A bare 100 watt lightbulb in the middle of the room, hanging above the center of the ring, was the gym's only illumination. Tim tested the bounce of the well-worn canvas beneath his feet, leaning casually with his back against the ropes. He hadn't been waiting long, but he was a man who hated waiting for anything. Ofcourse, he might have characterized his impatience as .... joie de vivre?
Arghhh, he thought. Cmon already! Let's get it ON.
He'd already stretched, had even jogged around the gym a couple of times. No need to work up too much of a sweat...and he was psyched, man, didn't need any extra inspiration in the hungry for it department.....just needed to be loose, loose, loose and ready. And I'm ready. And I'm loose....
Christ, fuck, Christ. Come ON already.
Finally, the heavy, padded, double doors of the gym entrance opened and Dirks the shady CO ushered Tim's sparring partner inside.
Tim started to bounce and shuffle in place, jabbing at the air in front of him.
"Whaddaya say, Mr. Said, ready to get your ass kicked?"
Kareem snickered softly, and waited for the guard to leave. McManus tossed him a jump rope, which Kareem circled around the doors' handles, ensuring they'd be able to go the full three rounds uninterrupted.
"What took you so fucking long?" Tim hissed. Now that Kareem had his back to him, he let his narrow shoulders droop. He knew that sometimes his face took on an expression that was a cross between Mother Teresa's oh-the-humanity! beatitude and that of a bloodhound trying to pass a really large, really hard stool. He didnt want to give Kareem an advantage, and knowing how anxious he was to get going would definitely play in Kareem's favor.
Kareem had started to stretch. " The new inmate was in need of counseling, so I sat with him for a while. I couldnt very well turn my back on someone in need of spiritual guidance."
He pulled off his sweatshirt, revealing a broad, ebony chest. Short tufts of tightly curled hair dotted the otherwise smooth skin stretched tight over his pectoral muscles.
"As you may or may not be aware", Kareem continued, as he hoisted himself into the decrepit boxing ring, claiming his corner opposite McManus, "various studies have demonstrated the potentially beneficial relationship between religious involvement and criminal rehabilitation."
Kareem and Tim, enacting a well-rehearsed, mutual and tacit choreography, began a series of jabs and thrusts, bouncing up and down in place in their respective corners of the canvas ring.
"Prisoners who come under religious influence while they're IN prison do better once they're back on the outside and in society than those who lack the religious influence, according to researchers," Kareem continued.
McManus noticed that his opponent's chest had already developed a thin sheen of perspiration. He looked down at his own thin but muscular, relatively hairless pectorals. He wasn't worried: Kareem had already demonstrated his penchant for the wiry, intellectual types.
Tim recalled an AP article he'd read recently, and shared some of the more illuminating statistics with Kareem while waiting for his sparring partner to lace up his gloves.
"A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has revealed some startling information," Tim said. " The total number of state and federal prisoners more than doubled in this nation between 1985 and 1996! Last year alone the prison population expanded by about 55,900 inmates, reaching a record 1,182,000 at year's end. By late 1996, state prisons, which hold the majority of convicts, were operating 16% to 24% over their capacity. Federal prisons were even worse, with a rate of 25%! Therefore, despite the construction of many new facilities, overcrowding is still a persistent dilemma. It is also very dangerous! For as incarceration continues to rise, budgets are shrinking, a situation that leads to prison understaffing. Not surprisingly, this makes convict escapes easier. It can also cause riots, resulting in bloodshed and hostage taking. And it leads to the early release of dangerous criminals, who frequently commit new offenses!
"As a result, tax money that could have gone toward better schools, hospitals, parks, and libraries, is, instead, spent on law enforcement, court costs, incarceration, and the other expenses involved in crime prevention. For example, in fiscal 1992, Federal, State, and local governments spent $94 billion for civil and criminal justice, a 59% increase over 1987. In the same year, State and local governments combined spent 85.5% of all justice dollars; the Federal Government spent the rest. Recidivism also clogs up the courts, causing long delays in criminal proceedings and even longer waits in civil litigation. It overburdens prosecutors, public defenders, and supporting agencies. This increases the likelihood of serious mistakes in the handling of evidence. All of this creates a general tension and dissatisfaction in society, which can lead to frustration, causing anger that results in even more crime."
Kareem clapped his gloves together with a loud, leathery smack, and the two men approached each other in the middle of the ring. Each man looked deep into the other man's eyes. Then they touched gloves, and began a circuitous, courtship, perfumed by testosterone, sweat and desire.
"You do know", Tim said, " that one of the primary causes of overcrowding is recidivism. Statistics indicate that, nationwide, 30.9% of all paroles are revoked. There's also an alarming trend. The highest rate of recidivism, 46.5%, takes place among juveniles under the age of eighteen! Of this group, 10.4% are returned to prison for homicide, 18.8% for robbery, and 13% for assault."
Kareem swept Tim's jaw with a glancing right hook, knocking him to the canvas.
He came to in about five minutes.
"I win again", Kareem said. " Suck or fuck?"
"Are you kidding?" Tim answered, massaging his jaw. " Lubes and condoms are in my bag", he said, pulling off his shorts and crawling on all fours into the middle of the ring.
the end, snerk
Disclaimer: Characters, and statistical information, do not belong to me. I mean no disrespect towards TF/BL and company, and the AP Wire services, only my humblest regards.