This is actually a second try at telling this story. The first time got a few hits, but absolutely no reviews. Therefore, I figured I had to try something different. Please let me know what you think.

Part 1


Michael hit the ground hard, clutching his gut and gasping for breath. Little bursts of light flickered in front of his eyes as he tried to suck in breath, tried to do something. Anything. His body refused to obey, but just curled up on itself, forcing him onto his side. Beyond the spots of light, he could see a pair of trunk-thick legs standing in front of him, clad in dark jeans and sporting pristine sneakers. Big hands reached down and grabbed Michael's shoulders.

"Hey, you okay there, Mikey?" Clyde effortlessly pulled Michael up, turning him around so that Michael could see the mocking look on the big man's face before he slammed his fist into Michael's gut again. Michael went down hard and lay there, struggling for breath as Clyde stood over him and softly laughed. "You got to be kidding me. This all ya got? I mean, you're a kid and all, but I thought you'd be able to throw your weight around a little."

Michael finally managed to draw a breath, which only made him start coughing. Through it all, he could see Clyde bend over Michael, hands on his knees and a smile on his face. "Come on, I didn't hit ya that hard. Linebackers hit harder than that." As Michael struggled to breathe, he only shook his head, desperate to buy himself some time. Boss Webb wouldn't let this thug kill Michael, would he?

Maybe. Michael hadn't heard a lot of things about Boss Webb, but that hadn't stopped him from borrowing money from the man. Boss Webb, a quiet man with an effeminate manner, had simply told him to repay his debt within the month. When Michael had asked what would happen if he was late in making payment, Boss Webb had simply said that he'd remind Michael.

This was his reminder, a beating in a Denver alleyway by a guy big enough to fold Michael in half.

Life sucked.

Clyde chuckled to himself. "What ya mean? Didn't you play football in school? You got the build of one." He reached down and shoved, rolling Michael onto his back. "What happened? Didn't think you could dish it?" He straightened and let out his breath in a low whistle. "What are kids coming to nowadays?" He stuck his large fists in his pockets and stepped to one side of the alley, kicking a bottle against a concrete wall. It shattered.

Michael slowly pulled himself up onto his hands and knees, coughing and sucking in ragged breaths. He weighed his options. He could try to run, but that would just piss off Boss Webb, who might then really try to kill him. Calling for help was out of the question, since it would do the same thing. All Boss Webb wanted was his money, and that was the only way to make this nightmare stop.

Big sneakers stepped in front of his face. Michael winced, trying to brace himself for the coming blow, but Clyde just stood there. After a moment, Clyde cleared his throat. "So…" Michael looked up. The big thug wasn't smiling anymore but actually looked uncomfortable with the whole situation. Once Clyde saw that he had Michael's attention, he leaned down again. "So, can I tell the Boss that you said 'Thank you for the reminder' and that you'll have the payment in a week?" His voice was low and pained, making Michael pause and stare up at the thug for a moment in disbelief. Was this man playing with his mind or was he honestly pained by his actions?

Did it matter?

After a moment of silence, Michael let his head hang down. "Yeah, tell Boss Webb I'll have it all." What other choice did he have?

"Thanks, Mikey." Clyde's voice was suddenly bright and chipper as his foot shot out, slamming into Michael's face.

Everything went black.