The Linnet's Wings Summer 2014 - Page 131

against Joe's belly. It wasn't a perfect grab but the ball was knocked into the air and Nigel leaped high to pull the ball down. He spun past Joe and ran for a touchdown. "You son of a bitch!'' Nigel turned around, surprised, as an enraged Joe Diaz followed him into the end zone and threw his body at him. Nigel fended off his attacker, ducked a wild swing, and then drove the guy back with a straight left to the face. That was a clean punch but Joe's reaction was strange. He ran in a circle around Nigel and then dove in with his head down. Nigel tried to sidestep but was grabbed around the waist as Joe struggled to throw him. Nigel was surprised to find he was just as strong as the stocky Mexican. He remembered Lonnie saying, "Go after his weakest point.'' He put both hands against Joe's face and pushed with all his might until the hold was broken. Somebody shouted, "Here comes Mr. Hall.'' Both boys stepped back with the crowd of spectators to await the arrival of the boy's gym teacher. The man had a grim look on his face as he pulled up on a borrowed bicycle. "If you boys want to fight let's do it right.'' He lifted boxing gloves from around his neck, held there by the laces tied together. Nigel slapped away weak jab attempts by his opponent as he cautiously circled to his right and away from Joe's right hand. The guy didn't know much about boxing but he went crazy and wild when he got hit. If Joe Diaz gets out of control somebody can get hurt. Nigel was reluctant to throw a punch and Joe took that as a signal to attack. Nigel easily eluded the first flurry but that only brought on even greater effort by his rampaging opponent. Soon the barrage of wild punches was in danger of overwhelming Nigel's solid defense. The voice from the past boomed: "Sidestep and throw your punch. Don't wait for an opening.'' Nigel laughed