Unpublished Work Copyright 2020 Anthony Bicy.
A straight jab and an uppercut put me on my back. The crowd cheered as a muscular, red-haired teenager stood over me.
"Aw, man. It took me a lot to get here, so I won't just give up."
What even caused me to come down this path? Oh, yeah, 'cause I wanted to! Ever since I saw my first fight, I've been preparing myself. I know I'm still a stranger to you, so let me declare who I am.
I'm Anthony Beckons Jr., and people usually call me Ant, Beck, or A.B.J. as a joke. I go to the average high school Blackwell Academy where the fun happens, but don't get me wrong. I only like school for one reason, and that's the brawls. Brawls are a part of the Brawl Institution, and they aren't exactly praised.
Unlike boxing and MMA, there were no rules in a brawl. At first, they were known as underground fights - even though they weren't under ground - where people kept record of each fight and would have their own tournaments. It eventually got super dangerous without regulations until the government noticed and stepped in.
See, the reason they did it was because street fighting got out of hand. Whether it was for a reason, no reason or just anger, people kept fighting each other and attracting crowds since people love fights.
"Because of the increasing number of underground fights, anyone caught participating will be seriously punished. However, if it's an official fight under the Brawl Institution, there will be no consequences. Please understand that this is for your safety. People have been fighting and injuring each other for pitiful reasons for far too long," President Zachary announced on television.
Under the Brawl Institution, fighters needed a referee and a crowd to watch them. Also, instead of no rules, the only rule added was the restriction of blood. Basically, as soon as blood is seen, the match is over and the bloodless is the winner. Of course, someone can give up or the just tire the other person out. After the announcement, the Brawl Institution blew up. Kids, teens, and adults took part in it. It was so big that governors made leaderboards for each state and each age.
Me? I wasn't in yet, but it was only a matter of time. Speaking of me, I guess I should describe myself a bit. I have untidy brown hair since I don't care about taking care of it, matching eyes, and a pretty average body build. I never lifted, but no one ever really commented on my body. Currently, I was wearing my school's uniform, a white button down with khaki pants and a belt as I stepped onto the frosty school grounds. The snow crunched under my feet along with the other students.
"I wonder if there will be any fights today," I thought.
Once I made it through the snow and the school's auto doors, I encountered a familiar face.
"Hello, Anthony. How's it going?" the cat-faced teen greeted.
"Yo, Knox. What are you doing in the lobby?"
"Oh, you know me. I'm always looking for new talent. Also, I have to talk to the counselor, Mrs. Brims, about the leaderboard."
"Oh, yeah. You have to go through her for ranked matches and registration. Did you already find another fighter to represent since you're a manager and all?"
"Oh, no. It's about a small situation with an existing fighter. I have to do everything for my kids, you know?"
"That's a weird way to phrase it, but okay. I'll see you later."
"Oh, by the way, Anthony. I want to talk to you later, so how about we meet in the cafeteria during lunch for a surprise?"
As Knox asked me, he showed his trademarked sneaky expression like a villain would in an anime. Villain or not though, I couldn't say no to Knox.
"Sure, I'll see you then."
So, I continued into the halls after accepting Knox's request. I strolled through the tiled halls with my fellow students until reaching my locker. Unfortunately, someone else found their way to me, and they didn't have the same friendly feeling as Knox.
A loud girl shoved me forward, slamming my forehead into the hard locker metal.
"What the hell?!" I growled as I spun.
"It's another beautiful winter day, Beck. You should warm me up with your jacket," the short girl said.
"Go away, Celia. I don't want to deal with you right now."
The one person who annoys me every day, Celia Monroe or Cecelia Monroe. She usually wears her short, bouncy black hair down with her school uniform, a white button up with red tie and khaki skirt.
She's pretty popular, but I don't care. She annoys me every day by doing something new, and I can never predict it, so I just keep my distance.
"Don't be like that, ol' buddy ol' Beck. You know you're my best friend."
I closed my locker and walked away from the girl with binders in hand.
"Okay, I'm sorry that I pushed you into your locker. I need to get your attention somehow."
I continued to ignore her but came to a stop when she got in front of me. We stared into each other's eyes for a second before someone called out her nickname 'Cece'.
"I'll be back, Beck. You haven't seen the last of me."
Celia gave out a corny villainous laugh as she sauntered off with her friend. Luckily, I didn't have any classes with her, so I didn't have to deal with her except for in the morning.
"At least something good's happening with Knox," I thought.
Now, my first class, Algebra, went by in a flash. I usually like Algebra, but I just felt like sleeping that day. I'm your average A/B honor roll student, but I'm never striving for all A's. It takes too much work and plus there are so many A students that they didn't need me.
Second class, American government, was boring as usual, but I pushed my way through it. Now, third block, Biology, is where it got interesting. Biology was the class I had with Knox and the fighter Bruce.
Bruce was a big lug who loved to brawl. He even made it to the top 50 in the state, out of teens that is. Top 50 isn't anything to me, but I've never fought once in my life, so what do I know. Bruce the lug always shaved his brown hair and always showed off his big muscles with short sleeve shirts.
The lug sat two seats behind me while Knox was on the other side of the class. Everything was normal until I bumped into Bruce during a group project, bringing attention to myself.
"Ho ho no. ABJ, what is it?"
Bruce towered over me as he looked down.
"It was just a bump, Bruce. My bad."
It was just a bump and Bruce wasn't that much of a bully, so you would think that was that. Unfortunately, today was the one day that Bruce would act like a huge dick.
"Oh, ABJ. You want to take a shot, huh? It would be a pleasure to fight someone like me."
"No, I'm fine, Bruce. I have work to do."
I turned back to my group, but that prick spun me back around with one forceful grab of my shoulder.
"Come on. Why not take a shot? It's not like it'll hurt anyways."
"I said I'm good. I'm busy at the moment."
I took my eyes off of the brute for a second and spotted Knox watching the conflict go down. Then, I turned back around to my group. This time, when Bruce touched my shoulder, I spun myself around, placed both of my palms on the teen's stomach, and shoved with my might.
What surprised everyone was that I forced Bruce back into the desks. The boy kept his stance and smiled as he looked at me. Just like the usual spectator, no one even tried to stop the fight. I wasn't any different though.
"Ho ho. ABJ actually has some fight. I would challenge you, but you're not even a part of the program. You're lucky."
Bruce threw an open palm at me, but before I could react our teacher popped up in between us, stopping Bruce's palm.
"That's enough, Bruce. Don't be a dick today," he said.
The brute grumbled as he separated from me. At the same time, the bell rang, signaling the start of lunch.
"You alright, Anthony?" Mr. Jones asked, his short, graying hair and beard as combed as ever.
"Yeah, I'm good. Thank you."
While Mr. Jones sauntered back to his desk and everyone left for lunch, Knox approached me as I got my stuff.
"I guess it's time for the meeting," I said while facing Knox.
"It is. I know I said in the cafeteria, but I can't help myself after seeing what just happened. Anthony Beckons, I would like to represent you."