A New Short Story: The Cutman and Why I Write About Boxing So Much

Today a new short story of mine was published at Storgy.com. The Cutman is the tale of a guy whose job is to put people together so they can be torn apart properly.

Yes, it’s another boxing story. It’s the third I’ve had published, after Bayamon, 1978 and The Towel. Fourth, if you include Los Angeles, 1952, a 2-part story about a date that takes place at a boxing match. What’s up with all the boxing love?

On one level, it’s simple: I love the sport. My grandfather was a silver medalist in the Canadian Golden Gloves, and fought half a dozen pro fights. My dad and I used to watch together, and he taught me to appreciate the lighter weight classes, as you’d expect from a guy who never really got past bantamweight himself.

A friend of mine once asked, “why do you like boxing so much? Your stories make it sound like it’s all blood and racism and toxic masculinity.” To which the correct answer is; “what’s your point?” If you’re looking for drama and high stakes, it’s a perfect crucible.

Me with former Super Featherweight champ Cornelius Boza Edwards

But there’s a more”writerly” answer. Each of my short stories is a writing exercise of a kind. Can I capture this moment, or this kind of action, or compress this scene into a specific period of time? Boxing is perfect for these little word experiments. Each round is exactly 3 minutes. You can compress a lot of action into that time period. There are a finite number of characters, which for short stories is great.

You’ll find choreographing the fight scenes has benefitted both Acre’s Orphans, and my upcoming novel, Johnny Lycan and the Anubis Disk. Practice makes…. well, better.

I hope you enjoy The Cutman. I am proud of it. Of course, you can find my other short stories here on my site, if you haven’t discovered them already.

Johnny Lycan & the Anubis Disk is coming in November. Order now by clicking here and going to Black Rose Writing. Use the promo code: PREORDER2020 to receive a 15% discount. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Audible coming in November.

Los Angeles, 1952 is now complete for the world to read on Twist in Time

Last post, I talked about Twist in Time Magazine and what a nifty little litmag it is.Well, they have just published the second half of my oddball short story: Los Angeles, 1952. It’s about, well, Los Angeles in 1952 and a perfect storm of boxing, old Hollywood, and first dates.

If you’d like to read the first part to catch up, it’s here:

A couple of months ago I wrote about the back story to this tale, and I blame it all on The Duchess. That explanation is on my blog as well.

I hope you enjoy meeting Lorna, Jimmy and Maggie. Have a great week.

Los Angeles,1952 and the story behind the story

When that first dime-sized drop of blood hit her blouse, I figured the evening was pretty much shot.

Los Angeles, 1952 part 1

One of the favorite stories I’ve ever written is Los Angeles, 1952 which is now out (at least part 1 is) in Issue V of Twist in Time Magazine. It came out the same day as another story, Ava, Lana and Old Bob Campbell was published in Ragazine.

The stories are a little similar, in that they both take place in the 1950s (at least partly) and are based on semi-historical events and involve Studio-age Hollywood. I gave you a little backstory on that tale in a previous post, and thought I’d do the same for this one.

LA 1952 is the most thoroughly researched short story I’ve done. On the surface, it’s a tale of boxing, old Hollywood, and first dates. In its own way, it’s also a very personal story. Here are some of the tidbits you might not know.

The boxing card that night was real. Using BoxRec, a website for the geekiest of boxing geeks, I found a real fight card for June 7, 1952 at the Legion (later to be the Olympic) in Los Angeles. All the fighters and the results of that card are as stated in the story. Gil Cadilli was a popular LA-based fighter who fought the likes of Davey Moore and Willie Pep in the early and mid-fifties. He was one of “Senator” Johnny Forbe’s proteges… Forbes helped set up boxing programs in East LA and was responsible for a good percentage of the west coast fighters of that period. I have always been a huge boxing fan. In fact, nowadays you can often find me placing bets on websites like FanDuel whenever there is a big fight on! To be completely honest I love the thrill of placing a bet and then seeing your chosen fighter win. There have been quite a few occasions where I have even landed a good payout after correctly predicting which fighter would take home the crown. That being said, as you can imagine, I have watched lots of boxing fights in my time so I have a good working knowledge of this fascinating sport and this came in useful when writing this story.

The details about Monarch Studios contracts are accurate. As stated earlier my wife, the Duchess, is a fount of information about the golden age of Hollywood. She also has a number of friends who are equally geeky. One of them is Gary Brumburgh, a singer, actor and someone who has contributed to hundreds of IMDB bios and articles on the studio days. He gave me the low-down on the small studios like Monarch and all he asked in return was to name the actress Lorna Malone. Seemed like a fair deal. Lorna got her big raise in 1952. Unfortunately, Monarch closed its doors in 1954. I hope she married well.

The Hollywood Studio Club was a real thing and my wife lived there. The studio club dormitory where Patsy/Lorna lived was on Lodi Place between Fountain and Lexington in Hollywood. It opened in the early 20s and remained open until 1975. A number of famous actresses lived there, and literally thousands of wannabes and never-weres. in 1972, a bright-eyed 22-year-old from Miami named Joan Herrera pulled up in her Toyota Corolla planning to be a star. They put her in the room once occupied by Marilyn Monroe. She immediately asked to be put in another room fearing bad juju. She became the actress Joan Dareth, and then the current Joan Turmel.

I sold cars in LA for a short time in the 90s, and that was pretty much my boss. Morrie existed, and he’d have absolutely been that guy.

The final part of the story will be out November 1 in Issue 6. Please read it.

If you enjoy my short stories, you can find a list here of what’s out in the world. Better yet, buy one of my novels and support my habit by visiting my Amazon Author Page.

Dodging the Rain Publishes My Story, “Bayamon, 1978”

I am thrilled that the artsy Irish lit journal, “Dodging the Rain” has published one of my short stories: “Bayamon, 1978”. You can read the story here…  

Arguello-Escalera-knockdown

It’s both a sports story (boxing is one of my passions) and historical fiction, since it’s based on one of the great title fights of all time, 1978’s “The Bloody Battle of Bayamon,” between my boy Alexis Arguello and Alfredo Escalara.

Like all my short pieces, it began as a thought experiment, but turned into something I think you’ll enjoy.

You can read more of my short stories here, under Short Stories and Other Pieces on the menu bar or by clicking this link.