he ladies were fighting later in the competition than the males. Laura's fighting style was epic. Controlled, fast, powerful. Once I’d seen her through the semi-finals and into the finals I was convinced she was going to win. However, her opponent dislocated her shoulder in the second bout. Her sa bum promptly put her shoulder back in place with the skill of a surgeon who had done it many times. In the final round, however, the pain must have overcome her as she lost her temper and therefore the match.
What happened next is what was ingrained in me from the whole competition. Because she lost, her sa bum punched her in the stomach. I was going to intervene but my father held me back I had no business interfering. He had always told me that to hit a woman made you lower than a snake's belly in the dirt. “He’s not a man,” Papa said as we walked away and I could see my father was furious. That would be the last I saw of Laura Riley for four years.
I was a ‘man’ to all intents and purposes the next time we met. There was some gala my mother wanted to attend, mama was ‘into’ art. There were many members of my family attending; a sort of mafia evening out if you will. As the elders were in the gallery my cousins and I were wreaking havoc downstairs in some form of wine cellar come bar.
My cousin Antonio had cornered some pretty girl and was demanding she perform a sex act on him in front of us all. I didn’t condone his behaviour but there was already a power struggle on, I did try and tell Tony to leave her alone. Tony was drunk and was in no mood to be told what to do.
Out of nowhere, she appeared. Laura Riley. “Leave the ‘lady’ alone!” She said. Her voice deathly calm, the look in her eyes, if Tony had an ounce of sense he’d have left there and then. Seeing a five feet two-inch tomboyish doll, which was exactly how Tony eyed her, he laughed and asked her what ‘exactly’ she intended to do if he didn’t? “Imp” he called her as if it was an insult.
Tony really didn’t weigh the situation up at all. Maybe it was because he was drunk he didn’t see that the ‘imp’ as he just called her was dressed as ‘security’. To be honest, I smiled to myself and took a step back, this was one fight Tony was going to lose. Sure he could punch, but she? She could hurt him in ways he couldn’t see coming, didn’t see coming and deserved to be coming. He threw a punch at her, which she dodged like the professional she was.
She hit him in three places in quick succession. It didn’t even look like she hit him very hard. He hit the floor, probably before he knew what had hit him. As my other cousins and ‘friends’ went to move in a pile of security guards ploughed in. As the melee began I grabbed her wrist and dragged her from there. Thankfully she put up no resistance.
When we got to the top of the steps and outside she asked me what I thought I was doing dragging her out of there?