The Boxer

Pedro’s gloves were smeared with the blood of the Irishman. His lightning left hook followed by a right cross had landed with pinpoint accuracy. The Irishman stumbled backwards and then lunged forward with an explosive haymaker that connected with Pedro’s temple. The crowd roared as Pedro “The Puncher” crashed to the center of the ring like a fallen oak. The referee shouted the ten count with his arm flailing at the downed boxer.

Pedro’s chin reverberated off the canvas as the Irishman stood in his corner smiling sardonically with his bloodstained mouthpiece. “The Puncher” was in a dream state as the referee’s count reached six. Suddenly, his arm began to move and his mind flipped back and forth from the past to the present. Was he still that frail, skinny boy in Ecuador, or was he really Pedro “The Puncher” fighting for the championship at Madison Square Garden?

Unfortunately, neither was true. These were only the fleeting thoughts of a dying murderer as the deadly cocktail of drugs passed through his veins at the Florida State Prison.

Some say justice was served as Pedro took his last breath. Far removed from the small innocent boy of his childhood, he didn’t become a boxer, but the victim of a violent world.

Legend of Spirit Creek

A week or so ago I posted Join the Fun: You Write the Ending. It was a creative writing exercise where I posted a story, Legend of Spirit Creek, and left the ending open. The idea was for readers of the story to complete their version of the end of the story in 200 words or less.

I would like to thank jsrichmond and Mike Watson for participating in this exercise. Both of them had great endings to the story! Click here to read their endings.

I was hoping to gain more participants, so I may try this exercise again at some point in the future.

As promised, I have posted the short story in its entirety that includes my ending to the story. I hope you enjoy it.

LEGEND OF SPIRIT CREEK

By

Robert M. Roberts

We sat around the campfire smoking cigars and drinking beer. It was a perfect night with the sky full of stars as we listened to the ripple of the creek rolling by. Other than the croak of a distant frog, our voices were the only sounds that could be heard.

It was good to be with my old buddies again. The four of us had been friends since childhood and were in the scouts together. Although our lives had taken us to different parts of the country, we always managed to get together for this most important reunion. Jim, Donny, Joe and I had been getting together every five years for a camping excursion. This year it was my turn to pick the place and make all the arrangements.

After searching the internet for months, I chose Spirit Creek in Oklahoma for our get- together. It was centrally located for all of us, had good trout fishing, and it was isolated from other campers. The guys hadn’t changed much over the years, except for Joe. He had seen some tough duty during the Gulf War, but in spite of it, he had become a successful attorney in Des Moines. Two failed marriages due to his excessive drinking haunted him, and he had become cynical and almost mean-spirited at times, especially after drinking too much booze. But we were friends, and friends overlook shortcomings.

Just like when we were kids, each one of us told our same stale stories as we drank and laughed into the night. I piped in with the Indian legend of Spirit Creek that I had read about when I was doing my research for this trip. The guys sat like statues as I relayed my story.

“According to Indian legend, about a quarter of a mile downstream, there is a fork in the creek,” I pointed. “If you cross to the other side west at the fork, you’ll enter the spirit world. Only Native Americans are welcome, and outsiders will be dealt with accordingly.”

“Why would anyone want to enter the spirit world?” Donny asked.

“To visit relatives that had passed, I would guess,” I replied.

“Man, that’s some spooky stuff,” Jim added.

Joe took a gulp of his beer and let out a belch. “What a crock of shit,” he said, slurring his words. “You’d have to be a damn fool to believe that Indian crap!”

“Lighten up man. I was just making conversation. We all know it’s just a myth.”

You could have cut the silence around the campfire with a knife, as one by one, each excused themselves to turn in for the night. Everyone turned in except Joe, who mumbled as he grabbed another beer from the ice chest.

The next morning, I was the first one up and started stoking the fire for the coffeepot. A pile of beer cans were strewn next to the chair where Joe had sat the night before. After the coffee perked, I went to the guys tents to wake them up. Joe’s tent was empty and his cot looked like it hadn’t been slept on. I began calling out his name as Donny and Jim emerged from their tents.

“What’s going on?” Jim asked.

“Joe’s not in his tent. I wonder where he’s at,” I said.

“Oh, he’s probably just scouting around. He’ll show up,” Jim said as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

An hour passed and no sign of Joe. We all started to worry and began combing the creek, each going in a different direction.

“Come quick, downstream,” Donny yelled.

When Jim and I reached Donny at the fork, we couldn’t believe what we saw. Joe lay on the bank, his clothes soaked, and his lifeless eyes stared at the gravel bar beneath his chin. He was dead. None of us could utter a word as we saw the three crude arrows with feathers on the ends protruding from his back.

We just stood there for a couple of minutes. Jim mumbled, “Legend, my ass,” as we turned and looked across the creek.

THE END

Join the Fun: You Write the Ending!

My wife, Susan, likes to read short stories. She suggested that I write another short story and she graciously supplied the words to prompt the opening sentence of the story. We sat around the campfire…was the opening words, and it was up to me to finish the story.

I thought it would be a fun writing exercise so I wrote the entire story, but only published part of it on this blog. I invite you to join in the fun and write your ending to this story in 200 words or less.

Won’t it be fun to read the different endings? There aren’t any prizes for the best ending, but there are no losers. Whether you consider yourself an accomplished writer or not, I think you’ll be surprised that you can write an interesting ending to this story.

I’ll post my ending to the story on June 9th. In the meantime, visit this website often to read the new posts and comment on the endings you like.

So, what are you waiting for? Read Legend of Spirit Creek below, then post your ending to the story (200 words or less) in the Leave a Reply box beneath the story!

All comments will be monitored by me before published on this blog just to make sure it is acceptable for all audiences.

LEGEND OF SPIRIT CREEK

by

Robert M. Roberts

We sat around the campfire smoking cigars and drinking beer. It was a perfect night with the sky full of stars as we listened to the ripple of the creek rolling by. Other than the croak of a distant frog, our voices were the only sounds that could be heard.

It was good to be with my old buddies again. The four of us had been friends since childhood and were in the scouts together. Although our lives had taken us to different parts of the country, we always managed to get together for this most important reunion. Jim, Donny, Joe and I had been getting together every five years for a camping excursion. This year it was my turn to pick the place and make all the arrangements.

After searching the internet for months, I chose Spirit Creek in Oklahoma for our get- together. It was centrally located for all of us, had good trout fishing, and it was isolated from other campers. The guys hadn’t changed much over the years, except for Joe. He had seen some tough duty during the Gulf War, but in spite of it, he had become a successful attorney in Des Moines. Two failed marriages due to his excessive drinking haunted him, and he had become cynical and almost mean-spirited at times, especially after drinking too much booze. But we were friends, and friends overlook shortcomings.

Just like when we were kids, each one of us told our same stale stories as we drank and laughed into the night. I piped in with the Indian legend of Spirit Creek that I had read about when I was doing my research for this trip. The guys sat like statues as I relayed my story.

“According to Indian legend, about a quarter of a mile downstream, there is a fork in the creek,” I pointed. “If you cross to the other side west at the fork, you’ll enter the spirit world. Only Native Americans are welcome, and outsiders will be dealt with accordingly.”

“Why would anyone want to enter the spirit world?” Donny asked.

“To visit relatives that had passed, I would guess,” I replied.

“Man, that’s some spooky stuff,” Jim added.

Joe took a gulp of his beer and let out a belch. “What a crock of shit,” he said, slurring his words. “You’d have to be a damn fool to believe that Indian crap!”

“Lighten up man. I was just making conversation. We all know it’s just a myth.”

You could have cut the silence around the campfire with a knife, as one by one, each excused themselves to turn in for the night. Everyone turned in except Joe, who mumbled as he grabbed another beer from the ice chest.

The next morning, I was the first one up and started stoking the fire for the coffeepot. A pile of beer cans were strewn next to the chair where Joe had sat the night before. After the coffee perked, I went to the guys tents to wake them up. Joe’s tent was empty and his cot looked like it hadn’t been slept on. I began calling out his name as Donny and Jim emerged from their tents.

“What’s going on?” Jim asked.

“Joe’s not in his tent. I wonder where he’s at,” I said.

“Oh, he’s probably just scouting around. He’ll show up,” Jim said as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

An hour passed and no sign of Joe. We all started to worry and began combing the creek, each going in a different direction.

“Come quick, downstream,” Donny yelled.

Now, you finish the story (200 words or less) in the Leave a Reply box below!