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(A short story of 1570 words)

Glass Jaw


by Paul Lahert

A boxer finds himself taking a beating in the early rounds of a prize-fight, but his opponent isn't the only thing he's fighting.

***Please Note: This story also appears in the collection "Indelible and Other Stories".***

The bell saves me though I barely make it back to my corner, my weight collapsing onto the stool so hard that I almost slip off it. Jesus, that last one caught me good. Spiteful shot, just under the ribs. Everything else falls away when you can’t get enough oxygen into your lungs.
Well, almost everything…
Tony immediately steps into the ring and takes out my mouthguard. He starts talking but I’m not hearing a word. Too busy trying to breathe. A minute’s not going to be long enough.
He sees it now and says my name. And again. The third time gets a response. I look him in the eye and manage a couple of nods, but I must look glassy ‘cos he isn’t fooled. And there ain’t no dressing up what’s happened so far...

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