We were out in my driveway, doing our usual Thursday night bare knuckle fight club, when the friend I had just slammed across the cheek with a vicious right hook uttered, “Do you realize tomorrow is the last day of January?”
That’s certainly one way to throw me off my game, but instead of being distracted, I drilled him in the chest with a solid left. He staggered backwards towards the gaggle of spectators, but they just stepped out of his way. They knew better than to hold up a combatant who was clearly just looking for an advantage.
“That means it’s February on Saturday,” he continued as he steadied himself and wiped away some of the blood left from my previous attack on his nose. “The Super Bowl is Sunday, and before you know it, the Winter Olympics will be here.”
I glanced over at the ref for some help, but he just shrugged. Bare knuckle fight club really didn’t have any rules, and the presence of a referee was just a formality that we’d included because some of the guys thought it would be cool.
So, basically, it was up to me to make the chatty Cathy across from me put up and shut up. I charged across the driveway at him, pummeled his jaw with a rapid combination, and sent him sprawling on his ass, much to the delight of the crowd.
From his position on the black top, my opponent rubbed his jaw, and stared up at the starry sky. “I know it seems like Christmas was only yesterday, but we’re actually closer to Valentine’s Day than Christmas. Weird, right?”
I had about as much as I could take. I’d come outside in the subfreezing temperature to kick some ass, not to hear my pal prattle on about the Holidays. This was ridiculous. I was tempted to give him a good shot to the ribs, but the Nuns had raised me better than to kick a man when he was down.
“We should do this again on St. Patrick’s Day, don’t you think?” he asked as he tried to get to his feet, but failed miserably. I guess my punches had gotten stronger over the course of the Winter. This was going to be my earliest knockout yet.
Best of all, I barely had a scratch on me.
I offered my friend a bloodied hand and then yanked him to his feet. He thanked me with a nod and then engulfed me in a sweaty hug.
When we broke the embrace, he gave me a playful slap on the cheek. Might’ve been the best hit he’d gotten in all night.
“I know most guys come here to get out their anger and frustration, but I just come for the conversation. Thanks, buddy. You’re a great listener.”
I nodded and walked over to the grass to grab a towel and a bottle of water. My back was still turned when the next fight began, but I didn’t really care about the blood and sweat being splattered all over my driveway.
All I could think about was how quickly January had passed. It really was going to be February on Saturday, wasn’t it?