Down for the Count

By Wrigley Brogan on September 28, 2018
Down for the Count
I never asked what eventually happened to his father. He never said. He was done talking.

Bear said that Larry had one of the most interesting stories in all of boxing and that there was a special reason he had become a boxer…

I was having coffee with former light-heavyweight Larry Buck at Legend’s Casino in Toppenish, Washington. One would never mistake him for a professional boxer, a light heavyweight with a respectable 25-5-4 record (BoxRec). His face was still clinging to his skull like a regular human being, the nose centered, no scars over Neanderthal eyes, and an ear properly placed on each side of his head. Because of Bear, an Indian boxing trainer and cornerman on the Quinault Reservation, I was anxious to talk to Larry.

Bear said that Larry had one of the most interesting stories in all of boxing and that there was a special reason he had become a boxer. Without boxing he might not have survived.

On several other occasions I had talked to Larry, had asked about his boxing career. He was always sociable and quiet and never went into great detail. His three fights with number one contender Andy Kendall were classic. I wanted to dig deeper. His chair was reversed and he sat with his arms over the back.

Bear said to ask him about his father. I did. Larry’s teeth clenched. His eyes closed. His jaw tightened. His fists balled up around the chair back. His chest swelled. His mouth finally opened and the words emerged like an echo blown from a deep cavern. This is the story as I remember it.

Larry’s father, Buck Little, was born mean. He entered the earth with clenched fists and a need to fight. He fought everyone, everywhere, from the time he could stand. He was angry about something. No one knew what. He also had an insatiable desire for women. When Larry was born, Buck took his anger out on him. With the slightest provocation he knocked Larry about. Hardly a day went by that Larry did not have a face of bruises.

Buck Little turned to boxing to vent his anger and to find women. There were plenty at the fights and eager to be with a tough man, a man of muscles and fearless. Buck eventually formed a small harem, no one knew how many but three of them soon came into play: Fern Woman, Crow Caller, and Turtle Eater. (Larry changed their names to protect them.)

Buck was off and running, everything going his way. For a time he even lightened up on his son exchanging anger for indifference. His biggest challenge was keeping the women secret from one another, a delicate balancing act for someone sophisticated, much less a boxer. Buck had amassed a mixed record of five professional fights before the stars took a nosedive.

Crow Caller was in the bar, an uninsulated building of warped boards held together by beer and motorcycle ads, when she overheard Turtle Eater say something to another man. The man, in a checked flannel shirt, cowboy hat and boots covered with caked mud, the stitches coming unraveled from the left sole, had rough hands, and dirt under the fingernails from working an irrigation ditch.

Crow Caller walked over to the couple and apologized. She thought she heard the name Buck Little mentioned. A sour look came over the face of Fern Woman. Yes. The man had said he saw Buck Little with his girlfriend. Fern Woman was questioning him about the couple, and the so-called girlfriend. By time the conversation had ended the women had started to get the story straightened out. They both confessed to being his girlfriend. Obviously there were more. The woman Buck Little had been with was Turtle Eater. The women decided to pay her a visit.

Yes, Turtle Eater was also his girlfriend. Instead of becoming outraged with each other, as often happens, they fingered Buck Little as the culprit. His infidelity should not go unpunished and they devised a plan to teach him a permanent lesson about relationships.

On Wednesday night, Crow Caller waited for Buck Little to make his usual visit. He was already a bit tipsy when he arrived. Crow Woman lifted a new fifth of Jim Beam from beside the sofa. Buck Little tried to take her into the bedroom. She resisted. The night, a full moon sprinkling shafts of light through an aura of haze and into the navy blue sky, was beautiful. She suggested they go for a walk where they would finish at an abandoned house in the center of a freshly plowed field and she would give him a unique treat. Part of the roof was off and she could enjoy night sky and the smell of the fresh earth. The night would be special, one, she promised, he would never forget. Buck Little took the bait.

They walked, they drank, and they laughed, until the old house came into view across the field. The moonlight left the plowed field looking like braided hair. Buck Little became anxious and quickened his steps.

When they entered the building he sensed someone else was there. Fern Woman and Turtle Eater moved into the shimmering moonlight through the window. Buck Little stepped back. They smiled and told him not to work. They lowered their tops to expose their breasts. They confessed the women knew about each other. They were not concerned. They wanted to give him the best night of his life. He smiled and took a big swig from the bottle. He passed the bottle around. They pretended to drink but kept their tongues over the opening. They needed to remain sober.

Buck Little was so drunk he could hardly stand as they striped him down. They moved him to a table. As he lay on his back they continued to fondle him. He was king of the world, everything going his way. Turtle Eater and Fern Woman moved to each side and gently held down his arms. Crow Caller worked her way between his legs. She pulled something from under her dress. The rusted straight razor glinted momentarily in the moonlight before diving quickly like an Eagle after a sparrow. In an instant she slashed off Buck Little’s testicles.

Buck Little cried out but was unable to move. His arms were pinned. They held him there and laughed. Crow Caller showed him the bloody sack. They said he could now have all the women he wanted. She placed the sack into his hand as they slipped into the night. Falling from the table Buck Little crawled into the night.

A farmer found him the following morning, a trail of blood leading to the house. The farmer gathered some help and they took him for treatment. He survived.

The castration did nothing to quell Buck Little’s anger. He returned to beating Larry. He forced Larry to box, to take his place in the ring. Larry knew he needed to defend himself from his father. He studied hard and he worked hard. He became an excellent boxer.

I never asked what eventually happened to his father and he never said. He was done talking.

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  1. don from prov 09:54am, 09/29/2018

    ...but a hell of a story!

  2. Pootie Tang 06:32am, 09/29/2018

    I love driving country roads and looking at old abandoned houses like the one pictured. I think about what type of people might have lived there, or what stories the old rotting house could tell if it could. Surely, “Crow Caller” never looked at a bottle of Jim Beam the same way again. Poor “Crow” either switched brands or became a scotch and soda guy.

  3. raxman 11:31pm, 09/28/2018

    Jesus Christ.

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