Eleven hours until he had to reclaim the title. Walking to Fast Fitness, ten blocks. Nine reps of his rigorous workout, repeat. Sweating through layers, he walks home, up eight flights of stairs. The elevator has been closed since seven.
He vomits six times on the way to the stadium. Mostly chicken and rice, hardly chewed. He squints his eyes against the sun setting over buildings. Driver takes the fifth turn after the bridge, the way they’ve always gone.
In the dressing room he winds the tape around his gloves four extra times for luck. He walks the long corridor holding his breath for three seconds each inhale. Lights. Cameras. Uproar. His wife catches his eye from the second row. Her sullen eyes pleaded. One last time.
As the title might suggest, I have boxing on the brain (I cried my way through Southpaw. If you haven’t seen it, do so immediately). Additionally, I read this lovely online magazine called Nanofiction, and they frequently offer writing prompts. Prompt #75 was to make an 11 day timeline to move a character through a story. I did eleven hours, because I make my own rules. But I was drawn to adding a countdown to the challenge, definitely in part because of Thursday’s “Jet Black New Year” (another Thursday reference, I know. Great band though.)