"Face it, Jack," she said in her exit scene. "You're a controller. Hopi told me that even after the breast reduction and I just didn't want to listen."
Hopi was her yoga instructor and inner trainer.
Weekends for me, especially weekends when Billy had a big fight going, were as close as I ever got to hard time. And we'd had the fight of the year on Friday, between TruValue Jones, the reigning heavyweight champ, and his number-one challenger, White Trash Bobby White. The two of them had been ducking each other for years, but Billy'd finally thrown so much money at them that even the bed bugs who managed them couldn't say no. The fight seemed to be dead even by just about everybody's accounts going into the twelfth and final round, then thirty seconds before the end, White Trash Bobby White kneed TruValue in the balls as they were being told to come out of a clinch. White Trash was disqualified, and as soon as he was, his walk-around guys-all wearing militia outfits-had a World Wrestling Federation death match with TruValue's boys, who wore Los Angeles Laker road jerseys, snap-brim fedoras and jack boots. By the time Billy's security broke everything up, the two managers were already underneath the ring setting a date for the rematch.
At Amazing Grace, of course.
Billy and I celebrated in his penthouse that night with a guest list of usual suspects that might have looked this way on the official scorecard later:
I left before the morning prayer and got about six hours of sleep before eventually dragging my own remains over to the spa at the hotel in the late afternoon to continue a daily regimen of torture that the doctors had all assured me would hold off a knee replacement for at least a few more years.
The injury had happened my sophomore year at UCLA, in the fourth quarter of our game with USC, which used to decide a trip to the Rose Bowl before the computer nerds from the NCAA ruined college football. I'll tell you more about the play later and why it broke down the way it did for our quarterback, Bubba Royal, and me. Just know that it ended with a steroid-crazed 327-pound football terrorist named Mountain Montoya doing everything to my anterior cruciate ligament except drive over it with the Grand Cherokee the Southern Cal boosters had given him.
I never played another down of college football, but did earn the right to make walking up a flight of steps feel like an Olympic event forever.
I hated exercise, but I didn't want a knee from Home Depot, either.
So I found time every day to make a tour of the Nautilus equipment in Billy's gym. I figured I'd give it my usual tour and then spend an hour in the sauna trying to remember why I'd ended up playing White House intern with one of the senators' wives. By then it would be time to watch the preseason Monday night game between the Hawks and the Dallas Cowboys.
Reprinted from Bump & Run by Mike Lupica by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Mike Lupica. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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