My testicles—the Panza Twins—were howling. I rolled around on the ground, waiting for the enemy’s final technique. You know the one that thoroughly destroys the opponent? That one.
I wish I could say I hated the he was going to kill me in such a shameful state, but I can’t. I was too busy writhing in agony—the aforementioned “shameful state”—and my eyes were watering so hard I couldn’t even see him coming. This wasn’t the way I wanted to go.
God damn it! Where’s my blaze of glory?
Oh. Yes, the fire in my crotch. Right. Thanks for reminding me.
I knew my seconds were numbered, underneath the endorphin rush of abdominal pain. I managed to lift the gun and point it upwards, but didn’t dare pull the trigger. The wetness in my eyes was blurring my vision too much to distinguish a target from the rest of the indistinct shit.
Still, he didn’t attack. The clock kept ticking well past the amount of time one would normally expect for an opponent to close the distance and end your miserable life. So much time, in fact, I actually managed to wipe the wetness from my eyes, and take a look around.
My bike was still there, but he was gone. What the hell? Where did he go?
Why did he go? He had the drop on me! I couldn’t process any of it with the creeping pain in my innards, so I just sat there, breathing like a bellows until I could get up.
Lessons for the day: my opponent is unusual; riding a motorcycle with bruised testicles makes you long for the Spanish Inquisition; and I needed to have a break before tackling my contract again. I planned to indulge myself when I got back to the bar, provided I could lift my leg to dismount my ride. Failing that, I’d moan loudly until I fell over, or someone came to take pity on me.
It would have to be Tracy, the niece. Shirley would laugh at me. Marvin would probably do something much worse, like throw darts at me so I’d be forced to move around. Then, and only then, would he laugh. Aren’t post-apocalyptic relationships grand?
Have you ever noticed that motor vehicles find all the potholes when you’re in pain? I tried to avoid the holes in the road, truly. Even worse than the holes, were the rumble strips on the side of the road.
My front tire got bumped, and I found myself skidding over towards the shoulder of the road. I got out of the skid, but not in time to save my innards from a short experience with the asphalt vibrator of poorly maintained rumble strips, cut into the surface of the road. They’re designed to wake up sleepy drivers, and I can assure you my eyes were fully open after half a second of high-speed thumping. I will also admit to screaming at the top of my lungs.
Quixote and the Panza twins—my favorite nickname for my “meat and two veg”—were unhappy with my driving skills. I could easily imagine them huddled in the soggy cantina that was my pants, as they muttered about how to kill the lousy gringo who got them beaten so badly.
“I want to kill the gringo like a Quentin Tarantino movie, amigos.” Panza #1 said.
“¿Que?” #2 asked.
“Maybe, like, lots of blood and dismemberment?” Quixote added his 2¢ to the discussion.
“Si. Lots of blood. Uma Thurman beating the shit out of him, David Carradine comes back from the grave, and Lucy Liu crochets his guts into a scarf.”
“Man! For a hairy little plum, you got one hell of an imagination!” Quixote said, leaning gently on Panza #1, careful not to put too much weight on his purple amigo.
“No. Necesitamos el Machete. You know, Danny Trejo? Matarle con cuchillos. ¡Como fuentes de sangre!” Panza #2 had a different opinion: I should be killed by Danny Trejo, —as “Machete”—with knives, and fountains of blood.
I often curse myself for being born with an excellent visual imagination. It also sucks that my visuals come with dialog. No one should have nads with a horrible excess of personality. No one.
That was how I endured the ride back to Marvin’s, arguing with my anatomy. We’d arrived at a stalemate by the time I half-rolled, half-fell of my motorcycle around the back of the bar. I took the key out of the ignition, still bent over, and silently debated what to bring inside… because it might not be there if I left it alone for too long. Yeah, bring everything inside.
I looked at the stairs leading to the back door of the bar. The stairs stared back, and silently taunted me with their knotholes and wood grain. They were the shortest way inside; going around to the front of the bar would be more painful.
Summoning up what little bravado I had left, I mounted the stairs with my gear slung over my back, as I leaned heavily on the railing. It was surprisingly difficult to keep my balance, nearly bent in half from residual pain, with a load of goodies sliding around on my back. It shouldn’t have surprised me when I slipped on the second step and fell backwards onto the cement landing at the base of the stairs.
I lay there, like a dying roach, and cursed the Almighty at the top of my lungs.
I imagined God, looking down on me, with the big white beard and piercing eyes, through a hole in the clouds. He smirked behind the mustache.
“Get the fuck up, boy. You’re a lame excuse for a hero.” God said.
“Screw you, old man! I don’t believe in you either!”
In my prolific imagination, I heard God muttering “Asshole” as I got up off the concrete.
As I climbed the flight of stairs, successfully, I worried that I might be losing my sanity. People who hear voices and see things are, generally, believed to be crazier than a bag full of corn smut. I guess my saving grace is that I knew that it was my imagination at work, and not something forced upon me by whacked-out neurotransmitters.
Thank goodness for an extra helping of self-awareness.
(James Crawford, your friendly author, here. Follow me on Twitter @crawford4033. Be sure to hunt up the Frank Stewart books on BN, Amazon, iTunes, and Smashwords! Titles: Blood Soaked and Contagious and Blood-Soaked and Invaded.)