Fight the Gods

I love playing handball.

Not the kind you play indoors with four walls, though I’ve played that kind too. I’m talking about the kind you play against a concrete monolith, using a blue rubber ball the size of what we used to call a spaldeen on the streets of New York.

The opponent is almost always a teenager, almost always faster than I am, almost always stronger, and almost always in better shape. But I almost always win, because as physical as handball can get, there’s also strategy involved, and I’m good at the strategy part.

So my opponent walks on the court talking all kinds of trash and making remarks about the gray in what’s left of my hair, and walks off in an entirely different frame of mind. A decidedly beaten frame of mind. And I draw immense satisfaction from the encounter.

Yeah, it’s kind of evil. But then, I don’t have a whole lot of vices.

Handball is a city game, and some courts are in neighborhoods I probably shouldn’t be visiting. The kids I play are too often hanging gang colors. Some of them are sporting prison tats. On the court, it doesn’t matter. Everybody’s a gentleman, everybody’s a sportsman.

So one day I’m playing a crazy-looking kid, real tall and pale and skinny, and he’s beating the pants off me. And because I’m a writer, I starting thinking about who he might be and where he might have come from, and what the subtext of our game might be if neither one of us was what he seemed.

And that was the start of Fight The Gods.

It’s a work of the imagination–I feel safe in telling you that. Urban fantasy? Sure, why not. Action? Tons. Autobiographical elements? If you know me, you won’t have to look far for them. Romance? Well, yeah.

And it’s coming out next month, right here from Crazy 8 Press.

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