Hell's Kitchen, New York
17 years ago
Matt's father, Battlin' Jack Murdock was in the ring yet again. For the sixth time in a row, Jack was winning. The arena was small, dark, and smelled like sweat and blood. Just like Battlin' Jacks's opponent. Aaron Smith was a short, stubby, yet muscular african American man. He had worked his way up to be defeated by a poor, angry, drunkard, it didn't make the crushing might of Jack's fists hurt any less.
His redheaded son Matt cheered him on from the crowd. He could tell his dad was winning mostly from the crowd, but he could hear the opponents heart beating while his dad's was barely up from usual. The way he did this was Matt's secret. He had trained in private to listen to small sounds and hear where they were coming from.
In fact he could practically feel his dad's movements. Envisioning them in his head. Matt started making punches in the air, feeling the thrill of seeing his father be unstoppable.
When the final punch landed, Battlin' Jack felt like a champion, holding the adoration of the small crowd, but more importantly the attention of his son. As Aaron's limp body fell it was clear that he had lost.
Battlin' Jack as he was affectionately called was now one of the two top fighters in a small league of about fifty men. The rush was the biggest payoff though. It was hardly enough to educate Matt. And to Jack, that overrode all else.
As the referee was finishing his backwards count to ten Matt knew that his dad had won another hard fought battle. In the last three seconds Aaron rose to his feet, only to feel the full force of Jack's right hook. A traumatic blow to the jaw leading to a technical knock-out.
The referee held up Jack's left arm, and Matt jumped on the stage and was wrapped in his father's right. Pride swelled within Matt, feeling his father's victory, relishing it in his heart and soul.
When Jack and Matt went outside, the twelve year old boy hugged his father in a seemingly limitless show of pride.
"That was cool dad," breathed Matt,"you got him up against the ropes and then you used a left hook, then a right hook."
"Yeah, I got it done," shrugged Jack.
"You got it done and then some. Especially that finisher when you smashed him to the ground."
"Calm down, Matt."
"But dad, how can I calm down now," asked Matt.
"Just stop obsessing over it."
"SHUT UP, Matt!" his father let out in a fit of unjust rage.
"I'm sorry dad," Matt said hushing himself quickly.
Jack's face returned to it's normal appearance,"It's okay, Matt. I just... need a break," Jack paused."Do you know why I'm a boxer?"
"No, I really don't dad," Matt answered.
"I go to a boxing ring to put food on our table because I have no other skills. I am a fighter. That is not what I want for you, son."
Matt looked up,"Yes, dad."
His father continued,"That is why I won't let you fight. You'll never lead a better life than me if Matt Murdock is a scrapper from Hell's Kitchen. So I want you to study hard, be a lawyer or a politician, not a thug or a fighter."
So Matt looked at his father and decided to obey his father. No matter what, Matt Murdock would not be a fighter.