My Boxing Lesson
I whistled to myself as I walked up the driveway to Garrett's house. It was the weekend before spring break, and we'd both made plans to hang out the entire way through. It had all the makings of a perfect week; no homework, no jobs, families going to visit relatives, leaving us alone. One other thing I was looking forward too, was that I'd be picking up a new sport over the break. Garrett was a boxer, only an amateur but a pretty good one. I'd been to tournaments and seen him before, watching him win fight after fight, tournament after tournament. Eventually I'd wanted to learn too; it looked fun, and I figured that he would be a good teacher.
And so, Saturday morning, Garrett had invited me to his house to begin my training. He told me that it would be a sort of analytical fight, just so that he could see how I fought, testing my abilities. I reached the door, knocking three times before ringing the doorbell. Garrett answered the door a few seconds later, grinning as he saw me. "Tom! You're here! Come on in!"
I followed Garrett inside, into his house. It was a single-floored house, not counting the basement that had been converted into a makeshift gym so that Garrett could practice. Garrett led me into his room, bustling around it to get stuff that we'd need. I took a look at myself in the full-length mirror on the wall while Garrett got ready. I wasn't much to look at; I had never really played a sport before, so underneath my T-shirt my stomach was a smooth, unbroken surface. I wasn't nearly as muscled as Garrett was thanks to his training, but I hoped that he could help me bulk up as I got better.
"Alright, that's everything we need," Garrett said as he walked past me, two pairs of boxing gloves over his shoulder. "Come on, let's get started."
Garrett and I went down to the basement. It was a pretty big space, containing a number of punching bags and benches. The boxing ring in the center was a portable one, not the big kind that you see in arenas or during official tournaments. Garrett tossed me a pair of gloves, grinning. "Take your shirt and shoes off, I'll help you put those on."
I did as he said, taking off my shoes, socks, and my shirt. All of it went onto a nearby bench, and Garrett came over and walked me through lacing up my gloves. Five minutes passed, me struggling with the laces and repeatedly messing up the knots until finally Garrett shook his head and grabbed the freshly unlaced gloves. He pulled them off my hands and laid them down on the bench next to us, shaking his head as he stepped backwards. "Fine, we won't use gloves today. Come on, let's get in the ring."
"So," I asked as Garrett let me through the ropes, climbing through himself. "What are we going to do first? A punching bag, pads?"
"Actually, we're gonna fight," Garrett replied. He turned to me, stripping off his shirt to reveal his muscular body. "I wanna see how you do."
"But this is my first match " I said, raising an eyebrow.
"I know," Garrett replied. "But just come on, try and knock me out. I'll even do a handicap."
"How about this You can hit me anywhere you want - above the belt of course - but I bet you that I can knock you out just with punches to the gut."
I thought about it for a second, leaning back against the ropes. I was outmatched here; Garrett was way more experienced than I was in boxing But on the bright side, him only being able to target one part of my body could be the thing that turned the tide. I just needed to guard my stomach against any punches of his, and hit him hard enough to put him down quick.
"Alright " I said, nodding my head. Garrett grinned and motioned me forward. "Alright. The first thing you always do in a boxing match is tap gloves. So, come here to the center."
I did so, he had me make fists with my hands and we bumped them together.
"Let's go until one of us is knocked out, okay?" Garrett asked.
"Fine with me," I replied.
With that, the match began. I mimicked Garrett's stance as he got his hands up, his fingers balling up into fists like mine. "Good luck!" Garrett said, grinning. As he backed off and we began to circle, I had another thought now that the fight was on. My stomach was pretty soft; it came from eighteen years of sitting around doing nothing, no exercise beyond what was required of me in PE at school. I wasn't necessarily fat, but my stomach was thick and also pretty wide, and it stuck out a bit past the waistband of my shorts. I would have to protect it as well as I could from an experienced fighter like Garrett.
We were still circling each other, and as we did so I realized that Garrett hadn't made a move. He was waiting for me, watching me to see what move I would make first. I had to make the first move. I didn't like it, because I knew it would probably turn out bad, but I had no choice otherwise we'd be here forever. I sighed and then readied myself, setting my stance. Garrett glanced down at my feet then back up at my face, watching me for when I made it out.
I charged at Garrett and swung a hard punch at his head, my fist streaking towards his face. The next thing I knew he had ducked. My fist flew over his head and I overextended myself, leaving my bare stomach stretched out and exposed.
"Oooooofff!" Air whistles from my lips and I bend at the waist as a hard straight from Garret lands in my gut with the force of a freight train, right on my navel. His fist sinks wrist-deep into my soft belly, rearranging the intestines in its way as my cheeks puff up. My mouth drops open as I stumble backwards, my hands immediately wrapping around my belly. That one punch had knocked a large amount of air out of my lungs, and Garrett's knuckles were imprinted on my stomach in bright pink marks.
"Wow, that went in deep!" Garrett said as he took me in, watching me hold my stomach and moan softly. "You're even softer than I thought you were!"
"I-I-I aim to p-p-please " I groaned, giving him a pained grin. Garrett grinned back, waiting for me to get enough air back in my lungs before getting his guard back up. We circled each other again. I flicked jabs at him from time to time, trying to find a weak point in his defenses, but he blocked every punch. Another jab yielded different results, though with me on the bad end of it. Instead of blocking this one, he dodged underneath it and came at me. I had enough time to think Uh oh before Thump! Thump thump thump!
"Oof! Huh, muh, oomph!" I chuffed as each jab thumped into my belly, tracing a circle around my navel as I stumbled backward, trying to bring my guard back up. Garrett continued forward either dodging or blocking the sloppy punches that I threw at him to try and make him back up, and then swung his right towards me in a hard uppercut.
"Hooooouugh!" I wheezed, leaning forward and draping over his shoulder, my arms hanging limply down his back. His uppercut had buried itself into my breadbasket; my lower belly, below my navel. It had sunk in even deeper than his first punch had, sinking in past his wrist about halfway to his elbow.
"Eesh, I bet that couldn't have felt good," Garrett muttered as he jostled his fist inside my belly, causing me to gag. "You alright, buddy?"
"Oooofff " I moan.
WHAP, WHAP, WHAP.
"Hoomph! Hoof! Oof!" I start huffing and puffing again as Garrett begins unloading hooks into my stomach, sending my belly flesh swinging left, then right as he dug his fists in over and over. I jerk and twitch with each blow, more sounds coming out of my mouth until Garrett finally unloads a second hard uppercut into my gut, pushing me backwards as another soft "Oooooofff " squeezes its way out of my mouth.
I can't breathe, my knees knocking together as I wrap my arms around my belly. I'm drooling a bit, my mouth hanging open and the drool dripping from my bottom lip. I cough and choke as I try and stay standing. Garrett cracks his knuckles as he watches me try to recover, looking at my belly to see the damage he's done to it so far. His knuckle prints are everywhere on it, and my stomach is starting to growl and churn in agony from the abuse that it's taken. "Come on Tom, you're not done already, are you?"
"N-n-n-no," I sputter, not wanting to look weak in front of my best friend. "J-j-just c-c-catching m-m-my b-b-br-breath."
"If you say so," Garrett replied. "Wanna stop? Take a break?"
"N-n-no. W-w-what's the m-m-matter?" I boast, sounding a lot more confident than I felt. "You s-s-s-scared?"
Garrett chuckled and shook his head, getting his hands back up and advancing on me. I got my own guard back up despite the burning ache in my belly, and swing a sloppy punch at his nose to try and make him back up. Once again he ducks under it. I have time to think Not again before two more quick punches spear me in the belly, this time above my navel, up in my diaphragm area.
"Oof! Oof!" I cough. Garrett has one more punch to deliver, postage due "Hoof!" I stumble backwards again, my back pressing against the soft fibers of the ropes a soft wheeze making its way out of my mouth as my hands start working their way back down to my belly.
"HOOOOOOOMPH!" Yet more air is blown out from my lips as I feel my bay window get speared by yet another punch, this one a hard straight punch directly to the center of my belly. It goes really deep, up to Garrett's elbow as I bend backwards, my back pushing the ropes outward as I jackknife around Garrett's fist. In shock, I look down at the tan stretch of Garrett's arm, then look back up at Garrett's face. Garrett looks up at me, and I bet he can see my wide eyes, my puffed cheeks, even as my intestines roil around his fist. His fist impacted my stomach organ with what felt like the force of a freight train, and I wouldn't be surprised if an X-ray had revealed that my stomach was cushioning his fist from smashing into my spine.
"You alright?" Garrett asked.
"Ugh uh guh " I can only gag in answer. Garrett jerks his fist out of my belly, and I let out a loud gasp as my belly is flung forward, the force that kept it against the ropes now gone. Unfortunately Garrett immediately shoves his other fist in, just as hard. My cheeks inflate again, my eyes once again widening as the straight goes lower this time, pinning my navel to my spine.
"Koch " I gurgle, slumping forward against him. His fist goes deeper into my belly, if that's even possible, and Garrett loops an arm under mine to keep me from falling. My vision is failing; I can barely see what he's doing, and I can hardly breathe.
The uppercuts start coming in now, Garrett's arm hitting me with so much force that I'm being lifted off the ground with each punch, my belly wrapping around his fist over and over again as he spears me in the gut over and over again. One final punch and he lets go of me, leaving me to stumble backwards. I feel my back press against a turnbuckle, and I'm gasping for breath as I attempt to regain all of the air that had been beaten out of me. Garrett comes close to me, his hands at his side. He gently takes my hands and hangs them over the ropes to either side of me, making sure that I can't move.
He gets back into his stance, and then starts unloading on me. I can't summon the strength to lift my head; I can only watch my stomach as jab after jab thuds into it. The soft flesh jiggles and wobbles with each punch, and I swear that Garrett is using my navel as a target as he pummels my gutbucket with punches. I can feel my back hit the turnbuckle with each punch as they force me backward, and my cheeks puff up more and more each time a punch lands. By this time my belly is red and purple, bruises and knuckle marks from my belly-beating going across my stomach every which way. Finally, Garrett pulls an arm back and makes ready to hit me, lifting my chin to look into my half-open, pain-fogged eyes.
His fist impales my belly deeper than ever before; I swear it nearly went in to his shoulder. I don't even know how I have that much space in my belly, but by this point my intestines had been liquified by his punches, my belly soft and squishy. Before he hit it it bulged out beyond the waistband of my shorts, hanging down several inches like a slab of meat. I think that Garrett's fist has reduced my spine to powder; he let go of my head as he hit me, leaving me to watch his arm disappear into my belly. I wouldn't be surprised if my back was bulging outward in an outline of his fist, considering that my belly has conformed around his fist like it was a glove.
Eventually, after his fist had been in my belly for what felt like hours, Garrett pulled his punch out of my gut. I gasp and jerk as his fist exits my stomach, my arms falling from the ropes. I stare at him, breathless, as he smiles sheepishly at me.
"Sorry, Tom," he says, laughing nervously. "I guess I got a bit carried away."
I can't respond; I don't have the air. I feel my knees hit the ground, and the next thing I know I'm pitching forward.
Garrett watched Tom fall flat on his face to the floor of the mat, out cold.
Garrett shook his head before he grabs Tom by the arms, slinging his body
over his shoulder in a fireman's carry before he carries him up the stairs,
back into the main house. Garrett carried Tom into his room, gently tossing
his best buddy's limp body onto the bed, his red, bruised belly exposed to
the sky, bulging out past his waistband due to a lack of any muscles to keep
it contained. Garrett walked out of the room, aiming to watch TV while Tom