Everyone in the Wolfe family is fighting, fighting to survive. They just do it in different places with different opponents.

You know when you have a line of dominoes, and you knock one over, and all the others start falling, and there’s no way to stop them? That’s pretty much what happened in my family when Dad got hurt and then couldn’t find a job. Mom started working double shifts, and looking more and more tired and worn out. Steve and Sarah offered to pitch in with more than their board, but Dad wouldn’t stand for it. Steve just got more quiet and more closed off, but Sarah did the opposite. She started drinking more, and coming in throwing-up drunk at 2 or 3 a.m., then getting up and doing it all over again the next day. Then one day, Ruben, who’s just a year older than I am, told me that there was talk about Sarah at school, about what she was doing besides drinking. He said if anyone dared call her a whore, he’d kill them, he really would. And he nearly did.

That’s when the dominoes started falling faster. Perry, this guy who set up amateur boxing matches, heard about Ruben’s fight, and decided he wanted Ruben and me to fight for him. He wanted Ruben because he was a winner, and me because I have heart — I don’t give up and just keep coming back for more. Winners got fifty, and even losers got twent dollars or so in tips, if they fought a good fight. We needed the money, so we said okay. It was a good deal.

But our lives changed after our first fights, and Ruben started changing too. It seemed like he wasn’t just fighting the other guys, he was fighting himself as well. He was winning in the ring, but how could he win against himself?