The Beatdown

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I know for a fact if I try telling all the most truly outrageous stories of my life, people are gonna assume it’s the silliest cavalcade of ridiculous clown shoes fantasies a person has ever made up to impress the internet.

I know people would think that cause if someone tried telling me those same stories, I would think that.

There’s nothing I can say that’ll change how it all sounds, and you’re gonna believe what you choose to believe regardless of what I say. I’m at peace with that fact, and if you wanna look at this particular piece as a work of fiction, I just hope you think it’s entertaining fiction.

What I can tell you is that if you’re willing to put in the footwork, you can verify this next tale for yourself. All you gotta do is head to my hometown of Waldorf, Maryland start asking around for people that lived in the area back in the summer of ‘08 and see if any of them remember hearing about a crazy white dude named “Dirty Dave” who lived in a gold Ford Escort. I promise you’ll find plenty of people that most definitely remember the guy who’ll testify that what I’m about to tell you is the unexaggerated truth  and then add in the story of the time they got to witness my lunacy firsthand.

So, I was by myself in the Ford Escort I just told you about driving to this girl Abby’s house. When I got to Abby’s house, I was gonna get jumped.

Why was I gonna get jumped? Cause Abby didn’t want me there.

Why am going to Abby's house if Abby told me not to? Her boyfriend, Angel, said he wanted to talk to me in person and I had to come over.

What did Angel wanna talk about so bad? Jumping me. He was lying about wanting talk so I'd come over and he could jump me. I knew it was coming before I even got in my car to leave.

Why was I alone driving to a place where I knew I was going to be jumped?

I had a lesson I wanted to teach, and I could only teach it by going in person.

I turned the corner on to Abby’s street in the most hotboy manner I could, then did a three point turn on Abby’s lawn and parallel parked by the end of the driveway half on the road, half in the grass. I wasn’t supposed to park that close to the driveway... or on the grass at all...

“Whoops…. I musta forgot... Muh bad.... Fuck it, too late now I guess…”

I lit up a smoke, hopped out, and yelled, "Hey waddup dudes... Angel said he wanted to talk. Can you send him out here for me real quick?" up the hill to the crowd of people standing at the other end of the driveway where people smoked at Abby’s house.

Instantly the group erupted into a frenzy as everyone started executing their plans for the unlikely scenario where I actually showed up. I hear a few different folks shout some version of, “He’s here…. I can't believe the stupid fuck actually came..." and then an attack squad started to form at the smoker's pit that I’d yelled to a minute earlier.

I knew Angel didn't really wanna talk. I wish he'd just been honest so people wouldn't didn’t call me stupid like that.

I'm crazy. I'm not stupid. Get it right.

It took a little under a minute for them to rally the troops, then they immediately charged. There were eight total; I'd counted them out as they were squading up. Angel was hanging out in the back of the crowd moving noticeably slower than the rest. I remember thinking it was strange that he said he'd whip my ass every chance he could, but he wasn't working harder to be up front doing the work.

Maybe he was hurt or something and that's why he was moving so slow? I'm sure he woulda been up in front if he coulda been. The only other explanation for staying way in back is that he was afraid of me, but I'm sure that wasn't the case. It had to be an ankle injury or a pulled hamstring or something.

“Time to start the show,” I thought as I took a big drag off my cigarette, shrugged a bit and said, “C’mon guys... I just wanna be friends!” with some sarcasm and a smile.

The standard plan most people have when they're in  this situation is to do as much damage as they can before they're overwhelmed. Usually someone will get a swing or two off on the first person who gets close enough and be happy they made one of the dudes jumping them regret the decision. I had something different in mind this time, though. I wasn’t trying to hurt the first dude who stepped into arms reach, I was there for Angel and Angel was way in the back cause of that mysterious leg injury I told you about. I had something in mind to get him even if he stayed in back like that though. I’d recently come up with a groundbreaking new theory and used it to formulate a strategy to hurt the dude without me having to lay a finger on him. As a man of science, I had to know if my theory panned out. That meant that tonight the guy brave enough to lead the charge would get a free pass.

The first dude to reach me dumped all his weight on me instead of throwing a punch, and I let his momentum knock me to the ground. After I was down, I curled into a ball and wrapped my arms around my head. I knew beforehand that all I'd be able to do during this phase of the game was focus on pure defense and that meant leaving as few exposed soft spots as possible. I kept my belly down and my back facing up. I imagined my back like it was a turtle shell while they stomped my spine. I kept calling em pussies the entire time. I told them that they weren't hurting me at all and they needed to kick harder. Then I let them know that I really wanted  to be friends... like… really really bad.

They didn’t even acknowledge my requests for friendship. All they said was, “That’s right keep crying punk bitch”.

I honestly felt nothing from most of these kicks. Maybe one or two left a bruise. There was one good one that got me in the kidney and made me wince a bit, but even that one didn't hurt that much or for very long. There was absolutely nothing about this stomping that worried me. I coulda done this all day if they didn't get stopped.

They did get stopped, though. After about a minute and a half, Abby ran down the driveway screaming, “Okay that's enough! I said it's enough! Stop! You don’t gotta kill him. He gets the point. He ain't a bad dude he’s just a little nuts. I’ve known him my whole life. I just wanted to show him I wasn’t jokin around about him leavin me alone.”

I knew she’d do that eventually. She mighta been the one who came up with the plan to throw this little shindig for me, but she wasn't expecting it would get this far. She didn’t really wanna see me get hurt; Deep down, I meant a lot to her.

Me and Abby had sorta been an unofficial item for about two months, but she broke that off two weeks before she decided to throw this party in my honor. We never told people we were a couple, but we agreed amongst ourselves that we were more than friends but less than dating. Partying for a few months and keeping ourselves in that grey area between friends and partners might not sound all that serious, but we'd known each other our entire lives before we started riding around together.

Abby was my little brother’s best friend when they were in Kindergarten. I was friends with her older sister Jessie throughout my entire childhood. I used to give Jessie rides to school on the pegs of my bike when she said she didn't feel like walking. She hung out with my two best friends and I almost every day. Their family was the only family who’d lived on my street as long as mine had. Jessie's little sister was a part of the background scenery on the set for the movie of my life for over a decade.

When I was sixteen, the courts sent me to live with my Mom in Ohio and my Dad sold our house on that block a year later so he  could retire to the backwoods down in Florida. At that point I figured my life in Waldorf was gone forever and the people in Adam's Landing were nothing but memories waiting to be forgotten.

That all changed once I turned 21 and had my own car. My Mom had thrown me out and I’d screwed over the last friend willing to let me stay with him by stealing a bunch of cash from a safe in his Dad's bedroom. I'd burned all my bridges in northeast Ohio and didn't have a single friend who was willing and able to help left in the area. My Dad's place in Florida was an option, but he was the only person I knew in that giant swamp. I’d already tried living with Pops for a year when he first moved down there but the house Pops bought was buried so deep in the sticks that it became next to impossible to find people who could party as hard as I could and the few people who did didn’t know of anywhere that allowed partying that hard. I had no desire to go back to the tedium of rural Florida.

With my social life in Cleveland torched to the ground and no motivation to start a new one from scratch in the deep south, I only had one other option. I hopped in my little Ford Escort, took the $300~ish dollars I had to my name, and drove back to Waldorf. I was excited to finally be out on my own without my parents, and I was sure my lifelong childhood friends in Maryland made it the prime place to do it.  

Once I got back into town, I resumed the nonstop partying I had built my reputation on immediately. I kept hearing lots of different stories about a girl named Abby floating around everywhere I went. Everyone would say she was wild as hell and partied hard. Whenever I'd ask someone telling one of these stories what this Abby girl's last name was, they'd always give me the one I had in mind. So much of what I'd keep hearing about little baby Abby didn't fit at all with the innocent little princess from my childhood though, and I couldn't believe they were the same person. I definitely wanted to get in touch, but I knew making someone hit her up for me and ask her to chill woulda just made me seem desperate so I'd put it out of my mind while I went about my normal operations. One day by the randomest of chances, she just happened to show up at our mutual friend Dale's, my favorite party house.

I was sitting in the living room playing video games with another one of he house regulars when I overheard someone saying she’d shown up with some bud and was smoking a blunt with anyone who wanted in. I jumped up in a hurry and sped outside on a mission. I made it seem like my excitement was about free pot, and I'm pretty sure nobody doubted the act cause doing other people's drugs was sorta my thing.

I made my way across the yard over to the stoner circle as stealthily as the urgency that filled my steps would allow, slipped into rotation just as silently, and was immediately captivated as I realized how totally unprepared I’d been for the moment I first laid eyes on her. It turned out I had been right all along when I assumed the carefree cherub who rode her tricycle through the background of my childhood had been relegated to my memories to slowly fade forever. The innocent princess I used to protect from bullies while she spent her days romping around with my baby brother had been replaced by a the most beautiful being I’d ever set eyes on. I stood in awe while I watched this goddess do a hypnotic dance that kept every eye able to see it locked on her while she playfully told stories and coaxed conversation out of whoever she decided she wanted to hear speak, making herself the life of the party with a casual ease that told me she was totally oblivious to the spell she cast on people. She oozed confidence and assertiveness out of every molecule like a high school quarterback walking into class the day after winning the championship game. I couldn’t help but be impressed by how much of a boss she'd become, and I couldn’t pretend she was anything less than embodiment of everything my mind’s eye saw when I pictured beauty.

Eventually she noticed I'd been standing off to the side staring dumbstruck and asked me what my dealt was. I said I didn't really know what to tell her, usually I'm a loudmouth who can never get enough attention, but right then I was enjoying the show. I let her know that it was good to see her after all those years and that I'd been hearing about her all over town. I had to compliment her for growing up to be such a boss, because I never would have expected that from little baby Abby. I didn't even bother asking if she remembered me and she swore she'd never seen me before in her life. I wasn’t the least bit discouraged by it cause I knew for a fact she'd never be able to forget me, and I knew exactly what to say to jog her memory.

“Nahhhhh, I'm 100% sure you remember me. There's no way you could forget. You just don’t recognize me cause it’s dark out here. We lived on the same street for over a decade. My family lived in house number seven. It was the other end house on your row of townhouses. You used to be best friends with my kid brother Patrick back when y'all were in Kindergarten. You guys painted my cat. We had to get it shaved. It was a shitshow."

She sounded like a fangirl that just got to meet her favorite boy band when she screamed, “OH MY GOD... IS THAT DAVE?!?!? I DID PAINT YOUR CAT… THEN WE SMASHED THE WINDOW TO GET INSIDE.... HOLY SHIT DUDE I THOUGHT YOU WERE GONE FOREVER,” and stepped closer to give me a hug.

After that, we ended up "accidentally" crossing paths at Dale's almost daily, until it got to the point that the two of us running around together was the unspoken plan every day.

We had a lot of fun at first. We got close, but we both made it clear we weren't getting invested. The name of the game was don't catch feelings and I was doing a pretty good job of it, at least pretending to I should say. In reality, I cared about her like I’d never cared about anyone else before in my life at the time. Everything about her was just so perfect. She had a good heart but she knew better than to let it make her naive. She looked like a goddess and she knew it, but she also knew that didn’t mean shit to anyone who mattered. Her cynical humour and party hard attitude meant I had the perfect sidekick in my quest to protect my mind from the mythical dragon known only as “Sobriety”. Her blunt honesty was paired with a perceptive eye, and it was so refreshing to finally have someone else around who didn’t partake in people’s bullshit. All of that was just the pedestal God made so he could mount the one-of-a-kind diamond that was her intelligence. I’d never met someone like her before in my life at the time. I haven’t met very many others in the ten years that’ve gone by since either. Still, we were both from the same place on the wrong side of the tracks and where we were from there’s a rule made for this exact situation: “Don’t ever fall in love”

It was as simple as that. Love was a lie girls sold to johns to help them turn tricks. If you bought that mushy shit, there was a bridge out in the middle of the desert people wanted to sell ya to go with it. I knew what it was and I knew how to keep that shit to myself. Everything was going so fucking perfect at first.

Then out of nowhere I went completely nuts.

There was a total reversal of my hands off "You do you and I'll do me" attitude. Bipolar disorder definitely had a lot to do with it, and my love for recreational substances didn’t help at all, I'm sure. The fact that I really thought I loved her and I'd never felt that way before was really the thing that made me snap completely though.

I started saying I love her and we were meant to be together forever cause god put her in my path. I knew it was true cause god literally spoke to me and he said so. What made her think she could argue with God? She didn't seem to understand that I’d seen the future and we were meant to be.

Turns out, that sort of stuff sounds completely delusional because it is in fact totally delusional.

One day I get a text message along these lines:

“Dude I dunno what happened to you but you’ve fucking lost it. You were cool. I had fun. Then you went crazy. I ain’t your soulmate. Stop tellin’ people that. I'm done talking to you. We aren't together and we never will be, stop texting me. Go back to doing your thing same as before we started chillin and forget about me.”

I did exactly zero of the things she told me to do. I kept going on and on about her constantly. I don't think I went an hour without sending her a text for two weeks straight, and she never replied to any of them. I'd pester her friends trying to get them to bring me to her house. I'd constantly hit people up to find out where she was partying so I could "accidentally" cross paths with her. I told myself I was in love with her, but looking back it was just idealized obsession. I didn't know the difference back then because that was the closest I'd ever come to being in love.

Eventually, she got fed up and called her ex to have him jump me. I was text-harassing her one night when out of nowhere Angel called me my phone and said he wanted to talk in person, and told me meet him at Abby's place. I let him know I could tell that he was gonna have me jumped, but him and his boys were too soft to ever hurt me so I'd be there in 20 minutes. He swore up and down he wasn't gonna jump me. I told him a second time that I knew for a fact he was, then I assured him I'd be there in 20 minutes anyway and hung up the phone.

I killed my beer, hit the bong one last time, and got up from the couch to go. My friends started taking turns hopping in front of me and trying to block the way out. They kept saying stuff like, "Dave dude, they're gonna jump you!" as if they hadn't just heard me tell Angel that I knew he was gonna have me jumped on the phone two seconds ago. I told them if they were that worried about it they could come along and we could make it a fight, but they’d been telling me to forget her and move on with my life for weeks.They knew the rule about never falling in love just as well as I did, and told me tons of times that they couldn’t support me breaking that rule, and for good reason too. Being that devoted to a girl in that world is what gets dudes used for their money and left out to dry. Dudes refusing to take "No" for an answer is what gets girls harassed out of social circles and attacked by obsessed stalkers. They weren't about to back me up when I was doing the exact same shit we’d be jumping a dude for under different circumstances.

They still insisted I just forget it and stay home, but I told them I couldn't do that or everyone would say I bitched out. In my mind I had not other choice to go, I straight up couldn’t let my friends make me look like a pussy by letting them stop me. I assured them it wasn’t gonna be a problem because Angel and his boys were too soft to hurt me, and told em I was a big boy let me make my own decisions.

To them, this sounded like crazy talk. Angel's crew had a reputation for being one of the wildest around. I see why your average person probably wouldn't wanna be on their bad side, but I'd dealt with way more dangerous people on a regular basis for a very long time. I knew for a fact these dudes weren't really hard.

I'd spent a lot of time partying with Angel and his crew during the months leading up to this. I knew they were some suburbanites who got raised on rap culture and didn’t realize that pop culture didn’t accurately portray anything. They didn’t know a lot of the stuff they thought proved they were hard actually showed how snuggly cuddly soft they were. The way they bragged about fighting and made a big show out of telling stories of how badass they were is one of the telltale signs that someone isn't really all that badass. Real threats don't need to tell stories to brag about how hard they are because you can tell by how they carry themselves. They won't jump up in someone's face making shouting about how they’re gonna whip someone’s ass when they get offended, they'll just haul off and knock motherfuckers out the moment they step over the line without saying a word.

"Don't talk about it, be about it." as an old friend of mine used to say.

Jumping a lone drunk dude with eight guys is a prime example of something they thought made them look "hood" but really showed how fake they were. If their crew was really about that life they woulda told Angel to fight his own battles. People aren’t gonna fight your personal relationship drama for you, and asking them to is gonna lose their respect. There are respectable reasons to squad up on a dude and stomp him out, but this sort of girl drama isn't one of the respectable reasons.

I explained all that to my friends, who were at least convinced that I was ready to get my ass-whipped without blaming them for it, then I hopped in my car and off I went.

And now you're all caught up on why I'm on the ground, curled in a ball with my arms over my head getting stomped on by eight guys.

Angel was a hood motherfucker so he told me things like, "You're a weak ass punk ass soft ass bitch. You better not go cryin' to the police like the rat snitchin' pussy you are. You're a fuckboy and you ain’t wanted here in these streets." I mean in his shoes, you gotta say shit like that so everyone knows you're hard.

Hiding in the back and making sure you're absolutely safe from harm at all times is one of the most gangster things you can do, so of course he'd just proven how hard he was with his actions. Words speak louder than actions though, so you gotta make a speech like that when you’re in his shoes.

Angel was all about that life, as you can see.

After Abby ran up and got them to stop, he knew I'd been put me in my place and so he told me,  “Get your psycho stalker dumb shit, pack it in your busted piece of shit car, and take it the fuck outta town. If we see you, we’re doin' this again, and it’ll be worse.”  

His friends all chimed in with shit like:

“Yeah bitch… You heard him. Tell everyone we don’t fuck around either!”

“Damn Angel… Gonna just throw him out of his hometown like that?”

“That’s cold dude. You heartless”

They all started throwing each other high fives and trading stories of how they pitched in by saying things like “You see when I did this one thing?” which was a carefully coded signal for someone else to respond “Ya dude that was gangster as fuck! But did you see when I did that other thing?”

They had to start getting the story straight for proper retelling later. If you're gonna impress people at parties with stories of how gangster you are for winning an 8v1 fight, you need to make sure all 8 people are on the same page, but since openly discussing how to tell the story later makes you seem fake, they had to do it while making it look like they were just shooting the shit. At this point, they all thought this story was going on their highlight reels and they needed to get it right so all their many retellings stayed consistent.

Unfortunately for them, the story wasn’t over yet and with the way it all turned out they prefer it if their names get left out when it gets told.

These kids didn’t know what it meant to go hard.

Goin’ hard isn’t jumping a defenseless dude with eight guys and then talking shit knowing he can’t fight back.

Going hard is never quitting, never being intimidated, and refusing to let yourself be stopped. It’s playing through the pain and being fearless. It's facing’ impossible odds even though you know you’ll lose just cause fighting the impossible fight and losing is better than letting fear stop you.

When you get knocked down, you get back up and go twice as hard as before. If they knock you down again, you get back up again only this time you quadruple your “go hard” factor and keep doin that till your knocked out. Once you wake up, you get back up and keep going till they knock you out again. You never let fear of getting knocked out again stop you. You just keep repeating that process till you win or you’re dead. So far in my 31 years of doin' this, I've never backed down and not once have done like this and got dead. That means I've always won in the end, 100% undefeated record.

These kids needed to learn what it meant to go hard. They could only learn if someone showed them firsthand.

Time for me to give them that lesson I came to teach:

One of em stood over me and yelled, “You like how I worked your ribs white boy? Are they broken? You need us to call an ambulance? How them busted ribs feel, bitch?”

I bounced up with a smile on my face and in a super playful tone I responded, “Honestly I didn’t  even know I got kicked in the ribs cause till you said something cause I’m in like…no pain at all right now. You don’t gotta worry about me. A pussy like you can’t hurt me. I’m way too hard for that. Thanks for your concern though dude. You got a lot of heart for a punk. I just came here to make friends though. You wanna be friends?”

There were a few nervous chuckles and some confused “What the fuck is this?” type statements came outta the group.

One of em jumped up in my face and screamed, “You’re still talkin shit after that ass whoopin you just got pussy? Shut the fuck up and get the fuck outta here before we stomp you the fuck out again!”

I came here to make friends though so, “Dawg, Angel said he wanted to talk so I came here to talk. Angel, are we still talkin' homie? I just wanna be friends,” is what got tossed right back at him.

Angel huffed and snapped, “I’m done talkin’ with your bitch ass. Get the fuck on before I whip your ass again.”

For some reason, parts of that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, so I asked him, “When did you whip my ass the first time? Can't we just be friends?” I just had to know. There was clearly some confusion on one of our ends, and we needed to clear it up if I was gonna make some new friends.

He huffed and spat, “What the fuck you talkin about you psycho fuck? We just stomped you the fuck out. Now get in your car and shoo before we do it again,” like he just couldn’t believe someone would have the nerve to try and be his friend. Maybe it was a self-esteem thing that made him think he was unworthy of friendship?

I couldn’t help but chuckle a bit while I tried to think of the right words to say to my new pal...

“Oh… I dunno if anyone’s ever told you, but what y’all pussies just did wasn’t anything close to a beatin'. You guys didn't hurt me in the slightest. That wasn’t you whippin' my ass, Angel. That wasn’t even eight of you whippin my ass. I’m hard. You’re soft. That means y'all can’t hurt me. I don't hold it against you though. It ain't your fault your soft. I just wanna be friends anyway.”  I lit a smoke and took a drag.

Angel’s buddies weren't the friendly type it seemed, so they started circling around me. One of the smaller ones jumped up in my face shouting, “You really wanna us to stomp that ass again, bitch? We can do this all night!”

This was actually one of the few dudes here that I knew but didn't understand why he was so pissed at me.It was my homeboy Craig’s co-worker from Taco Bell. I forget his name so let's call him “Taco Bell”. I didn’t even know this guy ran with these dudes. Most of the other guys jumping me weren't even dudes I knew. The ones I did know had a good reason for not liking me, but not Taco Bell. I used to get this Taco Bell high regularly whenever I showed up at his work to smoke with my boy Craig on his lunch break.

I started out by asking him, “My dude… What the fuck are you even doing here? You and I are supposed to be cool. I just smoked you out on your lunch break yesterday. Why would you go and lump yourself in with  these cowards, man?” I took the biggest drag I could off my cigarette before I continued with, “You pussies can try all you want but you just…. can’t…. hurt me. Let just be friends instead. I just want some friends, man” then I cocked my head to the right a bit and blew a cloud of smoke straight up into the air.

A guy from the crowd ran up and hit me in the eye. I turned to face him, looked him dead in the eye, and in the most unimpressed tone I jabbed, “That was some weak shit my dude. You wanna try that again while I’m lookin’ so I can tell you what you did wrong? It's the least I could do for a friend.” and took another puff off my cigarette.

He was more than happy to oblige and he fired off three ultra wide punches that I’m sure were supposed to be right hooks that had almost no speed to them. I just watched and ashed my cigarette. I did have some advice for him:

“You don’t wanna swing super wide in a huge ass curve like that. Your punch is losing all its force taking the longest possible trajectory. Throw your punches more straight forward. You want the most direct path possible, even when you're trying to throw a hook. Give it another shot, I don't mind helpin' out a friend”

He didn’t take my advice, and threw another one of those sloppy love taps.

“Okay, if you wanna keep hittin’ like a bitch you do can do that then. Will you still be my friend?” I quipped as I took another drag.

Another guy stepped up from what was now my left and hit me with a combo of three punches. It was the basic left-right-left people are taught the first day of taking boxing lessons. Someone's dad clearly had a free trial membership to a gym at some point in his childhood...

I laughed and turned my head to force eye contact while I told him, “It doesn’t matter how many soft ass punches you put into a combo. If none of em hurt, it’s just gonna be a soft ass combo. Why are you guys even doing this? I just wanna be friends man.” He just looked down and away as he stepped back into the circle of softness.... I think I might have accidentally hurt my new friend's feelings. I always followed what I said with a puff of the cig for emphasis. It's common knowledge people only wanna be friends with the cool kids, and all the cool kids smoke as you know. How else was I supposed to get accepted into their circle of friendship?

Taco Bell shouted, “You think this is a game? We’ll stomp you the fuck out bitch!”

I just shrugged and asked, “How did that work out for you 5 minutes ago? Is what I'm doing right now the result you expected? Why are you all so mean to me? I'm just trying to be friends.”

A whole flurry of punches start flying at me from every direction. After a good twenty seconds of this, I started to feel the sting of rejection. It really hurt that they didn't want to be my friends. I'm the type who gets angry when is feelings are hurt, so I looked  down and and shook my head back and forth while I bellowed, “WHAT DO YOU RETARDS NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT YOU JUST... CAN’T... HURT ME!” as powerfully as I could.

There was total silence and the punches stopped as the sound of my voice thundered through the neighborhood and pulled the energy from the air. The entire atmosphere changed. There weren't any more smiling faces in the group. They started shooting each other questioning glances and shrugging at one another. Every time I'd make eye contact one of them they'd quickly look away into the distance behind me.

All of us sat in silence for a minute while glared and shot daggers them. Looking back, I probably shoulda tried to make a friendlier facial expression. Body language speaks more than people realize... Maybe that's why they didn't wanna be pals?

Eventually, one got desperate and just started unloading everything he had. I just stood there casually smoking while I stared off into the distance. I scratched my chin and shifted my weight from one leg to the other and let out a sigh. Then I looked up to stare at the moon for a second.

After a second I slowly turned my gaze downward, took another drag off my cigarette and then squinted questioningly before wondering, “Wait a sec… Abby was plannin' a party tonight for weeks… Does that mean there’s a house full of people up there watchin’ you guys embarrass yourselves right now? Can you please stop proving me right, then? I really don't wanna embarrass you in front of all those witnesses. I just want some new friends, man.”

Dude stopped swinging and shrunk back into the circle around me real cautiously. I think he understood what I was trying to tell him... Or maybe he wanted to be my friend?!?!

Angel decided to correct me, “What you mean embarrass ourselves? We just stomped the shit out you dude. Everyone saw it. You was curled up just cryin’ like a baby till Abby begged us to stop.”

I started to realize the confusion was entirely on my end so I told him,“Ohhhh… Is that what everyone saw? I knew they saw you stomp on me, but the way I remember it I called you a bunch of weak ass pussies the whole time, then got up and told you couldn’t hurt me. Sorry, I really misread the whole situation. I just uh… I dunno... somethin’ gave me the impression that you guys weren’t gettin’ the expected response from me, I guess? Thanks for settin’ me straight. I just wanna be friends, Angel. You called me over here to talk. Let's talk buddy. I'd love to hear what you have to say. Let’s be friends, dude.”  

He scoffed and said, “Man what the fuck are you on? Don’t nobody wanna be friends with your bitch ass. I didn’t tell you to come to talk for real you stupid bitch. How fuckin dumb are you?”

This dude just didn't get it.

“I knew you were lying about just wanting to talk, dude. Don't you remember I told you that on the phone? I still came cause I wanna be your friend. You’re a really cool dude and you’re super tough. I need a straight thug life motherfucker like you as my friend so I don’t get beat up anymore. I’m really nice you can ask anyone. I brought beer for the party. Let’s have a couple cold ones and be friends,” I said with a smile and wink.

“Nigga you gay. Get the fuck outta here with that shit. I told you get the fuck on, now get your ass the fuck on down the road. Why you still here?” he seethed

“Cause I wanna be friends dude…” I said, sounding extra defeated.

Another punching frenzy erupted. I still just stood casually smoking. They started trying to push me over so they could start stomping me again. I didn’t fall over and let them this time. I figured the reason they didn't wanna be friends is because it was too easy to knock me down before, and they didn't think I was tough enough to be their pal. Eventually one the dudes behind me figured out that kicking me in the back of the knees would force me to kneel, and I knew if I stayed kneeling like that, one of their knees would eventually find its way to my face.

I wasn’t gonna be able to stand back up so I took a puff off my cigarette, flicked it into the grass and yelled, “I love when we do this. This is my favorite. Thanks for being such great friends friends,” as I curled back into a ball, put my arms around my head and showed them my turtle impression again.

Abby actually let them go till they stopped on their own this time. She'd been standing watching all this in silence from the background. I'm not sure what made her okay with letting them go this time, but I like to think it was cause she saw what I was doing and knew stopping them would keep me from proving my point.

They went for a good three or four minutes. At first it was a storm of kicks raging on my back. I could feel the fury and frustration they were channeling into their legs because it actually hurt a bit this go around. As time dragged on their fire faded and I could feel them getting winded as the time between kicks got longer. For the last 30 seconds or so I'd only get kicked once every two or three seconds. Eventually, they just stopped all together. There were no high fives and gleeful retellings of the events this time.

They were totally silent, waiting to see if the extra effort had done the trick...

I popped up like I was spring-loaded and gleefully said “Oh boy that's fun. Thanks guys, I really appreciate that. We should all be friends.”

They really didn't want to be friends at all. I could tell cause they kept taking turns running up and throwing a punch.

My mom always told me to never give up though, so I kept saying "I just wanna be friends," every time they did.

Eventually, Taco Bell got curious, "I already am your friend man. I dunno why I went along with this. Sorry I'm involved, but I got not beef with you. Seriously, why put yourself through all this?"

“Because I’m dead and broken inside, and I've got no real reason to give a shit if I live or die. Abby is like a little sister me and that makes her worth saving. It's no secret that Angel abuses her, and she wouldn't be the first girl he's talked into turning tricks. I'm just trying to protect her from that scumbag ruining her life.”

Looking back, saying that is one of my biggest regrets. I realized years later that Angel would never be my friend after I'd said something that mean about him. He got a running start from his spot about 15 feet away from me on my right and threw all his momentum into the hardest punch he could manage. It hit me clean on my right temple. I saw some stars and my ears started ringing for a sec. This would end up being the only punch that registered all night.

I turned my head and grinned as wide as I could while I looked him straight in the eye and sung, “Oh damn… that one made my ears ring. Thanks for that man. If you could throw one of those every single time, you might eventually hurt me. It’d still be a long shot, but at least there’d be a chance that way. I just wanna be friends man,” with glee then I took a puff off my cigarette and winked while I shot him the finger gun with my left hand.

Angels jaw just dropped and his eyes went wide. His shoulders slumped down and his arms hung limp at his sides while he stared and wondered how it was possible. I could tell he'd never hit someone that hard in his life. I bet he never will again, either.

I forget the exact order of events, but it went on like this for a few more minutes. They’d ask me something about why Abby meant so much or tell me a few things they had heard people saying behind my back. I’d respond with whatever was appropriate then throw in something about making friends.

One of em wanted to make sure I'd never text Abby again and told me I had to delete her number from my phone. I tried to show him the screen while I was doing it, and had Abby confirm I was deleting the right contact. He still insisted that I hand him my phone so he could delete it himself. I told him I'm not stupid and I knew he was gonna break it as I handed it over.

"I'd snap a thousand phones in half for some friends."

Every now and then one of em would step up and take a few swings. Every punch I'd swing back by saying “Thanks homie. I just wanna be friends.” Every time I said it, they'd just look down and away then back off.

Eventually some of them actually did start calming down and start shooting the shit with me. One of ‘em asked if he could bum a smoke, and I had no choice but to tell him, “Sure dude… Anyone else want one? I got plenty to go around. I am trying to make friends after all” like 3 or 4 hands went up, so I passed out some cancer. After that, I went over to my car to pull out a case of PBR and then started passing them out..

At this point, half of them weren't even asking about the Abby situation, they were just getting to know me. There was still a couple of em throwing in punches every now and then, but the crowd is getting friendlier and friendlier. Out of nowhere, one pulled out a pipe, packed some weed and asked me if I wanna toke up. I wasn't gonna say no to that.

It was so weird... There's like 4 guys all standing there casually blazing in the middle of the street with me while another 4 are randomly walking up and taking shots. Occasionally I'd throw out something like, "That's so rude to do that while I'm hanging out with my new friends." Other than that, I just completely ignored them and tried to act like I wasn't even aware of it.

Abby eventually stops standing off in the shadows, walks up to me face to face and says, “Look dude, you were cool. I’ve known you forever, and I don’t really hate you. You just turned all fucking crazy. You told me you talk to god and see the future. I can’t be around that psycho shit. I wasn’t ever gonna get back with Angel. I just wanted him to get rid of you for me. You gotta go though. This is my house, and I don’t wanna invite you in cause I’m not sure if you’re gonna start talking crazy as soon as I forgive you. Ryan is always staying over at y’alls spot with your boy Joey. If she tells me you've chilled out, we’ll talk. Just leave me the fuck alone for right now.”

Angel was off to the side the whole time watching and pouting. He'd given up on trying to hurt me after his falcon punch got him laughed at.

Honestly, I couldn't blame blame him for it either. I'm shocked he didn't just go home, roll a blunt, and try to move on with his life immediately after that happened. I sure as shit wouldn't have stuck around to see all this if I were in his shoes.

Then again, I'm never gonna be in those shoes, cause I'm just a different kind of dude who woulda made different decisions from the start.

I told Abby I understood about leaving her alone, and that was that. I tossed up a peace sign and told everyone take it easy then turned and headed for my car. As I was trying to pull away the dudes who never gave up taking swings stepped out in front of my car to stop me.

I rolled down the window and yelled, “You know if I want to, I could run you fucktards over and say I was scared for my life right?”

“We just wanted to tell you to stay the fuck out of town,” one of these randos belted as he stepped to my window.

“Dude, you’re a pussy. I got fucked up worse than this in like three punches by a kid when I was in the 6th grade. What the fuck makes you think I’m gonna be scared to go into to town cause of you shitters?” I snapped back at him.

Another one yelled, "Why did you even come here?"

I told him the truth, "To prove a point."

The dudes started clearing from in front of my car as homeboy by my window yelled, “Yeah, that you're a bitch!” and punched me in the face one last time.

I just gave him the old “Okay, buddy” and drove off into the night.

 
I’m what happens when you live by the motto ‘Live Fast, Die Young’ then you fuck up and survive
— A Total Pussy