GREEN GLOVES - BJ BOURG
Originally published in April 2006 at Flashing in the Gutters
Blade McKenzie pulled the wet wraps from his aching hands and let them fall to the gym floor. He removed his mouthpiece. The familiar stench of stale sweat drifted from his hands.
“You okay?” Sam Wyatt asked.
Blade licked the salt from his lips and nodded.
“Still in pain?”
“A little. Doc says my hand should be healed enough for the fight.” Blade sank wearily to the bench and shoved his hand into a bucket of ice.
The gym doors abruptly opened and Chip Armstrong strode in. Chip dipped his shoulder and dropped his bag to the floor. The trainers and other boxers gathered around him and spoke in excited voices as Chip wrapped his hands. They cheered when he slipped through the ropes and shadowboxed to the beat of Kid Rock’s remake of Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting.
Blade’s eyes were green with envy. “What’s he got that I don’t?”
Sam slapped his back. “Relax, man, you’ll get your chance.”
“It ain’t just the title fight.” Blade pointed to his trainer. “I’ve made more money for Tim than Chip ever will, but he won’t even acknowledge—”
“Dude, Coach is the least of your worries. I didn’t want to be the one to tell you this, but...”
Blade flexed his hand and grimaced. “Tell me what?”
“It’s about Debbie.”
Blade froze at the mention of his fiancé’s name. He and Debbie Ridley had been dating since grade school. She had been his one and only love. “What about her?”
“Chip’s been getting real friendly with her lately.”
“What do you mean?”
Sam’s eyes darted about the gym. He leaned close to Blade. “Debbie showed up at the gym last week while you were out. She walked outside with Chip and they talked for about an hour on the sidewalk.”
Blade slowly got to his feet. Sweat glistened on Chip Armstrong’s bare shoulders as he threw a combination of punches to the heavy bag. The metal bag rack creaked under the force of the blows.
Sam shook his head. “Don’t even think about it. When Chip was born, he chewed his umbilical cord in half, beat up the doctor, and carried his mom home.”
Blade’s heart thumped in his chest. He flinched with each of Chip’s thunderous strikes to the bag. “Did they just talk?”
“They just talked.”
Blade snatched up his bag and stormed out of the gym. His wet shorts and shirt clung to his body and he shuddered when the cool night air greeted him. An image of Chip flirting with Debbie flashed though his mind. Determination turned his blood to ice. He raced to his parent’s home and borrowed his father’s F-150.
When Blade returned to the gym, he surveyed the dark parking lot. It was empty. He parked the F-150 beside Chip’s red Mustang. Grabbing a tire iron from behind the seat, he slipped into the bed of the truck and lay hidden, waiting for Chip to leave the gym. He didn’t have to wait long.
The alarm on Chip’s Mustang beeped and the doors flipped unlocked. Footsteps drew nearer. Blade gripped the tire iron. The footsteps stopped beside him. He heard the door to Chip’s Mustang open. After taking a deep breath, he jerked upright and lifted the tire iron high into the air. With one great heave, he brought the tire iron down onto the top of Chip’s head. He was surprised at how easily the skull collapsed. Chip dropped to the pavement and Blade leapt from the bed of the truck. He glanced around. All was clear.
Blade grabbed Chip’s arm and turned him onto his back. The arm felt soft. Blade lifted the tire iron and was about to bring it down a second time when the interior light from Chip’s Mustang splashed across his victim’s face. Blade involuntarily lurched forward and vomited on the pavement. Heaving uncontrollably, he dragged himself forward and cradled Debbie’s head in his arms. “Oh, my God,” he wailed. “What have I done?”
BIO: BJ Bourg lives in southeast Louisiana with his beautiful wife and two wonderful children. For more information, please visit his website at BJ Bourg.
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
11 hours ago