Sunday, August 10, 2014

Check 'Em Out: Fight Card Presents Battling Mahoney & Other Stories/Fight Card: Push - Jack Tunney (Nathan Walpow)

Fight Card Presents: Battling Mahoney & Other Stories is the second in a series of charity anthologies from the Fight Card authors’ cooperative – a writers’ community featuring many of today’s finest fictioneers, including James Reasoner, Loren D. Estleman, Len Levinson, James Hopwood, Mark Finn, Jeremy L. C. Jones, Michael Zimmer, Marc Cameron, Nik Morton, Marsha Ward, Clay More, Chuck Tyrell, Bowie V. Ibarra, Art Bowshire, and featuring an extensive essay, On Boxing, by Willis Gordon. 

Compiled by Paul Bishop and Jeremy L. C. Jones, 100% of the proceeds from these anthologies go directly to an author-in-need or a literacy charity. Words on paper are the life blood of a writer. The writers in this volume were willing to bleed in order to give a transfusion to one of their own – and then continue to bleed to give a transfusion to literacy charities in support of that most precious of commodities...readers. They are true fighters, every one...

(My story in this anthology is a brand-new Judge Earl Stark yarn called "The Bandera Brawl", for those of you who read the Big Earl series.)

You’re a “jobber.” You make your living by losing in the wrestling ring. You’re a good wrestler, but promoters don’t think you have what it takes to become a superstar. Then Thumper shows up. Big and strong, with a bunny-rabbit gimmick and fans eating out of his hand. His finishing move is called The Thump, and most guys don’t get up from it on their own. One night, Thumper puts his opponent in the hospital. Not a big deal. Sure, the outcome of a wrestling match is fake. But the “bumps” in the ring can be all too real. Sometimes you get hurt. Part of the territory. 

Then it happens again. Only this time, the guy who got Thumped is tossed into a car like a sack of potatoes. Lou Boone, the promoter who runs Central States Wrestling with an iron fist, knows you saw something and offers you a “push” if you keep your mouth shut. A push. Every jobber’s dream. To get to win some matches, to get to be on the big cards in the big arenas. You want it more than anything. You begin thinking you imagined the sack-of-potatoes guy – until it happens again. 

Now, you have to choose between wrestling fame and doing the right thing. Before this is over, someone else will be dead. And you don’t want it to be you … 

Based on the short story “Push Comes to Shove,” selected by Lawrence Block for the Best American Mystery Stories series.

1 comment:

wayne d. dundee said...

James, I guess it's settled ... The old saying "great minds think alike" is proven by the fact we both posted blogs on BATTLING MAHONEY less than a half hour apart.