Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My first fight.

I was 16. This kid, Wesley Forehand, was cruising around my neighborhood with a couple of his buddies. One of them, this little twerp named Scott Gorman, grabbed a bag of grass clippings and threw it onto the my friend Sarah's driveway. It broke open. Sarah yelled at him to pick it up. He called her a bitch. I walked over to see what his problem was... and to get him to clean it up...not realizing I was being baited into a physical confrontation by a trio of delinquents. They were just looking to find an outlet for some pent up macho energy. Any one of them could've just hit me and I would never have seen it coming. But like most macho idiots, they needed to get me to say something that they could use to justify their impending actions. At this age, most kids were all bark and no bite, so I didn't really think anything was going to happen. I figured I'd tell them to shut up and they would eventually leave. I was wrong. Scott started calling me a pussy...repeatedly. Then he shoved me. He was a lot smaller than me, so I thought it odd that he would try to intimidate me physically. I shoved him back. He went toppling over his bike that lay behind him. That's when Wes said, "That's it!" and pulled his shirt me a split second to realize what was happening. I had never been in a fight, but I remember my dad saying to me once: "If you can work it out by talking, then do that. If you can run, then run. But if you must fight... then make sure you hit him first, hit him as hard as you can, and as many times as you can." So when Wes came at me with his head down (it seemed he was looking to tackle me) it allowed me to put him in a side headlock with one arm, and beat his face in with the other. I heeded my father's words. I was still hitting him when I felt him become heavier and heavier. I was holding him up completely for the last few punches, until he became too heavy. He fell to the grass with a thud. He appeared to be unconscious. A moment went by before I realized what had happened. And then a strange thing happened. I started apologizing. I leaned over and asked if he was ok. I heard muffled moans. I touched his shoulder and apologized again. He eventually rolled over. I had smashed up his face pretty bad. His nose was gushing blood, and his lips were split. He crawled up into a sitting position and kept touching has hand to his face and looking at the blood saying "You broke my nose... You broke my nose." I felt sick.

I apologized again and said something like, "This didn't need to happen" as I turned to pick up my hat that had fallen off during the fight. When I straightened up, everything went white for a second and I felt like I had just woken up. I was dizzy. It wasn't until I saw the third kid, Jesse Ribbey, holding his hands up in a fighting stance, that I realized I had been hit. It was the first time I'd been squarely socked in the face. I touched my fingers to my lip, and looked down to see blood. I tasted it in my mouth. He had totally sucker punched me. He must've felt a bit cowardly, because he didn't hit me again, though he was shuffling and bouncing around like a boxer. My useless friends finally stepped between him and I, and I began walking away. No one came after me. It wasn't until I got to Sarah's house and saw what he had done to my face, that I actually became angry. I wanted to go back outside and fight him, but Sarah's father stopped me. It was probably a good thing. Jesse was a tough kid and would've hurt me pretty bad.

While I was inside tending to my face, Wesley was calling his older brother, a tough-guy named Billy. Wes spread the blood all over his face, and when Billy arrived he told him that I had attacked him. Billy showed up at the door to Sarah's house threatening to kill me. Sarah's dad chased him off, but only after getting on the phone and calling the police. Great... now I have this psychopath chasing me down.

Sarah's dad drove me home and I explained what happened to my parents. They instantly placed blame on me...standard operating procedure in the Kelley household. Sarah's father interjected and explained that I was standing up for his daughter and defending myself. Only then did they seem to become concerned about my injuries.

Apparently I had twisted my ankle during the scuffle and was limping around. Since I had heard my friends tell me they saw Billy Forehand cruising around the neighborhood on his moped, I chose to use a cane that would double as a blunt weapon if I needed it. At school it was a 5-iron. At home in the neighborhood it was a wooden baseball bat.

The stalkings from the older brother became worse. Someone had told him where I lived and he showed up outside the house. My father called the cops, but Billy left before they showed up. My Dad looked up the number in the phonebook and talked to their father on the phone. Apparently the Dad was a bigger moron than the kids, telling my father that I had attacked his son and that I had a beating coming. Yay!

And then... something really weird happened.

One day during band practice, Dave's dad came upstairs and said that Wes Forehand was outside and wanted to talk to me. I looked outside and saw him standing in the driveway. I saw a pickup truck parked across the street with someone in it. The three of us walked outside. I turned to Dave and Kevin. "You gonna watch my back this time?" They promised not to let anyone sucker punch me.

"I'm just here to talk," Wes said, holding his hands up.

I walked up to him, trying to look relaxed but nervous as hell. Dave and Kevin stood a few feet behind me. Wes sort of hung his head sheepishly as I approached. "Hey Greg," Wes said. "I just came by to apologize. You kicked my ass fair and square. I shouldn't have told my brother that you started it. That was fucked up... and I'm sorry." He extended his hand.

I was floored. I looked across the street. I could see Billy forehand sitting in the driver's seat of the pickup truck. This was strange.

"Alright," I said and shook his hand.

"So we're good?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "We're good."

"Alright. Thanks, man." He turned, walked to the truck, and got it in. They drove away.

As it turned out, Billy had a rap sheet and had done time in Juvenile Hall. Sarah's father had included in the police report that Billy had threatened to kill me. And then when my father called to report that he was stalking our home... some representative of the law paid Billy a little visit. I don't know if the cops gave him an ultimatum or what, but word got back to me that Billy was looking at more jail time just for making the threats. Also, word had gotten back to Billy that I didn't attack his brother... that it was the other way around and that I was just defending myself. He was pissed. This would explain why Billy personally escorted Wes to apologize to me... I still don't know whether it was the cops or Billy that insisted upon it.

What an ordeal. I suppose it ended well enough. Going forward after that, I felt like it was smarter to avoid confrontation than to have to go through something like this again. Don't get me wrong. I am not advocating being a pussy... just that sometimes its better to laugh things off.

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