“What’s your weight now?”
“I asked you how much you weigh. You said you wrestled 184 when you were at Tech, but where are you at now?”
Bud was distracted, irritated, and coming off a hard week at work. He and Matt were grilling steaks and corn on the cob in the back yard. The sun was low, and the bugs were out—not so bad, though, after two weeks with no rain. The two of them sat on folding chairs, in shorts and flip-flops and open shirts, hidden from neighbors by a high fence and some scuppernong vines.
“Naw. It’s nothing. Stress at work. Um, last time I weighed, I’m 185. I don’t gain weight.”
“Yeah. I would have guessed that.”
At the shop, after weeks of successfully dodging Geoff Harvey, nutcase extraordinaire and amateur rapist, Bud had found an envelope propped next to his lunchbox. He opened it and found a short typed note inside:
Shellen. I deserved every lick you gave me. Maybe even worse. I was way out of line, I admit it. I do not ask for your forgiveness, but we should talk some time. I want to pay for what I did to you, not that I could ever hope to make up for everything, but I feel terrible. Let us, you and me, hash this out somehow. It is going to be unbearable for us otherwise. H.
“You know, Bud. A good tussle is a good stress-reliever. How about it?”
Bud laughed. This kid was terrific. Bud leaped to his feet, whipped off his shirt, and struck a double-bicep pose. “Mess with these, kid, and you’ll know you’ve been messed with.”
Matt smirked, got up, and kicked the folding chair flat. He pulled his shirt off and quarter turned, fists at his ribs, pectorals flexed, stomach sucked in to the spine. Impressive. The kid was stunning.
“You might be too tired to handle me, old man. Look at this. I will pulverize your ass and put you the fuck out of commission.”
(To be continued)