Knock Down, Drag Out
By Rhonda Eudaly
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Are you ready to
rumble? Hines Arena is standing room only tonight as
thousands of spectators wait in hushed anticipation for
the Tag Team Event of the Millennium. This
No-Holds-Barred Cage Match is unprecedented in history.
It's been a fight waiting to happen, and you'll see it
live. Right here. Tonight."
"We're about to get underway. Tonight's referee, Ed
Dravecky, has just entered the ring."
The crowd stirred as a middle-aged man in the
traditional black pants and black and white stripped
shirt stepped through the gate of the fencing
surrounding the ring. Dravecky seemed unnerved by the
crowd of well-behaved spectators.
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen." Dravecky's
voice boomed through the arena. "Welcome to Extreme
Ultimate Savage Fight Night! Tonight's fight is
different. Though this is no-hold-barred, there are
rules. Tonight's purse is for charity and benefits
Holy Haven Domestic Violence Shelter and Literacy
Foundation. But that's not all that's at stake tonight.
Tonight is a Title Fight. Winners take all."
A buxom, 20-something girl wearing a private school
uniform designed for a much younger child sashayed into
the ring carrying a large, engraved, gold rectangle
sporting the Latin phrase, "Silentium Est Rutilus". A
chorus of oohs and ahs flowed out of the crowd, as well
as a heckler crying, "Dress code violation!"
The girl glared into the crowd and left the ring.
"Yes, tonight's bout is for the coveted 'Golden
Ruler'. The winner of tonight's bout walks away not only
with the trophy, but the title of 'Most Feared
The groundswell of excitement peaked in the polite
applause reserved for art galleries and the opera, which
seemed to unnerve the referee even more. Marian allowed
herself a tight smile as the referee gestured toward the
opposite side of the ring.
"Let's get started. In this corner, weighing in at an
average of 130 pounds, wearing the traditional black and
white wimples, and five-time winner of the Golden Ruler.
Led by Mother Superior Theresa Mary Margaret are The
Sisters of Perpetual Harmony. Welcome the Nuns!"
Half the people in the stands jumped to their feet in
a tidal wave of plaid skirts and ties as a team of four
women dressed like penguins-with-attitude sailed into
the cyclone fenced ring. They did not acknowledge the
crowd with more than a stern look. The wave receded
abruptly as the spectators took their seats.
"And in this corner," Dravecky gestured in Marian's
direction. "Weighing in at a scrappy 120 pounds average,
sporting severe hairstyles and sensible shoes, and also
five-time Golden Ruler Champions, led by Marian, welcome
The other half of the stands rose as Marian stomped
into the ring leading three women with hair pulled back
so tightly they looked like recipients of botched face
lifts. As the spectators cheered, to a woman, Marian's
Librarians glared, put index fingers to their lips and
shushed the spectators. The sound quit abruptly.
Dravecky swallowed hard in the sudden hush before
continuing. "Tonight's rules are simple, if
unprecedented. One--no name-calling or swearing. Two--no
chewing gum. And three--when you're ready to tag in,
raise your hand and wait to be called on. Any
There were none. These rules had been passed down for
generations. The nuns and librarians stared at the
"Captains to the center of the ring."
The two stern-looking women broke away from their
teams and stalked toward the referee. "Okay, Mother
Theresa and Marian, I want you to shake hands and have a
good, clean fight. There will be points for
Both women shot him a withering look that made him
take a step back. Then they turned back toward each
other and bounced on the balls of their sensibly shod
feet. Mother Theresa Mary Margaret crossed herself
before shaking Marian's hand. Marian gave the nun's hand
a savage squeeze.
"Go with God, my child."
"You first, Mutha..."
"Marion!" She didn't miss Dravecky's warning look.
"Superior. Mother Superior."
The two women took a step back from each other. The
bell clamored, and the fight was on. Hands went up
around the circumference of the circle as nuns and
librarians spread out to make tagging easier. Theresa
Mary Margaret and Marian circled each other for several
seconds, eyeing each other for weaknesses. In blur of
black and floral print, the proverbial gloves came off
as the smack down began.
Mother Theresa Mary Margaret wrapped her rosary beads
around Marian's neck and used the librarian's bun as a
handle to smash her face into the mat.
Marian reached out questing fingers and tagged
another librarian who flung index cards into the faces
of anyone wearing black. Vicious paper cuts ensued to
the horror and delight of everyone in the stands.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the announcer, in the hushed
excitement of a world-class golf announcer, said over
the PA system. "I don't think Dewey ever meant for his
Decimal System to be used quite like this."
Theresa Mary Margaret released Marian in order to
protect her eyes and face from the flying index cards.
In so doing, tagged another nun, allowing Marian to gain
her feet. The librarian head-butted the nun in the gut
and slung Theresa Mary Margaret fireman-style over her
shoulders and started to spin. She launched the nun as
far as she could into the cage walls.
"Flying nun!" someone in the crowd shouted. Every
woman in the ring instantly shushed the unseen heckler.
The brawl went on for an hour, leaving combatants and
spectators spent and exhausted. The referee picked his
way through the collapsed and contorted bodies,
struggling to pick a clear winner. No woman was
completely down for the count, but the delay made a
clear call difficult. Marian had to do something.
"Never before in the history of Fight Night has a
match been so difficult to call. The school board judges
may have to declare a draw."
The crowd growled and snarled. Obviously the
spectators were not about to settle for a tie. Dravecky
checked and double checked the rule book and went to the
instant replays--also never before used in the fighting
world. Not everyone was down for the count. Suddenly, in
a heroic effort, Mother Superior Theresa Mary Margaret
and Marian the Librarian struggled to their feet. The
entire arena held its breath in anticipation of what
would happen next.
The two women slowly circled each other, fell into a
headlock position, and swayed back and forth for a
moment. Then, in slow motion, both women toppled, with
Marian on the bottom. Just before it seemed to be over,
Marian flipped Mother Theresa Mary Margaret and pinned
her. Dravecky went down beside them and slapped the mat
as he counted.
"One, two, three! You're out!"
Dravecky grabbed Marian's hand and held up her arm.
It was clear. The librarians had won!
As the celebrations and post-bout interviews began,
one reporter asked the inevitable question. "Where did
you learn that last move?"
Marion looked into the camera and said, "The
reference section, of course. You can find everything at