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Hickory

By Gary Grenier

I enjoy this story because the narration switches from a heavyweight boxer, Hickory Miller, then to the cornerman and a cutman, the seconds to Hickory, and then to the two blow by blow radio announcers covering this bout.

Hickory, a one time near champion boxer is fighting for his life and not fairing too well right now, trying to outlast a younger and faster opponent, all the while plagued by the thoughts of his critically ill daughter, who is bedridden and hospitalized in intensive care.

Out of the blue, Hickory gets some assistance from a most unlikely ringside fan, and the situation becomes rather unusual. Don't throw in the towel until you have read "Hickory".

Hickory

"Hickory! Hickory, listen to me. Let me throw in the towel! Do you really want to go another round with this kid? Stop before both eyes swell shut."

"I'm gonna kill this guy!" Said a battered and exhausted Hickory Miller.

"Yeah, right, you look like your killing him, he isn't even breathing hard. Come on Hickory, give it up before you suffer some serious damage."

I'll get him, just give me some time!

"Time is what you haven't got." Said the cutman; "He's slipped everything you've thrown for six rounds. You've got four rounds, 12 minutes to make your big move and I just don't see it happening, but go right ahead, have it your way."

"15 seconds!" the timekeeper yelled.

"What have you heard from Sandy?"

"I told you, No news is Good news."

"Keep your mind on the fight, get that left arm out, stuff that glove in his face, and move a little, have you got rocks in your shoes?" Said Bugsy Bates as he lifted the stool over the ropes.

- - - BONG

"Well Radio fight fans, Hickory Miller came out for the seventh, a little slow, but he's out there and Bayou Barns has a big smile on his face. Oh! Barns just sent a solid left to Hickory's mid-section followed by two quick straight rights to the kidneys. John, were you surprised to see Hickory continue the fight?"

"Dale, Hickory has taken a heck of a beating, but he has never stopped a fight yet when he had any choice. God, Hickory just took a left in the ear that would have sent most men to their knees. This veteran of 126 bouts has always given the crowd their moneys worth and he; Hey! Hickory just got a good series of jabs in there, I wish he would have hung the gloves up two years ago. He had a splendid record and he could have went out in his prime."

"We all know about the very unpopular split decision that cost Hickory a chance at the title and I for one thought he got robbed. That disputed loss seemed to take something out of Hickory and he just hasn't been the same. It's been nothing but bad luck since then, in the ring and out."

"I agree about the poor judging. I had Hickory well ahead of the Champ, San Padres, on my card, but we don't count when they add up those cards at the final bell.

"Folks, John and I both send our best to Sandra Miller, Hickory's daughter, who has been mounting a mighty battle against a bad infection and ailment for some 10 months now."

"Right Dale, Go get em Sandy, KO this thing!

"I think Hickory is blocking most of these shots, he's not letting many of them land right now."

"Well a few are hitting the mark and they add up to points and I just don't see Hickory coming out of this on top! Well, he just threw an uppercut that made Barns move back a couple of steps. He's got spirit if nothing else."

At ringside, an usher handed the cornermen a note, "Hey guys, this just came down from upstairs. You' might want to keep it away from Hickory until after the last round."

Mr. Miller - Your daughter is asking for you and the physician suggests you make every effort to be available promptly, things have become critical. Even knowing this is coming, it is never easy and it could mean so much for Sandra to see you at this time, she desperately wants to be with her father. Please hurry!

Metropolitan Medical Center, room 826.

Gloria Graham RN

"Dale, I think Hickory has much better footwork this round."

"You're right John, he is moving better and not laying on the ropes at all. He's suddenly inspired. But time is on Barns side right now. I show a draw, 10 to 10, in the first round, 10 to 8 Barns in the 2nd round with a knockdown, and 10 to 9 for Barns the other four rounds; this is a fairly even round, but that leaves three rounds to make up six points. It can be done, but things better happen fast.

If Miller could only - Oh John! Hickory just landed a beauty to the solar plexus, this might be."

- - - BONG

"That was Hickory's best punch all night folks, stay tuned for round 8."

>>>

"Great round Hickory, that's what the crowd came for, good footwork too" Said the cutman.

"Has Sandy been over here, it sounds like she's back about six or eight rows on the opposite side?" Hickory calmly stated.

The cutman looked at Bugsy and started to wipe down Hickory's face, saying, "You hurt him, you hurt him bad, just."

"Bugsy, I asked if you have seen Sandy, now darn it, has she been here in my corner or not?"

Bugsy looked at the cutman and held his gaze; "No Hick, I haven't seen her. You see her did ya?"

"No, but I heard her, she yelled about my footwork and then she told me to watch when Barns dips, he pulls his elbows apart. That's what earned him that solid uppercut and that last powerful gut shot. I hurt him bad thanks to her sharp eye!"

"Right, well, ah, just keep moving and maybe he will fade; he hasn't gone eight rounds in quite a while. That jab is working" Stuttered a confused Bugsy.

"15 seconds!" warned the timekeeper.

"What in the heck is she doing here? I can't believe she is even out of bed, let alone ringside, make her sit down when she gets over here. I thought between rounds she might try to.."

- - - BONG

"Bugsy, you can't stop the fight because I think he won that last round, but something is bad wrong with his mind." Barked the cutman.

"Round 8 Ladies and Gentlemen. John, I might be an old sentimentalist, but I gave that last round to Hickory."

"That's right Dale, Hickory finished strong, Barns was hurt from that shot to the stomach, ten more seconds might have made this a different fight, Hickory was ready to follow up. Barns keeps sticking that jab out there because he really doesn't want a return visit from Hickory's powerful right."

"Yes John, Barns is jabbing and he has made a couple of those quick jabs good. It appears Hickory is just hanging on, squinting and trying to check out the crowd again, Miller has plenty to see right in front of him. Barns just popped Miller hard in the ear, they're in a clinch now, and it still looks like Hickory is looking out at the crowd. Barns is chopping Hickory's ribs and he's just stretching to look over Bayou's shoulder, searching the ringside seats."

"Hickory just pushed off Barns and he has a big smile on his face. Hey, he's skipping. Folks, you're not going to believe this. Hickory is skipping around the ring out by the ropes. Barns is standing in the middle of the ring with his hands out to his side, he's smiling, and watching Hickory skip. Dale, Hickory just reversed himself, he skipping clockwise, the crowd is on their feet, about half are laughing and the other half are booing, what's going on here?"

"John, this the strangest thing I have ever seen in the ring, wait, Hickory is standing on the bottom rope, he's leaning over the post, he's stretching out over Barns corner, he's talking to the crowd and believe me he's getting plenty back at him. I can't believe it, what's he saying; hold on.

Folks, he just jumped and swiveled, he's running for the middle of the ring, directly at Barns. Holy Cow! he cold-cocked Barns, that left came out of center field and I think Barns was still confused. The referee is counting but that round-house picked Barns off his feet, I hope Bayou is all right."

- 8 - 9 - 10

"Its over folks, a knock-out for Hickory Miller in the eighth round. The referee is trying to raise Hickory's arm, but Miller is back hanging over the ropes. The crowd is going nuts; they saw it, but they can't believe it, what a fight!"

"John, this has got to be one of the wildest turn-around's in boxing history. Apparently it meant more to Hickory than I imagined, he's got tears streaming down his face, he's screaming 'I'm back' or 'Come back.' Now he's yelling 'Wait, please wait'. Believe me John, were all waiting, nobody's left this arena. Can you believe it? The fight of the century!"

"Dale, Hickory must not believe it, he slowly slid down on his knees, his face buried in his gloves, I think he's crying."

"John, this bout must have overpowered Hickory's emotions, he's sobbing, he's bawling like a baby. Now he's looking up, yelling "Why? Please don't leave me. Why?"

"Hickory, we are not going anywhere, what a victory! Folks, can you imagine how overwhelmingly happy Hickory Miller must be right now?"

Copyright 2006 Gary Grenier

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