3 – The Prize Fight
After picking up a different trench coat and a new hat from his apartment, Jon took the subway across town to the Angel City Boxing Club. The front of the club was buzzing with anticipation for the main event bout between Jimmy ‘Left Hook’ O’Rouke and the champ, ‘Killer’ Karl Smith. All the papers were in agreement, giving the fight to Killer in the fifth. The only person there that seemed to not care about the fight’s outcome was Jon Page.
He didn’t have a ticket and knew that the men at the door wouldn’t let him in without one, so he quickly scanned the area, looking for another way in. He spotted two men unloading a van in the alley, next to the club. He lifted his collar, pulled down the brim of his hat and headed over to the alley. He picked up a large cardboard box, out of a nearby trash can and followed the delivery people into the building, without a single person raising an eyebrow to his presence. As soon as he was out of sight, he dropped the box and continued into the arena.
The arena was packed with hats and coats. A thick grey cloud of smoke, hovered above the men. The smell of cigars mingling with sweat, blood, vomit and cheap cologne. The mixture was enough to turn anyone’s stomach. The only light in the room, came from a single, high wattage bulb, hanging above the ring. The shade on it pointed the light directly below it, but the lightly colored mat reflected the light back into the room. It was dark enough to hide, as long he didn’t get too close to the action. Jon knew that if he was going to get any information to put Big Tommy away, he would have to go into the back, where the offices and locker rooms were. He wasn’t going to find anything of use where he stood.
As his eyes checked the outer edges of the room, he saw something of interest. There she was! The blonde from earlier, in front of the court house. She was there, standing by a doorway into the back of the club. She looked as if she were in trouble of some sort. She was nervous. Her hands were fidgeting. She bit down on her big, full, red lower lip, then disappeared through the doorway. He knew if he was going to get anywhere, that’s where he needed to go.
To his amazement, the door wasn’t guarded, so he easily walked inside. He found himself in a long hallway, with many doors on each side. The woman was nowhere to be found, but he did hear a voice that he recognized. He couldn’t quite make out what the voice was saying, so he slowly and quietly moved closer.
“Damn it, Left Hook,” the voice said. “You’re skiing tonight and that’s that!” Jon knew that voice! It was Knucks Clyde, one of Big Tommy’s goons.
Another voice, presumably belonging to Left Hook O’Rouke, spoke, “But, I think I can do it. I can beat him. Honest!”
Jon heard a loud slap. “Listen here, you chump! If Big Tommy freaking tells yous that yous skiing tonight, yous are freaking skiing tonight!”
Jon heard footsteps heading towards him, so he quickly entered the nearest room. It was dark in the room, so he felt safe in there. He left he door open a crack so he could see who was walking out. He was right! It was Knucks and a couple of other henchmen.
Skiing? Jon thought. He couldn’t, for the life of him, figure out what that meant. He decided that since he was in a room, he should at least have a look around and maybe work out what that conversation was about. He turned on the light and found himself in a room that he never would have expected to find in a boxing club. This room looked more like a laboratory with glass cupboards full of small vials, a table covered with beakers and burners, coiled tubes coming out of every which way. Jon looked around for only a moment before he heard someone out side the door.
“I thought I turned that light out,” a voice said.
There was nowhere to hide. It was over, he had been caught. He stood with his hands up, just in case anyone came in with a gun. The door opened, only a crack, and a hand reached around to turn off the light. Jon breathed a sigh of relief, but now, he was in the dark. His eyes hadn’t adjusted to the change yet. He had to stand still for a moment until he was able to slightly make anything out.
He crept, slowly, across the room, trying to get back to the door. Suddenly, there was a loud crash! Jon had knocked something over with his foot. He couldn’t see what it was but all he heard was the shattering of glass. He heard people in the hallway. There were many footsteps, rapidly approaching. He leapt towards the door and flattened behind it. The door flew open and three men entered.
“What the hell happened in here?” one man said.
“This weird juice, The Farmer is making, was bound to blow itself up,” another said. “It’s too unstable.”
Their guards were down, this was his chance. He jumped out from behind the door, shoved one man over the table and kicked another. The third took a swing at him, but Jon quickly ducked and connected his own left hook. He ran out the door, heading down the hallway towards the arena. But then Knucks appeared. “Whatdaya know?” he said. “It’s the guy that thinks he could single-handedly, clean up Angel City.”
“That’s me,” Jon said.
“I thought you had enough earlier, but I got some more in me,” Knucks said. “Everyone stand down, this jerk is all mine.” He took off his coat and hat, rolled up his sleeves and strolled towards him. He lifted his fist up, ready to bring it down, smashing what was left of Jon’s face, when three gunshots were heard in the hallway.
“He’s packin’ heat!” someone shouted. Everyone hit the floor. All but Jon, who turned and ran as fast as his legs could carry him out the door that had the green lit ‘EXIT’ sign above it. He found himself in the back alley of the club, and immediately had to jump out of the path of a car, speeding towards him. The car stopped and an angelic voice shouted, “Hurry! Get in!”