Saturday, May 29, 2010

Episode 2: A Mighty Left

His name on the corner was Champ, on account of him getting one round in the ring with the real one. That was about as far as any of the guys in the burg got in those days. The fight wasn't no real-deal title-bout, just a sporting sparring match, but then that was about the most excitment anyone around here could hope for in those days. Champ gave a pretty good showing against the champ. Lasted most of the round. Got in one good punch. In a way that boxing match defined Champ's whole life.

Champ was on all fours at the mouth of the alley. The left side of his head, sticky with blood and hair. The streetlights put Tommy and Dill in a silouhette, each of them holding a two-by-four with some nails sticking out one end. Clumps of Champ's hair made the shadows of the nails look like stressed pipe-cleaners.

Champ's vision was blurry, he'd taken a good number of whacks to the face. He tried to focus on the big hairy knuckles of his left hand. His left was his pile-driver. Champ remembered the one time in that whole round with the real champ that he gave the world champ pause. He gave him pause with a shot from his left. Champ's left was scarred from years of defending his rep on the street. And years of working mooks over for the boss. Champ knew if it he had any chance of getting out of this scrape alive, it'd be with that massive meat-hook of a left.

It was a double-cross. Champ could sense it in Dill's voice. A split-second of realization before that nail studded plank busted open his nose. The two worked Champ over for about an hour - back in that alley - next to the truck. Champ kept swinging, clutching on to alley trash, the dumpster, anything to stay on two feet. Champ knew once he fell that was it.

The big man stumbled and struggled his way closer to the alley mouth with each whack. He felt the nails punching in and sliding out of his head, his sides, his back. Champ felt the blood running down his torso, just underneath his clothes. He could feel it filling up his shoes. His toes squishing in his own blood as his socks soaked through with it.

The lights on the street, the passing cars, the foot traffic - all seemed a mile away for Champ. But he knew if he could make it out there, then maybe Dill and Tom would give up the ghost. And then maybe Champ'd have a shot at surviving this.

Now Champ finally fell, a few feet shy of the street. Just enough light pouring into the alley to see the shadow of Tommy moving closer. To see the shadow of that nail-board lifting up for the death-blow. Champ sucked in air, his vision pulling tight focus. Champ watched his bloody left hand. He willed it into a ball, a bowling ball, that's what he needed. The shadow of Tommy's board started down on Champ.

And Champ took a knee and swung his mighty left. Up, under Tommy's swing, catching the two-timing bastard in the ribs like a god damn cannon-ball. Champ smiled as he felt Tommy's ribs break like a piano thrown from a roof-top. A smile he hadn't smiled in years, a smile he hadn't smiled since he gave the real champ pause with that one punch in that one round so many years ago. That round Champ lost just shy of going the whole way.

Tommy buckled in half under Champ's punch. His insides turned to jam. Tommy puked all over Champ. But Tommy dropped his board and that was what Champ needed.

When Dill saw Tommy go down, and Champ rise up clutching that bloody nail-board in his right and making another mighty fist with his left, Dill knew he was done for. Champ took a bloody, agonizing step towards the little rat. And Dill backed away screaming, right into traffic.

The city bus ground to a stop in front of Champ, Tommy dying on the sidewalk next to it, Dill lying underneath its wheels. The roar of the bus engine - the crowd hailing the Champ.

Originally posted on October 19, 2005.

More of my fiction.

I have always been obsessed with trying to write a serial story. This was one of my many failed attempts. This is a nice entry though.

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