Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pocket Full of Posies Chapter 2 page 2

     The two men stood on the unguarded pipe bridge that crossed the chasm of equipment, metal, and gantries that spiraled down several hundred meters. The large man, a Paxata, huffed hard as he stepped back, clearly not expecting the smaller man to have been this much of a challenge. Blood ran down the side of his face from a split in his brow, and he favored his side. As he stepped back his foot groped for sure footing.

     "Okay, this has been fun," said the smaller man, "but, really, haven't we more than settled this?"

     The crowd had formed up on either side of their side of the bridge, every man hoping to find a good spot to watch the melee unfold. Now a few steps onto the bridge, the big man looked his smaller opponent over, again. Dressed in work clothes and a leather jacket, he had clearly not anticipated he would see his own so well. But now, with his big words in the bar, he was on the spot to deliver on his words after their disagreement had escalated to this point.

     "Fuck you little man. C'mere and I'll show you what for."

     "Alright, then." He took off his leather jacket and held it out. "Justin, come here boy and hold my jacket."

     Justin, a boy of maybe fifteen, came from the crowd and took his father's jacket from him, rolling it up and holding it tight. "Watch his left, dad; it's fast but it's sloppy."

     To the cheer of the growing crowd he stepped out onto the bridge. "So, I don't suppose we had our proper introductions. I'm Jason Bailey - foreman for-"

     "Just come here and get your beating, little man."

     Jason sighed and shook his head. "Alright, then. 'To the death' is what I believe you yelled at the top of this? I mean, that is your people's way, right?"

     In desperation the larger man rushed Jason, swinging wildly. Jason managed a couple of dodges, but the third punch connected, sending him reeling back some. He was quick, however, to recover and countered with a made series of tight jabs and hooks. Within moments his opponent was overwhelmed. The crowd cheered and jeered as the large man tumbled backward; just managing to stay on the bridge.

     Jason gave ground, letting him get back up. He wiped the blood from his eyes and left, again, and Jason. Suddenly there it was, what Jason had been waiting for; that wild and sloppy left hook. Snaring it in a grapple, Jason brought his opponent close into him. His knee launched up, first finding a forearm, then the ribs, and finally manhood. As the large man let out a whispered cry, Jason, using the leverage of the grappled arm, forced his opponent to stand and delivered a devastating blow to his face.

     Stunned, the large man stumbled back. His foot slipped from the unguarded pipe bridge and he began to fall backward, over the side. The crowd fell to a hush as Jason reached out, clutched his shirt, and drew him back to solid footing; the two of them falling to their knees under his enormous weight.

     The large man looked Jason over. "W... why?"

     "Because now you're dead; at least your rep as a tough guy is dead. There's no reason to see the rest of you die, too. Who knows; maybe some day you may do something actually smart with that mouth and those hands of yours.

     Jason rejoined his son as money changed hands with the fight spectators. Justin handed his father back his jacket. "I don't get it," he asked his dad, "he's a Paxata; he claimed his right of fight to the death."

     "Boy, a man should have no beef he can't solve with just his wits and his fists. And killing is just a waste, anyway; you remember that. Besides; mercy is the mark of a good man."

     They both looked back as the Palate man was helped off the pipe bridge, bloodied and unable to stand on his own.

     "Eh; alright's good enough some days, son."

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