Who among us does not know the familiar story of Vorian by now: built by a man with a congenital heart defect living in a $6-a-day motel in Dallas; has a Westinghouse J-34 jet engine that was once part of a Navy Banshee fighter plane. Vorian's arms look like rack-and-pinion ritual disembowelment devices but are in fact a flamethrower and a rocket launcher, respectively. Plus, of course, Vorian does 200 as a dragster.
•"We have guys who drive head-on into a van filled with explosives," Kersten says. "We have a lady who gets into a box full of dynamite and blows herself up."
Let's ignore the guys who drive head-on into a van filled with explosives—seen one, seen 'em all—and get right to the lady who blows herself up, a classically trained stuntwoman who calls herself Lady MacDeath and....
"The Dynamite Lady," says Kersten. Sorry. She calls herself the Dynamite Lady, and she climbs into a beer cooler wired with a pair of blasting caps. Still, she takes a mean-enough blow that the P.A. announcer feels duty-bound to warn those with bad tickers to skedaddle. Heart patients are then allotted six seconds to sprint half a mile to the parking lot before the whole building goes kaplooie! After which the Dynamite Lady staggers from the rubble to the accompaniment of her theme song, a soft ballad that goes:
She blows herself up every night
I have seen a videotape of a monster-circuit performer named Benny Boom-Boom, a human cinder who flickers quickly across the screen, free-falling while on fire. I'm not sure exactly what Mr. Boom-Boom does, but he seems to catch fire in a spectacular explosion.
"One of those guys who blows himself up blew himself up," says Bargo, who sounds vaguely convincing. "He died."
•"Free-falls," says SRO's Mancuso, moving right along. "You know—a guy jumps from the rafters of the Rosemont Horizon onto an air bag."
Borrr-ing. So at the Horizon last November they replaced the guy with a girl and engulfed the little lady in flames before she teetered into a 50-foot plunge. The woman was identified (not by dental records, thank goodness) as Vicki Sims, the Falling Fire Angel. USHRA literature states that Sims survives the fiery fall by wearing "secret gels and salves."
The fallen Angel was asked afterward what she was thinking as she hurtled earthward, her entire body ablaze. Quoth Sims: "I was feelin' my butt burn."