THE JAILBIRD (Episode 59)

© Aaron A. A

Inside the arena the red lights of the ‘Champion’s Entrance’ lights up, and the screens are filled with images of Mike ‘The Crankboss’ Crankson.
His entourage comes out, all of them dressed in white.

Then a hvge ra-pper comes out ra-pping about KICKING bu-tt.
He is followed by four women wearing only tiny white Sk-irts and halter t©ps and knee-length white boots.
Crankson emerges, as usual, in white shorts, white fighting shoes, white gloves and a white hoodie.
He is gyrating and prancing around with his eyes wild and his ton-gue out, his usual style, but today there are no ecstatic applause and screams from the crowd.
There are mainly boos and a few scattered applause.

Nana Bosomtwum is walking ra-pidly behind his boy.
Once they enter the ring Crankson executes a beautiful mid-air fl!pand lands in a fighting stance, drawing cursory applause from his fans.
Chris’ dark eyes are riveted on Crankson.
He is standing still, and ba-rely moves as the Ghana National Anthem is pla-yed.
He ba-rely hears anything else until the ring announcer calls the credits.

And now, introducing the Challenger, fighting for the first time in more than a decade, the former undefeated Grandmaster of GojuFist, forty-three fights, no loss, no draw, thirty-nine knockouts, undefeated champion in five different weight clas-ses, ten successful defences of the ultimate Grandmaster belt….the fearsome, the handsome, the one and only Chris, the Daaaaaaaaarling Boooooooy Bawa!!!
The noise levels almost lift the rooft©ps, the screams continue, the placards wave.

And now, the Champion, the current Grandmaster of GojuFist, the finest, the coolest, the undisputed master, fighting out of the red corner, proud record of fifty-fights, forty knockouts, no loss, no draw, the most terrible of bosses, eleven defences of the Grandmaster belt, Mike, the boss of bosses, the Crankboooossss Craaaaaaaannnksoooon!!!
This time there is much more appreciable screaming, applauding and shouting!

Now, Ladies and Gentleman, prepare your eyes, don’t twitch, don’t blink, this is the Rumble of the Titans, the Capo de tutti Capi, boss of bosses, who is who, the amaga of amag@s, who reigns supreme today when two gods clash? Let’s get re-ady to cruuuuuushh some heaaaaaaaads!
Crazy sounds! Trumpets, screams, applause, yells!

And now, your able referee, Laryea Odamten!
Referee Odamten calls the fighters to the centre of the ring.
The two fighters stand face to face.
Crankson is tall, but a bre-adth shorter than Chris, but Chris is a bigger man, his muscles and rips finer developed.

I want a clean fight, trust. Engage when I say, break when I say, trust. Defend yourselves at all times, trust. Don’t let me come and get you, trust. Mr. Bawa, Mr. Crankson, bu-mp gloves…we’re set, trust.
Chris holds up his gloves, and Crankson crashes his gloves on it.
People leave the ring now, and very soon the two men are alone, and the referee is in the middle.
Wailer Vroom stands outside the ring and speaks to Chris.

Go get him, Tiger.
Junior reaches inside the ropes and hvgs his father’s th!gh ti-ghtly.
There are tears in his eyes.

I’m very scared, Daddy. I don’t want you to die.
Chris looks down at his son and smiles tenderly.

Champ, I’ll finish this quic-kly and we can all go home, okay?
Junior nods, and then he goes and sits down at the Trainer’s Rest with Wailer Vroom.
The bell tinkles.
Crankson moves to the centre quic-kly.
Chris moves slowly.
Referee Odamten holds down a stiff hand, and then slashes it sideways in the air.
The bell tinkles again.

GojuFists, fight, trust!
The two men stare at each other.

I’m gonna retire you forever, old man.

You shouldn’t have t©uçhed my son. Nob©dy t©uçhes my son.
Crankson is soon a motion of fast blinding movements, spinning for the savage turning kick, but his foot slashes empty air, because Chris is no longer there.
It takes only a minute for Crankson to realize that he has met a master, and that finally, he has met that one man who is quic-ker, fas-ter and more skilful than he is.
No matter what he tries — punch, kick, bu-tt, spin, smash — Chris is always a step ahead, moving, blocking, locking.
He is like air, and so agile and quic-k that Crankson only sees him in blurs.

My God! Chris is even better than before! Have you ever seen anything like that? It is as if Crankson is fighting a ghost!
Effe smiles a little easier this time.
She had never likef Chris fighting, and had made him st©p, but watching him, her heart glows, because it is her man who is exhib!tt!g that magic inside that ring, and drawing all that admiration from the crowd.
Rupert leans forward, ba-rely able to breathe.

(with awed admiration)
Damn! Didn’t know he’s this marvellous.
Afful shakes his head and leans back.

Do you still think Micky is gonna kill your man for you, Stevo?

fv¢k off, Jon! But you’re right, it’s time to fight for the love of my life, and I’m going to do it.
Steve gets up suddenly, and without a further look at the ring he walks out of the VIP Lounge.
Everyone watches in awe as Chris exhibits the incredible reflexes and skill that they have not seen in a GojuFist fight for a long time.

At long last, p@n-ting and beginning to taste the horrible tang of fear and desperation, Crankson stands in a fighting stance and looks at Chris with something akin to absolute panic.
The bell tinkles.
Chris speaks slowly.

Just wanted to show you how a true Grandmaster does it. If you give up now, and do not respond to the second round bell, you’ll be disgraced, but you will be whole. If you come for the second round, I’m gonna hurt you bad.
He turns and walks to his corner, leaving a trembling Crankson staring after him.
Crankson goes to his corner.
He sees the fear in the eyes of Nana Bosomtwum.

What did the bastard say?

He says I can choose not to answer the bell for the second round. If I do he will hurt me.

What are you gonna do, Micky?

(laughing shakily)
Well, I’ve never been a coward. I can’t be one now. He’s good, damn good, but I’m going in there. Maybe, in his complacency, he’ll give me an opening, and I’ll kill him.
The second round bell tinkles.
Chris gets up and moves to the centre of the ring.
Crankson meets him.

Alright, as-s-hole, let’s see what you’ve got.
What happens next is a blur.
Crankson does not see Chris moving, but he feels the crushing b!ows… his head, his legs, his ribs, his arms.
Crankson screams with pain as Chris twists and turns, attacking with such relentless brute f0rç£ that Crankson is reduced to a punching bag, and blood streams from his face and nostrils.
He feels the punishing b!ows, and m0@n s with a mixture of pain and horror.
Chris spins, sinking a fist in his guts, ma-king Crankson wheeze, and then Chris is in the air, swinging a haymaker that almost tears Mike’s head off, and then Chris gracefully turns in the air with a head-crushing side-kick that hurls Crankson into the ropes.
Crankson manages to stand straight, but he is wobbling, and there is blood in his mouth and around his nostrils.
He stares at Chris with his horror complete.

Yoush shmucking fv¢kishy br@br@shbush shucoti-p pushara-pash!
Hisl-ips are so swollen and smashed that his words are not coherent.
There is no mercy on Chris’ face.

Nob©dy hits my son. Nob©dy!
And then his hands move like pistons, the b!ows raining down on Mike with terrible precision… fast, ha-rd , damaging, unst©ppable!

(suddenly alarmed)
Oh, God, Chris is going to kill him! No, Chris-Love! St©p, Baby, Stoooop!!!
Up in the VIP Lounge Eyram jumps to her feet in alarm.

He’s killing him! My God, he’s killing him!
The crowd is suddenly silenced at such brute punishment.
It is no longer a fight.
It is a torture, a macabre thrashing as primitive as it is beastly.
Nana Bosomtwum looks around for a white towel to throw in, to concede defeat.
A spinning side b!ow from Chris s£nds Crankson crashing against the corner, his legs gone, his hands down, unable to defend himself.

Chris goes into his fatality stance, the one he uses to deliver knockouts.
He extends his right hand, crouches a bit low on his left leg, gathering all his brute f0rç£ into his left fist for a straight chin-crushing explosive punch that no opponent had ever survived.
Referee Odamten tries to st©p the fight because it is evident Crankson is gone, and cannot defend himself.
But the referee is behind Chris, and he sli-ps on the canvas and falls.
Nana Bosomtwum throws in a white towel, but it lands behind Chris, and he does not see it in the mist of the fury consuming him.
Effe is screaming, Wailer is screaming… the crowd is silenced as Chris begins to zone in with that deadly left fist.
And then Junior is throu-gh the ropes, and suddenly he is standing in front of his father, holding his father’s right th!gh, tears streaming down his face.


Chris freezes.
He sees his son throu-gh the mist of his murderous fury, and slowly he begins to shake, and that horrible mist of fury slowly leaves his eyes.
Junior now wra-ps both his arms around his father’s legs and weeps silently.
Referee Odamten has gained his feet, and has picked up the white towel, and he moves forward and strikes downward…
Chris has won!
He is once again the Grandmaster of GojuFist.
Crankson tries to move, and he crashes to the canvas ha-rd , and remains still.
Chris picks up his son, and hvgs him, and Junior hvgs him back.
Odamten motions to the doctors to attend to Crankson as he walks up to Junior and pats him on his back.

Trust, young man, you’re as br@ve as your father, trust! Thank you, thank you very much, trust. That’s a great kid you got there, Mr. Bawa, trust.
Junior giggles throu-gh his tears.

What’s with him, Daddy, trust? Trust, trust, trust! What’s wrong with him, trust?
Father and son both coll@pse with gales of laughter.

I don’t know, trust!

Trust, he’s trustworthy, trust!
This time they scream with laughter.
Wailer Veoom enters the ring, shouting and punching the air with extreme happiness.
There is deafening screaming all around.
Crankson is carried out on a stretcher, still unconscious.
The sound is deafening as Chris’ name reverberates around the arena.
He is a hero once more.
The beast is gone, for now, for a moment.
This moment, as he hvgs his br@ve son, and the image is beamed across the continent, Chris Bawa knows only happiness, and he prays de-ep down, that it will stay that way!

To be continued

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