He is always alone in defeat. This leader, this brave creature, this head held high riding on massive shoulders. His body is compact and powerful, his eyes little more than glittering dots, the beads of perspiration clutching desperately to the ends of his short, cropped hair.
The roar of the crowd immobilises him; he remembers too well the other roar… the solitary roar, the vicious tongue lascivious in his ear…
Instinct shakes him free of the fear, propels him forward.
Under the bright lights now, walking out to the centre of the floor, his mammoth build shifting with the flex of each muscle, the ripples of each limb fascinating the admiring populace… his body a vehicle of display, this gritty toughness ensconced in beautiful musculature, all eyes trained, riveted to the spectacle.
And the vicious tongue lascivious in his ear…
He disperses the image with a quick shake of his solid, stoic head.
His opponent is slightly smaller than him, more lithe, perhaps a year or two more experienced, with quick half-slit eyes and battle scars on his jaw and at the side of his nose.
He smiles as they shake hands. He is not worried. He is the promising star of his team, the golden boy, the undefeated, the untouched. He has survived bigger opponents, meaner opponents, quicker, angrier…
Their battered faces became mere fuel to his fragmented brain, something to focus on, something to direct his rage towards as he lifted, pushed, and pulled twice his body weight in preparation for the next fight, stimulation to spur him on to his next victim.
The bell sounds, the fight begins.
He pounds away at the supple flesh, feeling the blood coursing through his veins and filling his brain, his chest cavity, his arms, his legs, his penis…
And the image, the memory he strived so hard to blot out, comes flooding in… the thickness of the air suffocates him, the plethora of panic and pain… the sauna of sweat and semen… his insides twisting, the nausea, the horror…
The walls of his private universe shattering, collapsing under the pressure built up since his years of childhood, since the years of the vicious, lascivious tongue… since the years before he became this massive, demanding, dominating creature. The animalistic instinct buzzing at his temples, the blood pounding, the flesh supple beneath his fists, the cries of his prey silenced by the blood gurgling in its throat, the fuel fused into his brain, the blood pouring, pouring… dripping off his fingers, dripping, pouring, seeping into the wooden floor.
It took six men to pull him off, two more to restrain him.
The crowd’s roar had diminished to silence. The lingering eyes and gaping jaws oozed fear in the place of its previous admiration.
The bloodlust explosion in his brain now drained, he watches the broken, lifeless body sprawled before him. There had been no malice behind it, no quarrel, no grudge… nothing, save that old image of a memory.
He has nothing to say; he stands quietly by, waiting for the ambulance, the police, the authorities, waiting to be put away, waiting to be chained and locked away like the beast he is.
But it never comes.
His coach stands to the side, murmuring about playing by the rules and about the referee’s hesitation, murmuring something — he does not know, does not care.
His coach stands to the side, a full body’s length away from him, reassurance in his words but trepidation in his eyes.
The little helpless boy, the massive beast… either, or… he is always alone in defeat.