Chapter 29

You might be noticing that I’ve never been a particularly nice girl, in spite of my famously angelic appearance.  And unlike some mean lil bitches, I was always hot to take major differences up to the combat level.  It wasn’t that I exactly liked to fight, just that if somebody interfered with what I did like, I could quickly get around to fighting them for it.    This isn’t something I’m all that proud of, being a fighter.  But I haven’t yet gotten to where I’m ashamed of it, either.  It’s one of those things.  Guys do it and nobody says much.

And that’s where I first started fighting, running with the boys.  The typical kind of kid fights, you know.  Somebody tags you out too hard or fouls you off your ass when you’re driving to the house and you swat them and they punch you in the eye and next thing you’re wallowing around in the dirt trying to pound on each other.  Maybe end up laughing, or maybe ending up sitting on their chest with your knees on their arms drooling on their face or making them eat dirt.  Or worse.   Good times…

Typical, I’m saying.  But not as much so for girls, I figured out.  The first time I threw one down on the playground in elementary because Mason Whitlock pulled my gym shorts down to show everybody my bare cheeks, and I ended up pounding his fat ass up against the monkey bars with him crying and bleeding and teachers peeling me off him,  the other girls in the school were pretty damn scandalized.  I was kind of a no-talk-to-zone for a couple of days.  White girls anyway.  Mazzy and Eek thought it was excellent and were telling me about how I should have given him an undercut in the balls to bend him over so I could have really whomped his sloppy racist pig ass.  And other girls came around on it, I guess.  Maybe even kind of impressed.  Adults much less so.  My fanny was tanned, but good, and I got no desserts and generally nothing coming for a month.  Had to memorize Revelations and recite it every night.  Revelations, no less.  And they called me crazy and violent.

The boys loved it.  Other than one or two who became somewhat more wary. And well they should have.  We were getting too old for taking that kind of liberties anymore.  Not that I was ever that wild about getting pantsed in public.

None of my sisters shared my interests and talents in warfare.  We all had physical skills, except maybe Bethany, who was too oblivious to show up.  But Selah and Flora Lee were both deeply of the lover persuasion and while they were nobody to cross in a serious way, neither were they given to jumping off mini-geddons over issues.  I walked the way of the warrior alone.

I could never see fighting as a sport.  It never made any sense to me.  You fight to hurt people, end of story.  I dabbled in a few.  Did a little boxing, which I saw as totally pointless.  “This game is about trying to knock some mother-fucker out, so we pad your hands and their heads.”   Okay, now lets shoot some hoops with the baskets tied shut.   And too many rules.

I have done a bit of martial arts, most pretty free-form brutal kind with teachers who aren’t interested in winning some trophy away from Ralph Macchio, taught to students mostly interested in busting up people slinging on their corner or dissing them in their cell block or whatever.  Again, karate or whatever as a sport is stupid.  Doesn’t even make you a better fighter, all that much because you are learning to be respectful and play in the rules and that’s no how you win fights.  I love seeing some asshole bracing on me in some Johnny Mantis Third Dan Black Garterbelt pose.  Means he’s got big soft buttons all over him.

What hit me funny was when I realized that they were imitating these masters, who were not tournament people.  In fact, I got kind of interested in where the Styles came from, the idea they copped these moves and attitudes from animals.  So they’re learning from a preying mantis or a tiger or something.  Two folks extremely interested in tournament trophies.  They are more invested in killing you and eating your head.   The guys who figures that stuff out,  the OG fu types, they saw that, I was realizing.  They were all about how to kick the Japs out of Okinawa without having any swords or defending their temple against bandidos or other non-sporting, non-conference type scenarios.

But I was impressed by Aikido.  Because it wasn’t about aggression, really.  It was about making you and your world balanced and peaceful.  I doubt it was started off with tournaments in mind, either.  It was like making yourself unavailable to be fucked with.  Which was a lot of my goal, too.  I was just more pro-active about it all.  And a lots of those dojos and studios had good ideas.  Ways to harden your hands and toughen your bones.  How to limber up to where you could kick somebody in the face before they could blink.

A big step for me came second-hand, funded by the U.S. Government.  My brother Powell, who I always kind of figured I’d end up fighting to the death some dire day, came back from the Marines a changed man.  In fact, he changed into a man from a sneaky, chickenshit little punk.  I think I’ve mentioned this minor secular miracle before.  But not that he’d also changed into a fighting man, a real weapon.  And he started working with me, teaching me the stuff they taught him.  Including the attitudes, which is always the main event in set-to’s anyway.   He didn’t even offer to Flora and Selah, just me.  He told me he’d “identified me”.  He said his Way was “agile, mobile, and hostile”, which suited me right down to my toenails.  It was funny, Mama would come by us out back in our sweatshirts and shorts, working out some hold or block or applied mayhem and would smile and tell us how nice it was seeing us together and getting some exercise.  While her son is teaching her daughter how to just flat out kill folk.  And I mean, serious.  The hard Corps do not score points and win trophies, they don’t “dominate” or “intimidate”, they just fucking kill you then let somebody sort it out later.  Pow called it “the spirit of the bayonet”.  He also called it “Oorah”, which was not a word permitted to me, only bred Devil Dogs, which I respected.  It’s like a guy can let his girlfriend wear his letter jacket, but if a guy not on the “V” puts it on, there’s big trouble.

So over the years I picked up things here and there.  I’ve gone with a lot of stunt men (who I’d have to say I kind of consider the Ultimate Male if anybody is looking) and various criminals and killers and you learn a little.  Basically, the only way you learn to fight, though, is by fighting.

I don’t mix it up as much as I used to, but it happens.  Men, it seems, continue to have a difficult time learning that women aren’t to be abused, or taken without permission.  A major source of conflict, right there.  And your little ignorance of the niceties of life.  I think the last guy I smacked around was a result of him putting out a cigarette on the hood of my leased  Camaro.  Looking right at me and sneering.  Less so after being repeatedly knocked down and beaten about head and shoulders with one of those little squeegee mop things and all his dipshit friends in his ugly old Grand Am laughing at him.

Now see,  philosophically, I really agree that damage to an inanimate object, not even my own property, really, is not the same level of justification of damage (say, a broken cheekbone and maybe somewhat torn ACL) to a human being.  Even though I might argue that the Chevy would not have damaged him, but he started it.  But still, I really do get that.  But it never really comes down that way, does it.  Something happens, there’s a difference or a threat, and next thing somebody’s got an attitude.  And it turns out I do too.  An attitude that’s kind of Oorah Auxiliary.

But about these larger issues: like is it okay to do something to a guy that he might not live through if he’s trying to rape you?  I mean let’s boil a “hands off or else” transaction down to the unprimered metal, OK?  The guy is trying to rape you.  You are therefore trying to kill him.  Neither of those has ANY point whatsoever if it stops halfway.   Well, OK, “disable”.  But he’s definitely trying to fuck you.  What else is he doing groping you when say not to?  The more he gropes, the more he’s going to want.  So you stop all that nonsense, but good.

And here comes the philosophy again.  Getting raped isn’t the end of the world.  Lots of us have been raped.  I consider myself about as rape proof as they come: tough, quick, wary, trained, armed.  But that isn’t always enough.  And I’m still alive.  You’re still alive, right?  So is it fair to kill or cripple somebody over that? I’m not sure it matters.  Because I don’t think many people size it up and weigh it out and decide it like that at the time.

Now how about his.  Let’s say you have already been raped.  You’re still in one piece.  You can’t have yourself unfucked.  So is it OK if you mess that asshole up as revenge?

No?  Well, how about to keep him from doing it again?

How long it would it be good for him to refrain from raping women?

How about, forever?

I’m not making an argument here.  I don’t have any answers.  I don’t think things like this out.  If you’re in a fight and start think out it out, you will lose.  Then you lose the ability to decide things.

So, I’d rather fight it out, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, maybe that explains where I’m coming from.  Probably not.  I guess the reason I wrote this is I’m doing some other writing that gets pretty violent and when I bring I out, maybe I’ll have this here as some kind of back-up.