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Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Day my Body Broke Down

Fiction | Milo

This is a very short passage influenced by a section in Mike Tyson's autobiography about the moment when he knew he was done as a fighter.

There’s nothing like a fight to make you less aware of the gap between yourself and other people, because in a fight it doesn’t exist. Right now this guy, this fucking guy is beating the living shit out of me and there is no clear point where I end and he begins. His fist is lodged just below my ribs and my right arm is clasped tightly over his, holding him in place. I latch his other arm beneath my left arm and we are standing and shuffling in the ugliest sort of hug, before the ref comes in and pulls us apart. It achieved little because as soon as we are pulled apart I am on him again and I walk him to the ropes, my arms over his neck as I lean down on to him and I can hear him struggling to breath. He pushes back and nails me with a jab to the gut and a hook that grazes my temple. He follows up with a double hook to my left eardrum and all I can hear is white noise, much like the sound of a broken TV. It’s very hot, I think he burst my eardrum. The referee is now in my face and shouting something at me, he is pointing behind me.   
“Corner, back!” Is all I can make out and as I turn around I see that my team has the stool out and are fiddling with their other tools. I avoid sitting down but I am forced to sit, they shouldn’t have made me sit because I am not sure I will be able to stand up.  
“You are getting tagged with that hook to the body too easily, stop staying in the fucking pocket if you’re not going to punch back. Hey, hey are you with me?” My guy is shouting instructions at me, but his face tells me he’d rather be taking advice than giving it. Why do I have these bums in my corner? My ear fucking hurts. I hurt all over. They don’t understand why I’m not punching back, and I can’t explain it to them. I’m too exhausted. The bell goes and I am sent back out, they should be calling off the fight but they don’t know me well enough to call it off. I feel close to death. These bums in my corner, they’ve probably already got my obituary written and made agreements with some lawyer about how they can monetise it. I live wild, they know I’ll likely die on their watch. I get tagged again, and again and my mouth is full of blood. I look at his corner as though they can somehow help me, he hits me on my belt line and I drop to my knees holding my crotch. He didn’t hit me there, but I need to do anything to get away from him. People boo. I punch the canvas in frustration, everything I am doing is a second too slow, this guy isn’t as good as I am making him look but I’m firing blanks. All those wild years…they’ve finally caught up with me. I get up and the referee doesn’t give me any time at all to recover, this guy digs into my body and I fall again to my knees but this time it is for real. I quit.    

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