“Go find yourself something you can hold, buy yourself some warm up gloves and I’ll show you how to work out. Don’t get the idea I’m training you, I’m not. For a fifty bucks a month you can come hang out, when I’m here, you might learn something.”
“I can join a yuppie gym in Dobson with all the yuppie equipment for 30 bucks a month,” I said.
“Then get your white ass out of here,” he said.
“Fifty a month, that’s more than any of these losers pay you,” I said.
“Go buy your gloves and something to hold and come back with the money,” he said.
I went home first. The first thing I did after my shower was to find a store in the yellow pages that sold boxing gloves. It took three calls before I found one.
I drove straight to the store in Abbottsville. “You sell boxing gloves,” I asked again. I already knew from their website and phone call that they did.
“Yes ma’am we do,” the clerk said.
“I need the ones for use with the workout bags. I really don’t need the match gloves,” I said.
“There really aren’t many places you can work out with these. That kind of equipment is kind of out of fashion,” he said.
“Well I have found one, so what do I owe you,” I asked wanting to get the hell out of there, before I showed my ass.
He wanted $27 for the gloves, so I paid him then left. I drove back to County Seat. I had been racking my brain trying to think what I could use in my hand. What I came up with was automotive heater hose. I had seen plenty of it when I worked on the Air Force truck convoys. It was always blowing out due to the heat in the places where we were driving.
So I stopped at a national chain parts store and bought a foot of the stuff. I measured my hand and it was about four inches across. I had them cut it in pieces of about four inches. The pieces fit my hand with just a little hanging over. I found that I could grip it pretty securely.
Since it was late in the afternoon, I took an envelope and put $50 in it. Then I drove to the gym. I got there just in time to work the heavy bag. I handed him the envelope. “So you gonna show me how to hit the bag, or are you busy with one of the other losers?” I asked.
“You should tape you hands, but put on you new workout gloves. Lets see if you can last a half hour on the bag. If you last a half hour, I’ll tape your hands for you next time.
I put on the gloves and held the heater hose in my hand. “Now I can’t hit all that hard with this hand yet, but I can jab with it,” I said.
“You let me be the one to work out a strategy. You just hit the bag. Remember it’s a long fight so go easy.” I went to work on the bag. “Move god damn it,” he screamed at me.
I didn’t talk back I just did what he said. I would go three minutes and rest one then do it again. I fought for eight rounds. When the time ran out my legs were wobbly, but I kept hitting that fucking bag. It wasn’t for him and it wasn’t because I wanted to be a boxer, it was just because I refused to quit. Not as long as he kept yelling at me to move to my right and fake the left. Now hammer that right hand home. Those words drove me on.
“Now get in close and give him both hands,” he said. There was a little pain in the left hand, but not as much as I expected. I could deliver a respectable jab with it. “Now back up and hit him with the left, then the right,” he said.
“Okay that was your first three fourths of an hour. If you can come back tomorrow, I’ll tape your hands like I promised and really give you a workout,” he said.
I was so tired I couldn’t speak.
“We open at 8 AM Porter, anytime after that will be fine,” he said. They call me Reggie around here.
I just nodded and staggered to my car. It was difficult to do anything that night. My arms felt like they had a mind of their own. I managed to heat a frozen dinner in the microwave then clean up and fall into bed. The combination of the three mile run and the hour on the heavy bag had taken a real toll me. It really felt good to fall into bed and go right to sleep.
“You do know, you look like you have been in a fight already,” Reggie said.
“Yeah, I was in a fight, kind of, and the other guy didn’t do any better than me,” I said.
“Good for you. So did you run first today, before you came?” he asked.
“No, I’m going to run after, if I’m able,” I said.
“Do you run through the streets of town like Rocky?” he asked as he taped my hands.
“No, around the softball field over behind the recreation center,” I said.
“Yeah that’s a good place to run. Okay let’s go to work. Usually guys warm up shadow boxing but you wont get a chance to warm up when you fight, so let’s just do it. Ding,” he said and I went right to work on the bag. “Move damn it he is gonna beat the shit out of you. Hit him with the left right combo like I showed you.”
“Move god damn it, don’t be a target. That’s how you get your ass whipped,” he said.
I moved off the bag then went in and beat the shit out of it. I moved back and forth on the bag like it was someone trying to get to me. I was exhausted but I kept hitting it over and over. “Time,” Reggie said. “Are you here or somewhere else?”
“Not here,” It was all I could manage to say.
“Ding, get back in there and get on him,” he said.
When the full hour was up I couldn’t do anything but drag to the plaza and drink coffee. I did try to eat. When I felt up to it, I went to run. I ran one lap and walked the others. That was a hell of work out at the gym.
I went home and did some work around the house. I couldn’t find anything I wanted to do, so I moved some things to Jeremy’s shop. Then watched TV and finally I masturbated and fell into bed. The days just repeated themselves until Friday when I went to see Molly first thing. She redressed my wounds which I had been doing.
“Whatever you are doing keep doing it. Your scrapes look like they are healing up beautifully now. Do you want me to give you a referral to a plastic surgeon for that face?” she asked.
“No, I think I will live with it a while. It is a better excuse for not being asked out than I’m just a bitch,” I suggested. Molly laughed.
“Well I think you and I are through, unless you have some kind of a problem,” Molly said. “I sort of hate to see you go.”
“We will meet again, I’m accident prone,” I said.
“Well I can’t say I look forward to it, but I will be here,” Molly said. The nurses all said goodbye to me as well.
I worked out and ran the first lap after a fast food lunch. I really was doing better. Just slightly, but some better is better than some worse.
I went from March till June with no big chances on my life. I had to make a decision about running for Sheriff before the end of the week. Everybody in town seemed to know I was struggling with it. There was no shortage of advice. The best advice came from Reggie. “Get in there and take it to him and keep moving.” Sure he was talking about working the bag, but it was good advice.
I filed for election as a libertarian, since no one else had filed that way. It was as good a party affiliation as any.
After the three months of working with Reggie I could hit the bag for ten rounds and drive right to the softball field. I could run three of the five laps before I had to stop and breath but then I could run the second two with only a couple of more stops. My body was even more thin and knarly than before.
The TV people wanted to do an interview, but I decided to make it a commercial. I had them meet me in the gym with all the Black and Latino boxers standing around. “I came here after I got beat in the last election. I began working out here for no other reason than I wanted to learn to fight back. So I began to work on this bag.” I took a break and began hitting the bag.
Everyone yelled encouragement to me. Move damn it,” they yelled at me.
“So now I’m ready to try again. One thing I’m not is a quitter. I don’t even mind the long odds,” I said. The news channel for the local cable new channel carried it.
Then I went on the attack against the sitting Sheriff and the past Chief of Police in Dobson. In regards to the Dobson retired Police Chief, I asked to speak to the gang violence which had risen every year he was chief.
I went at Webster by reminding the people of the child porno ring I was instrumental in breaking, while Webster was denying it existed. This county has had timid leadership in the past. It’s time we went after the outsiders raping our County,” I said in my commercial.
I went to every event to which I was invited to attend no matter who else was there. When they tried to go after my character, I asked them, “Did any of that BS ever stop me from doing my job. Did any of it effect my performance or my judgment, no.” Webster was the one who had to say yes it did. He fell right into the trap.
“Well Mr. Webster maybe you will tell our audience how any of it affected my work since you personally gave me the glowing recommendation, that put me into the undercover operation with the State Bureau of Investigation.”
He stumbled and stammered. “Like I said folks character assassination to get elected. They are lucky this is a campaign, or I would have my attorney sue them for liable.”
I spoke in front of the American legion. “Now I’m not going to tell you I am a combat veteran, even though I am. I’m not going to tell you that neither of my opponents served because they did serve. What I’m going to tell you is that they claim I made porno movies, but they offer no proof. So which is more important to you, that I can prove that I was in combat, driving airplane fuel through the passes of Pakistan and Afghanistan while ducking the Taliban’s IEDs, or that they say I gave a great blow job on tape? How exactly does that affect my ability to be Sheriff? They certainly can’t blackmail me with it, since everyone seems to know about it. Oh yeah they also say I was a Mercenary, a soldier of fortune mind you, does that make me less qualified to be Sheriff? I mean a soldier of fortune makes their own rules I know, but they do get things done. Unlike some others, the ones I am supposed to have worked with never got left behind. Is there anything more I can say?
Edited by Walt