Part 3 (The Fight)
“No!,” Tommy said. “Take us to the nearest t-shirt shop.” “T-shirt shop?,” I said. “Yeah, remember, we’ve got to get those t-shirts printed up with my new website on them, you know…TommyMorrison.com” I said, “Forget that man, we don’t have time for that at this point, we’ll miss the fight.” Tommy just looked straight at the cab driver and said firmly, “Take us to the nearest t-shirt shop.” What was I going to do? Whip the former champ’s ass right there in that cab? Uh, no. So off to the nearest t-shirt shop we went.
Tommy fumbled around the shop for what seemed like forever (he bought the red, white, and blue vest you see in the picture above). Eventually, the owner informed us that they did not print t-shirts there. So when we got back in the cab, Tommy asked the driver where the next t-shirt shop was. She said all the other ones she knew of were closed at this hour, and the only chance we had at this point was Wal-Mart. I said, “Where’s Wal-Mart?” She explained that it was quite a ways, out on the edge of town. I said “Forget it, we’ll never make the fight.” Tommy said, “Take us to Wal-Mart,” and off we went to Wal-Mart.
By the time we got to Wal-Mart, our tab was over $90.00 so the cab driver wouldn’t let all three of us go inside, for fear that we’d slip out a side door or something and stiff her on the tab. So Steve stayed in the cab, and Tommy and I went inside. I was hoping against hope that Wal-Mart had t-shirt printing capabilities. I’m pretty sure that at this point Tommy was hoping they did not, as he was slurring his speech pretty badly and, in general, was really in no shape to face the TV cameras and interviews that we all knew would be coming.
Tommy and I eventually located the store manager and of course he told us that they didn’t print t-shirts. I was pretty sure this was what we’d be told, so I had formulated a contingency plan while on the cab ride to Wal-Mart. I knew my plan would work. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was whether Tommy would go along with it. Anyway, as soon as the manager left us alone I said “No worries Tommy, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to buy some Hayne’s t-shirts and some black magic markers and write “TommyMorrison.com” on them. It’ll be cool!…kind of in a retro, throwback, kind of way.” I sold it as best I could and waited nervously for his response. He said, “I love it! Let’s do it!” So we went to the Hayne’s t-shirt aisle, and then to the school supplies aisle for the black magic markers, and then to the checkout counter. We paid for our items and were almost out the door when Tommy slurred “Wait, I want some of those new chocolate covered Twizzler thingies. Have you had those? They’re great.” I went on out to the cab, and Tommy went back in and fumbled around looking for some Twizzlers.
So Tommy finally got his candy and made it to the cab. “Take us to the Thomas & Mack Assembly Center,” I said. This time there was no overrule by Tommy, and off we went to the fight. When we arrived I noticed a stream of people coming out of the Assembly Center. That’s odd, I thought. Then I looked up at the marquee, and there it was, written in bright lights and bold print, “LEWIS DEFEATS HOLYFIELD.” Yep, we had missed the fight. And yep, I had missed the Hogs’ big victory over Tennessee. “Welcome to Tommy’s world” kept ringing through my head.
After a long silence, Steve tried to make the best of it by suggesting we go to one of the celebrity after-parties. Tommy said “F**k the after-parties, take us to the hotel.” That was fine with me. At that point I just wanted to go back to my room. I thought to myself, “At least I’m going home tomorrow. Things can’t get any worse.” Boy was I wrong.
[Next up, Part 4. “The Long Trip Home.”]
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