So the first person thing was really hard for me to get a grip on. I’m not good with telling a story without the dispassionate narrator voice. That being said, I think I need to keep trying with first person perspectives. There’s a larger story here, I just don’t have it yet.
“Look. I’m just here for”
I’ve taken a few hits to the face in my time, but that one really hurt. Probably because I wasn’t drunk for once. The punch landed on my right eye and that only happened because I started to dodge at the last second. If he had landed that shot square on my nose like he meant to then I’d be out cold on the floor. As it was, I staggered back a few feet, both from the shock of the hit and to give myself a bit of distance before he could throw another punch.
I grabbed a bottle of cologne from the table and whipped it at his head as fast as I could. He batted it away with his hand and it flew into Frank’s open closet. The suits softened its flight and it landed in a pile of discarded clothes. The guy just smiled at me and took a couple of steps forward to close the gap.
He threw a wild hook with his right. I blocked it with my left while giving a quick jab to his ribs with my right. It felt like punching pavement and he didn’t even let out a gasp. He tried to give me a pop in the kisser, but I was already using my head. Literally. This guy was built like a brick shit house so punches to the body weren’t going to phase him, so I gave him a headbutt aimed straight at his nose while pushing forward with as much strength as my legs could muster. It shoved him back and caused his nose to erupt in a stream of blood.
Good. Looks like David might just take down Goliath after all.
The big dummy looked at me with shock. His shock switched to anger and he charged at me again, this time with his arms outstretched, ready to choke me. I dropped to the right of him while swinging my left arm wide. Lucky for me the wild swing did just what it needed to. I hit the big lug right in the family jewels.
He dropped to his knees and that was all the opportunity I needed. I swung a heavy bottle of bourbon from Frank’s liquor cabinet at the back of his head. The bottle didn’t shatter, but he was definitely down for the count. That must be a damn fine bottle of booze. Every bottle I ever bought broke just by slipping out of my hands.
As soon as he went down, two things happened; Frank finished singing “Night and Day” and three more thugs showed up outside the room. They stared down at their buddy, their mouths wide open. For a moment it seemed as though I could have walked out of the room without them knowing. If only I could have been so lucky.
After they got over their shock, they looked up at me. Their eyes were burning bright with the thought of revenge, possibly even murder. I didn’t have a lot of options for this fight. That door was my only way out and I wasn’t getting past these three. For a moment I considered grabbing a chair and rushing them. I might have been able to get lucky and knock one or two of them out of the way. But before I could act, all three came bursting through the door. And just as Frank started in to “Devil May Care” too. The humor was not lost on me.
I crouched as low as I could and used my arms to shield my head. Kicks and punches came from all sides. One goon kicked me hard enough in my left side that I heard one or two ribs crack. Another stood behind me and kept kicking me in the ass, occasionally stopping to slam his fists down on my back. The third one did a number on my skull, smashing his foot down on my head, over and over again. The first one smashed my already damaged nose into the floor. I managed to sneak one of my hands under my face to soften the blow of the remaining kicks.
The barrage continued for about three minutes. It was around that time that the guy kicking my head told the others to stop. He reached down to pull me up by my shoulders. I was battered, I could barely think straight, and I had blood dribbling from my head and into my eyes, but I knew this was my one chance to get out of this alive. I made it look like I was stumbling backwards for a moment, but instead I put my foot against the wall and kicked off from it. The bastard wasn’t ready to catch me coming at him at that kind of speed and he made a sharp yelping sound as I pushed past him.
Once I made it to the hallway, I took off as quick as I could. I could still see, but everything was swimming. The dizziness from the pounding I took made it hard to run as fast as I was without tripping, but I was managing it. I bolted down corridors and around turns as quick as I could. I knew I was better off in the more populated areas, so I was glad to dash through the kitchen. I couldn’t even tell if the goons were following me anymore.
I came out of the kitchen and found a set of stairs to the basement and another path that led to an open doorway into the alley. I didn’t hear anyone coming, so I headed toward exit. My blood was dripping in a steady trail as I went. When I got to the alley, I covered my bloody face and turned back around. I wasn’t leaving without answers, dammit. Not after the beating I just took. I made my way back to the stairwell, taking care not to make any more drops or step in any blood I had lost. I made my way down the stairs and tried to let my eyes adjust to the darkness.
It was storage. This was probably the best possible place to hide out while Frank was still singing. Hell, by the look of things, I could camp out down here. There were some areas that were commonly used, but most of the room was covered in dust. The Riobamba was a brand new club, so why did everything look so old down here? I put the thoughts out of my mind and focused on finding a good hiding spot. There were a pile of cement bags sitting in one corner that looked like a safe enough bet. I carefully stepped between them, making sure not to disturb the layers of dust or cobwebs on top. Once I was backed all the way into the corner, I slid down and landed on my tailbone. A new wave of intense, searing pain rippled through my body. With all of the pain in my face and ribs, I forgot there was only one guy there that really kicked my ass.
I could still hear the music playing through the walls, but it was much more muted than before. I couldn’t even hear Frank singing at this point. I sat there and tried not to focus on all of my pain. I tried to ignore how bad it hurt every time I breathed in or out. I tried to get past the swollen eye and the broken nose. I even tried to forget about the throbbing in my skull and how I probably had a concussion. I say “tried” because nothing seemed to work. The pain was too much. I felt like I was dying.
Then I remembered why I was doing this in the first place. I focused on who I was helping and why and it seemed to make the pain go away. Sitting in that damp, dark basement, waiting for Sinatra’s last song, I felt better simply knowing that I had a purpose. That all of this mattered. That I was doing it for him.
After just a few short minutes of sitting there and focusing on him, my pain started to ease. Or at least I thought it did. In actuality, I passed out. But at least I passed out thinking of him. How all of this was for him.