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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Comedy · #1087753
About a guy with a 'demanding' job. Written on my lunch hour.
The Hardest Blow

Martin began strapping on his padding. He could still feel the bruises from the previous week, he had examined them in the shower that morning trying to determine – by their colour – what day they represented. Yes, last week had been busy and he wondered if this week would be the same.

Having secured his padding, Martin erected his small, folding sign. The sign displayed his Monday tariff. Most people get stressed on a Monday so he was busy, the laws of supply and demand dictated that the prices were higher. The price his customers extracted from him was often higher on a Monday as well. It was an easy job, in many respects, and it paid well but he couldn’t see anyone using the words ‘enjoyable’ or ‘satisfying’ to describe it. Martin was a human punch bag, literally – or, if you preferred, a stress relieving device. People paid money to punch and kick him – the Monday tariff was £10 for a body punch, £15 for a body kick and the price was treble for anything aimed at the face. It hurt, even with the padding.

The first customer was a young boy of around seven or eight. His mother had given him the money and given him a gentle push forwards. She then stood and watched proudly as her son delivered £10 worth of knuckles to Martin's tenderest area, he was glad he had used his second day’s takings to invest in a box. He was left bent double, breathing hard, as the mother and child disappeared, chattering into the growing throng.

It was actually a slow morning but the same could not be said about lunchtime. The queue started to form at twelve and carried on growing until one thirty. Some of the local businesses had begun running daily ‘Stress Buster’ sessions for their staff and had negotiated group discounts, often they would invest a little extra for a colleague celebrating a promotion or the securing of a new deal. It seemed there was no celebration like punching a man in the face. The most likely ‘lunch break’ Martin was going to see was to his nose.

The afternoon was slow like the morning, but this was just the calm before the half-five storm. At the end of a hard day every guy in a suit, it seemed, wanted to relieve his frustrations before heading home, or to the nearest bar. Each evening a cheering crowd would gather to watch the fun, none of them ever left a tip though.

As the commuters vacated the area Martin picked up a couple of jabs from workers who had been kept back late to complete some mundane task or other. Finally, at 7pm he sat down with a sigh on his folding chair, this week was looking just as rough as the last, still – at this rate, he’d have enough for a holiday soon.

Martin was just about to start to unwrap his bruised limbs and torso when a straggler emerged from one of the office buildings. The man headed straight for Martin and paid £30. The guy laid a real haymaker on him, the hardest punch he had yet received. His head was spinning and his ears ringing as he hit the ground. Martin was dazed, almost knocked out in fact. He felt the guy leaning over him asking if he was ok, then the man was fiddling with Martin’s pad straps. Martin wanted to say it was ok but he needed to save his breath after the shock. Suddenly the man had managed to undo the strap he had been fumbling with, then he began to run, carrying Martin’s money belt with him. “Son...of...a...Bitch.” Martin wheezed.

That was the hardest blow of them all.


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