I had pulled in second to a blue Crown Victoria, the type that if you saw it coming up in your rear view mirror you’d back off your gas and check your speed. But this was just someone pulling into the lot for some last minute groceries on a Sunday evening like anyone else turning up on the end of this weekend day.

I didn’t trust the driver, an old heavyweight, maybe because he clipped the curb when he turned the Vic into the driveway and kept waving on other cars trying to leave while the backside of my car hung out into the street. He finally pulled to the curb closest to the market entrance to let someone out right in the spot that I was going to do the same. So I told me wife where I’d be parked and let her out further up, then pulled forward into one of the empty spaces.

The blue sedan came up around the other side of the lot and pulled into the spot just in front of me off the the left. The driver was big and breathing heavy, gone to fat, a jaw line that was lost somewhere in a thick neck and cigarette smoke. He set the brake on the car and sat back with his cell phone poking at the screen paying me no mind or bother.

He had the mean look of a pug – the kind that wore gloves with the padding torn out, used for matches in basements and parking lots, where there were no three minute rounds and only ended when one either gave up or was knocked out on the ground. The winner would be paid dinner money while the sports in the audience swapped dollars they pulled from paycheck envelopes. The bigger players and oddsmakers who bet more wisely kept their roll rubber banded and only took it out when closeted in by friendly company.

In my rear view mirror a young mother approached pushing a filled wagon while her son walked in front of her jamming his hand down into a tube of perfectly molded potato chips, pulling them out one at a time, and sliding them into his mouth like he was mailing letters home. He was a beautiful boy with the same dark eyes and lashes as his mother who, flashing the lights on the Range Rover in front of me, unlocked the doors for him to climb in with his chips and turn on the tv screen in the back seat. Only wealthy people are that beautiful I thought.

My wife returned, opened the door, and huffed her way inside with the few plastic sacks she had. The Range Rover had left, backing out from the spot in front of me so that now I could pull through, the heavyweight in the Vic following me with his eyes, that cigarette getting shorter in his tight mouth.

I didn’t have my gloves with me. Otherwise I would have challenged him right there. I shrugged it off – didn’t make sense without anyone to lay down a bet….I could’ve knocked him into next Thursday…

ali and boy in ringThe Champ and the Contender

It’s Monday…put yer dukes up…

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