Submitted for Flash Fiction Friday
Prompt: THEMED WORDLIST – Fist, Jab, Knuckle, Spirit, Fighter, Rhythm
Word Count: 1500
Deadline: Thursday, April 14, 2011 about 4:30 pm.
"Johnny! Johnny! Johnny!" the crowd chants in rhythm, calling me to them.
I wait in the dark corridor for the official invitation into the ring, hopping in rhythm with the crowd. Nicky knuckles the muscles in my shoulders to keep them loose. I see flashbulbs exploding around the arena like so many June fireflies. My white-trimmed red satin robe swishes as I jab the air in front of me.
I've been training my whole life for this fight. Tonight I will win. I have the edge. My fists know what they have to do. I will win. I will out-think my adversary. I will win. I will dance just out of his reach. I will win. I will.
I breathe deep one more time. I smell tiger balm, fighters tape, blood. My warrior spirit centers. Nicky pushes me. It's time. We set out of the tunnel and prowl towards the ring. The crowd sees me and erupts its energy. I take it in and soak it up. Cameras watch me climb into the ring.
The upturned faces of the media surround the boundaries of my battlefield. I am lit from within, from without. Nicky pulls off my robe to reveal muscle and bone, skin and sinew, oil and sweat. I raise my fists and feel the wave of hunger that rolls across the arena and floods me.
I am ready and we start. I grapple with my nemesis. I introduce him to his new master. He fights me back. He tries to win. He is losing and I break the bad news to him. Hard. He will be better for the beating he is receiving. He will learn the locations of his weaknesses. I am giving him accurately detailed maps, a topography of pain. I find the treasure. X marks the spot and I dig in. He falls, then crawls, then falls for good.
We stare at each other while the countdown marches us towards our destiny. I see I have awoken in him the awareness of all that he doesn't yet know. He understands that I know all his secrets. His eyes close and he slumps on the mat. And I take my glory.