Dear anipals – the following story was written by my human Papa (in Scotland papa is grandfather) who passed OTRB long before I was born but has had such an influence on the lives of his family and my Mum (his daughter) especially that I understand he is an important part of my doggy life too.
Papa dabbled in short story writing when he was a young man and this is one of the two stories which have survived him. Papa’s first story, The Killer, was published on my blog a few days ago. We hope you enjoyed it and will read No Exit in honour of my lovely Papa. Mum says Papa wrote this story with his own Dad (my Mum’s Papa) in mind as in his younger days he earned his living as a prizefighter.
Love & leggies, Nutty x
He came out of his corner knowing he could beat this man easily. He had fought many fights, both in and out of the ring, he had the quiet confidence that comes with experience and knew he could put his opponent away in the first, and this kid who faced him with a confident smirk knew this too. But he also knew something else – that he dare not.
It was the old story of a fairly good professional boxer just past the right age for the ring and now just had the breaks to get to the top.
Oh he was good enough to give the fans their money’ worth or to change the other fellow’s opinion in a bar brawl but just not championship material, and he knew it. He also knew he hadn’t many more fights left in the ring, it just took a couple of more shows like that one last month when he had to throw in the towel because he couldn’t land his knockout punch and his legs couldn’t go the distance. That was always the first sign when a boxer couldn’t go the distance.
He carried the kid through the first round wiping the smirk off his face by a few good solids to the mouth just to keep the fans happy and to show the kid he could put him away anytime he liked.
At the end of the third round his manager leaned over the ropes and said ‘What the hell are you playing at? Look at that fellow’s face.’ He looked. It was badly battered from his continuous jabs to the nose and mouth and one of his eyes had started to close. ‘What are you playing at?’ he repeated.
‘He’s too damned cocky,’ said Malloy ‘anyway I’m not supposed to go down until the sixth and I got to make it look good so mind your own business.’
‘Don’t get smart with me brother,’ the manager sad ‘if you don’t’ dive my neck is out too and I like my face the way it is and not the way it will be if you slug this bum by mistake. You know as well as I do that the Syndicate don’t take excuses.’
The bell went for the fourth and he danced out to meet his now wary opponent who was no longer smirking. Jim, his manager, was right of course thought Malloy. The Syndicate, the biggest bookmaking racket in town, had spread plenty on this kid to win and they were paying him more than he earned in five fights to dive to this kid. He knew what would happen to him if he won, accident or otherwise, but he just didn’t like this blue-eyed boy to be so sure about it.
What was he being so high and mighty about? He’d dive in the sixth as arranged and maybe even do a couple more fights for them if the money was good then he would quit the racket for good; he’d never make champ now anyway.
The kid came out fast in the sixth and he made out he was handing out a lot of punishment although the older man took most of it on his arms and gloves, but he got careless and the kid saw a chance and belted him way down low in his belly. He dropped to his knees. This was no dive, this was for real. The kid had hurt him but it was a foul blow. In the front of the mist of pain there was the red mist of anger. It was bad enough to take a dive to this green punk but for the kid to think he could actually put him away foul or no, this was too much.
He rose and tore into the kid, battering him all over the ring. He loved it, the crowd loved it, this was a flash of the old Mike Malloy. Right to the body, right to the mouth then that wicked left hook to the already cut eye. The kid staggered across the ring with no idea where the punches were coming from. Mallow was in to win again, not just to be a stepping stone to this man’s way to the top.
The kid was down. 4 – 5 – 6 – he looked over at his own corner and saw his manager’s ashen face, then he remembered – 8 – 9 – the kid was groggy but he was rising. How stupid can you get? Now Malloy had to get a man who was out on his feet to put him down for the count before the bell and he reckoned the round was about halfway through by now. He went into a clinch ‘that was just to show you how it’s done kid,’ he said ‘now make it look good and put me away.’ The battered lips opened and the one good eye glared at him hatefully. ‘I’ll put you away all right Malloy don’t you worry about that,’ the kid snarled.
The referee broke the clinch and Mike swung a lazy right that wouldn’t have knocked out a fly, just for show and then he watched in stupefaction as the kid grinned at him, keeled over and lay quite still.
Mallow stared at the kid and felt the sweat break out cold all over his body. The kid was shamming, anyone could see that. 3 – 4- -5 – he ran over to the referee and frantically tried to appeal to him but the ref either couldn’t hear him for the cheers and howls from the delighted fans or he didn’t want to hear. Of course, Mike thought that’s it, he was in on it too and now he is as scared as I am. Mike backed away in horror 8 – 9 – 10 out!
They dragged the kid out of the ring and Mallow went back to his now empty corner. No manager, no seconds, nothing. But if he hurried he could het changed and out while there were still plenty of people pushing through the exits, but quick as he was the stadium was quite deserted when he came back through and headed for one of the three exits. Only the ring lights were left on, the rest of the stadium was in darkness and out of the shadows a man stepped up to block his way to the exit and something flashed in his hand. Mallow backed away glancing at the second exit, only to see exactly the same thing. He ran back to the centre of the stadium and round the outside of the ring till he could see the third and last exit and his heart sank as he saw yet another man walking down the aisle towards him.
He did the only thing that was left for him to do. He jumped into the ring and felt naked beneath the big arc lights. His clothes were soaked with sweat and the fear was a solid thing building up inside him. As he peered into the surrounding gloom screaming and shouting ‘Come on then and get me. I’ll show you how it feels to get in the ring and face Big Mike Malloy. Come on. Come on.’ His hysterical voice echoes in the empty darkness but his only reply was the pad-pad-pad of soft soled shoes coming nearer and nearer.
In Loving Memory and of Happiness Never Forgotten
Alexander McCallum (1934 – 2011)