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I beat Braxton. Beat him and held my head in disbelief and babbled like I was talkin' in tongues and wondered what had made God finally stop shakin' me 'tween his teeth. And decided that I just had to start livin' even more careful than before, even though I thought I was livin' careful, decided I had to circle up my wagons even tighter. And still, over and over to this day, I keep havin' this same dream, me walkin' on a flat surface with holes everywhere, and just thin little spaces between 'em to put my foot down on, and whump, I keep fallin' through, catchin' myself at the armpits at the very last second, then pullin' myself up again, tryin' to keep walkin'—God knows where—tryin' to step more and more careful.
And now it's comin', I can smell it, I can hear it, I can feel it comin', one last question; go ahead, child, ask it:
Why would a very, very, very careful man fight Tyson?
Michael Spinks stares at the ceiling. There is silence on the phone.
Maybe he would answer this the simple way, ask her to hold a dollar bill in her hand and teach her how to multiply it by 13 million.
And maybe he would answer it the hard way: Oh, Shelly, it's so hard for a man of 31 to understand—how in the world could a little girl like you?
Baby, let's pretend somethin'. Let's pretend that, for some reason, it was very bad and dangerous to cry, it could kill you, and so you never let yourself do it, you just always smiled and smiled like all the world was dandy. And that part of you just got locked away, all those tears just got more and more backed up, a whole swimmin' pool of tears.
And then one day someone handed you an onion, and because you had no choice, it was all right to cry, you could cry and cry and cry, let out that whole swimmin' pool of tears! Imagine how great that would feel!
Baby, do you understand now? Tyson's my onion! No, I don't need to cry, that was just pretend, what I need to let go is something different. And it's all" right this time because I never once asked God to let me fight that man, I just waited and waited and finally it happened on its own. That's my sign that it's O.K. And because he fights for blood like no one else I've ever fought, because he makes it do-or-die, I got no choice—I have to let go to survive, I have to wait till he makes a mistake and then go wild—bam, bam, bam—like I've never gone wild before—bam, bam, bam—I have to let that poor crazy man inside me out of his coffin and run absolutely wild, and God'll understand, no paybacks, baby; God won't mind!
Michael Spinks's eyes leave the ceiling. Of course not, no, he couldn't tell her that.