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Tap Out

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128 pages
When Darwin's father went to prison for assault, his mom decided it was time to move him from his inner-city school to the elite Norfolk Academy. It was supposed to be a brand-new start for him. But old instincts die hard, and Dar is used to fighting for everything. Convinced by a new friend to take part in an illegal fight club, Dar starts competing in no-holds-barred matches between students. He quickly rises to become the best in the ring. When one match goes too far and a student is almost killed, Dar faces a choice. Everyone tells him he's a fighter, but he needs to decide for himself--who is he, and what is he fighting for?
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TAP OUT
SEAN RODMAN
Tap Out
Sean Rodman
Copyright ©2015Sean Rodman
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Rodman, Sean,1972–, author Tap out / Sean Rodman.
(Orca soundings) Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459808751(pbk.).—isbn9781459808768(pdf).— isbn9781459808775(epub)
I. Title. II. Series: Orca soundings ps8635.o355t36 2015jc813'.6 c20149066856 c20149066864
First published in the United States,2015 Library of Congress Control Number:2014952067
Summary:Darwin is unstoppable in the illegal fight club. But what is he fighting for?
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover image by Getty Images
orca book publishers po Box 5626,Stn. B Victoria, bcCanadav8r 6s4
orca book publishers po Box 468 Custer, wa usa 982400468
www.orcabook.com
181716154321
Other Soundings by Sean Rodman:
Dead Run Final Crossing Inîltration Night Terrors
Dear Son,
C h a p t e r O n e
It has been a while since I wrote to you. I am sorry and will not make excuses for that. The last letter you sent to me was about how much you hate your new school. I think that I would hate it too, but your mother thinks it is the best for you.
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Sean Rodman
And there is not much I can do from where I am, is there?So all I can do is give you some good advice. I think it is a father’s job to tell you how the world is. Not what it should be. And I tell you that you must îght every single day of your life. Whether with your îsts or just the way you live every day, you will have to fight for everything. I know that I have. And so when you wrote that you hate your new school, that is okay. In fact,I think hate is good.Because in the end, the winner of any îght is decided by a few small things. The winner is the one who doesn’t crap his pants. The winner takes fewer punches than the other guy. And the winner hates just a little bit more. And has enough control to let that hate out, hit by hit. Dad
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C h a p t e r T w o
“I don’t want any trouble,” I say. It’s a lie. I’m actually kind of hoping the bald guy makes the îrst move. It’s been one of my bad days, where my skin doesn’t feel like it îts. Like I’m just waiting for someone to come at me. I’m edgy. Pissed off. Looking for a îght. And I found one—this over-muscled chrome
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Sean Rodman
dome shoving around a skinny kid with glasses in front of the convenience store. The bald guy in the Lakers jersey looks slowly over his shoulder at me and then snorts. He exaggerates letting go of his victim—his îngers snap open to release the kid with glasses. The kid’s wearing the same uniform as me. The uniform of Norfolk Academy. Bald guy swaggers toward me. “What, you standing up for him? Private-school code of honor?” He laughs and shakes his head. “Would be funny, except your friend Jonathan here owes me money. So, you step off and let me înish my business.” “ M a s o n , ” s a y s t h e v i c t i m — Jonathan—from behind him. “Take it easy, bro. We can sort—” I stand my ground. “Know what? I don’t know him and I don’t know you. And I don’t care what your business
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Tap Out
is with him. But you don’t do it on the street in front of me.” “Or what? You gonna get your nice white shirt all dirty?” Mason gives me a shove, both hands on my chest.I stumble and then come back fast. Push him with one hand on his Lakers jersey. He doesn’t move, but his expression darkens. Game on. We circle, staying on the balls of our feet, staying light. Mason fakes a punch, just testing me out. I keep out of range. He starts to get frustrated and holds his hands out, as if to say, “What are you waiting for?” I fall for it and step in toward him with a wild roundhouse swing. I miss, and he takes the opportunity. A hard jab connects with my jaw. I stagger back, falling to my knees. Little zips of light ash in my eyes. Mason laughs. He turns to his victim, who is still pressed against the
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Sean Rodman
front of the convenience store, eyes wide. “Jonathan, you need a better bodyguard.” While he’s turned side-ways, I push up off from the ground and wrap both of my arms around Mason’s legs. He goes down like a tree, grunting as he hits the concrete. Then I’m on top of him, one forearm across his throat, pressing hard. “Are we done?” I growl. He grimaces, shakes his head. His eyelids are starting to utter. Another couple seconds and he’ll be out. But a îrm hand grabs my shoulder and pulls me backward, off of him. “What the hell are you kids doing?” It’s the owner of the convenience store behind us. A short guy with a white mustache and a pissed-off expression. Mason is coughing on the ground. “Look, I don’t want any trouble. All of you, get out here before I have to call the cops!”
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