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predator mode

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Sweat, adrenaline, more sweat. You wipe your brow, your brow slick. Panting like a dog. You get used to it. always used to it. Your wraps are tight around your wrists, the woven red fabric searing into your eyes like the flash of a red cape in a bull fight. You see red. You always see red. You crack your neck, once, twice, movement, rhythmically, like you're trying to luck out and break your own neck. One-two crack.

It starts out in your heart, like a worm, like a parasite, like some kinda way your blood beats wrong. Like you are wrong. The violence, the anger, an innate part of your body like your blood itself. Like breathing. It hitches your adrenal system, kicks you heartbeat into high gear, makes your fists shake with pent up stress. Bloodlust. Rage. Whatever you call it.

Your coaches tell you to calm down. Your friend tells you to calm down. Your mom, yelling, tells you to calm down. You've never been less calm before. You've never been calmer. You want to punch something, and punch something hard. Bone-shatteringly hard. One time you got so mad you punched a wall, in a fit of blind rage, once, twice, fours times, five times, until your hand way bloody and pulpy and swelling like a golf ball. Your father came into the room to check on you, hearing the banging, and you hid your hand behind you like a secret. Guilty.

Always the bull and never the china, your mom would always say. Bull in the china shop. Like those old looney tunes, the bull with the nose-ring rearing its head in near-blinding rage, stomping its hooves. When you get this mad you always think about that, watching them in your moms lap. In those shows, the bull was always the villain. The bad guy. You don't want to be the bad guy. Your heart beats, hard. Your fists clench, hard. You clench your teeth, hard. You still want to punch something.