from Champion
by Shane Jones

Printer-friendly version


I remember the day Boris and Stella climbed the ladder up to that island.

What a sad day.

I cried.

But you couldn't tell I was crying because this is underwater.

And no one can tell.

Except the fishermen who pull at your tears to make their nets.

When Boris and Stella got to the island the first thing they saw was a burning palm tree.

Lava was still raining down.

                This is like death! shouted Boris.

                There is no like anymore, said Stella, it's just is.

                This is like getting the DDT for the second time, said Boris.

                Yes, it is like that, Stella said.

There were bananas and watermelons on the island.

Boris and Stella had never seen a watermelon before.

                I am the champion of watermelons, said Boris.

And he kicked a watermelon.

And it exploded on Stella's sad face.


What was happening underwater was the volcano was erupting.

Neon red cracks expanded. Lava poured streams through the ocean. The ocean tried to run away but didn't have legs.

But this isn't about here, underwater.

Because Boris and Stella lived on an island now.

This story is about them.

Boris was on the top rope, looking at the exposed head of the volcano.


My husband has dreams that I can see.

He lies on his back with his mouth open.

The dreams form into white clouds rising from his open mouth.

The dreams are Boris flying through the air.

In an elbow drop.

In a leg drop.

In a forward flip body splash.

All of it landing on the volcano.


We could all be champions.

Everyone says that is impossible.

But if I had the most money in the world I would make everyone champions.

By giving them champion belts.

But that's not really earning it.

That's like winning by disqualification.

Because the other guy blew fire into your eyes.


An island is the loneliest place on the earth.


Around us the ocean is turning into lava.


A story can be told any way you want to tell a story.

For example,

this story is like a behind the back pass when it's not necessary.

And this story is like a power-bomb after the ringing of the bell.

And this story is like crying in the locker room after everyone else has left.

And this story is like Boris thinking he is a champion.

When he is only a man named Boris with a wife named Stella.

Boris and Stella lived on the island while the volcano erupted.

Stella asked him why he ever thought he could defeat a volcano.

Boris said that this was like Hulk Hogan beating Andre the Giant.

And that this was like Kevin Johnson dunking on Hakeem Olajuwon.

And that this was like reversing Rick Flair's figure-four-leg-lock.

And that this was like John Starks going base line and throwing down a one hand jam on Jordan and crew.

But you're none of those men, said Stella. It's not like that at all.