The air in the gym stank of old and new sweat, socks and athletic tape. Jack “Porterhouse” Jolson ducked inside his opponent’s left jab, unhinging a ferocious uppercut. The punch slipped off Bingo Naylor’s jaw and traveled a good foot past. Bingo juked, somewhat shaken, and jabbed again, his fist connecting with Porterhouse’s mangled nose.
“Alright, boys,” the trainer yelled. “Take two.”
Porterhouse and Bingo tapped gloves and retreated across the blue canvas to a corner worn with stool legs and sweat pools. I knew every inch of that ring. A single light bulb hanging from the ceiling caught their outlines, projecting them onto the brick wall behind.
“How you lookin’ for the fights next week in Berkeley?” Porterhouse asked.
“Me? Fine. It’s you, brother, who has gotta look out.”
“Look out, what ‘chou talkin’ ’bout?”
“You and your name. Porterhouse ain’t gonna fly in that town.”
“My name? You gotta be kidding.”
“Nope, I would change it if I were you. In the land of fruits, nuts, and flakes, Porterhouses don’t play.”
“What do you suggest?” Porterhouse asked with a blank stare.
“Me? I would go with something them Cali folks like. Nothing too steaky.”
Porterhouse grimaced. “Hows’ about Guacamole?”
“Yeah, that’ll work,” Bingo replied with a nod.
“Alright, boys,” the trainer yelled again. “Get y’all another round. . .”
Slowly Bingo and Guacamole circled each other. Guac appeared off, a step behind, a punch late. But he’ll get his mojo back. I just knew it. Wait ’til he gets to Berkeley and hears his name being chanted. Guacamole, Guacamole, it does wonders for a fighter. Hell, they used to call me Ribeye. Of course, that was before I fought in California. . .