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The Ring / Mark Rogers

Were my dad and I ever close? I don’t think so. But one day when I was seven years old the gulf between us grew even wider.


It was a Sunday morning and I was lying on the living room floor reading the comics. Our house was a simple box-like structure in one of the suburbs that sprang up after WWII, when returning soldiers needed cheap housing for their new families.


The sun was flooding in through the picture window. I was probably reading something like Moon Mullins or Alley Oop. Reading the comics while lying on the floor blocked out the world around me. I was in a zone of comfort.


It happened in a split second—I was struck on the side of the head with a shoe. Not a tap—a blow that sent me scrambling across the floor.


My dad had the shoe raised for another blow. He was over six feet tall and I was an underfed kid with alarming hollows under his arms. I wasn’t thinking of this person as my father. As someone I had to respect.


I jumped up and punched my father hard in the solar plexus. He went down flat on his back. The commotion caused my mother and brothers to come running into the room and the fight was stopped.


I learned my twin brother had done something to anger my father. He mixed up my twin with me and decided to mete out punishment with a shoe.


My dad and I never spoke about this. But I think from this date on he put a mark on me and shuttled me to the side. He acknowledged me as his son but it didn’t go much farther than that.


I felt no shame for what I did and maybe even felt some pride. I knocked down a man who was literally twice my size.


But with one punch I knocked myself out of the ring.


from the memoir-in-progress, Fort Rosarito





MARK ROGERS is a writer and artist whose literary heroes include Charles Bukowski, Willy Vlautin, and Charles Portis. Rogers lives in Baja California, Mexico with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sofia. His award-winning travel journalism has brought him to 56 countries. His crime novels have been published in the U.S. and UK. Uppercut, his memoir of moving to Mexico, is published by Cowboy Jamboree Press. NeoText publishes his Tijuana Novels series and Gray Hunter series. You can reach him at


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