Tyrone LaBelle had a heart of gold. Literally. It was a mechanical device installed after a nasty car accident where he lost his pinky toes, his sense of smell, and, inexplicably, his virginity. But that happened in July and this story starts with June.

June McNally had dreams of being a boxer. Every night she'd get beaten to a bloody pulp in boxing nightmares. She figured that if she became a real boxer, maybe she could fight back. June was only eight, but she came to the gym every day after school.

Randall Quincy Coach was full of piss and vinegar, like some sort of disgusting salad dressing. He was Tyrone "Muscleface" LaBelle's personal trainer, and Tyrone called him Coach Coach, mostly because it sounded stupid. Coach Coach hated June McNally. "I told ya, kid: girls can't be boxers."

"Girls can be anything. Doctors, lawyers, atomic bombs, even hamburgers."

"Look, if God wanted girls to be boxers, he woulda given them penises, and then they'd be boys, and then they could be boxers. You'll understand when you're older and barefoot and pregnant. In the meantime, scram."

But June never scrammed. She stayed and studied the boxers, cheering them along.

"Go, Muscleface! Knock that other guy out! Punch him, Muscleface! Punch him with your fist!"

Tyrone loved the attention of his young fan, and her advice was more helpful that anything Coach Coach ever said. After Tyrone won his second consecutive fight (the gym's new record), he talked to little June. "Hey, little girl, thanks for the advice. Let's become close friends in an abbreviated fashion."

And they did just that. June gave him tips, and Tyrone punched her in the face. They were both learning. And Coach Coach hated that. "Learning, huh? If learning makes you so smart, then why are you so dumb? Tyrone, nothing will come from this friendship but violence, and by violence I mean more violence than boxers are already used to."

Tyrone and June both shrugged at Coach's ominous prophecy, as they were in the middle of their aerobic shrugging regime. "Do you think we'll end badly?" Tyrone asked, shrugging.

June shrugged. "Not as long as we keep things platonic."

So Tyrone kept punching June in the face, knocking her teeth out one by one. He was a kind role model for her, always driving her to the dentist and paying for replacement gold teeth. "Hey," he said, "now they'll call you 'The Kid with the Golden Smile.'" He laughed and knocked her under her chin, sending her banging into the wall. June frowned. "What's the matter, kid? Do your teeth hurt? Wait here, and I'll get some ice cream."

"No, stop," June said through her clenched jaw. "The dentist said they're sensitive to cold. Ice cream would be extremely painful."

"You bet, kid. Rocky Road it is," Tyrone said, abandoning her.

"Noooo!" she cried after him. "Banana-nut!"

As happens far too often, the search for ice cream ended in tragedy. On his way to the ice cream parlor, Tyrone "Muscleface" LaBelle was in a terrible traffic accident involving, ironically, an ice cream truck. Then, on the way to the hospital, Tyrone's ambulance was in another terrible traffic accident-irony of ironies-in the middle of a forest fire.

"Consider yourself lucky, big guy," Dr. Harvey Wallbanger said. "You'd be dead if we hadn't replaced your heart with this artificial gold one."

"Yes, I was lucky to wind up in that horrible accident," Tyrone replied. "I feel a lot weaker, though. Give it to me straight, doc: Is it a lucky weakness?"

"Son, if you overexert yourself-say, for example, put all your strength into a single punch to win an important fight-that gold heart won't be able to take it. You'll die."

"You mean I'll never box again?"

"Sweetheart, you'll never even walk again."

"But I walked here to today's follow-up appointment. I've been walking for a week."

Dr. Wallbanger produced a bottle of pills. "Take two of these, and that'll clear right up." He shook his head. "You poor, unlucky fool."

Tyrone's news upset June. "But the Big Fight's today! You gotta do it, Muscleface."

"Hey, it could kill me." Tyrone thought. "But you make a good point. I guess I'll do it."

"No, don't do it. It's a thousand-to-one shot."

"So if I bet my last dollar and win, I'll finally have the thousand dollars I need to save Pa's farm?"

"What farm? You never mentioned any farm."

"I didn't? It's kind of important. Maybe I should revise our first dialogue."

"There's no time," shouted Coach Coach. "The fight's about to start!" He took the money to place Tyrone's bet, while Tyrone climbed into the ring to fight Achilles. They punched each other for a while, as boxers often do.

June screamed her head off from the sidelines, though not literally. "Put all your energy into one last, life-draining punch that will kill you but leave you immortalized as a boxing legend," she yelled in a single breath, flashing her solid-gold smile at him to lift his spirits since he was about to die and everything. "Do it now!"

"Yeah," concurred Coach Coach in a yell of his own, "do it for this little girl here who I hate so much!" He dumped his popcorn on June's head.

So Tyrone "Muscleface" LaBelle pulled his arm back and threw all his might into a single, might-filled punch. Achilles stepped out of the way. Tyrone, his energy spent, fell dead onto the mat. As he fell, though, he bumped Achilles's heel, who then crumpled over dead, too.

"Ha-ha! He did it," shouted Coach Coach. "He really killed that guy. Literally!"

"But since they're both dead, nobody wins," June whispered. "And the farm's lost to those greedy, underdeveloped villains."

"Yeah, I know, but who cares?" He grabbed an axe and some pliers. "I'm rich now that he's dead! His heart's solid gold. I'll cut it out and make a fortune!"

"Coach Coach, you're a monster!" Tears streamed down June's face.

"I know. And now that he can't protect you, I'm pulling out all of your gold teeth, too." He raised his pliers. "Open wide."

And that was how little June McNally learned that she could be whatever she wanted, if only she had the courage to chase her dreams.