I want to start off with a few stories so anyone who happens by can see there is a range- horror, history, memoir, contemporary, etc. I tend to write about whatever pops into my head.
Titles are sometimes a problem for me. I want the title to give some idea of what the story is about, but not just blurt out the story. Oddly, three of my earliest stories all seemed to have a musical theme as their title. One was Inna Gadda Da Vida, that great old Iron Butterfly classic. Another was Little Red Corvette. Remember Prince? I’ll post these stories soon. The one I’m posting now doesn’t have a song as it’s title, but a line from a song. It’s about a young woman facing a frightening situation. I’ve tried to put myself in her place. I wasn’t sure if I could create a believable woman’s voice. I’ll let you decide.
Hear Me Roar
So here’s the thing. I’m not like most girls. I mean, yeah, I like frilly dresses and I giggle around cute guys. But I’m different. I like sports. I know there are a lot of women in sports and we even have professional leagues and stuff. But we are a small minority. Most girls just don’t like sports. I like basketball and football, but not baseball. Baseball is sooo boring. It freaks my dates out sometimes when I have an intelligent opinion about a sports team. I think they feel intimidated.
But my main love is soccer. I blame Daddy. He put me in Peewee Soccer League when I was very small. I loved running around the beautiful green grass screaming my fool head off. I later found out I was supposed to kick the white ball. Even later I learned that there was strategy involved. And I found I was good at it. Very good. But Coach thought I could be better. He told Daddy I lacked discipline, focus and control. What the hey? I was like 10. What ten year old has discipline, focus or control? He suggested martial arts to help me bring my A game.
So Daddy took me down to the local dojo and signed me up for classes. Didn’t even ask me. Just threw me in. I hated it. I didn’t like the smell of sandalwood incense mixed with Ben Gay and boys’ sweat. Yeah, boys. Martial arts has to be the most male dominated sport. I was the only girl. And all the tacky paper lanterns and other chintzy stuff trying to make a cheap spot in a strip mall look vaguely “oriental”. And the stupid aphorisms on the posters that basically say “you’re an idiot if you think this is deep.” And white pajamas? White is just so not my color. With my pale skin and blond hair I look all washed out. I just fade into the background. Sorry, but I’m not a background kind of girl.
So I rebelled. They could lead me to dojo but they couldn’t make me kick. I think Sensei loved the challenge. He saw my stubbornness as something he could work with. I hate to admit it, but nearly 10 years later I am a martial arts queen. I can square up with a bigger, more testosterone pumped opponent and take him down in 5. As a first level brown belt I still have a long way to go. Put me in front of an equally trained partner and I get my ass handed to me about 75% of the time. But in a general melee I am fearless. I can kick ass.
So why am I telling you this? It’s good to know. If Frankie had known this he could have made much smarter decisions.
You see, my favorite soccer team had a match in a nearby city. Me and some guys I hang with took the train to the game. My team won. Yay. We got back to town late but the buses were still running. When we got to the train station the guys offered to walk me to my bus stop. I said no, it’s only a few blocks, you can see it from here, it’s well lit. All the usual excuses. They didn’t like it but knew it was no use arguing with me. Did I mention I’m stubborn?
Well, I set off. It was a beautiful spring night, only slightly cool. My team had won, I’d made a little money on a side bet, I’d had a few beers. Life was good. Which means I failed at Girl Rule Number One. “Always be aware of your surroundings.”
I was knocked half way down a side alley before I knew what hit me. Some cretin had me in a bear hug, dragging me deeper into the shadows. He crooned into my ear, “Hey girlie. What’s your hurry? Let’s have a little fun.” I have to admit I had a moment of panic. His breath smelled like cat piss, or maybe Pabst Blue Ribbon. I can never tell those two apart. And I could probably pick up a few third world diseases just from touching him. Yuck.
So I gave him a hard elbow to the solar plexus, spun left and leapt a good five feet away from him. Unfortunately, I leapt in the wrong direction. Bozo here was still between me and the main street. Okay, I figured. Maybe I can talk my way out of this. Bozo looked puzzled. I think he thought I’d run. Yeah, run deeper into a dark alley? Not gonna happen.
“Look, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but I’m not interested. Just step aside and let me get back to the street and no one will get hurt,” I reasoned.
“No one’s stopping you,” he said with a leering grin. I noticed he also was still standing in the middle of the alley. There was no way past him without getting within arm’s length. But you have to try.
As soon as I got close enough he sprang on me. “Gotcha! Come here, baby. I knew you wanted me all along. Don’t play hard to get now.” I managed to get my back to him while we grappled. I grabbed a thumb and bent it back as hard as I could. He yelped and loosened his grip. Free to move, I spun, executing a perfect rondé, ending with a foot in his family jewels. Unfortunately, I was wearing soft sneakers so Bozo will probably be back to diluting the quality of the gene pool in about a week. He doubled over with a wheeze managing to push me back down the alleyway, still blocking my exit.
“Damn you, girlie. I’m done playing.” I heard a click as he produced a switchblade with a long, wicked looking blade. I gulped. This is not good.
He slowly approached me weaving little circles in the air with the tip of his knife. I have to admit it riveted my attention. “So, cut the shit. Drop your purse and start by undoing the blouse. I wanna see what I’ve got.” That is sooo not going to happen. So I dropped into my kata stance. He got a puzzled look again on his stupid face but Bozo kept advancing. I backed making sure I stayed in the center of the alley. I didn’t need to get backed into a corner. He took a couple of swipes with the knife. I easily dodged. It was immediately apparent Bozo knew as much about knife fighting as I do about nuclear science. I could work with that. I feinted toward him. It startled him and he backed. Then he resumed his sickening grin. It only took a few moments but he soon did something supremely stupid. An overhand sweep with the knife. I stepped into it, grabbed his wrist and using his own momentum kept his hand moving in a downward arc and back up the other side. As he twisted I used a foot to trip him up. He flipped and landed on his back, me still holding his wrist. I hit his pressure point on the back of his hand making him drop the knife. Then, grabbing the open hand I twisted and yanked. I heard three sounds in quick succession. A squelching pop as his shoulder dislocated, a crackle as several of his fingers broke. I didn’t mean to do that. Oopsie. And a squeal that would put all the pigs in Georgia to shame. Lord, he screamed like a girl. With his second breath after the squeal he yelled, “You bitch. You broke my arm. I’m gonna kill ya.” With that he lurched to his feet looking for his knife. I could have gotten by him now, but the adrenaline was up. He charged me but I spun away landing a kick on his useless right arm. He squealed again ending with a wheezy “You cunt!”
I thought, oh you did not want to say that. I easily got behind him and swept his feet out so he was on his back again. I put my foot lightly on his outstretched hand, the one with several broken fingers and said, “You never want to say that to a lady.” Then I put my weight on it and ground it like a cigarette. I’m surprised the following scream didn’t break the windows of nearby buildings.
I pulled out my cell and called 911. I reported an attempted rape but told the dispatcher everything was under control. I gave Bozo a glare and said “I’d stay down if I were you.” He remained huddled in a ball keening over his mangled hand.
It only took the cops a couple of minutes to arrive. Slow night, I guess. Two black and whites showed up nearly simultaneously, lights flashing. Three cops swarmed us, guns drawn.
I put my palms up to show I was unarmed and told them, “Dickboy here tried to rape me. Guess my martial arts training came in handy.” They holstered their guns and one even laughed. They untangled Bozo to cuff him. I asked them to be careful, that he had a dislocated shoulder and broken hand. Three pairs of eyebrow went up in renewed respect. Lead Cop looked at my assailant and said, “Frankie! You just got out of lockup last week. You know this is going to put you in prison for good.” He just mewled, tears and snot running down his face. With a sigh Lead Cop continued, “Sorry bud , but this is gonna hurt.” He quickly grabbed Frankie’s dislocated arm and yanked it back into place. Frankie’s fourth scream of the night rang out. Quiet Cop took Frankie to the car while Lead Cop took my statement. I bristled when he asked why I was out alone at night. When did that become a crime? But I was respectful and told him about the out of town game. He advised me I needed to be more careful. Duh.
“I can take care of myself,” I told him.
“You’re lucky he didn’t have a gun.” Yikes. I hadn’t considered that.
“I’ll have Officer Dennison here take you home. The DA will be contacting you about charges.” And he handed me off to Hot Cop. Waaay Hot Cop. To die for blue eyes, about my age and everything. I even for a moment considered a girlie swoon just to get his arms around me.
As he dropped me at my apartment he handed me his cop card. “If you remember anything you want to add to your statement or if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call.”
“Yes, officer,” I said demurely.
“It’s Joel,” he grinned and pulled away. I know from cop shows about the cop card and calling if you remember details. But the “if you need anything” part? Was Officer Joel Dennison flirting?
As I unlocked the door I had to smile. What a great night. My team won, I kicked ass making the streets safer (Sensei would be proud) and I got a cute boy’s phone number. Triple crown!
And in case you missed the music reference, the title is from a line in the old Helen Reddy song “I Am Woman.”