I come from a long line of bare knuckles fighters, so the cops figure I'm perfect to infiltrate the longest-running fight in history.
My name's Freedom Hercules Smith, and I'm a Gypsy. I'm named after my great great great grandfather, who was a champion bare knuckles fighter a hundred and fifty years ago. I'm big, and tough, and it's entirely too easy for me to get into trouble. It's partly because I've got an ugly mug, and look mean even when I'm not scowling. When I'm fighting, my face could scare the devil himself.
That's what I must have looked like the night it all started, the night the two townies tried to set our trailers on fire. They started to fight, then took a good look at me, and ran. The only problem was, I followed them, and one of them ran in front of a bus, and the other one said I'd pushed him. I told the cops the truth, but no one was going to believe a Gypsy kid over a townie. They were about to arrest me when one of them was called over to a black BMW with tinted windows. When he came back, he let me go, and told me the guy in the car wanted to talk to me.
When I did, Wren told me about Darcus Knight, the owner of the longest-running bare knuckles fight in history. Rich adrenaline junkies were eager to pay to see men and boys fight in pits, and ticket prices went through the roof for the star fighters who'd guarantee the blood and guts the crowd craved. It had been going on for so long that some boys had been born and brought up in it. It's all they knew-fighting, day after day after day.
The cops had been trying to shut it down for years, but Darcus had spotted all the people they'd sent in to work undercover. Wren was sure he wouldn't spot me, because of my rep and the fact that I'm a Gypsy, and cops and Gypsies have never been able to work together.
I didn't want to work with him, but the threat of jail and the chance to become a part of fight club history changed my mind. If I'd known what was waiting for me, I might have decided to take my chances in jail.
This booktalk was written by university professor, librarian, and booktalking expert Joni Richards Bodart.