But, But, Butt

Butting Heads

It was a warm, slightly overcast, Thursday afternoon, heading into fall. Two low wattage bulbs barely lit the dark, one room newspaper shack. We called it a shack because it consisted of 2” x 4” materials, with a door, a small steel barred window and without insulation on the walls. My older brother and I finished placing weekly adverts in the papers and headed out to deliver them.

A large group of mature, lonely poplar trees quietly towered behind the shack, extending an easy thirty feet into an open ravine. Two fairly lanky kids approached. “So, this is the tough guy that wants to fight?” mouthed the first kid, with a smug look smeared across his nasty looking face. The other kid seemed clean-cut. I wondered why my brother planned to fight the second kid. My brother had never been in a fight!

Turns out, it was my fight and my brother failed to advise me of my disposition. My brother wagered a bet that I could kick something or other out of the one kid. Once I figured out the slant this was taking, I was scared half to death. With my body starting to shake from fear, I nervously asked my brother how I was supposed to win this fight. I’d also never fought a real fight, in my life. The guy was clearly older and much larger. His only response was, “Kick him between the legs and the fight will end immediately”.

Alarms started sounding off inside my head as I could not imagine the pain I was asked to inflict. “I can’t kick the ape there”. This was in the late 60’s and they were just teaching us about peace and love, in the schools.

Without further warning, I was in the middle of this most unwelcomed fight and did not get a chance to admit that I needed to pee, possibly in my pants. The kid struck me with the force of a tornado, backed up with a burst of unwelcomed, painful kicks and lightning quick punches. He looked like he’d been in many fights, which did not help my feeling of self-worth, or what was left of it!

Things started to change rapidly, but not in my favor. He knocked me to the ground and began dropping the entire weight of his body onto my fragile head. After four or five strikes, I thought he was going to end my life, but not before I’d pass out. His butt landed on my dazed, spinning head. Unaware of which butt cheek that was now firmly locked into my teeth did not matter, as I felt the fight was about ready to finally take a better turn, in my favor. The intent was to ensure that I inflicted just enough pain that he would not come after me for a round two.

The air was filled with these incredibly delightful sounds of joyful music, to my pink, swollen, squashed outer ears. The feeling of becoming massacred started to slowly fade away. This now became my only hope of recovering after my failed attempt to execute that initial fatal kick. The kid did everything he could to free himself from the excruciating pain that he was now emotionally connecting with. I was not planning on letting go until he called, by this time, screamed, the proverbial, “Uncle”.

An elderly gentleman jumped in expecting to simply break up the fight. I’m sure he figured he would just pull us apart. He was not aware that we had become entangled, quite the way we were. With my second wind still shining, I had no immediate plans of changing my position with this maniac. The older fellow attempted unsuccessfully for several minutes to pull or shake me loose. His final attempt worked by somehow holding my pant leg down with his foot and gave one final yank that jerked the other kid from my successful deadlock. Off ran the kid, screaming and crying. The elderly man felt satisfied that he’d done his community duty and left in his automobile.

Torn, tattered, bruised, shattered and completely shaken, literally shaken, so to speak, I stood and listened to the other two finish negotiations. Even though I felt I’d finally won the fight, my brother and the other fellow agreed that it ended in a tie. My victory seemed spoiled.

Later that evening, the doorbell rang, with my mother answering it. There was the maniac who tried to wipe me off the face of this earth. I was appalled when I found out the bet was only for about five dollars. I was motioned to the door and was now in fear of the trouble I may be in. I was surprised to receive a sincere apology, based on the incriminating evidence his mother dragged out of him, during her motherly interrogation.

Believing that I now had what was needed to claim victory, I was feeling better. Like the lighting kicks inflicted on me during phase one of the fight, my mother did not miss a beat and quickly removed my win, right in front of me. I was forced to apologize to the frump. Now the two of us were both sitting at ground zero with all bragging rights snatched away. Thanks to my mother, who actually made this wise decision, I lost my final chance to call it a win. That actually took about twenty years for me to figure out.

Everybody more or less lived happily ever after, mainly because there was no rematch planned. To this day I often wonder what sort of ridiculous excuses he may have given to his future wife, to compensate for the lifetime of scars, I am sure he incurred. How would you cover that one up? School doctors do not normally vaccinate in that area. Surely none that would match the size of his long lasting wounds. Oh well!

22 thoughts on “But, But, Butt

  1. Having been the object of bullies for most of my school years, I can very much relate to the kid who failed to deliver the paralyzing blow in time to avoid the subsequent beating. It seems that I always thought of the flippant remark I should have made after the fact, and therefore, lost the battle. But, we all grow older and as you put it, how is the fighter going to explain the scars received in battle with other kids when he/she is an adult and married?

    The majority of my battle wounds come from harsh words from mean kids, and are not easily seen. However, they are there, and it has taken me a good long time to recuperate from said words designed to hurt and belittle and degrade me.

    Excellent story! I cannot say that I can relate to the world of teenage boys as I never was one, but I can relate to the fight or flight response of the main character. My general m.o. was to flee if possible, and if not, try to battle with words rather than fists. I lost many battles and the rest were hard won. Now, as a person in their 40’s. I have come to realize that winning the battle is not all it is cracked up to be. Sometimes, you simply have to back down and forfeit.

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    1. Unfortunately, my lovely wife, Stephanie, just pointed out that this is supposed to be Flash “Fiction” so it appears I just messed up that part as it was actually about my late brother and I. So often, we get caught, especially as young kids, in situations beyond our total comprehension and control, at the problem period and then get in the position you mentioned. I can say that girls and boys react differently as my problem was not wishing I’d have said something, but rather my mouth was usually what would land me in trouble. There are times I wished I could have reacted the way that you did as it sounds like you invited better options to a subject that is both painful and lacking of rewards. Nobody generally wins. Even tougher on young people as they deal with so many subjects that are confusing in the first place.

      The part of the fists totally went against my grain as I do not believe in fighting. That is one of the major problems with the world. People are hurting and getting hurt or killing and getting killed. It’s just wrong! There is nothing right about trying to hurt others, for any reason on this earth.

      You are right young lady, winning such battles is not in the least cracked up to what our minds may believe it to be. Keep going down your new path, of many years, and peace will find you on your journey! Thank you for taking the time to express yourself. It is always nice to read your thoughts. I am a firm believer that if we are able to air those long infested manifestations, that each small piece will release the pain, if only but a little bit each time. Thank you so much for popping in and reading my non-fiction, flash fiction. This may be the first one out there so I may have just started a new form of writing. Maybe I’ll just write about real life issues! Have a great weekend young lady! :o)

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      1. You make some excellent points. Fisticuffs are never the way to solve conflict. It breeds resentment, and generally leads to even greater problems requiring a use or show of even greater violence. It’s just not the answer. Perhaps I was an “odd” child prone to thinking about abstract and rhetorical questions from a young age. I was particularly concerned with politics, the government, and matters of the spirit/soul. I have been keeping journals since I was about 12, and that chronicles 32 years of life, and my budding interest in Sociology and Psychology. While my degree is in what can only be described as “underwater basket weaving”, having read those early journals written in the shaky hand of a newly minted longhand writer, I see the early signs of the questioning, seeking little spirit I was.

        I realized a few years back that you really do pick your battles based on how strongly you believe that you really are right or a compromise is to made. Not to say I didn’t give a couple of shiners to deserving boys when I was younger. But, some things are worth fighting for for many years, others only for a while to say you did the best you could to resolve the situation or turn it in your favor.

        It is difficult being young. I realize that now more so than when I was actually that hormonal teenager that was doing her best to make sense of a messy world. The world is even messier now, and I really feel for the kids these days. I was raised during the 70’s and very early 80’s, and life was just so much simpler (or its my impression). I do not envy the younger generations. We have not been very good stewards of the future or the present, really.

        I completely agree with you on the point that people around the world getting hurt or being hurt and killing or being killed is wrong, and not a super effective way to resolve a conflict. Conflict can only, in my opinion, be resolved through a compromise, a meeting of the minds, and especially dialogue. People are just people. They are human across all categories we might use to create an easy way to classify people. Either that or letting the various leaders involved duke it out in Vegas, and leave the people alone. They could charge a cover fee :)

        Was your brother younger or older? You strike me as a first born child….and it was a good story. The best “fiction” is often dangerously close to us.

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  2. Oh my garsh Laine Anne, this is so far out of my territory, I feel like asking for Air Miles. Would you happen to know their 1-800 number? My wife, Stephanie, pointed out that this is Flash “Fiction” and maybe I was not supposed to include a real story based on my brother and I, when we were kids. I may never recover. Thank you for your most kind words and support Laine Anne! :o)

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    1. Oh heavens Jeanette, I could not agree with you more! That is why I gently place my teeth in a jar at bed time each night, for safekeeping. They also need a break from me as well! Thank you for coming to visit. How are you doing these days?

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  3. This is a fascinating story, Alan, and so well told. I wasn’t sure whether it really was autobiographical or not until I read a few of your comments, above. I love the humour in it, too, as well as the honesty. I’m certain that bullies are here to stay, no matter how hard schools try to counter the problem, and there will always be children/young people forced into fights they dread. At least your encounter that day resulted in future ‘peace’.

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  4. Thanks so much for your kind comments Millie. I tend to agree with you, bullies are a difficult thing, that should not be an issue. Years ago, we were able to deal with such issues between home and school. Now it seems that too many people no longer have the strength to deal with these matters. The funny thing is, the kid I fought went to the same school and turned out to be a real nice kid and one I learned to respect once we got to know each other. His parents brought him up well! :o)

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  5. Ah, so the kid with the glasses is a scrapper. I figured as much. It’s always the ones who grow up and become wise and sensitive that were undisclosed heroes. :)
    You lived and learned. And your mom – quite wise – which also explains quite bit.
    Wondrous flashing here, Sir Alan.
    am:)
    Hope you and the Missus had a lovely weekend :)

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    1. It all comes out, even if it looks like Non-fiction masquerading as Flash-Fiction. That was my first fight and I was actually fighting for my life. The second and final fight I was doing what I believed to be the right thing and was walking away. The other kid ran up from behind and applied the advice my brother gave me for the first fight, with the only exception that he applied the rule from behind. I am glad I did not do that earlier as what I believed was so unbelievably true. :o)

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      1. You did do the right thing, Sir Alan! What would we have done without our siblings. My younger and thankfully smarter sister, kept me out of many a brawl. She always had my back :)
        I’m glad you made it through to become the wise and well-balanced fella you are today!
        Happy Monday!
        am:)

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      2. True. That was my brother we lost when he was 20. He was a strong, kind, caring and compassionate kid. The funny thing is, I never really knew why he did that to me. He did not need the money and I never fought (waiver here: Not counting all the battles with siblings). I still love him as much and miss him the same! :o)

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      3. He, like your uncle Robert, was a great guy. No apologies necessary young lady. Life is a bumpy road some days, and we often walk the same road as those around us. We take them as they come along. :o)

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  6. oh my……Well, I can only recall one “physical” fight I was ever in. Little girls are not supposed to do that. And my recollection is from third grade, my first year in what my mother called “sister school”.
    In our cafeteria, at lunch time, I go so angry at Cynthia that I marched over to her and smashed a Twinkie in her face! I don’t recall anything except the doing….one would suppose her lovely navy blue jumper with white blouse and Peter Pan collared uniform was a bit gooey for the rest of the day. Such a sissy girlie fight in comparison to your recollection.
    Seems to me, that a Twinkie in the face was a much safer kind of retaliation/fighting than the cyberspace bullying that goes on today.
    Haven’t thought about that in years…..can’t believe my mother packed Twinkies in my lunch! :)

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    1. Oh my is right! A wise choice on your part Lillian, dealing with violence in such a calm and caring manner. I have watched many crime shows on television, and to date, I do not recall one person being incarcerated for planting a Twinkie in the victim’s face. Your approach was sweet, like the Twinkie used in the crime of the moment. I cannot use the phrase “Crime of the Century” because I believe that has already been taken :o) The only part of your story that seems to border on Flash Fiction, is receiving Twinkies, in one’s lunch. Unheard of, simply unheard of! You must have been one of the luckiest girls in the whole world having a mother treating you like a princess! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderfully charming, non-fiction story Lillian. Hopefully, this flashback does not haunt your sleep, this week! :o)

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