From Hawk v Falcon
“You’re late.” Jack Whitaker brought Chris his clean shorts and robe.
Chris tugged open his locker in the fighters’ dressing and shower room. “I know. My shift at the Candy Apple was supposed to end at midnight, but it didn’t.” He grinned and continued. “It’s just the show round anyway, huh? This week’s flown by.”
Jack ran the downtown fight club. Tuesday and Friday nights, after midnight, he held what he called cabaret spots. Amongst the long-term fighters were those Jack labeled his show ponies, and they would appear only once a month in the main cage, and the rest of the time put on a display. Chris Falconer aka the Falcon was a favorite among the crowd who hung around for a last drink, and to wind down from the high they’d got as they watched the bloody bouts of cage fights earlier in the night.
At midnight, the club closed the main doors, and punters who stayed for the cabarets headed into the more opulent second room, where the bar stayed open and the fight was all show.
Chris dragged off his work clothes and donned the satiny shorts Jack handed him. He pulled on the grey leather hood, shaped to portray a falcon’s head, and adjusted the beak, laughing as he checked the look in the long mirror over the row of hand basins. His mirth at the hood brought a grin from Jack.
“Hurry up.” Jack left Chris to put on his boxing shoes and pull on the gel injected fingerless gloves that they used in the cabaret.
Chris shrugged on his robe. Screen printed onto the silk was a flying falcon, its wings reaching across his shoulders. He jogged through the tunnel that led to the special bar. The exit brought him into the cage there. Already the other fighter stood alternately preening and dancing for the crowd on the far side of the circular enclosure.
The crowd applauded and called out as Chris spun around and discarded his robe to the waiting attendant. He hadn’t warmed-up and he quickly did a few moves designed to alleviate that.
His opponent turned.
Chris gave him a little bow and then approached.
Their fight wouldn’t be real, but all the same it would be strenuous and the falls could still wind them.
Chris hadn’t seen the fighter who charged toward him before. The outfit and the hood portrayed a red devil. Chris frowned under his own hood as the fighter jabbed with force at his throat. He avoided the punch and grabbed the arm, using the other fighter’s momentum to pull him over his shoulder and drop him to the canvas. Chris jumped back to let the Red Devil stand, but the other fighter spun on his back like a huge beetle and lunged at Chris’s ankle trying to grip it in his gloved hand.
Chris laughed as he bent and caught the hand. He made the move a joke, pulling the fighter up and shaking his hand. The crowd laughed and applauded. Chris leapt back, spun, and kicked the fighter in the shoulder. He modified the force in his kick so that instead of downing the man in pain, the kick would only make the other fighter stagger. This was the kind of show they were supposed to put on.
The Red Devil let out a roar that reached Chris through his hood and over the appreciative calls of the crowd.
A smile spread over Chris’s face at what he thought was a show for the audience from the Red Devil, but it was short-lived as his opponent barreled at him, grabbed his waist, and took him backwards onto the canvas, where the devil began pounding Chris about the face with real blows as he straddled Chris’s body. Shock stopped Chris from fighting back for a few seconds. The devil’s really fighting—okay—watch out, buddy.
Chris grabbed the devil by the wrists and using his legs to unsettle the devil’s seat across his body, Chris reversed their positions in seconds. He held the fighter’s hands above the red horned hood and leaned over to speak.
“What the fuck is going on? This is supposed to be a show bout, but it seems as if you want a real fight. That’s kinda against the rules, plus I don’t want to hurt you.”
The Red Devil bucked and struggled, but Chris had more muscle, experience, and was intent on keeping the other fighter down.
The crowd cheered. A few stood as they applauded.
The only reply the Red Devil gave was a loud hiss.
Puzzled, Chris let him up. He hopped to the far side of the cage and gave a little bow to the audience, but against all show bout expectations, the Red Devil ran at Chris, thrust him against the net, and began punching Chris in the kidneys. His breath left him, and he shook his head amazed at the force of the blows the devil bestowed on him. Resigned to having to dispense with his opponent, Chris ducked, twirled low, kicked the devil in the side, and then punched him hard in the jaw. Chris felt the punch in his knuckles through the gel gloves and shook out the pain as he moved back from the Red Devil, who fell dazed to the floor. Chris took a deep breath resigned to the fact that he’d had to hit the guy properly, as he saw a trickle of blood escape from the side of the Red Devil’s mouth.
Chris walked swiftly to the exit where the attendants waited. Jack arrived there at the same time as Chris. “Jack, this is over. I could hurt this guy if he keeps going. I’m bigger and I can feel his inexperience. What the fuck is going on?” Chris’s voice cracked slightly as he caught his breath.
Jack’s expression mirrored Chris’s puzzlement. “I have no idea. Can you stay in the ring? I’ll bring Tusk for a few Martial art moves.” He didn’t wait for Chris to answer and sent the two attendants to bundle the Red Devil from the cage.
Chris shifted from the exit to let them pass. He gave a short nod to Jack. “Four show moves only. I’m just a little pissed off right now.”
Jack followed the parade made up of the attendants and the Red Devil down the tunnel.
Chris gave a victory lap around the edge of the cage, but couldn’t shake the unease at the strange way the Red Devil had seemed to make the show fight personal.
The crowd alerted him to the entrance of Tusk, a fighter who adorned his hood with a replica Rhino horn, fortunately made of compressed rubber so that it felt like sponge. Chris twirled around. He knew Tusk, whose real name was Gabriel, and enjoyed their displays when they met in the cage.
He met Tusk in the center of the ring and bowed in response to his new opponent’s bow.
Then they entered the display battle. They posed and struck lightly. They flew through the air and landed elegantly to gesture at each other to bring more, to strike.
Chris gave Tusk a soft landing as he threw the fighter over his shoulder.
Tusk leapt up into a Martial arts stance and with a dart kicked Chris over. Chris felt only a muffled thud as Tusk’s foot tapped his torso. He squatted and somersaulted backwards landing in the pose the experienced fighters gave each other to end the show bouts.
After a few seconds, with the applause from the crowd waning, Chris stood and met Tusk to join him in a bow before they exited the cage.
Tusk pulled off his hood as they walked side by side along the tunnel to the dressing rooms. “What’s up with the Red Devil? Jack’s taken him to the office with one of the bouncers and that usually means trouble.”
Chris unfastened his falcon hood and took it off. He cast a glance at Tusk.
“I have no fucking idea, Gabriel—unless maybe he thought the fight was real, but even when I reminded him it was a show bout, he kept at me. In the end, I had to give him a punch to stop the fight.”
They reached the dressing rooms.
Gabriel gave Chris a pat on the back. “You did the right thing. He was out of order.”
They fell silent, undressed, showered, and met again in the main part of the room to put on their street clothes.
“I’m going to find Jack. I’ll see you later, Gabe.”
Gabriel looked up from pulling on his boot. “Sure, see you later.”
Chris considered what had happened in the cage as he took the stairs to Jack’s office situated in the basement. He knocked on the bubbled glass of the door that faced the bottom step.
Jack opened the door after a moment.
“Chris, I guessed you’d come to see me. Sorry about the Red Devil. He’s new to the cabaret, but he has fought every week for about two months in the other cage and I thought he’d be a colorful addition to the show fights, you know, what with his horned hood ... I should have let you know about the change...” Jack shrugged and led Chris down the corridor to the three rooms that made up the office suite.
“I had to give him a real thump to stop him. Is he hurt? What’s his excuse?”
Jack waved at a chair by the side of his desk. “Have a seat. He wouldn’t talk. I fired him. He seemed okay. The medic checked him out. He wasn’t knocked unconscious—just saw a few stars I reckon.”
“You fired him ... I hope he wasn’t dependent on the work.”
Jack shook his head to emphasize his words. “See, I couldn’t have him doing what he did and then not giving an explanation. If he’d said he forgot the rules, lame as that excuse would have been I might not have fired his ass, but not saying a word ... sitting there clammed up isn’t any way to act. Look, what if it wasn’t you he’d gone for? What if it was a lighter, less muscled, or less experienced guy, and the whole bout became carnage? Nah, he had to go.”
Chris stared at Jack. “The usual cage fights are real. People get hurt—you award prize money. You even have a punters’ challenge bare-knuckle bout Saturday afternoons. I’m surprised you didn’t just keep him on for those. Hey, did he come with the devil hood?” Chris suddenly wondered if the fighter had worked elsewhere. The devil wasn’t completely inexperienced.
Jack stood and walked over to the coffee maker that stood on a file cabinet to one side of the room. He took two mugs from one of the file cabinet drawers. “Coffee, Chris? Yeah he already had the hood and the name. He had references from a Boston club.” He looked at Chris for an answer holding the coffee pot poised above one of the mugs.
Chris nodded. “Yes please. That’s interesting. I suppose you called the club.”
Jack brought the coffees to the desk. He placed a mug in front of Chris. “I did, and they were full of praise.”
Chris took a sip of the coffee. “Then I have no idea what happened.”
Jack pursed his lips in thought. After a few moments, he appeared to give up on the situation. “Well, it’s over. Let’s discuss the next couple of week’s fights and who goes up against who.” He flicked the mouse on the pad adorned with a picture of Spiderman and glanced at the computer screen on the desk. He grimaced and searched amongst the few folders and an empty packet of chips on one side of the desk, finding a pair of glasses. He put them on, and looked back at the screen.
“No unexpected changes this time. I’ve got you pitted against Hulk and Scorpion in the Tuesday show bouts, and Friday the show bout will be you and Hawk. I’m advertising that heavily, Hawk v Falcon, yeah, that will excite the punters. Then in the second week you’re due in the usual cage for a freestyle-wrestling bout with a ‘contender yet to be named,’ you know the usual thing—one of our guys pretending to be from the floor. There are no show bouts in the second week, so only one night’s work for the week. How’s that?”
Chris drank his coffee quietly. He had no idea why Jack consulted him in advance, not always, but more often than not. Jack didn’t do it with anyone else. Jack usually emailed the information out every two weeks, and Chris received the email, too. Sometimes he thought Jack viewed him as a friend or maybe a son. Right then Chris thought it definitely was the latter as Jack looked up at him and smiled.
“I enjoy our talks, son.”
Chris returned the smile. He knew Jack’s wife had died of cancer three years ago and there were no kids as far as Chris was aware.
Chris sighed inwardly. He knew what it was like to be lonely. It didn’t matter how much times had changed. He found it hard to meet a guy he could love and have that love returned. In fact, Chris had about given up looking. Sex was easy. He could get that in a heartbeat if he went out to one of the gay bars around town, but in the last year, it had become hollow. He watched couples dance together and wished he had someone who knew him, laughed with him, was in his bed at night waiting to hold him close. It was painful. Chris drifted in his thoughts. Charlie was right. Why was he alone? Why didn’t any of the guys he’d screwed want more than that, hurrying away the next day or even in the night after sex. I maybe give off some kind of impermanence signals.
Jack’s voice broke through the fog of thoughts. “I’d better get back upstairs, Chris. Marty will be wondering if I’ve fallen down a hole.”
Marty was the assistant fight manager. He’d be up there in the bar where another show bout would be underway. Chris nodded. “Sure, Jack. Thanks for the coffee. I’ll see you Tuesday night. Since it’s me and Gabriel again, I hope the audience doesn’t get bored.”
Jack laughed aloud. “You’re kidding. Have you ever cast a glance over the women in the audience? They can’t take their eyes off you. That’s why I’m advertising the Hawk v Falcon so much. The ladies will be queued around the block. Two hot bodies to fantasize about...” He laughed again as he stood.
Chris stood too, and followed him from the office. They ascended the stairs together, but at the top, Jack split off to go to the bar where the cage fight could be heard bringing applause from the audience, and Chris left by the back door to go home.
As he unlocked his car door, he remembered he’d not asked Jack for the Red Devil’s real name. Chris made a mental note to find that out because maybe he knew the guy, maybe it was someone he’d thrown out of the Candy Apple who was after revenge. Which is kinda dramatic, but you never know. Chris sat in his flame red Wrangler and stared out at the sky as he considered this. A pale half-moon appeared as clouds scudded away in the wind.
Across the parking lot, the Red Devil, devoid of hood, and sitting in his sleek gray Pontiac GTO watched Chris. I’m not finished with you, Falcon. Not by a long way.
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2016 , Encompass Ink, All rights are Reserved
These two full-length stories are now combined in one book for your enjoyment. They are available as single stories, so please check if you have bought them as such.
Handsome Tom Wells sets lonely Scott Palmer’s heart racing as he watches Tom come and go from his apartment across the street. Scott longs to meet Tom, and when he scores a new job delivering goods for a local distributor, fate hands him the opportunity.
Tom works in a nightclub—the Candy Apple, and in the sultry environs, a masked stranger seduces Tom. The seeds of passion are sown, but just who has ignited Tom’s passion?
Scott’s longing to know Tom leads him to join the elite nightclub. On his first visit, the club holds a masquerade event.
Who is kissing who? Who’s under the black velvet mask?
An erotic MM romance, with a twist and HEA.
Hawk v Falcon
When Chris Falconer receives an email from his lost high school friend, Justin, ten years after he last saw him, Chris is overjoyed. The two boys had shared kisses and sworn love for each other, but before their love could be tested, Justin’s mother abruptly took Justin out of school, and they disappeared.
Multi-talented and handsome Chris is a cage fighter at Jack’s Clubhouse, and the Dungeon Master in the Candy Apple club. He writes a column for a fitness blog and keeps himself busy, but deep down he’s never forgotten Justin—turns out Justin has never forgotten Chris either.
On a modeling assignment in New York, Justin sees Chris in a café and can’t help contacting him, but his ex, Todd, who doesn’t want Justin but doesn’t want Chris to have him either, has plans to throw their reunion into disarray.
So begins a love story full of emotion. Will Todd succeed? Or this time, will Justin and Chris have the happy ending and delicious love they deserve?
A second chance gay romance with a touch of suspense
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