The Brawl

The last thing that went through my mind before my head crashed through the window was this was going to hurt, possibly require stitches, and I doubted there was immediate medical care available. I felt the glass cut my arm, and then I was falling, weightless, and breathless. As I landed, all the wind flew from my lungs, a pain in my shoulder shook my whole body like an electrical charge. I rolled onto my back and slowly opened my eyes. Sweat rolled across my forehead, and the flies started swarming. A man stood over me, his chest heaving. He had a smell of a man who slept in a stable and hadn’t seen a bath in a week. Nausea crept within me, but I was unsure if it was the pain or his odor. I rolled to my side, and used my good arm to leverage myself up, scooting my sore body over to the railing and resting my head against the hot, sun bleached wood. I reached to my forehead, wiping my brow, it felt sticky. There was blood on my hand, confirming I had also lacerated my head, not surprising considering it was the first to break the window pane. Off in the distance a small airplane engine cranked over and sputtered to life. The wind blew steadily, a hot, dry air that flowed over my tired body reminding me I was a long, long way from that rainy airport and first class cabin. Where had all the time gone? I was tired, sore, and bleeding. But I have miles to go, and I would not be held back by some Australia ape with an axe to grind.

As he stood over me, it was easy to see his confidence rise, and his guard relax. He stood close enough to me that I could smell what he ate for breakfast last week. The sweat on his face dripped over a five day old stubble on his chin. I just sat there, my legs relaxed, and my arms relaxed by my side.

I waited.

“You have no business here,” he said, spitting his words.

The aircraft engine wound up louder, changing direction and starting to taxi. The wind eased up, and I opened my eyes, looking up. The man stood within a foot of me, his stance between my legs. His mistake. With all the energy I had left, I clamped my feet around his legs, rolled to my right, lifting him off his footing and sending him cascading to the wood planked deck. I rolled further, and summoned the energy to crouch. The large smelly Aussie found his footing and stood back up. With a deep breath, I leapt, kept my head tucked and slammed into his stomach. I heard the air leave his lungs as we went over the porch railing and for the second time in a matter of minutes, I flew. But as we landed, he hit first, and I plowed my elbow into his abdomen. Rolling off of him, I gained my footing and now stood over him, listening to him gasp for breath. Before he could regain any composure I slammed the toe of my boot into his side, feeling something break. He let out a bellow.

For good measure, I wound up and kicked him again.

Laying there, gasping for air, clutching his side, he rolled over with his back to me. I thought about kicking him again, but blood was causing my vision to blur, and I was out of breath. Instead, I shuffled down the dusty path in the direction of the aircraft, it’s engine idling and waiting. I heard shouts behind me, other’s from the pub. I turned, hand on my hip and looked back briefly. Three men stood over the other, still laying on the ground, clutching his guts. They just stared at me. I smiled, and then stumbled on down to the waiting aircraft.

The hot wind picked up again, and the windsock was fully extended. The air struck my face like a furnace, drying off the blood and sweat. I looked at my arm as I walked, there were small glass shards which I plucked from the skin. I’d live without sutures this time. As I walked, though, I started to ache deep into my joints. The adrenaline was releasing from my blood stream. One step at a time, until I reached the waiting airplane. It was a small plane, high wing, large tail, and single engine. I climbed into the passenger side, cramming my aching bones into the tight seat. The pilot and I were shoulder to shoulder. The plane smelled of oil, gasoline, and a sweet perfume. I placed the headset on my head.

“All right?” She asked.

“No. But it will be.”

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