“That cost them way more than a stupid ten dollar bet!”



          “Stop, Darren!”

          “You don’t want to do this!”

          “Come on, Darren! Let’s just get another beer!”

          I ignored my friends and stepped out the door. Ten dollars? Ten fucking dollars? Did those motherfuckers really have the balls to bet each other ten dollars to grab my girlfriend’s ass? Fuck that!

          Allison, Danny, and two of my fraternity brothers named John and McMillan followed me outside. The parking lot behind the bar was packed with cars, but the only people in sight were two bouncers smoking cigarettes outside a nightclub called FLOYD’S. Loud music thumped from the slightly ajar door behind them.

          We descended the staircase and headed towards Raven Street, a narrow alley used by patrons to access the front or back side of the Tennessee Strip. I was guessing my enemies would travel this way to reach their parked car. Sure enough, as we neared Raven Street, the three young men emerged from around the corner.

          “Oh shit…” Allison whispered.

          When the trio saw us approaching, they stopped dead in their tracks. My fists balled into weapons and I began stalking towards the group, but McMillan blocked me and my two other brothers grabbed my arms.

“Calm down, Bryce!” McMillan urged.

          “It’s not worth it!” John hissed in my ear.

          “Baby, stop!” Allison exclaimed as she watched me struggle.  “Just let them leave!”         

“Fucking alright!” I snarled, relaxing my body. “Then get them the fuck out of here!”

          McMillan released his grip on me and swung around to face the young men. He was a square-jawed, hulking figure with a middle linebacker pair of traps that made it look like he had no neck.

“You need to leave!” he yelled at the trio.

“Yeah, guys,” Danny said sternly, “you don’t want this to go down.”

“Go home,” John said to them. “Get in your car and go home.”

          One of the three perpetrators was wearing a black ball cap pulled very low on his brow. He took a stepped forward and snapped out a reply.

“We don’t want to fight, man! We’re just trying to leave!”

          I pointed down the road and said, “Well, walk then, motherfucker.”

          The tall kid with a shaved head remained silent and would not make eye contact with me. The guy with the black hat glared at me and looked like he was about to say something hostile, but he changed his mind and continued walking down Raven Street with his two boys.  

“Come on, Bryce,” McMillan said and nodded back towards the bar. “I’ll buy you a fucking beer.”

I didn’t budge. I wanted to wait and watch them leave—to give them every opportunity to change their minds, display some sign of aggression, and give me even more reason to attack.

I would not be disappointed. When the three young men reached the end of Raven Street, they stopped and turned around.

“What the fuck are they doing?” I asked my friends in disbelief. “They’re not leaving.”

          The guy with the black hat then had the audacity to throw his arms up in the customary manner of calling out an enemy.

          “Fuck this!” I snarled and took off down the street. “These kids are fucking dead!”

          McMillan and the others must have shared my sentiment because this time they did not try to stop me.

“Just let him go!” Allison sneered. “They fucking deserve it!”

          What none of us were sober enough to realize was that several of my fraternity brothers were standing on the back stairway of KEN’S Tavern. When McMillan’s roommate Fick saw the kids walking away, he started bellowing ridiculing phrases at them like: “You fucking pussies!” and “You bitches better walk away!” Instead of extending a direct challenge to me, the group of young men that I was about to attack had therefore been aggressively responding to these insults.

Had I known this, would I still have charged? Probably.

          The trio stood together unmoving as they watched me approach. The shaved head kid was a few inches taller than me and looked like he had a decent build. The guy who wore the black hat low on his brow was shorter than me, but he also looked like he had seen the inside of a gym before. The last kid was much shorter and much smaller than his boys and he cowered behind them.

My jog slowed down to a brisk walk as I neared the young men. With my left hand, I pointed straight ahead at the tall kid with the shaved head.

          “You! You! You!” I threatened.

          This action indicated that I intended to fight just him for the insult of groping my girlfriend, but when I was within striking distance, I threw a vicious right-handed punch into the face of the guy with the black hat. This unexpected blow sent him sprawling backwards into the bushes where he lay stunned and unmoving.

           The tall kid with the shaved head reacted instantly by shooting in on me. His arms wrapped around my legs and our grappling struggle moved us off the road to a patch of grassy dirt where we both went to the ground in a tumble. The way we fell gave him the advantage and he managed take my back. For a brief instance, my entire body relaxed and I did not put up a fight. I was piss drunk and half-expected my fraternity brothers to pull him off me.

          “What are you doing, Darren?” Allison exclaimed.

          The critical tone of my girlfriend’s voice roused me from my drunken cloudiness. What the fuck am I doing?

I immediately flipped my enemy over and pinned him on his side. Using my left forearm to hold his neck on the ground, I grabbed some dirt and started rubbing it on his face, trying to shove it in his mouth.

          “Eat this dirt, bitch!” I cursed in his ear. “It tastes fucking good, doesn’t it?”

          He struggled against my clutch and spit at the dirt I was smothering on his lips and cheeks. When my hand was empty of soil, I sat up higher and started raining blows on his face which caused the other side of his face to thud off the ground with each shot. I laughed and continued to punch, but he suddenly rolled completely onto his stomach and what would have been a crushing blow to the side of his face struck him in the back of his head. Pain instantly shot through my hand. Even with the intense adrenaline rush I was feeling, I knew the hand to be broken and that it had become very necessary for me to finish my enemy off quickly.

So I climbed to a knee, and as he tried to rise from the ground, I dropped my elbow on top of his skull. I landed at least three of four of these heavy blows until he stopped squirming and lay motionless beneath me. My fraternity brothers dragged me off the unconscious body before I did enough damage to put him in the hospital.

          By this time, a small crowd had gathered to watch the fight, including the two large bouncers from FLOYD’S.

          “Damn,” one of them said. “That was the best fight I’ve seen in a long time.”

          “Hell yeah,” his black coworker agreed. “Because that shit stayed one-on-one. Niggas in this town always be jumping in to throw cheap shots and gangbang a motherfucka.”

          Several of my fraternity brothers had also sprinted over from KEN’S to watch the brawl.

Fick looked at Allison strangely and asked, “Why are you taking your shoes off?”

          Holding a pair of black heels in her hands, my girlfriend snickered and replied, “So I can run away faster!”

          Allison had been around enough fights to know that if the cops showed up, running away would be much easier to do with her heels off. I did not find my girlfriend’s experience in these matters to be an attractive quality, but I have to admit, she did move very swiftly when we fled the scene.

          Minutes later, Allison and I were driving across campus in her sporty MX-6. My girlfriend had clearly enjoyed the spectacle because she was laughing with glee.

“You showed those assholes, didn’t you?” she exclaimed. “That cost them way more than a stupid ten dollar bet!”

          My eyes stared down at a swelling hand which was hurting more and more with each passing second. I knew the price I was going to pay would also be costing me plenty. Hospital visits, medical bills, no weight-lifting, and showers with garbage bags over my arm cast.

          I shook my head and mumbled, “That was a piss-poor performance. I usually fight much better than that.”

          When we arrived at the Upsilon House, I stood up out of the car and my world started spinning. The liquor, beer, and climaxing adrenaline rush overwhelmed me and I puked my guts out in the parking lot. Fortunately, no spectators were there to witness my post-fight, less than stellar warrior’s performance.

A few days after the brawl, I sat in my living room with Dave. We were both staring at my new arm cast.

          “So how bad is it?” he asked.

          “Bad enough that the big male nurse who casted me up had to break my hand again and reset it.”

          Dave’s blue eyes widened. “Ouch.”

          “Yeah, it made a loud crunching noise. They told me I gotta come back in a week when the swelling comes down and a new cast can be fitted.”

          “So when the summer semester ends, you gotta go home with that thing?”

          “Yeah…I already told my parents. They were pissed, but they were glad I told them the truth this time.”

          “This time?”

          “When I was High School, I broke my hand smashing some kid’s face into the cement by punching him in the back of the head. I told my mother I hurt it playing neighborhood football.”

          “She believed you?”

          “Yup. Until she took me to the hospital. The fucking doctor took one look at the X-ray and said, You have what is commonly referred to in the medical community as a boxer’s fracture, so why don’t you tell your mother how you really hurt your hand.”

          “What a dick!”

          “Fucking asshole,” I agreed. “I told her the truth and was grounded for weeks.”

          “What’d your parents say this time?”

          “My pops is a military man, so he’s always calculating the worst case scenario of every action. He asked me what I thought would’ve happened if one of the guys I punched hit his head on the concrete and died.”

          Dave’s eyebrows arched. “Wow. That is something you never really think about.”

          I chuckled. “Yeah…but he also said he probably would’ve done the same thing if someone groped my mom, but the trained killer Army Ranger wouldn’t of been dumb enough to break his hand in the process.”

          Dave laughed as the front door swung open and our fraternity brother Stan entered my apartment.

          “Damn, Bryce,” he said, “I serve tables with that shaved head kid you fought at KEN’S. Dude’s face looks banged up real bad. You definitely won the fight, huh?”

          I shrugged and stared down at my cast. “I knocked two guys unconscious, but I’m the one sitting here with a fucking broken hand.”

          “True…but it’s gotta feel good knowing you can dominate two guys into total submission.”

          “Yeah, and I also feel good about defending my girlfriend’s honor from the insult of a ten dollar bet.” I grinned and added, “Fucking pricks. Grabbing her sweet ass should’ve cost at least twenty.”

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