The Final Round

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
When everyone wants you dead, things just don’t seem to matter. This is a story of sports, sex, and murder.

Submitted: May 07, 2016

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Submitted: May 07, 2016

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The Final Round

By Joseph Logsdon

Somewhere down the line, things had almost entirely fallen apart. Johnny stared into his bruised hands, ashamed of what he had done to himself, to just about everyone he had come into contact with, his family and friends included. He had been stripped of pride, every ounce of honor, of decency and kindness. Johnny had been fighting for so long, he no longer recognized himself. He sat in the locker room, barely able to breathe, let alone fight. There was some part of him, deep down most likely, that wanted to quit the whole business, for the hope that he might actually find a life worth living. He didn’t want to put on the gloves again, the very idea more than enough to make him feel sick. Johnny gazed into the void, at what he had done to himself, ten years almost completely wasted. He knew that once he walked into the arena, there would likely be no coming back, and perhaps that was what scared him the most: the thought that he might actually lose his life for nothing.

He could feel himself sinking deeper and deeper into depression, moment after moment encompassed with an incredible amount of anxiety, levels of which he had never experienced before. Outside the room, the crowd constantly shouted his name, sometimes loudly and aggressively, all of the excitement building to something that he didn’t quite understand, nor could he ever hope to comprehend it, their apparent love for all things violent, sinful, and corrupt. There was a deep burning within his throat, what at first appeared to be something entirely innocent, before eventually becoming something quite problematic. He grabbed his chest, heaved forward, a burning liquid coming to the surface of his mouth. He violently managed to swallow it, all three ounces of it, literally seconds from completely losing all sense of reality.

Johnny was trapped in a world that he didn’t understand, everywhere he turned seemingly just another place of torture and judgment. He was afraid of so many things, most of all being the very real chance of suffering defeat. He had gone through such a terrible ordeal, with everything seemingly falling apart, that the very idea of facing another opponent seemed almost unfathomable. He knew that everyone was counting on him, a lot of them perfectly decent people. There were two voices in his head, two voices that had many different things to say. On the right side of his head, a voice told him to flee for his life, while on the left side, a voice told him to stay.

Almost completely at random, a pair of soft hands caressed his tight shoulders, the pleasure they provided nearly impossible to describe. He could feel her breath against his skin, the sensation warm and inviting, with many other sensations wedged in between, among them feelings of great power, lust, and bliss. It was like the world had disappeared, as if everything had become simple and pointless. All the problems that he was experiencing, whatever they were, no longer seemed to matter. He was with her, numerous sensations pulsating throughout his body, any number of them fully capable of sending him over the edge.

“Don’t stop; that feels good,” Johnny sighed.

“It should feel good, not the least of which because of what I’ve done for you,” she replied.

“Tell me, Gail, I’m just wondering, what have you done for me?”

“Not one time, for any reason that I can remember, have I ever missed any of your fights, those including times when I really did need to miss, but for your sake, I always came. The time you were defeated, when you were on the floor, just about ready to lose, I was also there. I’ve always been there to support you, cheering you on and all of that,” she said, kissing him on the cheek.

“Cheering me on, what good does that do me? Either way you think about it, there’s always a winner and a loser. You could say that it’s the nature of human beings, the flawed humans certainly, to engage in fights. I’m accepting my nature, much contrary to some people, specifically those who hide behind a mask,” he murmured, rising out of his chair.

“Twenty minutes from now, you’ll be fighting again. Will you be able to handle it?”

Johnny didn’t know how to answer her question. He stared at all of the lockers that surrounded him, temporary expressions of terror on his face. Johnny’s eyes moved from left to right, rhythmically and perfectly attuned with the anxiety in his heart. He could feel himself slipping deeper and deeper into depression, potentially to a place where there could be no salvation, no hope of escaping from a truly awful fate.

“I’ll tell you a secret: I don’t want to fight again. I’ve been trying to tell people that for months, for the last five years actually, since the day when I lost that fight in Detroit, the day I finally lost faith in myself,” he said, tears forming in his eyes.

“Just because you lost one fight, you’re going to quit boxing? Everyone loses fights, even the greatest of fighters. How you deal with it, that’s really all that matters. It’s about the work you’re willing to put in, what you’re willing to do to achieve success, how hard you’re willing to prepare and all of that. You could be one of the greatest, Muhammad Ali great, with just a little more practice and patience,” she assured him.

Johnny looked into her eyes, not really sure of what to say or how to respond. He gazed at her soft, slightly tanned skin, enamored to almost the fullest degree possible. Johnny wrapped his arms around her, at the very edge of the sanity that he longed to preserve for himself. With just her eyes, Gail managed to captivate his attention. She glared at his rugged features, admired his strong muscles, a touch of arousal clearly present. Johnny swiftly retreated inside his mind, concerned more with his anxiety than her constant sexual teasing.

“This isn’t about losing a fight; it never really was about that. I had always loved fighting, the pure savagery of it, so I guess in that sense, I was always looking for trouble. That kid, I mean the one I fought, how he looked at me, it was like I was some kind of monster. I suddenly lost my ability to see the truth. He finally beat me at my own game, mainly by being more savage than me, more savage than anyone that I’ve ever seen. I know what fighting can do to a person, all that it can unleash on your heart,” he panted.

“I’ve known you for a long time, I’m guessing something like twelve years, and let me tell you, you’re far from being a monster. Why are you deciding to give up now, tonight of all nights? I want you to fight, so much so that I’m willing to do anything, because I know, better than anyone else I’m betting, that if you walk away from this, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. By any standard you want to measure it by, it simply wouldn’t be fair,” she stated.

Her eyes showed a slight twinkle of anger, a few ounces of frustration that he had never seen before. There seemed to be some part of her, perhaps somewhere deep down inside, that wanted to see him fail. He backed away from her, virtually nowhere to run, hide, or escape. He was trapped between what people expected of him, all that they wanted him to accomplish, and what he truly desired for himself. Johnny knew that everything he had worked for, everything that he had fought for, all the times he spent training, fighting, and bleeding, was ultimately,  much to his shame, a complete waste of time. The crowd wanted to see a bloody fight, the fight to end all fights, a fight that could only end in death, with the death of his very soul.

Rather suddenly, the door violently slammed open, a symphony of hatred within the depths of the vibration. Johnny heard a new set of footsteps, footsteps that sounded all too familiar to him, as they had ultimately been the source of his misery. Gordon stared at his student, all types of different emotions in his eyes. Johnny glared back at him, defiant to the very end. Gordon marched into the room, directly towards his student, instability the primary subject of the moment.

“Is it true, what I hear about you wanting to quit?”

“Who told you?”

“Gail told me everything about it, so to speak about your little plan to not fight tonight. Today of all times, why would you want to just throw in the towel? Furthermore, why are you trying to embarrass me like this? You’re so close, don’t you see, to finally achieving what you’re truly capable of. You always think of yourself before other people, ever since you were just a kid, back during the days when you actually gave a damn about fighting. You never really stood a good chance of becoming a great fighter. I picked you because I wanted a man with integrity, so as not to make the same mistake that I made with other fighters. Left to your own devices, you would’ve starved,” he huffed.

“You haven’t done anything for me, nothing that I couldn’t have done for myself. What you did had nothing to do with me, everything to do with your own greed, your ambition for wealth and power. Just a means to an end, that’s all I am to you,” Johnny grunted.

“Say you are just a means to an end, does that change what you’ve accomplished? So many things in life, they are only possible because we are willing to take risks. I took a risk with you, a big risk, and guess what, it paid off,” Gordon grunted.

Johnny stared into the abyss, at both Gail and Gordon, angered by their lack of understanding. They looked at him with such contempt, that it became more and more difficult for him to embrace his own convictions. They were against him, the two of them seemingly out to sabotage his plans for a new life. Gordon coughed into his hand, many years of constant smoking finally taking its well-rewarded revenge. Gail grabbed Gordon by the wrist, in full support of his nasty opinion. They made Johnny feel small, insecure, unworthy of love and affection. The once great fighter of the world, had suddenly been reduced to a weakling. He didn’t have the will, the courage, to actually take a stand for himself.

“How long you stare at me, it won’t make a difference. I have to choose my battles carefully, some would even say wisely, or else risk becoming a monster. So many times in the past, I have neglected to be a good person. I’ve done terrible things, quite a few of them when fighting,” he moaned.

“Tonight, those things just don’t matter. Anything you might have done in the past, I mean really, I just don’t see why it should matter. You should know better than anyone, people change and grow, they become better at what they do, and that’s really what it’s all about. You beat those other men because they were weaker than you. With fighting, that’s just how it is, what it has always been about,” Gail stated, a hateful expression on her face.

“That’s what you want me to do, just give up on my principles?”

“Let me tell you something: there’s this thing, it’s called being a man,” she hissed, a frustrated expression forming on her face.

Gordon suddenly grabbed him by the shoulder, none too impressed with the situation that he was confronted with. He knew that at any point, his student could just walk away from everything. Johnny had two choices, both of which provided a different set of problems. He had the option of leaving, something he desperately wanted to do, or he had the option of fighting. It seemed like the entire world, not just Gail and Gordon, not just the crowd outside, wanted to see him fight. They wanted to see a fight that would give them satisfaction, violence and gore clearly the main part of the attraction.

“One last fight, that’s all I’m asking. After tonight, say you still feel the way you do, I’ll gladly let you go. Think about your audience, how disappointed they’d be if you abandoned them. I’ve trained you to be the best fighter in the world, greater than that of even Muhammad Ali. What I said earlier, about you not being the best fighter, it simply wasn’t true. Hands down, you’re the best I’ve ever worked with. Now, one final time, why don’t you go show them who you are?”

Johnny felt himself breaking apart. He knew that eventually, whether he liked it or not, he would have to face the music. He started to walk towards the door, another set of nerves reaching him. Johnny knew, though why he knew, he simply couldn’t say, that someone was going to get killed. He realized that in all likelihood, he would be dead by the end of the fight. One final time, he looked back at Gail, the girl he once thought was on his side, but in reality, she never really made a difference. Gordon kept staring at Johnny, with all his heart hoping that the training hadn’t been for nothing.

“Just remember, I’m only doing this because I have to,” Johnny announced, opening the door.

“While you’re at it, remember that you’re a fighter, first and foremost,” Gordon encouraged.

“I am what I am, nothing more, nothing less,” Johnny replied, shutting the door behind him.

All around him, above him, below him, people were shouting his name. Johnny found himself surrounded by thousands of fans, countless people who were willing to do anything for him. There were just enough camera flashes, he thought, to blind even the most tolerant person. Beyond just feeling important, Johnny experienced a sense of integrity and lavishness. He finally walked into the light, unfortunately for the final time.

About an hour into the fight, things took an awful turn. For what seemed like an eternity, Gail remained inside the locker room, as sad and distraught as she could possibly be. She heard the crowd gasp, all of their many eyes stunned by the fact that someone had been fatally knocked down. She could feel, in her heart anyway, that everything was coming to an end. She heard the screams of the crowd, all of the excitement and laughter, the endless terror, the hysterical moans from the balcony, as it soon became clear that Johnny was dead. They shouted his name on the microphone, because they wanted everyone to know the truth, the truth clearly being that Johnny, their beloved Johnny, was dead.

Similar to a ghost in the night, Gordon walked into the locker room, humble laughter in his voice. Gail took him by the hand, kissed him gently, all at the same time trying to contemplate what had just happened. There seemed to be a growing passion between them, within their very souls, some of the very undercurrents a direct product of their wicked scheme. Gordon held her close to him, as tightly and as gently as he could get away with. There was a growing sensation in their hearts, that sensation being one of lust, desire, and most of all, an incredible amount of heated tension.

“Minutes after his death, you’re already celebrating?”

“He took the bait: hook, line, and sinker,” Gordon chuckled.

“How we went about doing this, do you really think it was fair?”

“Officially, what happened was perfectly legal. I knew that the man he fought tonight, Thomas is his name, would certainly beat the hell out of him, as proved to be the case. Now, like the monsters we really are, we can finally be together,” he announced, passionately embracing her.

“Well, you know what they say, ‘Three’s a crowd, two’s company.’”

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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