Discussion in 'The Artist's Corner' started by Goopus, May 13, 2011.

  1. #1 Goopus, May 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2011
    (Not sure where I'm going with this yet but I watched a lot of boxing movies recently and wondered why there weren't more movies about MMA and more stories about MMA. I can change that.)

    Chapter One

    "Only cowards and thieves cheat," the grizzled old gambler grunted. "Which are you, you little turd?"

    Ethan smiled, but it was a tight smile. It was a scared smile. It was the smile of someone who was fighting their fear and losing. He wasn't entirely sure why he was in the bar. He had graduated from high school the year before. Since then, he hadn't seemed to know which way to go.

    "I'm a little of both, Billy," he replied. "I wouldn't have done it unless I needed the money. My ma is..."

    "We know who your ma is," one of the regulars named Jesse Belcher drawled with a drunken guffaw. "Hell, one of us could be your daddy. I think I might have fathered your sister Cecilia."

    Jesse paused and expelled a little belch and another drunken guffaw. Jesse always got a kick out of that. No one else did. Jesse didn't seem to notice. Jesse didn't seem to notice much of anything.

    "I did a little more with Cecilia than that," a hard-eyed man named Peter Spillman added.

    Ethan was up off his seat with his hands up and ready to fight automatically. Peter Spillman outweighed him by about sixty pounds. Jesse Belcher was probably two thirty at best. Billy just smoked his cigarette and squinted at Ethan carefully.

    "You really need the money that bad?" he asked quietly.

    Ethan nodded earnestly and hope flared in his breast. He was nineteen and he had tried often to get a job, but it was so difficult these days.

    "It's for the rent," he confirmed with another nod.

    All of the old gamblers seated around the table groaned in unison. The kid had cheated. He had cheated and they wanted to beat him for it, but getting kicked out onto the street was never good news to hear. It was especially hard to hear in the recent hard times. People were scared that the Second Great Depression was coming.

    Billy leaned closer, still puffing on his cigarette.

    "I might have a way to get you some money," he told Ethan. "But it's gonna take a while."

    He speared Jesse with a hard glance. Jesse's eyes dropped in submission. Billy once beat a man retarded out behind the bar. He was the top dog around the poker table or anywhere that someone knew his face.

    Ethan's tight smile widened slightly. Despite his hard exterior, Billy was one of the few good patrons of the Lady Luck bar. It wasn't hard to be good amidst so many bad people. One drunken underage regular had strategically spray-painted an F onto the bar's sign and no one had bothered to clean it off yet. It had only happened six weeks before, after all.

    "Until then, I'm gonna float you a loan," Billy said.

    He nodded at the precarious pile of cash sitting on the table. It was the money that Ethan had 'won' in the game. These men were all good gamblers. Ethan was exceptionally good, but he hadn't bothered to pray to Lady Luck that afternoon. He bit the bullet and he cheated.

    "You can keep my share of that pot to pay your rent, boy," Billy was saying. "The rest goes back to these fellas... and you go back home."

    Ethan leapt up from his chair with an eager grin.

    "What do you need me to do to earn the rest of the money?" he asked.

    Billy raised an eyebrow.

    "What about what you said earlier?" Ethan asked. "Should I call you about it?"

    Billy put the cigarette out in the ashtray and looked at Ethan.

    "Just shut the fuck up and go home," he said flatly. "I'll call YOU when I've got a few things straightened out."

    Ethan nodded and hurried out of the bar. He grimaced as rain splashed in his bountiful hair and he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt up and over his head. It was going to be a real gusher.

    Ethan sighed and walked across the parking lot towards his car. It was a little beat-up pickup truck. It was red, Ethan's favorite color. It had cost four hundred dollars. That was good enough for Ethan. He didn't think about "not good enough" because he couldn't afford to. Ethan was a firm believer that a poor man is a humble man.

    There were more poor people in America that day than Ethan cared to think about. He let out another grim sigh. It scared him. It scared everyone.

    Ethan reached his truck and opened the driver-side door.


    Something slammed into the back of Ethan's head and stars exploded before his eyes. He toppled like a felled tree. Timbeeeeeeeer. Ethan sort of woke back up as he slammed facedown into the pavement. Blood sprayed from his nose.

    Ethan looked up and blinked slowly as he recognized his assailant. It was some douchebag that he had gone to high school with. The guy's name was Antonio Vargas. He had made a point of confronting Ethan several times throughout senior year. On graduation day, Ethan finally released his pent-up rage and dropped Antonio with one punch in front of an entire squad of cheerleaders.

    It was almost a perfect scene. It would have been perfect with Eye of The Tiger by Survivor playing. Ethan had heard the song in his head as he rubbed his sore fist afterwards. He thought about shadowboxing and making out with cheerleading captain Latoya Bozeman.

    Ethan was brought back to reality. He was lying facedown on the pavement, and he was watching Antonio's shoe come at his cheek in slow motion. Time sped up and the soccer kick connected just below Ethan's left eye. He collapsed backwards and rolled onto his belly again, grabbing at the wound and cussing.

    "Get up, bitch!" Antonio yelled.

    Ethan stood but he was on wobbly legs. He looked past Antonio and saw the douchebag's car parked clumsily in one of the spaces. Latoya Bozeman was hanging out the rear passenger-side window and watching. Ethan winked at her with his swollen left eye and grinned. He spat out a piece of one of his teeth.

    She flipped him off.

    "Fuck you, too," Ethan whispered to himself as he got his hands up and ready.

    Passing cars were pulling into the parking lot in droves now. They were mainly full of kids from the high school who recognized a big event when they saw it. Teenagers piled out, watching in awe and exclaiming at the sight of Ethan's face. Several kids had pulled out their phones and they were filming the fight.

    Ethan came forward throwing a right hook. Antonio caught it on his shoulder and sent Ethan reeling with a straight left down the pipe. Ethan stepped back off balance and bounced off of the side of his truck. His driver-side door slammed shut. Blood trickled from Ethan's right nostril.

    Ethan wiped it away with his knuckles and came forward again, this time feinting the right. He dodged the straight left and landed a brutal uppercut to the body. The momentum slammed him into Antonio and they were tangled up. Their sneakered feet searched in vain for purchase on the soaked pavement.

    Antonio did something that Ethan didn't expect. He suddenly ducked down, grabbed both of Ethan's legs and lifted him into the air. He slammed him hard onto the hood of his truck. Ethan wheezed as the wind was knocked out of him.

    He wasn't going to get a breather. Antonio hopped up on the hood as well and knelt on Ethan's chest. He landed a blurring fusilade of punches. Ethan covered up as much as he could, but the majority of the blows smashed into his face.

    "You're going to kill him!" Latoya yelled from the car as she opened the door and started to step out. "Stop!"

    Antonio did stop, turning around to face Latoya. He hopped back down off of the hood of the truck and aimed a finger at her.

    "Get back in the fucking car!" he bellowed.

    Someone stepped out from the crowd. It was Billy Steiner.

    "You seem like a bully," Billy said calmly. "You should try picking on someone your own size."

    Antonio laughed in his face and spat on the floor between Billy's legs. It was an unspoken insult: Fuck you, old-timer. Billy didn't much care for words, either. He liked the old unspoken language better.

    Billy stepped forward with a blindingly fast left hook. It smacked into Antonio's nose and knocked him on his arrogant little ass. The crowd roared. Sirens wailed in the distance.

    "That was for the sucker punch you threw at the kid," Billy informed Antonio as he knelt beside him.

    Antonio moved almost as quick as Billy. He rolled on the unforgiving pavement and twisted his legs around. He wrapped them tightly around Billy's shoulders and neck, but Billy didn't seem surprised or concerned.

    "A triangle choke?" he asked contemptuously. "And incorrectly, too? What a shame, kid."

    Billy lifted Antonio up above his own head, maintaining eye contact with him the whole time. Antonio's eyes were wide and worried as he cinched his legs even tighter. There was an edge of determination there, as well. Billy's eyes were cold and piercing.

    "This is for being a punk," Billy said as he turned and carried his panting young cargo across the parking lot.

    The chattering crowd followed.

    Billy slammed Antonio onto the wet grass at the edge of the lot and broke the chokehold. Billy wasn't trying to hurt Antonio badly. He could, but he didn't want to. He just wanted to teach him a lesson. Antonio was still gasping from the force of the slam as Billy slid into position, sitting on Antonio's chest.

    "Good night, sunshine," Billy said in a terrible imitation of a soothing tone. "When you wake up, it won't be raining."

    "What the f--" Antonio started to say.

    Billy's right hand to Antonio's jaw did what no one had managed to do since he was born. It shut him up. Antonio went limp.

    Billy got off of Antonio and looked around at the crowd. They stared back. Scattered cheers began.

    "What the fuck are you lookin' at?" he asked quietly. "You're standing in the rain, you dumbshits."

    The scattered cheers faded.

    "Go home," Billy said before hurrying back across the parking lot towards the little red pickup truck.

    Ethan was sitting up on the soaked hood of the truck. His face was covered in blood despite the rain. His left eye was swollen almost completely shut. His nose was spouting blood like a faucet. There was a big knot over his right eye.

    "I just got my ass kicked."

    "You just got your ass kicked."

    They both said it simultaneously, and they both grinned despite the moment. Ethan had never seen Billy express any emotion before. The sirens began wailing again, even closer this time. At the sound of it, Billy seemed to remember himself. It seemed like he had been reminiscing as he smiled at Ethan. He had been that young once, a long time ago...

    "We gotta get out of here. Can you give me a ride?" he asked Ethan.

    "Sure," Ethan replied, rubbing at his sore jaw.

    Billy took another look at the boy's left eye. It was swollen shut now.

    "I'm driving," he said, and Ethan didn't argue.
  2. #2 Goopus, May 13, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
    (Writing MMA stories isn't so hard.)

    Chapter Two

    Ethan turned in the passenger seat and looked back at the distant parking lot right before they turned the corner. Three cop cars had taken the bar by storm and four uniformed officers were shepherding the riled-up crowd to their cars. Another officer was speaking to a seated figure that was probably Antonio.

    The parking lot disappeared as Billy whisked the little pickup around the corner. Billy loved driving it already. It was a speedy little bastard. It was a sleeper, for sure.

    The kid's a sleeper, Billy thought. He shook his head, and refocused his mind on the road completely. The nagging thought was going to have its say before it went, though.

    The kid's got heart. He's got heart like you used to have. He's got the heart that you lost after you held that little regional belt back in '02. He's a scrapper.

    "... a lot of cops back there," Ethan was saying. "It looks like one of them is trying to follow us. He doesn't have his lights on yet. Should we stop?"

    Billy smirked. He whisked the little truck into a Baptist church's parking lot and pulled around the back. The cop came around the same corner but kept going straight, and now his lights went on. He never had a rainmaker's chance in hell of seeing Billy, tucked behind the little church.

    Billy raised an eyebrow at Ethan.

    "Never stop unless you've done something you consider to be wrong," Billy said with a little twinkle in his eyes. "Stick it to the man."

    They laughed about that quietly for a good while. Ethan felt like shit, but there was also a certain wild joy underneath the pain. He loved fighting. It made him feel like a free stallion running the prairies. The world was his for the taking when he was throwing hands.

    "Those were some slick moves back there," Ethan said sincerely. "Aren't you like eighty? You beat Antonio's ass literally without breaking a sweat."

    "I'm forty-eight," Billy replied dryly.

    Ethan blinked and then shrugged.

    "Okay that makes more sense," he exclaimed with a sigh of relief.

    Billy nodded and put the car back in drive, steering the car out onto the street once more. He got the feisty little vehicle up to the speed limit and cruised there. Billy couldn't help but sneak little glances at Ethan's grotesque face. He felt a sort of horrified fascination. The feeling was akin to people staring as they passed car wrecks and the blood-thirsty crowds in Ancient Rome.

    "I think I probably need to take you to the hospital," Billy commented.

    "That would probably be a good idea," Ethan agreed, checking out his eye in the passenger side mirror. "On the way you can tell me how I'm supposed to get all that extra money."

    Billy rolled his eyes. He pulled a wad of cash out of his jacket pocket and tossed it onto Ethan's lap, along with a little scrap of paper. The little scrap of paper had something written on it.

    "The money is my half of the poker pot," Billy said. "You forgot to take it with you, for Chrissakes."

    Ethan smirked but he was looking down at the scrawled message in his lap.

    "And that is an address," Billy answered the silent question.

    Ethan read it hungrily. It was short. It was the name of a business -- "Steiner's Sluggers" -- followed by the address. Ethan looked up at Billy with another question in his eyes.

    "It's my mixed martial arts gym," Billy said with a little chuckle. "I want you to come in and train with me. You can pay me back when you get the money."

    Ethan was excited at the sound of that opportunity, but another doubt derailed that train of thought.

    "What am I training for?" he asked suspiciously. "How is this going to help me get enough money?"

    "I'm going to put you in an amateur mixed martial arts fight as soon as you're ready," Billy answered. "If you still want to get some money, of course. It won't be much but it'll be enough to help your ma."

    Ethan thought about the fight -- the beating -- in the parking lot.

    "I would have had him," he mumbled. "He was just too---"

    "Fast? Powerful? Technical?" Billy interrupted in a deadpan voice. "I know that kid. He's already an amateur fighter."

    Ethan sat there staring out the window into the rain. He had just fought an amateur fighter and he was getting away with a few bruises. It wasn't bad considering how brutal the beating could have become if Antonio hadn't been distracted.

    "Is he good?" Ethan whispered.

    "1-0 amateur record," Billy replied. "He's been fighting for a year -- since high school I assume -- but he got a bad injury. He took some time off. He has another fight scheduled in July against an opponent yet to be determined."

    Ethan stared at Billy with wide eyes.

    "You mean me," he whispered.

    Billy nodded with the ghost of a smile on his lips.

    "I mean you," he confirmed.

    The truck pulled to a stop at a red light. Billy took the opportunity to shake another cigarette from his rumpled pack and he lit it up. The light turned green and Billy turned right.

    Billy rolled down the window a slight bit to let the smoke escape and prevent the rain from getting in. He tapped his ashes out the window, as well. Ethan lit one up as well, sighing.

    Billy stomped on the brakes and the truck fishtailed in the wet street. Billy fought the steering wheel and pulled the vehicle in to park smoothly at a Texaco's gas pump. He immediately snatched the cigarette from Ethan's fingers as he opened his driver-side door. He stepped out and stamped the cigarette out of existence with the heel of his foot.

    "What the fuck?!" Ethan yelled.

    Billy looked at him. He looked right through him. Billy always seemed to do that, so Ethan wasn't shocked.

    "You can't smoke that shit any more," Billy barked.

    He sounded like a sergeant now.

    "You're a fighter," Billy yelled.

    Ethan smiled tentatively. He was a fighter.


    Ethan was released from the hospital the next afternoon. The doctors had told him that the swelling would go down soon. They exchanged knowing looks when they thought he wasn't looking.

    "You're Ethan Holmes," one young nurse exclaimed with a smile.

    Ethan started to return the smile, but it faded as she replied.

    "You got your ass kicked by Antonio Vargas yesterday," the nurse informed him with wonder in her wide eyes.

    Ethan raised his right eyebrow.

    "How... did you know that?" he inquired.

    She held up her cellphone and then quickly stuffed it back into her pocket. She looked around to make sure no one had seen that little flash. It was against The Rules to have a cellphone while on duty.

    "It's all over Youtube!" the nurse gushed. "That big old guy was pretty good. I was surprised."

    "He used to be a pro fighter," Ethan said softly.

    The nurse laughed as if to say, Sure and I walked on the moon yesterday, too. Ethan nodded to confirm his words and the nurse gasped.

    "How do you know him?" she asked.

    Ethan grinned.

    "He's my trainer," he said proudly.
  3. (Nobody's reading apparently but I'll try one more time. Please comment if you like it. I know you'll comment if you hate it.)

    Chapter 3
    March 6

    Ethan grunted in rage as he dug a left hook into the 'body' of the heavy bag and followed it up with a right uppercut to the 'chin'.

    "Faster, Ethan!" Billy barked from where he was pacing amongst the sweaty young fighters observing their technique. "Work the jab, Josh!"

    Ethan was exhausted and he knew it showed. He never stopped dancing around the bag walloping it with big quick combinations. He occasionally added in a knee or a kick or an elbow. He wasn't going to fall behind on the first day of his first training camp.

    His eye was still healing, so he couldn't participate in striking sparring with a teammate as of yet. Speaking of Ethan's teammates... He looked at them out of the corner of his eye. Ethan put his weary arms on autopilot as he unloaded blistering combinations into the heavy bag.

    There were only two other fighters that trained at Steiner's Sluggers.

    One was named Joshua Morse. Joshua was an amateur fighter who had fallen on hard times and was desperately trying to save a sinking career. At this point, it seemed like a worthless venture. He was going to have to retire soon before ever tasting the bittersweet sting of professional competition.

    Ethan's other team-mate was a twenty-four-year old professional fighter with a record of 7-2. Her name was Georgia Criss. She was training for a regional title fight versus a Russian broad. Georgia was the gym's premier fighter.

    Georgia didn't look like a fighter. She had deep-set gray eyes that reminded Billy of two pieces of steel. She had blond hair. She was tall and had a curvy build. She definitely didn't look like a fighter. Most female fighters looked like truckers. Gina Carano and Georgia Criss were notable exceptions.

    "Time to roll!" Billy yelled suddenly. "Ethan with Georgia, Josh with me!"

    Ethan met Georgia's eyes and raised a brow. Her eyes twinkled. They took their gloves off and Ethan joined her on her side of the mat. Across the cavernous room, Billy was standing beside Josh.

    "Begin!" Billy yelled.

    Georgia laid down on the mat and Ethan knelt between her legs, allowing her to wrap them around his body. They were now in full guard. Ethan blushed a bit, because he knew another name for the position. Georgia wasn't exactly an unattractive young woman.

    "You should focus," Georgia told him softly.

    "I am focused," Ethan replied with a wry smile. "My head is in the game."

    "Just make sure it's not the little head," Georgia cautioned him with a little smile of her own. "You don't want to get beat up by a girl, do you?"

    Ethan opened his mouth to reply, but Georgia was already following Billy's instructions. She was beginning the jiu jitsu portion of the day's training. Georgia rolled to her side and wrapped her legs around Ethan's neck and shoulders. Ethan postured up in Georgia's guard defending the triangle choke and she abandoned the attempt. She returned her position to the closed guard.

    "Pretty good for your first day," Georgia commented.

    Ethan didn't reply this time. He knew she was trying to get into his head. He began trying to pass her guard as Billy had instructed him. Georgia let him get deep into the pass attempt before she tried for another triangle. This time it was locked in tightly and Ethan tapped with a little grunt of disappointment.

    He sat back on his heels and sighed. Georgia sat up in front of him.

    "Don't get discouraged," she said softly. "There is always someone better. You just have to keep training. This is your first day."

    Ethan nodded as he glanced over his shoulder and saw that Billy was on Josh's back choking him. He winced, watching Josh tap out.

    "Switch partners!" Billy yelled, helping Josh up and heading towards Ethan and Georgia. "Hustle!"

    Ethan glanced back at Georgia and smiled quickly. She smiled back. Ethan stood and jogged over towards Josh, trying to control his breathing. Billy had told him that this was just the warmup.

    As Ethan knelt between his legs, Josh followed his gaze towards Georgia. She was already battling to secure an omoplata shoulder lock on Billy.

    "Been there, done that," Josh warned softly. "You know how embarassing it is to get beat up by your girlfriend?"

    Ethan shook his head no.

    "I filed a domestic assault charge. And now we don't train together or sleep together. We don't even talk to each other."

    Ethan blinked slowly.

    "Wait, she beat you up?" he asked. "Like for real?"

    Josh nodded. Ethan sighed and shook his head.

    "Let's forget you ever said that," Ethan suggested.

    Josh nodded again miserably. And so they rolled. It wasn't hard to guess who won.

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