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“Hey, are you REDACTED?”

I’m surprised by the suddenness of the question, spoken by an unseen and unrecognized voice behind me.  “Yes I am,” I say as I turn to face the speaker, trying not to look startled.  “Can I help y–”

I don’t even see the punch coming.

Normally, our bodies react to a coming hit instinctively, by moving with the blow and tightening the muscles to minimize vibration and energy transfer.  However, that I had no idea what was about to happen limits my natural response, and I take the blow full on the cheek, just to the side of my lip.  My head snaps to the side painfully.  I see stars, and I immediately taste blood.  I stagger backward a few steps and fall to one knee.

“Well, that was uncalled for,” I mumble through the blood that’s quickly pouring from the wound in my mouth.  Fortunately, my capacity for sarcasm is unaffected by sucker punches.

“Actually, it was completely called for,” my aggressor yells, the anger clear in his voice.  There’s also a hint of satisfaction that barely registers through the ringing in my ears.  I give my head a quick shake and look toward the voice.  He’s a squat fellow, broad at the waist and balding, with black-rimmed glasses perched on a rounded nose.  His face is sparsely dotted with acne, and reddened as though he’d been climbing a flight of stairs.  Not a pointedly ugly guy, but closer thereto than I’m sure he would like.

I’m more interested, however, in the woman standing a few feet behind him and to his left, ducking her chocolate brown eyes, trying desperately not to look at me.  Her name is Shannon, my coworker, a friend of Kelly’s from before our break-up.  Also one of my lovers, the only one that I was seeing consistently, my current “affair”.  Or rather, she had been, until I had broken it off due to her inappropriately amorous public behavior.  Given her current behavior, and baldie’s steadily darkening face, I can only assume that he is her husband, and terminating our relationship had somehow resulted in her confessing her recent indiscretions.

Come to think of it, he does resemble an older, less well maintained version of the man I’d seen on her Facebook profile.  How people let themselves go like that, I will never know.

I stand up slowly, craning my neck to the side.  “Guessing you’re Shannon’s husband?”

“I have a name,” he spits angrily.

“Frankly, I never bothered to learn your name.  Care to refresh me?”

“Randy.”

“‘Kay Randy,” I say casually.  I rub my neck, which actually hurts worse than my cheek.  “Tell you what.  I’m gonna give you that one for free.  You wanna talk, fine, but the next one’s gonna cost you.”

His lips curl in an angry snarl.  “Don’t you fucking threaten me!”

“I don’t make threats.”  I rub my cheek with my tongue, feeling the flayed skin.  I make a show of biting off a loose chunk of flesh, and spit it onto the pavement.  It lands with a sickeningly wet flop in a pool of red.  I see Shannon’s eyes widen in horror, and Randy’s face grows slightly less red.  I smile through the blood on my lips.  “Now, you had something you wanted to say to me?”

His voice raises, punctuating his next statement: “Yeah, you fucked my wife!”

“Obviously,” I answer coolly.  “Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.  So?”

I eye him casually, and can see Randy deflate a little.  He didn’t expect me to admit it, to not argue with him.  This isn’t going as he’d planned.  He stammers, “So… stay the fuck away from her!”

“I’m not the one you need to worry about, hoss.”  I indicate Shannon with a nod of my head.  She’s trying her hardest to be invisible.  “She’s the lovey-dovey one.”

My reference to her seems to rekindle Randy’s anger.  He takes a step toward me and points at me, as though poking a jello mold.  “Don’t you ever fucking touch her again.”

I shrug and smile.  “Can’t make any promises.”

I see the punch coming long before it connects.  He has an obvious tell, shared by most untrained fighters, the drawing back of the shoulder, instinctively gaining power by twisting the torso.  He also purses his lips, holding his breath–another common tell.  I know he has likely never been in a fight, at least not one with someone who actually knows how to do it.  It would be a simple matter to step to the outside and land a punch to his exposed kidneys, but I recognize that, from his perspective, I deserve it.  Hell, I probably do.  But I already gave him the sucker punch, which probably emboldened him to take another swing at me, and I’m not about to give him the satisfaction of hitting me again.  So instead, I grab his arm, pivot into his hips, and neatly throw him around my body onto the pavement.  I hear the air leave his lungs in a cough of shock.  A quick jerk of his arm rolls him onto his stomach, and I pin his arm under my knee against the small of his back, braced by my left leg against his elbow.  I hold the back of his neck with my right hand and grab a handful of what little hair remains on his head with my left.  I pull sharply with my left as I push with my right, yanking his head up and away from the pavement.  He grunts in pain, and Shannon yells something, an unhappy, frightened sound.

I lean down as far as I can, given the awkward pin I’m holding him in, and say calmly, “Listen Randy.  You wanna be pissed at me, fine.  I don’t give a damn about you, so I can take it.  But ask yourself why she fucked me to begin with.”  I let him go and stand up quickly, putting a few feet of space between us.  He staggers to his feet and turns to face me, raising his hands threateningly, but he makes no move to advance.  He just glares at me, and wipes the blood from his scraped chin.  His glasses sit crooked on his bleeding nose.

“You wanna keep your wife happy?” I ask.  “Then get your ass on a treadmill.  Go to the gym.  Do something with yourself.  She fucked me because she’s unhappy.  Do something about it.”

I turn to Shannon.  “Do yourself a favor and stay the fuck away from me, ’cause the next time your hubby feels like picking a fight with me, I’m gonna put him down hard.”

Her eyes are wide, clearly terrified, shocked at what has transpired, but she nods slightly, enough that I know she won’t speak to me again.  I return the nod and turn my back to them both, moving calmly toward my car, my neck and cheek throbbing.  I spit another mouthful of blood for good measure.

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16 Comments

  1. You’re an excellent writer, Bi. I have a burning question, however … how did you explain the damage to Ashley?

    • Oh, Gillian, good question! And I agree, Bi, you are truly gifted…in many ways, apparently.

    • I told her that a jealous husband accused me of sleeping with his wife. Can’t lie about that, in case word spreads and it gets back to her. Wouldn’t look good on me if I told her I fell or got into a fight at a bar after work, only to have someone else say they saw me fighting in the parking lot beside my job! I stressed that she and I were good friends, but he must have thought there was more to it, and confronted me.

      Ashley checked with my coworkers, all of whom told her that Shannon had been exceptionally flirty and touchy, but that I hadn’t returned the attentions, and had asked her not to behave that way. Which was entirely true. Appropriate workplace behavior is important to keeping an affair going.

      Ashley asked me why I hadn’t told her about Shannon’s flirting. I told her I didn’t want to make her paranoid about me simply going to work, so I just handled it on my own. She told me to trust her more and let her know when things like that happen. “After all, you’re a recovering cheater. I need to know when you’re being tempted.”

      …yeah.

        • Gillian Colbert
        • Posted April 25, 2012 at 9:55 am
        • Permalink

        Shit … that’s the only word that came to mind. Bi – you fucking break my heart sometimes, but I love you nonetheless.

        GC

      • I know.

        By the way, don’t you hate rereading your post a few days later and discovering glaring grammatical issues and writing flaws? “Randy can see Randy deflate.” Geez….

  2. Excellent, indeed, Bi. Has this happened before?

    • A few times, actually. I typically tell them the same thing–please your woman and she won’t cheat on you. Only a couple of times did it end in fisticuffs. (Hell, I talked so much to one guy we ended up going and getting a beer. His wife was PISSED. Apparently, she’d wanted him to kick my ass.)

      • Jeez. You can charm the pants off of most, apparently 😉

  3. So well written, as usual. Truth be told, I worry about you – in more ways that one. Just sayin’

  4. Hey Bi, I appreciate your honesty a great deal, and this is why I nominated your blog for the TMI Award, and I’m looking forward to reading your story, if you accept it. Rules can be found at http://storyofalice.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/tmi-award-special-a-day-of-shame-and-embarrassment/.

    • Thanks, Alice! I am always grateful for any kind of recognition I receive from my readers! However, given what little time I have to dedicate to blogging, I likely won’t address this in a post, but please know how flattered I am! Thank you very much!!

  5. To join the crowd here, your writing IS great!

    I wonder when the day will come that I’ll be confronted by someone. I’ll probably sloppily write it out anyways.

    • It’s only been a handful of times for me, presumably because most of the women I bed aren’t married. It’s not all that fun, honestly, but I do remember this one pretty fondly. That guy was a real ass.

  6. Wow. I mean, tense situation, but brilliant telling. This has to wear on you though (the not telling your wife part).


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