Short Story Saturday: Out of the Blue Corner

Short Story Saturday: Out of the Blue Corner - Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Hello everyone! As part of Short Story Saturday, I have posted another short story, this one entitled Out of the Blue Corner. Please enjoy.

His legs wobbled as he struggled to keep his bloated body upright. Both fists felt like blistered hams underneath his gloves as he raised his sore arms to attempt and emulate a fighting stance. His eyes winced due to the brightness of the lights above, so bright that his skin became dry and flaked. The canvas felt like concrete beneath his soles. Smells of cigarettes and cheap bourbon assaulted his olfactory nerves as they wafted in the air.

He did not know how he got there. It had been years since he entered a ring and even longer since he fought in front of such an anemic crowd. He’d probably have to go as far back as when he was a lily-faced boxer who was debuting at a small local casino on the outskirts of Evergreen. Not that he had been a particularly popular fighter at the end of his career. Over a decade had probably passed by that point since he had been able to fill Madison Square Gardens with tens of thousands of screaming fans with millions watching via Pay-Per-View worldwide. So, upon second thought, he supposed it wasn’t odd that so few people had come to see him that night.

His championships had long been lost. His wealth was spent and squandered. His victories were long forgotten. His past successes were a shadow having slipped through his fingers like cheap liquor through an alcoholic’s digestive tract.

It then became evident that a lifetime of choices brought him into the ring that night. His bout was not for any kind of championship. As implied earlier, those days were long behind him. He was not fighting for money either though it was badly needed. The battle that night wasn’t even for pride, his sole motivation when matches still mattered to him, when his appetite for excess matched his appetite for success, not surpassed it.

Indeed, that night’s stakes exceeded everything he had fought for previously. As trite as it might sound, he was literally in a fight for his life.

He looked over to see whether anyone was in his corner. Nobody was there. At first, he was stunned but upon a little bit of pondering, or what amounted to it in the man’s current condition, he quickly surmised he shouldn’t have expected anyone. His trainer, his manager, and his staff had all alienated him years ago, not unjustly. They stuck with him longer than most as their patience was only rivaled by the most heralded patron saints or perhaps, more apropos, the man’s wife. It was not the consecutive losses that mounted or even the lack of preparation for the fights that forced their hand. It was his poor attitude, his temper, and his unwillingness to listen combined with his disrespect and hostility toward the only people who truly cared.

Then he turned toward his mysterious opponent. Upon doing so, he squinted his eyes. The haze in the smoke-filled room was so thick that the man in front of him seemed like nothing more than an amorphous blob that moved sporadically to and fro as if he were a gyrating mass of liquid. Yet, as his sight adjusted and he was able to study his opponent further, his features became recognizable, familiar, and strangely comforting while at the same time harrowing.

It was his greatest rival, the one who had ruined his life. This was but one bout in a series the two had found themselves engaged. The first came just after he used a fake ID to purchase his first bottle of booze and shared it with his friends. An action that for a short time made him the coolest ninth-grader in Evergreen High School.

His opponent’s fists were like steel making each blow feel as if he were being struck by a sledgehammer to the ribs, stomach, and face. Deep purple bruises formed with every powerful blow. How he managed to withstand those wallops was a testament to a lifetime of building tolerance, the consequences of which finally taking its toll. Every punch he absorbed further with his jaundiced skin added another wrinkle and resulted in a bit more loss of hair. His rancid breath filled the room as he desperately gasped for air.

Apparitions then suddenly emerged before him as he staggered around the ring in a daze. They were fragments of past hopes, dreams, desires, and fragments of his career. Then came his friends, his family, his trainers, his staff, his well-wishers, his sycophants, and his fans. All of them appear and then move past him with the passing fancy of a gentle breeze.

Then he saw his wife, the tall brunette who endured his overindulgence which resulted in his philandering, lies, and irascible nature. What made him cool when he was a teenager, what had made him the life of the party as a young adult, and what had made him considered fun to be around as he approached his thirties, wound up destroying his life by middle age.

She suddenly spoke to him. Though her voice was melodic, her words still prompted him to put his thick gloved hands over his ears. He did not wish to hear the words again that had escaped her rosy lips that fateful day. Despite his efforts, they reverberated in his skull, internally, as if a speaker had been set in his brain.

She finally had enough. The poor woman could only tolerate so much. When his poor habits started to affect their kids, that was when she drew the line. Indeed, she was a fool to believe that having children would straighten him out. Hearing those words again destroyed him.

He called out to her and reached out to the phantasmagoria of his wife. The boxer begged her to forgive him and claimed he was willing to change and break his old habits if only she’d take him back.

His arms motioned for an embrace. He dove to hug his ghost from the past. Of course, instead of her melting in his arms, he fell through. There was nothing tangible to hold. That is, except for the arms of his opponent who caught his fall.

It was oddly comforting, soothing even, to be in those arms. Sure, the two had fought several times throughout the years but they were also companions more often than not.  His opponent never judged. His opponent never criticized him. No matter how grievous his mistakes were, no matter how much he was able to mangle the relationships in his life, he would be there for him to provide him relief, as ephemeral and temporary as it might have been. He forgot that his opponent was not one to be trusted.

He was swiftly pushed forward before two swift punches landed across his temple and the back of his head. It was an illegal punch to be sure but in this bout, there was no referee. His skull cracked in half when it collided with the canvas. He vomited as he lay there. The ring suddenly dissipated and the man found himself in the middle of an alleyway all by himself. Several empty bottles of Jack Daniels surrounded him.

Desperately, he reached out for help but the world just passed him by. People want little to do with self-inflicted losers such as himself. He felt dizzy. The world began to spin. His body grew cold. He gasped desperately for breath. Soon, his breathing slowed to a halt and the world faded to black. From a distance, he could hear the referee count, “1… 2… 3…”

If you enjoyed this story, then perhaps you’d be interested in reading more by pressing the “short story” tag below or clicking this(short story) link or this(genre and tags) link or this(story list) link. I would also urge you to share this story with others and comment below. Please check out my books page as well by pressing here. Thank you for reading my story.


One thought on “Short Story Saturday: Out of the Blue Corner

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By :