Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Alleyway Ribcage Rumble



For Travis and Mustafa.

“Hey scumbag.”

I puked up one last wave of tequila.

“Hey. Over here shithead.”

I wiped away the slick yellow strands hanging from my mouth and looked up to the voice.

“How’d you like to lose a few teeth, alkie?”

He cracked his knuckles. His lip curled upwards.

“Um… uh… who are you?”

“I live in this neighborhood. Planning on staying, too. I’m disgusted by fucks like you comin around here, gettin fucked up, makin this place a dirty cesspool. I own property here. This is a nice place. Or was, at least. Before this honkeytonk shithole here opened and creeps like you started wandering up from the west side to drink cheap beer, drive plastered, and sell illegal drugs.”

I tried to focus on him, but my eyes insisted on looking in different directions, so the mean voice remained a pair of bright blurs dancing before me.

“Uh… I’m so duh… der… drunk. An’ sick too. I don’t want trouble. Got enough as it is.”

“Well, you got plenty a trouble now.”

“Listen. Mister. I’m real sorry. I was just leavin anyhow. I won’t come back.”

“That so, alkie?”

“Yeah. I promise.”

I hiccuped, retched, heaved a blank, then wobbled my way back upright. I loped towards the angry man, hoping to weave past him and get the hell out of Dodge. Of course, it would never be that easy.

He stopped me with a hand to the chest and shoved me back into the alley. I stumbled and fell, landing assfirst in my own puddle of Cuervo. My vision cleared up. The guy was built, ugly, and younger than I am.

“Listen, I’m real sorry. Real sorry.” Slurring.

“Sorry ain’t gonna cut the mustard, scumfuck. Somebody’s gotta clean up this neighborhood, and that might as well be me. I gotta start somewhere, and that might as well be you. You’re gonna regret comin round here, boy. Regret it real bad.”

Crewcut was spoiling for a fight. A character like him didn’t give a tin fuck about property values or morals. All bullshit, for sure. The guy was a walking talking cliché. He just wanted to talk and dance as an appetizer before his violent eruption, his gorilla catharsis. I suppose he figured an easy target like me would be a good way to vent some steam.

Thing is, I just looked like an easy target, kneeling there alone, puking and moaning. Truth is, I’m a demon. In the ring, on the mat, in an alley, drunk or sober. I may be a short guy. And so what if I’m almost over the hill and starting to go bald. I still got it. Now, I don’t like fighting for its own sake. I consider myself a good guy. I used to fight for sport, or to stick up for my friends, but never to bully.

But if this hard-on wanted trouble, he’d found it. I gave him once last chance, though I already knew the inevitable would happen.

“I’m leavin, guy. Obviously I don’t belong here.”

“Like hell you’re leaving. Not till I’m done with you.”

“Okay, you know what? Fuck you and the horse you rode in on, Crewcut.”

“Crewcut? You got a pair a balls, ya drunk fuckface. Oh yeah. I’ll give you that. I’m gonna mash you into paste.”

He rushed me and swung. My drunken instinct took over, and instead of dodging and jabbing him smack on the jaw, I rocked backwards from his swing, and as I felt my balance give way, I swiped at his outstreted arm and grabbed hold. I fell and he came down with me.

That macho asshole looked awfully surprised when my knee flew out between the two of us. As I landed on my back, bouncing my skull from the pavement a little, he landed on my kneecap, impacting him at the bottom of his ribcage.

Based on the sound he choked forth as the wind rushed from his lungs, I got him pretty good. He flopped off me and landed flat on his back. This time it was his turn to end up in my puke.

I stood up weaving and looked at Mr. Tough Shit writhing on the ground. He was clutching himself, grinding his teeth, and muttering profanities. He look pissed off. A bit green, too.

“Want some more?”

“You fucking shit you- you broke my ribs. God damn it. You little…”

“You fucked with the wrong guy this time around, didncha? Got you good.” I laughed.

He panted. I wondered if I’d snapped off the sharp little bone pointing down from the center of his ribs. If I had, that little arrowhead would prance through his guts like a gingerbread scalpel. He’d be shitting blood in no time.

I laughed again. Adrenaline jolted my queasy guts and this time I didn’t fire a blank. I retched so hard I swear that muck came clear up from my intestines. Thick brown acid gumbo broke on his chest and neck, some splashing and speckling his face, some rolling off his shirt leaving gravy trails where it slid off.

“Whew. Eat that.”

Vindicated, drunk, and rubbed down in puke and gravel, I stumbled my way home. My wife was gonna be pissed off, but I didn’t mind.

I was a winner.
11:11 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm

8 Comments:

September 22, 2005 11:30 AM, Blogger Dave Morris said...

Gravy trails.

Your stories are so vivid man. I could see myself as a spectator, wanting to help you kick the guy's ass.

 
September 22, 2005 11:41 AM, Blogger Kerouaced said...

Why do those guys have to act like that? They never learn...good story...

 
September 22, 2005 1:54 PM, Blogger karen gsteiger said...

Excellent story...visceral as always! ;)

Whenever Neal Pollack talks about his "Chicago Noir" project, I think of your writing...

 
September 22, 2005 9:48 PM, Blogger cool Latt said...

i will never look @ gravy the same way.

you wasted that dude. and for that your wife will be proud.

 
September 23, 2005 12:52 PM, Blogger Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Thanks all.

Latt, this particular entry is pure fabrication. I'm 26 and never boxed or wrestled. Nor am I married.

Now the entry about breathing in dehydrated pigeon corpse dust? All true. Well, mostly true. I never gave a "Hark!" speech. But the rest? Oh yeah.

Thanks for stopping by.

 
September 25, 2005 9:00 AM, Blogger Saucy Monk said...

it was the married part that gave it away. Although, I'd love to hear the story about how yer wife reacted when you stumbled in with puke all over yourself.

 
September 25, 2005 7:18 PM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Very nice.

 
September 26, 2005 12:55 PM, Blogger cool Latt said...

bro, sometimes i am straight retarded.

 

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