It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was just a few years ago really, but essentially it was still a life time. A life that saw me in friendship with a often belligerent mountain of a man named Matt. His name was Matt, but we usually called him Guts on the Floor. It was more than an internet nick name it was how he lived his life, balls to the wall, guts on the floor. He was a convention friend. I met him at Horrorfind convention in College Park Maryland. Actually I had met him a year before we became friends, in the bar at Horrorfind. The bar was the natural habitat of Guts on the Floor, but the year we became buddies it was in a meeting room, where all the loud and boisterous con goers were stuck to (hopefully) not to disturb the other hotel guests.
Guts came to my attention, because he was tossing lounge chairs around the room. As I said he was a mountain of a man, at least 6’2 and he looked to be easily 300 pounds, with shaggy black beard and unkempt hair. A lot of time there was food in that beard. His three favorite things at cons seemed to be eating, drinking and antagonizing celebrities, not always in that order. Yeah Matt was big, and he could be mean, and he could be annoying, but he was also loveable. He pissed off a lot of people, he pissed off me quite a few times, but we all loved him. The dead I heard about his death I spent an hour crying in my car. I’m in tears now thinking about it. There are a lot of stories about Guts, about Matt, most of them hilarious, a lot of them vulgar, some pretty gross, and some I would never publicly share. This is one story. A short, unimportant story, but one that made me laugh this weekend thinking about it.
Guts, at one point when we were really close, took to calling me at home late at night. He was pretty much always drunk, and most times spent most of the call insisting I call him Dr. Dan Challis. Guts was a huge fan of horror. He loved Dawn of the Dead, he loved Candyman but his favorite was Halloween 3, with Dr. Dan played by Tom Atkins. Some nights he would call and quickly get mad at me over some supposed (or real) slight. Like I said, he pissed me off MANY times. Some night’s he had plans for me and him. He was always going to come and visit me. Either to kick my ass, go drinking, go exploring horror related locations or whatever kick he was on. This night he wanted to go visit the Candyman.
Apparently Guts had just recently met the Candyman, Tony Todd. I had met Tony on a few occasions and he is one of the coolest celebrities that I have ever met. Well Guts, claimed that Tony now had a house in New Orleans. Guts also knew I lived relatively close to New Orleans (6 hours at that point in time). Guts also claimed Tony had given him the address and told him to come by if he was ever in new Orleans. Guts thought this was an awesome idea and that me and him should go visit the Candyman. Unannounced. I didn’t think this was such a great idea. Horror conventions are a great place to hang out with celebs, and some like to hang in the bar and talk and drink. But that doesn’t mean if they say drop by my house, they will remember it when the drink isn’t flowing. I just had a feeling if Guts did manage to get his address, Tony would have freaked to find the hulking Guts at his front door, probably drunk, and with a high likely hood that his beard would be full of partially chewed food.
But there was no dissuading Guts on the Floor, so I just agreed. I said “sure, come on down and we will make the trip to New Orleans.” Hoping that he would forget it when he sobered up, and for the most part he did. He did mention it a few times later, but he never made serious plans to visit. Later on his health and lack of a job made it pretty much out of the question. Then we had a nuclear fallout in our friendship. I got mad and said things, that I still regret. Not that I didn’t have reason, not that he didn’t deserve a lot of what I said, but it still doesn’t make it right to say that to a friend. I never saw him again. Never talked to him again. He was telling people he was going to kick my ass the next time he saw me. I thought he might try, but mutual friends said he loved me too much, That he would have confronted me, called me an asshole than hugged me.
Whatever would have happened we never got the chance to meet again. He died in a house fire and the grief still haunts me. I still love the big guy, and I hate him for leaving so soon with bad blood between us, but I cant think about him without either crying or laughing. That was him, all or nothing, guts on the floor.
So this weekend I met Tony Todd again, in Biloxi, Mississippi at a small horror con. Talking to him, he mentioned he was ready to get home and have a few days off. I said, “but you own a home in New Orleans, right” (about an hour or so from Biloxi). He told me that he didn’t and I told him about Guts and his plan to visit him. “So you guys were going to just show up at my door one night drunk? Yeah that would have went well” he said laughing. He’s really a cool guy and we talked about conventions, houses, crazy fans, etc. Then while I was talking to his manager Missy, he signed my poster. He finished and posed for a picture with me. “hey man, look what I wrote on your poster” he said to me. I read the inscription.
“Allen, I don’t live in New Orleans. Tony Todd”
I almost died laughing. Yeah it’s a silly little inscription that no one but me would get if they read it. Well me, and anyone reading this, and Guts. Guts, who is somewhere in the afterlife antagonizing a famous dead person. Your friends miss you, Guts. To anyone out there holding a grudge, do your best to forget it, to move on, to mend fences. Time is short, don’t carry hate to the grave.