Three years can slip by almost without notice in Vally View , the lazy town on the Iowa prairie. It might be noted that rural places seem to wear the same old suit of clothes one year after another. And lost in the passage of time was the once close relationship between the two former Cougar basketballers. Each had gong their separate ways; neither young man had heard a thing from the other since the night of the Valley View’s Senior Class Commemncement. Yet both of their lives were moving inexorably toward their chosen goals.
In the fall Mick would be a junior on his pre-law studies at the State Universi\ty[. Still thin and gangly; the young scholar seemed to cling to the dreams of his freshman year. Tall and still as lean as he was as a senior, still freckle-faced, and nearly every feature unchanged from the graduation photographs in the Yearbook.. Only the receding hairline and thinning hair were noticeable.. Yet Mick seemed to flowing as gently as a prairie stream making it’s way to the Mississippi.
Tom’s course was different, but equally governed by purpose and direction. Fot Tommy, the former Beanpole, the U,S. Marine Corps was a means to an end, kept alive in his mind every day. Those same three years that had treated Mick so kindly brought profound changes to Tommy. Tommy’s goal never changed because the memory of that drizzly March Friday would never be forgotten, nor was the SOB who pounded lumps o\n his face, broke his ribs, and left hin groveling in the mud before being taken to the hospital.
Every hour of every day for three years, Tom remembered how changed his life was after the brawl. Trainor the brute remained a vivid picture in his mind. During those years, former girlfriend Sally Jean had married and moved to the neighboring town of Wellington; So, During those years Tommy worked tirelessly, building his body and mastering every tactical military skill that would render his body as a lethal weapon. Beanpole no longer existed. Tommy could press more weight than any man in his company, In the boxing ring he achieved a far more appropriate nickname– ‘The Mauler’
Tom’s inspiration was unique and personal. Three years had passed and Tommy was due for a long-delayed leave. He’d make one final trip to Valley View.. He would say hello to his former teacher, Mister Perkins , , , and say ‘goodbye’ to the so-called ‘Brute’. .