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MrTickle
January 31st, 2017, 03:47 PM
Hello guys! Thank you for clicking. This is a little 1940s set story of an incompetent boxer. Thanks for reading!


Cherry Charles



Cherry landed on the canvas, again. But his arms and red gloves still stuck up like he was ready to take the fight to the floor. The bell rang. Cherry shook his head at the referee, he tried to make his lips move to say, ‘Come on, I was all over the guy’, but the mouth guard proved a silencer, and instead he drooled like an injured puppy all over the ref’s polished shoe. The ref sighed like he knew what Cherry was trying to say, “For the past five rounds you’ve been swinging like a drunk, and flapping around the floor like an upturned cockroach.”

He picked Cherry up, and contemplated Cherry as if he realised maybe boxing was actually better off with guys with balls like Cherry. He patted him on the back and said, “Charlie, it’s only one loss.”

Yeah, I’ve heard that one before, he thought.


*

He was back to being Charles once he hit the showers. He didn’t have to wash the sweat off, just the blood. His young skin was getting worn down like polished leather every time he stepped over the ropes. Five fights, four losses. He only won a fight because when Benny Bruges had him against the ropes a year ago mirroring Jesus Christ spread out on the cross, Benny started playing up to the crowds jeers and cheers by shadow boxing Cherry like an embarrassing Uncle who gives his nephew a fake right jab to the gut. However, Cherry responded to the showboating with a right hook that slid down Benny’s cheek. It made Benny double up with laughter which then gave Cherry the chance to finally unload on the guy. It took a few gusty swings of the mitts to take Benny down, well, he sort of went down in instalments, “Probably from laughter.” Coach said. Cherry liked how Coach always kept him at ground level, or as Coach started saying, “Hey buddy, from my view behind the ropes. I’ve started to notice you’re a bit of a romantic. You and the ground can’t stop seeing each other!”

But anyway, he was back to ol’ Charles once he waxed his black hair back - careful to take out any dried blood - and put on his brown khaki pants, and his white vest. He then stood in front of the mirror and pouted. Saying to himself “Oh ya! I look like Tex Ritter after a late night showin’!”

One last thing he always did before walking out the fire exit door – careful to avoid some of his remaining fans, who were mostly life insurance schmucks – he tied his boxing gloves around his belt buckle like two cherries hanging from a withered tree. He recalled the time when Coach said, “Hey buddy, did he catch you with a low shot to the globes?”

“How’d you mean Coach?”

“Your balls a’ come up like a bag-a-grapefruits there, heh-heh-heh . . .”

“No, those are my gloves Coach.”

“I like you Charlie, fast hands an’ fast brains – you ever thought of show business?”

“I don’t know, it seems like a neat line of work, but you said I had potential here in the ‘legion of gladiators’.”

“Heh-heh-heh.”

Charles smiled at that memory and thought, you know, if I can make people laugh, I should leave the show business door hinged. He let the thought linger as he strode out the fire exit door.


*

Eva was waiting at the alley way entrance on Barton Avenue, just down the side of the Wildcat Auditorium. Charles adjusted his belt buckle and ‘cherries’ so they wouldn’t swing against his knees. He brushed some dirt off his white vest and drew on his million dollar smile just for her, well, his version of it anyway. His teeth would cost a million dollars to rectify.

Charles always thought he would spot Eva in a crowd. Not because of what she wore, even though she did dress like a Hollywood star in her cream tights, blue dress and blue wide brim hat, but because she had a stern, upright posture, and strong facial bone structure. She could be standing on top of a hill posing and she’d look like a Greek God, and you’d fall for it!

She always had her hands in a tight ball ready to spring upon an unsuspecting throat. She ain’t like the fragile pettles that wondered past her on the street looking for da’ spotlight, he thought.

She’s was a doer. A fashion designer. A women’s activist. She managed to get 230 women into secure and higher paying jobs because of the war. She was a God.

Charles bounced up to her and said, “Did you see the fight.”

“No I was with Dora sorting out the women’s march for the 11th, I heard it on the radio.”

Charles smiled this time, without his million dollar grin and without eye contact. He could feel her gaze trying to penetrate him for more, but instead he swung himself into her blue Lincoln Continental convertible like you see in the movies. “This is not the tin can you drive you big dope. This is real leather; you scuff that you’ll be hunting cattle with a bread knife till morning.”

You see, Coach said it would be a good idea if Eva and he hung around a little because she was pals with boxing promoter Silvio Romero. Sure, Charles didn’t mind Eva, she was feisty, a hard hitter with words, a bit like a bowling ball, but she after all, she were a ladder to climb. Coach said he needed to try and climb different ladders because so far his boxing career had been spent walking under them.

“So where are we going?” said Charles.

Eva had her eyes fixed on the road, her top half lurched forward, her hands clenched. You could see the veins bulging. She must have been hitting 60 down Hollywood Split.

She replied, “We? No, you are going to my house Charlie.”

“Who is it now? Dan, Frankie, uh, Kirk?”

“Reginald. Reginald B. Arthur. A plumber from England, high maintenance, always has to be fixing something. That’s the way I suppose if you’re brought up with a shed to relieve one-self and a wheel barrow to get around town. Yes, he seemed charismatic when he fixed my toilet, but I think romance was only set alight by love for his craft. You see . . .”

Charles zoned out and watched the billboards wiz past him. He caught one of Dwight ‘The Riddler’ Starling who was current middleweight champion. He was standing with his golden title around his waist, arms raised in the air, the crowd’s faces caught in that moment of pure elation.
Eva’s grating voice edged back in, “- it’s a profitable business, but he’s just lounging on my sofa which I now have to get cleaned twice a -”

“Eva, when am I going to get a big fight. Y-You know, how many more guys do I have to muscle before I get one, huh?”

She turned her nose up at the road like she spotted road kill. “Charlie, an artist’s painting is not finished with a few dandy brush strokes.”

“No, no, I’m watching other fighters and they seem all, all, uh - they can be all showboat-y, they got . . . showmanship, yeah, and I gotta start doing dat’ you know. I want to meet Silvio. I want to sit down. I want to talk about, pros-pects.”

Eva sighed, and continued driving in silence until she pulled up behind her tall conifers on Primrose Drive. The top of her white mansion peaking out above the bushes. She turned to Charlie who was looking down at his boxing gloves, fingering them. “Listen, go in there and do your job that I pay you for . . .
Besides, it will be like winning your second fight of the day.”

Charlie flicked his blank gaze into a frown.

“You know what, why do I have to beat your boyfriends around anyways? How do you win a fight with a few slaps?”

“Charlie, you’ve still got a lot to learn.”

“Learn what?”

“Go Charlie. I’ll be back at 9.”

Charles tried to talk but she waved him out. “Go. Shoe. Off.”

When she managed to usher him out of the car, he stood on the sidewalk and watched her screech off.

Charles untied his boxing gloves from his belt and put them on.

It’s time to be a showman, he thought. It’s time to be ass-er-ta-tive. I’m gunna show her how Cherry Charles wins a fight.

With his head lurched forward like a mean bruiser, and his fists pumping together, he stormed up her drive.

Eva’s reception was all white marble. Two sets of stairs bent from left and right up towards a long corridor of bedrooms used for each man she had housed previously. She needed every last one of those rooms because it cost quite a lot to refurbish after she threw them out, in varying degrees of verticality. Charles always thought her house looked like what you’d expect Gods house to look like. You would just need a Cherub to swoon down with a gee-tar:

I got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle
As I go ridin' merrily along
And they sing, 'Away, too glad, you're single' . . .

All that dreaming of Tex was brought back down to reality as Charles saw smoke billowing from the front room. Charles thought, if the big man is up there, this would be a signal. Charles rubbed his gloves together.

Oh boy, oh boy, is that what I gotta give a make-over? Sitting on the sofa was Reginald B. Arthur. He wore green pants, his top half bare. His skin tightly wrapped around his ribs. He must have been late thirties. He was starring at an instruction manual, for what? Charles couldn’t see. He could finally see where the smoke originated from: a broken pipe next to the radiator. Reginald B. Arthur puffed out his cheeks and didn’t even spot Charles steaming towards him.

Strange, that was the last thing Charles remembered, well, that and the sharp pain that speared into his groin.
The curtains came into focus first, then a pain searing across his stomach. He kept blinking like it was just sand in his eye and his vision would return to normal. But no, the curtains were still blurred. He looked down and could just make out his feet as he raised his head. And he could still see steam billowing from the right hand corner of the room. But there was one difference in the room before he passed out. He didn’t remember hearing music. Mozart’s Requiem In D Minor, K. 626: 1. Introitus Requiem came from somewhere in the room.

As Charles’ vision clears itself he saw a television to his left playing moving images of soldiers running into battle with explosions smashing the ground next to them. Gee, I wonder how that big shoot ‘em ups gettin’ on, he thought. Suddenly to Charles’ right he heard a huff. It was Reginald B. Arthur. He had changed into a green army uniform and was holding Charles’ cherries. That sight made Charles look down to his groin area, which, was still covered in red. But the red was liquid, not top grained tanned leather. Charles fingered the red patch. It felt wet. He could still feel his pecker though, but the two globes beneath his Johnson may have taken an evening stroll. “You need more than those, dear boy.” Said Reginald B. Arthur as he continued to examine Charles’ gloves, he said, “So this is the famous sandbag on legs, Jerry Charles.”

Charles ignored him and was still patting his nut sack (more just sack at that point) like a baby who had just discovered a new toy.
Reginald B. Arthur continued, “Call me haughty Jerry, but it appears you have a block that keeps tripping you up.”

“Huh?” Charles looked around for a block on the floor. Reginald B. Arthur giggled making the sound: ‘hunk-hunk-hunk’, “No, dear boy, it’s a metaphor. You have a problem in your boxing career don’t you.”

“No, uh, not no more. Coach says I gotsta hit back some more. Dat’, and, you know, showboating.”

“Jerry, your problem appears to be you only do you fighting with these . . .” Reginald B. Arthur waved Jerry’s gloves in front of him like they were somebody else’s dirty underwear.

Charles squinted at his gloves like he still couldn’t believe he got them off him. And worse, he couldn’t believe he had lost two fights in one day.

“Jerry, I think you’ve missed the art of the battle dear boy. You must not simply swing like a broken crane in the wind. You must create an enemy within -” Reginald B. Arthur nodded at this grand truth, “an enemy within your opponent.”

Charles frowned, “Is dat’ a metaphor?”

Reginald B. Arthur smiled like you would to a cute little boy trying to say his first word. He stood up and pointed at the television. “Look at these men Jerry. Look at them. They charge into battle with guns loaded, balls swinging like rubber dingys in rough seas. Brave, brave men. But educated in the art of battle? Well, we shall let the coroner decide that one.”

Charles nodded at Reginald B. Arthur like he did to coach when he didn’t understand him. “Now look at me dear boy. I’m equipped for a germ to infect me rather than a battle. So what do I do Jerry?”

“Hide in a corner.”

“Hunk-hunk-hunk.” Reginald B. Arthur beat his chest with his fist as he laughed before continuing, “That trick may have worked when I shot your Billie’s off. No, you see, I have the privilege of being a high ranking officer. I am off to stop the krauts. And how am I going to beat our sausage loving friends, Jerry . . . I am going to stop their supplies. I am going to bomb their food crates, their hospitals. I’m going to create hunger, make them weak, Jerry. I am going to create an enemy within.” Reginald B. Arthur tapped his forehead, “The game is all up here dear boy.”

Charles felt the room wobble a little. He began to feel his cheeks heat up. He dropped his head back and heard Reginald B. Arthur mutter something about fixing the radiator, then he heard his heavy boots clunk across the living room until he could only hear the hissing of the smoke coming from the radiator and Mozart, and the only thing he could see was his balls splattered across the white ceiling.

bdcharles
February 3rd, 2017, 02:28 PM
This story's so weird. I like it, and I like the bizarre little phrasings that you use. Are Charles' gloves twin metaphors for his manhood? I don't actually know. I'm also not entirely sure what's happened? Is this part of something bigger? No, it says short story. The voice is great, I think - a real punch-drunk swinger's voice.

You do have a couple of comma spliced sentences here. They aer okay because thet fit in with his voice, but the second one looks like a bit of an error:

Cherry landed on the canvas, again. But his arms and red gloves still stuck up like he was ready to take the fight to the floor. The bell rang. Cherry shook his head at the referee,[<- there's one] he tried to make his lips move to say, ‘Come on, I was all over the guy’, but the mouth guard proved a silencer, and instead he drooled like an injured puppy all over the ref’s polished shoe. The ref sighed like he knew what Cherry was trying to say,[<- there's the other] “For the past five rounds you’ve been swinging like a drunk, and flapping around the floor like an upturned cockroach.”

Some errors:

her house looked like what you’d expect God[apostrophe needed here]s house to look like

“Hey buddy, from my view behind the ropes.[<- should be comma] I’ve started to notice you’re a bit of a romantic.

She’s was a doer. => she's was?

Just minor stuff. Have a reread and try and pick out these errors because your writing deserves good presetation. Good luck :)

MrTickle
February 4th, 2017, 12:15 AM
Thank you bdcharles! You could say his gloves are metaphors for his manhood!

I will make make sure to clean up those mistakes and will definitely have a look through for more.

This is is a short story, and the end is very much the end.

thanks for the kind and helpful feedback :-)

captflash76
July 1st, 2017, 08:47 PM
Hi Mr. Tickle, This is a good try, but I couldn't quite figure out if you were going for the story of a born loser or you were going for humor. This reminds me a lot of a Bean script, but with Bean you know right off it's humor coming at you. I think you should go with light drama here and use this character more effectively. This could be the story of a mediocre boxer who is released by his trainer and goes on to find an new trainer who takes him to the championship fight. Who's his opponent in that fight, the fighter his former manager has groomed to be champion. You've got some rough sentences that need cleaning up and one that makes no sense. Other than that I found no misspelling and thought it had an overall good logic to it. This appears to be a small segment of a greater whole and I hope you continue to work on it. JBB