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The skeletons in Target are FABULOUS!!!

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October 4, 2010 Posted by | Photo | | Leave a comment

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October 4, 2010 Posted by | Photo | | 1 Comment

The Return of Jack Collier (Chapter Fifteen)

The Return of Jack Collier

A Jack Collier Story

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Last week’s entry can be found here.

 

 

Chapter Fifteen: Found him

 

            It took six days (that I don’t intend to describe) to find her. I do not wish to report them, because it would sound like I was being hard on Texas. David Eller was about the worst Texan I’ve ever met, a drunk who never stopped calling his daughter ‘that bitch.’ Her friends were a little better, but less helpful since meeting Pa Eller at least gave me some serious clues about why she ran off.

 

            Still I found out that she lived in an apartment in the suburbs of Dallas, which was pretty far from where her father lived. I won’t say now how I got the information because I told the person who told me that I would keep them out of it. Besides, it really isn’t that interesting. It was just a lot of grind and while explaining it might make for a more complete story, just thinking about it bores me rigid. The point is, that I found her.

 

            The apartment complex was like every other apartment complex I’ve ever seen. It might have been in Michigan really, except for a few differences. I was surprised to see a patch of woods behind the complex that would have blocked out some of the noise from the nearby highway. It was just a bunch of rooms, piled together into a long rectangular building, with the doors leading directly out onto the street.

 

            I saw an old Ford Tempo pull up and I saw the girl who looked like the yearbook photo I’d seen. She looked thin, tired, and a little scared. When she got out, I saw she was wearing a waitress’s uniform over her thin frame. I couldn’t help but wonder what a few weeks on a proper diet would do to her. She was pretty, but there was something wrong there.

 

            “Cindy Eller?” I asked as I approached her.

 

            “Yeah?” she looked at me and realizing she’d never seen me before added, “Who are you?”

 

            “Does Cole King live here with you?”

 

            “Yeah?” she raised her left arm to push back her straw blond hair and I caught the dark splotch on her bicep, hiding just above the spot where the sleeve ended. “But who are you?”

 

            “I need to see Cole,” I said.

 

            “Look Mister,” she said, “you’re going to have to tell me who you are.”

 

            “Someone who knew Cole before he went to jail.” I raised my eyebrows at her. “You dig?”

 

            “Oh,” She said and put her hand to her lip, and that splotch of a bruise just poked out. Maybe you’d have to be observant to see it, maybe you had to know you were going to need to look for it, maybe I’m just suspicious.

 

            “Yeah.” I reached to my back pocket where I’d stowed the leather persuader. “I need to see him.”

 

            “Okay,” she smiled nervously at me and turned around to walk to the door.

 

            I pulled the persuader out of my back pocket and palmed it up my right sleeve. When I wanted to, I could bring it out. I sort of guessed I was going to want it. She opened the door and turned her head over her shoulder to tell me to come in. The place was done up with things from Kmart and thrift shops, and pretty sparsely at that. It wasn’t messy, but it was definitely untidy. She looked around as we came in and I noticed her shoulders slump perceptibly. She wasn’t going to complain to me about Cole’s habits, or how the place was clean when she left, but she was thinking it.

 

            “Cole!” she shouted up the stairs. “Someone here to see you.”

 

            “Aw, what the fuck?” he demanded and began to move around. I saw her flinch a little when he spoke.

 

            She walked ten steps from the stairs to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator as feet began to clump around upstairs. I walked to the small, narrow kitchen and looked at her as she opened the door and pulled out a carton of orange juice. She looked up at the ceiling and made a face that I didn’t like. She looked like she would really like me to stay between her and Cole.

 

            “Cole’s your cousin?” I asked.

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “You pay for this place?”

 

            “He’s between work,” she said as the feet moved around up there.

 

            “You mean he’s afraid to find a job because they’d find him and take him back to jail?” I suggested.

 

            “Well,” She looked at me, and looked scared.

 

            “Has he been beating you up?” I asked.

 

            “Mister,” she said, “don’t get involved, Cole hurts people.”

 

            “Who the fuck is here?” Cole said as he came down the stairs. She cringed a little, and looked like a trapped animal. I looked at her and put a finger to my lips, I then came around the corner to look at him. “Oh shit.”

 

            “Hi Cole,” I said, as our eyes met.

 

            “I heard you were dead,” he looked fitter, less fat and more muscle. Of course that’s what happens when all you’ve got to do is lift weights and wait out the time.

 

            “Nope,” I shook my head. “Not dead.”

 

            “What’d you let him in here for?” he shouted and Cindy fell back against the wall and slid to the floor.

 

            “I’m sorry,” she cried suddenly.

 

            “You’re gonna be,” He shouted and started a hand out.

 

            I brought the persuader down on his right hand as he reached out. There was a delightful snap that filled the room, followed by another as I slapped him across the cheek with the sap. He fell backwards and tripped over one of the chairs for the small dining room that was half connected to the kitchen.

 

            “I’ve not been here five minutes,” I told Cole, “And she’s cringed twice and actually fell to the floor, going into a defense posture. You are in a lot of trouble.”

 

            “Please mister!” she sobbed at me. “You’re just going to make it worse.”

 

            “Shut up!” I snapped at her and gave Cole a good swift kick in the side. “Get up you piece of shit.”

 

            He got to his feet, and I kept myself between her and him. She sobbed behind me, but I wasn’t about to turn around to look at her. He looked like he would like to kill me, but he didn’t have the stones to raise a hand at this point.

 

            “Go sit down,” I pointed to the couch that was sitting in what had to be the living room because there was only the tiled kitchen and the single large room to be seen and there was a couch there. He looked at me and then did what he was told. I then turned slightly to Cindy “You stand over there in the corner. Keep the table between him and you.”

 

            “Please,” she was crying now. “He beat up Kyle so bad, you’ll just make it worse.”

 

            “Go!” I shouted and she moved, doing what I told her to do.

 

            When she was standing behind the round table, which would keep her at least a little safe if Cole decided to suddenly charge, I reached back and touched the holster on my belt. I’d packed a special surprise, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use it yet. I looked at Cole, who probably could have started beating me up if he wasn’t such a coward. I’d proven to be the biggest and meanest on the block though, so he just tried to burn holes in me with his eyes.

 

            “You know what I’m wondering?” I asked Cole after a moment’s pause. “Did you kidnap Jill because she reminds you of Cindy, or are you with Cindy now because she reminds you of Jill?”

 

            “Fuck you,” was his witty retort, so I gave him an open handed slap across the face.

 

            “There is a lady in the room,” I said.

 

            “There’s a little bitch,” he snarled and looked at her. “A little bitch whose gonna be fucking sorry.”

 

            “Cole,” I brought the sap down on his right hand again, which produced another howl of pain.

 

            “Please!” she shouted at me. “Please, don’t.”

 

            “Take your shirt off,” I snapped at her, taking a step towards her. “Take it off! Now!”

 

            “Okay,” she sobbed.

 

            She was too scared, stupefied with terror perhaps. She pulled the shirt off and it was pretty obvious looking at her front what had been going on. She started to fiddle with her bra strap and my sense of decency managed to kick in just in time.

 

            “Hey!” I shouted. “Keep your bra on. I’m not getting a cheap look here, I’m proving a point, now turn around.”

 

            She did as she was told and my blood started to boil as I looked at the map of bruises, fresh dark purples and blues laid on top of older yellowing marks. I barely looked at Cole, just let my hand fly and caught him across the left side. The fact that I hit him in almost the same place on his left side as I’d hit him on the right side was coincidental, although the twin bruises on his face did give a nice symmetry which his work clearly lacked.

 

            “You can put your shirt back on now,” I said looking at her again.

 

            “Okay,” She squeaked and started to put her shirt back on.

 

            “Oh Cole,” I almost whispered. “You are in so much trouble. Is it something about girls born at that time? Do you have some sort of thing about the mid-nineties?”

 

            “Mister,” she whined.

 

            “You can’t do nothing without me!” he shouted at her suddenly. “You want to go back to sucking your daddy’s dick? You’ll be back with him by six if anything happens to me you little bitch!”

 

            “Shut up,” I said and brought the sap down on the top of his head. He slumped over and fell flat on the floor.

 

            “Mister,” she said.

 

            “My name is Jack,” I said. “You want to get out of here?”

 

            “I can’t go back to my father,” she almost started crying.

 

            “Go upstairs and grab what you need,” I told her, while looking down at the prostrate form of Cole King. “Clothes, books, jewelry, whatever. I’ll take you where ever you want to go.”

 

            “But, won’t they?”

            “No,” I said. “You go upstairs and you get your things. We’ll have to leave the furniture and shit, but I assume that stuff doesn’t matter, does it?”

 

            “I guess not,” she said.

 

            “Okay,” I told her, and decided to risk my luck. “I’ll take care of things, just trust me.”

 

            “Okay Mister…” I looked up at her and she stopped. “Okay, Jack is it?”

 

            “Mister Collier if you’re nasty,” I said.

 

            “What?” she sort of smiled in confusion.

 

            “Nevermind,” I smiled back. “A girl my age would get it. Go on, Cole and I have got to do some talking.”

 

 

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

The neck and the groin.

The neck and the groin.
The neck and the groin.
It doesn’t matter how big the fucker is,
They’ve all got a neck and a groin.

–Dylan Moran’s Grandmother (allegedly)

A lot of things have been said on the subject of bullying the last few days, and I would like to throw my own rather battered hat into the ring. There are many ways to end bullying, and one important way is to beat the living shit out of bullies. No, I’m not joking. Why do people keep asking me that when I make this suggestion? Even if you have to take an ass kicking, it’ll only hurt for so long. Prove you’re willing to bite, claw out eyes, go for the neck, kick someone in the balls until they can’t walk… people will back off. There is no sport if you’re fighting someone who is willing to go all Jason Bourne on their asses, stabbing them with pens, and smacking them with books or rolled up magazines. What about fighting fair? Fuck fair! Is it fair for six people to stand around while one of them beats up a kid half their size? Fuck it, take an ear home with you and watch as tormentors figure out that there are easier people to pick on. All you need to do is tell people who are trying to hurt you “This will not be tolerated.”

Get a gang together if you must, or if you don’t have a gang, a sock filled with loose change will suffice. Trust me on this one, or try it yourself. Get a heavy-duty sock, put five dollars in nickels in the sock, swing it around, smack the fucker in the jaw. This will dissuade 98% of all bullies from fucking with you any longer. However, you needn’t go to such extreme lengths, a simple slap across the mouth with the back of your hand will do nicely most the time. The key is to deliver a single stern message in the same way you would a dog. “This will not be tolerated.” The message should be clear, constant, and if possible, come from a variety of sources. Any and all allies you might have, should be called upon.

The attack needn’t even be physical. There are instances where looking the person dead in the eye and saying “If you don’t back the fuck off, we’re going to have trouble, you and I.” will suffice fully and completely. Quite frankly, this is usually where shit stops if you don’t let it start. Again, allies are important here and you should never feel bad about getting help. A stern word will quite often do the trick. The point is though, you must give the clear message…“This will not be tolerated.” If everyone follows this script, the bullshit will stop. It really doesn’t matter who it’s coming from, fellow students, teachers, administrators, priests, gods… you can stop it by explaining that you are not to be fucked with. I don’t put police in there because, despite their reputation, cops are usually looking to give you a fair shake. There are a few bad ones in there, but let’s be honest, most the times you been pulled over in your life, you were doing something wrong.

I advise going on the offensive for two reasons. One, ignoring the issue simply eggs your average bully on, quite frankly. They know they’re getting to you if you don’t react. Two, if you prove that you’re not an easy target, and that you’ll retaliate, they will move off quite quickly. This is even truer when there is a group of tormenters. If you go up to the biggest and strongest in their group, and land a good sharp kick to their crotch before landing a sock of change upside their head, you will find the rest of your tormentors will quickly back the fuck off. No one wants to be the next person to have to explain that a kid half their size smacked the shit out of them. I don’t advocate starting fights, but you can cause them to throw the first punch and then go for their neck, eyes, ears, crotch, or other soft bits, word will get around.

Allow me to demonstrate with a tale of my own life. There was a time when I wore a fedora a lot. Some people, thinking the hat was a bit odd, decided to mess with me. One individual once decided to snatch it off my head, probably with the aim of throwing it or running with it. What this person did not expect was that I would spin around, grab him under his jaw and with one hand slam his head into a nearby table. I then held him there, again with only three fingers active, and explained my point of view to him. “You don’t ever touch my hat.” I said, keeping my tone calm, but firm. “Oww, fuck, my fucking neck man!” he suggested. “You don’t ever touch my hat. Do you understand?” I asked. “Oww, f-word, complaints about unfairness!” he babbled. So, I laid a few extra ounces of pressure into his neck. “Do you understand?” I asked again, calmly. “Yes! I’m sorry!” He shrieked, probably louder than he had intended. “Good.” I told him taking my hat out of his hand and letting go of his neck. “I’m glad we’ve had this conversation.” I turned and noticed that there was a hall monitor standing not three feet behind me that whole time. I popped my hat back on my head, gave her a wide smile and walked off without another word.

And that dear friends, was the last time anyone at CVHS ever fucked with me about the hat. This vignette, taking place in a heavily traveled area, made the story spread sort of quickly. This leads me to another piece of advice. Take Judo classes. Judo is awesome. Judo is great because it’s all about twisting people’s arms, hitting their pressure points and taking them down, but not actually hurting them in any permanent way. Breaking someone’s arm is actionable, dislocating their jaw is actionable, and killing them is certainly actionable. However, pressing their head against your arms until it feels to them like their neck might break, while actually doing them no real harm is not actionable if done in self-defense. Remember, we want to smack the bad dog on the nose with the rolled-up newspaper, not shoot it in the head with a .45 automatic. They can learn. These aren’t starving wolves running you down out of hunger, these are bored dogs hunting for sport. Once you prove to be bad sport, they will find easier prey.

Then, there can be a fun little game, which you can play with the next person they decide to look upon as prey. Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if all the deer in the forest decided to turn around and face down the wolves together? Yes, I am advocating that you go find the other people that bullies are bullying and present a unified front. Go make friends with those people, and anyone else you can find. Friends are always useful. Go find other geeks, parents, teachers, administrators, big burly punk rockers, pimply AV geeks, that skinny kid everyone thinks is queer (weather that kid is queer or not, hardly matters in this context) and stand together as one. Allow me to tell you something, this actually works! It has worked in the past and it will work in the future. All you need to do is remind the bullies, over and over again, “This will not be tolerated.”

You might have to find yourself saying it over and over again, and yes, you might find yourself in a few scrapes, but those tend to go away after a while. Once people find that under normal circumstances, you’re a sweet darling person with a kind and generous heart (You might want to develop a kind and generous heart BTW) they’ll start to join up on your side when people give you shit. Quite frankly, in real life, people prefer a friend who will listen to their woes over an asshole who likes to make others feel small. A kind heart and a friendly disposition, backed up with the phrase “This will not be tolerated.” can get you fairly far in life.

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment