A chattering swarm takes the hill. Early morning fog burning off in the bright Brisbane sun. What is going on over there? Crazy costumes; a lycra tiger suit, face paint, tail swinging... a collar and chain, the Mad Hatter, Sergeant Pepper, something... a frothy mini-dress of black lace, purple fishnets...painful shoes. Mixed in with the Karate ka, the ninja – tabi boots and headwraps (a bit hot for that?).
Shrugs at her friend – crazy crowd, what can you expect in the big city? At the crest of the hill, the old museum – gothic spires, crazy mix of brick. Turn the corner just as the Queen of Hearts struts by. Must be some kind of theatre event?
Inside; big, hot rooms – mats and the vinegar smell of sweat and leather. 3 wrestlers fidget in their suits while the instructors drone. “...oldest competitive sport apart from running or walking... wrestling moves engraved in the pyramids...” Big, industrial fans make the air hum, circulating the heat nicely. The youngest wrestler – what? 14? Gangly except for the solid column of his neck. Can’t decide what to do with his hands (no pockets in a wrestling suit). Hair in careful disarray, awkward, self conscious stance. Lycra as slinky as the tiger suit. He tugs at the legs, gazes at the ceiling. Coltish limbs restless, the joints bony. He has AUS printed on the back of his suit... this kid competes for Australia?
The instructor comes to a point... “Harrison will demonstrate...” the kid steps forward, transformed. Crouches; focused, coiled, eyes implacable on the larger opponent. Like lightning he strikes! They clash and lock like antlers...sinew leaps into relief. The bodies, boyish a moment ago –all wire and straining ferocity. A moment of equilibrium – a change of grip, of stance – a switch too subtle to catch... and then... amazing flight as the older boy is flipped through the air to land with alarming force on his back, pinned at the neck (3 points). They rise, step back.
The sinuous, oiled ease is gone... once again, two teenagers shift and fidget. Ordinary...
Superheroes hidden away again.