Thursday, April 02, 2009

Badasses of Songdom: Triangle Man v. Eleanor Rigby

All right. Let's just get this one over with. Nobody on our side wanted it, but McCartney insisted on a package deal: no Bungalow Bill unless we took Eleanor Rigby, too. You drive a hard bargain, Macca. Fine. Whatever. Kill this series before it gets any kind of momentum behind it. You're the pop star.

We didn't expect much in the way of attendance tonight — this Rigby woman isn't easy to promote — but we've had a lot of walkups, folks all on their lonesome, buying single tickets. All these lonely people plunking down hard-earned dollars to see Triangle Man kick around an old maid: where did they come from?

Mithridates and Redneck pooled their savings and shelled out for the "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" Guy: anything to give this bout a little bit of the luster it's so obviously lacking. LGRTR Guy does his bit in style — the guy's a professional — but whatever the hell intern chimpanzee they have running the lights here at the Shriners Auditorium is having the damnedest time landing his spotlight on The Challenger. To the left . . . no. Try over there. Other corner. That her? Think so.

Pale woman, middle-aged — I don't know why I'm trying: she's the definition of non-descript — bent over eating spilled rice off the floor. Carbo-loading? M'dates tells me there was a wedding in the venue earlier in the day.

Triangle Man's in the Red Corner, jacked up on Yoo-Hoo and speed, making confrontational and obscene gestures to the crowd. They just stare back at him, blank-faced and alienated; they can't be bothered even to communicate their baser emotions. Seriously, where did these people come from? T-Man has gone razor-sharp isoceles today. He's thinking bum-rush impalement. Gonna kebab this old bat, stick her clean through to the sandbags in her corner. You can read it in his eyes.

Rigby showed some foresight: she brought her own cut man. Man of the cloth, apparently. He's got a Bible with him, a pair of darning needles (darning needles? really? not forceps?) and a roll of sutures. A 2-fer-1 proposition: he can stitch her up or administer last rites, as necessary.

Over/under here is 35 seconds before KO, TKO. I'm taking the under.

National anthem, invocation from this Father Mackenzie (not that anybody was listening), the band plays "Silly Love Songs" — another contractual concession to McCartney — and they ring the bell. Triangle Man stalks across the ring with the ugliest of intentions.

"Triangle Man. Triangle Man. Triangle Man hates Eleanor Rigby."

That doesn't read all that intimidating, I know, but until you've seen him say it, you have no idea. Ten, fifteen seconds tick off. No contact. Triangle Man circles the ring. He looks confused. It's like — it's like he can't find her. Weirdest thing: she's standing there in plain sight, but T-Man keeps streaking past her. She's managed to place herself beneath his notice. A neat trick: I don't even see her half the time — my eyes are fixed on Triangle Man, and she only flashes across my field of vision as he blows by her.

Fifteen, twenty seconds. Triangle Man is beside himself. "DAMMIT, RIGBY, WHERE ARE YOU?!?" he bellows. He stabs his acute angle into the ring's canvas floor and angrily tears it to shreds.

"There goes our deposit," Mithridates sighs from behind me.

Twenty-five seconds. Rigby steps lightly aside to avoid colliding with her ranting, pacing opponent. Unfortunately, she steps into one of the tears in the floor. She sprains an ankle and cries out. Triangle Man turns toward the sound and sights his prey.

Thirty seconds. Get her! GET HER QUICK! I've got a hundred bucks riding on the over/under!

Triangle Man pauses. He actually stops, lets his raised razor-sharp point droop to the canvas. He seems . . . touched. Rigby's wearing the most pitiful face you've ever seen. It's frickin' ridiculous. What a caricature of a sad-sack personality. Who does she think she's gonna win over with that? Well, Triangle Man, apparently. He's struggling with himself. Pangs of conscience I've never seen before: he can't bring himself to move on her.

Thirty-two seconds.

Triangle Man is fighting back tears. You've got to be kidding me.

Thirty-four seconds.

"I'm sorry," Triangle Man. This leanest, meanest, most merciless and unforgiving son-of-a-polygon is apologizing to Eleanor Rigby. His stomach heaves, and he sighs. It's a dramatic over/under-straddling sigh of empathy and resignation.

Thirty-six seconds. Triangle Man shrugs, checks his watch, and finally drops his kebab move on her. Game over. They had a fight (sort of). Triangle wins. Triangle Man.

And I'm down a C-note to Vercingetorix. Pfft.

Better matchup next week, Brothers and Sisters. We promise.

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