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What do you guys think of this?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spud, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    Kind of taking the "put myself out there" approach on this one, but I'm toying with the idea of writing a fictional account of a washed-up boxer and wanted to put this out there. I've got some folks who are interested, I just need to show the initiative. The toughest part, I know.

    It's a short, to be sure, but it's the basis of the idea. This came out in a torrent. We've all got different approaches of how we come at stories when we're clicking, but when I'm "on," it gushes out of me like a broken spigot. Maybe its a sign, but this one came out in a 20-minute burst. As such, I'm pretty excited to continue on this path, but I'm clearly going to need some guidance. Anything you can add/subtract/compliment/poke at would be kind. This is kind of the launching pad, so from hence goes the story, if you get me. I need to put together a presentation package and this is kind of the first wave, if you will. Any suggestions and comments are wholly and distinctly welcome. I respect the lot of you, which is why I'm pouring this out there to y'all. Thanks.


    It was all there outside. Full of fury, irony, tremendous noise. The rafters shook occasionally, dust cascading down in pithy sheets, and it was then that he looked down, deeply, at his hands. They were taped now, and the gloves were coming on soon. The knuckles were ragged, a few fingers broken. The scar where he’d cracked a bottle over his hand when he was 12 was clearest, cutting deep, long, thin and white through the back of his hand. There was no emotion now. That memory was gone already.

    The constant noise from the terraces shook the lockers venomously. Bart was pacing in the showers somewhere in the back, throwing up at first and then dry heaving when there was nothing left. All he did through it all was coolly adjust the white linen straps of cloth that bound round his hands, eyes fixed somewhere in the middle distance between the cracked floor boards. Bart stumbled out of the showers with a look on his face that was fixed in anger and anticipatory glory.

    “Alright kid, you ready? Gloves.”

    He stuck out the right hand first, then the left, Bart harshly pulling on the faded red gloves he’d used as superstition for years. Bart was breathing heavily through the exercise, which struck him as odd. No words were exchanged through the rite, which was a departure. It unnerved him. Only slightly. The tape wrapped over next, the familiar “thwack, thwack” of the adhesive on leather. The routine, the groove of everything melted the jagged steel and noise. The implements were slowly forming around him.

    Bart stepped back as if admiring his handiwork, a job well done.

    “Looking sharp, kid.”

    Again, no words came, no words expected. Bart looked down again, looked in his eyes and winked.

    “See you in hell, kid.”

    The door shuttered behind him, he rose, slowly, then loosened up. Jabs first. Those felt good. Fast today. He bounded around the room, pacing his attack with slow moves, deliberate, one after another, punches rolling off his back, his shaved head, his chin.

    Bart was waiting in the hall. He pulled on his robe, flipped up the hood and paused at the door. The noise was worse now, rolling across in waves, pulsating drifts of terrible anticipation. The gloves heavy on his hands, the robe soft on his back, he opened the door to the flood, drenching and all-encompassing.

    The walk out to the ring was slow as the duo rounded through the bowels of the building. I don’t remember this part, he thought. As if anticipating his thoughts, Bart gave him a tap on the back of the head, a reminder to focus. Both walked side-by-side down the dimly lit hall, the noise now deafening in its brutality, chewing up thoughts and spoken word, small man and beast united in purpose, defiant in course.

    The jitters melted once he saw the crowd, one the cannibals had faces and names, had children and popcorn and beer and paunch stomachs. It was a small arena, maybe 15,000 here to see the dying superstar supernova and implode on his career. Not today, anyway. The crowd was leery of the undercard, but once he stepped out onto the carpet everyone knew who was fighting. It was like they’d seen his every fight in the last 16 years, every victory faded into plaster and crumbling away, and they were hungry for blood.

    He cleared the mechanism inside the ropes. The PA announcer wasn’t there. Bart wasn’t there. The horde wasn’t there, and his opponent wasn’t there. Just him and a mat and some heavy red gloves. He tested the ropes once, looked up into the crowd blackened by the lights and sat down on his stool in his corner. The work around him was dizzying, prepping his chest and his bludgeoned cheek and chin bones with Vaseline, adjusting his red gloves, slapping his face every few seconds to test reflexes. Only he didn’t move. He only stared forward, boring a hole into his opponent, planted opposite and undergoing a similar routine. He stayed like this through the introductions, through the national anthem right up until the two touched gloves. Then the bell rung and all hell broke loose.

    His opponent was quicker than he thought, but he couldn’t catch his jab today. It was fast, faster that it’d been for years. He didn’t dance, he lumbered, checking every move with a heavy-footed counter. He could feel his back muscles lashed together, coil up and spring through his arm, through his fist, propelling this terrible machine onward, forward, through bone, sinew, tissue and cartilage. The first one was a warning shot, coming across the bow in an impossible wave. His opponent didn’t expect it, so he staggered back, onto the ropes and tangled up with his right foot. The knock felled him, but only momentarily. You could hear it in the crowd, the wind sucking back in and everything going in reverse. He only stepped back once, his back arched to the noise behind and in front, and stared down with eyes narrowed. He knew he was getting back up. He’d planned for it.

    The opponent looked warily at the bell-man, pleading with his eyes for the stoppage, for the refuge of that hard stool. You knew it by his fleeting eye movement. His opponent lumbered forward again off the ropes and feinted right. He saw the hook coming from miles off and ducked under it, rolled back and ducked behind his gloves again.

    The crowd could feel it coming. Bart knew it too, and he suddenly fell quiet. He was watching something… else. The years of rehab suddenly sunk through the mat and all the world was in front of him, about to knock out the world champion. He crossed his arms, tears welling up in his eyes, stepped back and watched.

    He couldn’t stop now, his feet moving independent of his red gloves. The champ threw his array across but they missed and missed and missed. He dropped his right red glove to his side. The tears were really coming down Bart’s face now as he bared witness to something he hadn’t seen in years. He’s gonna do it. The sonaofabitch is gonna do it. The left glove raised up slightly, covering his nose of putty and steel and his right eye, his right arm still locked in place at his side, gathering speed and hate.

    The blow came quick, like a signal flare arcing through a blue-black sky, only briefly lighting up its surroundings before burning through. The crowd’s tenor abated as if sucking back from the initial blast before the rest exploded outward. He felt the arm crash through the side of the champ’s head. He ear-holed him. The champ never saw it, and his eyes rolled back up in his head from the blast, body exploding into glass and dust and nothing on the mat. The crowd screamed for blood but it was already spilled. Slowly, assuredly, he ripped off the tape of the left glove with his teeth in the center of the ring with the mob closing in all around, the furied chaos of the scene billowing outward in choppy waves, everything going gild-edged. His emotion wasn’t there. He went to grab for the right red glove when Bart materialized out of the mass.

    “Leave it, kid.”
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    You lost me at "venomously" in the second paragraph, to be honest.

    You're trying way too hard. Cut out some words.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    "pithy sheets" of dust? What does that mean?
  4. stix

    stix Active Member


    I liked it, but I agree with the other guys that you're overwriting. However, I do understand that it's a short story, not a newspaper article, so the use of more descriptive words and imagery puts a better picture in the reader's mind. But you have to be careful not to go overboard with words like venomous (didn't think it worked well in that context) or phrases like "pithy sheets of dust."

    It's one thing to write good imagery, another to make things confusing by going overboard. I would say take a more simplistic approach. That always works best, IMO.

    Also, I was a tad confused with the pronouns you used for the characters. I'm assuming Bart is a young boxer who's beating "the champ," and the narrator of the story is the washed-up boxer who's serving as Bart's trainer. But the way you wrote it, there were times when it was very unclear whether "he" was referring to Bart or the trainer. Hell, maybe I'm totally wrong on who these charcters represent in general. Try to be more clear on that, because I had to read some sentences 2 or 3 times to figure out which characters were in which positions.

    Otherwise, I liked the start. It was lively, and the writing was pretty solid. I just think you're trying to hard. Keep at it, though. Even if it never turns out to be published or to make you any money, if you're enjoying writing this in your spare time, it's worthwhile.
  5. stix

    stix Active Member

    Okay, the narrator is the boxer, Bart is the trainer, right? I think I got it.

    Again, you gotta be more clear with the pronouns.
  6. agree with the others

    the writing gets in the way of the story

    the "leave it, kid" ending places you squarely in cliche territory
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