Diamond Hopper used to be the king of the ring.
He was called Diamond Hopper because his gait was more bounce than strut, and because he always wore custom tear-away, rhinestone-studded jean shorts. Underneath those were tight black briefs—too tight for his shape—with a scintillating silver hoop screen-printed on the backside, and when the time came, as it always did, for him to hop, stop, and elbow drop, the crowd would pop, and everyone would yell together, “Kiss! My! Ring!” And the Kiwanis Club would shake.
His charisma was undeniable, and so were his good looks. He was never the strongest guy in the locker room, and he certainly wasn’t the leanest, having never found the proper balance between workout routines and beer. But he was solid where it mattered and soft in the eyes, where it counts. In the business, it’s easy to remember the costumes, the finishers, the gimmicks and the promos, but what everyone really remembers about their favorite sports entertainer is the way his eyes looked when he was out for blood or down for the count, locked up and desperate to grab the ropes, exhausted but happy to get the pin, furious, frantic, frenetic, feisty. Diamond Hopper had these looks in spades, which is what made him so popular with the ladies.
He got by, or he got beat up, and when he did, he looked to the audience, desperately searching for someone who could give him the fortitude to move forward. His peregrine eyes fought, forlorn, to open, and all the girls started to breathe a little faster and sit a little straighter, and it wasn’t until the Hopper was back on his feet that they realized their hands were clenched and clammy, and they’d worry their boyfriends had noticed. They had, of course, but they wouldn’t bring it up. They’d been doing the same thing.
But the show is over when the bell rings. Fans adore myth, not man, and later, when the hall is empty and the man they know as Diamond Hopper retakes his Christian name and rubs down his joints, he rubs them down alone.
• • •
TO READ THE REST OF THIS STORY, PICK UP A COPY OF VOL 51.1
MEGAN FAHEYis a recent graduate of West Virginia University’s MFA program, where she served as editor-in-chief of Cheat River Review. In addition to having short plays produced, her work has appeared in Blinders Journal, Stoneboat, and Cease, Cows.