Wanted to share a bit of the first part of Chasing Filthy Lucre. Thought I'd serialize the first section on the blog while I still try and get things ready to publish. These will be longer than the previous excerpts. I didn't write this in chapters, so the lengths may vary. Here's the first. I'd love to hear what you think, both good and bad.
I faught. Not by choice, but necessity.
The concrete in the basement at Raul’s was damp, that wasn’t unusual. Neither was the smell of mildew. A crowd of no more than fifty stood in a circle around both of us. It was a slow night, and Berger and I had been at it for a few minutes.
I bounced on the balls of my feet, my hands up near my face. Berger swung and I jumped backward. He missed by inches. I jabbed my left and bloodied his nose. He shook his head. Blinked twice. I followed with a right that Berger blocked. He buried a fist into my stomach. I made an odd coughing and grunting sound. Sweat stuck my long-sleeved t-shirt to my chest. The soles of my black boots squeaked as I danced around the floor.
The crowd was rowdy and the circle began to close. Berger and I moved apart to force the men to spread back out. We came back together after a moment and I moved in close and got him into a hold, wrapping my hands around the back of his neck and pulled him to me.
“Nice shot, earlier,” I whispered into his ear. “Knocked the wind out of me.”
“Couldn’t wait a couple of minutes before drawing blood?” he whispered back.
“Small crowd tonight. Wanted to get them riled up.”
Berger pushed me away.
“Then try to bloody me again,” he shouted and the crowd whooped and hollered.
Berger came toward me, his hands up near his face. He shook his left hand, just enough for me to notice, then swung. I ducked. An uppercut caught Berger on the chin. A right cross sent him stumbling back. The crowd pushed him into the middle of the circle and he wobbled toward me then fell against my chest.
“Nice job, champ.” The crowd was shouting and I could barely hear him. “I don’t think I can make it much longer. Think they’d be happy to see me fall yet?”
I raised my right arm and waved my hand in a circle. The crowd got louder and I said to Berger, “Yeah. We’re good.”
I pushed him off of me and he stumbled to the middle of the circle. He struggled to stand and I hit him with a flurry of punches. First a right, then a left, then another right. One more hard left and Berger’s head snapped back. He fell to the ground and the crowd shouted. A pair of men fought through the mob and grabbed Berger under the arms and drug him into a back room. I followed, accepting congratulations.