ST. JOE'S, PART II
Curtis played the role of referee, and brought Eight Ball and me to the center of the ring to hear the rules (of which there were very few). After saying basically "try not to kill each other or kick each other in the nuts", he rang the bell and we were underway.
I came out of my corner and crossed the ring, muscling right up to my opponent. Everyone was screaming their heads off (and realize that it was about 3:15 AM) and were crowded right up to the ring ropes - I doubt Muhammad Ali ever had to put up with such shenanigans at one of his fights. Eight Ball came up to me and immediately launched a wild, loping hook at my head, obviously going for the quick knockout.
Since he was so plastered, it almost seemed as though the punch took an eternity to reach the general vicinity of my face. I felt like I could have sat down, knitted a pair of mittens, and played a little hopscotch while watching a Small Wonder rerun, and still the punch wouldn't have gotten near me. I easily sidestepped his pathetic attempt and threw a counterpunch of my own.
<CRUNCH> I felt as the first shot hit Eight Ball right in the side of the head. You know, one of those real solid blows that almost makes you flinch for having thrown it in the first place. Everyone was screaming so loud that I'm sure I was the only one who heard him whimper in pain. It felt so good, in fact, that I started lightly circling to my left, all the while raining constant blows on Eight Ball's pale, ugly, sweating face.
It was glorious. I was to be champ on this night, I thought.
Forty seconds into beating Eight Ball's pale, pimply head into cocaine pulp, I came to realize what pro boxers, trainers, and true fans of the boxing game have known all along for years: Boxing is an EXTREMELY physically taxing sport. And, a mere forty seconds into our fight, I was totally exhausted.
I managed to get through the rest of the round without suffering a single shot from my opponent - but I must say that the remaining twenty seconds of the first round seemed to take at least an hour to pass, making me extremely nervous and casting a shadow of self-doubt onto my ability to finish this fight. Curtis finally did ring the bell, and I wearily walked over to my corner and collapsed against the turnbuckle.
Jon, not exactly bristling with prizefight experience, was playing the part of trainer to a T - Angelo Dundee himself would have been proud. He was rubbing down my shoulders, giving me many generous sips of malt liquor for sustenance, and basically telling me what I was doing wrong. The funny thing, of course, is that Jon didn't have the slightest idea of what could be considered correct or incorrect when it came to boxing technique, but it was reassuring, just the same.
I looked at Jon between rounds as he was trying to psyche me up for the upcoming second round. "Dude, I don't know how the hell I'm gonna get through this thing. I'm fuckin' exhausted." Jon looked back at me, gave me a "well, what the hell do you want me to do about it? You're the moron who agreed to do this thing" look and shoved me towards Curtis, who was waiting with Eight Ball in the center of ring for round two.
The bell rang, and we squared off again. This time, it was Eight Ball who mounted an offense. He was raining blows all over me like a storm dropping softball-sized hailstones on my face. The only thing that I had going for me was the fact that I knew he would wear himself out in a hurry - remember, with his pear like build, Eight Ball could easily have been nicknamed "Thirty Pack".
It was as I thought - about halfway through the second round, Eight Ball's blows had slowed to a trickle, and all of the drunken spectators were screaming at us to pick up the pace. At this point, I had barely thrown a punch, and was feeling as rested as I had when we started the fight. So, screaming all kinds of profane Viking war cries, I set on him again. This time, he was doing a better job of covering up and trying to conserve strength and play defense. It didn't matter - I was still able to land quite a few good shots, including a wild left hook that connected squarely on his right ear and transmitted a lovely, satisfying crunch right down my arm - letting me know that I had indeed landed a nice one.
My flurry took us to the end of the round. Jon again did his best to try and get me in a good enough state to finish strongly. I felt like I had never been so tired - and yet all I had done was try to beat some wired up cokehead for three minutes. Curtis came over and told me that I was winning the fight, but I had to make a strong finish. It was nuts - there were so many people standing there, screaming at me, screaming at Eight Ball, screaming for the sake of making drunken noise. I stared at Eight Ball from across the ring, and he didn't look too good - like he was going to suffer a massive heart attack right then and there in the living room of the Pi Kapp House - not the most honorable way to die.
The third round was a total joke. Eight Ball had basically resorted to covering up his face and leaning on the ropes. I was dog-tired, but was getting angrier and angrier by the second because Eight Ball had gotten me into this mess. I was still coming at him, and I pounded on him as if my life depended on it in spite of his defensive posture.
Then, as the clock wound down the last few seconds of the fight, Eight Ball leaned in on me and landed a lucky punch right square in my mouth. It didn't feel like much, but it elicited a big cheer from the crowd as the fight ended. Jon climbed into the ring and slung an arm around me like a proud father. Curtis followed suit and raised my had, still clad in the big sparring glove. I had won.
Everyone was slapping me on the back as I made my way out to the front porch to relax in the late night autumn air. Jon came out with me, and gasped as I spat a mouthful of blood onto the front stoop.
"Ahhh, man, don't worry. Fuckin' Eight Ball busted my lip on the last punch. No worries, mate." I said. What everyone didn't know wouldn't hurt them, nor was I inclined to volunteer the information.
The rest of the party was fairly uneventful. Jon found out from one of the drunken louts that his dream girl from earlier had fallen asleep outside of the Crack House in a puddle of her own puke. Fabulous. Jon's tryst would have to wait for another day. Eight Ball retreated to his room, presumably to live up to his namesake, and the Pi Kapps were gradually thinning out and calling it quits.
Noticing that the clock had somehow reached 5:00 AM, Jonny and I decided to call it a night as well. We piled into the Caddy and made our way back to the dorm. Arriving back and making our way through the lobby, we exhaustedly cracked up about some of the funnier events of the evening. But stepping out of the elevator onto the fifth floor, we turned the corner into the dorm's west wing, and I was amazed to see Little Chris sitting next to the door of his dorm room with his head in his hands, most likely trying to catch some shuteye.
"What the..." I trailed off. Jonny looked at me for an explanation, of which I had none.
"Chris!" I yelled as I shook him. "What the hell are you doing out here in the hall?"
He looked up at me, eyes bloodshot with exhaustion, and said, "Dude. Can't go in there. Gotta sleep here instead."
"O...K." I said. "What's all that about?"
"Trust me, man, I have to sleep out here. Can't go in there," he said, resigned to sleeping off his hangover in a well-traveled hall.
"What's the deal with that?" I asked again, getting slightly frustrated by his cryptic responses. "Whaddya mean, 'Can't go in there?' What, is Dad banging some chick who has a puke fetish?"
"It stinks. Can't go in. Sleeping out here," Chris said, repeating it like an idiot with a mantra.
Jon was as perplexed as I, and we looked at each other with wonder. We were suddenly no longer very tired, either.
"That's it, you wuss. Open up." Jonny was snickering as he laid down the law to Little Chris.
Chris opened the door and motioned for us to go in before him. But before I even had a chance to set one foot through the door, the STINK set upon us and hit me, full on in the nose.
Have you ever smelled moist, spilled garbage spread out on hot asphalt, or the inside of a Seven Eleven dumpster (don't ask), or a dead animal that's been on the side of the road too long, or someone cooking cabbage? Well, any of those vile stenches would be like ambrosia for the nose compared to the foulness that seeped from Chris and Dad's room.
"Jesus Flippin' Christ!" I yelled. I turned to look to my friends, and they were both pinching their noses shut and scowling at the intense odor. Chris motioned for me to enter the room, and I went first.
Flipping on a light, I was suddenly aware of the humid quality of the air. I also took notice of what I thought to be a large, pale brown Hershey's Kiss in the center of the floor. Not quite comprehending what was going on, I stepped into bed area of the room for a closer look.
This time, there was no mistaking what my eyes were telling me: that was no king-size piece of candy on the floor - no way, Jack. It was a big, gigantic heap of doodie.
But, this was no garden-variety heap of human dung (is there such a thing as "garden-variety human dung? Discuss the topic amongst yourselves...). There was a sloppy, but unmistakable, human footprint pressed into the left-hand side of the intestinal treat.
"Oh my God!" Jon exclaimed, just behind me but no less horrified at the sight of so much poo in so foreign a place. But then he seemed to quickly draw breath, and remarked, "Holy shit! I think he...are those what I think they are?"
Jonny was referring to a few brownish, sloppy, crazily skewered footprints that led away from the offending stomach soufflé to...Dad's...bed. And that's when we noticed the most horrible sight of all, and we collectively pieced together what must have transpired between us dropping him off and the present.
Dad was spread-eagle on his stomach, utterly passed out in his bed, and was naked as the day he was born. This, in and of itself, was rather unusual and also rather disgusting, being that Dad was about fifty pounds overweight for a fella of his height. But the worst part was his "lack of freshness".
Dad's considerable caboose was caked with the fruits of his earlier labor. This residue had also seen fit to find its way all over his bedding and his pillows. In his alcohol-induced delirium, he must have dreamed that he had somehow walked into the dorm's bathroom, and evacuated normally. Then, after completing the crap transfer from bowel to floor, he apparently took a moment to walk around the room, as he truly must have felt as though he was master of his domain. While admiring his handiwork, no doubt tickled at its monstrous dimensions, he must have carelessly slapped a foot smack-dab in the middle of ground zero, and then left tracks all over the room as he continued his herky-jerky journey to his bed.
Well, that did it for us. As disgusting as it was (and in spite of the constant retching and gagging from all of us as our lungs struggled to process the foul air), we were laughing to the point of hysteria. Even Little Chris, appalled at this blasphemous act that had been wrought upon his room, couldn't help but scream his braying, stuttering chuckle along with the rest of us.
So, Little Chris slept on the floor of my room in a sleeping bag. Dad, drunken to the point that he most likely should have had his stomach pumped the night before, slept in his fouled bed until 7PM that day. Wearing full protective gear, Little Chris and I finally roused him in an attempt to have him accompany us to dinner, but it was obvious that he was going to spend the day in bed (after scooping up and cleaning the foulness from the carpet-he was retching and gagging more than we had the previous evening.
"I'll never drink another drop of alcohol again!" Dad was heard to groggily exclaim later that night.
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