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Mario Lopez and Me, Now© 2004
By The Hit Man

I walked into the gym still never expecting to find him there. But there he was, larger than life. Star of Saved by the Bell and so much more, my idol, Mario Lopez. He was leaning, his weight supported between two punching bags and as I walked in, his eyes bore right through me.

"I didn't think you'd show," I said, feeling sweat breaking out on my upper lip, under my arms, and around my balls.

"I didn't think you would," he replied, never breaking a sweat or a smile. "Well, shall we get on with this? What'll it be: wrestling, boxing…you name it. After all, it's your money."

"Actually, I had gut punching in mind." I was taken back by the horse laugh that erupted from his lips. Though the look on his face didn't change, it seemed like the definition of his abs had just sharpened, like there were more striations there than had been previously. Was it just my imagination?

"If you think you can do anything to these, have at it." Oh, how I loved a challenge even if it was going to cost me a bucket load of money to do it.

"Okay, well, let's get it on then," I said as I pulled some light weight lifting gloves. "How do you want to do this? I mean, how do you want to stand?"

"I'm fine just like this," he replied as I moved in close. My mouth was drying as I watched the various muscles of his abdomen flex and relax with his breathing. I loved the trail of dark hair that ran from his belly button, disappearing into his workout shorts. I dropped into a fighters pose and delivered my first punch. He might not have known it then but I did: his abs were going to be mine.

My fists were hitting hardness. He was keeping his muscles pulled in tight and while there was a good bit of muscle there, I could tell he was controlling the effectiveness of my punches mostly by his breathing. I was settling into a gentle rhythm, going just against the pace that his breathing was holding. By doing that, I knew I was making it hard for him to breathe consistently and keep his abs hard. Each time he would adjust to my rhythm, I would readjust to the opposite. It wasn't causing him problems yet but I was far from finished.

I started to pick up the pace some and noticed a film of sweat break out on his forehead. My punches were starting to leave some redness around the areas I hit most frequently. I decided to concentrate for a few minutes in the area just above his belly button. My pace was definitely giving his breathing fits as he struggled to maintain the hardness required to keep my fists from penetrating his musculature. I was enjoying this maybe a little too much.

I had been hitting him in the same area for maybe 15 minutes when I pulled a quick switch and slammed a stiff upper cut into the area just above his groin. I knew it was somewhat of a cheap shot but that didn't stop me from enjoying the loud grunt my punch elicited. I looked up at his face. There was a very pronounced furrowed brow between his eyes, something that hadn't been there before. It was now taking his complete concentration to keep his muscles under control.

"You need to take a break yet, Mario?" I asked the question while I continued to punch away. He looked at me intensely and I really thought he was going to say yes. But he made me proud by shaking his head no. "Okay then, time to increase the discomfort level." My next series of punches were one-two combinations, their intent to take away his capacity to breath in any steady rhythm. It was obvious after only a few moments that my plan was working. His chest began to heave in and out as he struggled against my blows. That's when I first began to feel the collapse of his ab muscles. I turned up the heat.

My blows hadn't decreased in intensity since I had begun this whole thing. If anything, I was feeling my second wind and was able to blast away with consistency and strength. From the look on his face, Mario was no longer feeling so full of bravado. This was definitely worth whatever it was going to cost me. Honing in on the area just below his sternum, I exploded with a barrage of fast and effective slams. My fists were sinking in further and further as his ragged breathing took priority and his musculature collapsed completely. That felt good, at least to me.

"Break," he gasped out. "I need that break." I was pleased to hear how weak his voice was but that didn't stop me.

"Okay, but just one more hit first." I doubled up my fist and hit him so hard in the lower gut, his lungs emptied of air, the warm, wetness exploding all over my face. He had no more oxygen and before he could suck in any replacement oxygen, I slammed him one more time. His eyes rolled up and he collapsed on the floor unconscious. Oh that was sweet.


Before he came too, I had a couple of extras I had hired heave his inert body up and tie his wrists to the punching bag supports. I knew I had been pretty rough on him and while I figured he would still be able to stand, once I started again, I doubted that he would be able to support himself for any extended period of time. A bucket of water in the face and he came too, sputtering and coughing. He didn't realize he was tied up until he tried to wipe the wetness from his face.

"What the hell is this," he demanded? He tried to tear his bindings loose but his struggles only managed to tighten the ropes. "Let me down. We're done here!" His voice always had contained a commanding presence and I almost let down my own resolve but not quite.

"Since it's on my nickel, I think it's done when I say it is. And I don't, at least not yet." I wasn't surprised to see him continue to struggle, at least until I slugged him again. The first blow reminded us both of just how much damage I had done in the first session. This made me smile a little, made him frown a lot. I then set myself back to business. My fists were like a well-oiled machine, in and out with the precision of a piston. Each blow was calculated to deliver just the right amount of mass displacement and that's just what was happening. His muscles were no longer able to resist my fists and each blow dug in deeper and deeper. I would concentrate on a segment of skin until it was a bright red before moving to the next section. His breathing was already ragged again and he was struggling to keep his consciousness. All of this seemed to make me hungry to drive my fists in further, to see how much I could do, how little he could do to stop me. Without my knowing it, I was becoming the monster I had always seen him to be.

His head was starting to droop, only the bindings on his wrists holding him up. Even his knees had buckled. I almost felt sorry for him. My arms were starting to get a little heavy themselves and I figured maybe I should stop. But I had one order of business left to take care of. His head dropped to his chest but I could see it was just a ploy, lungs still filling at about the same rate. I stepped in close and grabbed him by the hair, jerking his head back. As we starred at each other, I sensed his anger but there was nothing he could do about it.

"It's almost over Mario. I just have one last item to pay you back for." He got a questioning look just before I slammed my knee into his groin as hard as I could. His stomach lurched and he hurled. Oh my, that was sweet satisfaction. With drops of bile still on his lips, he spoke.

"Please let me loose, Screech. I can't take anymore." I hated hearing him beg: almost as much as he had enjoyed hearing me do it so many years ago.

"What did you call me," I shouted? This time I doubled up my fist and slammed it directly into his groin a second time. He moaned in pain. I yanked his head back up by the hair.

"I meant Dustin," he barely managed to squeak out.

"That's more like it," I practically spit in his ear. I kept punching as I spoke. "I've been preparing for this for years. That episode of me on Celebrity Boxing 2 was just a trial run. I took boxing lessons and even hired a personal trainer to improve my strength levels. I really hope you've enjoyed this half as much as I have, Mario. Maybe you'll think about it a little more before you kick sand in the 98 pound weaklings face." I had promised myself I wouldn't do what I did next but I just couldn't help myself. I pulled my arm back and delivered a haymaker to his chin. Oh that felt so good, I thought, as his head bounced back and then forward, coming to rest on his chest. As he hung there, I stripped off my gloves, shoved them in my bag and walked out.

I had made arrangements for someone else to clean up the mess and give him his money. Who knows, maybe he and I will meet again in just such a circumstance and it won't cost me a penny.

Dustin Diamond