The night Silky confronted an off-duty police officer in the parking lot outside the International House of Pancakes, nobody was trying to play like he had what it takes to go the distance in this life. Silky, whose given name was Rickey Lee Wolfe, had grown up in a shack with no running water 40 miles outside of Lake Charles, La. His nickname memorialized the fact that he was extraordinarily "smooth," according to his wife, who wasn't necessarily saying that in a way that endorsed his kind of smoothness. More like in a way that suggested his rap sheet might contain some understatement in the burglary category. This was back in the early 1990s, and Silky had found his way to Austin, Texas, which was smooth in its own way at the time, before all the excitement you hear so much about now with the food and the tech companies and the food and the racetrack and the food and the music festivals and the food and the food and the food. It was a good place to lay low, in other words, but things hadn't worked out that way for Silky, and so a call about a robbery attempt in the pancake house parking lot led to his confrontation with the off-duty cop, which led to a bullet in his chest (right through the tattoo that said "Wolfe"), which led to a short and bloody drive terminating on some unfortunate citizen's front lawn, which led to the mortal end at age 34 of Rickey Lee "Silky" Wolfe, a sequence of events later summarized by a police official as "unfortunate that it had to come to that."
But Silky had a little sister named Ann, and Ann might just have what it takes. She runs a gym with her name and picture up on the entrance, "Ann Wolfe Boxing & Fitness." It's at the indoor shopping mall on the near north side of Austin, in the old suburbs between the downtown newness and the outer bigness. The department stores are gone, so the shops are all clustered around one wing. There's a jewelry store and a sneaker store and El Palacio de la Quinceanera. There's no Sephora; there's Perfume Palace. Even the week before Christmas, Highland Mall feels like the most unintentionally tranquil place in town until around 4 in the afternoon, which is when Ann lifts the grate on her gym and puts the stereo on super crazy-loud. Sometimes it's upbeat blues; always it's just loud as all get out. Oh God, it's loud. So loud you can't think, but then that's the whole idea. Ann has already done plenty of thinking, and she conveys what her fighters need to know through a glare she uses as a sort of visual punctuation superseding the actual words being punctuated.
"A lot of people say they ain't scared of nothing, but they ain't telling the truth," she might say.
Huh. So what's she scared of?
[Photo via: SB Nation]