Chapter Nine – Wannabe-Me:
It’s January, Walter’s last semester, but school’s pretty uneventful. Walt heads to the rundown boxing gym with duct tape holding everything together and starts working out with Willie, since his actual head trainer, Mack, is always too busy with Tyrell Biggs. Walter impresses Willie with his skills, which is more than can be said of the “hotshot football and basketball players” that come into the gym after every Tyson fight, since half quit during the first week, and nobody sticks around after the first sparring session.
Walter’s roommate, Skip, recommends Walt for a job quoting bids on garage door installations, so now he’s holding down two jobs, dealing with the last four classes left in his college career, and training like a madman. By mid-April, Walter’s down to 210 and slamming people around in the wrestling rooms. Walt gets word that Frito James (I like that name), all 190 sneaky pounds of him, is going around claiming that he manhandled Walter in takedowns. That doesn’t sit well with Walt, so he hits up a wrestling room on a night he knows Frito will be there and challenges him. Walt headbutts Frito during a lock-up, and double legs him into the mat. Walter isn’t done punishing the guy, though, so they square up again. Walt pulls on Frito’s hair, distracting James enough to allow Walt to drive in deep and get Frito off the mat and on his shoulder. Walter slams Frito into the mat, and that’s enough for James to run off, much to Walt’s delight.
The job of humiliating Frito done, Walt heads home, because it is time to party (He’s been skipping meals and working out constantly so he can fight in the under-200 pound division at the end of the month). In this case, party time means dancing with Adolf (That’s got to be the most intense, frightening dog dancing ever). Walt drinks some beer, and then an old friend, Steve, shows up, so they head to Tom’s house, one of Walter’s high school friends. After more beers at Tom’s house, the trio go to 2095, a hole-in-the-wall bar. The gang drinks a little bit, but 2095 is too full of punk posers, so Walt, Steve, and Tom leave the bar. On their way out, Walt gets called out by “this little itty-bitty guy named Joe”.
Walter mocks Joe’s short stature, slaps him on the ear, and then heads to Tom’s car. Joe gets livid and demands the bouncers call the cops on Walter for assaulting him, but the bouncers are Walt’s friends, so they ignore Joe. Joe rushes inside 2095 to get back-up while Walt, Tom, and Steve get in Tom’s car. Joe and twenty guys pour out of the bar and Walt wants to get out and kick all their asses. Tom’s having none of it, though, so they drive off.
Walt and Steve transfer into the Chevy Sprint, and it’s off to Jack’s Burgers for some late night food. The line is slow and Walt’s got to wait several minutes in front of the speaker with no response. A guy behind him in a van starts honking his horn and demanding Walter to just hurry up and order. The speaker finally comes on, Walt orders his four cheeseburgers (What happened to cutting down to under 200, Walt?), and the van-man, identified as a hippie, lays on the horn again after Walter pulls around to pay. Being too liberal with the horn must be one of Walter’s many throw-down vault combinations, because it’s GO TIME!
Walter gets out of his car and the hippies does the same. Walt charges, smashes past the open van door, and wraps up the hippie in a bear hug. Walter takes some hard shots to the head, but keeps a tight hold. Walter walks the hippie to the back of his van and slams him into the asphalt, taking more hard blows the entire time. Walt mounts the hippie and starts unloading with ground and pound. Walter notices Steve is bashing the hippie’s legs with a wooden baton, and Steve explains that the club was the source of the hippie’s power shots. This gets Walter even more pissed off, so he lands several more shots to the unconscious hippie’s swollen head before going back to the Sprint. Walt avoids main roads on the off chance the cops are on his tail, and makes it back to his house where he curls up with Adolf.
• Did Walter fight? Yes.
• Walter’s opponent – Hippie
• Did Walter get hit? Yes, 3 standing arm strikes
• Walter’s Compu-Strike Numbers – 1 takedown, 9+ ground arm strikes (TKO)
Key lines: “I want knowledge from a place that on the surface seems brainless.”
I get the same feeling each time I open this book.
“The usual truthful black frankness seems to always come bubbling out of him.”
Walt, you really make me feel uncomfortable when you talk about other races and ethnicities.
“I suddenly spring into my double-leg penetration and get deep between his legs.”
So, it’s THAT kind of book. I can dig it, Walt.
“Shut up, you dumb little moron, before I knock you back to the stone age. You’re already as stupid as a caveman so you might as well look like one.”
Well, that was not only uncalled for, but a pretty awful insult, Walter.
“I’ve got Adolf on his hind legs with his front paws in my hands and we’re boogying down, dancing our asses off in the living room.”
MORE DOGGIE DANCING, WALTER!
“He was hungry enough to go to a late night drive-through, so the least I can do is put my fist in his mouth to chew on.”
Walt knows that fists are on the secret, unpublished menu of every restaurant he goes to.
“In a fight you go down like a Japanese aircraft carrier captain at the battle of Leyte Gulf.”
Yet another historical connection only a guy like Walter Foxx could make!
Chapter Ten – Road to Ruin:
Walter wakes up and he’s in a pickle because he’s supposed to do a ten minute presentation on Vietnam for his History Seminar class, but he spent the night before partying with friends instead of preparing. Walt tries to cram as much information about Vietnam into his head the hour before class starts. Walter gives an awful, rambling presentation that benefits nobody and rightly gets chewed out by his professor for it (I’m imagining it went down like this). Walt finishes the rest of the day at school, and then it’s off to the boxing gym for a light workout. He’s skipping meals because he’s got a fight coming up and Walter has to be less than 200 pounds in five days. Walt heads home and turns in early to make up for lost hours. By Friday, he’s met his goal and ready to fight. Unfortunately, everyone knows Walter is just a super heavyweight on a diet, so none of the heavyweights want to fight him. Walter doesn’t care and asks to fight a super heavyweight, despite giving up 50 pounds and four inches.
Walter’s opponent looks a lot more professional, with sponsors and legitimate-looking gear, while Walt boxes in wrestling shoes, a white wife beater, and hot pink shorts. Walt just wades in and starts unloading on the guy, winning every round handily. Late in the fight, Walter gets hit with an overhand right, and the referee is quick to administer a standing eight count. Confused, Walt keeps trying for the knockout, but takes another hard shot, and the ref calls the fight for the big guy by way of Technical Knock Out. Walter is pissed, but expected to be screwed over by the corrupt world of boxing. It does teach him that boxing is no longer a viable career option, which leaves him despondent.
Walt dives headlong back into a routine of school, training, and work, but restricts his partying to drinking at home and hanging out with Adolf. Walter keeps the garage door job, but is growing tired of the liquor store customers. On his way home from boxing training, Walter passes by a cop car that immediately pulls a U-turn and starts chasing after him. Walt manages to reach the residential highway, loses the cop, and makes it home. After splitting a sandwich with Adolf, Walter gets a call from his dad that the police are looking for him, with multiple cars at Walt’s dad’s house. Walter is shocked since he hasn’t fought anyone in a street-like setting in months and calls up his attorney, Barry Repel. Barry tells Walt to meet at the courthouse the next day, but just lay low for now.
Walter completely ignores his attorney’s advice and goes in to work. He’s on edge for his entire shift, constantly thinking the cops are going to swarm him at the liquor store. Walter tries to ease his nerves by pounding back beers. His shift finally over, Walt takes a twelve pack with him and worries about what the cops want as he drives home.
• Did Walter fight? Eh, he’s a bar brawler, not a boxer, so I’m not counting this.
Key lines: “If I could only tell you about last night, I would enlighten you children about real life and how we create our future history in the present, but instead I’m here to tell you about Vietnam.”
My future present has already happened in the history of next year’s past.
“The professor is a small Middle Eastern guy who calls himself a Palestinian and wears a red dishtowel on his head that makes him look a little like Yasser Arafat.”
Please stop talking about other cultures, Walter. I’m getting pretty uncomfortable.
“But it’s hard to get really hurt or hurt someone.”
Yeah, boxing has no history of guys dying in the ring or developing severe brain trauma after their careers are done.
“Now I’m back to crashing my fighter plane into the German countryside.”
I will admit, that is a pretty good description of Walter’s life.
“My best option now is to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand until I find a reason to pull it out.”
Like someone being slightly rude at a bar!
Be sure to visit With Leather again soon for Part 5, featuring chapters 11-13.