The man who invented ass-kicking lived in a cave in King’s Peak, Utah in 1918. No one knew his name. He left a journal there about the concise rules of the ass-kicking sport.
A sport’s invention takes extremely critical thought, he wrote. He laid down sensible ground rules for a sensible sport. Two contestants fought on a mat of plastic spikes. The spikes could make for excellent back acupuncture, but they stung bare knees. Each opponent took turns kicking each other in the ass. They both had three attempts in each of the sixty rounds, with no illegal kicks anywhere else on the body or else the referee would’ve penalized either of them. A flagrant enough penalty called for disqualification at the defenseless recipient’s choice. The recipient bent over with his ass sticking out, and his opponent gave him a swift kick in the pants (or his trunks—the committee made them wear). The recipient fell to his knees on the mat and cried like a Catholic boy to a priest’s paddle, and the kicker earned a point.
An ass-kicking contest went as long as sixty rounds. A judging panel sat oval-side, logging down each kick, each defensive hold, as well as the matter of style points. If both opponents stayed up by the end of the sixtieth round, with no technical kickdowns, the panel tallied the points.
The inventor vanished, but the journal remained in that cave. A bear found the leather-bound moleskin and carried it with its teeth down the mountain to a riverbed where a rich man fished. Allegedly, the bear dropped the moleskin next to him and retreated to the mountains. Aghast, the rich man put his fishing pole down and read through the entire journal from day to night.
Turk-Jones Calcutta, a wealthy entrepreneur, hired a ghostwriter to write this account in his autobiography: Born With Success by Turk Jones-Calcutta. Sports impassioned him over any other enterprises. He could make a fortune by commercializing the sport. So ass-kicking rose and evolved in popularity into the twentieth-century in underground circuits across the world: in basements in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, North and South America….
I had been training ass-kickers since the 1970’s. Ass-kicking wouldn’t make it to cable until the great Charlie Madrigal entered the sport.
He never knew his real parents. A woman found him crying in diapers at a hockey rink in Salt Lake City, and she died there an hour later. As a three-year-old he wandered to a lakeshore where he met his father, a stone. He collected stones at that early age. He found one too precious to pass up. So he took it to his boy-cave near the shore and called it Dad.
One morning, though, Dad rolled away. Charlie searched for it along the shore, but Dad never showed himself anywhere.
That torrential childhood forced himself to train. He practiced ass-kicking in the boy-cave all through puberty into adolescence. He attended Gladd High School in Provo, where he played varsity football. He kicked field goals. For a state championship, he kicked a field goal eighty-one yards in the final seconds for a victory. BYU offered him a football scholarship, but he wanted to kick ass instead.
You see, they didn’t have an ass-kicking program, so he declined the offer and came to me at my training center in Provo.
He told me his life story up until then.
“Take off your shoes,” I said.
I had never seen such a strong left foot on a man before.
“Now turn around,” I said.
Charlie turned around and bent over. I gave it a roundhouse, and the muscles in his buttocks pushed me to the mat.
“Good God,” I said. “I’ve never kicked an ass like that before.”
“Can you train me for the league?” he asked.
“Yes, but under one condition. I will not tolerate trash-talk, not in here, not in any oval. You want to talk trash? Take up boxing or pro wrestling. You will disgrace not only yourself but also me and the entire ass-kicking sport.”
“You’re the great Lou Silva. Of course I understand. Ass-kicking is a discipline. It’s not a hateful act. I want to pay my gratitude to the soul and the spirit of competition.”
I couldn’t have said it any better.
“How did you find out about me anyway?” I asked him.
“My father told me.”
I trained him into the champion he became.
Ten years later, the whole ass-kicking community called Charlie Madrigal the Michael Jordan of the WAKL (or the World Ass-Kicking League). He kicked ass like no other ass-kicker before him. He appeared on ESPN19 at 4 AM more than any other athlete.
One offseason, he went ice-climbing—his biggest passion besides ass-kicking—up King’s Peak. Somewhere up that mountain, an aggressive black bear stepped from its cave. It growled at Charlie and licked around its mouth.
Charlie had one of two choices: either leap from that steep mountain and risk death or fight that bear with his ice screw—and still risk death. Well, he fought the bear. He stabbed it in the neck, but the bear still won. It chewed and mangled Charlie’s left leg—his golden leg—to a bloody, stringy compound. The immense pain made him faint.
He awoke again. He wasn’t dead—thank God—but his left leg was still gone. The bear must’ve retreated back to its cave. Charlie preserved the stringy stump by burying it in the deep snow.
Somehow he climbed back down those 13,000 feet on one leg.
ESPN19 began giving reports on the disappearance of Charlie Madrigal, the greatest ass-kicker of all time.
The league built his statue in front of the WAKL Hall of Fame next to a bail bonds shop in his hometown of Provo—a copper impression of him and his signature kick move, the Reverse Charlie.
He hid himself from the glitz of Utah, with his one foot. He hopped up to Alaska and slept in storage garages. He didn’t beg for change, he found it. He always found change somewhere, just as long as he was looking. He ate for survival and liquor. They allowed him at The Oil Rig, a honky-tonk bar in Anchorage.
This woman with pale green eyes and a Susan Sarandon sultriness came up to him at the counter. He was drinking Old Crow by himself.
“You’re Charlie Madrigal, aren’t you?”
“How did you know?”
“You don’t think I watch ESPN19?”
“Yeah, well, I’m not Charlie Madrigal anymore. I’m Charlie Mudrigal, because now I’m nothing but mud.”
“You may stay at my place, Mr. Charlie Madrigal.”
By the way she said it in her French accent, he fell in love. She would be the one who would grow his leg back.
She lured him to her widow’s mansion in the hills. For her love, Charlie would’ve jumped off King’s Peak. He lost his fighting leg forever, but his deep love for her made him feel as if it had grown back.
They stayed up all night together, but they didn’t make love. She said she wasn’t that type of woman.
“I must say, you’re not like most of the men I’ve been with.”
“In what way?”
“I usually fall for Iditarod champions.”
“But they were never enough for me.”
“You need more?”
“They’re bloody misogynists.”
“I can understand that too.”
“I tried my damnedest to convert them, but you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Howling came from her backyard. A group of huskies pawed at her patio window, howling through the glass at her and Charlie.
“I rescued them from those evil misogynists.”
At least he wasn’t one of them.
“We’re all inherently evil,” Charlie said.
“Do you think?”
“Oh, you poor man without a leg,” she said. “I feel sorry for you.”
By next morning, the sun never came up, but Helen Le Conte’s feelings had changed overnight. She was letting her clothes out to dry in her backyard at the top of a hill.
Charlie hopped out to her for a morning kiss, but she turned her face away.
“What’s wrong, honey?” he asked her.
“I went out this morning.”
“To an Iditarod match while you were asleep.”
“You did? But why?”
“You said something last night. You probably don’t remember. You were very drunk.”
“What did I say?”
“You said you wanted to go back into ass-kicking.”
Charlie couldn’t defend himself. He did black out, after all.
“Charlie, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll cut to the chase. I’m telling you because I care.”
“If you cared, you wouldn’t have said that.”
“I’m being brutally honest with you.”
“And I’m being brutally honest, too. I love you, Helen.”
“I cannot say the same,” she said. “This is over.”
“This is what?”
“Now that we’re out in the open, and we’re letting our clothes out to dry, I want to clear the air.”
She clipped the rest of her clothes on the clothesline, and Charlie held her in for one last plea.
“You met another, didn’t you?”
“Iditarod champion? Yes, I did. This morning. I think it’s best you leave.”
So Charlie staggered on his good foot from her mansion through the town of Anchorage, a dark region of the earth where the sun showed for only half a year. He didn’t even carry a knapsack, just his ice screw along his belt.
Without a mother or sisters, Charlie never understood women, or the rest of the human race, but women especially. His love for Helen stayed like a terminal illness. Charlie wouldn’t listen to her, though. If he threw a snowball it would go sideways, not up and down to the earth, unless he tossed it upward. But how would it penetrate the soil? However many miles away was hell, and how would the snowball burrow itself all the way down there?
He found a patch of soft soil as large as a manhole, and he dug through it with his ice screw. He kept digging all the way down towards hell. He ate bugs. Not to mention he drank enough water to hydrate himself through the whole journey.
The journey took six months. If the earth were an enormous peach, hell existed in the very center of its core.
Right next door to hell, believe it or not, an unknown frozen land resembled Krypton from the Superman comics. It had icicle structures for shelter from blizzards at the deepest center of the earth’s core.
The icy climate didn’t freeze him to death, but it hardened the snow. He grabbed two handfuls of it and rubbed both piles together for a snowball the size of a volleyball, and he carried to the border between the ice world and Hades. Humans could inhabit both worlds, as Charlie had proven, at least for half a day. He compared it to Antarctica if it bordered with Palm Springs in July. He looked up at flying pigs. Somehow they had grown wings. The long, dark, muscular wings elevated their fat bodies over bottomless fire pits. All species needed certain limbs or other features for survival in a certain climate. Except in Charlie’s case, he could lose a left leg and never grow it back. He adapted in another way. Even though they lived in hell, Charlie envied those pigs with wings.
He threw the large snowball into hell, his magic eight-ball. It landed on a sandy floor. He waited an imperceptible time for the death of the snowball, but it never melted. That gave him the answer. It validated his purpose.
He climbed back up to the earth’s surface to a thunderstorm in Saskatchewan. He hitchhiked, he took trains and buses, he even took Uber rides down through Washington, Oregon, and back to Provo, Utah. There he reunited with yours truly: Lou Silva, former Navy Seal now ass-kicking trainer.
I didn’t recognize him at first, not with his missing leg and his gray beard flowing to his navel like a cobweb. What could I say to him after seven years?
He hopped up to me:
“I need you to train me.”
“Oh, Charlie, but…”
“But what? I know what you’re thinking. What good is he with just one leg?”
He was right about that.
“Look,” he said, “I’ve had my heart broken into unfixable pieces, I’ve been to hell and back. Please, just help me reclaim my title.”
“What shot do you think you have, Kid?”
He pressed down on my shoulders, looked me square in the eyes and said: “a snowball’s chance in hell.”
“Let me think about it,” I said.
In the meantime, Charlie set up an interview with Danika Pantanner of ESPN19. Throughout the interview he described the amputation to the bear, his trip to hell, and all that he realized.
“But that’s not why I’m here for the interview,” he said.
“So why are you here, Charlie?”
“I hereby challenge the reigning champion of the WAKL.”
“You’re challenging Otto Szezerop?”
“Yes,” Charlie said, “him.”
Now, Otto Szezerop, or The Norwegian Derriere, was a goliath ass-kicker from Norway. No one could ever kick him down. Never. By the sound of the rules, a one-legged man would’ve more than audaciously entered that contest, especially against Otto who had fifty kickdowns and zero losses.
Otto accepted the challenge.
On the day of the weigh-in, Charlie weighed 130 pounds. Otto weighed 353 pounds of a bull’s mass. His ass weighed fifty pounds alone. Otto could’ve dislodged his ass from his body, rolled it off a hill into traffic, and left dents in some cars.
The committee held the weigh-in at Circus Circus Hotel and Casino and Las Vegas, where they would hold the title bout in three months.
Charlie hopped onto a weight scale at a podium. He weighed fifty pounds under the minimum for the heavyweight class. His powerful left leg weighed at least that much. The crowd ripped into Charlie at the podium, joking about his leg. They no longer revered the Michael Jordan of ass-kicking. Man, how the world had changed since his disappearance. Beforehand, no one would’ve called him a “washed-up freak.” He stood on his one leg at the podium and faced those jaded souls:
“I will kick him to the mat.”
The whole crowd of one-hundred-and-fifty people laughed.
“You’ll see. He will beg for mercy.”
They laughed even louder.
“You’ll see,” he repeated until the famous JoJo Berkeley, the host, took the microphone.
He even yelled to the crowd without a microphone: “All a man has to do is believe. I will prove to Otto and all of you and the WAKL, and the world, I am the true champion of this sport.”
“Ah ha ha ha ha ha,” Otto laughed, “you stupid little man.”
Charlie hopped over to him, Otto stood up, and together they stared each other down until security guards pulled them away.
The press conference intrigued the whole WAKL community. All that publicity brought thousands of dollars at stake. The trash-talking wouldn’t end, to my chagrin. He and Otto fought each other on Twitter.
They both tweeted more words and more posts than the nation’s president at the time, Matthew McConaughey.
I will reclaim my legacy and dominance in the sport I grew up with. The sport belongs to me. That’s my statue in front of the ass-kicking hall of fame.
To which Otto responded:
UR DAYZ R OVUR U STOOPID LITTLE BETCH. Y DON”T U KUIT B4 U KIL URSELF.
Despite the public scorn, Charlie pounded on my door in the middle of the night.
“I’m ready to train,” he said.
“Under one condition, Kid,” I said. “No more trash-talking through those stupid websites.”
So I trained Charlie the best I could, even if a snowball in hell couldn’t help him. I flew him to the Basque mountains in Spain, just like the old days in his prime. We practiced with donkeys. Charlie bent over, with his ass facing the donkey, and I tapped the donkey with a bullwhip, scaring it, and it kicked Charlie squarely in the ass straight into a puddle of mud.
In time, Charlie’s body hardened itself against the stiff jolts of the donkey, and he fell less often. The kicks to his ass ruptured him less and less. Not bad for a man who bent over on one leg.
We practiced from morning till night. I fed him three pounds of bison fat every day, along with carrots and sausages. He would early and rise the next morning and do it over again.
Along with building strength in his ass, he practiced the Reverse Charlie on deer carcasses in a barn. With enough heart and soul, Charlie flipped backwards and remained steady in a full circular motion, even on one leg, and he swiftly kicked the carcass. The donkey struck him 100 times in the ass every day for three months. He went a whole day, and a whole week, and a whole month without falling once to the donkey.
By the week of the fight, we flew back to Utah where Otto practiced. Charlie and I watched him from a remote hilltop near King’s Peak. The Norwegian Derriere didn’t practice with donkeys; he practiced with cars. He bent over at the bottom of a steep driveway, and his trainer rolled his pickup in neutral to Otto’s ass, and Otto wouldn’t budge an inch. He had mastered the strength of keeping on his feet. His knees and thighs and calves could handle a ton of weight in motion while squatting.
“What did I get into?” Charlie said.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “You’re ready.”
“I don’t think, I know.”
The fight went underway on the evening of October, 28, 2025—three days before Halloween. Training with donkeys couldn’t compete with fighting in the oval—as they called the ring. It intimidated Madrigal ten times more, he said.
“Seven years,” he told me.
“Why did I agree to fight the reigning champion?”
“Because you made yourself a promise,” I said. “Have you forgotten?”
“I never forget.”
“If you win tonight, you’ll go down as the greatest athlete of all time. When people say you would have better luck as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, they’ll really mean it.”
Charlie swallowed that rich and heavy thought.
“You’re right,” he said.
I held out my hand for his embrace, and Charlie shook it. A cold firmness in his hand said it would be our final handshake.
Hotel management at Circus Circus cleared out a banquet room for the fight. A sellout-crowd of 1500 people waited for the contenders. The famous JoJo Berkeley announced the match, as he did with all other major title fights. He also managed a tire store in Salt Lake City. He called out the reigning champion first. Otto emerged from his tunnel to the banquet room. He wore his signature lion pancho of lion’s fur with a lionhead across his left shoulder. He didn’t look as cocky on a sixty-inch jumbotron as he had at the weigh-in. His usual smirk was gone. His lips were tight and straight. His eyes looked downward at a troubling thought. After all, if the reigning champion who had never lost a match would lose to a one-legged man who hadn’t fought in seven years, no matter that man’s legacy, the public would’ve laughed Otto and his titanium Norwegian ass right out of the World Ass-Kicking League. He would’ve lost his endorsements from Slappy’s Foot Pads and Jacoby’s Foot Powder and McMillan’s Hemorrhoid Cream.
And what about the groupies?
“And now…,” JoJo announced through his microphone at the center of the oval, “…the legend who needs no introduction, hailing from the Ass-kicking capital, Provo, Utah, 138 wins and three loses, making his return to the oval, former heavyweight champion, Charlieeeeeee Madrigalllllll.”
We marched out to a spotlight. The jumbotron exposed our faces. The crowd erupted in laughter at Charlie in his famous trunks: white with little seahorses on it. They flashed us with their camera phones. They blinded us on the way to the ring. Charlie even lost his balance. He fell over, so I picked him back up. Some people laughed, a few panicked, others even threw popcorn at us.
“I’m all right,” he said.
“Don’t let embarrassment defeat you,” I said.
“Come to think of it, it loosened me up.”
We made it to the oval, and Charlie stood toe to toe with Otto. A referee gave them the rules:
No kicks to the nuts or anywhere else on the body besides the ass.
“You ready to go down, Freak?” Otto said.
“I’m not a freak,” Charlie said. “I’m a legend, a champion, a god of this sport, and I’ll show you why, you Norwegian Mule.”
Otto didn’t have a retort. He pouted back to his side of the oval, back to his trainer. Whatever about trash-talk, the soul and spirit of competition and all that other nonsense. This was vanity and nothing else. I massaged his shoulders at our part of the oval:
“Remember why you’re here,” I told him, “and remember what we practiced.”
“The Reverse Charlie?”
But Charlie wouldn’t do it. Otto kicked him to the spikes in the first round alone. So Charlie had two chances left. I didn’t gamble, but if I did on this match I wouldn’t have put money on my boy. God had bestowed him with miracles, perseverance, and an incredible ass—back when Charlie still had all of his faculties. If he could take down the Great Norwegian Derriere at least once…. He still impressed everyone with how he could hop himself to the air and swing his foot right into Otto’s ass. He could do head-starts on his one foot and hop and swoop and swing into him, and he could even land back on his foot after the kicks. But so what about style points? Charlie couldn’t kick him down. Something not even a pickup truck could do.
But by the thirty-seventh round, his kicks weakened the Norwegian. He did the spinning barrel corkscrew kick, and it sent Otto to the spikes for once in his career. The crowd stopped laughing after that. My boy had a chance. The kickdown infuriated Otto so much, he threw a childish tantrum, ran back to his trainer and cried, not from the plastic spikes on his knees but from the end of his streak.
Charlie came back to me at the end of that round, hopping gayly.
“I did it,” he said.
“And you can beat him. You got to do it.”
“What do you mean you can’t? Do it, Kid, in the next round while he’s still pissed and tired.”
“But what if I fail?”
“What if you don’t?”
“If I Reverse Charlie and I miss, I’ll lose.”
Great point. If he missed Otto entirely, he would’ve given Otto another point. Otto had already two kickdowns on Charlie. One more would’ve counted as a technical kickdown.
“I hate to tell you this,” I said, “but it’s the only chance you got.”
So for the next several rounds, Charlie didn’t do as I said. Boy, had he changed into those seven years. He kept doing One-Legged Scissor kicks.
He did send Otto to the mat in the forty-ninth round. He hopped back to me with an eager smile, yet weaker.
“I think I can do it,” he said.
“Do it by all means, you must.”
Through each subsequent round, both fighters wavered ever more like balloons in a strong wind. They wouldn’t regain their strengths, or good old-fashioned adrenaline, until the sixtieth round.
Otto saved his special move: the Cartwheel Dagger Kick. He drilled his foot hard enough in Charlie’s ass, it forced him towards the mat. Charlie windmills his arms to swing himself back with enough propulsion, he avoided the fall. But it made him woozy for his next turn.
Otto bent himself over. Charlie could barely hop to his position. He almost fell over.
“You’re weak, you lose,” Otto said.
Charlie had no more timeouts.
“Don’t listen to him, Charlie,” I said. “Remember what we practiced.”
Charlie had thirty seconds. If he didn’t perform his next move in thirty seconds, Otto would’ve won.
He lunged at the final second. He did a new move: the Angry Turkey. He nearly missed Otto’s ass entirely. The human eye couldn’t see his foot make any contact with Otto’s ass without instant replay. The judges and referees checked it in slo-mo from a computer tablet. They could zoom the video in close enough on Otto’s ass. It showed Charlie’s toenail graze the side of the left buttock.
So they went onto Otto’s next turn, a basic bull-charge at Charlie: a dropkick. Otto could land back on his feet. Charlie fell forward. The fight would’ve ended if not for his superhuman balance. He fell to a handstand on the spikes. Unbelievable to see a one-legged man stand on one hand with such an asymmetrical body. He hopped himself a few feet on his hands and swung himself back to his one foot.
For his next turn, he tried a basic, high-percentage move on Otto: a simple swing to the taint, the delicate zone between the bunghole and the testicles (or, as the WAKL community called it, the scratch-and-sniff).
It strengthened orgasms but it also shocked the whole body like a jellyfish—just if Charlie didn’t touch Otto’s balls with his foot. Otto’s legs shook like weak branches. He clenched his fists. How amazing the power in that man’s legs. No wonder he had been undefeated champion. He could go one last turn.
He kicked Charlie flagrantly in the balls. My boy fell straight to the mat, in so much pain, he gagged as if one of his balls clogged his throat. I picked him up from the mat. The judges and referees all crowded around:
“Is he OK?”
“Can he talk?”
“We can disqualify the champion.”
The main referee rushed up to us.
“Do you want to disqualify him? It’s your choice.”
Otto must’ve known Charlie had nothing left for himself but pride and glory. It got him in as much trouble as it did progress.
“I will never quit,” Charlie said.
They called an injury timeout. I dragged him back to the locker room—or a bathroom in the hotel lobby.
I helped him into a bathroom stall, filled the toilet with buckets of water until the water could reach his nuts, and I filled the water with docipherus salt.
“What is that?” Charlie asked wearily.
His eyes were turning backwards, his arms were limp.
“It’s a special kind of salt, Kid, specifically for the balls.”
“Where did you get that from?”
“This Mexican sports doctor. He found it on a lakeshore. A lot has changed since you been away.”
The salt numbed the balls within ten minutes. Charlie still felt weak, though.
“I don’t think I can do it.”
“Come on, Charlie. Just one more kick. You’ve come this far. You can’t just hop away. You know you still have it in you.”
That shot to the testicles made him hallucinate.
“Helen?” he said to me, the bitch who had shredded his heart and soul in Alaska.
“No, Kid, I’m not her.”
“Get it together, Kid. I’m not that tramp. I actually care about your one-legged ass. I don’t want you to suffer, I want you to succeed. Now pick yourself up, and hop your ass back to that oval and show this Norwegian piece of shit who the real champion is.”
“Come on, Helen,” he said. “I’m too weak to fight.”
He sounded more punch-drunk than crazy.
“I’ve tried all I could, but he has every right to be champion, and I don’t. You were right. I’m just a has-been with no left foot.”
“You know what?” I said. “She was right. In fact, I don’t even know why I wasted my time with you. I got a dozen other fighters who could take down Otto before you. Just go on! Hop away! Go beg for change! Go do crack! Go play fantasy football! Go tell people you were once the great Charlie Madrigal! Actually, you’re nothing more than a flash in the pan, a one-kick wonder, a fraud. I’ll tell the committee they should tear down your statue. If your father could see you now.”
Charlie pushed me out of the stall. I fell against the wall. He shot up from the toilet and hopped madly at me with a vigor I had never seen on him.
“What did you say about my Dad?”
“Face it, Kid. He never taught you the ropes, how to be a man. He was just a rolling stone. Some other poor young bastard probably picked him up and made him his father, too.”
“Fuck you,” he said.
“You heard me, you coward, I quit.”
Charlie leapt to the air off his foot and double-kicked me in the stomach. Well, shit, the docipherus salt must’ve worked.
He hopped right out of the bathroom without my help. Back in the banquet room, the crowd leapt to its feet for Charlie. It now favored him. The spotlight shined on Charlie hopping quicker than a kangaroo after a rat.
Otto Szezerop, from the moment he saw Charlie, smacked his own ass with another two handfuls of chalk powder, and he leaned proudly forward, waiting for him in an outstanding forty-five degree angle. He gripped his knees, his fingers turned white. The smirk of all arrogance returned to his lips. The bastard must’ve thought he had already won. Just withstand one more weak blow from his broken adversary, he must’ve thought.
But here came my boy hopping from a head-start into what we had practiced for all those months: The Reverse Charlie. Coming to within five feet of the Norwegian Derriere, he sprung himself backward in the air, with his leg straight, his foot straight, his body swinging in a perfect arc into—not only Otto’s ass—his asshole. Yes, Charlie’s foot got stuck. Otto fell for the third time, but so did Charlie, like a photo finish. Charlie’s foot had gone so far up Otto’s ass, Otto coughed out a piece of Charlie’s toenail. Doctors helped pull Charlie’s foot leg out of Otto’s ass,
The referees huddled with the judges. I ran up to one of the referees.
“What does this mean?” I asked.
“None of us here have ever seen something like a foot actually getting stuck in an ass.”
The panel finally came to a decision. They passed the microphone back to JoJo Berkeley who addressed the crowd:
“The WAKL states in the journal, any insertion of one body part into an opponent’s would lead to disqualification.”
The crowd booed.
“However,” JoJo continued, “as with the last call, the recipient may decide whether to disqualify his opponent or go one last try.”
He turned to Otto, who lay half-conscious on a stretcher.
“Otto Szezerop, do you wish to disqualify Charlie Madrigal?”
With the microphone to his face, hiccupping, laying on the stretcher, limpwristing the microphone, he glared out at the crowd and croaked out: “I will never lose.”
“As a result,” JoJo said, “I hereby declare Otto Szezerop winner of this bout and reigning champion of the WAKL.”
Part of the sellout crowd of 1750 people rushed the oval, ripping their tickets and spitting and shouting in Otto’s face. Others hoisted Charlie toward the heavens, all the way back to his locker room—or the bathroom.
“I’m done for good,” Charlie told me in our room at a Holiday Inn near Pahrump—we couldn’t afford a room at Circus Circus.
“But you’re just getting started again,” I said.
“It wasn’t about the title,” he admitted, “and not about the legacy either.”
“You got about three years left, Kid, the way I see it.”
“It’s not for me anymore. The sport isn’t what it was seven years ago. I have no place in it.”
I woke up the next morning alone in that hotel room. He had left without a trace.
Two years went by, and nothing happened. Charlie wouldn’t reach out to me. Otto had left the sport out of disgrace. Everybody called him a gutless fighter.
One night, I couldn’t sleep. I turned on ESPN19 to a special 30-for-30. It was about the two fighters. The league had accused Otto of injecting performance-enhancing drugs into his glutes. He lost his endorsements. He couldn’t even move back to his village in Norway. He moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming instead, far away from the ass-kicking world, and he drove for Uber and worked part-time at a Foot Locker.
Danika Pantanner interviewed him.
“What is the biggest regret of your career?” she asked him.
“My biggest regret is of ever letting someone put their foot in my mouth.”
As for Charlie, they couldn’t find him for an interview. They had to go about legends. Everyone had a different story.
A farmer from North Dakota told his version:
“I let him stay on my farm as a farmhand. Well, one day he’d been teething at too many whiskey bottles, and he caught himself in my tractor. [Suck]. There went his other leg.”
“I seen him come in too many times a day in his wheelchair,” a liquor store clerk said. “He been drinking the stuff and doing that crack cocaine right outside ma store. ‘Enough was enough,’ I say. He couldn’t come back. One of my other regulars tells me he sold his other foot to them aliens for some sort a research.”
Danika also interviewed a doctor from the University of North Dakota. He said he had diagnosed him with a common condition among retired ass-kickers:
“CAI, or Chronic Anal Inflammation gives the sufferer so much excruciating pain, he can no longer sit on his ass anymore.”
So, my boy, Charlie, had wheeled himself into oblivion, supposedly, and hopefully in the same land as Elvis Presley.
I retired from ass-kicker training. I finally pursued something with my Journalism degree. I started my own blog about ass-kicking and submitted articles to a bunch of fancy newspapers. Someday my flies would catch. And perhaps someday my boy would show up again.
Regardless, his statue remains, and that match at Circus Circus would go in the books forever as the best in WAKL history.