Before we fuckin’ did this, I had one other thing I need to fuckin’ do. While Joe was heading up the stairs of what was once the Olde Towne Bank, I had Mike wait outside of the van so I could tell Rebecca…something. I hadn’t exactly figured that out yet, just that this is the time in the movie when our hero says something sexy and dangerous and memorable. My palms were sweaty and something was doing backflips in my stomach. I decided not to open with that. I was about to kill a whole bunch of guys, I wasn’t too prepared for or thrilled about it, and I’m sure that’s exactly how I looked. Rebecca Venom, comparatively, looked terrific. Calm, strong. She was nodding even though I wasn’t saying anything, like she understood all of the wonderful things I was too dumb and nervous to come up with.
“Don’t try to say anything clever or meaningful,” she said. “Don’t say anything at all. Thank you.” She leaned in and kissed me. She managed to open the side door behind me while we kissed without skipping a beat.
“It’s time. Right now. Don’t miss.” Strong women.
I closed the door before I could say anything stupid, and Mike and I started jogging as quickly and as quietly as we could across the street.
“I can’t wait till blowjobs get just a little bit more acceptable to the mainstream, know what I mean?” Mike whispered.
“Of course not, Mike.”
“Well, I mean, when we were in high school, parties were parties. Some pong, a six pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade to get nine freshmen drunk, and shitty music. If you were lucky, maybe, maybe you hooked up with someone by the end of the night, right?”
“Right, that was our high school scene. Hooks up sometimes if you're lucky, consistent blowjobs if you're legendary. Now at high school parties, these kids are just fuckin’ hookin’ up with everybody all the time for no reason. It’s like, ‘Ooh, Becky, did you fuckin’ hook up with Timmy yet?’ And Becky says ‘No,’ and then Becky and Timmy just start fuckin’ make out, and then, like ‘bye,’ ya know?”
“Why are you still going to high school parties?”
“It just seems like high school girls when we were in high school weren’t as easy or…no, that sounds mean, not easy…accommodating. They weren’t as accommodating when we were in high school. High school guys now, man, they have no fucking idea how good they‘ve got it.”
“Yea, good for them, can we focus-”
“Anyway that wasn’t really the point. Like, here’s the evolution: For us, hooking up randomly at high school parties was unacceptable. This new generation, it’s totally cool. You’ve gotta figure in a few years, blowjobs will be just as fucking acceptable as hooking up is now, ya know?”
“You really put a lot of thought into this.”
“I made a few charts, but doesn’t that sound awesome? Like, just think about goin’ to some high school graduation party in a few years.”
“When you’re thirty?”
“And this girl’s like ‘Ooh, Sandra, did you blow Mike yet?’ And she’ll be like ‘No.’ And the other girl will say ‘Oh, you should totally blow Mike.’ And I’m like ‘FUCK YEA YOU SHOULD.’ Ya know? That’s what it’s gonna be like, man.”
“I can’t believe this might be the last conversation I ever have.”
“You have to guess that even at a party with like, twelve chicks, you’re still gonna get fuckin’ twelve blowjobs. Jesus. I might get tired of them.”
“That’s ridiculous of course I won’t.”
“Mike. We’re here.” We were at the front door, my hand on the doorknob, Mike up against the wall. We were waiting for a sound, the sound of a bullet flying through the glass window above us. When that happened, the plan would be to-
Oh, shit. I pulled open the door while Mike spun around and calmly fired into the room. I swung out from behind the door and hesitated, just for a second, to look at the room before I started firing from my kneeling position. These motherfuckers never saw us coming. Two of them were already down, thanks to Joe, by the time I first surveyed the room, and more were going down, it seemed, every second. No one knew where the bullets were coming from; they saw Mike and I firing but there was the sound of glass breaking and Joe’s shots to confuse the whole situation. We couldn’t afford to shoot and duck, then shoot again, so we just shot. I looked at the seven that would be out of Joe’s line of sight and counted them down whenever one of us took one out.
Six. Five. Mike got two, both in the head.
Four. Right where I hope the heart is, though biology was never really my thing.
Three. Mike made sure that guy didn’t have a face anymore. Shit, one of Joe’s targets caught on and dodged out of the sight of the window. That’s one more for us. It took me two bullets to get him, and I’ve never been more disappointed in myself.
Two. Mike is a great shot. I aimed for the head and got the throat. Still effective, totally gross; he let out exactly the kind of sound you’d expect someone to make if they got shot in the throat, and blood sprayed everywhere like the world’s most terrifying sprinkler.
One left, and he looked terrified. Mike and I walked like total badasses into the lobby as the guy backed into the corner. He was holding one of those signal-sending transmitters that we do not want activated and Mike soundly shot it, right out of his hand, taking a few fingers with it. We each aimed at him.
This room was clear.
I quickly went to work picking up their guns and ammo, Mike quickly went to work placing the hand of one corpse onto the crotch of the corpse next to him. He couldn’t stop laughing.
“Everybody's gonna think they died like that.”
“You’re a superstar, Mike. Let’s keep moving. What‘s on the other side of that door?” Mike closed his eyes.
“Long hallway before the garage. No telling if there are any guards in there.” I put my hand on the door handle, without a clue of what I should expect, and almost shrieked like a tiny girl when Joe’s voice on Mike’s walkie talkie shattered the tense silence.
“Uh, guys? Guys are you dead?”
“Oh, yeah, we’re fine. You scared the shit out of Hank, he seriously won't stop pissing. Over.”
“Great, that’s great. You guys were supposed to call me when the room was clear, I have no fucking idea what’s going on down there and you forget to call me. Awesome. That’s not irresponsible or anything. Christ.” I am just always disappointing that guy. We opened the door.
“Fuck!” Mike yelled and he shot the one guy in the hallway. The yell seemed like kind of an overreaction for just one guy.
“Why did you scream?” Mike walked over to the body.
“Look.” He held up the left hand of the dead henchman. The transmitter was in his hand, and the button had been pressed down.
“Fuck.” Joe came running in, scaring the balls off me, yet again.
“Why are you guys just standing around?” Mike showed him the same thing he showed me, the indication that we were screwed in a little while.
“Fuck.” Glad to see we were in agreement. I switched the channel on my walkie talkie to the frequency that I knew Rebecca was on.
“Rebecca, can you hear me?”
“Hank, say ‘over,’” Mike was whispering. “Hank, over. Over.”
“I can hear you, are you alright?”
“Yea, we’re fine. You’re gonna need to do a little bit of driving, like we talked about..”
“Over. Haank, over!”
“OK. Alright. Less than a minute.”
“Over. Hank. Hank, can you-”
“Shut the fuck up, Mike.” We crowded around the door that leads to the garage. We’re going to be in there soon and we are going to face a shit ton of guys. Or maybe we're wrong, maybe there’ll be no one in there, and we’ll all feel very embarrassed. Honestly, I can live with a little embarrassment. I had my ear pressed to the door, listening for the sound of a van driving through a flimsy garage door. After a few seconds that felt like eight weeks, the van exploded into the garage. I hoped she was okay, but I didn’t dwell on her too much because Mike was already shoving his way into the garage. As soon as we got in there
I don’t even remember which one of us said that. There was a fuckload of guys in there, and not nearly enough of them were distracted by that van. We split up, like an elite special forces unit and screamed, like a pack of wild thirteen year old girls at a Fray concert. I fired. I fired blindly, but it didn’t matter at this point because there were so many fucking guards that if you fired a random shot, it was more likely that you’d hit someone than you wouldn’t. I dove behind a dusty crate that was full of, I hoped, bulletproof vests. I stuck my head out whenever I stopped hearing bullets flying and tried to shoot as many as I could. In times like these, instincts developed from watching every action movie ever made kick in, they just have to. There’s no time to think when all you hear are gunblasts and Mike screaming “I’m gonna fuck you” at the top of his lungs, so you just have to trust that you’re the good guy and you’re supposed to win. I ran out of bullets in my two beloved handguns a lot sooner than I thought I would and switched over to the automatic machine-gun-type thing that I’d take from one of the dead guards. I pointed it where all the noise was coming from, fired, and ran to another set of crates to hide behind. I don’t know how it was happening, but we were actually doing pretty well. We did have the jump on these guys and they were pretty much in one general area. I started to consider the possibility that we were going to make it as I made my way to Joe, who was very calmly firing from behind an emptied out oil barrel and not missing a single shot. He covered me while I dove behind him.
“I’m so fucking good at this it’s not even funny.” We hid behind the barrel and reloaded while the surprisingly silent henchmen fired at us. Mike was a few feet away, on top of one of the guards, slamming his face into the ground.
“So Hank,” Joe said, shoving a clip into his pistol. “I’ve been thinking- I think I’m gonna be a lawyer. Do the law thing. I’ll miss the truck of course, but, yeah. Immigration Law. I think that sounds good for me.” This was a huge change for Joe, who’d spent such a long time ignoring this path in favor of giving Flintstones Push-Pops to preteens. I answered him the same way I did when he told me the day he graduated law school that he was going to drive an ice cream truck instead of signing a contract with any of the firms that wanted him.
“Cool, man.” Mike crawled up beside us.
“Hey, Vice, I’ve been thinking. I think I’m gonna be a doctor. Just fuckin’ get my shit together and be a doctor, ya know?” I answered him the same way I always do when he announces his big plans.
“Shut the hell up, Mike, your fly is down.”
“Ah hah, Hank!” We fired off a couple of more rounds and checked our ammo. In the movies, ammo is never really an issue. We were, as I kept forgetting, not in a movie and therefore did not have too much. The van where the rest of our guns were stored was currently blocked by The Emperor’s henchmen. It didn’t look like they’d gotten inside it yet, so that was good, but they were shooting the hell out of it. Mike surveyed the room.
“Alright, about eight or nine guys blocking the van, and that looks like its all that’s left right now.” We felt the floor shake and all turned to see The Specialist, about ten yards away, advancing towards us. “Fuck. And, uh…him.”
“Any sign of anyone who looks like an Emperor?” I asked.
“Well no one was wearing a sash with ‘Spain’ in big red letters, if that’s what you’re wondering.” Asshole. The group guarding the van was talking and getting organized, The Specialist was getting closer, moving quickly and dodging behind boxes the whole way.
“OK, plan time. There are two guns with ammo between the three of us right now. Two of us need to go after those, what is it, eight or nine guys, get to Rebecca and the van, and get some more guns. Because eventually, more will show up. We know that. And someone’s got to fight that huge bastard. Probably hand to hand.” Joe said, and they both looked at me. The Specialist was advancing with no weapons. I suppose I wouldn’t carry them either, if I was one. They were both still staring at me. “OK, Mike, get the Specialist,” I wanted to say “and I’ll take a nap.” But, of course, I couldn’t. I got us into this.
“I’ll have ‘the special,’” I would have said if I was in Die Hard. But I’m not, so I just barely wheezed out
“I guess…I guess I’ll take that big guy unless one of you guys wants-” but they were already running away. Fantastic.
Guns were being fired and people were screaming. I didn’t want to turn back and check on Mike and Joe; I couldn’t take my eyes off the gigantic hitman heading towards me. He knew I was unarmed, he knew this was going to be a one-on-one, hand-to-hand fight, and he knew he was going to beat the shit out of me.
I thought back to when I was about fourteen years old, an awkward kid talking to his dad about fighting. My dad had taken a pretty ridiculous amount of martial arts classes in his day, and he took them very, very seriously. He was an ideal candidate for these classes, he understood the importance and responsibility inherent to possessing the knowledge and ability required to straight up murder someone. At fourteen, I did not. I was just a little punk asking my Dad if it was possible to kill someone with one hit and, if so, how. I wanted to know a super secret ninja combination to impress my friends, by murdering every single one of them.
“It’s about commitment,” he had said to me. “Find out how committed you are willing to be. Commitment means understanding the consequences. Yes, legal, but especially moral. To know what an attack does and what it means. What it means for him, and what it means for you. Once you understand the commitment, you decide if you want it or not. And then, you stick with it. If you’re committed, then you’re committed. Because if you want, I can show you some things. If you understand the commitment, I can show you moves that will stop a fight. One move and the fight’s over. And I can show you some moves that would stop a man. Doesn’t matter how big, or strong or fast. One move and that man is done.” He then talked me through a couple of moves from both categories that, at the time, I was too frightened to ever attempt. Commitment, responsibility, and consequences were things, at fourteen, I didn’t understand. Now, I do. I’m in this fight now, with my Dad’s voice in my head, reminding me of his instructions from almost a decade ago, hovering above me like Obi Wan Kenobi. Except my dad isn’t dead, or British and there are no space monsters. There is one giant, though. I considered first the moves to end a fight.
“It sounds stupid,” my Dad’s voice in my head, “but the eyes. Ignore all the complicated moves they’ll teach you in any class. In a real fight, no one is going to wait for you to get any proper moves done. In a street fight, you’re just two guys throwing blind punches. So poke the eyes. Not three stooges stuff, but if you get your fingers in the eyes -jab them up there- just throw four fingers at the eyes and if you get a few in there, the fight is over. You don’t rub off getting jabbed in the eye. He’ll be blind, and you’ll walk away.” The danger in this was getting close. I knew my distance. I could reach with one lunge forward. Step into it now. He’s not expecting you to be any kind of fighter, so move quickly and efficiently. Step in and throw that hand up there. I stopped thinking and started doing. I stopped forward and, to my surprise, he did too. This was not according to plan. He was closer than I expected, but I shot my right hand up anyway. I definitely felt something soft and I definitely sent him back a few steps. I pulled my hand back; blood on my index and middle finger. A good sign. Also, gross. The sudden shift in our positions was too important of a change that I just wasn’t skilled enough to make the proper adjustments for. I’d only made contact with one eye, his left, which he now kept closed. So he was partially blinded, but his pissed-off-at-me status was not partial at all. It was full, I guessed, though I don’t really have anything that could measure…something like that. He was advancing on me now and most likely expecting and preparing for another facial attack.
“A shot to the kidney,” Memory Dad told me, indicating where exactly the human kidney was located. “That’d stop someone right in his tracks.”
As this angry, enormous brick wall with a face approached me, I faked another jab to the eye with my left hand and punched with all my might, right where Memory Dad told me. The brick wall laughed derisively.
“Unless he’s in really great shape,” Memory Dad quickly added. Fuck.
“Fuck.” Leonard The Specialist grabbed me by the throat and tossed me several yards away. I landed hard, my back bending over a sharp, steel crate that was placed, I can only assume, for this exact purpose. The pain was excruciating.
“Get up. Stop being such a pussy,” Memory Dad screamed. That wasn’t from our karate lesson, actually, my subconscious accessed his words from when I was 9 and he was lovingly teaching me how to ride a bike. Wildly inappropriate at the time, but fitting advice for my current situation. I did as I was told with an out load “Yes, sir,” that seemed to confuse the Specialist, if only for a second. There was still about nine feet between us, so I decided to back up, like a man. He moved faster than I would have predicted based on his size and all known laws of nature. What was left of his eye was still dripping blood, but he seemed unphased. His expression implied “I’m going to murder you slowly and painfully and probably get a boner over it.” I didn’t have a mirror, but gun to my head, I’d say my expression screamed “I’d be pissing my pants right now if I wasn’t so certain that you just paralyzed my dick back there.”
My backpedaling, manly and brave though it was, was no match for the speed of this Mobile Home with arms. At a temporary lack of fatherly advice, (Memory Dad was most likely off getting a Memory Beer), I took my cue from every boxer I’d ever seen and threw a punch with the intended destination of the Specialist’s face. He caught my hand easily and, with an equal lack of substantial effort, broke my fucking hand. Just crushed it.
I don’t know how many bones are in the human hand. I couldn’t count the amount of cracks that occurred, mostly because I was shrieking, (like a man), far too loud to pick up any other sounds. Let’s say, a lot. There are a lot of bones in the human hand, and he broke them all. He broke a lot of bones in my hand, a whole bunch. And breaking my fucking hand (my fucking hand!) wasn’t enough. You break someone’s hand, you let it go. That’s just common courtesy. This asshole was not letting go of my hand. He clutched it and pulled me in closer. The pain was lowering me to the ground, my knees were bending and he was looming over me. Blood and some other eye juice dripped from his eye socket onto my forehead. Not in my mouth, not in my mouth. Do not let it land in my mouth.
It totally fucking did.
He was crushing my already brokenfuckinghand (fuck!). Would I have to lose this hand? I think this damage is beyond anything a cast could fix. When he just eventually turns my hand bones into powder, would I just lose it all together? Do I get a new rubber hand, or can I get it replaced with a robot hand? Because I’m actually really OK with that. I suppose these questions don’t need answers. I’m going to die very soon. He was towering above me, and I was ready to blackout, sitting on an invisible chair.
“Some moves can stop a fight, some can stop a man. Dead. But that’s up to you, if you have the commitment. Are you committed?”
I closed my eyes and remembered exactly how the move went. The one move my Dad taught me in the second category. I made the fingers on my left hand as stiff as possible, spreading my thumb and forefinger wide and pressing the rest of my fingers together. He didn’t notice this preparation; he was relishing what I’m sure he knew to be my last minute alive. He took a breath and opened his mouth to speak, presumably to say some typically super villainy cliché about how I was no match for him or how he was going to fuck my corpse till Christmas, but I wasn’t going to give him the chance to get a single syllable out. I summoned what was left of my strength. My position, the bent knees, gave me an advantage for this particular move. I shot up quickly and swung my arm up, using all my strength and my own momentum to focus all of my force straight into his throat. The little nook formed between my thumb and forefinger connected with his trachea. I pushed. I pushed with everything. I pushed like pushing was my motherfucking job and I motherfucking loved it. Dad described to me, nine years ago, what collapsing a person’s windpipe might feel like.
He had no idea.
I saw the Specialist’s good eye widen and I heard a mix of gurgling and gasping sneak out of his mouth. When his grip on my brokenmotherfuckinghand loosened, I sidestepped out of the way, just in time for his falling, gigantic body to miss me on its way down. He hit the ground with a thud that probably woke everyone in a two mile radius.
He didn’t struggle or call for help, he didn’t get up and eat me, he didn’t even breathe. He laid there on the floor of the warehouse. They’re gonna need two coffins.
“Doesn’t matter how big or strong they are,” I said, echoing my Dad’s guarantee, “Hank Donahue can murder the fuck out of them with one god damn hand.”
He never said that last part, but I’m certainly going to include it in the lessons I teach to my kids.