It was hard trying to sneak into the house without being seen. I didn't have to look in the mirror to know that my appearance would scare the hell out everyone. My clothes were torn, my body was bruised and battered and I had one hell of a bruise across my face.
At least I think that it is one bruise, it could be two or three. I am not really sure. I can't tell you how many times I was hit or with what. I know for sure that one of them was holding something in his fist.
I'll be the first to admit that I am relatively fearless about visiting the ATM. I'll go at any time of day or night. I have always believed that attitude serves as an unseen bodyguard. I am not a victim. I won't ever be a victim and if you challenge me on that I will make you regret it.
Still I am not a complete idiot. There are times and places that I won't frequent it. But I never guess that they would have been so brazen. It was around 3:15 or so in the middle of the afternoon.
As I approached the ATM I made a point of looking around to see if there was any reason to be concerned. I saw a car full of guys but didn't pay much attention to them. They were too busy eating burgers and laughing. It never occurred to me that they might be interested in using me as an easy source of cash.
I am not quite sure exactly what happened, but I can give you an approximation. I had just finished taking my cash from the machine and was putting it in my pocket when I felt something slam into the middle of my back. The force of it slammed me into the wall and I fell down.
Down on all fours I was trying to figure out what had happened. When people talk about getting their bell rung, they are referring what happened to me. As I tried to gather myself I felt someone stick a hand in my right front pocket. That was a big mistake for them or lucky for me, I'll let you make the call.
I'd like to say that it was like the movies and that I stood up and mopped the floor with them, but that is not true. I pulled on their arm and rolled onto my right side pinning the arm beneath me. That's when I felt the another set of hands start pounding on my head.
So I tucked my chin and started abusing the body that was attached to the arm I was holding onto. At some point I turned or rolled and saw the waist of the guy who was pounding on me. I reached out and took his balls in my hand and did my best to remove them from his body.
It had the desired affect and he stopped hitting me long enough for me to stand up. At this point I had no clue how many people I was fighting, could be one, could be two, could be seven. All I knew was that I was getting my ass kicked and I was more than angry.
They tried to bear hug me from behind, another mistake. I threw my body backwards and slammed him into a car. There was a loud grunt and as he let go I turned around to face him.
Again, I'd like to say that this was the time when the good guy (me) took care of business. That is the way it works in the movies. Not only would I have beaten the crap out of these thugs I would have left them lying in a nice little heap ready to be hauled off to jail.
It didn't quite happen like that. When I turned to face the guy I had time to hit him twice. The first shot was beautiful. I can guarantee that it will be a long time before he is able to eat a steak. The second wasn't half bad either. He'll remember me.
And I of course will remember the asshole that hit me from behind again and again. Didn't knock me out. Didn't break any bones or cause any major damage other than my ego. I wanted a shot at him. I wanted an opportunity to square off face to face.
He deserved to be rewarded with the gift of five fingers, but it didn't really happen like that. I was too busy covering up, trying to see that I didn't end up in the hospital.
And so it was that a short time later I showed up at my house, bleeding from the mouth and in a rage. They hadn't taken any of my cash. I am nothing if not stubborn, relentless in my pursuit of what I want.
But I have to wonder if the pain I suffered was worth the hundred bucks they would have taken. Aww fuck it! It absolutely was. If I have any regrets it is that I didn't put leave them in need of the kind of care the VA specializes in.
And on a side note the interesting thing about this is that it released a slew of memories. The guy that I used to be had a couple of fights here and there. As I stand here looking in the mirror it is like traveling back in time.
The glint in my eyes is back. It is not a happy glint, nor a sad one. It is angry and forbidding. It is my don't fuck with me look. It is my I almost hope you push me too far look.
Maybe I haven't grown up at all. Maybe I am still that angry kid. Or maybe I am not. What I fear now is not the future, that is too far away. No, what I fear now is what the morning will bring.
At 25 it was more than a little painful to wake up the day after. Now it is going to be miserable.