Fiction Saturday – Boxer – Conclusion
Fiction Saturday — “Boxer” — Conclusion
by John Kraft
“What about…” He looked at Gloria who had walked into the room and was standing by the kitchen door with her arms crossed. “Our two – visitors?”
“They’re, uh, in the trunk.” Walker leaned forward ignoring the pain.
“What trunk? My trunk? The Cadillac? You put those dead bodies in the trunk of my Cadillac?” Gloria stood up straight.
“Dead bodies? What dead bodies? She asked. Her words stuck in her throat. “Terry, what dead bodies? You didn’t say anything about dead bodies. Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus.” She hugged herself and started to rock back and forth. She was already on the verge of crumbling. “Oh, Terry.”
Walker lost it. “Shut up, you stupid Gin Blossom! Terry, shut her up. I need to think.”
“Gloria, please. He needs to think. I’ve messed things up. I’m sorry.”
Gloria looked at Terry. “You’ve messed things up? What about this jackass sitting on our couch? He’s the one who’s messed things up, not you.”
Walker picked up one of the small pillows from the sofa and threw it at her. “Hey, Blondie, shut up. Get out of here. Go do something useful. Go slit your wrists.”
“Do something useful? I’ll do something useful right now.” In two steps she was in front of the sofa and she delivered a sharp left jab onto Walkers bandaged shoulder. He let out a short scream before he passed out. “Now that’s something useful, you, Mr.’My Cadillac.’”
She turned toward Terry.
“Now you do something useful, Terry. Get him out of here – now! If you two idiots are still here in five minutes I’ll call the cops. I swear it.”
With his Boss lying down in the back seat Terry drove the Cadillac aimlessly around town – down by the waterfront then up through the tonier Heights where the Big Money lived, then back and around again. Walker woke up as the Cadillac made its second pass through the Little Italy neighborhood. It was dark out. He sat up, groaning, holding his shoulder.
“Terry, where are we? What’s going on here? Talk to me.”
Terry glanced into the rear view mirror. “Hey, Mr. Walker. I’m sorry about all that. Gloria’s got a temper. I‘m sorry she slugged you like that. That was uncalled for. She threw us out. I just been riding around for a couple hours now trying to figure out what to do next – with you, and with the two guys in the trunk.”
“What to do with me? What’s that supposed to mean? They made eye contact in the mirror. “This is my car. You work for me. I make the decisions. You’re just my Muscle. Pull over.”
Terry slid the Cadillac into a spot by the curb. He turned in the seat so he could look at Walker in the eye. “You’re right about that Mr. Walker. I’m just your Muscle, but I’m a person too. I was a Champion of the World. I have my pride. You shouldn’t have talked to Gloria like that. She’s a good person, and you were in our apartment.”
“Look, I’m sorry about that. You’re right. I shouldn’t have talked to her like that. Let’s go back to your place and I’ll apologize, OK?”
“No, we can’t do that. You can’t anyway. She’s really mad right now, and scared. If I take you back there she’ll call the cops for sure. I know her, Mr. Walker. She’d do it.”
“Then what are we going to do? We can’t just drive around like this all day. Let me clear my head for a few minutes and I’ll think of something.” He looked around as the neon lights from restaurants and shops lit up the sidewalk. “But let’s get out of this neighborhood. I’m not the most popular guy with the folks who run the show around here.”
Terry slid the car back into traffic, taking his time, heading toward downtown.
“You do that, Mr. Walker, You go ahead and think, but I’ve been thinking too for a couple of hours now and I think I know what we’re going to do – what I’m going to do anyway. I’ve made a decision.”
“And what’s that, Terry? Talk to me.” He groaned in pain as the car drove over a railroad crossing. “Take it easy with the bumps, will you.”
“Sorry. You know, Mr. Walker, I’m 36, almost 37, and that’s in years, but with my body and my head taking the beatings they have, I feel like an old man most days. I am an old man. I been hurt.”
“I know, Terry. The Ring is tough. It takes its toll. Turn here. Let’s go down to the Beach.” Terry kept going straight. “Terry?”
“So, Mr. Walker, the way I see things is that I’ve got a limited future. I ain’t ever going to be rich or famous again like when I was Champ. I don’t know how to do anything but hurt people and that’s no way to live your life. You know what I mean?”
“Terry? Where are we going? I said go to the Beach.”
“No, Mr. Walker. Let me finish. Like I said, I don’t have a future and with those two guys in the trunk I don’t see that you got much of one either.”
“What are you talking about? I get this shoulder fixed up and I’ve got my future all rosy ahead of me. We’ll both be alright. I’ll take care of you, Terry. You’re my friend.”
“No, Mr. Walker. I ain’t your friend. You’ve been my Boss, but no more. We both done something real wrong with those two guys. It was all about money and that’s not a reason to kill nobody. Mr. Walker, I killed that fat man with a baseball bat. He’s dead and I gotta live with that, and you too, with other guy.”
“That was all self-defense, Terry. I did nothing wrong. You didn’t either.”
“Yes, you did and I did too. It was all about money. I’m ashamed of myself and you should be too.”
“Stop the car, Terry. Let me out. You’re crazy. Pull over, you punch drunk fool! Let me out!” Terry pushed a button on the steering wheel locking all of the doors. “Let me out of here!”
“No, Mr. Walker. We owe those two guys in the trunk.” They had arrived downtown and Terry turned the Cadillac left a couple of times around a big gray building and pulled into a parking space directly in front of the Central Police Headquarters.
Walker began to panic when he saw where they were.
“What are you doing? Why are we here? Don’t be stupid, Terry! You go in there and you’re a dead man – I’m a dead man. Remember, Terry, we both killed those men.”
Terry looked at his Boss in the mirror.
“Yes, we did, Boss. And we were wrong.”
“Don’t be stupid, Terry. I can fix this.”
“No, Mr. Walker. I can fix this one. I can’t let you fix it for me. I have to do it myself.”
He put the car into park, killed the engine and left the key on the dash. He turned in his seat to face his Boss. “Mr. Walker, I want to apologize in advance for this.” With that he shot a straight jab into Walker’s jaw knocking him back in his seat, silencing him. Blood seeped through the bandages on Terry’s hand. “It’s nothing personal, Boss.”
Terry Jarosz, one time Middle-Weight Champion of the World, got out of the car and slowly, deliberately, and sure that he was doing the right thing, walked up the stone steps and toward the front door. He didn’t hear the shot from the window of the Cadillac. His hand slipped from the handle on the large bronze door as he fell to his knees. He didn’t hear the second shot either – the one that stayed in the backseat
“A guy’s gotta eat, sure, but a guy’s gotta look in the mirror too.”
— Terry Jarosz
“The worst thing that can happen to a boxer is not losing the fight. It is not being forgotten. No. It is being remembered as a fighter who, no matter how high he once ranked, ended up back on the undercard.” — Anonymous Boxer
– The End –