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'Twas the Fight Before Christmas
Jack McCallum
December 26, 2005
A high-wire experiment in sports fiction, written in nine chapters, sequentially, by nine SI authors, wherein a fast-fading pugilist suddenly finds himself in the bout of his life. Read on....
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December 26, 2005

'twas The Fight Before Christmas

A high-wire experiment in sports fiction, written in nine chapters, sequentially, by nine SI authors, wherein a fast-fading pugilist suddenly finds himself in the bout of his life. Read on....

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Or ... was this a setup? Pop in downward-facing possum pose, so I'd drop my guard, neglect my training, gorge on the cheesecake at Lucky's and the you-know-what at Cheryl Sue's?

Which reminded me. I grabbed her picture off the end table and slid it right under his mug.

"Remember her?" I said.

He looked long and hard. His inhale-exhale gave me the creeps. "No," he finally said.

Liar, I wanted to scream. He remembered every woman he'd ever had just as he remembered every bout, every round, every mouthful of leather in every rat-infested firetrap he'd ever fought in.

He rose to his feet. He picked up the picture. He studied the picture, and then the expression on my face.

Something I'd never seen before, like the shadow of a passing cloud, moved across his eyes. "Should I?" he asked.

"Cheryl Sue," I murmured.

"Did I...?"

I nodded.

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