Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A quick check-in

Hello all. Yes, I am still ticking, although my life over the last few weeks has had me considering, seriously, removing myself from the mortal coil. That has passed, as I now (as of yesterday) can count myself among the ranks of the full time employed! YAY!

Anyway, I still have one major hurdle ahead of me, so I'm by no means out of the woods yet. I can, however, see the clearing ahead. Hopefully the new year will allow me to get on a regular writing schedule so that maybe, just maybe, I can turn this into something more than an intellectual exercise.

I would like to thank my 3 readers for sticking with me. It will be more worth it in the near future. I have some big plans for this. Will it ever materialize like I want? Probably not, but the maybe is getting stronger! My writing time has been divided lately and this has suffered. I've regained focus on my book and a new story began to take shape Sunday. I'm still not sure where that one will take me, but I am excited about the premise. If any of you are fans of White Wolf's games, you may enjoy that one once (if) it gets finished.

Well, this seems rather short...How about a story? Here's another from my collection of flash fiction. There is a bit of a moral to this one, and it's pretty in your face, but I still enjoy the premise. I hope you do too!

"It's still amazing," DeShawn says without looking up from his gloves.

"What's that killer?" Rod, DeShawn's manager, asks from his usual position, leaning against the dressing room door.

"It's amazing that, without fail, this is always the calmest moment. Not after the match, not on the ride home, right now." DeShawn sighs. "I'm actually going to miss this. Right here, right now."

At 41, DeShawn knew that, essentially his career was over. Sure, the big name heavyweights could still fight into their 50's, but he was no big name star. Although the last 20 years were great, he just couldn't get over that hump. Never quite made it.

Everything started out so well too. Golden Gloves championship in his class on his 21st birthday. Under card matches for some of the biggest events of the time. But all that is ancient history. Now, it's merely survival fights in dingy arenas where more often than not the purse isn't enough to cover the travel expenses. DeShawn would have hung up the gloves months ago, except for the phone call.

Six months ago, DeShawn got a call from an old sparring partner who turned into one of the larger promoters in the Deep South. He was putting on a huge card over Thanksgiving weekend, and wanted DeShawn to fight in one of the under card matches. A few years earlier, and it would have been a no-brainer. Now, staring retirement squarely in the face, DeShawn wasn't sure if he had what it took to put on a good match, even if it was for an under card. The persuasiveness of his old buddy and the guaranteed purse eventually won him over.

Now, just a few short minutes from his last ever professional bout, the doubts that DeShawn had all those months ago came flooding back.

"Rod," DeShawn asks with a tear in his eye, "What am I doing here?"

"One last, big payoff killer!" Rod responds in his usual gruff exuberance. "A chance to go out in front of a big crowd instead of in front of a few dozen drunken gamblers!"

"Yea, I suppose," DeShawn replies weakly. "Is it worth it though?"

"Of course you punk!" Rod jests. "Now get out there and beat that mook senseless!"

With a chuckle, DeShawn headed out of the locker room for his last, long walk to the ring. Upon entering the arena, he was overcome by the spectacle. Nobody would confuse the Bartow Arena with Caesar's Palace, but it was a damn sight better than the back of Ernie's Pool Hall in Tulsa, the site of his last bout. Even a half full house was still good for several thousand boxing fans.

Climbing between the ropes, DeShawn is confronted by his opponent for the night, a lean, hungry up and comer 15 years his junior. The last thought DeShawn had before facing off for the last fight of his career was, 'Lord, please let me not get embarrassed out there!'

At first, it seemed to DeShawn that the youngster would make quick work of him. His opponent came at him from the bell with a flurry of punches that DeShawn barely was able to fend off. As the round went on however, DeShawn began to see a few flaws in the youngster's game that could be exploited. Unfortunately, his opponent's age allowed for a torrid pace that DeShawn was unused to.

As the first three minutes came to a close, DeShawn was only able to land a few weak punches. What he lacked in offense however, was made up for in the amount of knowledge he gained about his opponent. With the ringing of the bell for the second round, DeShawn's confidence began to grow. Not only did he think that he was going to have a decent fight, he might actually win!

After three more minutes and a few more weak, tentative attacks, DeShawn began to see his opponent weakening. Apparently this was the youngster's first fight in front of such a large crowd. He had thrown everything he had in the first two rounds. Now it was time to show the rookie what a veteran can do!

Dashing from his corner at the start of the third round, DeShawn began throwing powerful punches with bad intentions. After exhausting himself in the first two rounds, the youngster's defense wasn't as quick and sharp as it should have been. Glancing blows turned quickly into solid, damaging shots. One shot ended in a sickening crunch as DeShawn crushed his opponent's nose. Only feeling slightly guilty, DeShawn continued the onslaught until a solid shot to the youngster's midsection crumpled him like a used beer cup.

Collapsing into a neutral corner, DeShawn watches as the referee slowly counts, quickly becoming aware of his own fatigue. Only after he hears the three chimes from the bell does he realize that he has won. Dropping to his knees, fists thrust triumphantly above his head, DeShawn basks in the polite applause from the crowd.

Striding back to the locker room, head held high, DeShawn finally knew what it was all about. It wasn't about the fame, glory, or money. It was taking pride in a job well done.

No comments: