"If it's horse you want," said Doggy, "Lucky's is the place."
Doggy should know. Guy lives on restaurant leftovers. Other people's. He'll wait for a couple to leave, then dump their half-eaten porterhouse in his canvas doggy bag, the one with everlast emblazoned on the side. Which is how he got his nickname.
I took an aspirin bottle from my duffel bag, removed the cotton wad, shook some pills down my throat then plugged the cotton up my right nostril.
"That a rabbit up your nose?" some drunk said as I pushed the panic bar on the steel door, ushering Cheryl Sue out of the gym.
"Yeah, lucky rabbit," I said and jaywalked across the street to Lucky's, where we slid into a booth upholstered in vinyl, the window booth, where I plan to pop the question when I win a few fights.
Tonight the only ring on the table was last month's Ring magazine. Lucky came by to ask about the fight--he always wears a pink tie and a pink pocket square--and when he finally left I told Cheryl Sue about Pop: how he could absorb a beating better than any man who ever fought--better than Cobb, better than Ledoux, better even than Jerry Quarry, a fighter whose last name was a synonym for a hunted animal.
I told her Pop was known as a human heavy bag, a guy who wouldn't go down even when he's spraying blood like a lawn sprinkler, even when the ring looked like the prom scene in Carrie and all the blood was his.
The more I talked, the more I felt like I was still dangling by the ankle in Considine's vine trap. What if I kill my own father in the ring? And, almost as troubling: What if I don't?
"This guy's my next fight," I said, showing Cheryl Sue the copy of Ring. "That's my father."
She turned white through her spray-on tan, which had been almost as orange as her outfit. "Tommy," she said. "He can't be your father."