Well…back to the tale.
I was hangin’ out on the beach with a bunch of friends when it all happened. One of the guys had turned up with a small grocery bag full of marijuana and most of us were as stoned as a burka-less Muslim woman. (stoned….get it?) I know….not all that funny. However, we were having our usual good time when all of a sudden, four older red necked looking guys came up and started to deliberately try and ‘harsh our buzz’ as they say.
One of my best pals back then was a guy we all called ‘Tank’. No…he wasn’t very big at all but he once got so stoned and drunk that he dunked his head into a lobster tank at a seafood restaurant. He later explained as we were all ushered out of the joint that one of the lobsters had asked him to “come closer”. So..he did.
Anyway, Tank was a harmless guy but nonetheless, a couple of the rednecks were getting in his face about something or other. I began easing over to where they stood to see what was going on. As I grew close enough, I could hear a couple of them making fun of Tank’s hair which, quite frankly looked a little like a vintage Artis Gilmore afro and while Tank WAS tanned…he was NOT black.
They really weren’t acting all that aggressive so I walked up in a very passive manner.
“Hey guys…..what’s goin’ on?” I asked innocently.
The shortest guy in the foursome gave me his best James Dean greaser grimace.
“We ain’t talkin’ to you.” Was all he said.
I looked at Tank.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
Tank looked at me with fear in his eyes before he managed to say that he was okay.
A skinny guy with red hair stepped up and got in Tanks face.
“We don’t want no white hippy niggers on our fuckin’ beach.” He snarled. “Don’t let me catch you here again.”
Tank was a meek guy but, this being the era of social revolution, his outrage had been ignited and he began to preach to the guy about how racist and offensive his remark had been.
Well….truth be told…he didn’t get much of a chance to voice his abject indignation before the guy landed a hay maker upside the left side of Tanks bushy head. I think the punch actually landed somewhere between the opening of his mouth and the expulsion of air as his first word was being uttered.
He went down faster than a Clinton intern!
Well damn…..hippy or not, that pissed me off! Truth be known….I was a hippy in lifestyle only. Hell, I grew up fighting, playing football and raising hell so….the ex full strength Southern boy overtook my Harry Chapin side and I charged the guy. My right shoulder drove into his chest so hard that I could hear the wind leave his lungs as we both hit the sand. We landed hard and before I could pick myself up off of him, his buddies decided that I would make a great communal punching bag. I got in a few shots but, for the most part, they kicked the crap out of me. A couple of them held me up, down, and sideways while the other guys wore me out until some other good natured beach goers managed to pull them off of me. Tank and I were both left on the beach, bleeding and moaning while the merry band of rednecks ambled off.
Thankfully, neither of us was injured too badly but I was damned mad. Later in the afternoon, one of the kids who had been on the beach came up to me as I was sitting at an outdoor patio bar nursing my wounds.
“Hey dude….I know where those guys are staying!” He grinned. “The assholes who jumped you.” He added.
I looked at him and then at Tank.
“Oh really?” I laughed. “Well…why don’t we go visit ‘em Tank?”
“What the hell for?” He asked seriously.
“Revenge would be a good reason don’t you think?” I asked.
He looked at me as though I was stark raving mad.
“No man….I’m over it.” He replied meekly and then, in the true fashion of the era added. “Make love not war dude.”
Well, his attitude ticked me off and I told him so. After all, the only reason I had been pummeled was because I was trying to help HIM!
“Damn Tank….you got popped once and went down like a rag doll! They kicked my ass for half the fucking day!” I shouted.
“Well….that ain’t me dude. I ain’t no fighter.” He said then got up and walked away.
Well hell….I didn’t plan on actually fighting all of the rednecks! I just wanted a measure of revenge! Where was his indignation? Where was his pride? Where were his balls?
Give peace a chance my ASS!
This is one of those times when I wish I would have had access to an ‘undo’ button on my life but…..
No such luck.
I spent the rest of the day, dreaming up some form of revenge and yes….drinking. I had to be careful of course because there were four of them, one of me and they HAD kicked my ass once already that day.
I needed a plan.
I decided to go check out the house where the rednecks were staying. Unfortunately, they were not out bar hopping. They were at home with a dozen or so of their closest friends.
The house was one of those typical semi dilapidated sun bleached row houses that were so familiar in any beach town in those days. Still are I suppose. Due to the lack of air conditioning in the old house, the doors and windows were wide open and it was obvious there was a party going on. I sat on my old Honda motorcycle across the street from the house watching and brooding when suddenly, I saw the redheaded guy come walking out the front door and head toward a car in the sand driveway.
Without even thinking about it, I hopped off my bike and ran toward the guy. I reached him in a few seconds and slammed him into the side of the old car. He had seen me coming at the last second but wasn’t able to put up much of a defense before I had rammed him into the car and punched him in the mouth a couple of times. To his credit, he didn’t go down and was fighting valiantly until I dropped him with a hard left.
Just as I was enjoying myself, the lights dimmed as though a movie was starting and suddenly I was on the ground looking up at about a hundred people. Okay, it was only a dozen or two but most of them were either kicking my ass or actively suggesting that it be done.
Sometime during the melee, I remember that a really fat black haired woman kept kicking me in the ribs while I was being held down. She was screaming like a maniac.
“He’s my old man motherfucker!!” She screamed over and over again as she tried to cave in my rib cage.
Once again….I was saved by onlookers. This time from the adjoining houses who had come out of their homes and figured that my ass had been sufficiently thrashed enough for one night.
I lay there in the sand for the second time that day and tried to survey the damage.
Somehow, I was alive and somewhat coherent but it was quite obvious that a few ribs were bruised/cracked/broken and that my left wrist was definitely broken. The odd angle at which my hand pointed back at me was a dead giveaway. I remember thinking that I’d never be able to ride my bike back home.
As I recovered a bit, an old man came over and offered to call an ambulance for me. I declined and told him I’d walk to the hospital which was only a few blocks away.
“Boy….I don’t think you gotta few blocks left in you.” He chuckled. “Hell….I drive you.”
I mumbled my thanks and staggered over to retrieve the key from my bike.
Within minutes, I was in the near deserted emergency room having my wrist set, receiving a few stitches and being cleaned up. Mercifully, they shot me full of something and laid my weary ass in a hospital bed for the night.
When I woke up the next morning, I was discharged and went straight to my house and crashed for another day.
Sometime during that time, I hatched a plan.
I had a buddy of mine drive me to get my bike. He rode my bike and I took his car back to my house but not before noticing that the rednecks were still there. I saw the same cars so, I knew I’d be coming back to visit.
Give peace a chance?
No friggin' way!
Later that day, I decided to enlist a friend of mine in my little plan.
Steve Dorsett was at home and partying hearty that afternoon when I arrived unannounced. Steve was a bona fide NUT and was known to be up for anything that offered excitement.
As I walked into his house, I was greeted by the smell of pot smoke and the sound of CCR cranking out of the stereo. In the corner of the living room, I saw Steve kneeling on the floor snorting coke off of a cheap coffee table. He waved me over and of course, I indulged as well. After snorting a couple of long lines, I sat on the floor and waited for the rush.
Steve grinned at me.
“Damn dude…what happened to your arm? Your face?” He laughed as he looked me over. “Shit…what happened to all of you?”
“Four rednecks did a tap dance on me down at Ocean Drive the other day….TWICE!”
As we sat there and experienced the rush, I related the events of my rather shitty day. As the rush intensified, so did our youthful testosterone and before long, I had Steve and myself ready to go to war! Did I mention that Steve was a NUT?
“Let’s go waste those mother fuckers!” He snarled.
“Naw man….we can’t KILL the bastards but we CAN get even.”
I laid out the plan of retribution I had been mulling around in my beady little brain.
Unfortunately for me AND Steve…..ole Steve was completely gung ho about the whole plan.
Within minutes, we had recruited two other guys. One of them (I’m not making this up) was nicknamed ‘Pistol Pete’…not because he was a great basketball player ala Pete Maravich but because he LOVED pistols and owned a bunch of them!
The other guy was a really large lifeguard who answered to the rather unusual name of Grunt. I didn’t know Grunt very well but I do know that his name was well earned. He rarely spoke and what did come out of his mouth was more of a grunt than an actual language. Some said that he was a former Marine who had seen too much combat in Vietnam but I tend to think his nickname was more a product of his oratorical skills…or lack thereof. Hell, maybe it was a bit of both but he was a scary lookin’ dude no matter how the name originated.
Is it just me or are you getting a bad feeling about where this whole yarn is heading?
Boy….I wish I’d have had a bad feeling back then but damn it!
It was such a great idea at the time.
Okay….it's time to let ya’ll in on what I figured at the time to be a brilliant plan. After all, three other dope smoking, coke snortin’, beer drinkin’ manly men with a couple of hundred active brain cells between ‘em were absolutely SOLD on the strategy so….it should have gone off without a glitch right?
Here's the deal.....
We were gonna drive over to the redneck house in Grunt’s old Buick land yacht. If the party was still going on, we were simply going to walk through the front door. Once inside, we were going to kick the shit out of the rednecks in their own damned house. Pete was carrying a large handgun just in case the odds were against us so, we were gleefully anticipating a good time.
Needless to say, things didn’t go exactly the way we had planned.
Dear Lord did things go wrong that fateful night.
Before it was over, we were facing seven counts of armed robbery, six counts of assault with intent to kill, several counts of stuff I’d never heard of and a partridge in a friggin’ pear tree as I recall.
Not a great night in my life!
To Be Continued ASAP!