Sitting in this dressing room, getting ready for the final match of my career, I’m thinking about everything; hell, everyone who got me here. Friends, family, the ones I lost and made along the way. The girls I hurt – not that I hit them or nothing, I ain’t like that. They just got hurt ‘cause it always came first. Priority numero uno. That’s what coach says anyway. The fact that he’s my dad adds a little more weight to it, but you know what I’m saying. Man, those long hours training, sleeping on the road, getting bused from town to town. It ain’t an easy life. I don’t wish it on nobody. But still, to hear that crowd go wild when I step out’ta the gate, I’m telling you – there ain’t nothing like it.
You know, if it hadn’t been for Jenkin’s pier, I prob’ly never would of started. That’s where my brother first showed me the ropes, taught me how to hit. That’s where my first match took place. Thinking about it now, maybe it wasn’t such a good thing after all. All the abuse this body’s taken over the years; the pounding on my joints, the stress on my knees and elbows, the multiple surgeries on my wrists alone, not to mention that damned right ankle that keeps giving out on me… Yeah, this is gonna be my last bout for sure, I promised her this was gonna be it anyway. Sophia, that’s my wife, she worries, she has every right to. I got a family I gotta look out for, and she needs me around. Last thing she needs is a hospital bill crippling her as bad as this sport is crippling me. Nah, I can’t do that to her, wouldn’t be right. This one’s it – finito, done, over. The doc told me to quite a year ago… but it gets in your blood, ya know? The glory, the fame, and I ain’t proud to admit this, but even the violence. It starts out as good clean fun, but then you start to get the itch, and once that itch sets in – there’s no escaping it. It’s like try’na shake a monkey off your back.
Anyway, tonight is it for me. The last go ‘round. She ain’t here, stayed home with the kids. Somehow that seems right. I don’t really want her seeing me go at it one last time. I wanna give it everything I got, bring home that prize money, make her proud – then I can hang ‘em up with no regrets. I know she’ll be watching on TV. Hell, if I know her, she prob’ly bought a ticket for the doc and paid him to sit out there with everybody else, just in case… you know. Aiet, enough stalling, I better get geared up and get out there.
Oh, man – looking at my gear hanging in that locker, I can’t help feeling a little… what’s that word? Nostalgic. Yeah, I’m feeling a little nostalgic as I get dressed one last time. Coach, he pokes his head in and asks if I’m ready to get this show going or what. Man, I tell you, anyone else would of at least looked a little sad, but not him. He’s as eager as our first time out. Laughing, I grab him in a bear hug, give him a fake pop on the head Zilla style, and tell him I’m ready. Let’s do this!
“Folks, I think I can just make him out… Yup, I can see his coach on the right, and his brother flanking him on the left. Here he comes! There’s no mistaking that get-up for anyone other than the champ himself. Will you get a load of those fierce yellow eyes, that green scaly skull-cap, and that ridge of spikes running down his back! This kid is on FIRE!”
On the canvas, the announcer bellows into the mic, “Returning home to ‘Jersey for his final bout in the ring-ging-ging-ging-ging… Let’s give it up for Jaaaaaaake Zzzziii-laahhhh! The Whack-A-Mole Chaaaaaaaampionnnn of the World!”
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I’m doing the 2013 Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Pop back everyday but Sunday through the month of April for a new letter prompt to spawn my deranged ramblings! ;}