Cage Match – Jodi Sh. Doff

If the crowd were still here they’d see a girl, maybe seventeen, maybe not even, spread-eagle in the center of the wrestling ring, staring up into the lights. She liked imagining the crowd cheering as they watched her fuck a champion. This would be the real main event, a cage match between her and the masked wrestler, tonight’s winner.

But the arena was empty and only the maintenance crew remained—a few guys with brooms and mops. It was enough. They’d see. The champion had chosen her from all the ring rats.

She’d been to every one of his matches within a fifty-mile radius of home. Every night as the audience watched the fight inside the steel cage, drinking beers, and hollering and barking until yellowed spittle flew so furiously you might confuse one or two of them for a rabid dog, she’d slide her panties off. This was the first night she’d gotten close enough to shove her damp little-girl underpants into his hand as he made his way back to the dressing room.

He raised the moist shell-pink panties to his face and inhaled slowly. “Wait for me,” he’d said.

She waited. Sans panties. Eyes closed. Legs open. Body humming. Inhaling the dirty canvas smell of blood and sweat. Listening to the push-push of the brooms.

He walked into the cage, rubbing his hair dry with a dishtowel. He’d changed into jeans. The mask and tights were gone. He could’ve been anybody, one of the clean-up guys for all she knew.

She was nobody if he was just anybody. Without the mask he was just #189. Or #186, if she didn’t count the rape. Rapes. Without the mask he was just the next name on a list, already too long. Without the mask he was…already on top of her, and it was too late to say “No.”  She’d never gotten the hang of when to say “No.”

She lay there, listened to the push-push of the brooms, the swish-squish of the mops, stared into the lights and watched the counter in her head tick over to 186. Or 189. Because she was never quite sure what to do about the rapes.

Jodi Sh. DoffJodi Sh. Doff is a New York-based writer. Her work–often tinged with themes of violence, crime, addiction and sex–has appeared in Drafthorse Literary Journal, The Fix, Olive Tree Review, xoJane, Bust, Penthouse, and Cosmopolitan, and been anthologized in collections alongside luminaries ranging from Annie Sprinkle and Joyce Carol Oates.