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Brian ended the salute as Rosco did, noting that the Sheriff had taken what appeared to be a defensive posture.

"Sure," Brian complained lightly. "Make me the bad guy, throwin' the first punch. But since I *am* the bad guy, ah suppose I'd better oblige..."

Pacing around the Sheriff slowly, limping despite his best efforts not to, Brian looked for an opening. The Sheriff was on his guard and could certainly block a punch and throw one back. Knowing this, Brian resorted to a bolder strategy.

He continued his slow, circling walk, and let the limp of his bad leg become more pronounced, as if it was getting the best of him. Finally, Brian seemed to stumble and lose his balance...

....but it was a feint, and Brian bull-rushed the Sheriff with a linebacker's tackle, his hunched-over body plowing into Rosco and knocking him down. Brian fell with him, and he gave a mighty shove to Rosco's side, rolling the Sheriff out over the edge of the ring. Rosco spilled out beneath the low rope and fell.

Brian peered over the edge, and saw that Rosco had his fall broken by some thoughtful Hazzardites in the first row. "Say howdy to them friendly folks with ringside seats!" Brian chuckled.

But then he edged back and used the ropes to climb to his own feet. Rosco would have an answer to this one, and Brian retreated to the far end of the ring...

...and waited.

(Cue Rosco!)

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Rosco was uncerimoniously pushed off the laps of those he'd landed on and he landed on his backside on the ground. A few pieces of popcorn had landed on him and sat in the folds of his t-shirt over his stomach. He picked up the pieces and ate them.

"Mmm...yum." He looked up at the ring. "Think I'll just sit right here and watch the rest of the fight. Go ahead, Brian, knock yerself out!! KHEE!"

Rosco pushed himself up and looked at Brian through the ropes. A devilish grin came to the Sheriff's face and he pulled himself up on to the apron and climbed back into the ring.

Yes, Rosco had an answer for Brian's move. He stepped towards Brian, which forced the younger Coltrane to move. The two cousins circled the ring a couple of times and then Rosco charged at Brian and grabbed him around the waist, bringing him down to the ring floor. Rosco turned Brian face down and pulled both of Brian's arms behind his back, holding both wrists tightly. Rosco also settled just enough of his own weight on a knee over Brian's lower back, pinning him down.

"Okay, Brian..."

(Cue Brian!)

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"@#%&*!" Brian responded. "Maybe you'll get a chance to find out for yerself."

Giving a low chuckle, Brian tried lifting his torso up. Nothing doing, of course - Rosco's police hold on his arms, combined with the knee in the lower back, had him pinned good. Still, Brian made a show of futile struggle, trying to roll one shoulder up from the matt, and then trying the other, only to have Rosco compensate and adjust.

What the attempts were giving Brian, was a feel for exactly where Rosco was positioned on his lower back with the knee-hold...and how Rosco was leveraging his weight.

Rosco was concentrating on keeping Brian's upper body motionless - which was working like a charm - but this left Brian's legs free...

And Brian's good leg was fortuitously in striking range. Brian turned his head straight and gave a sigh, as if to relent...

...and then he kicked back hard with his good leg, connecting a boot heel hard into the Sheriff's hip. The impact of the kick threw Rosco's balance off, knocking him to the side and off of Brian's back. Rosco's grip was kept on the captured arms, but Brian's back was free, and another hard, dolphin-tail kick allowed Brian to lift his body enough to roll to the side....right towards Rosco, who had tried to maintain the hold, but had been forced to break it with this.

Brian log-rolled into Rosco, plowing the Sheriff over, and then somersaulted up, springing to limping stand. A grin was on Brian's face, and he gave Rosco another salute...although this time, it was with a thumbed-nose and a raspberry. "THBPTH!!"

(Cue Rosco!)

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Sitting on his posterior, Rosco looked up at Brian and stuck his tongue out in return. "Same to you," he muttered. "Tho' that was a good move..." He quickly stood up and took a step back from Brian, subconciously bringing his hand to his bruised hip. "Yep, that was a good one awright..." He took a step to the side, keeping an eye on Brian, calculating his next move. He then suddenly rushed at Brian and grabbed a hold of his younger cousin. As Brian tried to turn to squirm out of the grip, Rosco hooked his foot and leg around Brian's good leg from behind and pulled back, tripping Brian up and sending him back down to the floor in heap. Rosco then quickly stepped back away from him. "Khee! But yer still kissin' the floor!"

(cue Brian!)

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"Like hell! " Brian got to his feet, limping back a couple steps. "I guess you weren't gonna fall for that one, were ya. Had to try it, tho'..."

Brian paced around, keeping a distance but also calculating another gambit. One thing was bothering him, however, and he decided to voice it.

"Sheriff, it's true enuff that this thing ain't over, until one of us forfeits...or knocks out the other. I don't wanna quit, but I don't wanna hurt ya. Seein' as how we've went easy on each other so far....I gotta ask. Do you plan to take this thing to the bitter end? Are ya willin' to knock me out cold to win?"

(cue Rosco!)

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Rosco was quiet for a moment as he considered Brian's question. Was winning this thing worth knocking Brian out? Was Rosco willing to go that far?

No.... he wasn't. Sure, he and Brian could put on a good fisticuff, but Brian was right. They had gone easy on each other thus far. Rosco's blue eyes betrayed his answer but he held back from vocalizing it. Instead, he asked the same question of Brian.

"Are you?"

(cue Brian!)

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There was a heavy silence while Brian debated his answer. His dark eyes bored into Rosco's blue, seeing the reluctance....and sharing it.

"No," Brian answered quietly. "No, I ain't willin' to hurt you. Thought I was. An' part of me still wants to know who's better. But dammit all...if I come after you now, for no good reason other than ego n' prize money...then I ain't learned a damn thing after all these years, have I?"

Brian took a limping step closer to Rosco. "I've hurt two other people in this thing already. Two people that I could treat as enemies for my own reaosns. But I can't apply those same reasons to you, Sheriff. An' if I try to....then I don't deserve to be called any kin of yours. "

Slowly, Brian raised his arms. "Some things are more important than pride. You're one of them....an' so, I forfeit."

(cue Rosco!)

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Brian took another step forward as well, dropping his own arms and meeting Rosco in the center of the ring. He threw his arms around the Sheriff and thumped him on the back. "Cousin," he echoed.

After a second, Brian chuckled and made a suggestion. "Technically, you still won, 'cause I gave up first. What say we pool the prize money for first n' second place, n' split it, eh? Khee...."

(cue Rosco!)

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"Roger that." Brian smiled and slung an arm around Rosco's shoulders in return. He leaned some weight on the Sheriff to spare his leg from more strain. The two of them walked to the edge of the ring, stepped through the ropes, and exited down the steps.

The crowd's reaction seemed to be one of relief. Everyone had seen enough bloodshed for one day...

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Almost out of nowhere, Rosco and Brian were greeted by MaryAnne and Cully. MaryAnne threw her arms around her kin.

"Thank you for not beatin' the petunias outta each other!" she said and laughed with relief.

Cully smiled. "We saw the whole thing. Y'all got some good moves tho', I woulda liked to see ya continue--ow!"

MaryAnne had turned and whapped Cully on the arm. "I was kiddin'!" he said with a laugh.

MaryAnne laughed too.

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"Heh! Cully, if you wanna see me n' Rosco fight, stick around for dinner. Nothin' riles 'em like competin' for the last chicken leg."

Chuckling, Brian enjoyed the moment with his family. He didn't regret coming in second place at all....

...though in the back of his mind, he regretted some of the acts he'd done to make it that far. He made a mental note to check on Riddick and Garrett later...

...though something told him, he'd better be in full health himself, when he ran into them again.

(cue anybody! Congrats, Sheriff ! )

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  • 2 weeks later...

It was over two hours after he had been removed from the boxing ring that Riddick limped out of the hospital some papers in his left hand. His right hand completely concealed in a cast up to his elbow, covering all four of his fingers and his thumb in a hard white cast. It was towards evening now, the sun had already gone down and the street lights lit the streets all around him. His white eyes gazed around as he took a few slow breaths that ached his chest, then slowly with a bad limp to his right leg he crossed the road to the bus stop and borded the awaiting bus that would take him back to the gym where the Tough Man Contest was just ending.

In a few short minutes the bus stopped outside the gym and he limped off and entered the double doors. From the top of the steps that led down to the ring he could see the ring empty now, but two figures stood at the rings edge. His eyes landed on the two figures and he started down the steps, his own foot steps painfilled and agonizing. But he walked with his back strait and his head held high, he had nothing to be ashamed of, he had given forth every thing he had against his oppenant in that ring.

Poeple turned from there conversations and looked at him as he made his way through the crowd again. The crowd of people hushed on his approach and parted a path for him leading towards the ring. They looked at him, looked him up and down, some of them with discusted looks on there face, others just backed out of his way.

Riddick didnt turn his eyes to look at the people who staired at him, if they were stairing to see his battle wounds then they would see enough from either side of him. His face was proof enough, stiches curled up the side of his nose, came down out of the corner of his mouth and covered 50% of his face an the sides of his head. One large cut in particular stood out as the largest, starting from the center of his temple and ending at the bottom of his jaw, set neatly stiched together.

Both of his eyes half swelled and visibly black and blue. Careless of his appearence he approached the ring and stopped at its edge not allowing his eyes to fall over the person that had been his oppenant. Riddick dug into his right pocket with his left hand and brought out a set of keys with a Chevy emblem on them. An then he dug into his left pocket and produced three checks, an again his hand returned to his pocket and he placed a gold coin, a silver coin and a bronze coin next to the keys on the floor of the ring.

He paused looking at the objects in front of him, his right arm motionless at his side. There was nothing to be proud of really, but he was a man of his word. He had promised these prizes to the first, second and third prize winners.

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