Freshwater Boys


David opened the bottle of whiskey. Shirtless, in blue jeans and work boots, he took three long sips from the bottle and set it down on the washing machine. Then he went for the boxing gloves. Athena was suspicious of them and gave a subtle growl. David’s right hand slipped easily into the black glove, and he pulled the Velcro strap with his left hand to tighten it at the wrist. The left glove was harder to tighten, and he had to use his teeth to bite and pull the strap into place.

The heavy bag still rocked back and forth, though only slightly now. Its white Everlast logo was about six feet off the ground, where a man’s head would be. David approached, guarding his face, as if the bag might strike first. The initial jab made his left wrist crumple, sending pain up his arm. But then he began with combinations. Left, right. Left, left, right. Athena barked frantically and occasionally jumped and snapped at the bag.

David ignored her and connected with high jabs to an invisible jaw, low hooks to an invisible kidney. Sweat ran down his chest and back and gathered at his waist, soaking into his underwear. The cross swung over his shoulders and around his neck until it was turned around and hanging down his back. David began to shout with each punch thrown.


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