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The New, Undisputed Champion of the World

Gladiator or no, when your back's against the wall,

use everything you got so you don't get ripped to shit.

The New, Undisputed Champion of the World by Benjamin DeVos

On the day of the fight, I found Sean in the basement mixing cement in a wheelbarrow.  “Today’s the big one,” he said. “It’s the day you break someone’s fucking face.”

I imagined my body, beaten after the fight, lying in the wheelbarrow and Sean dumping my body in a shallow ditch somewhere, using the cement to seal my grave.

Sean greased me up with Vaseline and poured cement over my hand wraps to make them really fucking tough.

I put on my shit kickers, ready to rumble.

Sean drove me to a slaughterhouse in Kensington where fights were held on a monthly basis. There was a line of motorcycles lined up out front and a group of tough looking bikers dressed in leather.

Sean led me inside to a meat locker where I could warm up.

I warmed up the way he taught me, punching a pig carcass until I broke every bone in its body.

A fat man wearing a blood-stained butcher apron and holding a cigar between his sausage fingers told me it was time to meet my opponent, a wrestler named Antonio.

Antonio’s head looked like a wrinkled lump of meat with rotten teeth slanting out of the sides. I couldn’t if they were teeth or just dead gums hanging from the roof of his mouth. He wore a black robe and looked like death. Death come for me. The tattoo on his chest said: “Chosen One.”

Yeah, chosen to get my ass whooped.

The fat man led us to a ring made of wooden slats and chicken wire.

I looked around for a referee. There wasn’t one.

The match was policed by the crowd. If they didn’t like you, they showed it by throwing shit at you. Smash. A bottle broke across my head. Blood coiled out of my brow like plum-colored Play-Doh. My baptism; a new face replacing the old one.

I stepped into the ring and shadow-boxed in my corner, trying not to look scared as my entire body shook, felt like I might faint at any moment.

The fat man rang the bell. The fight was on.

Antonio broke my nose within the first five seconds. Didn’t just break it but obliterated it.

There was no nose left, just the jagged outline where one used to be.

I inhaled flesh through my sinuses and choked a little. My senses were fucked after that first punch: a slight ringing out my right ear; couldn’t see a thing, but let my training guide me. I closed my eyes and imagined a massive pig before me.

It was snorting and spitting, ready to bite my head off. So I bit the pig first.
I hurdled forward and planted my teeth into its throat, clamping down with all my might.

The pig let out a wild squeal and tried to pull itself from my clutches but it was too late.

I punched that pig right in its face. I squeezed its pig nipples and twisted. There was no real technique involved, but I was winning. Winning was all that mattered. I jumped on the pig’s back and began to choke it like I saw the martial arts guys do on television. I reached my arm under its chin and locked my hand behind its head.

It was like I was in a pig rodeo being thrashed around the ring while latching on to armpit hair, trying not to be thrown to my doom.

Eventually, the pig’s legs buckled and it let out one final grunt before completely collapsing.

I released my grip and raised my hands triumphantly, assuming the fight was over. I was wrong.

The pig wasn’t ready to give up. It kicked me in the groin, followed by a devastating elbow to the spot where my nose used to be.

The pain nearly knocked me unconscious. I dropped to my knees and prepared for the final blow. That’s when I heard the voice of God.

Actually, it was Sean but I thought it was God. He was yelling, “A pig is nothing without its eyes.”

I thought about this. It was an incorrect statement. Like snakes, pigs used their noses more than their eyes. 

Still, I knew what I had to do. I jumped to my feet and reached for Antonio, found his face with my hands, reared myself like a bull, and head-butted him into oblivion. I gouged Antonio’s eyes with my thumbs, continued head-butting. I wanted to head-butt him until my face was permanently imprinted in his meaty skull.  

I felt like I could do anything I wanted so I tickled his feet until he ran out of breath, put him over my knee and spanked him. I embarrassed him into submission.

The crowd went crazy.

I drilled my knuckles into his head until I broke the blood-brain barrier.

The fat man pulled me off and raised my hand.

I felt like a gladiator who just decapitated a lion. The only difference was the lion was actually a pig and I was a lucky son of a bitch.

Benjamin DeVos is the head editor of Apocalypse Party. He is the author of the forthcoming novella The Bar Is Low (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) among others.