Like Collo Hadn’t Warned Me

Michael James Treacy

Michael James Treacy | April 3, 2024

Like Collo Hadn’t Warned Me


“He’s gonna stuff me.”

“Don’t talk like that!” Collo grabbed my arms. “He’s just a twinkling fairy!”

“Yeah, but look at the size of him!”

“Don’t think like that! You can beat him… you’re representing ‘B’ troop. Remember your training! Don’t let him catch you… keep moving… you’re faster than he is.”

“Yeah, but he looks like he can handle himself.”

“He’s too slow… too cumbersome.” He looked at me earnestly. “Don’t forget what I told you… they’re all tarts in ‘C’ troop. Especially him.”

“Yeah, but he’s built like a bloomin’ tank.”

“Use your reach!” He pretended a killer blow. “Don’t let him near you… pick him off at a distance… head punches… body blows… you can beat him.”

“Yeah, but see how he’s glaring at me… it’s very off-putting.”

Collo hit himself on the forehead. “Look at me! He’s just trying to psyche you out. Keep moving… high work rate. Quick hands… right, left! Quick feet… in, out!”

“Yeah, but I’m feeling unwell.”

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me hard. “Remember to keep to your army timing, and you’ll batter him. One… two three… one! One… two three… one! One… two three… one!”

“Yeah, but…”

“One… two three… one!”

“Ok.” I’d run out of arguments.

“Come on, killer… let me hear you growl.”


The referee beckoned me. Collo slapped me on my back. Ow! That hurt.

The referee checked our gloves. “No gouging,” he indicated with his thumb. “No rabbit punches,” he mimed a karate chop. “No hitting down here,” he mimed a punch to his groin. “I want a good clean fight. No biting, butting, spitting or swearing. No kneeing in the knackers. If I tell you to break… break!”

I glanced at my opponent. His nostrils flared… Neanderthal incarnate! I was hyperventilating… gasping for breath.

The referee looked into me eyes. “You OK, son? Are you ready for this?”


Taking a step backwards, he raised his hands in dramatic gesture. “Get ready to defend yourselves,” he warned, then clapped his hands together sharply and commanded, “Box!”

I took my crouched stance like Collo had shown me. One… two three… one!

“Come on, lads… nice and steady now.” The referee advised.

“Knock his block off!” I heard his corner shout.

I pranced around the ring like Collo had schooled me. One… two three… one!

“Come on, lads… pick it up a bit,” the referee encouraged.

“Punch his head in!” I heard my corner shout.

I kept my right hand in reserve like Collo had taught me. One… two three… one!

“Come on, lads… let’s see some action now,” the referee ordered.

“He’s just a streak of p!ss!” I heard his corner shout.

I poked out my left jab like Collo had told me. One… two three… one!

“Come on, lads… go for each other,” the referee demanded.

“He’s just a pile of sh!t!” I heard my corner shout.

My opponent hit me in the face like Collo hadn’t warned me. One… two three…

And then I saw stars.

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