by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
The earth shakes and a deafening silence fills the sacred space of the Ryōgoku Sumo Hall, as India-hailed Monsoon Maker squats and watches everyone lurch in the audience. The ceiling cracks open and large chunks of plaster fall. Screams break through the silence, as audience members fan out from the fallen debris. The dust pollutes the dohyō sand and land on Monsoon Maker’s glistening body. He lifts his skin-coated metallic and silicon leg and slams it down. A perceptible shiver passes through the crowds.
The kaiju, impossibly large, brings down its leg onto a row of red seats, now bereft of humans, who have scattered away. That strange webbed foot is attached to a leg that seems to go on forever, a gnarled monstrous thing so much like a tree trunk that reaches up into the ceiling where it meets the rest of the body. The other leg comes down as a shadow passes over Monsoon Maker’s face. That gummy foot slams down right in front of him, defiling the sanctity of the dohyō.
The crowd gasps. One of the human judges has run off, but the others, two AIs and two humans, stand their ground, dressed in black, sitting on the ground. The kaiju not only causes havoc, but disrespects and it is this irreverence that pisses off Monsoon Maker, as he wipes ceiling matter and monster goop off his face. His neural calculations come to the conclusion that the kaiju has made his introduction as his opponent here in this dohyō. He places two hands against that moist amphibian skin.
He huffs, snorts and pushes. His body quivers with a conversion of energy, from a stored fuel cell to mechanical. His hands quake. This is the hardest he has to push so far as reigning yokozuna. His sensors tell him as much. The kaiju’s face peers down through the ceiling crack, coming closer and a wandering eye fills that hole.
Monsoon Maker roars, kicking up sand behind him as he pushes. All his muscular appendages are driven to the extreme. The kaiju’s foot finally budges. The Monsoon Maker picks up some extra flab on that gruesome, slimy ankle like it’s a mawashi loincloth and lifts it up, his bicep muscles bulging, breaking. Synapses fire as fake ligaments snap in Monsoon Maker’s arms. He pulls off the okuritsuridashi move, throwing the beast’s leg out of the ring. The webbed foot slides and nearly collapses onto a judge, who yelps, dodging.
The audience cheers, even as some scream, clogged at the exits. The grotesque webbed foot has cleared past the white line of the circle. The monstrous kaiju foot has not defeated the reigning yokozuna, never mind that the rest of his body is elsewhere. The yokozuna remains the yokozuna, champion, undefeated, neither by robot, human nor giant foot of beast.
The distraction of the bout gives just enough time for the armored takedown team to sweep in on ropes and slide in needles connected to large kegs of liquid into the kaiju’s legs and—as Monsoon Maker sees from the limited view of the crack—all across its gigantic body above the broken arena. The team hooks clamps up on the kaiju, as it begins to slump forward. There is some signaling that passes amongst the takedown team and the leg lifts up, sagging. A giant buzz fills the room as the zeppelin, just visible through the crack, pulls up this disturbance, this opponent defeated, looking so much like a colossal misshapen puppet. Monsoon Maker notes some of the team crew saluting at him as they are airlifted up and out, hitching a ride on this unconscious monstrosity.
Monsoon Maker squats in his side of the sand as the referee turns to him and points the warfan his way, shouting, “Shobu-ari!” declaring him the winner.
It will not be the last day of the kaiju’s wrath, but Monsoon Maker chokes down a smile of pride. He has defeated this beast, or at least its vile overgrown foot. Monsoon Maker will return to the stable to get his muscles reprinted and implanted. He will practice, awaiting the arena’s full repair, so that he can continue the defense of his title. He is yokozuna and not even an out-of-this-world hulking fiend will beat him. The electric pulse that invigorates his alloyed body courses through him in a rhythmic beat that, in his winner’s high, he hears as a chant that repeats: hero, hero, hero—as the audience continue to scream, panic and hasten towards the chaotic jumble swarming the arena doors.