‘Queen Victoria’

‘You are small man. I break you.’

Henry just smiles back at the huge Russian. He’s got a head on him, it’s true, and the width to match. The unbroken nose and the stench of cheap vodka on his breath tell its own story though. He’s drunk and doing this on a whim. Henry glances over at his shoulder at his two companions. The smiles of men already counting their winnings.

‘You are not scared little Englander?’

‘Queen Vic looks forward to sending you her regards,’ Henry replies as he takes a step back and assumes his stance.

The Russian snorts and spits. He links his hands and cracks both pairs of knuckles behind his neck. Then his fists are up. He begins to circle. Henry watches every step.

The Russian strikes with a roar but Henry is already stepping up under the blow and brings The Queen hard into his gut. Queenie, as he’ll call her after a few, is the swallow tattooed on his left hand. She was paid for with five thousand nautical miles and a naval boxing championship. She’s broken noses, ribs and jaws within spitting distance of all seven seas.

The bear grunts in anger and signals his next swing with his shifting weight. Victoria hits his chin and the Russian is reeling. Vicky sits on his right. She cost a six stretch at The Scrubs  and the sacrifice of a nose that would never sit straight on his face again.

The Russian staggers and Henry distantly acknowledges the cheers of the partisan crowd. His eyes though never leave his opponent. The Russian shakes his head and spits blood. Henry sees the drunken rage descend over him. That’s the point at which he’s won.

The Russian’s next attack is reckless, both arms open wide to try and grapple him. Vicky takes him in the nose, The Queen under his ribs. The Russian is flailing as blood and sweat obscure his vision. Henry moves in and unloads a flurry of blows into the softness of his belly. The Russian locks his arms with blind instinct and for a moment Henry is encircled. The Russian lifts him. Henry can smell the reek of stale sweat and vodka as the Russian begins to squeeze. Henry’s head snaps forward and crushes the Russian’s already mangled nose.

The arms go slack and Henry shoves himself free. Now’s the time to showboat. He pulls off his vest. The crowd bay their approval at the Lion of Empire that sits proud on his back. He holds his fists up to a chorus of wild cheers.

Bemused and bloodied the Russian lunges again and Victoria hits with enough velocity to poleaxe him to the floor.

‘God save the Queen,’ Henry says with a smile.

 

Another tricky one with the suggestion being crime and the ‘air speed velocity of an unladen African swallow’. I had to take a few creative liberties with the latter but overall I’m pleased with how it worked out.

For these 500 word short stories I am working on a theme and topic suggested to me at random, normally through asking friends on Facebook. Feel free to message me with a suggestion of your own. I will consider anything that’s not too gratuitous or explicit. AM.

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