Friday, September 5, 2008

A nice night after all

The missouri lounge was showing "The Champion." Its an old noir film about a boxer, played by Kirk Douglas. The original story was by a guy named Lardner. I'd read the Lardner version. It sat on my shelf. I'd pass the time between fights, before fights, and after fights reading short stories like that one. I always thought that Midge Kelly, the bastard Douglas plays, was a real inspiration to the human race. The same sort of inspiration as a politician.

The bartender was clad in a pair of blue jeans, a white tank top and a paint of gloss on her lips that made them look like a puckered rose. Her latina characteristics came out in her slightly arched, painted, eyebrows along with her jet black hair. She had more curves than a windy mountainous road. She was strolling behind the bar like a caged tiger, waiting for something to catch and play with. A perverse desire made me want to be her mouse.

I shook my head and took a sip of my beer back. I'd been off the drink for 30 days but hoppen back on the wagon tonight. For the last twenty years I'd been drinking regularly, I figure the amount of time my ole mare was drinking while I was in the womb counted double. Her teats reeked like alcohol when I suckled on them.

I took some time off from the bottle to get myself back in shape. I still had passing thoughts of making it back in the ring. I know I'm too old now, my reflexes have faded, my nuckles are gnarled and the only thing that I can foretell in a bout is what the evening's weather will be like. My dreams of making it big kept me jogging in the mornings, while the harsh rocks of reality kept me at my job.

I worked as a baker at a bread company in west berkeley. I made the rice of the west with a handful of latino guys in the early mornings. We'd use huge machines to mix the flour, water, and yeast together. The air would get so full of flour and dust that we wore face masks. It paid shit but I liked the hours, it was hours that would keep me in the gym, not that I ever went anymore. I took my paycheck every week and put part of it in the bank, part of it towards my gut, and part of it towards buying hbo specials of the latest bouts. I could only catch about one fight a month due to my being on the lower end society's pay scale.

Tonight I was letting my stint at sobriety lapse as my one of my favorite fighter had lost his bout. The fight was an atrocity. The boxers looked like back up dancers for a boy band. They jabbed, bob, and feint one another off balance. Neither of them could have hit hard enough to wake his gradma out of a light doze. The crowd booed, rightfully, and the referee tried to spur the action to no avail. Disappointed with the pugilism I had come down here to drink my sorrows and more of my money away.

"I don't get why you're always pushing me away," said the blonde haired goon sitting next to me. He was addressing a blonde angel. She was lithe and swan like. She had a plait of golden hair that rested on her head like a halo. Her mouth was sweet looking like a peppermint, her cheeks were red and lightly spotted with orange freckles. I could only see the back of the goon's head but he had a linebacker's shoulders.

"You're an incorrugible lout," she replied. "I just wish you'd leave me alone."

"What are you talking about? Just like week you said you loved me."

"We were in front of your parents, I didn't want to make you look bad."

"That's what I love about you, you're willing to put others before yourself."

"You fucking prick," she turned away from him and downed her drink. She waved at the bartender for another.

"I think you've had enough," the goon said grabbing her wrist. I scootched my stool a little away from the couple afraid that their lover's spat might interrupt my alcoholic shots to the liver. "We should get going."

The bartender eyed the couple and signaled to the bouncer. The bouncer a stocky lad with a soft face was met with the goon's right cross as he opened his mouth to interrupt their scene. The bouncer dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

"You dick. Now I'm not going anywhere with you," the blonde shrieked. The bartender got on the horn and looked to be calling the police. I eyed the bouncer on the floor. He was groaning which meant the punch couldn't have been that hard. I sighed. The blonde pushed her lug of a companion. He fell back into me. I fell over onto the floor with the goon on top of me. I pushed him off of me and dusted myself off after rising to my feet.

"I'm sorry," the bartender mouthed to me and then spoke into the phone. "Yeah I've got a bar fight at the missouri lounge, yup san pablo and parker in berkeley. Fifteen minutes great."

The goon had a bit of a harder time getting back onto his feet. He looked around the room and swayed slightly. He turned around and faced me. "What are you looking at," he said salivia shooting out of his mouth. "Why'd you knock me over you ass?"

I shrugged and he took a swing at me. I could see his big right haymaker coming but that didn't spur to me to do much about it. At the last second I covered the side of my head with my arm cushioning the blow. My eyes went out for a half a second and as soon as I regained composure my fists shot out. My trainer always used to tell me that you can't knock a guy out with a jab. I proved him wrong that night. I threw a right cross right into his nose. It made my knuckles ache, and his nose bust open like a faucet. I threw a left uppercut to his liver that doubled him over with a resounding "oomph." For my finale I threw a straight left jab right into his testicles. The last bit is what put him down for the count. The goon slumped to the ground.

The blonde looked at me with horror, and then at the bouncer, then at her goon. She started to shriek. "What the fuck did you do?" She spat venom at me and started to slap me. I shoved her off me and went back to my chair. She bent over and started sobbing into the goon's chest. The bouncer came to a minute later and the bartender gave him a sack of ice for his face. She looked at me and winked.

"I'll buy your next round," she said with a purr. Maybe I just imagined that throatiness at the end but it looked like it might be a nice night after all.

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