Push The River

My closest family and friends will tell you I am famous for engaging in what some might call feats of stupidity and others might say tenacity.

They’d tell you about occasions upon which I’d come up against situations that seemed impossible and that somehow I managed to make them work.

Most of the time it had less to do with intelligence or innovation and more to do with my willingness to push the river.

Every time I did so it was with the knowledge that much of the water would flow through my fingers or around me and that it was a huge undertaking with the potential for massive failure.

But I figured the line between massive failure and success was thin and worth chasing.

People Aren’t Logical

What I should have thought about more carefully was how people don’t act logically, rationally or in their best interest and that trying to push the river with them was an even bigger crapshoot.

But I didn’t and that is how we end up in the middle of the story below.


I almost turned the photo below into a greeting card so that I could send it to someone who once told me I was the most important person in her life.


Stared at the picture, heard the song playing inside my head and wondered if it would be taken in anger or disbelief.

Asked myself what I hoped to accomplish by sending it and decided there is no way it would be seen as anything but a provocative insult.

And then I really wanted to send it.




I thought that maybe, just maybe the damn song would catch her eye and ear.

And maybe her heart would hear it too and she would realize that I am standing in front of her.

My Time Is At Hand

In spite of my anger and frustration I never sent the card because I didn’t see it helping me.

Didn’t see it waking her up from her slumber and figured that if I am going to try and shake her from this comatose state I need to be direct.

But fear prevented me from taking a direct approach because rejection is always possible and I wasn’t ready for her to say there is no future.

Didn’t stop me from angrily staring at the reflection in the mirror and asking that guy to explain why our time is not at hand.

Demanded he answer the charge of enabling someone to drag our collective heart through the mud.

He just smiled and said it has always been about timing and that if we waited a little longer conditions would be more favorable.

I glared at the smug look on his face and he glared back at me.

“You like to think those 13 words will magically make her think about what would happen if she lost you forever and that the aforementioned thought would spur her into action.

But it might not be as you want or wish for. She might cry at the thought but that loss might not be enough to get her to take your hand because she might think it is too late.

She might try to protect her own heart and be cool in front of you. Don’t give her an ultimatum.”

I shook my fist at the mirror and rolled my eyes as he did it back to me.

separate soul

There really is no point pretending that the guy was going to tell me anything I didn’t know.

Since nothing good comes from trying to make choices after midnight I turned out the lights, went to bed and hoped that sleep would come sooner than later.

Maybe We’ll Find Each Other One Day

And it starts like this:

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is the song that I wanted to write for you. It is the song that I should write for you and maybe one day I shall. It is not an exaggeration to say that you are the song of my heart and that when you left it went silent.

I promised to be your knight and your protector. I promised to be your best friend and your lover. I told you that when you were sad I would kiss your tears away and rock you to sleep.

And I was and I did.

Some might suggest that it makes me less of a man to ask you to give me your hand again. Some might say that I give you too much power by doing so but I don’t think that is so. Maybe it is because I once tamed your heart and touched your soul. Maybe it is because I know that you remember how we learned together how to love and live more deeply than ever before.

Or maybe it is for none of those reasons. Maybe it is for all of those reasons. I really don’t spend much time thinking about how and why because this is not a math problem or some sort of scientific formula that must be followed or needs to be answered.

If I had to answer the question I would tell you to shut up and kiss me. Stop thinking and do. And when you did you would remember and you would know.

You would know that love is wild and that love is real. You would know that sometimes it is like standing in the eye of the storm. Everywhere you look there is wind, rain and lightning, except for that one place that we are standing together holding hands.

And sometimes you find yourself standing inside the storm and find yourself searching for shelter but if you can hold on long enough you always find it in the same place it was before.

Red dress, blue dress- it doesn’t matter because I don’t just love you. I fucking love you.

So here we are in the places we stand today farther apart than ever before and still as close as we once were. For it wouldn’t take but a moment for us to remember who we are apart and who we are together. It wouldn’t take but one kiss for our souls to soar and our hearts to surrender.

Sooner or later we shall put intellect aside and surrender to the point, purpose and passion that never left us. It may have gone dormant but not dead. Give it some water and sunshine and its petals will open wide and bloom as brightly as they ever have.

Come let me love you again and let’s resume our journey together. There is still much time and more than a few adventures to be had.

More Than A Memory

No one was more surprised at how things turned out.

I couldn’t have ever predicted we would meet or what would happen once we did.

It wasn’t just lust and it wasn’t just love. It was chemical, it was pheromones.

It was magic.

Unexpected and unplanned we turned life upside down and inside out.

Most of the memories are the kind that you can’t share because they are things that can only be appreciated and understood if experienced.

I don’t know how we found and lost each other and it feels foolish to say it happened more than once.

Hell, I can’t believe I found you once and lost you twice. Can’t understand or wrap my brain around how it all happened.

I just know there was life before you and life after you, expect after feels a whole lot emptier.

Sometimes I look outside my window and think about how lightning struck twice and how just when I thought you were gone we found each other again.

Meeting you obviously wasn’t impossible but improbable is an accurate description.

Some people say I overreacted to losing you and that I should just suck it up and move on.

I told the last person who suggested I just forget to try walking with two broken legs.

Doesn’t mean I didn’t want to or that I didn’t try to. It just means I understand what Garth was talking about when he said you’ll know she’ll be there in your dreams.

Seen you there more than once, had conversations that left me wondering why you weren’t there when I woke up.

Those moments haven’t just been limited to mornings because they aren’t limited to the tick-tock of the clock.

They come and go as they will.

Sometimes I hear your voice, smell your perfume or swear I feel your presence.

I know just how crazy it sounds and I look in the mirror and ask the face looking back at me if he wants to wear one of those special jackets with the arms that tie in the back.

He never takes me seriously, just mimics and mocks me.

Dude looks me in the eye and says he remembers how surprised I was when somehow I got you back.

Says any man who can survive a lightning strike ought to have more faith in higher powers and inexplicable moments.

It pulls a wry grin across my face and I nod my head.


There had to millions of girls out there and of those millions had to be tens of thousands I could fall in love with and who could fall in love with me.

Why was it you.

Why was it us.

There aren’t good answers to these questions so I find myself saying the things I have said before.

Red dress, blue dress- it doesn’t matter because I don’t just love you. I fucking love you.

And the moment we kissed again I felt you melt into me and I knew you had fallen for me again without your having to say so.

Knew from that moment on that if anything happened it would take one kiss to remind you about whose arms you should be in and whose hand you should be holding.

What Comes Next?

I don’t know how we lost each other again or why we let it happen.

Don’t know how we could have been so dumb but my heart swears it still beats with yours and claims our souls have never stopped their eternal embrace.

Can’t say for certain what comes next but there are moments where I think of calling you and asking you to meet for coffee.

Moments where I think about how I’ll look you in the eye and say you have to kiss me.

Moments where I figure if you say no I’ll tell you we have to do it in the name of science to see what sort of chemical reaction it creates.

Would love to see if my theory is proven true.

My hand is empty without yours in it.

You ought to take it, after all it is offered in the name of science.

And if not, well maybe we’ll find each other one day.

(A shorter version ran here.)

Smart People Don’t Make The Police Nervous

Sometimes I like to walk into a room, climb on top of a table or chair and shout: “And so it begins!”

Please note that if you do this in a coffee shop you might receive the sort of response you don’t want to get…unless you are carrying a bat, mop or sword.

Not that I know anything about this from personal experience, but if I did I might have one heck of a story to tell you.

Where Are the Cameras?

He looked like he was about 25 or so. He was a skinny kid with a baseball cap, some tattoos and multiple piercings around his body. Thirty years ago he would have made people nervous, but not anymore.

That is because half the people you pass on Melrose look just like him. Kind of funny to look at someone who put so much effort into trying to be different and realize they are just another clone.

He was the first to offer a significant response to my challenge. No one cared when I climbed on top of the table. There were no looks from customers nor warnings from baristas to get down.

Blame it on Hollywood. No one notices the weird and unusual. It is just another day in the city.

“And so it begins” was the difference.

My voice is deeper than most. I don’t have to work hard to be hard and when I raise it slightly people notice. Maybe there was some sort of chemical in the air that went with it.

Maybe it was some sort of primal instinct responding to the challenge issued by the pack leader. I don’t really know. What I can tell you is that he asked me where the cameras were and rushed the table.

That was a mistake. If he had thought about it he might have recognized that I held the higher ground or noticed that my hands are made for hauling iron and his are for more delicate things.

But he didn’t and well I didn’t care. Why should I. I was the one who issued the initial challenge and I was ready.

I knew that he would swing at my legs and try to take them out from under me. I watched it all unfold like it was in slow motion. When he swung his arm I stepped aside and then slapped him on the back of his neck.

It wasn’t supposed to hurt him. That was a love tap. It was a wake-up call and it did all that I asked it too.

He went flying by the table and crashed into the couple who were sitting across from us. I watched him go face first into her ice coffee and giggled when he stood up with a nose covered in whipped cream.

“You mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!”

I know, it is not the most original insult but if it worked for the geniuses of Monty Python that is good enough for me.

Young, dumb and covered in cream roared something in return and came running towards me. It was a mistake. Not only have I watched lots of movies I have seen the videos of the guys who run with the bulls.

The reality is they are running away from the bull and not towards them. That is because when you mess with the bull you get the horns and that works just fine for me.

After all I am a Taurus.

When he charged me I stepped to the side again and placed a well aimed kick into his behind and sent him crashing again into a different table. When he didn’t get up I mulled over walking out of the joint with my head held high, but I just couldn’t help myself.

I climbed back up on my table and yelled, “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!”

Moments later I was armed with a nearby mop and was doing my best to fight off two more young bucks, one of whom held a broom and the other a rather sad looking croissant.

Now I have to tell you that I felt badly for them. I am the guy who beat the flying clown and proved that a salami can be a fearsome weapon.

Anyone with a lick of sense would have ignored me, but not these lads.They had to follow in the sad footsteps of the pierced poseur and that mean they had to go down.

Let’s face it we men have egos and no one wants to gets their butt handed to them in front of some beautiful babes. I know that I don’t and there was no way I was going to lose to a guy who armed himself with a croissant.

Hell, I told Frenchie to just get it over with and surrender but he wasn’t smart enough to listen to common sense, nor was the guy with the broom.

Well it took about five more minutes for me to hand those fellas their just rewards for messing with me, but I did it. And then when it was done I made a point to check them for six fingers.

I figured if the police came I could show them the six fingered man and I would be ok, exonerated of all charges. Sadly neither one of them had six fingers on their hands.

What Makes A Cop Nervous

You know what makes a cop nervous?


Really, I do. You see they don’t like it when their Tasers don’t work on you, but what they hate even more is when you take their billy clubs away from them.

Unless you are prepared to face the consequences, try not to do it. They act like spoiled children when you take their toys from them. And the whining is simply awful.

So do yourself a favor and don’t try this in public.

I knew what I was doing and was prepared for the consequences if things went south.

But the music was playing and the beat reminded me of all of the years in the ring and all the time spent training.

Can’t say I was on a natural high because I had finished two cups of Joe that had so many shots of espresso you might as well have just injected the caffeine straight into me.

I figured anyone who accepted my challenge and came at me was fair game and that was how I played it.

Until that day I didn’t have a clue that a Taser wouldn’t work on me. When they shot me with it I figured that it was faulty equipment.

And the reason I took those billy clubs away from them wasn’t so that I could use them but to even the playing field.

If you want to fight the bear or the deer isn’t it more fair to give them the gun or see that no one uses one.

That is all well and good except smart people don’t make the police nervous because when they do things happen.

(This is a work of fiction that originally ran here. Minor adjustments have been made to it.)

The Mad Butcher

The thief cooked a pork roast, two cans of beans and drank two six packs of soda.

Presumably under cover or darkness they used my best skillet and a pinch of my best spices to prepare their meal.

Can’t tell you if they enjoyed their food or whether they toasted their ill gotten gains in my kitchen because their were no cameras to record the incident.

What I do know is what they ate because of the dirty cans and wrappers they left behind and the confusion about how they ended up in my kitchen.

Because I can’t tell you if their Pork Roast celebration was a fluke or if it was intentionally celebrated in my…Kosher kitchen.

I suppose before we go further I ought to clarify that while I keep a Kosher home the truth is that kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms don’t eat so they don’t care what they eat.

But if you go with the personification of objects a certain confusion might arise so I choose to nip it in the bud before it out of hand, to steal the bacon of it is truth as it were.


For a long moment I stood inside the  entrance of my kitchen and tried to imagine what had taken place in there and why.

Blame it on countless hours of crime shows watched and this nagging feeling that I could be like Sherlock Holmes and solve the crime.

Bu first I had to use this visualization technique I had once seen on a late night informercial, one that could  help me lose weight and stop smoking as well as play amateur gumshoe.


Scotland the Brave is the first and only song I learned to play on the bagpipes.

For years I believed it was because my parents ran into financial difficulties and couldn’t pay the music teacher but it turned out not to be true.

It was because my mother believed that Ms. Mahoney, my Irish music teacher had the sort of feelings about me a music teacher isn’t supposed to have.

Or so I once was told by one of my grandmothers.

Some years after that my maternal grandfather cleared up any misconceptions I had about that and said mom killed the lessons because she was worried that Ms. Mahoney would have allowed me to teach myself about the finer parts and points of women.

It probably would help if I mentioned I was 17 when I took the bagpipe lessons with Ms. Mahoney, my Irish music teacher.

Ask me why I describe her that way and I’ll have to go into a 39 minute long story that isn’t relevant now but describes in detail why it is important to mention I learned how to squeeze a Scottish music box while being taught by the Irish woman I wanted to be squeezing.

Damn if I didn’t want to be the one responsible for making Mary Katherine Mahoney confess her sins to G-d or at least scream his name.


Mary Katherine isn’t related to the thief who used my kitchen to cook their meal, at least I don’t think she is.

I haven’t seen or heard from her in thirty years or so and have no reason to believe she was involved or is The Mad Butcher.

Still it is such an odd and unusual case it wouldn’t be more ridiculous or crazy if she was part of it all.

Really, the long lost music teacher who was the great crush of my youth would be exactly the person who broke into my home to cook a pork roast and some beans in my kitchen.

That would be the crowning moment of the general insanity surrounding my life. Really dear universe it would be the cherry on top of the sundae.

Might be fun to prove that Twain was right when he said Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

Hell, all you have to do to confirm that is look back upon some of the recent events that led up to the Butcher’s arrival at my pad.

Fortune ‘Smiles’ Upon Me

Make no mistake about it, I never enjoy getting hit. I am not one of those guys who wishes that I could be an MMA fighter. I don’t need to prove my masculinity by stepping inside the ring to see who is the last man standing.

That is not because I am a pacifist or have any moral issues with hurting another human being. I don’t. Never have. Don’t go out of my way looking for trouble but if it finds me I am not always good about turning away.

I should be. It would be the smarter move to walk away. It would have saved me a lot of trouble but I am not that guy. I don’t play or consciously think about it. I just do it and when I do it is without concern for consequences.

Last Saturday night I went out for a drink. Didn’t have a particular destination in mind or a need to be with friends. I just wanted to have a beer and watch whatever ballgame might be on the television.

It wasn’t a night for small talk nor was I an angry or upset. I just felt like being among people but not with people.

I chose a local college bar. It fit the bill of what I wanted and was close enough to my place to not worry about how to get there and back. All I needed were my own two feet. That suited me just fine. Human powered transportation. Environmentally friendly, reliable, steady and safe, mostly.

Most nights it would have gone down exactly as I expected it to. I would have walked over, ordered my beer and burger and eaten my meal in quiet. This time I pulled the Joker out of the deck.

And I knew it.

Hadn’t been there more than five minutes when one of the kids bumped into me and gave me a glassy-eyed stare that told me he was too drunk to recognize that there are some people you just don’t mess with.

I didn’t say excuse me. He had bumped into me and frankly I wasn’t in the mood to kiss his twenty-something ass. I saw his two buddies and the girls they were speaking to. I knew that he was going to act like an asshole. I knew that an apology would have defused the entire situation, but when trouble comes looking for me I don’t flinch.

So when he called me an asshole I punched him in the face and watched him crumble. If this would have been a movie I would have been worried about his little friends who most certainly would have joined in, but it wasn’t and they didn’t.

I finished my beer and I walked out of the place. Not because I was asked to leave or was afraid of getting arrested but because the little prick soured me on the place.

Two blocks south of the joint a man stepped out from between two cars and pointed a gun at my head. He didn’t look like the speed freaks you sometimes see roaming around the edges of society. Didn’t look like any of the junkies I have seen at all. His eyes were clear and his hands were steady.

“Give me your wallet.”

His voice was flat and there was no intonation in it.

“I don’t have a wallet.”

For a moment there was a flicker of something in his eyes and then it was gone. He walked up to me, put the gun against my head and repeated “Give me your wallet.”

Make a note, don’t ever point a gun at me unless you intend to use it. I don’t take kindly to it and I don’t appreciate being threatened. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of being crippled by some jerk off who can’t shoot straight.

And when I get scared I tend to get angry.

So I reached up and wrapped my hand around his wrist and pulled the gun away from my head. When he didn’t shoot I realized what had just happened and I really got angry. One quick twist and a small step to my left and that gun wasn’t in his hand anymore.

Smarter men would have taken the gun and run away. Smarter men would have gotten out of there, but I proved not to be that smart.

Instead of running I took the butt of the gun and hit the guy in the head with it twice. “Don’t ever put a gun against my head unless you are going to pull the trigger.I hope that hurts motherfucker.”

And then I dropped the gun next to where he lay in the street and resumed walking home. Probably would have gotten there without incident, but he shot me. Clipped me on the  left side and put me on my ass.

Maybe I should taken the gun with me or fixed things so that he couldn’t use his hands, but I didn’t. Remember when I said that I pulled the Joker from the deck that night, well I think getting shot qualifies as one hell of a reminder.

The Joker

Some people have all the luck in the world and some people,well they have none. Me? I am somewhere in the middle.

Cop said that I should be grateful that I didn’t die and that I ought to go to church and say thanks in person. A smart man would have just nodded his head, but I am not that smart so I told him that g0d was for suckers.

Apparently my luck extended to finding the one cop that was easily offended but because I am not smart enough to keep my mouth shut I made it worse. I told him that of all people cops should know better.

“With all the bad shit you see you really have to be stupid to believe that some mighty being protects the murderers, crackheads and pedophiles.”

He might have let that go, might have given me a break but I took it a step farther and told him the guy on the cross was the model for the zombie shows. That sent him right over the edge and it is how I got handcuffed to a hospital bed.

“Getting shot doesn’t make you a hero, it just makes you another stupid jerk.”

I almost responded to him, but by that time I was more interested in getting the nurse to give me another shot of whatever would numb the dull ache.

I’d like to tell you that was the end of a very long day but instead it was really the beginning of a very long night. I told you, I pulled the joker in the deck that day.


Mary Katharine made a comment once about bad boys and how they gave woman the kind of tickle they remembered.

I like to think that is what made me more interested in running towards trouble than walking away.

Maybe because it almost makes my stupidity seem less stupid, that it helps me become more noble.

I am pretty sure most people wouldn’t agree with that or see any sort of connection between the fight in the bar and my behavior but a man has to try or something like that.

Hell, every good hero has an interesting back story like the Mad Butcher…right.

Editor’s Note: Getting Shot Doesn’t Make You A Hero was integrated into this story as were additional fragments of fiction. Stay tuned, more to come.

Sometimes Trouble Finds You

‘She put him out like the burnin’ end of a midnight cigarette
She broke his heart he spent his whole life tryin’ to forget
We watched him drink his pain away a little at a time
But he never could get drunk enough to get her off his mind”

Whiskey Lullaby– Braid Paisley and Alison Krauss

The police tell you that the best thing to do is give a mugger your wallet. Don’t argue and don’t fight. Money and valuables can be replaced, but your life can’t. Unfortunately I have never been real good about listening to advice…from anyone.

We were older when we met but by no means were we old. Rather we were both old enough to have drunk deeply from life’s wine bottle and had more than enough life experience to feel like we knew something about ourselves and what we wanted. Neither one of us expected to fall in love and certainly not with the kind of passion that we felt. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it felt as if we had rediscovered that feeling you got with your first love.

The days were filled with magic and mystery. Sometimes I would stop what I was doing and just stare at her. The intensity of my gaze often made her look away. So I would walk over to her and gently lift her chin and tell her to look in my eyes. “Find your reflection in my eyes and you will see why I get lost.” She’d blush and tell me to shut up. And then I’d laugh and tell her that she just needed to accept that she was beautiful.

Sometimes she’d get teary eyed and kiss me.

But the thing is that when you have the kind of passion and intensity that we have it can come out in other ways…and it did.


Sometimes Trouble Finds You

Sometimes you go looking for trouble and sometimes it comes looking for you. I can’t say whether I was or wasn’t looking for it because I don’t remember. When I left the house I was so very angry. Twenty some years ago I probably would have gotten in the car and gone flying down the road at high speed towards the closest refuge from whatever it was that I was getting away from. But not this time.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t spitting blood but rather maturity had taught me to go walk and clear my head. The park seemed like a smart place to go. It wasn’t quite 10 o’clock and the place had lights. I had been there a million times and never had a problem.

There were two of them standing on the grass. Just two skinny guys in t-shirts and jeans. One of them called out to me but I shook my head and kept walking- at least I have planned to.

Instead I found myself lying on the ground trying to figure out who hit me and how I fell. I felt a hand reach into my pocket and I grabbed it. Something hard and heavy hit me in the back but I didn’t let go…I twisted and pulled it underneath me…felt a body come down on top of me.

The strange thing was that the whole time I could hear her screaming at me and it just made me angrier.

We are wrestling this unknown assailant and I. It is not a holy experience like Jacob and the Angel. It is just Jack, the guy who had his heartbroken and some poor schmuck who is going to be savaged by me. He doesn’t know that the combination of fear, anger and adrenalin have made me numb. He doesn’t know that the shock of her leaving me has made me feel like I have nothing to lose.

But he is lucky because there were more than just two of them. The others pulled me off but I can’t tell you much about afterwards other than the cop that came to see me wanted to know where I learned to fight.

“You’ll take my life but I’ll take yours too
You’ll fire your musket but I’ll run you through
So when you’re waiting for the next attack

You’d better stand there’s no turning back
The bugle sounds as the charge begins
But on this battlefield no one wins
The smell of acrid smoke and horses breath
As you plunge into a certain death”
The Trooper– Iron Maiden

I am standing in a makeshift locker room located in an abandoned warehouse. A pair of headphones are on my head, my eyes are closed and I am starting to prepare myself for what is going to come.  It won’t be long before it is my turn to step into the ring. Won’t be long before I give the standing across from me the thousand mile stare. I’ll look through him and do my best to hide the butterflies in my stomach. I never mention those butterflies to anyone because no one cares and this isn’t the place for showing weakness.

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that you never want the man who is supposed to beat you with his fists and feet to think that you fear him. You NEVER do anything to give him an ounce of confidence and you never show mercy. If you see his knees buckle you do something to make sure that he doesn’t regain his balance. Every fight is a moment in time and every fight is a message to the next guy you face. If it is possible to instill fear in him you have an advantage or so I have always thought. Of course it is ironic for me to say this and acknowledge the butterflies in my stomach but that is the truth.

Adrenalin is beginning to surge through me and I am doing my best to channel it. You don’t want to peak too soon or you’ll face going flat. So I stand here staring absentmindedly at the wall. I stand here listening to a mix of music. Much of it is stuff that I would use for a workout but there is a healthy dose of angry music too. I am turning inwards and looking for the darkness that lies inside me. I am searching for the places where I have never let go of things that hurt me. I am looking for the dark corner where my demons hide because soon I will call upon them.


Find Your Pain

Sometimes it is hard because the images of my kids race past me. I hear their voices and see their faces. They are my contradiction. They make me smile and feel loved. They bring me hope and warmth but at the same time the reason that I fight is for them. I fight because we live in hard times where college educated men who have worked all their lives can’t find a job. My life is like  a scene from a movie except if I was the one directing it the lead would be a guy who used to work in a coal mine or a steel mill. He would be blue collar and fighting for a better life for his family.

Instead they got some jerk that looks like me and signs checks with my name. I can’t stop thinking about the kids but I can’t let myself be distracted. They can’t know about this. They can’t be told what their dad does to earn a living. I am already ashamed that I had to lie to them and say that I am out of town on a work assignment but I had to. If they saw me after one of these fights they’d be scared silly. It is not an exaggeration to describe me as battered and bruised. I have taken a severe beating more than once and the only reason that I have won is because I am too stubborn to fall.

So I lie to them and stay in cheap motels. In the dark of night I lie in bed self medicating with a fifth of whatever helps me sleep. Every night before I close my eyes I tell them that I love them and promise that I will come home soon.

Jimmy knocks on the door, walks in and interrupts my thoughts. He says that it won’t be much longer before it is my turn. The music changes to Breathe by Prodigy and I start to dance around the room. I start shadow boxing and work on getting loose. In a few minutes Jimmy will come back and together we’ll walk through the dilapidated halls to the ring. It won’t be anything like the professionals see in Vegas. There won’t be a big musical number or an entourage to accompany me. Michael Buffer won’t be there to give his trademark “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” either.

Instead there will be a sad looking ring surrounded by a blood thirsty crowd who doesn’t care much who wins as long as there is blood and a beating.

Jimmy’s back. I close my eyes and unlock the cages that contain the demons. Sometimes I think that I can hear them howl in anticipation but that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is that sometimes I hear myself screaming too and the screams aren’t necessarily angry. Sometimes I hear something that sounds like pleasure. Sometimes I hear something that makes me wonder if I haven’t begun to enjoy this.

Something better change soon. I better find another way or get some sort of break because if this keeps up it is a guarantee that one day I will begin to enjoy this and I’ll lose that much more of whatever remains of my humanity.

Editor’s Note: I took A Mugger, Old Dumb and Stupid and The Animal Inside and wove them together to make this story.

I might play around with it a bit and make some additional tweaks and changes. Never hurts to test things out and mix things up a bit.

For me it is always about how to tell a better story.