Friday, September 10, 2010


Although the gym block was still daunting, and the run haunting, there was one day in particular that stands out in Roc's mind. It was the day they were boxing.

First off, you have to understand that his Company was chock-full of characters: The guy who looked about twelve, who everyone felt would never be able to detain anyone, the guy who resembled Bob Saget---and nobody could help but call him that---the Arab guy that everyone knew would be nabbed for Intel right away, and of course, the guy who had just gotten out of the Marines, and came to the NYPD with an over-the-top Gung-Ho demeanor. Everyone had a nickname. Roc was the only one with gray hair: therefore he began getting called Richard Gere. And then there was the Russian guy.

The Russian guy---let's call him Vic---looked like the character Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. He was a big guy that had come to America, joined the Armed Forces to gain citizenship, and then decided to join the NYPD. Roc said he kind of stood out and it wasn't just the accent. For example, if the classroom instructor asked a question about detaining someone, Vic would often raise his hand to answer.

"So what would you do in that situation?" The instructor appealed to the class.

"You beat them with a flashlight!" Vic would answer excitedly in a loud Russian accent.

Ah, no. Not exactly the answer the politically correct NYPD was looking for...not quite.

So it came the day that the gym instructor informed them that they would be boxing. Roc went to seek out the guy whose name was next to his in the alphabet. They sat together in the classroom and had been getting along just great. The gym instructor had other ideas.

"Roc, why don't you spar with him?" He pointed behind Roc, and when Roc turned around he found out who he was going to be boxing. He was terrified. It was Vic/Drago, smiling with his gloves on.

"We go easy." He nodded and smiled, punching his gloves together.

Easy? Roc will admit to almost shitting his pants. He had visions of Rocky IV running through his head. Did Rocky even win that fight?! Didn't matter. This guy Vic towered over Roc. Roc decided to charm him.

"Okay, Vic, you know this is just practice?" Roc will admit to drawing out the words and at the same time speaking much louder, the way we often talk to people for whom English is a second language. "Practice!" He pantomimed "Fun."

"Okay, Practice!" Vic laughed. "We go easy. What you say? No worries!"

And then he punched him. To hear Roc tell it, it felt something like a cinder block being thrown at him at warp speed. He spent the entire time just trying to duck out of Vic/Drago's way. By the time the instructor called Time, Roc was ready for the whole thing to just be over.
The interesting thing was that---in between trying to make it out alive---he somehow managed to find a new friend.

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