The sequins on her dress were tattered and broken, a small remnant of when she was pretty and dutiful to the slave of beauty, shaking them in a dingy room with a slimy pole and smelly assholes passing soggy or crispy sagging bills into her pants. Nails covered in dirt, or shit, dress probably has even more of it, her face sunken and gaunt stripped of all fat by the meth she’s been hooked on since the days of dancing and twirling, keeping balance in shoes nobody should wear because men who scratched herpes sores or diabetic feet would hand her a few bucks for looking hot. The 60s were the best. Drugs and men and freedom to be who she wanted, an artist with the oil paint on her hands the way the feces lies there now, her lithe body slicked in a blue light flesh and sweat tight and supple, now just a weathered rug you’d ignore in a doctor’s office before getting a boob job.


The bench under my shorts is cold and wet from the previous guy who sat there. My body is drenched as well, muscles still working from the class, slick skin and hair matted under my t-shirt and to my shorts. I can barely move and I have to take the leather gloves off my hands. The freshly wet leather scent sits in my lap simply laughing at me. I’m too weak to even undo the velcro around them, but I pick up my right hand and bring it to my teeth forcing the wet shaved dog tannins and sweat into my face just to get the damn things off. I grip it with my teeth, tasting the velcro and leather, closely examining the frayed patches of red around the palm. “I must be gripping too hard when I punch”, I think aimlessly. I finally get a grip on the flap and pull, feeling and hearing the tear of the velcro off it’s mooring and into my mouth violently bouncing my head off the wall behind me. Fuck, now I look like a dork because I can’t get my gloves off. Jerk to my left jumping rope, click-click-click-click, chuckles and keeps going. I still can’t jump rope very well but last week I punched him pretty hard so I guess that’s why he thinks this is funny. Using my knees I yank the glove off and it falls to the floor, bright fluorescent lights make it look blue and purple with spots of red at the dark edges meeting the pavement. I use my other hand to rip the velcro off the remaining glove and lean back against the wall that met my head just seconds before. Shins are sore from kicking the bag, hands are weak, I usually can’t think after kickboxing for an hour or more so I just sit there and do nothing, staring at the far wall trying to stop sweating all over the place.