Sedahoy Wright was awakened by the sound of yelling. He pounded the wall and yelled, “Shut up over there!”
Immediately, a voice answered back, “Why don’t you move if you don’t want to hear us fight?”
He was quite used to the Brackens’ fighting every day, all day. The Brackens were his immediate neighbors in the cheap apartment where he was now living. Since quitting boxing, which was the only thing he’d ever wanted to do, and the only life he knew, he’d been lost. He’d tried a regular job but that hadn’t worked out too well. So, he had gone to collect unemployment and had got in another argument with the female employee, who had proceeded to land yet-another lucky punch, and once again he had been knocked out. He had decided not to file charges against the woman, after her husband threatened him with more physical violence. He’d had enough violence for quite awhile, so he’d backed off. Now, with no boxing, no job, and no unemployment, he had been forced to sell everything he owned, just to rent an apartment in this absolute joke of an apartment building. He was desperate for money, any money, and had answered an advertisement in the local newspaper wanting to hire someone to haul yard-waste. He would be starting today, and he needed as much sleep as he could get, but with the paper-thin walls, and the Brackens in full screaming mode, he might as well just get up. There wouldn’t be any more sleep this morning. As he got up and sleepily made his way to the kitchen to put on some coffee, he heard through the walls,
“You son of a b***h, why don’t you do us both a favor, and drop dead!” This was screamed by Mrs. Brackens.
Mr. Brackens angrily screamed back, “I should drop dead? I should drop dead!”
“That’s what I said, drop dead!”
Sedahoy yelled, “Why don’t you compromise, and both of you drop dead!”
There was a lull, and then Mr. Brackens screamed, “Hey, Mr. Neighbor, why don’t you blow off and mind your own business, okay buddy?”
Sedahoy shot back, “Hey pal, watch your mouth; if I hadn’t have been a professional boxer, I’d come over there and kick you’re a**!”
Brackens shot back with, “Why, you couldn’t fight your way out of a paper bag; by all means, don’t let being a one-time boxer stop you, come ahead, you wimp!”
That statement really hacked Sedahoy off, and he stomped angrily across the hall and kicked the Brackens’ door. “Okay, dip-wad, here I am!”
The door was flung open and there stood Mr. Brackens, arms raised, yelling, “Call the ambulance Mildred, there’s about to be a bleeding, unconscious dude right outside our door!”
“Oh, I hope you’re talking about yourself, because the unconscious dude will be you!” answered Sedahoy.
Then, Mr. Brackens advanced towards him and Sedahoy swung a roundhouse right, which connected on Brackens face, sending him backwards and upending the box of used liquor bottles that Brackens’ had been keeping on a near-by table. Brackens fell hard to the floor where he lay motionless.
“I tried to warn you, you don’t mess with an ex boxer!” Sedahoy screamed in triumph.
It was at Sedahoy’s moment of triumph that Mrs. Brackens appeared, took one look at her husband’s unconscious form lying amidst the upended liquor bottles, and came at Sedahoy with fists raised. “Oh, you son of a b***h!”
Sedahoy answered with, “Well, I tried to warn him. You don’t try to mess with an ex-boxe—”
His mouth felt like a mouthful of cotton and when he tried to open his eyes, blinding light caused him to close them again in a hurry. He looked around him, trying to understand what had happened. He looked at the cold metal bars and immediately knew he was in prison, but why? Oh yeah, Mrs. Brackens had come at him. After that, he was totally clueless. Then a guard unlocked the cell, saying,
“Okay, Mr. Woman-Attacker, your bail has been posted and you’re free to go.”
“Mr. Woman-Attacker, why did you call me that?”
The guard gave him a withering look and responded, “Because the police responded to a domestic disturbance call and found you unconscious, along with another man, and a woman claimed you first knocked out her husband, and then attacked her. In the course of defending herself she beat you unconscious. She filed a complaint against you for an unprovoked attack on her husband, then her.
Sedahoy tried to remember exactly what had happened. His memory was a little foggy, but the way he remembered it, Mr. Brackens had attacked him. He had just only been defending himself. He’d tried to reason with Mrs. Brackens, but she had attacked him and that’s the last thing he could remember. “No, I was only defending myself.”
The guard replied, “Sure pal, whatever you say. Tell it to the judge, but for now you’re free to go, you've been bailed out.”
Sedahoy Wright walked out of the jailhouse, for the moment a free man. He had been bailed out by Mrs. Beulah, the woman who had hired him to haul her yard-waste. Sedahoy had called her to tell her he wouldn’t be there today, and she had come right to the jail.
He couldn’t believe how far he had fallen; after fighting for the world championship, he had been reduced to hauling compost for someone. Oh well, a guy had to make a living somehow.
He was just coming up on her front porch to start work, and to thank her for bailing him out of jail, as she’s left after posting his bail. When he’d seen just how much yard-waste he’d be picking up and hauling away, he’d been dismayed. Her yard was a veritable orchard, with apple trees galore, all dropping their rotten, worm-ridden fruit all over the yard. Oh well, he needed the work. He was at her door as soon as he’d run home to change into his work clothes, and he rang the doorbell. Immediately, cries and screams from what sounded like a lot of little kids reached his ears, and when the door was opened, and there stood Mrs. Beulah.
“Hi, Mr. Wright.”
Sedahoy replied, “Mrs. Beulah, I’m here to start work, and I just wanted to thank you for bailing me out of jail.”
“Oh, no problem, I’m glad to bail you out of jail. Cheap labor is almost impossible to find now days. All the neighborhood kids, when I mention work they’re interested, but as soon as I mention the compensation, they’re suddenly busy.”
Sedahoy then said, “Well, the charges against me are ridicu—”
“Oh, I really don’t care. I’ve got enough problems of my own to worry about. Like yard-waste. Of course, your bail money will be subtracted from your wages, and can you get started right away?”
He was shocked at her lack of compassion. “Oh, yes ma’am. If you’ll just give me the keys to your truck, I’ll start the first load.”
He was sweaty, hot, and bone-weary, and this was only the first truck-load. He looked at all the work still to be done and cursed. So much work to go. As he looked back to the pile of waste he was slowly raking up, he heard,
“You said a bad word. Mommy says anyone who uses words like that should have his mouth washed out with soap!”
Sedahoy gazed upon a child who appeared to be five or six; one of the daycare children Mrs. Beulah was running out of her home; and replied,
“Hello, I didn’t see you there. I would have never used language like that if I’d known you were there.”
The kid then said, “Well I was here, you should never talk like that, and I’m going to tell!”
Sedahoy sighed, and responded, “Look kid, I said I was sorry. What more do you want from me?”
“Oh, $20.00 ought to help keep my mouth shut,” the kid answered.
Sedahoy laughed, for he thought the kid was kidding, but saw that he wasn’t, he said, “Not a chance, you little extortionist!”
The kid started screaming, “Stop touching me, mister. Let me go!”
Sedahoy knew he had to shut the kid’s mouth, and soon, before anyone heard. He went to grab the kid, to tell him to be quite, when the kid suddenly balled up his fist. “Look kid, calm down! How about I buy you a gum ball? Yeah, you’d like tha—”
Fuzzy light slowly came into focus. Where was he? Who was he? Was he even sure he was a he? Gradually, the pieces of what had happened returned to him. His name was Sedahoy Wright, and he’d been knocked into next week by about an 8 year old kid. How could he have let that happen? It must have been a lucky punch that had done the deed. It was an embarrassment to his manhood! He had to shake this off, and never tell a soul.
Sedahoy ‘Left Hook’ Wright was living on the streets; after getting out of jail this last time when he’d been falsely accused of inappropriate touching of a child. The charges were totally false. After a series of violent interrogations, he had finally been released after the boy had admitted he’d been lying.
Sedahoy was briskly walking towards home, when, going in the opposite direction, came a man pushing an infant in a stroller. Sedahoy glanced at the child as he passed, casually remarking,
“Hey there, kid!”
Immediately, the man pushing the stroller whirled around and gave the startled Sedahoy a withering look.
“What did you just call my son?”
“I didn’t call him anything,” replied Sedahoy.
“That’s funny; I could have sworn I heard you call him a hayseed something!”
“No, I just said “Hey there, kid!”
“Oh, so now you’re accusing me of lying?”
“I’m not accusing you of anything.”
“Well, no one insults my family and gets away with it!” the man screamed in reply.
“Look, I was only trying to be polite. I don’t want any trouble. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, and I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.”
The angry man answered, “Oh, there’s no misunderstanding, but seeing as how you apologized, I guess I’m not going to be mad with you any longer.”
Sedahoy started to disagree with the man about there being no misunderstanding, but then thought better of it. It would be better if he just left it alone. “No hard feelings?” he said, and held out his hand.
“Well, no hard feelings,” grudgingly replied the man. “My name is Marty Pendergrass, and the little tyke in the stroller is Marty Jr.”
Sedahoy bent over the stroller and said, “How do you do Marty Jr. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The baby gurgled and reached out for Sedahoy’s hair. He missed, and wind-milled his little hands around seeking to grab a hold.
“Well, well, aren’t you a feisty on----”
The light was blinding! What had happened? Sedahoy Wright groaned and shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs. He tried to get his addled brain to work. Then he vaguely remembered the bout. He had faced a giant of a man; a vicious giant man. One of these days, he was going to get out of the fight game. He must have been knocked out. Not again! Then a doctor appeared, saying,
“Well, well, look who’s finally coming around.”
A woman standing nearby immediately said, “He’s waking up?”
The doctor nodded to her, and she told Sedahoy, “I’m so sorry mister, it was completely an accident. My little Marty wasn’t trying to knock you out; I guess he’s stronger than his father and I think! Please accept our apologies.”
© Copyright 2016 Mike Stevens. All rights reserved.
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