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His Shot (closed)
“Fuck. What have I done.”  Abraham said under his breath. Known in the ring as Alistair Bishop, his real name was Abraham James.

Those words slipped under his breath as he exited a subway station, looking up to see central Moscow.  A boy from Columbus, Ohio, a boy from nothing, was standing near the center of power in the world. The opulence, architecture, and speed at which the city was moving around him overwhelmed him and left him feeling frozen, unable to move. 

He stood there, looking up, swallowed up by inner-city Moscow.  Alistair slowly pulled out a crumpled piece of paper with an address—time to go. Like how any journey begins, he took a step forward, the city engulfing him as he walked to his apartment.

Abraham’s living arrangements were all pre-arranged. He had been recruited to join an underground fighting league across several clubs. According to rumors he had heard, this league was the minor league for Almaz.  If you do well for your patron, you will be rewarded by “graduating” to Almaz. 

He arrived at his apartment and scanned in with a keycard given to him at the door. 

His living quarters were humble. Located in a 10-story high-rise on the sixth floor, his apartment was modest.  It was a one-bedroom, tiny bonus room, fully furnished with an open floor plan. 

As he entered his room, he dropped his leather duffle on the floor and noticed an on-the-island a white envelope that said only his name, Alistair.  Inside the envelope was a thick stack of cash and a small card. 

Written on the card: 

First Fight Details
Club Name:  Red
Fight #1 – Bareknuckle Boxing
Time: 10:30 PM
Fight #2 – Mixed Martial Arts
Time:  Midnight 
When you arrive, ask for Jade.

Alistair was exhausted.  He traveled for over 24 hours, snaking his way from Middle America to Moscow.  He was exhausted and needed a shower.  Alistair stripped off his clothes, catching a glimpse of himself in a mirror.  He saw scars from his fights and muscles built from hard work and discipline.  He saw that every inch of his body was made for what was about to happen. 

Time to take his shot.
Hi, my name is Jade. 

Alistair briskly walked from the subway station, deeper and deeper into inner city Moscow. His heart pounded, sweat cooled his skin; he was filled with pre-fight testosterone. Before fights, he relied on anger to prepare his body and mind for violent combat. He would imagine people who had wronged him in his past, imagining those he wanted to destroy in the most brutal ways.  

The city lights faded away as he entered a deep pit. Rounding a corner, he heard a low rumble. The rumble became louder as he approached, vibrating his chest. The outside of the club was dark brick, with blacked-out windows, and anchored by dimly lit streetlights. A crowd roared inside. “Murder him!” One voice screamed. 

As he stood at the entrance, it felt like standing at a threshold. On one side, his old life, the other an unholy tabernacle. Once he crossed this line, Alistair was fully committed to whatever this new life had in store for him. Any perceived limits or boundaries would be redefined. 

“I was told to ask for Jade.” He said to the doorman.

“Hold on. Just one second.” A nicely dressed, wide-as-a-house doorman uttered back in a deep voice. 

A few minutes passed, and Alistair stood at the entrance, waiting to see who this Jade person would be.

A woman appeared from around the corner at the end of a long dark hallway. She was stunning. She wore a tight crimson leather dress with slits cut high and deep, and the subtle light outlined her hips as she walked toward him. Wearing heels that clicked with every step, her long dark black hair framed her slim face. She walked with purpose as if she controlled the very air around her. “Fuck me,” Alistair whispered under his breath. 

“Alistair?”  With only a nod from him, she says, “Hi, I’m Jade. We’ve been expecting you. Come this way.”

As they walked the dark hall, she muttered something, but he wasn’t focused on any word she said as he stared at her ass bumping side by side, perfectly with the bass thumping in the background.  Alistair was pent-up; it had been weeks, the perfect tension for fighting. 
Suddenly, he entered a large, dimly lit room.  Large brick pillars broke the room up.  In one corner was a bar, another a dance floor, a third a lounge area, and in the middle, a fighting ring.  It was eye-level, with a frosted glass floor, lit with a bright blue light. 
Alistair didn’t get to look too long; Jade kept walking, weaving in and out of people, swiftly walking through the crowd.  They passed through other doors, a concrete hallway, and finally through a black curtain.
“You can change here and keep your stuff.” “Get out of my way; clear a spot!” Jaded pointed and yelled at another half-dressed man to get out of the way.  Jade turned to walk away.  As she did, she turned to say, “You have 35 minutes.  Be ready and meet me out front.  Win or die.”  She flashed her only smile—a smirk.
Alistair looked around.  Concrete walls, a shower with several men showering. Soaping up, blood and suds fell down the curves of their bodies to the floor.  Nail marks and scrapes lined their backs; bruises tatted their thighs. 
Alistair looked around the room.  Every size and shape of a man was in this room.  Many could be future opponents, so he sized every one of them up.  Even the size of their dicks was something he smugly criticized, tearing them all down in his head one by one.  They were nothing to him, trash, an inconvenience. 
Alistair looked at his watch.  It was time—fight number one.    
This was now very real.  No longer would he be involved in fixed fights or taking falls.  Every fight was going to be for real.  The mysterious patron he had not even met yet, expected he would win. 

“Are you ready?”

Outside his predetermined fights in the states, Alistair occasionally participated in bare-knuckle matches. Typically, these would be in places like the barns of southern Louisiana or dark warehouses in New York filled with former Wall Street traders still looking for an endorphin hit, gambling on matches, filling a void lost missing since Wall Street collapsed.

He was more than prepared for this fight—his first fight in Moscow.

Jade stood next to the illuminated ring, hand on her hip. She was all business, and her eyes pierced through him as he walked towards her.

“Fight starts in three minutes. When they call you, go to that corner, and wait for the ref to start the fight. You’ve done bare-knuckle boxing before, which is why you are here, so you know the rules.”  

Alistair said no words, only nodded. He knew what to do and didn’t smile, smirk, or show emotion except for an icy gaze.

Bare-knuckle boxing is about speed, power, and the violent art of transferring all your energy, innermost demons, checkered past, wrongs, grudges, and hate into a punch. A punch that does damage to someone on not only a physical level but destroys their soul.  Punches that hit so hard it can make their reborn ancestors bleed out their ass.

Alistair sets his eyes on his opponent for the first time, a 6 ft 2 inch slim and ripped meaty man.  His hands were wrapped, short black fight shorts and no shirt.  He stared at Alistair from across the blue light of the ring, bouncing from side to side. His pecs flexed with each bounce, building tension in his muscles as he waited to fight.

“Are you ready?” The ref looked at Alistair and then at his opponent, and they both nodded yes.  With a drop of the ref’s hand, the bout began.
And don't be late

Alistair tended to win his bare-knuckle matches fast—a duck, a juke, landing an uppercut, knocking his opponent out cold.

This match was no different.  Though it took two minutes to beat his opponent, Alistair had taken a beating, unlike he had felt in a long time.  His meaty opponent fought intensely until Alistair had clocked him with a powerful uppercut.  The 6 ft 2-inch beast of a man fell to the ground – lights out.  The fighter's skill in Moscow seemed higher. 

Alistair would need to apply himself even more to his craft.  Fighting was one-part pure aggression; one part will, and the rest all hard work and skill.  He was a craftsman, practicing the art of fighting since high school.  Fighting was life or death, and his pride was on the line.  All he cared about in life was being the best there was or ever will be at fighting, an elite fighter capable of beating anyone in his way.  He’d die before giving up perfection. He would die before ever returning to the poverty of his youth. Fighting was and always will be his way out. 

Alistair circled his opponent, who laid on the ring unconscious.  Alistair heard the crowd roaring, and his ego had swollen.  Match number one in Moscow was completed, and he had won for the patron he had yet to meet. Not wanting to waste too much energy celebrating a win, he headed for the locker room to rest before his second bout. 

Alistair silently sat at his locker with only a towel on and no thoughts on his mind.  After each fight, there was usually a moment when time did not exist, and he was fully present, achieving enlightenment through executing his craft. He gets off to this addictive feeling of power and peace. 

Alistair prepared mentally for his second bout of the night as he stood in the shower, warm water massaging his beaten body and pounding head.  His thoughts went to how he would approach his next opponent, imagining each move and every blow. His game planning was interrupted as he heard a voice speak to him from behind. 

“You are off the hook; no second fight.  Not sure what happened, but your opponent withdrew.  You are done for the night.” Jade barked at him as she stood outside the shower. 

Alistair turned, unable to respond, before Jade started walking away.  As she did, she flashed a white key card and slipped it into his jeans draped over the bench.  “Meet me at Hotel Bannister, room 601, 2 AM.”

She looked his naked body up and down with a coy smile.  As she did, a hand appeared from behind the door; red nails and slim fingers reached out to grab Jade’s hand and pulled her, revealing another woman who leaned in to kiss Jade softly.

Jade slowly released her lips; her cheek rested on this woman as she turned to look at Alistair with a grin. 

“And don’t be late.” With that, both women walked out of the locker room, arms around each other, heels clicked on the concrete.
We have some business to attend to. 

Alistair possessed a certain sensibility: raw, bare metal, take what he wanted when he wanted ethos.  He was always in control, always in charge, and took no shit from anyone.

Alistair checked his watch. 1:56 AM“On time,” Alistair murmured to himself, stifling a sly smile. 

Anticipation has been rising since he was invited to this room at this time.  Jade was definitely more than a simple rat.  Something was very different about her; drawing him. It was uncontrollable. Almost uncomfortable. Her siren eyes, the tilt of her face. The curl of her finger. Everything called him. Two hours passed in the blink of an eye. How had he even arrived at the hotel? A taxi? The train? He shook off the gray thoughts, remembering her acquaintance. He took a deep breath, ready, and entered the hotel.

As the hotel elevator carried him up, he daydreamed of what was coming. Not just two women, but these two women. He was breathing steady, but the elevator could not move fast enough. His soft blue eyes stared at the lights flickering one by one. Three. Four. Five... Like the best meal of your life melting on the tongue. He savored the sights, the taste, the feelings.

Then the elevator dinged. Six. The doors opened, revealing a private lobby and a single door. Room 601 stood opposite.

Alistair glanced at his watch once again.  1:58. Close enough.

He squinted his eyes and walked forward.

Knock, knock, knock

Alistair stepped back a foot. He wore a plain black t-shirt, fitted, showing his muscular build, a pair of denim jeans and brown worn leather boots.  He stared at the door as it opened.

Jade answered alongside the woman from the club leaning against the wall. They welcomed him into a foyer

“Come in, baby.” The second woman spoke. Her voice was sultry and siren. Jade flicked her finger with a come-in gesture. 

Both women clung to each side of Alistair like moths to a flame. Their bodies pressed against each side of him. The curves rubbing up and down as the three of them walked forward. They showed him to a solid black-painted door trimmed with a gold handle.  It opened, but Alistair was preoccupied with their hands sliding up and down his ribs. Alistair seemed to have floated into the room with these two women, who themselves seemed to have slithered their way with him.

But with one sentence, the scene changed and snapped Alistair out of his hypnotic, unquenchable lust-filled trance. 

“Mr. Petrovich, our guest has arrived.” Both women spoke in unison with an eerie tone. 

Alistair blinked at the mention of a man's name.  He looked up to see a sizable Russian man in a white suit sitting at the end of a long table.  To the side, another man was gagged and blindfolded, tied to a chair. He looked terrified. Alistair frowned, looked at Jade and the second woman, then immediately pivoted to leave, but two large men blocked the door, and the women scurried to the side of the room. Jade flashed a final, satisfied glance at him just before she disappeared behind a black curtain. 

He slowly turned back to face the man at the table.
“We’ve been expecting you, Alistair.  We have some business to attend to.” Mr. Petrovich slowly spoke in heavy-accented English.
We think you're just the man for the job

Mr. Petrovich sat at the head of the long table, his imposing figure draped in a tailored suit. His piercing eyes surveyed the room with a sense of authority and control. His hands rested on the table, fingers intertwined, exuding a calm confidence that belied the danger that lurked beneath the surface. The room was dimly lit, casting shadows that danced across his face and accentuated the lines of his rugged features. The air was thick with the scent of expensive cigars and the quiet tension of those who knew better than to cross him.

Alistair felt a sudden rush of adrenaline, realizing that he had walked into a trap. He quickly assessed his surroundings and the situation at hand. He knew that he had to keep his cool and figure out a way to get out of there.

He looked at Mr. Petrovich, who seemed to be the leader of the group, and then at the gagged and blindfolded man. Alistair's mind raced, trying to figure out what kind of business they could possibly have that involved a captive.

Alistair's eyes flicked around the room, looking for any possible means of escape. He saw that the two men guarding the door were armed and that there were no windows. The only way out was through the door, but that was heavily guarded.

Alistair took a deep breath and tried to calm himself down. He knew that he had to stay focused and not let his emotions get the best of him. He looked at Mr. Petrovich again and said,
 "I don't know what kind of business you have, but I'm not interested. I'm leaving now."

Mr. Petrovich chuckled, "You're not going anywhere, my friend. You see, we have a little problem that needs to be taken care of, and we think you're just the man for the job."

Alistair's heart sank. He knew that he had walked into a dangerous situation, and he didn't know how to get out of it.
Go rest, Alistair

Alistair's heart was racing, and sweat was falling down his face. The threat had instantly shaken him. A man had been gagged, and a threat was made if a call wasn't made to someone who owed money. What the fuck had he walked into? This was not some two-bit territory booker with some questionable friends. This was different. Life or death was at stake.

A better life, a job, and making it in fighting were the reasons he had come to Russia. But now, he was standing in front of a mob boss, waiting for his life to end.
As Alistair was sweating, Mr. Petrovich paused and watched him. A young woman strutted out from the side and opened a cigar box. The tension grew as a cigar was selected, and the sound of sharp metal filled the room. The cigar box was snapped shut.

Alistair had stared with sweat rolling down his brow as Mr. Petrovich looked up and rolled his first big toke. "I'm just busting your balls," Mr. Petrovich quietly laughed, speaking in a thick Russian accent. The air left the room. "I don't want you to kill anyone. I'm just having some fun." The man in the gag on the other hand was going to die, as he had stolen money and messed with Mr. Petrovich's daughter. "You don't mess with my money or my family. You, on the other hand, I have brought here for a reason."

The guard was motioned by Mr. Petrovich to take the gagged man out of the room.  His stare turned to Alistair. "My plan for you is simple. You are here to make me money. Protect my investments, my clubs, and of course, entertain me."

Alistair stared blankly at Mr. Petrovich, his body numbing, feeling as he does before a match, one that separates his body from his innermost being.
The ladies reentered the room and slithered back to the sides of Alistair. "Ladies, see my boy out. Make sure he makes it home. Go rest, Alistair. I want you rested up for next weekend. I have a high-roller game happening, and I need some entertainment for them."

(closed - moving on to a new thread)

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