An introduction from William: Here, Erich recounts how he remembers the events of the night I wrote about last week. What motivated him. How it all ended. A few side elements that I had completely forgotten about. It never fails to impress me what sticks in the human brain. Here is Erich’s Experience.
So there we were, on patrol. Slight sidetrack; most teenagers get together on a Friday night to hang out and do things like watch movies, play video games, or at worst go toilet papering, but not us, though on this particular night we wish we had. Praying Mantis, Shadow and I (Tiger) were minding our own business… well I guess not really because we were out looking for those of the nefarious sort with the intent to make their business, our business. Anyway, as we were cutting through the back allies and yards, always keeping in the shadows, we passed an interesting vehicle. Praying Mantis and Shadow were enamored by it and had lingered there too long. Suddenly a voice came out of the house demanding we get away from the vehicle, we hastily obeyed. We continued our patrol again keeping to the shadows, and going further into cover, as cars would approach.
On one such occasion, when a car was approaching from behind us, Praying Mantis and I did as we always did and took to the protective darkness of a hedge, both thinking Shadow was behind us. When we turned, we saw that not only was Shadow not with us, but he was standing in the middle of the road in a defiant stance as if he was about to battle the car itself. You could hear the moment when the occupants of the car spotted their “would-be foe” in the street because the engine of the car roared the call to CHARGE! It only took Shadow a moment to realize he was in trouble. Shadow bolted off in the direction we were originally walking and disappeared. The car screeched to a halt right next to where Praying Mantis and I were hiding. Almost instantly, the driver exited the car and ran full out after his prey. Both Praying Mantis and I were stunned; we didn’t know who this person was or why he was after us. More importantly, we had no idea where Shadow ran off too. We then noticed there was someone still in the car, I looked through the window and recognized the person sitting there staring back at me with wide fearful eyes. For the sake of some anonymity lets just call him … “Alex” sure that will work, it was “Alex”. I yelled at Alex asking him whom that was chasing after my friend; when he spoke his name my blood boiled. Even in this small town and even at this young age I had a nemesis. Since we’re using aliases let’s call him… “Bill”. Just then, I looked up saw my friend run across the street with Bill close behind, but before Shadow made it to safety, he fell. I was truly scared for my friend because I knew what Bill was capable of.
Like all bullies, he preyed on those he thought was weaker than him and as long as he had his friends around to give him courage, he was as dangerous as a hyena and just as ugly. With a yell that came from my soul, born of fear for my friend and pure loathing of this tyrant, I roared his name, “BILL!!!!!” He stopped dead in his tracks and looked straight at me. Bill began running to confront me, clearly losing interest in his earlier target. Good, I didn’t know what had happened to Shadow and why he fell or where he went, but I knew Bill would be more interested in dealing with me. Bill didn’t know who was behind the mask and could never prove it, but he suspected it was me. Oh, how he hated me, almost as much as I hated him. As Bill ran up to me he swung something with the intent to take off my head. That was the first time I noticed he was wielding a golf club; who did he think he was Casey Jones? Never wanting to permanently injure anyone and, definitely not wanting to kill anyone, our weapons were mostly made out of wood. True to my altered ego, I carried 2 wooden swords that were made for me by our weapons master, Donatello, I mean Casey Jones, I mean Black Widow, I mean Praying Mantis…. You know what I mean. Though they were strong, I did wonder how they would hold up to a metal golf club. So as Bill swung his club I just dodged it. It was pretty easy to keep out of his reach; after all, I could smell the unmistakable odor of the alcohol he had been drinking sometime before. However, this new revelation did concern me. Bill was dangerous in the best of circumstances; I had no idea what to expect from a Bill that has had his inhibitions lowered. So there we were, circling each other like a couple of animals, looking for a chance to strike. Only I didn’t want to strike, I was afraid, but not of him. As I said, I had no idea what to expect from this guy, I was afraid of what I would have to do to get him to stop. I was afraid of what would happen to my friends if he beat me and then turned on them. Sure, they could handle themselves, but if they got hurt because I failed to stop Bill, that would be on me. Besides that, I still didn’t know what had happened to Shadow.
I noticed that Praying Mantis was now standing just outside of the ring of battle, ready to jump in if things went bad as we continued circling, sizing each other up. At some point, there was an unspoken truce between Bill and me while we consulted with our Seconds. Knowing that I was the one Bill wanted, I told Praying Mantis that when I give the signal, he was to run off in one direction and I would run off in the opposite direction and that since Bill would chase me, he, Praying Mantis needed to find Shadow and make sure that he was alright. Bill and I began circling one another again, but this time as I reached a point opposite Praying Mantis, I gave the signal and bolted off east of where we were. Bill had no hope of catching me and in no time I put some distance between him, and me, but just when I thought I was home free, I felt an intense pain in the back of my left arm. I slid to a stop and realized that Bill had thrown his golf club at me. Ok, so now I’m mad, and not just a little. I pulled out my heavy broad sword (also made from wood, but very strong and heavy). I began running full hilt back at Bill with only one thought on my mind. With all the fury I could muster I yelled, “COME ON, LET’S DO THIS, YOU WANT TO FIGHT, LETS FIGHT!” I don’t think of myself as a scary guy, I never have, more of a teddy bear, in fact, the older and fatter I get, the more bear-like I become. On this occasion, however, I must have been something to behold. Bill’s eyes widened and as fast as he could, he started running for his car; he was alone now and had no weapon, so like all bullies when they are outmatched, he tucked his tail between his legs and ran, but I was faster. Remember I said that Bill had been drinking and that I said I didn’t know what a guy like him would do, well to my horror, I found out. As he neared the car I could hear him yell frantically to Alex to “GET THE GUN!” Fear shot through me like lightning. Thanks to my youth and the constant “training” we did, I changed direction without breaking my stride and disappeared into the night.
I cut through a few yards, rammed my way through a rather dense hedge then finally found sanctuary in the darkness of a garage. I remember standing with my back up against a wall trying to catch my breath. As I looked out the window I saw Bill drive by looking for me. I thought as long as he was looking for me, he wasn’t looking for my friends, but he only passed by once (did he already give up?) Not likely, perhaps he found a new target. Turns out he had, Praying Mantis. The good part about that was that out of all of us, Praying Mantis was likely the most dangerous to deal with, he was the one with all the pain-inducing gadgets.
I slowly crept from the shadows keenly aware of every sound and every bit of movement. As I neared the corner of the block just opposite of the LDS temple, I paused to listen and to watch. Mostly I was looking for Shadow and Praying Mantis and hoping Bill had lost interest. Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw movement in the trees on the temple grounds. I crouched motionless, focused on an area of deep blackness. Nothing, but I knew I had seen something. Daring the openness of crossing the street, I began to make my way to the area I had seen the movement. As I approached the tree line I began to think I must have been seeing things. However, just then, appearing as if materializing out of thin air, Shadow stood only 2 feet from me. He was ok, but his leg hurt from the fall he had sustained while trying to evade Bill. There was no way Shadow could continue the rest of the night in this condition. So we decided to try and find Praying Mantis and call it a night. Fortunately, we didn’t have to search long; Praying Mantis had made sure we were all equipped with signal whistles. We didn’t want to use them at first, but we hadn’t seen Bill for a while now, so we risked it. One short burst then we listened for a reply, nothing, another quick burst, almost immediately we got a reply. We headed to the sound and within moments we were reunited. Since I was staying the night at Richards house, we decided to get William home first. Along the way, Praying Mantis regaled us with his harrowing tale about how he was almost caught by Bill. During that time we also learned what happened to Shadow and how thanks to his bow staff, his hands were saved from being cut up when he fell. We got William home without a sign of Bill, then Richard and I made our way to my house so we could change our clothes before we went back to Richards house.
Richard rode a motorcycle since out of all three of us, he was the only one that not only had his drivers license but also transportation, this meant I had to ride on the back (a superhero shouldn’t have to ride on the back of anything, except maybe a large animal). As we approached Richard’s home, we got off the bike and started to walk it so that we wouldn’t wake his mom. We only moved a few feet when a car came up behind us. Bill, Alex, and 2 others got out. Now that Bill had his pack of hyenas, he was feeling particularly brave and came at me and pushed me trying to egg me on. Bill thought he knew who was who, but as William had stated in his post there is a thin but definite line between thinking you know and knowing. Richard and I acted as if we didn’t know what he was talking about. They proceeded to ask about the back of my head, assuming Bill had hit me in the head when he threw his club, I rub my head and tapped it to demonstrate there was no injury to the area. They then asked to see Richards’s hands, again assuming Richard injured them when he fell, but again there was no evidence of injury. This infuriated Bill. Typical of those that have been bested, Bill lashed out and pushed me again. By then I had had enough. I grabbed Bill by the shirt and with all my strength I slammed Bill up against his car knocking out his foul breath. I looked him in the eyes and said, “ENOUGH” through clenched teeth, and with one last shove, I let him go, while Richard and I walked away. Bill must have realized I wasn’t going to take anymore because he nor his friends even moved. I don’t recall if Richard and I said anything more to each other that night, but I know neither of us fell asleep for a long time.
Next week: Drunk BIll. —Richard’s Recollection