"I resigned in September 2002. I had divorced that January. Our two young daughters lived with me. One thing about losing everything in a divorce is you have no debt. So I had about a year to play with.
"I started working out. I got huge. I got a flier about Bobby Blaze, a retired professional wrestler based in Ashland, Ky. It said to contact him if you wanted to be a professional wrestler.
"He said I was in good shape. But I was 46 and he said wrestling wasn't easy. I worked out with him for about an hour. It was really strenuous, but I held my own. I could hardly move the next day, but from the first time I stepped through those ropes, I thought, I am home. I loved it.
"The performing thing is kind of innate. You can either do it or not. Some guys are incredibly proficient in the ring but can't get people to care.
"I've had over 600 matches and 99 percent have been as the heel, Death Falcon Zero. Sometimes I've had heel versus heel matches, and the crowd actually cheers for the other guy. If you are going to be bad, be the worst.
"Danny Boyd and I can come to a town that's never heard of us and 30 seconds after we walk through the curtain, everybody wants to see us get our ass kicked. We can just turn that on.
"Danny's father and my father grew up together in Martinsburg. I go in the training room, and there's Danny, and we ended up being a tag team. We won Apex belts as the Grapes of Wrath.
"In 2007, I had 132 matches. In 2008, I had 128. That's wrestling every weekend in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, sometimes in Maryland, Pennsylvania and other fringe states.
"There's no money in it on this level. If I pay for my gas and get a meal and buy some beer for the ride home, I break even. I just like to do it.
"I wrestled in Mexico twice. That's as close to being a rock star as I will ever be. We were on TV and radio. People go crazy. They believe it. You don't wrestle into the crowd there, or you could be dead.
"I was honored in Mexico because they let me beat the local hero, Aztec. He knew the crowd would go crazy and come back.
"The best part about being a bad guy is you always lose in the end, but up to then, you have the most fun, because you get to do those dastardly things.
"It's fixed, but it is not fake. You know who's going to win. They give you so much time, like, 'Guys, give me 15, and you are over.' How you get there is between you and the other guy.
"Just because I tell you I'm going to pick you up and throw you on the floor doesn't mean you aren't getting thrown down on the floor. There is no trick to it. It hurts. Sometimes it doesn't hurt as bad as they are acting, but it hurts.
"I came to work here last February. I work security here four days a week after school. "I've always been a voracious reader, so this is a wonderful job for me.
"When school lets out, it's a madhouse. This is a library. You've got to keep the noise level down, and there are certain things you can't be looking at on the computer, and you've got to keep your hands off each other and conduct yourself like you are in a library.
"I'm writing again. Danny and I wrote a screenplay, and we're going to work on a movie. We shot some stuff in Prague and Tanzania and realized we weren't going to be able to finish the film, so we adapted it as an illustrated novel called 'Death Falcon Zero Versus the Zombie Slug Lords.' It sold very well.
"Now we are working on his first movie, 'Chillers,' that was picked up by Tranfusion Comics as a graphic horror anthology series. I have two stories in the first issue and will have two more in the second one.
"The short stories I wrote back in the day are out in three volumes now and are available through the library or Amazon. The titles are 'M is for Monster,' 'T is for Thing' and 'N is for Nightmare.'
"I'm happy in my life. I'm getting married this month. She's a librarian at the main library. I worked there for my training.
"I've had a lot of fun. It may not have been the most productive life financially or materially, because I don't have a lot, but I am good with that. I am very rich in experience."Reach Sandy Wells at san...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5173.