London Casey & Ana W. Fawkes
A thick fog of sweat lingered low like a dirty blanket as I walked the hallway, hood up, head down, keeping to my personal code to never look at the circle before I was inside it. The smell of the sweat was pretty nasty, but it was better than shit. And that was the damn truth. Sometimes guys shit themselves when they fought. Sometimes it happened before the fight, during the fight, or after the fight. Rightfully, I guess, if you weren’t properly prepared.
This wasn’t a joke. This wasn’t some fucking game either.
There were powerful men behind the fights, putting up money, scheduling murders, using these nights to conduct their business. Think of it this way - you know how a normal guy would call up his buddy to go to a baseball game or a hockey game? Or maybe some salesman looking to close a deal will grab box seats, right? That’s what this was for all these pieces of shit in the crowd. Crooked people everywhere. That was another reason not to look. Because if you did, the shock would get to you. Beyond the layers of people and their drunken screams for violence, there were people there who you’d never think would be. Cops, doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians.
To me, it didn't matter. What mattered were two things.
First, that I win the goddamn fight.
Two, I get paid for winning the goddamn fight.
As I walked through the opening to the circle, the crowd got louder. Sometimes I wished I had music to walk to. You know, like on television. Some kind of wild mix between boxing, MMA, or even professional wrestling. I used to have a wicked elbow drop as a kid. Diving from the top of the couch onto a pile of stuffed animals. That’s when life was so easy. So beautiful. So perfect.
One thing I’ve learned about beautiful and perfect is that it’s all bullshit. It’s a cloak to try and hide behind, but it eventually gets ripped away. That’s just the hard truth of life. Sometimes you took a beating and sometimes you had to give a beating. The best thing I ever learned was to give a beating. Because if you did it right, you walked away. You became a hero to someone, even if it was for a few seconds.
I threw my hood off and opened my arms. I squeezed my eyes shut and put my head back. The underground fighting stuff was intense. We were in an old warehouse that had three levels of railings for those in attendance to watch the brutal fights. Of course, if you paid more money, you got closer to the fight. The best seats were the ones on the actual floor. There was a ring made by cinderblocks that came up maybe two feet tall. All along the border were the high profile men. Fat cigars in their mouths, most in fancy suits with loose ties. The majority of them were drunk as fuck, wanting to live out a fantasy of seeing hardcore violence in person.
Then they’d probably go home and fuck the shit out of their wives. Or maybe tie up their girlfriends and mistresses and live out even more fantasies.
I opened my eyes and looked around.
The night was in full swing. Technically, it was morning. We were well past midnight. There had been five other fights, all of them mostly entertaining. There was a single punch knockout for the second fight. The previous fight lasted a good twenty minutes, the two guys beating each other until their eyes were shut. Eventually, someone would pass out from pain or blood loss.
There was always a fucking winner. And a fucking loser.
I didn’t lose.
My backing came from a man named Aldo. He was as far up the food chain as you could go. After him were the guys who never showed their faces. Aldo threw money down on me and I always won. He’d make a killing, pay his tribute up higher, and give me a kickback for the win. During the other fights, he would coordinate the rest of his business with all those in attendance.
I was the catalyst.
I was the fighter.
I stared forward at my opponent, a man in a white t-shirt that clung to his body from the sweat. His right eye had a scar that hooked down to the corner of his mouth. He made fists and lifted them. There were roman numerals on his knuckles. He spit on the ground and started to gently jump.
He was ready to fight.
So was I.
I was in a foul fucking mood. I hadn’t had a good fuck in a while. The noise around me seemed louder than normal. I wasn’t in the mood to be here.
But one thing was for sure… if I couldn’t get a good fuck, I’d take it all out on the asshole staring me down.
The guy had no idea what he was about to experience.
Neither did I.