Otto was a monster. Bulging, rippling muscles. Thick red beard. And his arms? When his right hook connected to Jack’s face, it was as if he’d just been smacked with a tree trunk.
The kid was dizzy now. He was seeing double. Blood, sweat and tears dripped into his eyes. He could barely see it but he sensed it. Another wallop coming his way.
Jack dodged. Slowly, his vision came back to him. He blocked another punch with his forearms. It left his arms feeling as though a polar bear had just tried to rip them off, but at least his face was spared further abuse.
The crowd was out of control. They cheered wildly, urging Otto to pummel Jack to death. Who can blame them really? There wasn’t much else in the way of entertainment in Deadwood.
Jack spotted Ginny. She didn’t look particularly concerned…or interested…just bored. Alas, the distraction was just what Otto needed to land a clobbering blow to Jack’s jaw.
Every one of Jack’s teeth mashed together as the kid went down for the count. Buck, who served as both fight promoter and referee, stepped into the ring and counted.
Oh how women make men do stupid things. Motivated solely by his unrequited love for Ginny, Jack’s legs twitched. He put one hand on the fence.
“…4…5…6…” Buck looked down at the victim.
“Stay down, kid,” he whispered out of the corner of his mouth.
Too late. Jack was up. Barely. His knees buckled. His body shook all over. But he balled up his fists and took a fighter’s stance.
Otto laughed. “Come on,” the giant said as he pounded his chest. “I’ll give you a free one.”
Jack soared his fist into Otto’s chest. It felt like he’d just punched a brick wall.
Otto responded with an uppercut that lifted Jack three feet into the air until he slammed to the ground below.
This time he was out. Buck started in on the ten count. When he reached nine, Jack stirred just a bit until his body gave out on him.
Buck raised Otto’s hand high in the air for the whole crowd to see. “Otto Ziegler, ladies and gentlemen! The reigning champion!”
Otto bowed and collected his cheers as Buck bent over to whisper in Jack’s ear. “Thus ends your whirlwind career in pugilism, kid. Get up and get the hell out of here.”
Buck tucked a five dollar bill into Jack’s pants pocket.
“And don’t say I never gave you anything.”