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Life Begins at Ten

Updated on July 11, 2016
The Cape Cod Colesseum today masquerading as a warehouse.  Its true identity is that of a venue for the "Sweet Science".
The Cape Cod Colesseum today masquerading as a warehouse. Its true identity is that of a venue for the "Sweet Science".

by Bill Russo

“One!”

He does not see or hear anything. How could he? It’s only one! However in that flitting, fleeting split second between one and two, there is brightness. The sun? A dazzling illumination of some sort seems to be just above his head.

“Two!”

He’s fairly sure that he moved a finger, perhaps two or even three. It’s hard to tell because he still cannot see or feel.

“Three!”

His eyes are open and he might be able to see except for that blinding light that is shining in them. His ears reach out and capture the sounds of… he’s not sure what. He thinks that perhaps it is the sound of the breakers at Sea Street Beach in Dennis Port, bashing the rocks and surrendering their wildness as they transform into gentle foam that caresses the sand.

“Four!”

The beach. He’s sure now that he is at the beach for a warm liquid is spritzing his face. Able to prod his throbbing head a few degrees to the side he sees the whiteness of the sand.


“Five!”

Only it’s not sand now. He’s lying down on it and to his tender back it seems more like sandpaper than sand. His misshapened ears are grabbing for a new sound now. He hears someone shout,”Gaarrrrp, mon chp, garp gaaaarrrp.” He can’t make out the words and his heavy lids crash down and cover his blurry eyes.

“Six!”

“Seven!”

His eyes flutter and open slowly. The blazing white light comes into focus. The thudding of his heart in his head taps out a clear message.


“Eight!”

Knocked out again! It’s the seventh straight time he has fallen to progressively less skilled fighters. With just 5 victories in 40 fights he was no more than a stalking horse trotted out every three weeks to make some new pug look good. But now after being kayoed seven straight times they won’t let him fight any more. It’s the damned computers. They keep track of everything; how many wins you have had; how many losses; how many knockouts; and how much of a show you put on for the crowd.

“Nine!”

The blood on his face is being swept away by salty liquid coming from his eyes. Tears as strong as the breakers at Sea Street Beach are washing his face clean and making him strong. The energy is rushing back into his battered body like a jet plane on takeoff. Seven straight knockouts be damned! He could spring up from the canvas, beat the count, and finish the fight! He could! He knows he could do it!

The border between Douglas Az and Agua Prieta, Sonora
The border between Douglas Az and Agua Prieta, Sonora

Ten! You're Out!


The referee counted out Juan Gilesteban Rivera Mendez for the seventh time in seven fights. Sitting up now, the young battler looked fresh and relaxed. He quickly showered, collected his loser purse of $250.00 and walked to the Greyhound bus station in Hyannis.

Just 23 hours and 141 dollars later he was walking down the main street of a town near Agua Prieta, Mexico, heading for the office of Duro Boxing Promotions of the state of Sonora.

Inside, he spoke with a clerk and was directed to a seat in the chief promoter’s office.

“From what my clerk tells me amigo, I can get you lots of good fights here in my territory. What was your record again?”

“I had seven straight knockouts in the 7,000 seat Cape Cod Colosseum. You could look it up,” replied Juan Gilesteban Rivera Mendez.

“Oh no amigo, I cannot do that. The fight game here is not computerized."

“Oh is that so? I did not realize this. Please get me some bouts,” smiled Juan on the first day of his second chance to be on the winning end of a one to ten count.

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    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Hey Cam that's a pretty good angle you thought of. That would have worked well also. I went for the boxing angle because I was lucky enough to be able to hang around a few gyms in my time. I always felt sorry for the 'opponent' - the guy who is hired to be target practice for some new and upcoming battler. 'Opponents' never make much money and often end up battle scarred and in a bad place. The actor Mickey Rourke was bitten by the boxing bug and became an 'opponent'. He had little talent but a strong desire to compete. He was able to win six of his eight bouts but suffered facial disfiguration as well as many broken bones - nose, toe, ribs and such. Luckily for him, he could return to acting - though with his smashed face, the romantic leading man days were over. Most 'opponents' have nothing to fall back on but their backs.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      2 years ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

      I thought the Mob was going to throw him into the drink for breaking some kind of criminal moral code. I was close, wasn't I? This is a nicely crafted and timed story.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thanks for being part of the Creative Exiles, Bill. I know you will be more than worthy. The piece you have there is excellent. I need to write more for both there and HubPages, but I haven't been happy with a few items I have written recently and they are languishing on the edge of the waste paper basket. That will change soon I hope.

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      2 years ago from Cape Cod

      Thankyou John and congratulations on the fabulous new website that you and your associates have started - The Creative Exiles. I am sure that many readers and writers will be in the queue for some of the best writing a thinking woman or man could hope to find. I will try my best to develop something worthy of the "Exiles".

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I thoroughly enjoyed this Bill. It was quite unique but a great concept. I didn't cotton on to the one to ten idea until the dreaded 8 count. Well done.

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