The Punch bag

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
An object in a gym interacts with a number of people, or is it a number of people that are that object

Submitted: May 26, 2011

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Submitted: May 26, 2011

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She sits on the wooden bench curled into the period pain that cramps her whole body. She stands as the spasm weakens. Are there tears in her eyes?
I hardly move as she throws anger into the single blow. I twist a little as a second skids insignificantly across my leather skin.
I feel her pain. It is not in her fists, it is something deep inside. Her pain and anger are one. She hates the fact that she still remains unchanged. Her purpose, her need to produce will go unfulfilled yet again, signalled by unrewarding blood and pain. And a partner impotently trying to cheer her up.
I wait for each blow, sharp not bass like a professional, but slow and continuous: One, pause, two, pause, three, pause, four...
I swing a little more with each punch until my arc becomes more threatening. She stands with her fists up, protective, hiding her chin and solar plexus, her elbows shielding her ribs, just as she was coached. It is anger that makes her blows positive and not powder puff. If only she could shield herself as well from emotions that seep into every cell.
I swing and consider her; her eyes glaring at me, her shoulders rise up and down with rapid violent breaths. There is real hurt in her eyes, and fear.

He leans his body against me.
I can feel his heart beating like a hammer smashing against a wall. He drags air into his lungs, heavy and elastic. Then he coughs.
I am pushed away to swing in an oval flight. As I swing back to him, I feel the sound of his leather covered fists digging a combination of four into my body.
His eyes are cold, the bone above his eyes protrude, nose broken, then broken again. The once toned body sags with age. The six pack is now a large hard ball that stretches the black vest.
He is a bouncer, dangerously past his prime. Once a boxer, once a jobbing semi professional. Some good wins, but even more bad defeats. His feet, that once skipped, shuffle into position. The speed that once intercepted, is now simply steady. The bouncers' response to movement is now a paused reflex. He relies on his experience to connect in the right places and at the right time. Were I younger with well greased joints and links, my spin or curl could easily floor him as he is now. But I, even a younger me, would not; because there is no malice in him, no hate, no judgement. This is just routine.
A young woman looked at the fit young version of this man, he blinked – there were children to house and feed, and a steady job that didn't pay well; blinked again and she had fallen out of love with him, blinked again and the children had grown and lost respect for this older man. He had felt small, lost and insecure without a love that had been his since his teens. He had failed and not lived up to the natural expectations of children or wife. Blinked, that's all it takes for the bottle to connect, concuss, shatter and peel flesh; or the kick to travel through balls and produce vomit. How can you tell when you are past your prime and survive such information.

A different lady bounces before me, ducking and rotating her open, un-gloved hands. She thinks that by moving around me, circling left then right, or that swaying snake like will confuse, seduce or hypnotise. It doesn't. My vision is 360. But then she cheats, jumps and spins, her leg extends and her heel sinks precisely into my skin.

His blows are steady and focused; there is a near supernatural link between us. His mind is calm and fixed on what he is doing. This is not a professional boxer, not an amateur. He is a professional man.
I arc viciously aiming for his head. I am not testing him, I am giving him the dangerous respect that he deserves, that he has been tuned to compute. Anything less would be an insult to him. No skipping or bobbing or weaving.
He leans slightly so that I miss, then throws a straight solid blow.
This is no prancing poser. He can feel every punch shock painfully through his stumps to his metal lower limbs and ricochet back up from the ground.
This one is for a comrade that he helped to collect and give the family someone to bury.
This one is for the mothers, and fathers, that waited for news, and those who received the news.
This for his queen who waited for news of her own son. Another for the stinking politicians who have fucked up so many lives with their penny pinching, betrayals and lies.
And another for his dead comrades.
He sways with eyes that never leave me. I read that familiar concentration of power into muscle, then a blow that drives me back. Oh yes, I appreciated that punch. I can see the pain that this has cost him but I know that another, similar awaits me as I swing back towards him.
He stops after a number of near perfect shots, and lets me swing, forward and back and forward. Collects himself, watches, understanding his limits. Breaths; takes in the surroundings. This is a professional soldier, seriously injured but always a soldier, he will never forget the things he saw, or lose that extra sense. His is a new battle now. He refuses to be just another disabled person.
The soldier prepares himself for the pain, tenses then returns to work on my leather skin.
For him I will make my movements harder and gradually increasing in difficulty, like a loving trainer, I try to tease out the best of his ability with varying trajectories, spinning as I approach him and pausing subtly in flight.

The young banker stands before me. A gym perfect body, smooth chin and perfect hair. He is strong, with excellent reflexes and technique. He lands a number of good inteligent punches. I have never seen him before. But I feel something else. I spin away from him, turn my back, then accelerate as he ducks low.
With my full weight, I catch him on the side of his head. He crumbles, senseless, to the floor.

I have a choice, you understand, even though most people see me just as a punch bag.


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