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News Conference with the Late Challenger Following His Title Fight

21 July 2017

No excuses, I won’t take anything away from Death, he’s
a true Champ, but I let him impose his will, and twisted my
knee a bit in round five—we were clinching against the
ropes so I couldn’t move with my usual lightning speed.

No, I was not looking past the fight at a match with the top
contender in the Angel-Weight division. I had Death in
trouble and let him off the hook. He definitely isn’t the type
that gives up, he earned my respect.

Yes, the Champ is a good sport, took time from world
commitments to drop by the ER and find out if he’d killed
me, set aside the scythe and asked how I felt after the kayo.
He called my blood-soaked camouflage trunks very sexy.

Yes, we hugged and kissed, but less than three seconds. No,
we’re not having an affair. I warned him I’d be as good as
new very soon, dared the Reaper to a rematch. The fans
waited months to cheer our electrifying battle and deserve
a redeeming war. Death agreed, so my manager and I are
changing the real estate, revising the script.

We can’t reveal the exact geography of the fight, but it
won’t take place in any of his home-turf dustbowls. Our
strategy? Stun Death with a force more impervious than
the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall. Give him Hell.

We will use cutting-edge recon, break down his intel
network, soften him up early with fusillades of body shots.
I will punch through Death’s surface like a karate master,
not to the surface. Next time I will wear the Champ’s
Shadow Belt.

Of course the Vegas oddsmakers have Death sealing
the deal in three or sooner. Don’t listen to those losers.
I wouldn’t bet on another drawn out Afghanistan, Iraq,
or Vietnam either. Why not? God is on America’s team
and we have a secret weapon.


Bruce LaderBruce Lader’s work has appeared in The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library: So It Goes, Poetry, New York Quarterly, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Harpur Palate, Against Agamemnon: War Poems anthology, and other magazines. Cervená Barva Press published Fugitive Hope and nominated “Winter Night Fugue” for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His other books include, Embrace (Big Table Publishing, 2010), Landscapes of Longing (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2009), and Discovering Mortality (March Street Press, 2005), a finalist for the Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Winner of the 2010 Left Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition. He has received a writer-in-residence fellowship from The Wurlitzer Foundation, and is the Director of Bridges Tutoring, an organization that educates multicultural students. Author site: http://www.brucelader.com.