"Aww, hell, it's Dingo."
"Who?" Joe looked past me at the guy entering the store.
"Dingo," I replied. "The Dingo Warrior. He's a wrestler." I made quote marks in the air.
Joe's eyes lit up. I forgot he was a huge wrestling fan. Pat had raised both her sons poorly in that regard.
"Dingo is an Australian wrestler," I continued. I slapped my cheek. "He's about as Australian as my ass."
We had two wrestling regulars. Dingo and General Von Kessler. I had helped the General a couple of times. He was an old guy, late 50s, bald, stocky, built like a bread loaf. He had come in one night with the missus, a daughter, and a grandson, about 16. He wanted new entrance music. He hummed what the gym currently aired, sounded like Sousa.
"Von Kessler," I began, "are you like ... Nazi wrestler?"
"Ya," he beamed.
His wife carried a small photo album and opened it up. There he was, overweight old guy wearing trunks. Arms extended, holding flag aloft, the red field and black swastika of the National Socialist Party. The Nazis.
"Are you, uhh, the villain?"
"Ya vol!" he smiled again.
I picked out two el cheapo cassettes of Orff and Wagner. Led them to the front playstack, put headphones on him, then played two store CDs.
"These are perfect!"
Advised him to stick with O Fortuna and Ride Of The Valkyries. The grandson grasped my intentions and said he could make his grandpa a cassette mix.
Month or so later, I saw the grandkid. Said the music was massive. The crowd HATED The General and booed loudly.
"And ... " the kid shook his fists, "he won his match! Grandpa never wins, but he won that one."
Anyway ... back to the other wrestler. I went over to see if Mister Dingo needed assistance. He usually bought dance nonsense, the kind of drivel I had a guilty taste for. Except I'd never play Black Box for my ringside entrance music. What a maroon. I'm sure that scared the shit out of Kevin and Kerry Von Erich.
"Hey, Dingo. You finding everything alright?"
"You got CeCe Peniston?"
What a dick. Underneath that shaggy blonde hair was a thick skull and a soft brain.
Back at the register, Joe started asking questions. Sports reporter questions. Couldn't tell if they were real or satirical. I didn't relate with Joe as well as I did with younger brother, Chris.
"Hello, mate, how you doing?" Joe asked.
"Worthy, said you're the Dingo Warrior."
"I am. Dingo, the wild dog of Australia," he puffed his chest.
"And you say mate?"
"No. Of course not, that sounds stupid."
"But you're Australian," Joe persisted. "I thought you all said mate."
"Mate? Look, I'm the Dingo Warrior, not the Pirate Warrior," he corrected my coworker.
"When you're in the ring ... is that stuff real?"
"How can you ask that? Look at these scars!" Held out his forearms.
Looked like welding scars and bad sunburn to me. I peered inside his bag. What else had he bought? Deee-Lite. Jeez. I could wrestle that guy. Hell, Sweeney could whip his ass.
"Hey! Good talking with you," Dingo made to leave. "And I'll see you ... ringside." He punched the air and strutted out.
"So, you ready to be a wrestling star?" I kidded Joe.
"I don't know who that guy was, but he wasn't Dingo," Joe shook his head.
"He's not the Dingo Warrior?" I exclaimed. "But he's always said he was!"
"Naw, he's a fake. Too old, too short, too fat. Listens to shit, too."
BONUS: a New Generation
The Real Dingo Warrior (back in the day ...)