My cousin Mac went to the other High School in the district.  After school we worked at a gas station that was across from a strip of stores, everyone who hung out at the stores knew us.

“That’s him”

“Who, Mac?”

“Joe!”

“That’s the fucking guy who has been harassing you at school?”

There he was all five feet seven inches of him. I towered over Joe and so did Mac. But Mac didn’t see it in those simple terms. My cousin was an outcast at his school like I was at mine.  We were dirt bags or burnouts. Joe was athlete with a bad temper who had a reputation as a bully.

“You can take him.”

“He’s a fucking Dick!”

Between “you can take him” and “he’s a fucking dick” we agreed I would go out and talk with Joe.

I walked out from the booth at the gas station to arrange a show down of sorts. After all the stores were our stomping grounds.  I walked out with a click in my neck, popped loud by a shoulder shrug and head twitch, with elbows in and a long gate to my stride I approached Joe.

Joe was at the pumps with three of his friends, basically a car full of jocks.

“You Joe?”

“Who the fuck are you?”

“My cousin thinks you’re a dick and he wants to kick your ass… at six, after the bosses leave.”

Not the best opening line and Joe took offence to it. He called me a few names.

The next thing I knew he had me in a headlock and he was pounding on my face. All five feet seven inches of him leaping on me like a crazed animal. Mr. Cool, with the credit cards and his buddies cheering him on, was kicking my ass. Mac finally made his way out from the protection of the booth while my face was being punished and my eye blackened.

Joe had not thought this out and either had I. I grabbed Joe by the balls and the back of the head, took three running steps, leaped and brought him down face first to the ground. A mushroom cloud of blood erupted across the concrete, his eyes rolled behind his head.   I ran towards my cousin who had a crowbar in his hand and was running at me.

I screamed “I think he is dead”.

It was the summer going into eleventh grade. I forgot my own size and strength. Joe’s eyes finally rolled around as they put him in the car. I knew this wasn’t over and Joe’s friends would be back with some big boys. Maybe the rest of the team and some brothers, a wave would come our way. I grabbed the pipe from Mac.

“Looks like I am working a double with ya!”

To be continued….

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