Schoen

The German word’s English meaning can be “nice one”, “beautiful”, “lovely”, even the simple, yet elegant, “good”. “Fish-hooker”, however, is nowhere on the Google Translate list of twenty-two words/concepts. Then again, he doesn’t go by Schoen these days. It’s too difficult to pronounce, he says.

I still prefer Schoen (pronounced “Shane”) though. You see, for me, Schoen was a senior in the fraternity that I was certain I’d never join. And Schoen ended up being my tag-team wrestling partner against a heavyweight Brent and lightweight Climer. Of course, while freshmen might be bold enough to challenge seniors, no senior would ever risk losing to a freshman, so despite the unpredictable nature of tag-team wrestling, I wrestled Climer and Schoen took on Brent. The match-up was more even than expected, Climer’s gangliness undoing much of my strength, and Brent’s weight putting to test much of Schoen’s.

The rectangular room had newer carpet, not plush, but fuller than the thin stuff commonly found in high traffic areas. Blue folding chairs lined the walls. The lighting was excellent. Anytime a wrestler’s energy or motivation began to fade his partner would tag in. Consequently, the other partner tagged in. My confidence in Schoen never faltered. One can imagine my surprise, then, as Brent managed (likely a surprise to himself) to maneuver Schoen into a nasty headlock. Wriggling like a python’s prey at first, Schoen quickly realized the futility of purposeless movement. Instead, he opted for a move that is illegal in every version of sanctioned combat across the globe: the fish hook.

For the ladies, the fish-hook is a tactic where one combatant curves his index finger into the shape of a “fish-hook” and places it into his enemies mouth. Obviously, this act alone would cause no advantage. What does cause an advantage is when this finger pulls against the cheek of the enemy. So picture the scene with me. Brent was standing a full head higher than Schoen, holding him in a head lock. They were spinning in circles. They were spinning in circles because Schoen, on his knees, was reaching up with one free hand and fish-hooking Brent’s right cheek. Eventually (moments like these do not last) I heard I tear. I guessed that Schoen had torn Brent’s cheek. Raising my guess to the level of certainty, Brent immediately tapped out, and as Schoen removed his finger, ran to the restroom.

Thick. The anticipation was thick. Breathing heavy, but relieved to be out of the headlock, Schoen lowered his chin towards his chest while he raised his eyebrows and stared at me. It was a knowing nod, a victor’s nod.

The restroom door handle’s jiggle announced Brent’s reappearance.

“Dude, I just vomited,” said Brent.

Apparently, Schoen’s finger had touched a nerve, so to speak. I know I was hooked.

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