Saturday, April 11, 2015

Characters You've Never Heard Of: JOHNNY BISHOP


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~September 6, 1978.~
  
 The crowd was dispersing from the cinema after the film, animatedly discussing Gary Busey's portrayal of Buddy Holly.  Most agreed he had done a bang-up job - he was certain for an Academy Award nod for that performance.
  
 It was a cool but beautiful late summer evening. Two couples - Paul and Linda and Keith and Annette, exited the theatre from the backstage door to avoid the reporters and autograph hounds gathered in the lobby.  They quickly walked down an alley and across the street, hoping not to be recognized.
  
 "Blimey, that was a fine film," Paul said cheerfully.
  
 "Indeed!" agreed Linda.  "That Busey fellow shall go far!"
  
 The other man, Keith, was looking haggard.  He was leaning heavily on his girlfriend Annette, who looked embarrassed in her pretty dress with her disheveled, red-eyed man hanging off of her. 
  
 "Are you all right, mate?" Paul asked.
  
 "He's just drunk," Annette groaned in a thick Swedish accent.  "We should go home and let him sleep it off."
  
 "Oh, we hoped you would join us for dinner!" Linda exclaimed.  "We have reservations at Peppermint Park!  Please, it would be lovely if you come out with us."
  
 Paul looked at the other man with concern.  He knew Keith, and knew he could out drink an entire pub full of Irishmen.  The man looked ill, not drunk.  But the women would not be reasoned with.
  
 "That's sounds fabulous!" Annette agreed.  "Keith, pull yourself together."
  
 Keith nodded and trudged along behind the others as they headed across Covent Garden toward the restaurant.  They had walked for about five minutes, chatting about the film and music and mutual friends before Paul noticed the odd-looking fellow skulking along behind them.
  
 "Damn it." He grumbled.  "That's the wrestler again, isn't it?"
  
 "Why you give him the time of day, Keith, I'll never know." Annette harrumphed.
  
 "Oy, he's not that bad," Keith replied.
  
 The stalker - a short, thin fellow in a jogging suit with the hood pulled up - approached them with his hands in his pockets.  He kept looking over his shoulder as if he was afraid he was being followed.  When he got closer, they could tell he had deep bags under his eyes, his skin was sallow and his breath reeked of booze and dead things.  He looked nearly as bad as Keith.
  
 "Ev’nin boys.  Ladies." He spoke curtly, nervously.
  
 "Evening," Paul replied, looking down his nose.
  
 The hooded man glanced around again.  "Keith mate, can we talk?"
  
 Annette rolled her eyes, but Keith staggered off a few feet to talk privately with the other man while his friends waited impatiently.  "What's up, Johnny?" He asked.
  
 "Your friends don't like me very much, do they?"
  
 "They think wrestlers are filthy meatheads, criminals and drug addicts. No better than gypsies, really."
  
 "Aye, and musicians are better?"
  
 Keith smiled.  "No, no I suppose not.  What d’ye need, Johnny?"
  
 "Blues, mescaline, whatever the fuck ye got, man.  I've got the shakes, Keith, I need something - anything - bad."
  
 "Christ, Johnny, what happened to your dealer?  Most people don't go asking famous rock stars for drugs.  People usually give us drugs."
  
 Johnny kept looking over his shoulder.  "I owe Mickey two thousand quid.  And I busted Big Jim's girlfriend's nose so he cut me off, too.  I don't know anyone else, Keith."
  
 Keith shook his head sadly.  He'd been there. "Jesus. Look, I don't got nothing on me, okay?  Meet me at me flat in about 2 hours.  Nine Curzon Place at Shepherd Market.  Number 12."
  
 Johnny looked relieved.  "Thank ye, mate.  You're a saint!"
  
 "Yeah, just don't get yourself killed before then, okay?"
  
 Keith started to walk away, back toward his impatient friends.  Johnny called out after him.  "Hey Keith!  You look like shit, man."
  
 "So do you, ye dumb cunt."

* * * 

He's the first of two fake wrestlers to appear on the list.

Johnny "Bishop" in the 1970s
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I won't deny it, I've participated in fantasy wrestling games on and off for years. It's really just an extended writing exercise. You create a character, then write short chapters of their life how they deal with the other characters they encounter in their wrestling world (their opponents, partners, etc). Sometimes it's a simple as writing interviews or promos about how you're going to beat your opponent's ass at the next show, other times its long adventures of how your character is fighting terrorists to rescue their kidnapped kids.

Johnny Bishop was loosely modeled after a real British wrestler named Johnny Saint, but his life is a little more... weird. Bishop was born at the end of WWII, grew up poor and got into wrestling to find money and glory. In his twenties he found a small amount of success but also got into drugs and the swinging 60s party scene. He rubbed elbows with famous musicians and artists, and became good friends with The Who's Keith Moon.

The day before Moon died, he asked Johnny to do him a favour: Steal his remains and smoke his ashes. (Come on, you know Keith Moon would be into something like that) Bishop did, and spent the next thirty years slowly smoking little sprinkles of the legendary drummer, especially before big matches. He became very successful and eventually came to believe that the ashes were what gave him his power and allowed him to win.

Johnny today
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Bishop managed to stretch his supply for decades, but eventually he ran out and became obsessed with finding more. Though he was in his sixties and probably should have retired, some bad investments had left him broke and penniless and he had to keep wrestling to survive, and thus he convinced himself he needed more ashes to help him through it. He just need another drug-soaked dead rock star to power his comeback.

So, he stole Amy Winehouse's body and took her to a magical island in the Gulf of Mexico, but before he could incinerate her corpse the island brought her back to life.

Bishop ultimately got her pregnant and she gave birth to a son, who he named Keith Moon Bishop. And there was some wrestling mixed in here and there.

I should really write this into a full length proper story.

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