blood pooled beneath his feet

as the two men square off inside the burn-out circle along a dimly lit street in southeast Portland. Wearing no shoes, his feet danced atop abrasive asphalt. In the distance, sounds of racing scooter engines punctuate the night air as drunken party-goers run stop signs and crash headlightless bikes into an industrial wasteland as a man falls asleep atop a discarded sofa; beer in one hand and pipe in the other, his pale legs gingerly crossed.

The little guy lunges at the big guy but cannot bring him down. The fighters square off some more times, taking turns slamming the other to the ground before stopping to re-dehydrate on beer. People in cars pass with bewildered amusement, wanting to spot and watch but weary that the audience could become participants at a moments notice.

The fighters have something to prove, to themselves or someone else tonight. The big guy already gave someone's husband a swollen black eye and the little guy tried to enlist me into the pit earlier. As I walked up to a corner of the building to start a conversation with a striking woman, he turns to me explains, as if finishing a conversation we never had earlier, "So whatcha think we go outside and wrestle?" in a thick Australian accent. "I'd rather talk to this woman next to me, but thanks for the offer."

As the two men writhe together along the blood-stained asphalt, the little guy cracks the bigger guy's head into the pavement. Blood oozes from his shaved head and a bystander pours water over the wound. "What the fuck" retorts the big guy to the water pourer. "You were bleeding," the pourer explains. "And know I'm wet," the big guy responds.