Bridge Fight Story
I qualified to
run the Boston Marathon when I finished my second full 26 mile race, but my
running days were numbered. I developed a severe tear in the soles of both feet.
Even standing was painful. After some recovery time, I discvered "power walking"
and realized that I actually enjoyed it more than running. I now walk 3 miles 5
times a week by the river. It's great for weight control, a healthy heart,
stress control, and also serves as a natural "church" for someone who gave up on
organized religion a couple of years ago, when I left the MCC.
One day, I veered off my regular path to go under an out of the way bridge. There's graffiti under there and a homeless person who camps there. It's a large space. The ground is soft, but rocky. There is broken beer bottle glass scattered around. This isolated space was perfect for taking a piss. As I walked over to a spot to paint the wall, I noticed 2 guys sitting on the bank to my right. One was around 50 and one was much younger-maybe 20. They were both approximately my size-5'8" and 160 pounds. I figured they had seen a guy piss before so I went about my business. The older guy walked over and said, "Hey, my name is Hank". He unzips, pulls his dick out and takes a leak next to me. I'm certainly not pee shy so I turn slightly to introduce myself. Our piss hits the wall in a hot, loud stream. I notice that our cocks aren't hard, but aren't flacid either. Hank is wearing a sleeveless "Full Contact Fighter" tshirt and has several visable tattoos. He is bald on top and looks like a tough son of a bitch. We finish our business and he looks me over. He says, "you look like a fighter". I'm wearing a white wife beater t and green camo pants with smeakers. I have 9 tattoos on my arms and back and a shaved head and an earring. I have a naturally thin and muscular body-not a perfect body-or a gym body-just natural. I said, "yeah, man, I like to have a good fight once in a while". I didn't mention that I was an amatuer kickboxer/boxer and NHB fighter. I have also been in several underground fights. Hank said, "I'd love to fight you, but what do you think about fighting my son, Sal, first"? I look over to where they had both been sitting and I saw that Sal has stripped off his shirt and is stretching/shadow boxing. He had on a pair of jeans and boots. His chest was hairless and he had some jailhouse tattoo right between his nipples. I knew better than to underestimate an opponent, but I was defintely thinking I could take him. I told Hank, "Fuck yeah, I'll fight him".Hank told me to take off my shirt and turn my posckets inside out. He said, "no weapons-just man to man".He said, "put your shit over there." I just had my car keys and my license in my pocket, or so I thought. I found a mouthpiece that I keep around just in case I get lucky. Well, today was my day! I yanked my shirt over my head. My chest and armpits were both sweaty, both from the walk, and the nervous anticipation. I have a full chest of hair. It felt good to be barechested. The temp. was in the upper 60's. Hank motioned for both of us to come over to where he was. He asked if we agree to a full contact rule-bare knuckles with knees. elbows, and clinching allowed-no kicking or ground fighting due to glass and rocks. He said he would stop the fight if one man was getting more than he gave, but to relax and "fuckin' go for it"! He reminded us to expect cuts and blood and to "fight through it". The guy sounded like a seasoned fighter himself."One more thing", he said. "After Sal kicks your ass, Rick, it will be my turn". I'm not one for trash talk so I just said, "put em' up mother fucker". Sal and I backed away and squared off.
So, here I am ,
in a totally unexpected and yet completely welcome situation. All I did is veer
off my regular walking path and I find myself challenged to a fight! It's not an
angry, impromptu type of fight. It's not where I have to climb into a ring
envelpoed within a smokey cloud and hundreds of people are shouting "kill
him-kill him(meaning me). There's no registration fee and no corner men. There's
no weigh in and no all day nervous anticipation, waiting for the event, driving
to it, and then waiting for your bout. There are no handwraps and gloves. No
long list of rules and time limits. It's just two men who enjoy the experience
of a fight-man to man-without the bullshit. Two men, both clad only in long
pants and sneakers, stripped to the waist, showing each other that we had
nothing to hide. We were there to fight as men have always traditionally fought,
with bare chests and bare fists.
Hank came over to each of us one more time while we were standing there glaring at each other. He came over to me first and took my hands to check out my nails. I keep them trimmed completely. Of course, I don't know what he would have done if my nails were too long. Was he going to whip ou a pair of nail clippers? He asked me if I was ready and I said "fuck yeah"! He reminded me about not kicking or taking the fight to the ground. He rubbed my shoulders, saying he expected a good fight. Then he went over to Sal and did the same thing. I couldn't hear what he told Sal. I trusted Hank. I didn't thik they were going to fuck me up. Sal might-but only in the confines of the fight. Hank then stood between us, looked at both of us and then raised his hand and lowered it, saying "fight".
I'm a very agressive fighter-maybe too aggressive. I start to dance around, then head straight in. My hands were too wide apart and I left my chin wide open. That mother fucker hit me with a straight right that rang my bell! My head had that funny, "seeing stars" feeling that happened several times in just one Looney Tunes cartoon. I'm not sure if he knew what had happened because I shook it off and put up my guard again really quickly. This was all I needed to let him know I was in it for the long haul-till death do us part-or sort of. I went in and hit him with a left hook-first to the head and then to the ribs. Then I followed with a right and smacked him in the nose. Blood dripped out, but didn't gush like a blow that hard would usually produce. I knew he had been hit in the nose a lot because that's a club I belong to-the scar tissue club. The little bit of blood that there was seemed to piss him off. He hit me with another straight right and cut my lip. I was going to look great at work tomorrow, wasn't I " Well. what the hell had I taken Muay Thai classes for? Now was the time to use it. I threw a jab that didn't connect, but it opened up space for me to grab him around the neck and throw a whole string of mother fuckin' knees! I could tell that Sal hadn't experienced anything like this before. The knees to the ribs and to his sturnum, and finally to his jaw when I jerked his head down in time to catch a knee on it's way up did more to piss him off than the shot to his nose did. This skinny little prick was quite a fighter and he was earning my respect. I should have said something though because he thought he still needed to teach me a thing or two. Right after I bashed his jaw with my right knee, he headbutted me and opened up what I later found out was a 1 1/2 inch gash just over my right eye, right in the eyebrow. I didn't know that anyone who wasn't starring in a "Scream" movie could bleed that much. I felt it dripping down my chest and saw it all over my shoes and camos. It was matted in my chest hair and part of my right nipple was now dark red. I wasn't feeling any pain. I could still see. Hank wanted to stop the fight, but I kept saying, "I'm fine, I'm fine". It was the crazy testosterone fuel that was talking. I've had a lot of traing and a lot of fights over the past 11 1/2 years, but I was never an "A" fighter-maybe a "B+" at my best. Now that I am older and slower, maybe a "B-". What I don't have in technique, I make up for in heart and one additional thing-I have this Freddie Krueger like quality. I'm just hard to deal with-not easy. You think I'm dead or ready to give up and BAM, there I am again. I have a freakishly high pain threshhold. Sal is looking concerned at this point. I looked like a walking homicide and I was headed right straight at him. I didn't hit him-didn't have the chance. I was going to, but he was walking away from me, yelling "Hank, I give up"! I think the blood scared him. The quantity was unexpected. Maybe he was afraid of what I was going to do next or maybe I hurt him more than I thought I did.
All I had to cover my cut with was my formally white tank. Good thing it was getting dark, because I had a long walk back to my car. I hoped I didn't pass anyone on the way. With cell phones being everywhere, I'm sure someone would think I needed a 911 call. I walked over and shook Sal's hand and thanked him for a terrific fight. He gave me a great big, bear hug and raised my hand into the air. I felt like we would always have this lifetime connection. Hank had sat down on the rocks by his backpack. He wrote down the number of the motel they were staying at. I knew the place-a little $100 a week place. Next to the room number were the words, "I'm next.-Hank". I took it, thanked them both again, like any gentleman would and walked away.
I should have
gone to the Emergency Room for stiches. The scar I have now wouldn't be as
noticeable as it is now if I had. I cleaned it up and used butterfly bandages to
close up the cut. I didn't want to answer any questions and I hate waiting
around in the E.R. while the nurses and the doctor on duty chat and laugh and
demonstrate their own strange, self serving concept of time for non-emergencies.
I like the scar now. It's part of who I am along with my shaved head and
multiple tattoos. I'm just surprised this didn't happen a long time ago. I'm one
of very few men who enjoy fighting as a participant and am an infinitely smaller
group of gay men who enjoy it. Maybe it's my "macho" side that has
overcompensated for the gay side. I don't know, but it's there. Both sides
coexist just fine. It's Marilyn Manson, Iron Maiden, and Cher all at the same
I went out to see my partner in California while my cut was healing. He wanted to jump in the mosh pit at the "Fiend Fest"(punk show), with The Misfits, Damned, Agnostic Front, and others. I didn't feel comfortable with it since the cut wasn't stiched up. I didn't want to get hit in the head somehow and be back at square one, so we stayed up in the balcony.
When I got back to Texas, summer had hit full on. Daily highs were in the mid to upper 90's. I waited a week and then felt like I needed to jump back in the water or I would never fight again. Super organized, I located that slip of paper Hank gave me after my fight with Sal. He looked really tough and I thought he would give me a good go. It was a Friday night and I was feeling mischievous! My summer wardrobe consists of camo cargo shorts. It's too hot in Texas to wear a shirt in the late Spring/Summer. I got in my car and drove about 15 minutes away on side streets to find the "Belknap Motel". I pulled into the parking lot. It was fully dark outside and the neon sign to the place flickered off and on. It was one of those "U" shaped motels from 50 years ago. You park right in front of your door. The place wasn't very full. I suspected that this was where straight men brought a hooker or an unpaid mistress for an hour of what he felt was missing from his life. It had been a good 3 weeks since my fight with Sal and I wasn't at all sure I was going to find these two. Construction has been booming in North Texas, but who knew if they were still working at the same job? I parked at one end and went looking for Room #51. There were a few punk kids running around and a few tough looking mother fuckers who looked like they would love to give it a go if I couldn't find Hank. I was dressed perfectly for the environment-more than a few of the men had their shirts off so I wasn't sticking ou as I walked around. When I got to Room #51, the door was already ajar by about a foot. Sal was barefoot and stretched out on a bed, watching a baseball game. He recognized me immediately and motioned for me to come inside. There were 2 other young guys in there, sitting at a table smoking cigarettes. Sal was friendly. He shook my hand and gave a 60 second recap of our fight to his buddies. He didn't use creative editing or rewritten history. He told it exactly as it happened. I told Sal that I was looking for his Dad to see if he wanted to fight that night. Sal smiled and said that sounded like just the medicine his Dad needed. I sensed that they hadn't been getting along and that Sal wanted to see his Dad have his ass handed to him.Sal said he thought is Dad went to the liquor store for some beer and that he would be right back.He said to have a seat. Alex and Kyle were the friends in the room. You have never seen people perk up as much as those two did when they heard there might be a fight. Sal said we could fight in the corner of the parking lot, away from the office, and where you couldn't see anything from the main road in the dark. I heard the tires of Hank's trunk crunching gravel. He got out, took a look at me and said "I've been wonderin' when you were going to show up".
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