A little seasoning..."Salt & Pepper"
Here's a brief snippet from my newest WIP, Salt & Pepper. These words fall from the opening chapter where my MC, Christopher 'Boom' King is releasing some stress after well...just see for yourself.
I looked at the impression my gloved hand made into the black synthetic leather bag and wondered if I could hit it harder, so I did.
Gone were the jab, straight right hand, and proper mechanics. All I cared about right now was the feral release I'd been hunting for the last forty-plus minutes.
I fucking gave her everything. Left the city, hell the area, and didn't do half of what I could have, just left. Now she wants, fuck, I don't know what she wants. But I'm not playing this game. I refuse.
My exhales on each looping hook I threw at the heavy bag were sharp and intentional. Each time I connected, the energy that shot back through my gloves, to my arms, shoulders, back, and obliques, burned like hell. Good!
Recklessly thrown punches brought an intended pain that I craved, that I needed, to clear my head, and push down this Kim-fueled frustration. It's a damn shame when I hadn't put the gloves on in well over ten years. Then twice in the last two, I needed to return to my first love to deal with my last.
With every synchronized exhale the heavy bag was making its way back in range.
So I hit that motherfucker again. Boom! And again. Boom! And again. Boom! And again, until the metal chain links holding it up, rattled, clinked, and ground against one another. I was drenched in sweat, the heavy bag was swaying awkwardly, my breathing was ragged, and everything above the waist was on fire. I had passed the moment of knowing my hands and wrists were going to be sore from careless technique fifteen minutes ago.
But I could give two shits. Right now I was pissed the hell off. She had found a way to piss me the hell off, once again, even after I did away with her and him. There was an entire time zone between us now and we were no longer legally bound, but as usual, that wasn't enough.
Two years and fourteen hundred miles ain't enough? Fuck! I thought aloud in stereo.
I yelled as I pivoted in an exaggerated fashion and exploded out of my stance, stepping into another wildly devastating hook to the heavy bag. The impact was loud and resounded through the gym, which was operating at about fifty percent capacity on a Saturday evening.
“Damn OG, everything good?”
A kid asked, walking over from the mirror where he had been shadowboxing.
“I’m cool youngin’,” I replied, pulling off the gloves the gym’s owner had lent me.
Still getting used to this OG shit. My ass needs to shave when I get home.
Wiping the sweat off of my face, neck, and shoulders, I sat down on a nearby bench to swap out my shoes for slides and was reminded that I hadn’t brought my regular gym bag. Nary a toiletry was in sight. Tonight’s trip was completely impromptu. Not only was this not my regular gym, but it was also a boxing gym, something that I stopped frequenting regularly, decades ago.
Damn, a shower will have to wait.
After digging in my bag to grab a tee to replace the one I had sweated through, I got a better look at the kid that spoke to me. He had taken up real estate at the heavy bag I was working on earlier. He was just short of six feet, maybe five foot ten or so. Fluid. Real light on his feet, with a long reach. The guy who I assumed was his coach gave him some last-minute guidance before he got to work.
“Hey OG," he called out after a few light stationary punches. "You got any advice on how I should attack this bag since you just had your way with it?”
His grin morphed into a genuine smile as he turned in my direction, awaiting an actual response. He couldn’t be any older than twenty, twenty-one years old. That was a helluva age, I recalled briefly. Either he was young in the fight game or was fast and had impeccable defensive instincts, maybe both. In my opinion, he was simply way too pretty to be a boxer.
Thinking to myself how or if I even wanted to respond, I picked up my bag and hydro flask, extending my right fist. My knuckles down to my wrist were still covered in my favorite, ancient, purple hand wraps. He bumped it and continued looking at me like he knew who I was...or who I used to be many, many moons ago.
His round, gray eyes were bright and full of life, oblivious to the trappings of this unpredictable ass world. Good for you slim, I thought. Hold on to that as long as you can.
“Advice," I started then stopped, looking away for a beat. "Yeah, don’t get married.”
I turned and headed out, dropping my gloves on the counter.
Salt & Pepper, in my head, is a reluctant, forced proximity story spawned from betrayal. Chris is your prototypical male MC who swears off all things love and positive relationships (romantic & platonic) following his divorce. While he's the voice of reason and fan of love for all who seek his counsel, he prefers endless amounts of meaningless sex and arm-length relationships for himself.
Nia Hobson, is a Houston native, that runs in the friend circle of Jonathan Ingram, the closest thing to a real friend that Chris has in his new city. Nia, a skeptic of love, marriage, and relationships due to a bad track record with men, throws herself into her growing daycare business as a means to be too busy to fail at love again.
The pair fall into each other's orbit one night off of pure happenstance. What follows is continuous, random run-ins that precede the fight against the inevitable for different reasons--where human nature and the past fight fate's will being done.
Or something like that.