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Mutants & Masterminds: Future Imperfect - Fighting Again [FIN]

Adrian Moss

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Fighting Again

He was fighting again. It was his first fight in Vegas. He had heard about it from a homeless guy. It was the lowest of the low. Homeless guys took two-by-fours and beat each other up in a spot on the edge of town while rich folks sat on their $100K cars and watched. They took a collection up for the sole survivor. It was winner take all for an unknown pot. I had to start somewhere.

I want by the name ‘Taylor’. It was a variation of my real last name, Tyler, so it was something I knew I would remember if someone called my by it. The alternative was I faced a brain injury, or was retarded. Maybe I was. I was fighting for money for the love of God. I could have gotten a job somewhere; something minimum wage where few questions were asked.

Who am I kidding? I couldn’t work at some fast food joint or some Stop-an-Rob and take care of my sister. She couldn’t go to school. Neither of us had much of an education. We read books when we were able. We could do some math, but most of that was from things we had picked up, not learnt from in some technical way. I imagine I could run a cash register. Where was the money in that?

There were five of us in tonight’s fight. Ralph was a degenerate gambler who had brought his whole family along with him – for sympathy or support, I couldn’t tell. I had brought my sister along for the support so who was I to blame. Railroad Bob was here. It looked like he had been here before. No one knew why he was called Railroad. Stan was a wiry black guy who looked a bit too strung out. He was an ex-dealer at one of the casinos, but had been fired for using. He said he was going into rehab. No one believed him. Joe was our fifth man. He looked rough and seemed to be the odds on favorite to win. I decided to take him first.

The starting bell was a vodka bottle being smashed against a roadside abutment. Joe came right at me seeing how I was the tallest and in the best shape. Stan rushed Ralph while Bob held back. He was playing the attrition game – let you and the other guy fight.

Joe goes first, knocking the board out of my hands. A grin begins to cross his face and then I hit him in the gut – hard. He staggers back. I follow up with a blow to the jaw that sends the poor bastard flying. I think I broke his jaw. He wasn’t getting up.

I turn to see Ralph and Stan wailing on one another. Neither one is dodging, so it comes down to a matter of who is luckier. Stan seems to be running out of steam first. He must be really hurting for his next fix. I motion to Bob to come on with the classic hand wave. Bob is hesitant. After the beating I put on Joe, I can see why. I charge him. He comes down with a hard swing at my head and shoulders. I hear the board crack as it hits me. I don’t feel it.

My turn again. Now I’m inside the reach his two by four and I come in with a series of body blows. Actually, I was aiming for a series, but all I got was one. One hit to the solar plexus and he folded like a cheap accordion. I turn around and see Stan jumping around like a mad man. Ralph is lying broken at his feet, barely able to move. Bloodied, Stan really should be paying attention. I step up to him while people are screaming his name. He must think they are cheering for him. I see Ralph’s two kids standing there crying. The wife is ashen. I put a fist to Stan’s face and he nearly flips over – Fight Over. It hasn’t lasted a minute.

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I look over to our ‘patrons’. They are cheering wildly. I’m the beautiful person, their diamond in the rough. I beat up the poor, the underclass, and the degenerate and give their superiority meaning. The screaming amongst all the homeless who have gathered to watch scares Rebecca and she comes to me. She’s tired and hungry. It has been a week since that night in that motel room and the fresh pizza – a gift from Gilgamesh.

They passed a ‘hat’ around for the money and I was happy to see more than a few of these rich, jaded souls reaching in deep. When the guy walked over to me, he was so well sculpted and dressed, yet I knew he wanted to fight me. I bet he’s a martial artist type, the ones who look down on boxers. He held out he money then faked pulling away when I put my hand out.

“Tough guy,” he said, “want to fight me for it?”

“No sir,” I replied. He was older than me, “I just want my money and to go home.”

“What? I your home in some box downtown?”

This guy knew nothing. No way you could keep a box-home downtown, were the cops prowled all the time. One hour – tops – and they would run you out, or into jail.

“A culvert actually, but it’s nice, warm and dry – and out of the sun.” It was the height of summer though this creep maybe didn’t know it living his air conditioned lifestyle.

He handed over the money, a sneer on his lips. He dropped a few bills to the ground, but I caught them. He kicked some dirt on me when I bent over then he laughed. Rich Boy looked over his shoulder and yelled out to his friends.

“He’s grubbing in the dirt, like all the others. Maybe I should piss on him?”

I stood back up and I felt the anger roll over me. I held it back. I pushed it down … kinda.

“Mister, take your ass out of here and leave. Stay and …”

“And,” he spat back at me, no fear in his eyes, just hatred and disgust.

“And I’ll break you,” I whispered back hoarsely.

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The Rich Boy bounced back, making with the fancy footwork as he took off his fine, silk black jacket. He didn’t’ bother taking off his shoes. He rolled up his sleeves and danced back and forth.

“Bum wants to fight me. Me! Might as well put him back down in the dirt were he belongs.”

He looks over his shoulder. I push Rebecca away and tell her to wait. I don’t take my off of him.

“If I don’t put him down in thirty seconds, drinks at the Bellagio are on me.”

He laughed and came out me.

“Dude,” I rasped to him, too choked with anger to clearly speak, “you aren’t going to last thirty seconds.”

The smile on his face disappeared to be replaced by unconcealed hate. I’m not sure why he hates me and right now I don’t care. Rich Boy comes at me fast, his feet dancing, but I watch the eyes. He’s coming for my head. Tae Kwon Do, I should have known. Here comes the kick, and I catch it. I pop him a quick one in the face before he can react. He stumbles, blood gushing from his nodes.

“I’m going to fucking kill you!” he sputters. He goes for the knees. I’m waiting. This guy is all attack and no defense. I pop him again in the face. That bruise is going to last for a while. Sure, I could go for body-blow – sure I could let my natural toughness soak up the blows instead of blocking – but this asshole doesn’t deserve that. He’s going to get beaten down by the better man.

“Fucker,” he pants. We are half way through our thirty seconds. This time he comes at me straight on with a power kick. I dodge it, setting myself up for the perfect blow, right to the face. If I didn’t break his nose the first time, it’s broken now. I knock some teeth loose – maybe out. His arms windmill as he staggers back then falls.

“Fight over,” I declare. “Your friend is going to need his jaw wired shut for a while.” I keep myself from grinning. “Don’t forget, drinks on him.”

I am greeted by silence. Finally two of his ‘friends’ come down to check on him. One has a professional cast about him – a doctor maybe. That guy looks up at me.

“He needs to go to a hospital.”

I shrug. “I’ll put him in a car for you.” I do so, picking Rich Boy up and placing him in someone’s Ferrari. “Tell them what really happened, will you? This wasn’t my fault.”

“You broke his freaking jaw!” the ‘doctor’ exclaims.

“He came after me. You all saw it.” I dare him to say otherwise and he turns away guiltily.

The cars are beginning to peel out now. The story will spread. I hope it’s a good one. Finally there is only one car left, a red BMW sports coupe. A girl is sitting on it. She pulls out a business card and writes on the back. The black-haired, tanned, perfectly manicured hottie walks over to me, hand me the card, and smiles.

I’m afraid to ask what the one car means.

“You know that guy?”

“He is – was my boyfriend. Call me … anytime.”

She walks away, shaking what God gave her. Boy, rage and lust are right strange bedfellows. I put he card in my back pocket as well. I walk back down to were

Becca is standing. She’s looking over at Ralph’s family. I feel like I’m about to poor a thimble full of water onto a forest fire, but I’m not one to do nothing. I pull out five twenties and hand them to Ralph’s wife. I then help her get Ralph to standing once again.

“Take him to a free clinic. They will be able to do something.” It’s hopeless but, “Don’t tell him about the money.”

I turn and walk back to my main concern in this life. I take her hand and we head off for a dinner and a hot meal. We’ll get a room tonight and a heavenly shower. With what money we have left over, we’ll get some new clothes from the thrift shop. After that, I’m looking for my next fight.

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