Friday, February 21, 2014

Bastard's Rite by Angel Luis Colón

Angel Luis Colón's glimpse into a seedy underground boxing rite.

"Where'd you say this kid was from?" Schultz folded his arms behind him and watched the young man from behind the one-way mirror.

Abernathy shuffled through papers at his desk, "Let's see; Ricky Malito, from Parsippany. Lives with his mother and grandmother. Only seventeen, never finished school." He lifted a cigarette to his lips with a trembling, spotted hand.

"Everything else checked out?" Schultz eyed the kid. They were about the same height. He was lean, but not lanky - one of those bodies that hid surprising strength. Schultz noted that Ricky wore all black to the occasion - smart move, it wouldn't stain as bad.

Abernathy read through the file. "Yeah, he's legit. Got a few priors, nothing too crazy."

Schultz nodded. "Good."

"Anything else?" Abernathy lit another cigarette with the dying stub of the prior.

Schultz watched the kid in silence.

"Mr. Schultz?"

He snapped out of it and turned to Abernathy with a frown on his face. "Nah, get it started."

Abernathy reached over to a small speaker-phone on the desk and turned it on. "You ready?" His voice blared out of speakers over the kid's head. Ricky only nodded in reply. A buzzer sounded and the door to Ricky's right opened. Seven young men sauntered in wearing wide grins. Schultz had watched all seven take their bumps a year ago.

"You tell 'em to take it easy this time?" Schultz asked.

"You know these little pricks. Ricky here gets a good shot or two, they ain't gonna remember."

Schultz grimaced and promised himself that if this ended up a repeat of last week, he'd put a bullet between one of their eyes - make sure that sentence ended with a bold period. The seven did their best to intimidate, but Ricky only eyed the largest of the group, Santo.

"I think they're ready." Abernathy said.

Schultz tapped the glass three times and the seven moved in.

They didn't have a chance.

Schultz watched Ricky bob and weave around his attackers. The kid had professional training and in moments had six of the seven on the ground.

"Holy fuck..." Abernathy let his cigarette drop to the floor, stunned.

Then it was Ricky versus the apple of his eye.

Santo moved in first and tried to jackhammer Ricky's body. Ricky kept his ribs protected and kept his head, watching Santo wear himself down with each punch. The mook threw another punch that left his jaw wide open. Schultz spotted it a mile away - so did Ricky. A fast jab and a wicked cross brought Santo down in a muscled heap.

Ricky smiled and paced the room in a manic, post adrenaline state. He snarled at the one-way mirror, "That it? Give me a fucking fight!"

Schultz grunted. The kid had an ego. Egos had a habit of attracting trouble. He slid off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves to the elbow. This was a problem needed solving now.

"You going in?" Abernathy looked breathless.

Schultz nodded. "Who's the medic tonight?"

"Hassan."

"Call Hassan." Schultz cracked his knuckles.

Abernathy smiled.

Ricky stopped pacing when Schultz walked into the room.

"Any of you can walk, pick up a friend and get out." Schultz bellowed - they listened.

The only response he received was two raised fists with ten bloodied knuckles. Schultz was no stranger to boxing and saw every opening in Ricky's stance. He outclassed the kid without effort - a shot to the sternum led to a weave to the right led to a hard uppercut to the jaw. The kid staggered and Schultz knew to play dirty - driving his forehead into the bridge of Ricky's nose. A satisfying crunch followed and the kid let out the yelp of a man taking a real hit for the first time. Schultz took the hint and went to town with body blows until Ricky couldn't stand.

Schultz stood over Ricky - the kid was smart enough to stay down.

"You start tomorrow night. Ab will give you the details." Schultz turned to walk out.

Ricky wiped the blood from his face.

"You know..." Schultz paused at the door and rolled his sleeves back down to the wrists, "...you look just your mother. Except for the eyes - those are mine."

9 comments:

  1. what a great Story, and a great last line!
    Michael McCarthy

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  2. I have to admit, I'm not much on the subject matter, but this was really well written and the payoff twist was great.

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    1. I appreciate that, Jim. I'm really glad you enjoyed it despite the subject matter.

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  3. The last sentence begged me to re-read the opening, to pick up clues as to the boy's fatherhood. No foreshadowing but in the most oblique manner. Terrific.

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  4. I enjoyed this one. The action was quick and brutal--it matched up with the seediness of the setting. The twist was cool and that last line was an awesome way to deliver it. Nice!
    --Wendy Hammer

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  5. The images come through like a video, the underground characters real and in place, and the startling end make it a great read., Tom Sheehan

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  6. I have no good feedback here. All I can say is "Love it! Love it! Love it! Love it!" I wasn't expecting a lot, and like Ricky, I got a skull to the nose.

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  7. Love the last line as well, the description was good. This is actually the first boxing story I've read, and I enjoyed it.

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