The Cast: Cindy (Shocked), Friends (There), Myself (Angry).
You could feel the shockwave. I hit him hard. “Hulk, smash!” hard.
It was just another weekend with friends and my best girl. We were at Richard’s house, hanging out, watching movies. A typical teenage good time.
Bodies were all over the room. Lapped on loungers, coupled on the couch, relaxing in recliners, or just flopped on the floor. Cindy and I were in that last group.
I know it sounds like it was a room full of teenage hanky-panky, but it wasn’t. We were actually watching the movie, eating junk food, and just having a good time. The most that happened was some handholding and the occasional smooch. (we were good kids)
Like I said, Cindy and I were laying next to each other on the floor, heads propped up on a pillow. Partway through the flick, she decided to go and get some grub. Just as she left the room chaos erupted.
Right as I looked up at the window it shattered and the fragments flew, or fell, all about the group. Girls screamed, guys yelled, bodies jumped out of chairs and began to run for cover. Everyone fled. Everyone but four of us. Richard, Erich, myself, and Philip.
Philip is one of Richard’s younger brothers. And while Richard, Erich, and I were preparing for battle, reacting to our wanna-be superhero training, Philip was frozen to his spot on the couch, his eyes fixed on the brick that had come through the window and hit a spot in the wall next to his head. The hole in the wall suggested that if the brick had struck a couple of inches to the left, Philip would either be unconscious or dead.
Within what felt like seconds the window had been broken and Richard’s front room had been cleared out, only to be filled again by four very angry men.
The first lept through where the glass in the window frame had been. He launched in with his knees to his chest, feet underneath, head up (to scan the room), and his arms outstretched. He was wearing all white. His outfit of loose-fitting, slightly baggy pants with an unbuttoned blazer over his form-fitting tank top was completed by his sneakers and a few gold chains (like an evil Don Johnson from Miami Vice). Once he cleared the couch that was under the window, his legs extended and he executed a perfect landing. His feet hit the floor hard, his torso straightened, his broad shoulders became straight, his arms relaxed at his side. The only thing that made me worry was why he was smiling—more of an almost nonexistant smirk, but it was there. What was he hiding? One thing was for certain, he was fit. While his clothing was loose, it couldn’t completely conceal his muscular frame.
Before the three of us had a chance to react (Richard, Erich, and I—Philip had finally left the room to act as a barrier between whoever was coming in and the rest of our friends), the door was kicked in and three men casually entered. They were big. Their movements were practiced. Without saying a single word they told us all that this was not their first time doing this sort of thing. Gre-eat. They were pros. We were not.
“Time to teach you boys a lesson.” Was all the man in white said. Yup, they were pros. Before the sentence had even finished being processed in our minds, before it had finished being spoken, the three men in black suits rushed at Richard, Erich, and Myself. Clearly they were handling a vendetta of some kind. And the only person who would have had one this bad was Bill.*
“Who sent you?” Was the only question that Richard got out—that any of us got out—before a fist from one of the brutes shut his mouth. Erich went for the man in white, he knew who had sent them. How Bill had these kinds of connections, we could only speculate. However, before Erich could reach the man in white he was grabbed from behind and tossed against the wall, like a rag-doll. He also fell to the floor like a rag doll. Being the smallest of the group I did feel a little bit of pride that these heathens found me so personally threatening when two of them turned toward me, clearly intent on taking me me down. But that quickly changed to a little bit of fear when the two of them advanced. Okay, a lot of fear. But the training kicked in (as well as the adrenaline).
As the one on my left made a right swing to my face, I ducked low and palm-slammed his right kneecap, to the side—knees are not designed to bend that way, I’m sure it hurt. A few quick jabs to his solid midsection (that hurt my fists a little) were followed by another palm-strike to his chin, sending him back toward the door. With my arm still moving up from the blow, the second man grabbed my wrist and lifted me off the ground. Before I had a chance to do anything, Erich was on top of him. Erich had played possum, taking a moment to assess the situation.
With his legs wrapped firmly about the big man’s middle, Erich locked his left arm around the goon’s neck and began to pull his head backward, using the man’s nostrils as leverage. The agonizing scream surprised us all, even the man who made it. You could see it in his eyes. Or maybe that was only the pain—hard to tell. It was all happening so fast. At this point, Richard had grabbed an end table, and in true bar-room-brawl style, smashed it over the head of the creep who had smashed him first. Wood splintered and the big galoot crumpled to his knees and began to sway a little. He may have been a pro, but it was clear that he was hurting. We might be able to do this!
While Erich had managed to free me, his added weight to the henchmen’s back caused them both to topple backward onto the floor. Erich was now buried under the boulder of a man. If only muscle wasn’t heavier than fat… Fortunately for Erich, the big guy wanted to get up and exact some revenge. As he turned over to punch Erich through the floor, I took advantage of his unguarded posterior and kicked him. Hard. Where it counts. You could hear the family jewels fragment. A cheap shot to be certain, but he left me little choice. That guy was going to be out of commission for a while. Even the man in white—who had not moved since his entrance—winced at what I had just done.
Richard had lost focus with his end table victory, while he stood there punching the big man whom he had brought to his knees one of the other ‘suits’ came at him from behind. Before Richard could say anything the ‘muscle’ tossed Richard through his own front window, out into the yard.
“There’s one for ya.” The man in white called out, over his shoulder to somebody. Somebody who was still outside.
There are more of ‘em? Outside? Oh, man…
The one I had kicked still remained slumped on the floor, face down, moaning. That left two troublemakers in dark suits still good-to-go—well, the one Richard had ‘tabled’ was barely staggering to his feet.
The man in white turned his head to his left and yelled over his shoulder, “I can see why you’ve had so much trouble from these three, Bill.”
O-oh-h-h, So it was Bill… This is bad. So very bad.
That was all Erich needed to hear. Once he knew that Bill was there, and outside, it was going to end. Right here. Right now. Like the tiger that was his alter ego, Erich lept from… Well, quite frankly, I don’t know from where. I was looking at the dude in white. My mind was blown away by the recent revelation. I just saw a blur to my right as Erich became airborne and then went back to the floor. One of those dark-suited Strong-Arm Men had stuck out his strong arm and blocked Erich. The blow had taken Erich out of the air. The hard landing had taken the air out of Erich. The goon then grabbed Erich by the shoulder and dragged him outside like so much usless detritus.
“Is that the one you wanted?” The man in white asked over his shoulder, but his eyes never left my direction. This man clearly didn’t leave much to chance. It’s probably why he was the leader (at least of this group).
“Yup.” Came the reply. “You’re all mine now.” That second sentence was quieter and probably directed at Erich’s limp form. I heard the sounds of a body being beaten. It was hard to tell with what. Knowing Bill, it could be anything and it certainly wasn’t going to be pleasant. Erich and Richard were going to die.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I attacked the man in white. I just went berserk. Arms flailing. Screaming. With what appeared to be almost no effort, he backhanded me back the direction I came. Fortunately, the wall stopped me from going into the next room. Hooray.
I went at him again only to be knocked down, again.
“He doesn’t want you. Well, not really.” The grin on the man in white’s face was the real first obvious betrayal of emotion he had displayed. It was cold and full of mockery. It said more than his words ever could. I knew that smile, my brother had worn it throughout my childhood whenever he tormented me. I had seen it so many times, I knew it better than my own reflection.
Repeatedly I tried to get to, or past the man in white. It was either take him down or get past him to help Erich and Richard. But each time I did the man in white kept knocking me down or punching me backward. I was in real pain. The worst pain of my life. Things inside me were probably broken. Having never experienced that before, I was not 100% certain, just 90%.
Eventually, the man in white had one of his henchmen hold onto me. But I kept breaking free and trying to smash the man in white’s smug look off his face. “What is your deal? Just give it a break kid. You’ve lost.”
“It won’t happen.” Came a gravely, wet voice from the window. It was Richard’s. He had managed to pull himself up and was looking into the room with one eye—the other now purple and swollen. “You’re going to have to kill him. He hates to lose.” The words and some blood fell out of his mouth then he collapsed back onto his porch.
He was right. Sort of. I do hate to lose, but only to a bully. After being picked on and abused my whole childhood, I don’t quit when there’s a bully. I will either win or take the bad-guy with me. Those are the only two options. And right then, a rage like no other I ever had was building inside me. It was fueling me. Giving me power.
I burst free from the man attempting to hold me and finally landed a blow on the jaw of the man in white. It was solid and turned his head. This did not make him happy and he punched me back down. I rose and landed another solid blow, to his midsection. This bent him over, a little. He sent me back to my spot with a knee to my jaw. The thug that had held me before grabbed me again, and held me fast, his ‘end table’ compatriot moving closer to lend a hand if needed, but he was still a little woozy. The third, well… He was still picking up the pieces of his family fortune.
At 18 years old, I really wasn’t that big. I did exercise and weight lifted but I just wasn’t bulky. The main reason I was in shape was because I had been in ballet for many years. And there were ample opportunities to have to lift my dance partners over my head. That kind of stuff is a great workout. I was thin and strong, but not big and powerful. However, the building rage from that evening was changing that.
The man in white walked over to me and leaned close to my face, “That’s it, punk. I’m going to finish you off personally.”
That was the last straw. All the years of being picked on by other kids, the abuse at home from my brother** and mother, all the surpressed feelings of being defensless, and my years of pent up hatred for the victims of stupid bullies became chanelled into my right arm as I ripped it free from restraint. I made a fist. I aimed it at the man in white’s face. I screamed a terrible scream of agony, hate, and pain. And I connected.
You could feel the shockwave. I hit him hard. “Hulk, smash!” hard. As my fist made contact with the face of the man in white, time slowed. You could see his flesh ripple. Tears flew from his eyes. Snot from his nose. Blood—and one tooth—from his mouth. I hit him so hard that there was an echo from the impact. It was that echo that woke me up.
My eyes opened with lightning speed and my mind was like the thunder that follows, a little slower, but still there to complete the event. It all came together. I was still laying on the floor of Richard’s front room. My fist was embedded in the floor, right in front of my face. The echo was from the heating ductwork underneath me.
I could feel every eye in the room drilling into me with disbelief, terror, and confusion. You could hear the collective question on everyone’s mind. Then Heather asked it, “What was that all about? I could feel that from over here.”
“Yeah, what was that all about?” Came the repeated question from above me.
I rolled over to see Cindy standing in shock and disbelief from what she had narrowly escaped. You see, if you recall from the beginning of the story, Cindy had been laying next to me—on my left—during the movie. And in the short time after she had gotten up to get some food, I had fallen asleep and had a dream. A bad dream. Worse still, was what I had almost done to her.
That punch. That sonic, Hulk-like right punch had made contact with the exact spot where her face would have been. I was told, by those at the party, that I hadn’t moved until I made that Herculean hit. So it would have come out of nowhere. It would have been a complete surprise. Also, it was apparently blink-of-an-eye fast (so, that part’s kinda cool, yeah?).
Needless to say, Cindy found a different spot to sit down and finish the movie.