>PUNCTURE

>When he was rejected from the police force, the first thing Chance did was go out and run straight into someone’s fist. Some big, pug-faced Englishman, half-drowned in watery lager, swaying at the bar with a certain colonial certainty, wet-lipped and ever-ready for confrontation. Chance charged straight at the Englishman’s barrel chest, setting him back on his heels and covering them both with beer. The Englishman swung instantly, as Chance hoped he would, connecting two pig-knuckles right into the soft pillow of Chance’s left eye.

Chance fell to the floor, although he still had his balance, and let the Englishman land his Adidas-clad easy blows. Stomach, shoulder, thigh, stomach. He welcomed the pain, let it wash him away from his normal worried thoughts. Enjoyed it so much that he returned the next night, limping, peering through the rid-tinged slits of his eyes, throwing his body—punctured lung flapping inside him—into another Englishman, another spray of beer, another wave-set of fearless, pure pain.

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