Crowd Control

by John Vines © 2002

When it comes to boxing these days, two types of people put it before all else - Tahitians and priests. So it was no surprise that Father Victor Bassett, "Vic" to his friends, was ringside on that fateful night of February 14th when all the bad business went down.

While it was missionary work that had brought Vic to Tahiti, it was the country's love for boxing that had brought the World Title fight there. Having been labeled "TaHEATi," the bout saw world champion and royal prick, "Poppa" Pedro Slate defending against everyone's favorite, Nelson "The Pistol" Crystal.

Late into the twelfth round, "The Pistol" seemed to have the fight wrapped up. But when a split decision went in favor of Pedro Slate, chaos ensued. As 32,000 enraged Tahitians sprung from their seats and stormed the ringside area, Father Bassett had no choice but to duck and cover. As he was trampled by everyone from Row Eight and back.

The sounds of evil resonated simultaneously in his ears. Obscenities rang, guns fired, punches were thrown, and skulls were cracked. When the opportunity first presented itself, Father Bassett made a break for the exit, trying his best to remember the way out. The Tahitians showed no signs of relent, though, and Victor needed to find help.

Lost somewhere between the concession stand and the women's restroom, Father Bassett was grabbed from behind and immediately, he feared for his life.

"Vic Bassett! Look at your ass! How'd you wind up in a place like this?"

"D-Dave?" Father Bassett stared back at the dopey figure in disbelief. "Dave Dominick! It's been forever!"

"That Father Dave, Father."

"You mean you actually graduated from the seminary? I thought you'd never get outta there."

"Goddamn right I graduated! The tabernacle break-in only ended up setting me back a year, but we can get to that later. We've gotta get some help in here."

Back in '77, Victor Bassett and David Dominick had been roommates at St. George's Seminary school in northern California. The two hadn't seen each other for nearly 20 years, but for now they put catching up on the backburner and searched frantically for an exit.

After successfully completing a maze of steel guard rails and souvenir stands, the two finally got outside where they got to a conveniently placed emergency phone. Within minutes, choppers were flying overhead and a huge and highly decorated Tahitian military man was standing in front of them. Hearing all the commotion coming from inside the building, the man sent his troops in.

"What cause all this?" asked the soldier in rough half-English.

"Slate won the fight, and everyone just went berserk," Father Bassett shouted back, obviously still a little shaken up.

"Slate?" the beast asked.

Father Bassett slowed down his speech, assuming the man was having a hard time understanding English.

Trying again, Victor said, "Pedro Slate…you know, 'Poppa'? He won the boxing match and all the fans became very angry.

"Slate? Are you serious?" The soldier's English was now becoming clearer and his face seemed almost disappointed. "Pedro Slate beat 'The Pistol?' That's what all this mess is about?"

Chuckling to himself, the man shook his head and reached for his holster, a move which made the priests feel safer, realizing this was a man of authority and immediate action. They were ready for him to go in and put an end to all this. They knew that everything would by okay.

Two seconds later, though, Victor Bassett and David Dominick were face down on the pavement with smoke seeping from the neatly-placed bullet holes in the backs of their heads. The huge Tahitian military man and his troops then proceeded to assist in burning the arena to the ground and consequently, contribute to the highest casualty total in the rich and colorful history of Tahiti.

x x x

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