The winner would not only take the purse but was poised to move up through the ranks of semi-professional boxing, so this would have been a big match no matter who my opponent was.
It was close all through the first five rounds, but when he let his guard down for just a moment, Bam!, I got a punch in straight at his face and when I heard and felt the crunch of his nose breaking, I was spurred on to push him onto the ropes, pummeling him even as I followed his retreat.
I was now clearly ahead in points, landing blow after blow while my older brother barely kept his gloves up, me pressing him against the ropes so he wouldn’t fall, so I could continue to punch him without fouling.
But when the ref called me off, sent me to my corner for the ten count, my brother staggered off the ropes, lifted his bruised and bloodied face, straightened, and raised a glove to me in a way that implied the middle finger even as an old familiar smile cracked his swollen lip.
I was at him before the count of five, losing points with each blow, disqualified when I landed another one when he was down on the mat. If my brother ever regains consciousness, I hope he is lucid enough to know that I let him win- and that I outlasted him.
The Six Sentence Story prompt this week is “crunch”. Click HERE to join a fun, casual, and supportive group of writers who regularly respond to these weekly prompts or to read their responses.