Halloween Boxing Story

“Okay Granite, we’re outta here,” Turbo said.
“Cool guys I can handle this,” I said.
“Now remember, there’s an extra set of keys in the ventilation shaft above the lockers in the back encase you lock yourself out of the office. Don’t forget to lock the back door and make sure the alarm is set . . .” Turbo said.
“. . . Turbo! Are you done yet, dude? I’m not a kid, I can remember a few simple instructions like locking up the place,” I responded.
“But . . . . “ Turbo started to say.

“Come on Turbo, we’re gonna be late. I wanna get there before the costume party is over,” Rook interrupted.
Grabbing Turbo by the arm he led them to the door. I smiled and waved at them as they left the gym. When they were gone out of sight I breathed a sigh of relief. Doc usually entrusted Turbo to close the gym at night but he wanted to go to a party with Rook tonight. Looking around the empty gym I never realized how quiet the place could get when no one was around.
“Great I’m stuck here on Halloween night to clean up alone. If I were superstitious I would think this would be a perfect night for something strange to happen,” I thought to myself.

After cleaning up a few of the workout stations and closing the back door I worked up a serious thirst. Entering Doc’s office I unlocked his refrigerator and grabbed a juice and swallowed it down in two gulps. Placing the keys on the desk behind me I wondered why the old guy had a lock on his refrigerator. Aside from Doc nobody really ever came in here. Tossing the juice bottle into the garbage I reached into the refrigerator and searched for anther juice. To my surprise after moving a few things around I found quite a few artery clogging pastry snacks and two bottles of beer. “Hhmm . . . not exactly proper training food,” I said.

“What was that?”
Leaving the office I looked around for where the noise could have come from. I noticed a dumbbell slowly rolling around on the floor and went over to pick it up.

“Damn!” I let the door close behind me. Walking to the back I retrieved the spare keys from the vent shaft and returned to the main room. I stopped at the main entrance way as the hairs on my arms stood up. The lights in the main room had dimmed and there was a two-foot layer of fog covering the entire floor. The fog seemed to be emanating from the center of the main ring and the ropes surrounding it were collapse to the floor.
“Alright Turbo! This is a good joke, but it isn’t funny,” I shouted. “C’mon Rook I know you guys are planning to jump out any second now so you might as well get it over with.” I waited a minute and no answer came. “Okay guys I’ll take the bait and climb into the ring. I guess the disco ball with drop from the ceiling then everyone will come out right?” Still nobody answered
Climbing into the ring the lights flickered on and off for a few seconds then shut off completely. I felt something brush by me and I crouched into my boxer stance to be ready for anything. The temperature in the room dropped 20 degrees and I felt it down to my bare skin. The room illuminated itself in an eerie red glow as I looked on expecting someone to jump out. It was then that I noticed my street clothes were gone and I was standing there in full boxing gear. 8oz black Everlast gloves, black Everlast trunks and boots. I was beginning to feel like Dorothy and Toto, something strange was going on here. I went to climb out of the ring and noticed the ropes were taught all the way around. Trying to part the ropes I felt heat emanating off them down through my gloves. I knew I would get burned if I tried to go through them.

Turning around I felt his presence before I saw him. Even then I didn’t so much as see him as perceive the outline he left against the background. Completely black he had the outline of a man. He stood there in gloves and trunks that glowed red like his eyes. “Oh man, I must be punch drunk because I’m seeing things. This can’t be happening,” I thought. Keeping my eyes on him I backed up and tried to get out of the ring. As I stuck my leg through the ropes a searing pain shot up my leg as if someone had set it on fire. I quickly pulled it back in and rubbed it. The pain went away just as quickly as it came. Then somehow his name popped into my head and knew I was going to have to fight my way out. “The Adversary,” was all it said.
A blinding white light appeared next to me and I tried to move away but couldn’t. The next thing I knew my dead uncle Gary was standing next to me in all white. Placing his hand on my shoulder he looked me directly in the eyes. A flood of images and words poured into my head and I instantly understood.
Fifty years ago a boxer by the name of Jack "Punches” McNally was killed on this very spot. Jack was hired muscle and wanted to get out because of the hurt he had caused. Because of his change of heart he was about to redeem his soul. Jack setup his gang, but was mysteriously killed before anyone could be caught. His death caused a rift to open between Heaven and Hell where his lost soul hung in limbo. Now, once every year the gateway is opened and a match is staged to decide the final fate of his soul. This was the first time in 50 years a living soul has been present to fight for his wandering soul.
As my senses returned the roar of a crowd began to rise around me and I saw many of the great fighters who had died in the past: Jack Johnson, Jesse Willard, Henry Armstrong, Marcel Cerdan, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Archie Moore just to name a few. When I turned around again Uncle Gary was gone and I had a mouthpiece in my hand.

I quickly inserted my mouthpiece and walked in to battle The Adversary. There was a blinding red flash and POW! I was looking up at the ceiling. My head was buzzing and I could instantly feel a whelp growing under my eye. “Holy fuck! I barely saw that punch,” I thought to myself. “I’m definitely in for a fight.” I heard the count reach six and jumped up. Uncle Gary appeared from nowhere in ghostly white referee clothes and wiped my gloves. I noticed The Adversary was a southpaw and I went back in more cautious this time. Keeping my head moving like Turbo taught me I didn’t give The Adversary a stationary target. Aiming for his glowing eyes I flicked out my jab and surprisingly hit a solid surface. He absorbed my shots and kept moving. Throwing a hook to body he easily moved out the way and BAM! BAM! blasted me with right left combo that blurred my vision. “Damnit! This guy had power in his shots. Bobbing and weaving I tried to clear my head but he pounded sides and my kidneys. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! Each shot felt like someone was jabbing me with a hot branding iron. I knew I couldn’t take many more of those shots. Blocking his left I drilled his midsection with a straight left right and got him off me.

Getting on my bicycle I put some distance between us, while stepping to my left to clear my head. It took him 1.4 seconds to get on me again. The Adversary quickly cut off the ring and trapped me in his corner. I feinted with my right and threw my left hook. He easily ducked under and plowed me with a right to abs that forced me back into the turnbuckle. The corner was icy cold against my back and I stood up in reaction. I barely managed to get my guard up and block a whistling left hook that impacted on my gloves. Letting the motion carry me to my left I dug my weight into the ground and THOOM! nailed him with left to the body that jolted his entire frame. Coming up with a left to the head I knocked him off balance. CHOOM! Another right to the body trapped him against the ropes. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I continued to rain punches on his midsection. With his darkened body I couldn’t see signs of wear on him so I kept punching. The Adversary dropped his guard to protect his stomach and I switched to his face. Before I could land my first blow BIP! a short left that didn’t travel eight inches crashed across my jaw and dumped me on the seat of my pants.
I was more pissed than anything and jumped up at the count of two. Again Uncle Gary appeared from nowhere and wiped my gloves. Flexing my arms I prepared to finish what I started then the bell rang.

When I got to my corner a stool was already there. I sat down and looked over at The Adversary who just stood there looking me with his glowing eyes. Uncle Gary walked in front of me and removed my mouthpiece while wiping me down.
“Uncle Gary?” I asked.
He didn’t say anything but simply touched my shoulder and his words appeared in my head.
“Hello nephew,” he said.
“I know what’s going on, but how did you get here? What happens if I lose? I have so much to ask, so much to tell you,” I stated.
“In time, Granite. Concentrate on your opponent.”
“He’s killing me out there. I can’t see his waist so I don’t know what punch he’s going to throw next. What do I do?”
“You already know what to do. His eyes will tell you the rest.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
Before I could utter another word he shoved my mouthpiece in my mouth and the bell rang.

The Adversary was on me in a flash digging shots and winging wide hooks. Each blow stun, whether it landed cleanly or not. Lurching forward I clinched and my body nearly went numb. Contact with his form chilled me to the bone. The Adversary pushed off on my shoulders breaking the clinch. I stumbled backwards trying to gather my strength. The Adversary feinted with a jab THUD! I absorb a right to the body. Blocking his follow up right I slammed a left across his jaw and THUD! hammered him with a right to the body. SLAM! A right uppercut stood him straight up and CRACK! another left staggered him to the ropes. Following him to the ropes I sliced his stomach with right hook and POW! Tried to take his head off with straight left. His eyes flickered and started to grow brighter. I dodged to my left just in time as a screaming left hook flew by my head so fast I felt the heat emanating off it. BAM! A left hook rocked his head again and loosened his guard. THAM! A straight right to the chest dropped his guard. The Adversary lurched forward to clinch and I clipped him with a right uppercut that made him stumble about the ring.

Chasing after him I knew I had him on the run. Swinging a wild left WHAM! WHAM! I ate a left right combo that snapped my head back. My knees buckled and I barely managed to duck under a sizzling left hook. Aiming for his solar plexus I put all my weight behind my punch and fired. THOOM! His leg lifted as a result of my blow. Momentarily stunned I gave it all I had and ripped punches between his face and his stomach. BOOM! Left to the body, THAM! Right uppercut, BAM! Straight left, BAM! Straight right BOOM! Left hook, THAM! Right uppercut, THUD! Digging left to the body and CRACK! An overhand right straight down the pipe knocked The Adversary off his feet into my corner.

There was a blinding flash and a blood-curdling scream that momentarily blinded me. When my vision returned I could see The Adversary convulsing from rays of light that cut into him and bound him to the turnbuckle. Uncle Gary appeared grabbing my shoulder and made me look away.
“This is not for your eyes,” Uncle Gary said.

Another flash of light exploded from my corner and there stood Jack “Punches” McNally. He was little guy about 5’4” but from his build I could tell he was a scrappy little fighter in the ring. Walking over to me he grabbed my hand and thanked me without saying a word. After gesturing with his finger I leaned down to hear what he had to say. Before I could react he leaned back and cocked his right hand. CRACK! every thing went black.

“Granite! Granite! Granite!” Rook yelled shaking me back to consciousness.
“Uuuhhhmmm. . . .”

“Granite, are you okay? Who did this? What happened here last night?” Rook asked.
“All the windows and doors are locked. I don’t see any signs of break in or forced entry,” Turbo commented from a distance.
“Oh man, you guys wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” I stated sitting up.
“We don’t exactly have a choice. The results are evident on your face. Who ever it was danced on your face pretty good.”
“So much for all the head movement, I’ve been teaching you,” Turbo said.
“C’mon guy let’s get you to the office so we can take a look at some of those bruises,” Rook said lifting me up and helping to Doc’s office.

When we got there Doc was in his office with a pissed look on his face. Sitting there tapping his fingers on the desk I knew his first question was who was in his refrigerator.

“Alright Granite, who’s been in my refrigerator? As if I actually have to ask,” Doc asked.
“Thanks for the concern coach. I’m okay, really. It only looks like someone used my face for a punching bag,” I responded.
“Chill with dat Doc, can’t you see he’s had a rough night,” Rook commented.
“Not as rough as the day I’m gonna give him,” Doc said.
“COACH!” Turbo said.

“All right, I’ll lay off, but I have one question,” Doc said.
“Yeah, coach?” I asked.
“Who is ‘Punches’ McNally and what is his black and white picture doing in my refrigerator?”

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