Then he started to sock. His face looked awful all the time. He started to sock with his hands low down by his side, swinging at Walcott. Walcott covered up and Jack was swinging wild at Walcott’s head. Then he swung the left and it hit Walcott in the groin and the right hit Walcott right bang where he’d hit Jack. Way low below the belt. Walcott went down and grabbed himself there and rolled and twisted around.
The referee grabbed Jack and pushed him towards his corner. John jumps into the ring. There was all this yelling going on. The referee was talking with the judges and then the announcer got into the ring with the megaphone and says, “Walcott on a foul.”
The referee is talking to John and he says, “What could I do? Jack wouldn’t take the foul. Then when he’s groggy he fouls him.”
“He’d lost it anyway,” John says.
Jack’s sitting on the chair. I’ve got his gloves off and he’s holding himself in down there with both hands. When he’s got something supporting it his face doesn’t look so bad.
“Go over and say you’re sorry,” John says into his ear. “It’ll look good.”
Jack stands up and the sweat comes out all over his face. I put the bathrobe around him and he holds himself in with one hand under the bathrobe and goes across the ring. They’ve picked Walcott up and they’re working on him. There’re a lot of people in Walcott’s corner. Nobody speaks to Jack. He leans over Walcott.
“I’m sorry,” Jack says. “I didn’t mean to foul you.”
Walcott doesn’t say anything. He looks too damned sick.
“Well, you’re the champion now,” Jack says to him. “I hope you get a hell of a lot of fun out of it.”
“Leave the kid alone,” Solly Freedman says.
“Hello, Solly,” Jack says. “I’m sorry I fouled your boy.”
Freedman just looks at him.
Jack went to his corner walking that funny jerky way and we got him down through the ropes and through the reporters’ tables and out down the aisle. A lot of people want to slap Jack on the back. He goes out through all that mob in his bathrobe to the dressing-room. It’s a popular win for Walcott. That’s the way the money was bet in the Garden.
Once we got inside the dressing-room, Jack lay down and shut his eyes.
“We want to get to the hotel and get a doctor,” John says.
“I’m all busted inside,” Jack says.
“I’m sorry as hell, Jack,” John says.
“It’s all right,” Jack says.
He lies there with his eyes shut.
“They certainly tried a nice double-cross,” John said.
“Your friends Morgan and Steinfelt,” Jack said. “You got nice friends.”
He lies there, his eyes are open now. His face has still got that awful drawn look.
“It’s funny how fast you can think when it means that much money,” Jack says.
“You’re some boy, Jack,” John says.
“No,” Jack says. “It was nothing.”
A SIMPLE ENQUIRY
OUTSIDE, the snow was higher than the window. The sunlight came in through the window and shone on a map on the pine-board wall of the hut. The sun was high and the light came in over the top of the snow. A trench had been cut along the open side of the hut, and each clear day the sun, shining on the wall, reflected heat against the snow and widened the trench. It was late March. The major sat at a table against the wall. His adjutant sat at another table.
Around the major’s eyes were two white circles where his snow-glasses had protected his face from the sun on the snow. The rest of his face had been burned and then tanned and then burned through the tan. His nose was swollen and there were edges of loose skin where blisters had been. While he worked at the papers he put the forgers of his left hand into a saucer of oil and then spread the oil over his face, touching it very gently with the tips of his fingers. He was very careful to drain his fingers on the edge of the saucer so there was only a film of oil on them, and after he had stroked his forehead and his cheeks, he stroked his nose very delicately between his fingers. When he had finished he stood up, took the saucer of oil, and went into a small room of the hut where he slept. “I’m going to take a little sleep,” he said to the adjutant. In that army an adjutant is not a commissioned officer. “You’ll finish up.”