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Living Dangerously

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Book: Living Dangerously


After the recruits were given their advanced training, Brandon put on a pair of Neoprene heavy bag gloves. They were padded at the knuckle but much smaller than standard boxing gloves.
He headed to a row of one-hundred pound hanging bags and took up a fighting stance.
With every ounce of frustration he had, he pounded the bag; upper cuts, back-fists, jabs, hooks…then he kicked it; forward thrust, side-kicks, round house…
The pounding of the leather bag was echoing in the large room. This was their star achievement, a gymnasium to rival an Olympic training ground. High suspended ceilings letting in day light, cooled by eco-friendly solar panels and slatted shades. Millions of dollars in equipment; inverted ladders, ropes, row machines, free weights…it was a steroid junkies' dream.
It didn't take long for perspiration to run down his armpits and temples.
He caught movement out of the corner of his eye. Monty.
Brandon ignored him and continued to batter the bag. Monty stood behind it, supporting it. Brandon stopped kicking it and pounded it furiously.
"Get it out, Brandon!" Monty encourage. "Get it the fuck out!"
Roaring with rage, Brandon nearly knocked Monty over he punched so fast and so furiously. Fatigue was beginning to settle in. Was he in the same shape as he was in training for the elite forces? He fucking hoped so.
He gave the bag on more wallop and shook out his arms.
"How's that feel, Ensign Kennedy?"
"Good, sir!" Brandon nailed the bag with a right hook, making it reverberate in the vast room.
"Hit it again!"
Brandon slammed it with a left upper cut, the salt from his perspiration stinging his eyes. He used his shirt tail to wipe it.
"Get down for twenty!"
Brandon dropped to the mat and began doing pushups. When he felt Monty's weight on his back he lit on fire.
Brandon's arms were spent, shaking and feeling as if they were burning with lactic acid. He pumped more pushups with Monty's weight on top of him. He did twenty and dropped to the mat.
Feeling Monty shift, Brandon reached for him. "Don't get up."
Monty sat on his back.
Brandon used his teeth to rip the Velcro tabs on his gloves and pulled them off, feeling his hands throb and his heart race. As he lay under Monty, he closed his eyes and the sweat poured out of him.
"Don't say it. I already know." Brandon closed his eyes.
"We'd kill each other. We're not right."
Brandon covered his face in frustration.
"We both need someone who is the opposite of us."
"Shut up!" Brandon got to his elbows and tried to raise up to turn over.
Monty stood off him, looking down at him. Brandon rolled to his side, still catching his breath, the mat pooled with his sweat.
Staring into Monty's eyes, Brandon felt both the pain of loss and the sense Monty was right. Dead on. The only reason they didn't kill each other in Iraq was because Monty was Brandon's commanding officer. His lieutenant commander. Though at times Brandon did not like Monty's decisions, he obeyed. On level ground in a sexual relationship? They'd fight like street thugs.
Monty reached down his hand.
Brandon took it, allowing him to haul him up to his feet.
"Find a man."
Brandon pushed Monty's chest so hard, Monty stumbled backwards. "Fuck you!"
"Then find a woman!" Monty took up a battle stance and Brandon wanted that fight. But spent and exhausted, he was no match for Montgomery Gresham.
Brandon picked up the gloves and walked away. He could feel Monty's gaze on his back and didn't turn to look. What good would it do? He could never have him.