
“Bullshit,” Jenny say. “What you callin a ‘fan,’ an what you mean by ‘popular’? Them people is a bunch of screwballs to be payin money to watch all that shit. Bunch of grown men gettin up there in they jockstraps an pretendin to hurt each other. An whoever heard of people callin theyselfs ‘The Vegetable,’ or ‘The Turd,’ an such as that – an you, callin yoursef ‘The Dunce’!”
“What’s wrong with that?” I axed.
“Well how do you think it makes me feel, the feller I’m in love with bein known far an wide as ‘The Dunce,’ an makin a spectacle of hissef ever week – an on television, too!”
“We get extra money for the television,” I says.
“Screw the extra money,” Jenny says. “We don’t need no extra money!”
“Whoever heard of nobody didn’t need any extra money?” I say.
“We don’t need it that bad,” Jenny say. “I mean, what I want is to find a little quiet place for us to be in an for you to get a respectable job, like the srimp business – for us to get us a little house maybe an have a garden an maybe a dog or somethin – maybe even kids. I done had my share of fame with The Cracked Eggs, an it didn’t get me nowhere. I wadn’t happy. I’m damned near thirty-five years old. I want to settle down….”
“Look,” I says, “it seem to me that I oughta be the one what say if I quit or not. I ain’t gonna do this forever – jus till it is the right time.”
“Well I ain’t gonna wait aroun forever, neither,” Jenny say, but I didn’t believe she meant it.