Bud lit a cigarette and leaned against his dull gray van. Not five minutes passed, until the kid, Matt, came running out of Dilly’s Roadhouse.
“Hey, mister. Hey, ‘Bud.’ You left something in the booth.”
The kid ran up to him, breathless, more from nerves than the run.
“I was afraid I’d miss you.”
“Thanks, man. My uncle gave me this lighter. Not worth a lot, but the sentiment, I guess. Gave it to me before leaving for Nam.”
The kid shrugged and looked down at the lighter in his hand, taking it in, though there were no special markings or engravings on it.
“Do you wrestle? That shirt.”
“Oh, yes, sir. I mean, Yes, Bud? … I’m on the team at Tech.”
“That’s my old team.”
“Yeah? You wrestled at Tech?”
“You look fit, still. You don’t look old.”
“Thank you. Maybe I better check the schedule next year and see you fight sometime. Any good?”
“I handle myself.”
“Yeah, that’s good. But the trick is handling the other guy, right?”
“You judge for yourself. Come Tuesday. We got an off-season exhibition with Bergin. I wrestle at 184 pounds. 26 wins, 6 losses, last year.”
“Not bad, Matt. I wrestled 184 too. Guess that means I better be there Tuesday.”
(To be continued)