said coach Daz with a laugh. It was at his windowless air conditioned barn grounded in the middle of Iowa’s cornfield. This was Coach Daz’s gym. Only people with the correct coordinates could find it. Or those tough enough to zig zig the giant field, in hopes of stumbling upon it, like a lost ruin.
"Fear isn’t pain or suffering. Fear is never being able to walk again," Daz said. He smiled at me. My champion belt hung from a wall at the gym. I won it year ago. It might be a relic in two months.
"Fear isn’t losing a fight. Fear is having the fight beaten out of you." He flashed a grin at the doctor, moments before I was anesthetized into a deep sleep. "You don’t need such useless things."
… … ….
Coach Daz’s electronic eyes scanned the waiting room of the Medical Offices of Dr. Min Suk. He zoomed in on a small replica spring that dribbled water from under a moss covered rock. Every Chinatown medical office had a water fountain. Even the cheap ones.
"Ace is in recovery," the nurse said. She avoided eye contact with him, preferring to glance at his eye-implants out the corner of her eye. Coach Daz was used to this. Even for the initiated, people found his metallic eye attachments… jarring. Doctors had inserted a biowire into his optic nerve and connected it to the cameras that replaced his eyes. His were 1st generation Eye Augmentations, just slowmo and a basic digital layout. His fighter, Ace, was in surgery for the 16th generation Eye Aug. They were overclocked models that Dr. Min modified, allowing Ace to dial in a custom slowmo setting. The procedure was nothing more than a microchip implanted on the optic nerve.
His sunglasses hid his eyes. His right eye drooped at the tear duct. Acid had corroded it, leaving a pink wet scar on the side of his nose. When he was a boxing champ, a gambler paid for his eyes to be surgically augmented. He told Daz “everyone” did it. Daz listened, and when he was a 1 to 5 underdog he bet his savings on himself. Daz knocked his opponent out and collected his winnings. A month later he lost his eyesight and retired from boxing.
But that didn’t stop him suggesting the same doctor to Ace. Dr. Min couldn’t be beat for price and the surgery had been refined to a simple injection. “Everyone is doing it,” Daz told Ace. “If you want to be the champ, this is the way.”