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The Fight of A Lifetime
“Tough s*** little man.” A hooded man shouted at my bloody mess of a face, and I thought back to earlier that day.
“I don’t have any money.” The words barely made it out of my mouth through all the blood oozing out of my split lip.
“Now you aint gonna have any money or a jacket.” Before I could say anything 4 large dark knuckles smashed into my jaw. The last thing I remember was the popping sound of my jaw.
My eyes struggled to open and my head felt like I got hit by a freight train. When my vision started to clear I could make out the feint light of a nearby street lamp. My parents probably weren’t even worried about me. I started to lift my body from the cold pavement in the ally, but I shrieked in pain as my arm gave out under my weight. I looked down and saw a pool of blood where my head had been lying. I struggled to get to my feet and a gust of wind blew the cold fall air at me. Anger built inside me when I felt the cold and realized not only had my attacker taken my jacket but he also took my wallet with the three dollars and my driver’s license. I used the bricks of the alleyway to help me limp out to the street corner. Things looked a lot different in the dark. After a good look around I saw the fifth street sign. This meant only 2 more miles to walk to get home.
I reached my door step. “Do they even know if I’m home?” my question was soon answered when I came up the steps and my dad threw the door open. “Max you were supposed to be home half an hour ago, and what the hell have you been doing?” he yelled. When my face shown in the light his expression changed from furious to furious and slightly concerned. I tried to keep my head down and just walk past, but the 6 foot 200 pound man isn’t easy to walk through. He grabbed my arm and threw me inside. “I’m not gonna say it again what happened and where have you been?” His eyes starred me down, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide this one.
“I got mugged ok! Are you happy now!? I spent the past couple of hours lying unconscious in a freaking alleyway and I have to come home and get chewed out!” I ran to my room and locked the door before he could yell back. As I laid in bed, my head still throbbing and face still bloody, I thought about what had happened. I felt so helpless, that mugger, my dad, my whole life I had felt like everything was out of control. Thoughts were swirling in my head. I told myself it wasn’t gonna happen anymore.
Waking up the next morning sucked. I ached everywhere. When I looked in the mirror I saw a puffy version of my face with a shiner that stuck out like a soar thumb. When I looked at my jaw I was shocked it was way offset to the right and it hurt to talk. I wasn’t sure what I would do I might have to get surgery. I definitely couldn’t afford surgery so I put my right palm on my jaw and my left on top of it. I let out a deep breath and counted “1…2……” CRACK the last number didn’t make it out of my mouth. I pushed as hard as I could and forced it back into place. The pain brought me to my knees on the bathroom floor. I flopped onto my back and after a long sigh said “today is gonna be a long day”
Let me describe my typical day at school. I walk the whole three miles to get there through the freezing cold in the morning. I get inside usually with a minute to spare, and I end up having to run to my class. If people do say anything to me it’s the usual “hey loser” or “what a freak.” I spend most of my day not talking to anyone because no one even if I tried to talk to anyone I don’t think they’d want to talk to me. In my 2nd class I talk to Chris sometimes but he is somewhat antisocial so some days its best not to. I eat lunch by myself, I used to sit at a table with a bunch of jocks but they thought it would be funny to throw a whole cheeseburger at some poor girl and blame it on me. Well you get the idea. School sucks for me.
I walked up the steps Pontiac high school and into the warmth through the doors. I kept my hoodie over my head attempting cover up the evidence of last night. I didn’t get half way to my class before some high and mighty teacher ordered, “Take your hood off unless you want to come see us Saturday morning”.
“This school is a damn dictatorship.” I threw off my hood and kept walking. I heard the gasp coming from “Mrs. Hitler” back there, and I laughed a little to myself.
2nd hour came up pretty fast. The staring didn’t really bother me. I just put my head down and slept all hour. At one point during the hour the teacher kicked my desk and slyly remarked, “Good to see you’re awake Mr. Johnson.” I lifted up my head long enough to see Chris watching me. But I could care less what my teacher or Chris thinks. The bell rang and I came out of my slumber. I started to go to my next class when someone said, “hey Max.” I turned around to find that Chris had been waiting for me. I walked over trying to act all tough with my black eye.
“What’s up?” I said casually. Chris looked at me funny and chuckled a little to himself.
“I couldn’t help but notice that shiner you got there, along with the rest of your swollen face. Where’d you get it?” he talked about it like he was measuring me up.
“Fighting” my words came out quick; I was a little embarrassed of getting mugged and everything.
“Ha!” he laughed out loud. “It looks to me like it was more of you getting your a** kicked, and more of the over guy doing the fighting.” I didn’t know how to respond to that but Chris did it for me. “Listen I know a couple of guys that could help you out with your… situation. Come to this address tonight at 10:00 if you’re interested.” He handed me a card that said, 8662 Elms St. knock four times on the back door. He started to walk away then turned and said, “Max do yourself a favor and be there.” It took a second for it all to sink in and before I could say no Chris was already gone.
9:15 rolled around. I had been lying in my bed thinking about what Chris had said. I’m so fed up of being pushed around. Even if there is a chance of this all going away it would be worth going. I turned my lights off and locked the door. I crawled out my window and onto the roof. I felt the cool breeze and thought of going back to my warm bed. But I needed to know, I couldn’t let myself pass the opportunity up. I climbed down from my roof and ran.
I made it to the address at 9:50. I saw an old abandoned house on the end of a circle. This had to be the place there weren’t any other houses near by. I walked down the gravel driveway and saw a couple cars parked behind the house. I saw headlights coming up the road then down the drive way. A black truck sped up and stopped next to me and 2 guys jumped out and grabbed me. “What are you doing here punk?” one shouted. He pressed my arms behind my back.
“Dude my friend told me to meet him here man let me go.” I was struggled to try to get him off me, but he had too strong of a hold. A third guy stepped out of the truck, and I heard a familiar voice.
“Come on guys the party is inside. I think he can wait till then.” The guy holding me down let me go. The guy who called off my attackers walked just in front of where my head was. I looked up at the silhouette of his face. “Chris?” I said somewhat in the form of a question.
“In the flesh” Chris talked in his usual laid back voice. “What was that Max? My bros had you down in ten seconds.” I felt pretty pathetic laying there on the ground. Chris gave me a hand up and said, “Wait till you see what goes on inside.” We got in the truck and drove down the driveway. We parked with some other cars that were hidden behind the house. You could hear metal playing inside. We walked over to the back door; it was a rusty heavy metal door with a sliding eye slot. Chris knocked on the door 4 times and said, “Max welcome to the first day of your new life.” A pair of eyes and part of a dark face shown as the cover came off the eye slot.
“Chris, I was wondering when you were gonna show up” I heard the sound of locks unhinging and the door swung open. Smoke shown from the few ceiling lights, and full intensity of the music could be heard. A large dark skinned man stood in the doorway. “Who’s this guy?” he talked in a harsh voice.
“This Brian is a new addition to our messed up family” Chris seemed like a totally different person out of school.
“Oh congrats” the man I’m assuming was Brian said in a very sarcastic tone. We entered into the room, in front of me there were two beat up old mats with sweat on them.
On the mats there were two guys swinging fists at each other, and standing around them in a ring was about a dozen other guys, no one was wearing shirts or shoes, and everyone was yelling. Everyone took a side, when one guy smashed his fist into the others face half of them hollered with excitement, the others said, “ooooo” everyone was into the action whether they were fighting or not. After getting hit in the face the one guy stumbled to the ground. The other guy jumped on top of him and started laying fists into him. The guy on the ground tried to throw swings, but after a few blows he was out like a light. 2 of the guys outside rushed in and the conscious fighter stopped punching. The winner wiped the sweat and blood off his body, while a couple other guys sat the loser in a chair and tried to wake him up. I looked at Chris like he was crazy. He didn’t seem too surprised by my expression. “Do you want to be helpless your whole life Max?” His voice didn’t quiver and he was looking straight at me. “Do you want people to push you around, beat you up, and laugh at you just because they can? Or do you want to do something about it?”
“Well I uh…” I didn’t know what to say.
Chris stepped right next to me and pounded his fist into his palm. “This is your answer Max. All the guys in here stood right where you stood, we’re all here for our own reasons but from what I saw in school you look like you’ve got some of your own.”
“Maybe I do dude but how is this gonna help me?” Chris had a small grin on his face. He stood in the middle of the mats and threw his shirt on the floor.
“Max let me show you something we like to call Baptism by Fire.” After he said this two guys came behind me and tossed me onto the mat. The whole group made a ring around the 2 of us. They started chanting, “fight…fight..fight.fight!” it grew louder and louder until its all I could hear. I got up and tried to walk away, but the guys in the ring pushed me back in.
“So what’s it gonna be Max?” he looked like he was having fun doing this. Naturally I did the only thing a guy in his right mind would do. I charged at Chris and tried to football tackle him. This didn’t turn out to be a good idea. When I was running at him I wondered why Chris didn’t brace for a hit. Then Chris’s heel hit me in the nose and knocked me flat on my back. Time slowed down. I looked up at the ceiling and I could taste blood in my mouth, I was looked at the lights in a daze. Each one of them looked like 3. I heard a slur of yelling and started coming back to reality.
“Come on Max, who runs at someone with their head down in a fight? Get your a** up and do some damage!” Chris screamed at my half limp body. He was yelling right in front of me. I shot myself up and punched him right in the cheek bone. The punch made Chris’s head turn.
“How’s that for damage punk?” I managed between 2 gasps for air.
“It’s a start.” Chris said with a grin on his face.
As soon as those words came out of his mouth, he spun around and planted the bottom of his foot right in my abs. The shock knocked the wind out of me. I started to fall forward holding my stomach, then Chris grabbed my leg and my side. He picked me up 5 feet off the floor and slammed me on my back into the mats. The last thing I remember from the night was seeing my feet in the air as I plunged downwards.
I opened my eyes, and had no idea where I was. I sat up and a bag of ice fell off my head. I had been laying in a bed that surprisingly felt pretty comfy. I looked around the room I was in. it was carpeted, had blue walls, and a WWE wrestling comforter. The comforter reminded me of last night and I realized how much pain I was in. I could barely move. I wanted to just keep laying there but I was too weirded out by not knowing where I was. I got up and opened the wooden door. I assumed I was on the second floor of some ones house when I saw white carpeted stairs leading down. I could smell eggs and I walked down stairs to see a woman I didn’t know cooking the eggs I smelled. She turned around when she heard me coming down the stairs. She had a very surprised look on her face, she looked at me for a second and screamed “Chris help there’s someone in the house!” Chris casually walked into the kitchen and said, “So I see you’ve met Max mom.” This was how I got to know Chris’s family, which consisted of him and his mom.
After a little bit of smooth talking by Chris to his mom she calmed down quite a little bit. We all ate breakfast together, and at first it was weird because Chris came right out and said, “So how’d you like fight night?” then Chris’s mom looked at my swollen nose and Chris’s puffy cheek and said, “Yes Max tell me how did you like fight night?” Chris and I looked at each other and after a little pause I said,
“It was Awesome!” Chris’s mom let out a sigh and said,
“You kids will never learn will you?” this made the two of us burst out laughing and I felt like U had another family.
Over the next couple of months fighting on Friday night became a regular thing. At first learning how to fight was slow and painful. Then as I started to pick up on things it became easier. The best way I can explain it is its like how a 4 year old learns a foreign language. At first they get flooded with it, then they learn words, then sentences, then eventually it just flows. The type of fighting is best described as MMA, Mixed Martial Arts. It pulled together almost any kind of fighting style. It included Mui Tai, to Jujitsu or wrestling, to straight up boxing. My matches started to last longer than thirty seconds and eventually I started winning matches. I became really close friends with all the guys in our little “brotherhood”. Chris and I were especially close friends. I found myself hanging out with him more and more until the point were I was practically part of his family. The best part was his mom treated me like a second son. I liked being there so much they let me move in and I didn’t have to worry about my dad telling me what to do after that.
Towards the end of the school year Chris found a flier for an MMA tournament in two weeks. Chris told me he thought I could easily beat all the guys there. “What about you you’re not gonna fight?” It was the first thing that came to my mind.
“Of course I am. I meant you could beat everyone there but me.” He said in his cocky tone. Usually I don’t mind Chris running his mouth but this really got to me.
“Dude you just wait I’m gonna rock your s***.” I was a little angry when I said it but I don’t think Chris noticed.
“Taking into account your record of 1and 8 against me i'm not very threatened. But you never know what could happen.” For the next thirteen days I spent most of my free time visualizing our fight. I really wanted to get Chris back for that kick he landed on the first fight night. My mind was made up, i’m not gonna lose.
Saturday night came in a flash. The tournament was at the Joe Lewis Arena. Our ride over there was awkward because Chris kept making jokes about how this was gonna be a piece of cake, and he was gonna let me have second. I just starred out the window in stern silence. I was ready.
We walked inside and the arena was really intimidating. When we checked in we told the guy to space us as far apart in the bracket as he could. When we saw the bracket it added a little excitement because Chris was on the other side. I had 5 fights before the final match with Chris and no one was gonna get in my way.
The first couple of matches flew by. I couldn’t believe how easy this was after all the fighting I’d been through. Of course any of these guys would have torn me to pieces had I fought them back before all this. My fourth match was against a big guy, he was strong but slow. The match started out slow, and then he landed a punch in my chest that felt like getting hit by a jack hammer. I couldn’t breathe, luckily I was able to keep on my feet and dodge some blows. I knew I couldn’t win this stay in this fight much longer. He came in for a higher punch. I side stepped and side kicked the sucker in the throat. He coughed then his body went limp and fell to the floor. The crowd roared! I was just happy because I had another match to recover before I fought Chris.
The next match was an easy win. Then came time for the final round, me and Chris. He walked out and started his usual trash talk. “Cut the crap man lets do this.” I let Chris come at me first, one kick on the left, one on the right. Both easily blocked. I leaned in punched him once in the stomach, then once in the head. This really pissed him off. He tried to pick me up by my legs again, but I wasn’t dumb enough to fall for that twice. I backed up and slammed his head into the mat. Chris was in pretty bad shape so I tried to spin behind him and put him in a half nelson. Chris recovered just in time before I could hold his wrist down. He rolled outside, grabbed me with a scissor lock, broke my hold, and put me in a headlock and started jacking my face within 2 seconds. The blood was splattering off my face, I was starting to lose air, and the only thing I could move was my arms. I timed up three of his punches and grabbed the fourth. I jacked his nose up and stunned him long enough to break his hold, grab him from the topside and lift him into the air upside down. “I told you I was gonna rock your s***!” I dropped backwards with Chris upside down in a suplex. He hit the mats I jumped on the chance to get him in a head lock with a scissor hold from his back. It was all over.