Friday, July 14, 2017

Smoker's Revenge

                It is August 31, 2002, in New York.  The sun shines warming the city to 77 degrees.  Kera Olympus took the subway from her home in Brooklyn to Manhattan to visit her cousin Larry Rozos.  She had run out of cigarettes and wanted Larry to buy them for her since he was 18, and legally able to.  When she neared Larry’s dormitory she called him.  Larry picked up the phone and said hello.  She mentioned she was in the area and coming down.  Larry hung up the phone and took the elevator to the lobby to meet Kera.  Upon seeing him Kera said, “Hey, can you get me some stoges?”


“What do you mean no?”

“Kera, I want you to quit so I’m not going to help you get them anymore, I don’t mind if you smoke around me, but I’m not buying them for you anymore.”

Kera continued to argue with Larry to no avail.   Finally she dropped it and just hung out with Larry suppressing her anger.  Upon her return she picked up a phone and dialed her friend Johnathan’s number.  Johnathan is a gang leader and very skilled in fighting.  He picked up the phone and answered, “hello”

“Yo Johnathan it’s Kera, I need you to do me a favor?”

“What’s that?”

“To beat up this kid”

“Who is he and why?”

“His name is Larry and he’s a college student at NYU.”

Johnathan remembered hearing this name before as Kera’s cousin so he asked, “Isn’t this your cuz?”


“What did he do?”

“He won’t get me stoges.”

“You want me to whip his ass for that?”


“Kera, calm down, you’re taking this way too personally.”

After more negotiation, Kera convinced Johnathan to do her this favor.  He went down to NYU with Kera, once again Kera called him and asked to hang out some more, but this time she specified a place to meet her and how to get there since Larry didn’t know the city too well.  Larry found the place without getting lost and saw Kera with a Puerto Rican guy.  The place was an alley, and Larry had an idea that something wasn’t right.  When Kera’s eyes pierced Larry, she dropped her head.  Guilt overwhelmed her body, but she would not mutter for Johnathan to not carry through.  Johnathan initiated the conversation and said, “What the fuck is up with you, you won’t buy this chick stoges?”

“She’s my cousin, I’m worried about her.”

“Why don’t you let her deal with that?”

“Because I know that if she loses her singing voice she will be a helluva lot more depressed than she is now.”

“How are you the fucking expert?”

“I know her, and I’m her older cousin, I’m supposed to look out for her.”

“What if I fuck you up for it?”

“Interesting question considering I was lured to an alley by my sweet innocent cousin to meet someone who I know loves to fight and is the leader of a gang.”

Johnathan walked toward Larry until his eyes approached two inches from Larry’s.  He asked, “You have two options, one, you walk away and buy this chick stoges, or two, we dance, you be knowin my rep.”

“You don’t scare me, I watched my best friend and my grandfather die of cancer, my grandfather had it because he smoked, I’m not going to help her put me in that same situation or have her go through it, and since she is so fucking addicted to that shit, that she has to call her top dog to get revenge for her, I guess I have no choice but to dance.”

Johnathan’s mind raced to find more ways to avoid the fight.  He didn’t want to fight Larry, but Larry showed no fear and was willing to defend his views.  Kera’s head dropped even lower for even she realized how pathetic calling someone to physically injure her cousin just because he wouldn’t get her some cigarettes was, but her guilt slammed her lips tight.  Larry stared into Johnathan’s eyes as anger filled his, anger that Kera lured him to the alley to fight Johnathan, angry that Johnathan was going through with it, angry at the cigarettes for hurting his cousin in that way.  He knew Johnathan was hesitant and he looked to use that as an advantage early on.  Johnathan shoved Larry to try to further intimidate him; Larry twisted his body and punched Johnathan squarely in the nose.  Johnathan took a few steps back in surprise holding his nose as water accumulated in his eyes.  Larry ran forward, jumped up and drove his knee into Johnathan’s solar plexus causing him to bend down.  He wrapped his right arm around Johnathan’s head and pushed it into his left knee.  After Johnathan’s face collided twice with Larry’s knees, he wrapped his arms around Larry’s standing legs and lifted him up.  He fell back slamming the back of Larry’s neck and head on the pavement.  Johnathan had no desire to negotiate anymore, now he was mad at Larry for gaining the upper hand.  He charged at Larry, Larry bent over and as Johnathan approached he wrapped his arms around his legs while thrusting upwards, which catapulted Johnathan seven feet in the air and crashing down on his back.  Blood dripped from Johnathan’s nose and matriculated on the back of his head.  Johnathan rose to his feet and faced Larry, his eyes pierced Larry’s and the hesitation that once filled his eyes vanished.  He walked to Larry, Larry bent his knees anticipating Johnathan’s approach.  He threw his right arm directly for Johnathan’s nose, Johnathan darted his head to the side and Larry’s arm halted over his shoulder.  Johnathan brought his arm under and punched Larry in the stomach, Larry bent down grasping his midsection.  Johnathan grabbed him by the arm and threw him into a brick building.  When Larry collided, Johnathan punched him repeatedly in the kidneys.  Johnathan then tossed Larry on his back and straddled him.  His clenched fists darted toward Larry’s face bloodying it.  Larry moved his head to the side and Johnathan hit the ground with his punch and rolled off Larry holding his wrist.  The encounter with the asphalt cut Johnathan’s four knuckles.  He rose ignoring the pain; Larry stumbled to his feet only to be punched to the ground by Johnathan.  Larry pushed himself up on all fours, his face dripping blood; Johnathan stomped on Larry’s back flattening him.  He then stomped at Larry’s back repeatedly.  Larry rolled out of the way and got to his feet.  Johnathan neared Larry and, out of desperation, Larry threw a weak right hand toward Johnathan’s face.  Johnathan grabbed the arm and yanked Larry toward him driving his knee into Larry’s stomach.  Johnathan took two steps back and ran forward kicking Larry squarely in the face knocking him to the ground again.  Crimson blood covered all of Larry’s face, Johnathan grabbed him by the hair and lured him to his feet.  He punched him in the stomach causing him to bend over.  Johnathan then grabbed a piece of wood lying on the ground.  He brandished the wood as he approached Larry and crashed it against his back forcing him to the ground.  Johnathan then swung the wood around and slammed it onto Larry’s legs.  Once again he lifted Larry to his feet and threw his face into a brick wall.  Larry threw his elbow back in desperation nailing Johnathan in the solar plexus.  He grabbed Johnathan by the hair and drilled it into the wall.  He positioned his left leg behind Johnathan’s legs and shoved him back with his right hand tripping him to the floor.  Larry turned around and his eyes pierced Kera’s.  Kera stared back with terror, guilt, and distress.  Regret overwhelmed her body, but terror halted her from trying to stop Johnathan’s rage.  Johnathan got up and walked toward Larry, he swung his right arm at Larry’s face; Larry ducked under it as Johnathan’s momentum turned him around.  Larry shoved him into the wall and repeatedly struck his kidneys with his fists.  Johnathan threw his arm back to try to hit Larry.  Larry grabbed the arm bent him forward and kicked him in the face.  Once again he locked him in the headlock and slammed his face repeatedly into his knee.  Johnathan wrapped his arms around Larry’s legs and lifted trying to get Larry’s leg off the ground.  Larry’s right leg bent keeping it firmer on the ground while his left leg continued the onslaught on Johnathan’s face.  Johnathan shoved Larry off him and lifted his upper body up showing a crimson face as well.  Larry sprinted at him and drove his shoulder into this solar plexus and chopped at the back of his knees tackling him onto his back.  Larry rose to his knees and drilled his fists into Johnathan’s face.  He then stood up and stomped at Johnathan’s chest, thighs, stomach and solar plexus.  Johnathan rolled out of the way and lifted his body to his feet.  Larry and Johnathan walked toward each other both their eyes stubbornly locked on each other’s.  Johnathan swung his right arm nailing Larry in the side of the face, Larry’s body twisted right but did not fall, he then swung his body back left with his clenched fists colliding with Johnathan’s skull.  Larry’s knuckles tore open for he did not know how to punch so that he didn’t hurt his hand.  Johnathan stumbled but quickly recovered to throw another punch, it collided with Larry’s head but once again Larry came back with a punch of his own. He then brought his left hand and drilled Johnathan in the stomach.  He wrapped his arm over Johnathan’s head and pressed it against his waist.  He fell back slamming his head into the asphalt.  Larry got to his feet only to see Johnathan stirring to his as well.  He dashed forward and drove his knee into Johnathan’s side knocking him back over.  Johnathan rose on all fours.  Larry jumped up and landed on Johnathan flattening him again.  Larry rolled off but Johnathan rolled with him and drilled his elbow into Larry’s stomach.  He then shot his fist up and connected with his face.  He and Larry rose to their feet at the same time.  Johnathan grabbed Larry by the hair and slammed it against the brick wall with all his force.  Larry bounced off the wall and took three steps back but remained on his feet; he turned around and landed a punch on a charging Johnathan.  Johnathan landed on the wood he used to whip Larry with.  He grasped it in his hands and lunged it upward nailing Larry in the stomach.  He then got up and crashed it across Larry’s face.  Larry smacked the ground as he fell and Johnathan threw the wood to the side thinking Larry was unconscious.  Larry, however, pushed himself back up and faced Johnathan.  The slight hesitation due to surprise, handed over enough time for Larry to drill his shoulder into Johnathan’s stomach and drive him into the wall.  Larry lunged his fists directly at Johnathan’s face causing it to ricochet off the wall.  He pulled Johnathan toward him and turned him around.  He then repeatedly slammed his face into the brick wall.  Johnathan fell back into Larry’s arms.  Larry put Johnathan’s head under his right armpit and wrapped his arms around his waist.  Using all his adrenaline, Larry hoisted Johnathan to his shoulders parallel to the ground.  Once he was up there, Larry took two steps back to retrieve his balance.  He dashed forward forcing Johnathan’s face to collide into the brick wall and slide out from Larry’s grasp as Larry continued his momentum to the wall.  Johnathan lied on his stomach unconscious.  Larry collapsed from exhaustion once Johnathan fell.  He sat leaned against the wall, and then he pushed Johnathan to his back so he could see his face.  Johnathan’s eyes had glazed over indicating Larry had won the fight.  Larry panted against the wall. 

Kera approached Larry with trepidation; Larry stared back with hurt and love in his eyes.  He couldn’t hate Kera even after what she put him through.  She mouthed the words, “I’m sorry.”

Larry was too exhausted to speak.  Kera realized that the adrenaline was fading and Larry did not have the strength to stand up.  She lowered her hand down to him.  Larry took it and did his best to help Kera help him up.  Once he rose his body fell forward hugging Kera.  Kera didn’t fall but she wondered how she was going to help him back.  She helped Larry to a bench to sit down and recover his breath.  After a little while, Johnathan stirred and tried getting to his feet.  Kera went over and helped him up; Larry rose to his feet to face Johnathan.  He knew the fight was over; Johnathan approached Larry and hugged him.  Both men used each other to remain erect.  Johnathan said, “Good fight.”

“Yea, you too”

“I know how much she means to you now.”

“Yea, you were at a disadvantage, I was mad at you for taking her away from me, and mad at her for calling you up.  You were just doing a favor.”

“I’m glad you understand that, you ever need back up you give me a call.”
                “I doubt you ever will need back up because you’re in a gang, but same goes to you.”

Johnathan and Larry both helped each other to the bench.  Their strength was returning but they still didn’t want to walk just yet.  Johnathan called his friend Vlad to help him home.  When he got off the phone he told Kera she and Larry could leave him there.  Kera once again helped Larry to his feet and put his arm around her neck to help him home.  They went to a restaurant and got some napkins.  The cuts had stopped bleeding now it was time to wipe the blood off.  When Kera got all the excess blood off, they walked to Larry’s dorm.  Larry could now walk on his own; he signed Kera in and went up to his room with her.  They went into Larry’s room and Kera sat him down on the bed and said, “Larry I’m so sorry for what happened today.”

“Kera, thank you for helping me home.”

“You have to be pissed off; I just called the best fighter I know to kick your ass.”

“I won didn’t I?”

“I can’t believe you aren’t mad, after what you just went through.”

“Kera, who do you think hurt me the most today?”

Kera was taken back by this question because she knew the answer, “Me”

“That’s right but now we’re friends again, and you won’t ask me for cigarettes, right?”

“Yea, but I still feel bad.”

“Well don’t, your friendship is what’s important to me.”

“Larry, in order for you to be able to beat Johnathan, you must genuinely care about me.”

“Unfortunately this is what it took for you to figure it out.”

Kera stopped talking and helped Larry into the bathroom to put rubbing alcohol on Larry’s cuts.  Then Larry went down, signed Kera out and returned to his room to sleep.  Vlad came about 20 minutes after the phone call and helped Johnathan home.  Larry and Kera remained close and no hard feeling came between Johnathan and Larry, they weren’t friends, but they did have a mutual respect for each other. 


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