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Sucker Punch | Audio
By Lee Hammerschmidt
Lee Hammerschmidt is a Graphic Designer/Writer/Songwriter/Troubadour who lives on the fringe of Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Gumshoe Review, Page Forty-Seven, Short-Story.Me,several Chicken Soup For the Soul titles, and more. Check out his hit parade on YouTube!
       The crescent kick caught me perfectly, the inside of the heel landing on the side of my neck. Quick, fast and hard, the leg sweeping up from the floor in an arc before I could react. The whole left side of my upper body went numb. I stumbled backward trying to ready myself for the next blow.
       No dice. I couldn't get my dead arm up in time. The punch shot in past my matador attempt at a block and tagged me point blank right on the sweet spot just below the bottom of the sternum. I felt the air whoosh out of me as I sailed backward, landing ass-first on the mat.
       What the hell had I been thinking, agreeing to this?
       The disagreement had been going on between us off and on for a couple of weeks, both of us stubbornly sticking to our guns. Finally, something had to give.
       "Okay, that's it," my opponent had said over beers the night before. "Meet me at the gym tomorrow after work. We'll settle this there."
       "We'll settle this there?" I asked, amused by the suggestion. "You sure that's the way you want it?"
       "Yup. Bring your gloves, pads and headgear. Full contact. No punching to the face, no kicking to the groin. We go until someone submits or gets knocked out. You win, we drop the whole subject. But if I win, we do what I say."
       Now it wasn't that I underestimated my opponent's ability, far from it. It was more that I overestimated my own. This sounded like an easy out to me.
       "Okay," I said. "Tomorrow after work."
       Well right now I wish I had a do-over on that decision. I got my right arm behind me and tried to scramble backwards while shooting out short jab kicks with my left leg to keep my opponent at bay, buying time to get back on my feet. But it didn't work. My opponent caught my kicking leg and locked it up in a bar hold and began firing a series of short powerful half-moon kicks to my butt, lower back and ribs. I couldn't move, the leverage on my leg had me pinned to the ground and my left arm was useless.
       An especially vicious kick caught me just under my body pad. I felt my lowest rib crack.
       "Enough!" I howled in pain as I feebly slapped the mat to signal my submission. "That's it! Stop already!"
        My opponent released my leg and knelt down beside my head.
       "You okay?"
       "Great," I wheezed, the pain in my ribs making breathing excruciating. "Hunky dory."
        "Good. So you know the deal?"
       "Yeah," I gasped trying to sit up, almost passing out from the pain. "I know the deal. You won."
       "I didn't just win, I kicked your ass. I totally dominated!"
       "Yeah, total domination," I said, trying not to cry.
        "So, it's settled," she said, pulling off her headgear, her long dark hair falling down around her shoulders. "We're going to my parents' house for the Holidays."
       She leaned in and kissed me softly on the lips.
       "Anything for you, baby," I said. "Anything for you."
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