The Italian Stallion

I gulp down the three raw eggs from my favorite decepticon cup – my morning ritual, a ritual for two years since a saw the first Rocky movie

And think about people saying it’s gross — but I don’t taste anything.

Then I slip on those black padded gloves, run thru the living room reaching for the back door knob and yell, “Averie, get out here.”

My seven-year-old sister doesn’t even budge, just sits on the couch, staring at the cartoons. “I don’t wanna do it today. My arm still hurts from yesterday.”

I stop on the patio and stare back in at her. “Too bad. Now get outside, I’m gonna hit you whether you’re wearing the pads or not. You usually want to go outside and fight.”

I hear her groan, “Ugh. Why do I have to be your dummy?”

I smirk back, “Because Aleana’s not dumb enough to do it.”

“Huh,” she replies as she straps on the punching pads.

“Just hold your hands up.”

Left hook and the glove flies off her hand. I hit her upside the head. “Hurry up. Go get it.” She slips the glove back on, determined to get me back. Left jab. This time she goes flying. Tears in her eyes, she gets up. Left hook. She ducks. Haha. You missed me. Right jab.

She gasps for air.

She no longer finds it funny.

The gloves hit the patio floor, and she storms off.

Ignoring her, I walk out off the patio to the yard and started hitting the 4×4 holding up a corner of the playground.

She comes back out with a trash bag full of sand from the front yard. “Hang it on that so you won’t have to use me anymore.” She points to the beam that used to hold swings.

She drops the bag and leaves to watch cartoons. After five minutes, the bag’s in pieces.

I have to move. Have to run.

Four miles.

My iPod blasts to the Rocky theme song, “Getting Stronger.”

Climbing the high school stadium stairs in my gray sweatpants and sweater.

My lhapso apso beside me.

I get to the top and throw jabs at the air

Italian stallion repeats in my head

“It’s not about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep ticking,”  I think

The inspirational words set a fire in my soul.

Stronger than ever.

I’m invincible

I’m powerful.

The next song burns my insides even more. LMFAO – I’m sexy and I know it.

I run down the street, knocking down mailboxes and smacking around the chocolate lab I feared as a kid.

I’m the greatest man in the world. No work today, no win tomorrow.

I tremble with adrenaline. My arms lubricate with sweat. Punching like I’ve never punched before.

I’m the guy nobody wants to fight.

I’m the guy nobody can beat.

Months of this routine pass.

My gloves now torn and faded grayish black. The rotted foam crunches every time I punch a dude.

I stop fighting my sister and start picking fights with some of the biggest guys in the neighborhood – storming around, stepping on feet, pushing guys to the ground just to start a fight

Yet to lose a fight – and I get the rep of a lion.

I’m King of the Jungle

Blackening eyes, bruising body’s with one hit.

I love the attention. Now not just my family calls me Rocky. The name spreads like wildfire

Every girl in the school wants to see me fight.

I get respect from the guy who’s picked on me since kindergarten. Brian. Everybody hates him. I trip him on the corner of Apperson and Darren Street. He swings and hits my shoulder, and I swing and don’t stop til the six-foot giant’s on the ground – crying.

***

I become the coolest guy in school for that.

The silent, mysterious fighter everybody wants to know.

I get the angry stare of Clint Eastwood.

The teachers even know.

I start wearing suits to school. And as ZZ Top puts it, every girl’s crazy boutta sharp dressed man.

True.

Now I change out girlfriends more than I change out my razor. I’m livin the dream. High school is my playground.

I’m followed by groups of fans in the halls. I bring fear to the game Bloody Knuckles. People I’ve never met remember my birthday. And I get connections for anything you can think of.

And to think, it all started with Averie and that trash bag of sand. That stubborn seven-year-old kid. My boxing dummy who turned out to be no dummy at all.

The toughest kid I know. She’s definitely getting a check when I get famous. She was and will always be my first coach.

I’m the Italian Stallion…because of her.