He Put 250 Pounds of Weight On The Machine And Released
Chris Benoit and Daniel were swimming in the pool in their backyard. A neighbor saw them as he mowed his lawn, and waved to the two of them. Chris waved back, but didn’t say anything. The Benoit’s were nice neighbors, always polite, friendly. They kept to themselves for the most part, but they were certainly not secretive. Chris and Daniel splashed around in the pool, the dad taking his son in his arms and tossing him from one end of the pool to the other.
They got out of the pool and went inside. They toweled themselves dry and went to their rooms to change into warm dry clothes. Nancy was in the kitchen, cooking dinner. The Benoit’s were having spaghetti. Daniel Benoit loved spaghetti. Father and son came downstairs. The family sat down to dinner. Sitting at that table they were the very pictures of the suburban dream.
After dinner Chris rinsed the dishes, then loaded them in the dishwasher next to the sink. Daniel went upstairs into his room. Nancy went upstairs into the office; she had been planning a vacation for the family later in the summer. She was researching flights and lodging.
When Chris finished the dishes he went into the living room. He sat on the leather couch, turning on the big-screen television with the remote control. He watched some sports highlights for a few minutes, but it made him bored and restless. It was baseball season, but Chris was a hockey fan.
Upstairs, Nancy left the family office and walked downstairs into Daniel’s room. She told him to get ready for bed. Daniel put on his pajamas and brushed his teeth. He came back to bed and got under his covers. Nancy sat on the bed next to him and read him a bedtime story. Then she kissed him on the top of his head, turned out the light and walked back upstairs into the office.
Downstairs, Chris continued to watch television. There was a movie on that he had seen before. It was about organized crime and a corrupt police department in 1920’s Los Angeles. It had Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe in it. He watched the part he liked, then he turned off the television. Chris walked back into the kitchen. The dishwasher had done its job. He put the clean dishes back in their cabinets. Then he walked upstairs to the office, where Nancy was working.
Chris Benoit and Nancy started to fight. Fighting between the two was nothing new. This had happened periodically over their ten-year relationship. The fights had gotten worse as the years wore on. Occasionally, they were violent. This one was. It was different, though. On this night, during this fight, something deep inside of Chris Benoit broke. He snapped. He leapt onto his wife, pinning her to the floor with his knee. He grabbed a roll of twine from the desk in the office. He tied his wife’s hands and feet together, muffling her mouth as she screamed for help. From underneath the desk, Chris Benoit grabbed an extension cord and wrapped it around her neck. Driving his knee hard into Nancy’s back, Chris pulled up on the cord. Nancy struggled, but she could do nothing with her hands and feet bound. Chris kept pulling, putting his 220 pounds of muscle mass behind it. As he pulled, Nancy’s struggling slowed as the life ebbed out her body.
Downstairs, we can only pray that Daniel was asleep.
Chris Benoit left the office, shutting the door behind him. He walked downstairs into the kitchen and began making telephone calls. He called his employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, telling them that he would be unable to make the next nights show in Beaumont, Texas because his wife and son were both sick with food poisoning. The talent relations representative he talked to on the phone told him to relax, that it was no big deal. The talent relations representative said that WWE would work on rescheduling a flight so Chris could make it to the pay-per-view event in Houston, Texas on Sunday night.
Chris Benoit hung up and then made another telephone call to his close friend and travel partner, Chavo Guerrero. On the phone, Chris sounded groggy and withdrawn. Chris told Chavo that he would not be making the trip to Beaumont. He told him that his family was ill. Before he hung up the phone, Chris told Chavo that he loved him. That was strange. Chris Benoit was not a man who told people that he loved them.
There was no going back, he thought to himself. Chris opened the refrigerator in the kitchen. He felt sick. He grabbed a can of Bud Light. He opened the can and drained it. Chris was not much of a drinker, but the cold beer felt good as it ran down his throat. When he finished the beer he opened a cabinet under the counter and tossed the can into the garbage can. He opened the fridge again and grabbed another beer. He took this beer with him, into the living room. He stood on the rug in front of the fireplace, looking at the photographs of his family. He picked up one of the photographs, taken on the fourth of July a few years back. The three of them, Daniel, Chris, and Nancy were sitting in the corner booth of Partners Pizza, smiling for the camera as they waited for their large pepperoni and cheese pizza. They had done this every summer since they moved out here. They ate a pizza at Partners, then sat on top of the roof of the car in the parking lot, waiting for the fireworks to start. Daniel looked forward to this day all summer. Chris Benoit ran his fingers along the glass frame, along the faces of his wife and son.
He sat on the couch, drank his beer, then another, then another. He knew what he had to do. He couldn’t allow his child, his beautiful child, to grow up without a mother, grow up without a father. Chris Benoit knew what he had to do, and it scared him. He took a couple of Xanax to help him go to sleep. He passed out on the leather couch that night, with the television on, the volume down low. The colored flashes coming from the screen lit the room and the sleeping body of the man on the couch.
The next morning Chris Benoit woke up on his couch. He walked over to the television and turned it off. He gathered up the beer cans from the night before, rinsed them in hot water, and then threw them into the garbage can underneath the kitchen counter. He went to the cabinet and took out two bowls and two glasses and set them on the kitchen table. He went to the refrigerator, took out a gallon of milk and a carton of orange juice. He poured orange juice into the two glasses. Chris took out the orange prescription bottle that held his pills of Xanax. He broke one open and dumped its contents into Daniel’s drink. Chris walked to the cabinet, and took out a box of Honey-Nut Cheerios, placing the box in the center of the table. Chris went upstairs and woke Daniel up, told the boy that it was breakfast time. The two trudged back downstairs, and fixed their cereal. Daniel drank all of his orange juice.
After breakfast Daniel told his dad that he was feeling sleepy. Chris told the boy to go back upstairs and rest. Daniel went up to his room, lay down on his bed, and passed out. When Chris knew that his son was asleep, he followed the boy upstairs. He lay down on the bed, next to Daniel. He bent down and kissed the boys forehead. He whispered into his ear, telling him that he loved him, that he would see him soon. Then he sat up, wrapped his arms around his son’s neck, cradling the boy’s head in the crook of his arm. It was the Crippler Crossface, the move he had been using to defeat opponents in the wrestling ring for the last two decades. He started crying. Crying, as he wrenched his arms backwards, hard, disrupting the flow of oxygen into the boy’s lungs. He cried as he pulled, harder now, determined to finish the gruesome job he had started. The boy tensed and went limp.
There was no going back. Chris Benoit walked down the stairs and back into the kitchen. He opened the fridge, and took out another beer.
It was late Saturday night and Chris Benoit was sitting in his basement weight room. He had killed his wife and son. What had he become? It didn’t matter now. He had sent them to a better place. A place where they could be with Eddie and Louie and Owen and Brian, all the guys that he had loved and been forced to live without.
Chris’ world had been closing in on him for a long time. It got worse after Eddie died. He’d had become depressed, sullen, and irritable. He’d been getting headaches, sharp lightening-like pains lancing through his forehead. His right arm would fall asleep. These things made him angry. He missed his friends, missed the laughter and support and camaraderie that they had given him on the road. He knew that like them, he was headed toward an early grave, or worse, a wheelchair like Dynamite. He was too young, too young to have been walking with the death and grief that hung around his head like a toxic cloud, poisoning his thoughts, invading his dreams. No, he thought, this was the only way. This was the only way.
Sitting in the weight room that night, Chris Benoit desperately tried to fill the empty feeling that was growing in the pit of his stomach. The beers couldn’t get rid of the look on Nancy’s face, or the way Daniel’s small body felt in his arms.
He tried the steroids next, shooting himself full of the chemicals that had been a part of his life since he was sixteen years old. He had built up immunity to the stuff over the years, now he was plowing through ten months worth of testosterone every three weeks. After he put the needle in, as he could feel the chemical flowing through his veins, entering his bloodstream, he started lifting weights. He threw himself at the machines, lifting, pushing, squeezing, trying to sweat out his loss and his shame through his pores. It didn’t work. He went upstairs and opened up a bottle of wine. He washed down some hydrocodones and a few Xanax. The mixture always used to work for him out on the road, those nights when he was so sore he couldn’t even bend down to take off his boots.
Chris Benoit woke up at a quarter after three on Sunday morning. He was sitting on one of his weight machines, the bottle of wine at his feet. This was it. It was time. He went upstairs and grabbed his and Nancy’s phone. He sent two text messages to his friends Chavo Guerrero and Steven Regal. The first said “My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane, Fayetteville, Georgia, 30215”. The second one said, “The dogs are in the yard, the garage side door is open”. He sent the same two messages from Nancy’s phone. Chris went back downstairs, took one last slug of wine and placed 240 lbs of weight on the machine. He took the bar off the machine, and put it on the floor. He tied the wire from the machine around his neck, and then released.