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Salvadore Ritchie
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Art by J D Sixsmith 2014

The Horrific Death of Sammy the Shadow Boxer


Salvadore Ritchie



Sammy the Shadow Boxer consumed the entire atmosphere of the Hotel Bernice. His flagrant acts of random violence against elderly residents, as well as his belligerent tantrums, did little to convince local authorities that he should return to their custody or at least be relocated to another facility.

Within a few weeks of Sammy’s arrival, almost everyone in the building began whispering about creative ways to facilitate his removal.  But the murmurs were conducted with a degree of fear usually reserved for hostage situations. This was probably the reason Sammy’s girlfriend, Mabel, wound up as the de facto leader of a group that was campaigning for Sammy’s disposal.

Mabel had come to the conclusion that Sammy needed to die, and that I was going to do it.


How the Earth’s Axis Relates to Sammy’s Death


The Hotel Bernice was your typical building in a part of the city that looked like it had been fire bombed. I lived in the room directly adjacent to Sammy and Mabel's on the fourth floor. Our floor wasn't unlike the other ten floors of the hotel…poorly lit with narrow halls, and paint chipped doors carved into discolored plaster walls.  At one end of the hall hung an old lift elevator with a creaky gate and at the other, two rusty steel doors. One door opened to a darkened stairwell.  The other door led to a communal bathroom with one toilet and shower that was shared by the entire floor.  In front the bathroom door, Sammy the Shadow Boxer was attempting to shake down Lou Buggs for his prescription meds.

He had caught Lou on his way out of the facilities, toilet still flushing. That’s when he snatched the old man up by his collar, pulling him close.

In each of Sammy's fists was a clump of Lou's button up shirt. He shook him violently for good measure. "Give me pills old man! The pills!" Sammy’s greasy hair and an oily moustache clung to his face like hot garbage. “The pills!”

Lou was one of the elderly residents that Sammy frequently victimized. Lou walked slowly, aided by the use of a cane. Often times, you'd catch Lou skulking around the halls, recanting his conquests from the old days. "They was some saucy dames back then! Straightened the pipe right out!" He would gasp, while motioning to his crotch at the same time.

Lou's skull bounced back and forth like a bobble head.

Sammy gave him another jerk, “I said, GIMME THE PILLS!”

Slobber was dripping from the old man's loose mouth. “I ain't got nothin' but cream for my ass and pills for my heart. I swear!"  Sammy, clad only in a dirty pair of boxers, leaned over Lou's frail figure. Jailhouse ink ran up and down his muscular arms and looked mostly like runny blotches. Sammy shook Lou harder, pulling him even closer to his face. “I swear old man. I'm gonna give you a good beating. You're dealing with a prize fighter here."

Lou dropped his cane and brought his hands defensively up to guard his face. “I got nothin', I tell ya'… Nothin'!" His hands were trembling in fear. "I got nothing' but a pair of bad shins!"

Then something surprising happened. Somewhere down the hall, a withered, dry voice rang out, "You leave him alone, you thug!"

Then another. “You’re no damned good, Sammy!"

All the way down the hall, most of the doors were opened, with elderly residents leaning out, pointing their canes, shaking their arthritic fists, and mouthing words of protest and damnation. Sammy's poisonous cloud of oppression was smothering these old people, but stirring was a sense of insurrection amongst them.

For a brief moment, I thought I might be spared the inconvenience of killing him by this growing mob of angered Medicare recipients. Given the cruel nature of old age, they were already an irritable crowd, but after the state started dumping newly released parolees at the Bernice, (such as Sammy and myself), the ruling population had neared a point of conniption. Sammy shaking them down for pain meds and sleeping pills was the last straw.

“Worthless hood!”


Sammy let go of Lou Buggs and started into one of his shadow boxing performances, intended to display his prowess and fortitude.

As I stood there chuckling to myself, I felt a tug at the back of my shirt.

“Not now.”

I waved my hand, attempting to rid myself of whoever was trying to tear me away from this potentially groundbreaking moment.

Not to be dissuaded, my assailant tugged twice more, then took a handful of my ass into their hand. I jumped forward and turned, all in one motion, readying myself for combat, but before I could raise my fists to full staff, I realized it was Mabel, pulling me into my own room.

She twisted a handful of my shirt into her hand and yanked me forward. “We don’t have much time,” her voice was hardly audible above the fray. The huskiness of her tone stirred my pants.

Pulling me, Mabel toggled backwards until she came upon my door. She swiftly kicked backwards and swung it open.

“I need to taste your cock.” Now both hands took command of my shirt as she threw me into my room and up against the wall.

“Sammy's scum. I want to taste a real man.”  With one hand holding me against the wall, she pulled out my manhood as if it was a third hand in need of a good shaking.

“Don’t move. Don't make a noise.” Without her eyes ever leaving mine, she dived down and went to it.

Mabel was at least fifteen years my senior, probably in her late forties… A perfect, ripe age. Her hips were wide and her frame thick. Healthy… The size just before chubby. She would strut around the hotel like she owned it.

Before long, I was feeling the pressure build to the most natural of conclusions. Surely sensing this, Mabel popped up, climbed onto my dirty mattress, and bent over. She hiked up her dress and pulled her underwear down. Now, with a full view of her ample charms, she jerked her head back to fixate her alluring gaze upon me. “Give Mama your best.”

She was the most dazzling creature that I had ever come across. I was falling in love.


Moments Later


We lay next to one another smoking cigarettes, my pants to my ankles and shirt pulled up. Mabel’s underwear was across the room.

“You gotta do this.” She took a deep drag and blew it out. Her eyes seemed to fixate on a distant point, far beyond the confines of the room. “He’s a dirt bag. He has to die.”

“I just don’t know if I can do it again. It’s been so long.” I took a hard pull, worried that I wouldn’t be able to control the darkness once I conjured it up.

She rolled over and rested her head on my chest. “But you have to. He's disgusting."

"He makes me do bad things to him.”

It was as if she were cranking a wrench in my chest. I took a gulp as I reluctantly uttered, “What kind of things?” I knew I would regret this question before it ever escaped my lips.

“Our room is next to yours.” She lifted her head, locking me in her gaze. “I'll make sure you can hear me tonight. I try to keep quiet, but sometimes I just go crazy."


That Night


Sammy’s shadow boxing exhibition had herded the residents back into their own confines hours ago.

Mabel, attempting to convince me to take care of Sammy, explained in gruesome detail what she would do to pleasure him that night.

The problem with killing Sammy was that I would have to call upon the darkness to do it. Twenty years ago, the darkness consumed me, and then took over completely. It was like being in a nightmare where the only way out was to do what it told me. That’s why I burned down the group home for troubled adolescents (of which, I was a resident.) I had to listen. I had to do what it wanted, or the Earth would slide off its axis. My main imperative these days was to maintain rationality. Maintain rationality, and the Earth stayed in balance. By doing that I was able to control the darkness and make it work for me.

Once Mabel snuck out of my room, I made a list of everything I needed. After that I went to the hardware store, then the gas station.

The List:

1)       3  one-gallon milk jugs full of gasoline

2)      2 kryptonite locks

3)      2 five foot chains

4)      1 machete

5)      2 rolls of duct tape (in case the Earth starts to slide off its axis it would protect me from the sun)

6)      1 nondescript automatic handgun and leather holster (stolen from Lou’s room)

Carrying three milk jugs of gasoline up four floors in an elevator proved a bit more difficult than anticipated. I fought with the elevator gate as I tried to unload the jugs and plastic bags that contained the items mentioned above. The specter of the darkness was swirling around me. I had to fight the urge to give in. I needed to stay logical…focused.

Clumsily, I stumbled down the hall, burdened by all the items. I saw Lou Buggs and a few of the other old men gathered around Sammy and Mabel’s door, (situated right next to mine).

“That’s one saucy bitch!” Again, Lou pointed to his crotch, engaging in a feeble hip pump while simultaneously trying to balance himself on his cane.

The other old men around him smiled toothless grins and tried to mimic Lou's pelvic thrusts.

“What’s happenin' fellas?” I asked, struggling to maintain my grip on the jugs and plastic bag.

“What’s happenin'?” Lou looked as if I had asked him a complex mathematical problem. He turned back towards the door. “Mabel's doin' Sammy over… Real good!” Lou and the old men leaned in to the door. “That’s one lucky bastard!” Lou said, the back of his saggy head to me.

I was a few feet from Sammy’s door, but I could hear the moans of pleasure cannon out in a murderous rhythm.  She was, indeed, working Sammy over. The 'bounce, bounce, bounce' of the bed was punctuated by Mabel moaning filth laden obscenities. Sammy’s grunts were random and out of rhythm with the bounces.

Everything began sliding sideways. I knew right then and there; the darkness was going to kill us all. The Earth was off its axis. I dropped everything I was carrying and fumbled for my key. My hands shook as I tried to put the key in the door. The 'bounce, bounce' began thudding in my head, louder and louder. The darkness crept closer, advancing with each moan.




Lou Buggs was pumping and laughing. I could hear Mabel, moaning in pleasure. My penis swelled. The darkness was so close to overtaking me that I could feel my eyeballs bulging as it edged into the perimeters of my peripheral vision. I couldn’t get the key in the door.


The Earth slid.


348 Seconds Later


I stood in front of Sammy and Mabel’s door.


I didn’t want it to come to this.


In order to prevent the Earth from sliding, I had to lift my left foot while rapidly wrapping my arms in duct tape. This activity proved more difficult than I imagined, especially since I was naked and slick with Lou's blood. On my chest Lou’s gun and holster was secured by half a roll of duct tape. The floor was engulfed in flames, which made it really hot too. The darkness persisted, intensifying the 'bounce, bounce, bounce'. Balancing the Earth became increasingly more of a challenge, but I finally felt like I had enough duct tape on my arms, so I went back to focusing on my left foot. Maintaining rationality was difficult, but for now, I was succeeding. 

Some of the residents were bloody lumps on the ground, victims of my machete and my fierce resolve to keep the darkness at bay. The rest of them were on fire. They ran back and forth, trying to get out, but there was no use… I had chained the elevator gate, as well as the only exit on the floor with the kryptonite locks and chains.

The flames reached the ceiling, crawling across it in decisive, gaping swoops.

Just before I lost my balance, Sammy swung the door open, screaming in terror. The reflection of golden flames filling his eyes.

I wondered what had stopped Sammy and Mabel? Had they finished on their own accord? Maybe the screams of burning old folk rousted them from their act of depravity? Or could it have been the 'whoosh' of the flames pulling deeper breaths? Perhaps now the 'bounce, bounce, bounce' of darkness was swallowing Sammy, too.

He seemed stunned. I used this opportunity to pull the gun from its holster. So taken aback by the scene before him, I'm not sure he even saw me. Maybe the darkness had made me invisible. That would explain a lot. Either way, I put the gun to his chest and pumped twice. On his way down I pumped twice more.

I still had one last jugful of gasoline by the door, and grabbed it. I ran into Sammy’s room.

Mabel was standing on the bed. I'm pretty sure she was screaming, but all I could hear was 'bounce, bounce, bounce'.

The Earth started sliding again, but I would stop it.

Above all the racket I yelled, “Don’t worry! I'll get us out of here!”  I hoisted the jug upwards, and poured it over my head.

Down my body the gasoline went. It felt clean and refreshing.

Mabel’s lips curled in a manner that revealed her terror, but that was fine…

Because I found her lighter.


The End

Salvadore Ritchie works as an IT professional at a hospital that handles the region’s largest trauma and psych units. Shotgun wounds from beef's gone bad or naked maniacs high on bath salts, he sees it all. Sal picks up on stories in the lounge or by watching police sprint down the hall with stun guns ready. All stories are fiction and are not accurate depictions of real patients.

At home he lives with his wife's cats.

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