Book Excerpts


posted Feb 19, 2011, 3:06 PM by Nipo Parker   [ updated Nov 29, 2013, 2:36 AM by ernst herz ]

.... “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME!” Chico announced in a baritone voice only he knew he possessed. Standing tall, he bounced lightly on his toes, his back arching at an angle, his eyes acknowledging an invisible crowd up in the rafters.

“This is the first of three elimination bouts. It is in the seven-to-nine-year-old division. In the red corner, we have Hector. In the blue corner, we have Popin.”

I raised my hands and motioned for applause. I was bouncing up and down, looking at Hector with bad intentions. This was my moment. I was a bit nervous but extremely well trained.

Move my feet, turn, and punch—“float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” All I had to do at this point was to follow the rules and victory was surely mine. A stream of thoughts made their way through my mind. The adrenaline fueled my body and sharpened my thoughts.

Chico, the referee for the match, brought us to the center of the ring and gave us the particulars.

“Protect yourself at all times. Punches above the shorts are legal. Punches below are not.”

“Listen to my instructions. Fight hard but fair. Go to your corners.”

By now, a few of our friends had arrived, although it was by no means a sellout crowd.

The bell rang.

I began to circle my opponent, displaying proper technique. Technique went out the window when I found myself under siege by a human octopus. Before I could throw my first combination, Hector was flailing his hands in desperation—eyes shut and screaming.

I was utterly confused. What was this? I hugged him and held on tight. I needed to establish order to this madness. Chico separated us, and as he did, I gave him a look of total confusion. What was this amateur doing? This was not boxing.

As I attempted to refocus on this sham in front of me, a punch landed right on my nose, ramming my head against the wall. My eyes glassed over, and I had a sudden sensation of wanting to sneeze. My bouncing head met another frenzied assault, ensuring my body’s fall to the ground. The orange slice serving as my mouthpiece exploded out of my mouth.

I dropped like a sack of potatoes. Through the fall, I was fully awake and aware of the situation. I just couldn’t control my legs. What’s this crazy loser doing? He doesn’t know how to box. He needs to be disqualified. This is not boxing. He has gone mad, screaming and punching like that.  What a fool!

I bounced back to my feet but found myself wobbly and disoriented. My attempt to place the mouthpiece back in my mouth failed: half of it dangled from my lips. The referee asked me if I was all right; sporting a cross-eyed grin I made an effort to respond—except I couldn’t. I was humiliated, standing there before Chico. How could I have allowed this? All this training and here I was receiving an 8-count from my older brother who was surely feeling pretty disappointed in me. I was speechless.

Oscar, operating the bell (a pot and a spoon), took advantage of my hesitation and began ringing it right away, marking the end of the fight. I had lost by technical knockout.... [The story continues in the book IN A KINGDOM OF BIRDS AND CLOUDS.]

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