I felt like a fucking alien walking into that school... so familiar to Wingnut and Cody and Mark, but totally foreign territory to me. There were still a lot of the guys hanging around. They should have left for the day already, so I guessed they'd hung around to gawk at me.
Based on emails from October, 2002.
Wingnut met me at the front gate and walked with me to the gym hall. I got the hairy eyeball and even a wolf whistle from a couple of the guys, and I remembered Dillon when I spotted him - the guy who took a swipe at me outside Wipeout. At least he wasn't gonna be watching [the fight] from what I understood.
It was around that time that I asked myself the question: What the fuck am I doing here? I'm a lover not a fighter. But this was something that had to be done and sorted out once and for all, or I'd always be running and hiding or just catching fives.
Winger was in his school tracksuit and looked like he owned the place. He also looked more nervous than I felt... and I felt fucking nervous! Not about the fight anymore... I'd passed that stage. Just because I was on strange ground and felt like a total stranger. These were the grounds and buildings that were so familiar to Cody, and that he thought the world of, and spent so much time in.
I followed Winger into the "visitor's" dressing room, and had to smile at that. I was like the enemy there. The pair of gloves that I was given were lighter than the ones I used for messing about at home, and I guessed it was so that you didn't cause too much damage. Winger also passed me my headgear, a box, and shorts. Then a gumguard.
"Whose is this [gumguard]?"
"Mine. I use it for rugby. But it's cool. You can use it. It's been laying in warm water so you just needta kinda bite into it and let it like mould to your teeth."
The gumguard felt like a fucking brick in my mouth. It felt so fucking huge and a bit uncomfortable. "How many people are there?"
"Don't sweat. It's only the five of us. You, me, coach. Craig, and Jonathan."
"Craig's sparring partner. He's gonna second for him. Hey, you're looking cool, man. You ready? Cos we need to go through to the gym when you're ready."
"Got a vest? Or something?"
"Nah... but it's cool. You're looking cool. Now calm down, Steve. You ready?"
"I'm calm for fuck sake. It's you who's stressing."
"Yeah, OK. You ready to go now?"
"YES, for fuck sake! You're making me nervous."
"Cool. Uh... I mean, uh, yeah. Sorry. Wanna go now?"
"Let's get going, Winger. Fuck."
I was trying to resist packing up laughing at him cos I was trying to get this whole aggro vibe happening in my head. Watch his eyes. That's what Mr T had said. Watch his eyes the whole time cos they will tell you exactly what his next move will be. Keep your elbows in and block your chin.
I loosened my arm and other muscles as we walked down the passage that led to the gym. Wingnut was carring a water bottle, a towel, and a small first-aid kit. How fucking reassuring. "The towel is to dry you off." And I was determined that that's all it would be used for.
The gym was eerily quiet when we walked in. Then we proceeded to a smaller room where there was a boxing ring. Craig was there, throwing punches at Jonathan. He stopped when he saw me enter the room, then smiled at Jonathan, who gave him the thumbs up sign. Yeah, right. I'm ready for you, fucker, I thought. A million butterflies attacked my stomach and I felt sick. I was stoking myself up to a stage where I might even just give Wingnut a smack for the hell of it.
The coach saw me arriving, and called Craig and Jonathan over. Then the coach offered me his hand and I took it.
"OK. You guys know why you're here, and I don't give a damn about the details. The deal about the ring is that whatever happens in there happens, and when it's over it's over. No more beef with each other. You kids meet on the street and you smile. Got it?"
I nodded my head while Craig and Jonathan were smiling at each other. I guessed they were trying to psyche me out but I wasn't falling for it. Mark had warned me about that. "They're gonna try and drive you fucking crazy and make you do something really stupid. Just get madder [at them]."
The butterflies had become dragons in my gut, and I felt like I was gonna puke. Then the coach had this to say:
"Max three rounds. Two minutes each. Either one of you feel you've had enough, then your seconds know the drill. The towel flies. Jonathan and Winger. You got that?"
The grommet nodded furiously, while Jonathan took another smile at Craig. Fuck you two! I thought. I'm ready! Then the coach looked at me.
"You ever boxed in a ring before?"
"You ever boxed in a match before?"
"But you want to do this thing?"
"OK, then let's get done."
Craig took off his top, and he looked good. He was a typo swimmer but more cut than a lotta swimmers I'd seen except for Winger and maybe a few others. His shoulders were powerful from the swimming, and his biceps bulged. I would've gotten a hardon if it hadn't been for the fucking attack of the dragons deep down in my gut. BUT, I looked as good. The work that I'd been doing over the past week and a bit showed. I felt stronger, and I knew right then that I was gonna win this thing. I just had too many things going for me, and like Gary had said, Cody was there... watching... watching and waiting to cheer me on.
Craig was stretching and warming up in his corner, and I kind of copied him. I grabbed my hands behind me and pulled my arms up behind my shoulders and as high as possible, then bent forward with my head close to my knees. When Craig did that, he just about kissed his ass. But then he had so many of his fucking friends kissing his ass he didn't need to do it himself. Hmmm. Actually, through the soft satin shorts, his ass looked kinda cute. Tight. Shuddup, Gary.
Then the coach climbed into the ring and called us over. He told us to shake hands. Craig gave my glove a slight push, which I guessed was what boxers did before the bout.
Then the coach stepped back and told us to fight. Oh? Like now?
I didn't even have my hands up, and it was like a fucking explosion in my head as Craig's fist connected the side of my headgear, sending my head sideways. I lost my balance and went sliding on my ass against the ropes. The coach sent Craig back to his corner.
"You OK? You guys can stop this thing right now."
Everything was like a fucking blur. In the distance, I heard Winger telling me to keep my hands up. Yeah. I knew I'd made a fucking mistake, but so had my opponent. Craig had come right at me from the start and that's exactly what Mark had told me would happen cos Craig thought I was fucking easy. I could hear Mark. "He's gonna come right at you. Make sure your hands are up, and when he gets there all you need to do is put your fist in his face."
The coach called us back to our positions in the ring, and told us to fight. Craig walked right into it. He charged down on me with his arms just loosely bent at the elbows, and I stuck my fist into his nose. His head snapped back and he backed off. There was blood on his face, and running down his chest. I had him now. But the coach stopped us, and sent Craig back to his corner to have his nose plugged or some fucking thing.
Back in my corner, Winger was trying hard not to smile. The two of us stared at the frantic convo taking place in the opposite corner.
"Now you've got him!" the grommet beamed. "He's mad, so he's gonna be stupid. You're gonna be cool and flatten him. You've only got about a minute left in this round."
Again, we were called by the coach and told to fight. Craig had changed tack, and he backed off, waiting for me to walk into him. But I kept my distance, and we threw dummy punches at each other... maybe wishing that one or the other would walk into them.
Then, the round ended and we went back to our corners. It seemed like it had been an hour already. I was sweating like a pig. Wingnut was talking to me but my head was starting to pound... probably from the first punch I'd received from Craig. I could hear the voices from the other corner as well. Just two more rounds of that. It wasn't so bad. But I had to get up close. My dad had told me not to give him room to hook or he'd have an advantage. "Get in close. With the headgear you're going to have to go for his gut. Just pummel it. You're fit enough to keep going like pistons. Just remember to keep yourself closed up."
The coach called us again and told us to fight. Craig came in closer and threw two quick punches which got me against the arms, and forced me to position them lower to cover my gut. Then he jabbed into my jaw, sending my head back, and my gumguard flying outta my mouth. Nobody saw it going, so I just thought 'fuck it' cos it was like I'd had fucking bull's balls shoved up against my teeth.
Craig wound up a punch, but I saw it coming and ducked. Then I fucking slipped. Once more, the interrogation from the coach.
"I slipped! There's water on the floor!"
Winger jumped into the boxing ring and wiped the water/sweat mix off the floor. Craig and Jonathan were smiling at each other. They'd worked out a tactic but that was cool [with me]. I had a few ideas of my own.
When we were told to fight, Craig came into me again, and kept jabbing and jabbing. I pushed him away, and sidewound him in the same place - right on the nose - so that his plugs or whatfuckingever fell away, and his nose was bleeding like shit.
Again we were stopped until Jonathan had slowed Craig's bleeding. Then we were at it once more. I found myself lighter on my feet, and he couldn't get close. Each time he came in, I'd clobber him... first against his headgear cos he kept his face fucking well covered now, and then against his ribs. Just before the end of the round, he tried to back away but I followed him and let his ribs have it. When he dropped his arms to cover his ribs, I'd mock for his face. He'd cover his face, so I'd be back hammering his ribs again. Woohoo!
When the coach stopped us, Craig didn't look so cocky anymore. We were both hurting, I reckoned. My ribs felt like they'd taken a helluva fucking beating, and I was starting to hurt in the same place where he'd kicked me in the street.
"Ace," Winger whispered in my ear. "He's finished. You gotta flatten him. This is the last round now."
Winger and Jonathan made sure there was no water in the ring when the coach called us back. Craig came at me with his fists going like pistons, so I held his arms 'til the coach separated us. I was trying to remember everything that I'd been told but my brain was frying.
He came at me again and I threw a left hook that whipped him backwards, and he landed against the ropes. That's what Mark told me. "Once he's on the ropes he's dead. He's all yours with nowhere to run."
How fucking stupid could I get? Craig's fist suddenly came outta nowhere into my ribs. The same fucking place. The remaining bruise from the kicking was like a target on my rib cage as his fist slammed into it. He was driving his punch, using his whole fucking body, and turning it into me using all the power from his shoulders. It was like a steel hammer being rammed into me, and I felt my knees buckle. I was overwhelmed by one mass of fucking pain, saw stars, then nothing. As everything faded fast, I grabbed him and held onto him, but he stepped away and I fell face first against the canvas. That was all I remembered.
Craig, Jonathan, the coach, and Wingnut were standing over me when I came around with smelling salts under my nose. My body was hurting like someone had kicked me in the nuts... the kinda pain that goes right up to your throat and down to your groin.
Jonathan and Winger helped me up to my feet, and the coach announced that the fight was over. He called me and Craig into the center of the ring. It was then that I realized that someone had removed my headgear. Craig had also removed his. His left eye was swollen, and I didn't even remember where that came from. His nose was also swollen, and still had crimson blood oozing from it.
"Shake hands," the coach ordered.
"C'mon, coach!" Craig chirped. "Aren't you gonna hold my hand up or something?"
"I said shake hands. You think you're a winner because Steve did something stupid to give you an opening? You're both losers cos you ended up in my ring. You kids think you can sort everything out with your fists. Shake hands."
It was pretty obvious that the coach was pissed off, so much so I thought he might just flatten the both of us right there and then. Anyway, we held our gloves together for a moment, and then Craig walked away.
Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. mrbstories