Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bad Love

Previously on 24-6...which would be 18...but 18 by itself would not convey the meaning of 24 (-6) that the author is tryin' to get across. Of course, if you never heard of "24" you won't get the refrence so I'm kinda banking that you have at least heard of it.
If you haven't, here's the alternate reference: Previously on Noirth By Noirthwest (but actually taking place in the southwest):

Young Ben decides to become a "bad" boy. Prompted by the observation that ladies prefer the "bad," mysterious, strong n' tough guys who also happen to break the rules.
Of course, young Ben hadn't seen all that many ladies, and the ones he had happened to be in the same dive's he was in, but overall, his Benservation was (and is) generally true among many (not all) young women. Even those who don't go to biker/sailor/cowboy/redneck/trucker/sh*tkicker/longshoremen/yardworker dive's.

Ben is off to a good start, having befriended Luca, the toughest guy he knew.
Luca proceeds to instruct Ben in the fine art of brawling, evading thrown beer bottles, chairs (and anything else not nailed down) tough talk (Bronxish), and all things tough, such as how not to dress.
That's right, badass 101 with the matching attitude. So without further adoo...

Just how bad do I wanna be? I pondered. Bad enough, without bein' an actual criminal should be alright. There's still some lines I won't cross, I mused, smiling grimly at the unintended pun.

Tough guys always smile grimly. Squint my eyes a bit...not too much. God, I look like a f*ckin' idiot! I thought, looking at my facial expressions in the mirror.

I don't even have any crinkles around my eyes, no weather-beaten face, and only a slight hint at five o'clock shadow, from two days ago. At least I got calluses on my hands. But my face is in direct opposition to anything resembling bad, bad Leroy Ben, I thought, disgusted with myself.

I worked more on my expressions. Anger came across pretty good, but I definitely didn't look scary. I could do joy okay. How about mysterious? Arrcchh! What is that? It's like my face wasn't built with "bad" in mind, I thought, feelin' more like one of the Three Stooges than a tough guy.

Damn it! How did John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Humphry Bogart, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, etc., do it? I wondered. Okay, try to feel pissed off, I coached myself. Silent but deadly look...c'mon!

"What the hell are ya doin'?" A deep gravelly voice asked behind me, before laughin' out loud.

Oh sh*t! I thought, whirling around to see Luca. He must've seen me.

"Ha ha," I said, barely audible. "Just messin' around."

"You sure looked funny! F*ck! You looked like Red Skelton!" Luca managed to say, doubled over laughin'.

I could feel my face turnin' red with embarassment. Stupid, I thought. There's no privacy in a ship's head. How long had he been standing there?

"So you don't look mean n' bad, hell yer still a kid," Luca said, slapping my back with his ham-sized hand. I nearly lost my balance.

"But look at it this way, you can use that. It's better for you if no one knows how tough you are. And if they're laughin' they'll be ripe fer the pickin'," he concluded, chuckling.

"I...see your point," I said hesitantly.

"Yeah, you'll get...whatchamacallit...underestimatated," Luca said.

I smiled, avoiding the urge to laugh. I wasn't gonna take the risk of embarassing Luca over his butcherin' of the word. I saw a poor sap do that...once. It wasn't pretty.
It was common for Luca to mispronounce big words, or add to them. It wasn't intentional as far as I could tell.
Sometimes he would also try to use a big word he thought he knew the meaning of when it meant somethin' else entirely.

"Ya hear what I'm sayin'? Hell, they'll be sittin' ducks 'cause theys won't takes ya seriously," Luca said.

"I hear ya," I replied.

I hadn't considered that. Luca was right, but I still wanted to look tough. Maybe in a few years, I hoped. Some scars would help. But gettin' scars would hurt, so I'll try to avoid that avenue.

"Ya ready to do some serious drinkin'?" Luca asked.

"Damn straight," I replied, smilin'.

Around eight beers later Luca fell silent and had that far away look. That look that said "shut the f*ck up." Unfortunately, I had too many beers to care so I kept talkin' bullsh*t. I was on a roll...I thought.

"Shut yer f*ckin' pie hole!" Luca boomed.

That caught my attention and I zipped it fast. Sh*t! I know better, I thought. Luca got that way sometimes when he was buzzed, and until now I had the good sense to shut up when this mood hit Luca.

I nervously lit a smoke and took a long gulp of brew. The minutes ticked slowly by.

"Just f*ckin' be yerself, man. I mean sh*t, you don' hafta impress me with that BS. We're pals ain't we? Well ain't we?" Luca asked.

"Yeah...we're pals," I replied, my voice cracking. I sound like a f*ckin' moron, I thought.

"Hey, that's all I'm sayin'. Just be yerself, Ben," Luca said, returnin' from that dark pplace that he would sometimes be drawn into.

Problem was I didn't like myself all that much.

"Hey ain't you too young to be pretending to be a man?" A biker dude said as he brushed me aside, lookin' straight at me.
"That's my f*ckin' stool, boy. Go home to your mama," he said, laughing.

I looked at Luca on the other side of me, but he said nothin'. I was on my own. Terrific, I thought. Well, I did wana be a tough guy. I felt anthing but tough at tha moment.

"Hey I'm talkin' to you...boy!" The biker dude said, poking a big finger in my chest.

Some of his buddies further down laughed. My blood began to boil...in direct conflict to the palpable fear I felt grippin' my rapidly beatin' heart.
He was a big guy. Notmuch taller than me but a lot wider and with at least 50 more pounds of muscle!

"Kick his ass, Dagger!" One of his friends yelled.

Dagger? DAGGER? Somehow that nickname wasn't comforting to me. It didn't take much imagination to figure out how he got it.

"Hell, I could kick his ass," a tatooed biker girl said. They all erupted in raucous laughter.

Damn! What do I do? I thought. I...I...can't back down. Memories of past bullies were suddenly vivid in my mind. I...hated...bullies!
Then I...transformed. An attitude I rarely had known rose within me carryin' many years of anger, rage and frustration. It overwhelmed the fear I had felt and blocked it out.

Ben the boy was gone, replaced by Ben the warrior!

"No," I said, my voice cracking. Stupid f*ckin' voice! I thought.

"What did you say to me you little punk?" Biker dude said, moving closer.

I could smell his rancid breath and it felt like it was chokin' me. I needed air!

"I said no, asshole!" I boomed, standin' up and shovin' biker dude harder than I intended.

Biker dude's foot got caught in the stool next to me and he fell to the deck, spillin' his beer. The guy sittin' there quickly got up and moved outta the way. He wanted no part of this.

For what seemed like a long time it got deadly quiet. Except for the song playin' on the jukebox. Double Trouble by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Apt song, I thought, my attention focused on biker dude.
Finally, the look of surprise left his face and was replaced by blind rage!

"You gonna pay for that, boy! I'm gonna bust you up!" He shouted, gettin' to his feet.

"F*ck you, bitch!" I replied.

I didn't think biker dude could get any madder but that seemed to do it. He was so mad I couldn't make out what he said, or rather spitted out, but whatever it was it sounded homicidal.

I waited, my fists clenched. Why didn't I kick him when he was down? I wondered. Oh well, I'll haftaknock him down again, I thought, grinning.

Biker dude let out a roar and charged me, his big fists ready to rearrange my face.

"No! Run!" I heard one of the bar maids scream.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The meaning (or rather, one of te meanings) of the title of today's post, "Bad Love", will become more apparent in the coonclusion. Just sayin'. :^)

jwm said...

I'll see you one, and raise you another cliff-hanger, Ben. Just wait 'till I get my typin' boots on.

John M

julie said...

Yikes, I hope this isn't a first lesson in Chin-fu-do.

robinstarfish said...

Ben is back, baby.

Sal said...

We have a rule at our house: you can like a bad boy for oh, about 48hours when you're 15.
That's it. You are expected to get your stupid out on that subject early.
The eternal man-boy, though- that's a new epidemic...

Dueling Cliff-hangers! (cue music from 'Deliverance')

Ben's back- life is good.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey John,

That's what i need, typin' boots. And more time, damn it! :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hiya Julie,

I'm glad you brought that up. Chin-fu-do actually strted a bit before this, but you can see the cooncept bein' applied in this "current" broad-cast.

Hm, perhaps I'm gettin' ahead of myself here, 'cause the broad has only made a brief appearance thus far...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Although the broad will soon take center stage. A barmaid with a heart of...well, something.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


Aye, that he is, for better or worse. Timelessness will tell. :^)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Sal!

Deliverance. Duelin' banjo's!
Incidently, I think I fall in the "stupid" category, but I will concede I'm less stupid than I was. :^)