Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Violence begets violence

Oleg Volk

The connection was laden with static but the voice on the other end
came through steady and reassuring.
"Where are you?" it inquired.
"Highway 16 at Rooks Creek Bridge."
"Where do you need me?"

Tim Carpe looked out to the slight ridge two hundred meters in front
of him. Four menacing shapes were closing in steadily, leisurely.
His hands did not shake as they rose to shield his eyes from the
oblique rays of the afternoon sun.

"Bearing 210, range 200. Four in the open."
"Bearing 210, range 200, four, loud and clear."

The steady drone of the cicadas went on for another thirty second.
Another sound, faint at first but dopplering in steadily, filled the
air. He could see minute contrails which terminated in beautiful
black tulips growing just behind the four shapes on the ridges.
Split second later, the shock wave washed over him.
"Over by 50," he said into the phone "Bearing is good."
Another line of explosions dotted the landscape, this time exactly
on the ridge line. Then one more, for luck.

Tim's daydream gave way to reality as his cell phone connected to
home and then to the answering machine. Mom wasn't home and, had she
been home, what could she have done for him? The four bullies were
half-way down from the ridge by now, and would run him down before
he could retreat back to the school.

At age ten, Tim was a pretty good runner. But the four tormentors
were each thirteen and held a decisive advantage in speed and
endurance. His closest safe haven was the school, two clicks away.
His way home was blocked by those four. He stood at the far end of
the short stone bridge and tried to think fast.

Mom always insisted that he talk his way out of this kind of
trouble. Maybe that's how adults did it. Tim didn't think he'd talk
well with a mouth-full of broken teeth, which is what the older boys
promised him as they got within earshot. His mom would call their
parents after it was all over and ask them to reign in their
hooligans. Nothing would change.

The faces were distinct now, though he remembered them well enough
from the last beating he got. John, the ring-leader, was a few steps
ahead of the rest, his chiseled features reminding Tim of old
recruiting posters he saw at a museum once. John's nylon jacket
swished menacingly with the boy's every step. Jeff and Harry, twins,
were right behind, grinning with the pleasure of anticipation.
Romeo, the last of the bullies, was huffing from the exertion
required to keep up with his friends. Big but not very athletic, he
was the stomper, not a fighter. Once the victim was down, he'd jump
in and break ribs.

Tim did not want a beating. His stomach was all knots, and his mouth
was dry. His eyes squinted against the glare of the May sunlight. He
tried to think of something to say but his mind kept coming to the
line from some forgotten movie: "Rank one, volley fiiiiiire!" A fat
lot of good that did him now.

"Hi, guys," he said, trying and failing to keep his voice from
rising with betrayed fear. He put both of his hands into the pockets
of his sweatshirt. His left hand came out with a twenty, a
peace offering. "Won't you take this and not beat me today?" He
tried to sound confident.

The two twins looked at each other and smirked. John extended his
hand for the money and said genially, turning his head to his
entourage: "Can't buy us that cheap, can he, boys?" His friends
whooped agreement, and started to spread out.

It took Tim just four steps to cross the bridge over Rooks Creek,
his own Rubicon. As John's head began to turn front, Tim's right
hand came out of his pocket with a short piece of steel rebar.
Stepping forward, the boy put all of his slight weight into the gut
punch that folded his adversary in half. For a long, lucid moment,
Tim felt fear of the consequences wash over him: the gang would
surely kill him now. He saw the back John's close-cropped head waver
slightly just in front of his hands, heard sharp intake of breath as
the other began to recover. Whirling around to gain momentum, Tim
brought his weapon down on the base of his enemy's skull.

The three boys felt something change, as their erstwhile victim
walked steadily at them. The slight smile on Tim's face scared them
more than his weapon. Seconds later, the broke and ran. Tim
continued to walk towards home. Behind him, John's pulse ceased.


  1. Wow, MORE!

    Good stuff brother. -55six

  2. I'll say Wow!

    Did Oleg write this?

    It was a powerful piece of work.


  3. Yes, I posted some others of his in the last week. Don't know if you saw them or not.