Penalty Time

Shea felt himself lifted from the mat and placed on his knees.  The cold water hit him like a wet brick.  He shook the water from his pulsing jaw and saw Kirill standing in front of him holding a bucket.

“Penalty time,” Kirill said, his belt buckle inches from Shea’s face.

Kirill drilled Shea in the forehead with a stiff upper cut.  Shea grabbed at his cranium and tried to back off the mat, but was caught by Miroslav and thrown forward into Kirill’s wicked jab.  Shea went down, and felt himself picked up by Miroslav and knocked down by Kirill again and again.

Broken and bleeding, Shea heard Kirill issue orders to his troops like a Soviet general directing a parade of tanks.  Shea was lifted from behind by Miroslav and faced shirtless, hairy, snickering Anatoly who pounded Shea’s ribs and chest before landing two hooks to his face.  He heard his own nose break.  Vlad was next, but seemed unwilling and bored, settling for three quick jabs.  Kirill laughed and slapped everyone’s butts as Miroslav dropped Shea to the floor.  For a moment, Shea felt like LuAnn.

Shea put on his pants and sat gently on the edge of the mat, nursing his ribs and straightening his nose.  He caught his breath and thought about Patty when Kirill appeared sitting next to him.  Kirill slapped his knee.

“You’re in, my friend,” he said.





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