“Ladies and gentlemen, in that time honored tradition passed down through the centuries, let’s get ready to rummmm-bull! In the blue corner, wearing white trunks…”
Yes, that’s me again, Betty Caruso, bouncing up and down on my toes. Being introduced across from me in the blue corner wearing white trunks is a six foot five inch Xeog. She’s nearly a foot taller than I am. She has way more experience than I with seven wins and one loss, but I wanted this fight. The old man says that I’m about to get my ass whipped. I’m beginning to think I may have made a mistake.
It all started a few weeks ago in Mabel’s Diner. Well, actually, I should start a week or so before that. After my fight with Brad Taylor, all of the mooks were eager to try his tactic of pounding me in the chest to wear me down. They thought that they had found my weak spot. What they forgot was that I’m a better fighter than they are and they quickly learned that if you hit Betty in the boobs, Betty is going to beat the crap out of you.
The old man worked with me on learning to better protect myself from body blows. I told him it would solve my problem if I could wear an armor plated bra, but he said that was against the rules. Anyway, I was sparing with one of the mooks, Gary Barkley, a nice guy as mooks go. He told me that some reporter had been asking the guys in the gym about me. Some of the guys just told him everything they knew, but he wanted to know if it was ok with me for him to answer the reporter’s questions. I was surprised that a reporter wanted to know about me and I was puzzled as to why the reporter didn’t talk to me directly. I stopped the session and took Gary over to the old man and had him repeat what he’d told me. The old man growled “Who’s this damn reporter?”
Gary pointed out a skinny man with an olive complexion wearing a white straw fedora. “Bad News Brogahn.” spat the old man. Then he barked “Banks! Come here!” Travis Banks was one of the other fighters the old man managed.
“What is it, boss?” asked Banks.
“See that nuisance in the straw hat?”
“You mean Brogahn, boss?”
“Yeah, get a couple of the boys and throw him out!” the old man growled.
Banks grinned and then replied “With pleasure, boss.”
“Chief,” I called the old man ‘chief’. Everyone else called him ‘boss’. I don’t think he minds being called ‘chief’, but he did add fifty more push-ups to my morning routine. “Who is that man, ‘Bad News Brogahn’?”
“He’s a bottom feeder pretending to be a journalist.” he said. “He snoops around trying to find weaknesses and dirt he can sell.”
“What would he want to know about me?” I asked.
“Don’t know. Barkley! What did Broghan ask about?”
“Well, boss, he uhh.”
“C’mon out with it.”
Gary blushed. “Well, he wanted to know if Betty slept around. He got really interested when some of the other guys told him Betty only liked other girls.”
I thought the whole thing was odd. The old man told me to watch out when I wasn’t at the gym.
A week later, I was in a corner of heaven called Mabel’s Diner. The food was run of the mill diner food, but the pies. Oh, Mabel can bake a pie. A freighter had brought in a few tons of freeze dried banana puree from Gryphon 4 and all of New Hope had gone banana crazy. Mabel was baking the most fantastic banana cream pies. I juggled my training diet around so that I could indulge in a slice of pie and a cup of coffee a couple of times a week.
So I was sitting at the counter savoring my slice of pie. Like most New Hope natives, I had never tasted real bananas in my entire life. In walked the tallest woman I have ever seen. She was a Xeog with brilliant shimmering blue skin. She walked up behind me and appeared to be studying the menu. “May I help you?” asked Mabel.
“Yes, dahling. I is looking for someone and am now hungry.” the Xeog said through her translator.
“Well, have a seat. Take you time with the menu and let me know if you have any questions or when you are ready to order.” said Mabel.
“Thank you for your much kindness.” the Xeog replied. She sat on the stool next to me. She looked at me and smiled. I smiled back.
“What is that you are eating?” she asked me.
“It’s banana cream pie and it’s very delicious.” I said. “The coffee is fresh as well.”
“What is this banana? Some kind of meat?” she inquired.
She was being sweet, but the way she spoke, she spoke like a cheap vid-star. “No, no. It’s a fruit. It tastes sweet.” I replied.
“Ahh!” she said showing a wide toothed grin. She told Mabel she was ready and said “I will be having what this little one is having.” I giggled. I’d never been called a “little one”.
“I am so being hungry.” she said again. “I come to this part of city I never been to looking for someone.”
“Who are you looking for? Perhaps I can help.” I offered.
“Good, good. I be looking for little girl fighter. Fighter name Betty Carusoe.” she said and then stared straight at me. I was shocked. It was a stare that told me she knew exactly who I was.
“I’m Betty Carusoe, but I think you already knew that.”
“Yes, dahling. I know it be you all along.”
Mabel arrived and set down a desert plate with a generous slice of banana pie and a cup of coffee. “Any cream or sugar for the coffee?” Mabel offered.
“Two sugar.” the Xeog replied.
“Since you know who I am. Would you mind telling me who you are?”
“You should know me. I am Kirei Satsriku, the most beautiful of all fighters.”
I chuckled. I’d heard that Xeogs thought highly of themselves, but this one was full of herself.
“You laugh? Did I say something funny?” she asked.
“No, not at all.” I replied. “It’s just that if I had said that I was the ‘most beautiful of all fighters’, my manager would have made me do a hundred sit-ups to make me humble.”
“He would be right to do so.” she said. “You shouldn’t tell lies about yourself.”
I didn’t know if she was being funny or was serious. So I didn’t know to be angry or to go along with the joke. She was beginning to get to me, but I was still curious.
“So, Kirei, why are you looking for me?” I asked trying to get to the bottom of things.
“Ha! What does your manager know? Is he afraid Kirei hurt his girl fighter or does he think his girl fighter too ugly to be in ring with Kirei?”
She was definitely getting to me. There was no denying that she was more beautiful than I, but she was so annoying. “Look, I trust my manager to make those decisions. I’m sure we will meet in the ring someday when I’m ready.”
“Or do you not want to fight Kirei? You want make love instead? First we fight and then Kirei make love to ugly girl.”
“What? I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but that is not how I behave. And I’m not ugly!”
“What’s this on my pie?” she asked picking up her desert. I welcomed the change of topic and relaxed a little.
“It’s a meringue made with egg whites and sugar.”
“No, no. I mean this.” she said pointing to a spot on the meringue. I focused on the slice of pie trying to see if there was something in the meringue. She shoved the pie into my face. We both stood up in an instant as the plate clattered to the floor. Just as my hands formed fists, she slapped me hard across the face.
“See, you want to fight. You step in ring and fight, bitch. You decide. You tell your manager you fight Kirei. If not, Kirei come back and slap you more!”
Maybe it was the shock of the slap, but I held back. She stormed out of the diner. Mabel handed me a towel and I got angry.
You shouldn’t make decisions when you are angry. When you do, you end up in a ring across from someone who is most likely going to whip your ass. The old man gave in to my pleading to fight Kirei by saying that a young fighter should get her ass whipped at least once so she will know how losing feels, learn a little humility, and listen to her manager in the future.
“…. In the blue corner wearing white trunks with seven wins and one loss; at an astonishing six foot, five inches; and weighing two hundred ten pounds, Kirei ‘Beautiful Carnage’ Satsriku!” The crowd went wild. Kirei was an imposing figure wearing a hooded white kimono robe with a beautiful blossoming cherry tree print.
“And in the red corner wearing red trunks; five foot, five and one half inches; weighing one hundred forty pounds; with one win and no losses; Redd’s Top Event welcomes back ‘Bouncing’ Betty Carusoe!” Yeah, I flinched a little when he announced my weight, but it’s not fat! The old man has made sure that every ounce of it is muscle. Ok, maybe there’s a little flab from all of the pie I’ve been eating lately. My only excuse is that it is real bananas.
We met in the center of the ring for final instructions. She was smiling. You could tell that she loved the attention. She blew me a kiss and then bent down and whispered in my ear: “Now I punish you. Later you suckle.” She caught me completely off-guard. “What?” I asked in confusion. But she had straightened back up as the referee gave the usual warnings and “no hitting below the belt” speech. At the end though, he added “And I want a clean fight this time, Satsriku. Understand? A clean fight.”
“THIS time?” I thought. The old man had told me that she was prone to fight dirty. But she had done it enough to warrant a special warning from the referee? I was beginning to become a bit unsettled as we touched gloves and broke for our corners.
I had just turned around for my corner when the audience gasped, went silent for a split second, and then began cheering like crazy. I turned back around to see what had caused the commotion. Kirei was topless! She had shrugged the robe off of her shoulders and she was naked from the waist up. She was waving to the crowd and blowing kisses and as she turned to face me, I noticed that she was wearing two silver rhinestone pasties with red tassels. My world was unraveling at light speed as my mouth dropped open. Ladies and gentlemen, Betty has left the building with Elvis.
Gary came into the ring and guided me back to my corner. The old man had told him he’d never be a contender, but he would make a good trainer. So Gary was in my corner along with the old man. I sat on the stool and tears began to flood my eyes. My mind was gone. In between sobs, I began to hear the old man. “Betty… Betty… BETTY!” he barked. I looked at him and he said “You don’t have to do this. I can throw in the towel.”
I tried to wipe away the tears with my gloves, but they were too big. I looked across the ring. Kirei was still prancing and playing to the crowd.
“Man, oh man. She’s really screwed with Betty’s mind.” said Gary.
“Barkley!” growled the old man. “Wipe Betty’s face.” Then he said in a lower voice “Screwed with her mind? Boy, she bent her little mind over and ass fucked it.” He reverted to the growl that I’ve come to hear in my sleep. “Ok, girlie, which is it? Do I throw in the towel or are we going to fight?”
“No,” my voice wavered. “no, I’m here, because I thought I had to stand up to a bully instead of being professional. You were right, chief. I’m way outclassed here. But I wanted to be here and if I’m going to get my ass whipped, maybe I can share some of it with her. Let’s do this.”
“Now you’re talking like a fighter.” the old man growled. “Barkley! Go get the referee. Girlie, stand up while I dig into my bag of tricks.” I stood up staring at Kirei sitting on her stool in the opposite corner. She was still beaming. I felt the old man pull the back of my shorts and thong down. “You’re going to feel some cold.” he said as he slapped a stim patch across my sacrum. I felt him swab my right hip. “Now, you’re going to feel a sting and then a little burning.” I felt the needle go in, but I was so emotionally numb that I didn’t feel the sting, but I did feel the burn. “It will take a while before this really kicks in, about two rounds.”
“But it is only a three round fight.” I protested.
“Exactly, you’ve got to give it everything you’ve got in that last round.” said the old man. Gary returned with the referee.
The old man said “Under the rules of the New Hope City Boxing Association, I’m informing you that I’ve given my fighter two doses of Nails and two doses of Spike.”
“Nails and Spike?” inquired the referee.
“Yeah, girlie here is a real lezzie and after the little show we just had, I thought I’d better juice her up a little so she would fight instead of making ‘goo-goo’ eyes and drooling like a lovesick cat.”
“Chief!” I exclaimed in horror. “She’s topless!”
“Well what about it? You want to take your top off too?”
“Nooo!” I responded.
The referee laughed. “All right, Svenson, I’ll pull out the trusty bio-scanner and inform the judges so they can recalculate the odds and then we’ll start. I’m surprised you didn’t throw in the towel Satsriku got some of her wins by intimidating her opponent into quitting before the fight even began.”
Enhancing a fighter with drugs, software, or even cybernetics wasn’t against the rules as long as it was declared and scanned in advance so that betting odds could be accurately calculated. The entire purpose of any pastime or sport on New Hope was gambling. It grew out of the planet’s roots as a base for smugglers and space pirates with little else to do. The information that the old man had given the referee would quickly be entered into the system. Soon, devices all over New Hope would have new odds as to how severe of an ass whipping I was about to get.
Just as a lull finally began to settle in on the audience, the bell rang. I shot out of my corner like a bullet. After my last fight, the old man really worked on my quickness. My last opponent controlled too much of the fight simply by being first to the center of the ring. The old man even quoted some ancient general who said the key to winning was to be “firstest with the mostest.” Kirei calmly walked to the center of the ring. She looked like a model walking down a fashion runway. I even looked at her feet to see if she was wearing heels. As she raised her gloves to guard, I pounced. I literally leapt at her with a right hook straight for her face. Of course she saw it coming. Her eyes grew wide with surprise and instinctively raised both arms to block the punch. That was when I unleashed my left into her midsection. She grunted as I made contact. I was in so close that she couldn’t throw a decent punch. So she shoved me away from her. She tried throwing a hook, but I slipped to the side and right into to her again delivering short jabs. I took away her big punches. We traded short jabs.
In time, she grew frustrated with our close dance. Shoving me away didn’t work to give her the room she needed to land a solid punch. Out of frustration, she grabbed me and pulled me in like a big hug. She buried my face in her breasts and hung on until the referee separated us and sent us back toward our corners.
I lunge at her again, but this time she is ready and pops me in the face. It is her turn to try and take control. I duck back from a huge uppercut. As she resets for another punch, I charge in throwing multiple jabs to the torso. I back her into the ropes. Again she grabs me and holds. This time the bell rings before the referee can separate us.
Gary takes my mouth guard and gives me a good squirt of water. The old man looks me over. “Well, what does she taste like?” he asked.
“The way she buried your face in them hooters, surely you got a taste.”
“Very funny.” I replied.
“You’re doing good, girlie. Keep close to her. Take away the big roundhouses and haymakers and you might have a chance. Move, move, move. She doesn’t want to dance, but you make her dance. Wear her down.”
The bell rings to start the second round. She doesn’t strut like a supermodel this time, but she’s not fast enough. I’m already in the center of the ring weaving, bobbing, feinting and then I strike. This time it’s a left hook that turns her face. By the time she recovers, I’ve stepped in delivering punch after punch into her torso. I try an uppercut, but she blocks it. She throws a combination meant for my midsection. However, she is so tall that she ends up pummeling the girls. Second fight in a row where my poor boobs have been the target. My chest stings. Time for payback. I step into her and launch a new set of combinations into her chest. She covers up. I can’t find an opening and we end up clinching again. The referee separates us.
We stalk one another around the ring like angry cats. She feints to the left and stumbles slightly. The stumble is all I need to step into her again trading jabs. I can feel her frustration building as she can’t get the power behind her punches that she wants. She grunts. I’ve knocked some of the wind out of her. It’s a tiny opening. I push in with a combination of hooks. Again she covers up and backs into the ropes.
I close in for the kill. She catapults out of the ropes. I take a glancing blow to the side of the head. She runs into me and I grab her and hold. Once separated we begin the dance again. The dance is cut short as the bell rings.
“Unless the judges are blind, you scored good in this round, girlie. You’re getting as good as you’re giving. You’re pretty banged up. How do you feel?” asked the old man.
“I don’t know. I’m beginning to feel angry, like I’m really pissed about something. At the same time I feel calm.”
“It’s the juice kicking in. If you spot your chance in this round, take it and put her down.”
The bell for the third and final round rings. Two snarling she cats meet in the center of the ring. Each one of us knows that this is it. A pragmatic fighter might slow down in this round and win it on points. Unfortunately “pragmatic fighter” is seldom used in the same sentence as “female fighter”. We both wanted a big win. I wanted a big win. I wanted to knock her on her ass for ruining a perfect slice of Mabel’s banana pie. We traded a few “love taps” and then I opened up a deluge on her. She covered and again backed into the ropes. She came off of the ropes fast, but I was faster and landed one square in the face. She staggered back, but she didn’t go down. Her face was covered in blood. She tried to return the favor, but I blocked her punches to my face. One got in under my guard and caught me in the diaphragm. I lost my breath for a second.
Clang, clang, clang! Went the bell. The fight was over and we were both still standing. We returned to our corners while the judges scored the fight. At least I didn’t get the ass whipping I thought I was going to get. After what seemed like an eternity, but was actually more like two minutes, the referee called us to the center of the ring.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” began the announcer. “The winner of the second match of the evening at Redd’s Top Event Entertainment Center and Casino,… by split decision… Betttttye Caruuuuusoe!”
The referee hauled my arm up into the air. The crowd cheered and tears ran down my face. I couldn’t believe it, I won. I got my ass whipped and still won.
During the post-fight medical exam, I asked the doc about Kirei. “You know,” he said, “in all of my years of patching up athletes, they always ask how the other guy is doing. You go out there and spend an evening beating each other senseless, and then when it is over, you’re concerned about the well being of your opponent. But to answer your question, she’s fine. You gave her one heck of a bloody nose, but you didn’t break it.”
“That’s good to hear.” I said.
“Oh, that reminds me. I’m not usually a messenger boy, but Miss Satsriku asked me to give you this.” He handed me a small envelope. I opened it up and inside were a pair of silver rhinestone pasties with red tassels and a slip of paper. I unfolded the paper and saw a phone number. The doc was watching me and remarked “Trophies for the victor?”
I blushed and said “Yeah, something like that.”
He chuckled. “Well, I’m giving you a clean bill of health, so you can do whatever it is healthy young girls do these days.” I blushed again.
The doc had barely left the locker room when there was a knock on the door. It was Gary. “Hey, Betty, the boss is buying steak dinner tonight at the casino’s restaurant before we take the train home. You want to come along?”
I looked at the pasties and the phone number in my hand. I felt a strong surge of temptation. I looked up at Gary. “Do they have real banana pie?”