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  • armanmirhadi

Men and Women







JACK



Jack would kill his wife and bury her in the garden by the lake where they wouldn’t find her, he thought.


She had been a good woman, just terribly dull and even stupid sometimes. But they had good times too.


Jack was late one day. He just wouldn’t get dressed and Laura stood anxiously at the door, with her bag, stepping from side to side, wondering if they would make it. Jack didn’t care. He usually didn’t care. Laura would tell him. She would tell her friends too!


“He just doesn’t care! He knew how important Lisa’s engagement party was to me, but he just wouldn’t get ready!”


“I told you he is no good! I told you not to marry him!”, Stephanie said. Stephanie was tall and blond and slim and had no ass and no soul, Jack would be telling Laura when she came home from meeting the girls at night, all drunk and mad.


“Stephanie is smart! And her husband really cares about her!”


“That’s great.”, Jack said, “Still, no ass and no soul.”


“You are terrible!”


“I am honest.”


“You only care about yourself!”


Some would say Jack only cared about himself. Others would say he only cared about boxing and beer. Surely nobody would say, Jack wasn’t a man of passion and for him that was plenty.


Laura fell in love with Jack on a hot spring day, eating a caesuras salad and smoking a chesterfield. Jack sat three tables further, facing her, toasting his beer with two friends, his blue eyes hidden in secret under dark shades. Laura saw the authority of the way Jack stood up, commanding a toast. She liked how well-dressed he was. She liked his calm face. A strong face. She liked how mysterious Jack seemed.


Jack fell in love with Laura while cutting through a thick, but tender piece of steak. He felt her. He used the opportunity of his fork floating up to his mouth to look at her, look safely from behind his shades. Laura froze when she felt his eyes on her. She quickly turned and smiled at her friends. She nipped on her Spritz and scratched through her curly hair and she laughed and she talked.

Jack liked how delicate she looked. He liked her brown wavy hair and her big lips. Laura’s breasts were swelling behind her dress. When Jack saw her long legs, when she got up to go to the bathroom, he knew he had to follow her. Laura slid off her chair with elegance and stepped, slowly with those long legs. She even took the longer route, casually strolling past Jack’s table. There it was. Nearly invisible, gently but firmly, she turned her head and threw Jack one look. She did it well. Jack needed her.


He waited two minutes after she had entered the restaurant and got up and inside.

He strolled through the wooden indoors.

He took off his shades and scanned the room.

He found stairs going to the bathrooms and hopped them down.

Women. Men.

He entered the cabin for men.

Rushed to the sink, let the water run over his hands, and threw some on his face.

Dried off, took one look in the mirror, turned, and rushed back, holding at the door.

He could hear movements through the wall on the other side, the cabin for women.

He listened: “Cluk. Cluk. Cluk.”,


“That was her!”, he thought and opened the door.

A woman opened the other door and came out of the ladies’ room.


It wasn’t her. Jack leaned back against the wall. He smelled the perfume of that woman's dark blond hair, as she passed.

He didn’t like it.


He waited until she was gone. Then pressed his ear against the lady’s room door. Nothing. Then he heard the water run.

Then again: “Cluk. Cluk. Cluk.”, this time it sounded different. More defined. More elegant. It was her!

Jack pulled open the door of the male cabin and disappeared inside.

He waited two seconds, took one deep breath, and went outside.


She stood in front of him. Long legs under a light summer dress and high heels. She wore no makeup, just some dark color on her eyelids. She looked fabulous. Her tits pressed against her dress like they wanted to come out.


There he stood in front of her. And just looked at her. And she looked back. And they were there alone. And no words were spoken. It felt natural. It felt right. Jack didn’t drop his eyes from her and she couldn’t stop looking up at him.


“We have to talk.”, Jack said. It sounded determined. And surprised at the same time.


Laura smiled: “Yes?”, and it sounded like she was his already.


“Yes.”, Jack said.


“About what?”, Laura asked. It had suddenly become so very hot in that old Italian-style cellar.


“You know about what.”, Jack whispered. And both felt the heat.


“Did you follow me to the toilet?”, Laura asked.


“I guess we just got lucky.”, Jack said.


“Is that so?”, Laura whispered.


“Yes.”, Jack said.


Laura smiled. Jack smiled back.


Eighteen months later they got married. Jack started fighting professionally shortly after they met.















2



“I got him good baby!”, Jack came busting through the door with a six-pack in each hand, smelling like he had bathed in beer.


“You won?”


“I sure did! Caught him early in the first, right behind the ear! Wasn’t the same afterward. Tough guy though.

A Mexican. They can take a punch! But he couldn’t hang with me. Nobody can hang with me! I am just too fucking great!

I got him down again in the third. He made the count and I just bombed him against the robes until the ref saved him!”


“I am so proud of you Jack!”


“I talked with Ali and he said I can get someone in the top fifteen next!”


“That’s great Jack!”


“It sure is! Top fifteen! You know what that means?”


Laura was thinking. “It means another KO and I’m in the top ten! And one or two KO’s there and I get a top-five guy and after that, it’s off to the title!”


“That’s exciting!”


“I am gonna be the champ! I will show ‘em! They’ll all know! I am the greatest!”


Laura was chopping carrots in the kitchen.

“Yes, you are Jack.”


“Say that again!”


“You are great.”, Laura mumbled. “I am the greatest! I will show ‘em! They will see!”


“Sure, Jack.”


“What is this?” “What is what?”, Laura asked.


“What is this: sure jack?”


“Of course you are.” “What of course? Don’t you think I am great?”


“Of course you are great! You are my fighter.”


“What do you mean your fighter?”


“Well, to me you are the greatest fighter!” “To you?”, Laura realized the mistake she had made.


“Everyone thinks that! Jack, you are great.”


“Twelve knockouts in thirteen fights!”


“I know Jack.”, Laura looked down and kept chopping, Jack went to the fridge and loaded it with beer. He cracked one.


“You really want to keep drinking now? You know how you can get when you’re drinking after your fights.”, Laura asked.

She should have just been quiet. Jack was already zapped. Nothing could calm him if he was drunk. And he was damn right unstoppable when he was drunk and won a fight.


“I am celebrating! I won goddammit! I am a fucking winner, I am drinking!”


Laura lit a chesterfield and sat down at the small kitchen table. She smoked. He drank. They didn’t talk.


“You should have been there.”, Jack said, cutting through the silence.


“You know I can’t watch your fights.”


“His wife was there.”


“And how she must have felt.”, Laura said, exhaling smoke in the air. She was tired.


“You think that will happen to me?”


“Of course not.” “But what?”


“I just couldn’t take it to watch something like that.”


“I lost one fight! One goddam fight and it was a split decision! I won that fucking fight and Garcia knew it! Everyone knew it, those judges had no idea what they were saying! I outboxed him every round and they gave him volume! He didn’t hit me clean once!”


“I know Jack.”


“You don’t know! You don’t want to be embarrassed! That’s it, right? You think I will lose and you don’t want to be embarrassed! Say it like it is!”


“It’s not like that!” “You don’t know how great I am!”, Jack said and started shadowboxing in the kitchen with his beer in one hand, spilling beer on the kitchen floor.


“Of course, I know! Jack, I love you!” Jack stopped and turned to her.


“You think I won’t be the champ!”, he yelled, pointing his finger at her face.


“I never said that!”


“But it’s what you’re thinking!”


“You are crazy!”


“I might be crazy, but I’m a winner!” He cracked another beer and started gulping. Laura got up and started frying carrots and onions. She was preparing Jack’s winner's meal. It was a tradition. It was one of those things they started at the beginning of their relationship, after Jack’s third or fourth professional fight, because of spontaneity and love. After a while though, it had just become a drag for both of them. Something Laura did to keep the idea alive, that she was still in love and something Jack enjoyed because it was stake and he felt more like a man when his woman made him stake after his fight.


“Yeah, I’m a winner! I’m a fucking winner!”, Jack was thinking while cutting through that juicy steak and staring at his wife’s juicy ass, cleaning in the kitchen to avoid having to talk to him. The silence became painful.


“That’s a real winner’s meal.”, Jack mumbled, tearing away at the meat in-between his teeth.


“You like it?”, Laura asked.


“Yeah.”

Laura turned to him.


“You like when I cook for you Jack?”, she asked, taking one more hit of her cigarette, then pressing it out.


“Yeah.”


“What else do you like I do?”, Laura smiled, slowly leaning forwards over the kitchen counter.

Jack watched her, gulping more beer.


“I like it when you lean over like that.”


“You like it?” Laura asked in her girly voice, taking slow steps with those long legs, around the kitchen island. She turned away from Jack, holding herself at the counter. Then, slowly, she started pushing her full ass out toward Jack.

Then she turned her head. She smiled, biting her lips.


“Oh my god!”, Jack thought. He was chewing on steak and gulping beer and he got up.


“I like your ass.”, Jack said.


“Ouhh!”


“Yeah I like that ass!”, Jack said building behind her. He moved forwards as if he would touch her. He didn’t leave her any space. And still didn’t touch her. Fire. Laura’s eyes closed. Jack let his face slowly glide beside Laura’s. She couldn’t take it anymore in anticipation. Jack felled it. His hand went through her hair. He kissed her cheek. She melted away. Jack touched her ass, then grabbed her hips from behind.


“Are you my winner, Jack?”, Laura moaned.


Jack grabbed her hair and pulled her back. He turned her around and kissed her lips. Then turned her away from him and ripped down her pants. Then fingered off her panties.


“I’ll show you a winner bitch!”


Jack pressed her against the counter and slowly slid inside. He started working and he worked her well.


“You are my winner! You are my winner! You are my champion!”, Laura kept screaming.


“I’m the champ! I’m the champ you bitch!”, Jack kept mumbling.


Jack was close and Laura felt it.


“Cum for me champion! Cum for me baby! Cum for me, my champion!”


“OHHHH I’m fucking you, baby! I’M FUCKING YOU!”


“Cum for me champ! Cum for me champ! OH CUM FOR ME MY CHAMPION!”, Laura screamed.


“OHHHHHHHH!”


Jack had cum.


“My champion.”, Laura said. Jack pulled out and sat down. He lit a cigarette, his dick hanging out. Laura kissed his cheek and went to the bathroom.


“Again.”, Jack thought.


Some would call it a charade. The game those two were playing. They would either fight or ignore each other or do both. Then one of them would give the other just a little bit of space.

And then Laura let Jack fuck her.

Jack would be happy and she would be calmer and it would be easier.

Laura came back.


“That was really good.”, Jack said.


“Yes.”, Laura said.


“Did you cum?”, Jack asked.


“Well, I was close.”, Laura said. Jack inhaled smoke deeply and opened another beer.


“I like it to fuck you in the kitchen from behind.”, Jack said.


“I like it when you fuck me in the kitchen from behind.”, Laura smiled at him. She stood in front of Jack and he hugged her hips and sat her down on his lap.

She kissed him.


“I love you, Jack.” “Yeah, I love you too.”

Laura smiled. “And you are my champion.”, she said. Jack inhaled smoke and pressed out his cigarette.

He took a sip of beer and smiled at her.

He beat a Mexican, ate a steak, and fucked his woman.


“Yeah”, Jack thought, “I am a winner.”





3



When Jack would wake up hungover, Laura used to make him eggs. She scrambled eggs in a pan with tomatoes, onions, peppers, bacon, and cheese. Sometimes she would smear avocado on bread, put the eggs on it, sunny side up, and serve Jack his hangover meal to bed with freshly brewed black coffee and juice.


Jack would be a happy man. But he couldn’t show her. Jack was great at drinking beer and beating Mexicans and later women too, but he was damn right terrible when it was about handling a hangover like a man. His head was hurting, his mouth was so dry that his throat tasted like blood. He felt terrible and he would be too.


After a couple of years of being married, Laura only made sure Jack didn’t suffocate on his puke the next morning and left him laying in his misery, going to the market, usually with Stephanie or Lisa or one of her other female friends.


Friends Jack casually tried to fuck in the beginning, but who rejected him and who since then, frankly to Jack, didn’t matter more than an empty can of beer in the trash.

Jack didn’t respect women much more than the feeling they gave him when they were around. When they let Jack fuck them and make him feel like a hero, he liked them. When they were bitching and complaining and making him feel like less a man than he didn’t.

To be fair, most people are like that. In a way. Another person’s worth to you comes from the feeling they give you when they’re around.


Jack felt good with women around. But an all-knowing force watching through the clouds, into his brain could easily see that Jack didn’t really respect women.


Jack felt like women would try their best, to take from him what made him a man.

So they could feel more comfortable and safe.

Or to see if he really was so strong after all.


He only knew he despised men that cuddled their manliness, aspirations, and strength to sleep, to please a woman that continually lost more and more respect from them.



Today. Where the world has shifted and giant machines take the role of brave men. And a system of civilization has conquered our freedom by giving us comfort. Men aren’t needed anymore.

Food is in the fridge. Fire in a switch. You are fed, saved, and nourished and all that without men that are hunting or building fires or fighting tigers.

But men are still here. And a man needs to hunt. And a man needs to fight. And a man needs to protect. A man needs to be a hero. A man needs to be rough. A man receives love for being tough. A man needs to be strong. A man needs to be brave. A man needs to be free. A man needs power. A man needs a woman. Men need women. Women need men. Men hate women. Women hate men.


Jack needed to fuck.









4


“C'mon say something baby.’’, Jack told her. He was driving easy on the freeway.

Laura was still and stared out the window.


“You don’t want to talk to me?” Laura didn’t answer. “Baby, you don’t want to talk?”

“We won’t be late, you know? I knew we wouldn’t be late.” Laura turned and threw him a look. She was mad.


“It’s Lisa’s wedding!”, she screamed. “All right, don’t scream.” Jack took the exit merging on Sleepy Hollow Drive up Ocean Side. A few minutes dragged in silence.


“Hey. Baby.”, he floated his hand out to her face and gently touched her cheek with the outside of his fingers. Laura slapped his hand away: “Don’t touch me!”

“Why not? Baby, it’s all good.”


“It’s not.” And Laura stared out the window again.

They continued driving in silence.


“I hate you.”, she said about five or six painful minutes later.


“Yeah, yeah,” Jack said.


They drove through the entrance of Madison’s Hotel. Balloons were floating in the air everywhere. There were no free parking spots left.


“Of course.”, Laura exhaled.


“What?… What?”


“We will not find a parking spot anymore.”


“We will. We will.”


“Everybody here already, only big Jack has to be late.”


“They can suck a dick.”


“Of course.”


“Of course what?”


“Nothing.”


“Sassy bitch”, Jack was thinking. But he felt good in his fine pants and his new suit. He felt like a big man. A rich man. And Stephanie’s rich husband could go suck a dick too. That bastard liked Laura. Jack knew that. “He was just a little bit too nice”, Jack thought. A gentleman. A gentleman for sure. See how gentle he will be with a broken nose. Jack smiled.


“What are you smiling about?”, Laura asked aggressively. “Nothing.”, Jack replied.


“Of course.”, Laura mumbled. Jack took a left, following the thin one-way street around the hotel. He nearly made it one whole time around, then saw an open space.


He threw the car around and parked clean. He knew Laura wished for him to get stuck, or take a while to park, or even crash another car, just so she could judge him. But he didn’t. And he felt like a winner.


“Told you.”, Jack said.

“Just don’t act like an ass.”, Laura said and opened the door. Jack followed. “What do you mean like an ass?”

“You know what I mean.”


“No, I don’t.”


“Don’t finish a bottle by yourself and don’t start another fight.”


“It’s a wedding! Everybody is drinking. It would be rude not to drink! And I never start fights, I just end them.”


“Ya. Ya. That’s what you said last time.”


“Last time was different!”, Jack said as they were walking the narrow road all the way back to the main entrance of the hotel.


“You look for conflict.”


“I end conflict. And if some fucking guy touches you again I will not just stand there and watch!”


“I know.”


“Yes, you know. I am not one of those weak, milky guys who will just stay there and be like: “Yeah sure fuck my wife, I’ll just watch.”


“Oh my god!”


“Yes! You can call me lord too.”


“Shut up.”, Laura said, leisurely waving her hand in between them, creating distance.


“I will not.”


“You are just like a kid Jack.”


“And you’re the big woman.”


“It’s Stephanie! HEY STEPHANIE!”, Laura shouted excitedly, “Don’t be an ass!”, she whispered to Jack harshly. Laura quickly walked forwards, leaving Jack behind. Stephanie, standing in front of the main entrance did the same.

“No ass and no soul.”, Jack thought, casually, (as casually as he could make it look), strolling behind his wife.

“BABY!”, Stephanie screamed. “Oh my god! I am so excited!”, Laura screamed. “ME TOO!”, Stephanie screamed and they were hugging each other deeply and lightly jumping up and down like little girls.


Jack thought he needed a drink. “Frank!”, Laura screamed and she embraced him. Frank was Stephanie’s, oh-so-perfect husband. Or slimy dirtbag, as Jack would call him.


“What a beautiful dress! And that smile, you look great Laura!" Frank blabbered and Jack entered, his arms around her: “She does look beautiful, doesn’t she?” “Stephanie, you look gorgeous too! You two will make Lisa jealous! You know at a wedding there can only be one princess, and now we already have two!”


“Oh, stop the charming Jack!”, Stephanie said, lightly touching Jack’s shoulder. Not because she liked Jack, but because she also didn’t like the way Frank looked at Laura.


“Nice words Jack, maybe should be a writer, not a boxer.”, Frank said, standing tall.


“With my woman and my profession, I chose damn well!”, Jack said, standing taller. His arm was around Laura, leaning over, kissing her cheek. “So! Are we going inside for a drink?”, Laura asked.


“Oh, I need one!”, Jack said. “So, you could be a writer after all!”, Frank said, as they were walking inside Madison’s hotel.


“Why’s that, Frank?”, Jack wondered.

“They drink all the time!”


“And what does that have to do with me?”, Jack asked and stopped walking.


“Ah, Frank’s just teasing you!”, Laura fell in. “Just a joke, that’s all.”, Frank laughed.


“Not funny Frank.”, Stephanie said. “Actually, very funny! A banker thinking he knows shit all about literacy.”


“Jack!”, Laura said harshly. “Just a joke pal, that’s all.”, Jack said, clapping Frank on the back with his open palm, grabbing Laura’s hand and pulling her away, telling them they’d go to the bathroom. What they did.


“I asked you not to be an ass, and no five minutes in, you’re an ass. Tell me, Jack, did you take too many punches to the head, or what’s the issue here?”


“You heard what he said about me drinking?”


“It was a joke!”


“Why he’s talking about me drinking? He’s got a problem or what?”


“He doesn’t.”


“Did you tell him something?”


“ME? WHAT?”


“I don’t know, maybe something about me drinking?”


“Of course not! Jack!” Jack turned the faucet on, so people on the toilet wouldn’t hear them argue.


“Don’t give me your Jack! Did you or did you not?”


“NO! Of course not! Why would I be talking with him?”


“I don’t know! You tell me!”


“You are crazy!”


“Ya. Ya. I’m the crazy one! What was that shit about how great your dress looks like?”


“He was being nice!”


“Ya. Ya.”


“You said how BEAUTIFUL Stephanie looked.”


“So what?”


“So that! I have had enough of your shit and you not trusting me and I am going to my friends now and you can do whatever!”


“Great!”


“Yeah great! Get drunk or something!”


“Yeah go listen to how beautiful your dress is! Maybe go out for a dance too! Fat bankers are supposed to be the best dancers!”


“Fuck you!”, Laura screamed, storming out of the bathroom and slamming the door.


“Ye. Fuck you too.”, Jack whispered. Looking at himself in the mirror. Listening to the water run from the faucet.











5


If he could just leave her. Oh, wouldn’t that be nice? Get drunk when he feels like it. Watch fights when he wants to. Fuck hookers three or four times a week to release the pressure. Go out on the weekends and flirt around and be close and kiss strangers and finger twenty-year-old girls in the club and have a threesome on some dirty, coked-up toilet.


That’d be the life. No bitching. No moaning. No complaining. No soul-dragging arguments deep into the night. No judging. No feeling weak.


But no: “I love you!” neither. No breakfast to bed. No always being loved.


Jack threw water on his face and he thought about the time they met.


After all those fights and every time breaking up, those beautiful memories from the beginning, when everything was perfect. Everything was possible. Time was slowed down and the world only existed for them. It glided away. Every fight took something. Sometimes more, sometimes it seemed like less, but ever since their first break up, they were digging from that love, and soon there was no more magic left.


The story of love. It’s the story of loss.


Jack had gotten knocked out in his last fight for the first time. It had been a bad knockout too. Flush and clean and face down the canvas. It was the first time Laura had come to watch him fight.

He couldn’t even look her in the eyes the first week after.


She had always told him: “No matter what happens, I will always love you.”


After that fight, she didn’t have orgasms anymore when they had sex.

It was like she wasn’t there anymore.

It was like she didn’t believe him when he showed her that he was strong.


She never said that.

Jack just knew. He knew that she would never forget the image of another man taking his consciousness from him, a few feet away from her.


It had been a month ago and he hadn’t been to the gym since. He was terrified of the faces of his teammates, his sparring partners, and his coaches. All the people that had believed in him. That gave him their time, their energy, their focus. He couldn’t face that. Jack couldn’t sleep anymore. He lay awake at night, staring at the dark ceiling, feeling empty and depressed.

Thinking about the fight.


He could have just kept his left hand a little bit higher.

He could have just pumped the jab a little more.

He could have just committed on the right hand; he landed in the first a little stronger.

Oh god did it hurt.


He had only seen the knockout once. It was in the ring right after it happened. Jack barely remembered the night after the concussion, but he remembered waking up on the canvas, the bright lights shining mercilessly, the crowd screaming and yelling and clapping.

Lima, his opponent, was strolling around the ring, yelling in the crowd and flexing his muscles.

A bunch of middle-aged men in dark clothes, turned him over, kneeling beside him, with serious faces, asking him stupid questions.

Like what day it was, what name he had.


And then the crowd erupted, Jack turned to the big screen and watched Lima blind him with the jab, step back and land a devastating uppercut flush on his chin. Jack watched his eyes roll back in slow motion. He watched the water his corner had poured on him fly off his head, and he watched his knees collapse, him folding like a garden chair, slamming his nose on the canvass. Laying still.


That pain was what made a fighter. Or broke one.






6


“There he is!”, Frank said. Standing big and fat and tall. Laura and Stephanie and Lisa and Hank and all the people Jack just wanted to flush down the toilet stood there in their fancy clothes looking all expensive and fake, with their big smiles and white teeth and thin glasses of Champagne in their hands.

Jack wanted to escape.


“Where have you been?”, Lisa smiled excitedly. “On the shitter.”, Jack mumbled. Laura rolled her eyes, turned away, and took a big sip of champagne. “Always the right words.”, Frank said, looking at Laura.


“Congrats, you two. Lisa, you look beautiful today.”


“Thank you! It’s so good to see you!”, Lisa said. Jack always thought it was weird how people he knew couldn’t stand him would become the nicest when they were throwing parties. Where was that energy in normal life? Why couldn’t they be good when there weren’t people around to whom they had to show how social they were?


“Say Hank…”, Hank was Lisa’s now new husband. And Jack actually kinda liked Hank because he watched boxing and liked beer and was a pretty good guy, “…where can I get a proper drink around here?”


“Oh, come with me buddy.”, he said. He kissed Lisa and said: “We’ll be right back.”

And the two walked off.


“What does it feel like to be married?”, Jack asked, as they were making their way through the crowd, people stopping and turning and congratulating Hank.


“It’s amazing man, I can’t wait for tonight.” “Yeah enjoy tonight, it ain’t gettin' better than that.”


“You aren’t the biggest supporter of marriage, are you?”, Hank asked.


“Well, I was stupid enough to do it, so I am the wrong one to give you any advice pal.”


Hank smiled: “I love Lisa. I am sure it’s gonna be O.K.”


“Oh, it’s gonna be O.K.”


Then they got to the outside bar in the garden and sat down.


“What are you drinking?”, Hank asked. “Whiskey.”


“Two whiskeys.”, Hank ordered. “I got something for you.”, Jack smiled and fished in his suit, pulling out two, beautiful cigars.


“Jack, are those…?” “They’re Cuban. I told you I’ll get 'em for you.”


“That’s amazing!” “Here smell 'em!”, Jack handed him one. Hank took a nose.


“Magic!” They lit them up and got the whiskey and then they were smoking their cigars, drinking whiskey, and sitting in their fine suits. They were two men talking.


“Listen, Jack, I gotta tell you some.”


“Aha.”


“So, I watched your last fight.”, Jack didn’t answer, just pulled on the cigar.


“And you ain’t got nothing to be ashamed of man! You fought your heart out in that fight! You fought like a lion, you were all guts.”


“That’s nice of you to say, but I got fucking knocked out buddy.”

And Jack kept drinking.


“You got caught. Everybody gets caught sometimes! The best get caught. Ali got caught. Tyson got caught. Pacquiao got caught, ehm who else?”


“Duran.”, Jack said.


“Duran! Even Duran got caught!”


“Mayweather didn’t.”, Jack mumbled


“Mayweather didn’t. So what? Mayweather never fought as you fight. Going forward no matter what. Hunting down, throwing bombs! Who throws bombs get bombed sometimes, that’s just how it goes. That’s the business you are in, you know that better than anybody.”


“I appreciate it, man, I really do, it’s just…”


“…when are you fighting again?”


“I don’t know.”


“But you got a date in your mind?”


“No.”


“But you’re training?” Jack took a big gulp of whiskey and it went down warm his throat.


“Not once.” Hank stared at him with worry. There was silence for a minute as both thought about the life they were living and the people they were sharing it with.


“You’ll get it back. You’ll get it back.”


“Ya.”


Then they sat in silence for a bit longer smoking their cigars and sipping on good whiskey.







7


When Jack got back, he saw Frank, that slimy dirt back, leaning over the tall table, talking to Laura, with a stupid smile on his lips. Jack started to get mad, but let it go.


He sat down and grabbed some champagne from somewhere. The delicate feeling of liquor waved a warm welcome.

“Whatever.”, he thought.


“Let that bitch do whatever she wants. Let them talk. Let them laugh. Let them dance. And just sit here and get drunk.”, Jack was thinking, staring through his glass, enjoying the pain.


It was sweet that pain. It almost felt good. “Let him touch her. Oh god, please try touching her. Kiss her Frank, please just try you son of a bitch.”, and they kept talking and Frank leaned over further.


“Just try you son of a bitch, just try.” Jack’s fists were clenched. He had imagined the shots he would pick on Frank countless times. He would jab off his nose, dig a nasty left hook in his liver and knock him out with a brutal right hook. “Just try buddy.”, Jack thought again to himself, as Stephanie sat down close beside him.


“There you are. Hank said you got him a Cuban?”, Stephanie smiled and touched Jack’s shoulder again. Jack got pulled from the violence in his mind.


“Ye. Right.”


“You are a good friend.”, Stephanie smiled.


“Yeah.”


“I wish Frank would be a bit more like that.”, Stephanie gossiped.


“I am sure.”, Jack mumbled.


“Oh be nice, Jack!”, Stephanie smiled, encouraging him to keep going.


“Can I ask you something?”, Jack wondered, his gaze resting on his wife, sunken deep in conversation about all kinds of miscellaneous topics.


“Depends.”, Stephanie said.


“How come such a beautiful woman like you chooses to marry a guy like Frank?”


Stephanie’s eyes showed a strange feeling of confusion. She didn’t know how to take it. And Jack sensed it.


“Why wouldn’t she?”, Stephanie replied.


“I guess because she could explore herself.”


“What makes you think that I have never done that?”


“Because if you would have, you wouldn’t have settled for somebody who can’t even get a proper erection.”, Jack explained.


“How do you know that?”, Stephanie asked shocked.


“I didn’t.”, Jack said and finished his drink.


Stephanie was silent. “You are terrible.”, she moaned. “And your husband cheats on you.”, Jack casually replied. Stephanie got pale, opened her mouth, then closed it again. Jack smiled in Victory.


She just sat there, pale and silent, and looked up from her shoes to Laura and Frank, who started dancing, way too close to be friendly.


“I think you deserve better.”, Jack said. “Thanks, Jack.”, Stephanie said, not listening. “And”…-he gently touched her hair and Stephanie turned her face to him, asking him for answers like a small deer lost in the rain…-“I always thought so.”


“Stop it, Jack.”


“I mean it.”, Jack put his glass down and stood up. He grabbed Stephanie's hand and pulled her up from her seat. He looked her in the eyes and said: “Let me show you something.” Then he pulled her after him outside. As Frank whispered in her ear, Laura turned to them.

Jack left them dancing. He pulled Stephanie onto an empty white balcony, above the ceremonially decorated garden.


He pulled her close and looked her in her blue eyes, a few blond hairs on her face, he gently folded them behind her ear and told her: “Fuck them.”


“But Jack!”, Stephanie started, but it was too late, no matter that Stephanie always thought she hated Jack, and no matter that she was married and he was married and her best friend was his wife, at that moment, that slice of time, the intensity, the heat, the fact how crazy and forbidden it was, made it so irresistibly intriguing, that she couldn’t stop it - Jack had her. Her innocent, blue eyes looking for answers. Jack moved forwards and kissed her lips. It was sweet and it was true and he wanted more. Stephanie tried pushing him off and felt how strong he was:


“Jack! What are you doing?” But Jack just stared through her and she melted under his stare.

She knew it was wrong, and she knew she wanted more.

The taste of evil is too sweet to resist.


Jack grabbed her again and they opened up and their tongues met and Jack let his hands glide around Stephanie's thin waist to her nonexistent ass. Stephanie needed to feel his body and put her hands down his hard belly. She wanted to feel him on top of her and she let his hips glide onto her. Then she separated.


“Jack.”, she whispered again, but he was too close and her eyes too wild.

She smiled and he smiled at her and they met again, and he pressed his dick against her and she felt him hard and warm and she let her hand glide down and touch him.


Then horror.


“Jack!”, a broken voice of anger, confusion, depression, and hate. It was Laura. Besides her was Frank:


“That’s my wife you asshole!”, and he got red like a tomato, pressed his face together in rage, and started charging at Jack, swinging wildly with his right hand. Jack jumped around, took his head off the center line, and slammed a straight right from hell into Franks's cheekbones, followed by a mile-fast left hook to the temple, sending Frank stiff like a board, face forwards to the ground.

Stephanie screamed. Laura stood still, tears filling her eyes, trying to open her mouth, with no words coming out.


“You pig. You fucking pig.”, was all she could say. Then she started crying like a girl who watched her favorite pet die.

She broke out in tears, turned, and walked away with quick steps while weeping.


Jack could only get out one silent whisper: “Laura.”, he said.


But it wasn’t enough.



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