Nothing’s fun about being a pit fighter. Sure, at first it looks exciting because of the danger, the excitement, the glory of winning, and the money. The money! I own a cobra and a viper and there’s my condo downtown.
Before I started this I had zilch. School wasn’t for me and neither was flipping burgers. I got into martial arts and stuck with it. Still, fighting had risks. Serious injury was one of the major ones.
Like how just now that Tai fighter got his knee shattered when the Shaolin dude kicked his leg inward. There’s also the chance of being arrested. Prison wasn’t my main concern. Death was my bane.
It’s not like I was afraid to die. Just I liked being alive. From the suckle of my first breath every morning, to the joy of slamming my fist into an opponent’s face, and raising my hand in victory - life’s worth living.
Despite checking it only minutes earlier, I looked at the calendar on my laptop again. October 25th, 2014. I sighed. How could I have made such a stupid mistake? I looked down at the watch on my wrist. Black hands hovering over an embedded silver SC showed 4:30. I tried spinning the dial. Nothing. No more turning back now – I went too far. I focused my attention on the sound of my parents’ conversation coming through my bedroom door, waiting for the right moment.
“Bananas, yogurt, oatmeal…”
“Not the instant kind.”
“Bread, turkey, ham…”
Christmas Eve, it’s always Christmas Eve.
Bare winter trees dotted about the town square glow with festive colour while a trail of small lanterns light the way from the square to the old church up on the hill inviting one and all to join the midnight mass later that evening.
A lonely figure, lost and forgotten wanders through the crowd. No one pays him any attention or even notices him. Yet he’d been coming here for years, too many to remember. He’s no longer warmed by the sweet scents of mulled wine and roast chestnuts drifting over the crowd of carol singers. He always stays close to the caroller’s because they remind him of the life he once had and yet could never have again.
Cedric Goram had attended many meetings in his time. Not long ago he had attended one wearing an orange jump suit and handcuffs. Today, as head of Human Resources at Huber Moneda Hospital, he was attending the monthly all-staff meeting wearing a designer sport coat and silver cufflinks. The hospital’s Chief Financial Officer, Brian Asch, stood at the podium. Brian wore a fine light-weight pinstripe suit and a toupee. He was talking about profitability.
Cedric himself had always been a people person, not a numbers geek. His mind wandered.
Lighting in the art room was dim. The overpowering smell of oil paints radiated throughout the small room, but it didn’t seem to bother Sebastian.
He spent his time painting the hours away. He stared at the canvas. A small smile slowly shaped on the young man’s face as he scribbled some words on the bottom right of the canvas.
The door flung open. “Sebastian!” a middle-aged man called, “Do you realize what time it is?” he asked, pointing to his watch.
Sebastian looked at his cellphone, which read eleven forty-two at night. “I just wanted to finish the painting for you before tomorrow.”
The Flame of Reason
The Malibu's faded paint job mirrors the sooty interior, but the machine is not the real dirty part. It's the three human beings inside here with me if you can call them that. The speakers blare out some awful hip hop tune about beating women and getting paid. The fumes of their intoxicants they need to ingest for the courage to do this cowardly act are on me now and in me. If it weren't for that dream I wouldn't even be here.
I look up ahead at the rear view mirror. The driver switches his blood-shot eyes between me and the road.
A Good Meal
Emma Warren went to Phil, the Black Water sheriff, for help. "Please help me. Ah'm Emma Warren. Mah husband, Vern, went to find frogs in the swamp yesterday and he didn’t come home. A man named Galt came by and..."
“Was Galt tall with a big chest."
I know the story. Don't you worry. We know exactly where he went. We'll leave right now. Try not to worry, Mrs. Warren."
The sheriff and his deputy, Mike, got their rifles, waders, machetes, and canteens, took Emma home, and then went to their airboat and drove into the swamp.
I love it when she calls me that. It's so simply perfect in every way, and I don't think she knows it. Of course, it's a statement of the obvious, but I don't believe that she means to remind me of the biological order of events that needed to occur in order for me to be standing here, today. In order for the implications in that address to hold fast to truth.
No. I'm sure that when she says it, and each time she says it, she means to remind me of the weight it holds for her. And the exponential weight it's gained with each ounce, with each pound, with each inch, with each foot, with each day, and with each year. From the moment she first held me in Balboa Naval Hospital not 25 minutes drive from here, to this moment now; as I hold her in return.