Gorillo Lightfeather, Nose Guard
by Gary Clifton
“Holy buckets, Dweeze,” chortled the proud young mother, “he looks exactly like you.” Fatmuffin Mae Lightfeather had just given birth to a son by her loving husband, Dweezel the Weasel Lightfeather, a professional wrestler in the greater South Gronkville metropolitan area.
“Good grief, Fatmuffin, that little tyke is uuugly. It looks like a cross between a deformed crawdad and an ape. Quick, tell the nurse this is the wrong mutate... er, kid.”
“Well, lovie, if you think after I just dropped twenty-one pounds of squalling monster... er, uh, baby, which wasn’t exactly like having a beer at the Squatright Bar, just to stuff it in Lost and Found, think again, dude.”
Dweezel scratched his chin. “Well... maybe we could sell it at the fish market. Or report it stolen and beat it to hell outta here.” Dweezel looked about the charity ward furtively, hoping upon hope none of his ten or twelve fans would see him in company with the ugliest newborn in the history of the world.
“No, Dweez, jes’ plain no.”
“Then for heaven’s sake cover its face. If I gotta pay to feed that sucker, I’m namin’ it ‘Gorillo,’ ’cuz it’s a dead ringer for a mix of Kermit the Frog and Mighty Joe Young... only bigger.”
“I thought you said it was a cross between...?”
“It’s that, too, woman.”
“Well, Dweeze, it might have sumpthin’ to do with me weighin’ 281 and you over 370. Maybe them gene thingies got squashed.”
So it came to pass, Fatmuffin and Dweezel spirited little — relatively speaking — Gorillo out a side door in a double-gauge gunny sack in the dead of night and hid him in the bottom compartment of an old chest of drawers Fatmuffin had found abandoned behind Fred’s Used Furniture.
Dweezel never ventured into bed with Fatmuffin again, snakebit and horrified that if the first attempt produced a monster of Gorillo’s stripe, he’d take no chance on what the second might create.
Dweezel the Weasel went back to his wrestling, and Fatmuffin raised Gorillo, sort of. When Gorillo entered the first grade, he was five feet tall and weighed an even 200. By the fifth grade, the high school coach had recruited him to play nose guard for the Skrankville Stompers.
That Gorillo was a bit touched from living the first few years of his life in a chest of drawers was easy enough to overlook when the kid was six-six, weighed 342 and was making thirty-nine tackles a game.
By this juncture in a rather unusual life, Gorillo was consuming 48 cheeseburgers a day and once devoured a live chicken that ventured too close.
Dweezel the Weasel ran off with a lady wrestler, Munchkin Thataway, and left Fatmuffin and Gorillo penniless, useless, and dumber. Fatmuffin signed up with the local wrestling promoter and, in the eight years Gorillo played high school nose guard, she managed to permanently cripple thirteen opponents.
Gorillo had just been recruited by the State University to maim, kill, and otherwise play nose guard when Fatmuffin, while raising an opponent above her head to throw her out of the ring on her ugly face, suddenly seized up. Her eyes achieved silver-dollar proportions, and she dropped deader than King Tut. Her opponent was so grateful to survive, she donated a quarter toward Fatmuffin’s flowers.
Gorillo ate free for two seasons at State, consuming somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty pounds or 18,000 calories of victuals daily. Then, the school ran out of basket weaving and music listening classes, and Gorillo flunked smooth out. Out on the street with no college training table to forage from, he was confronted with several options, including but not limited to cannibalism, road kill, or dumpster diving.
One evening, while he was head down in a dumpster behind an old stadium on South Chicken Street, a very strong person dragged him out by his feet.
“Good gravy, you’re Gorillo Lightfeather,” exclaimed the massive man. “Saw that wide ass humped over the dumpster and thought you was my ex-wife. Son, I’m Whipshaw Cleaver, coach of the South Chicken Street Whupkats semi-professional football team. By golly, I believe I have a place in the world for you.”
“Doin’ whut?” Gorillo asked, never the sharpest pencil in the drawer.
“Well, heckfire, Gorillo, playin’ noseguard for the South Chicken Street Whupkats. We pay seven bucks per game, plus a bonus of ten bucks for every opponent you cripple and twenty bucks if you kill ’em.”
Gorillo stood in his lowland ape-stance, grinning and drooling while he chewed on a watermelon rind which was almost free of the coffee grounds he’d brushed off when he found it at dumpster’s bottom.
Semi-pro meant players had to have day jobs. No problem: Gorillo applied to the trusty local wrestling czar, Bozo Clapsaddle, and became an instant success, providing all the cheeseburgers he could eat.
So Gorillo wrestled on Friday nights, maiming, crippling, or murdering when the chance arose. His won-loss record quickly grew to 241 wins, zero losses. Despite fatally injuring only two opponents, he twice received the yearly “Baddest Ass In The Arena” award.
The Whupkats played football on Sundays. Before each game, Coach Cleaver read him the nose guard manual: “A nose guard is the defensive player assigned to the middle of a three down-lineman formation usually directly over the center. He is instructed to either kill said center or render him unconscious and, if possible, disabled for life. Following destruction of the center, the nose guard will proceed to attack the quarterback or running back and either inflict mortal wounds or tear off a vital body part.”
“Whut’s a mortal wound?” Gorillo asked.
“Kill his ass, Gorillo.”
Gorillo flourished, playing five seasons with the Whupkats, killing only three opponents and critically injuring about a hundred. In the process, between wrestling gigs and Sunday football brawls, Gorillo took about six thousand hits to the head, causing him to drift steadily further into la-la land.
One sunny Sunday, as time ran short, the opposing Fudge City Death Devils rigged a 292-pound fullback with an iron bar taped inside a gauze bandage on his forearm. Gorillo charged as he had a million times before, took a blow from twelve pounds of steel which shattered his helmet, inflicting a two inch dent in the top of his head.
Gorillo, now devoid of what little intellect he’d ever had, charged screaming clean through the stadium wire fence, and disappeared, running north on South Chicken Street. The Whupkats and Death Devils, intent only on the game, continued in mortal combat; no time to chase an errant monster.
* * *
“Where did this guy come from?” asked the sergeant.
“We think he was playing football up the street there, Sarge. Went Postal and ran off down South Chicken, then turned into the center of Pucker Street. Bus driver saw him comin’, laid on the bus horn, and it appears this guy tried a head-on tackle against three tons of bus. Sure smashed the front of it in. Driver says he was a big ol’ boy.”
“Dunno how you could tell his size,” the Sarge leaned down to look under the bus. “He’s strung along fifty feet of asphalt.”
The sad tale of Gorillo Lightfeather, nose guard, ended with a dump-truck sliding his semi-liquid, triple plastic-bagged parts into a grave in the county cemetery. Nobody sent flowers.
Copyright © 2017 by Gary Clifton