Marbleface - Max Brand - ebook

Marbleface ebook

Max Brand

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Opis

Marbleface is a an ex-prize fighter who becomes a fugitive after a failed robbery attempt lands him on the wrong side of the law. He’d almost been middleweight champion of the world, but then his heart went bad. So he trains himself to complete nerve control – he takes up poker as a living – he gets trapped into an escapade from which his victim’s daughter rescues him. With a bum ticker, Marbleface believes his days are numbered and sets out to reform, landing himself in the town of Piegun where he becomes the town’s hero. He stays honest and eventually finds himself well again and able to settle down with the girl he loves.

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Liczba stron: 396

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Contents

CHAPTER I. THE FIRST THREE ROUNDS

CHAPTER II. THE FINISH

CHAPTER III. RECOVERY

CHAPTER IV. END OF A POKER GAME

CHAPTER V. HIS SISTER

CHAPTER VI. THE HOLDUP

CHAPTER VII. THE TOWN OF PIEGAN

CHAPTER VIII. The Road to Makerville

CHAPTER IX. MEN OF MAKERVILLE

CHAPTER X. SIDNEY MAKER

CHAPTER XI. BLUFF

CHAPTER XII. THE PURSUIT

CHAPTER XIII. THE TEAMSTER

CHAPTER XIV. THE TRUMP CARD

CHAPTER XV. THE WALLET

CHAPTER XVI. THE CELEBRATION

CHAPTER XVII. GUN PLAY

CHAPTER XVIII. THE COLONEL PAYS

CHAPTER XIX. A YOUTH’S PRIDE

CHAPTER XX. A FRIEND

CHAPTER XXI. THE ELECTION

CHAPTER XXII. MEN WITH SHOTGUNS

CHAPTER XXIII. MAKER’S FORTUNE

CHAPTER XXIV. THE DETECTIVE

CHAPTER XXV. COLE’S ARRIVAL

CHAPTER XXVI. A DRIVE WITH RIGGS

CHAPTER XXVII. THE PALMED ACE

CHAPTER XXVIII. A TALK WITH STEVE

CHAPTER XXIX. “THE LUCK OF PIEGAN”

CHAPTER XXX. THE FINAL PLANS

CHAPTER XXXI. THE HALF-BREED

CHAPTER XXXII. THE MAKERVILLE PARTY

CHAPTER XXXIII. STEALING THE STAGE

CHAPTER XXXIV. THE WORDS OF THE BREED

CHAPTER XXXV. A REAL HERO

CHAPTER XXXVI. A BOMBSHELL

CHAPTER XXXVII. THE BOOM

CHAPTER XXXVIII. VENGEANCE

CHAPTER XXXIX. A PAIR OF RIDERS

CHAPTER I. THE FIRST THREE ROUNDS

THERE are two ways of telling a thing. You start at the beginning and go straight ahead or else you begin in the middle. I’d rather begin in the middle. That means cutting out everything before my fight with “Digger” Murphy, beginning with the fourth round of that fight, when he pasted me and knocked me cold.

The events preceding that don’t count.

I mean, of course, it would be pleasant and a lot of fun to commence at the very beginning and tell about how I started out and loved using my fists when I was just a kid; how I grew up and kept using them; how “Dutch” Keller saw me using my fists, one day, on a couple of the boys and decided that he could use me in his string of fighters; how he kept me in his gymnasium and made me like it while he put me through the ropes for three years, worked my head off, and never gave me a chance at money; how he finally uncorked me and how I started to make good; how I fought my way up until there was nothing between me and the champ except Digger Murphy and Digger was only a set-up for me.

I would like to tell all of those things, because the taste of them is still mighty sweet in my mind. But you know how it is. I have to explain how I came to be out here in the West, wearing chaps, packing a gun, daubing ropes on cows, and all that sort of thing. And the explanation of that is the fourth round of my fight with Digger Murphy.

That fight was as easy as any of the set-ups that Dutch had found for me when he started me in and gave me the soft ones to break my teeth on. He used to say that fighters have to find their teeth, and that gymnasium is important, but it’s only gymnasium. The ring is the ring, and that’s a lot different. He was right. He used to say that many a man was great for a show and no good for the money, and he wanted me to bring in the cash. He made me do it, too.

He got me when I was seventeen. He kept me till I was twenty-one. He gave me three years of hell in the gym. Then he gave me one year of glory in the ring, and, believe me, I would have worn the middleweight crown if only the crash hadn’t stopped me. It wasn’t the fists of another man that did it, but a thing that nobody can figure on. It was fate.

When I was a kid, just coming on, Dutch used to throw all kinds against me. One day it would be a big, hard-boiled heavyweight who only hit me once a round but, when he connected, what a song and dance there was in my brain!

“That’s what it feels like when you’re socked,” Dutch used to say. “You gotta get used to it. That’s nothing to the way you’ll be socked when you get up against the fast ones.”

The next day he’d throw in a fast, snappy little lightweight, all feathers and fluff, who would bang me from the belt to the part of my hair, fists going so fast that you couldn’t see them.

“That’s a real boxer,” Dutch would say to me. “Until you can box like that, you’ll never be fit to go up against a classy middleweight.”

The next day it would be someone of my own weight, some old, cagey guy, who was going downhill, but was still full of tricks, who knew how to seem “out” while he was on his feet and then would drop a ton of bricks on your chin just as you were stepping in to finish him.

Well, everything went fine. I climbed right up in the profession. And in those days it was a profession. But I pass over those days. I pass over the headlines they began to carry about me in the papers after I knocked out Jeff Thomas in three rounds. That made me.

For the rest of the year, I kept on growing. Thomas was the first hot one that Dutch fed to me. He made me study him hard. He told me that he was a tough nut. But after the first round I saw that he was easy, unless he was faking and keeping something back. In the second round I got to him and plastered him black and blue. Then I knew that I had read that book from cover to cover. It gave me confidence. But still I waited. I waited till I could walk in behind a perfect fence in the third round and then I poisoned him.

Brutal? Sure it was brutal when I saw his hands go down. But I didn’t feel like a brute. I just felt pretty good when I stepped in and rose on my toes and dropped on my heels and cracked him on the button. He fell forward on his face. They’re done when they do that. And I felt pretty sweet, what I mean to say.

Dutch told me a lot of bad things I had done in the fight, but I looked him in the eye and grinned, because for the first time I knew that I was good, and how!

After that I had confidence, and confidence is worth a horseshoe in your boxing glove. It adds fifty pounds to every punch. And it makes the other fellow know that you’re going to get him. I smiled when I was stung. It was that way with “Soldier” Baker. He was fast. He was tough. He nearly turned out the lights for me in the fifth round, but I only laughed, and so he held off a little, thinking that I hadn’t been really hurt. Finally, when he made up his mind to step in, I did the stepping first and dropped him off the map. That was sweet, too.

That was the fight, in fact, that cinched me to go up against the champion. He didn’t want me. He’d seen me and he knew that I was poison. So he just threw in the name of Digger Murphy. If I beat Murphy, he would take me on.

Well, Murphy was nothing. I’d seen him and I knew that he was my meat. I knew all his tricks. He had a hanging guard and he liked to step in with his head and body weaving and sock for the body. Well, I knew all about that.

When the first round came and he tried that, I let him weave until he was right close in and then I took the cork off the bottle and let it hit him under the chin.

He stopped weaving after that. When he tried it, the old uppercut always stood him up as straight as starch. He tried to box, but he couldn’t. I kept getting him with a straight left and a right cross that traveled high and dropped with a jerk on the side of the face. Once it connected with the chin, he was gone, and Digger knew it. He began to open his eyes; he was seeing his finish. I saw it, too.

Then I started feinting with the left. When he jerked his guard up, I stepped in and socked him with a swinging right to the body. I could feel the fist sink in. I could feel it jar on his backbone. That was sweet, too!

In the third round, he was going fast. I knew that I could finish him any minute, but I was in no hurry. All of the big sporting writers were there at the ringside watching what I did, and so I gave them a show. I mean, I showed them perfect straight lefts, heels and hip, shoulder and fist all in line. I lunged like a fencer, because I knew that I wouldn’t have to recover too fast. I pulled uppercuts from my hips. I looped hooks and crosses over his shoulders, and with each punch poor old Digger Murphy sagged.

Still I kept walking in behind the perfect fence that Dutch Keller had taught me to build. Every time Digger Murphy socked, he hit my elbows, shoulders, and nothing else. I began to catch his punches. I caught them at the elbow and laughed at Digger, then jerked a short jab into his middle section and saw his face convulsed as though he’d had an electric shock.

Yes, it was a good show.

Things were going along like this when the end of the third round came. At the finish of that round, I’ll bet that every man in the house was putting the middleweight crown of the world on my head. I was, for one.

Then, as they fanned me, one of my seconds threw half a bucket of cold water over me and changed my life.

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