Blood on the Canvas
There was a wash of aromas. The restaurant buzzed with the bustle of a busy lunchtime. There was a long queue of people waiting to be seated. Marcus sat at a table with his agent waiting for his food. His head was spinning with what he'd just been told. It was hard trying to break into acting. He was a boxer, but one too many hits to the head left him needing to retire.
His agent had basically told him he stood no chance getting into movies without any publicity. Marcus thought that a former heavyweight champion branching out into acting would provide enough publicity. So far it hadn't.
The waitress came and took their orders. Marcus and his agent sat, making small talk, going over other avenues of work. There was nothing else he wanted to do but act in movies. The idea of analysing boxing matches depressed him. How could he enter an arena and not step into the ring? It just wasn't him. There was a thud to his shoulder, a waitress apologised and went about her business. Marcus became distracted.
He drifted in and out of the conversation, losing himself in the bitter smell of fresh coffee and Michelin star food. He found himself in a daydream, back in the ring. The bell rang and he left his corner. He took a couple of shots to the head and then went in for his own attack. All his punches connected. His opponents face melting into his fist was a welcome feeling, but different this time. It was as though the padding had been removed from his gloves. He felt the cheek bone shatter. Blood hit the ring mat and the figure before him crumpled to the canvas. The referee stepped in and declared the match over. The ball rang.
Marcus snapped back to the restaurant. He was standing now. All he could hear were astonished gasps and all he saw were scared faces. His agent was holding him back and in front of him, on the floor, was a waitress. Her nose bloodied, her eye blackened. Another waitress crouched over her limp and lifeless body. She looked up, tears flowing down her delicate cheek.
"She's dead, you killed her..."
Marcus was numb. He felt his legs give way. Vaguely he was aware of screams and hurried exits. Someone called a policeman from the street and he felt cuffs round his wrists. Forced to his feet, dragged through the waiting lunchtime crowd, Marcus was hauled out of the restaurant, and bundled into the back of a patrol car.
Flashes of recognition swelled across the faces of the onlookers, most of whom were busy snapping pictures or filming with mobile phones. This would generate publicity. Lots of it. Marcus looked out the window of the patrol car and saw his agent shake his head. There would be no transition into acting. Only a transition into a penitentiary. She was dead, and now, so was Marcus.