Friday, October 20, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

If you're going to come at me hard, it better be the hardest you've got because I've been yelled at and abused enough in my life. I'm not waiting for you to take the first swing. I'm ready to bust open my vault of slicing words. If you want it, get it, but don't come casual, come correct. 

If you have any fancy notions about fair fighting, you should throw those shits out right now. I don't fight fair. I fight to win. Think about that. Think about how much you like your teeth and eyeballs. Think about how you might want to have kids some day. 

I'm old. I'm not fast enough to run. But I got muscles you don't and the kind of bitterness that forty-five years earns you. I'm too tired for long fights. This shit will be over soon.

Something maybe you should know. I've never lost a fight. Not even close. Never had my ass beat. Never been jumped. Maybe they see it in my eyes, the willingness to dive into pain and blood. That shit doesn't bother me. I like it. I thrive on it. I've bathed in it. 

I'm not saying I'm a tough guy. I'm not. But I can be tough for three minutes, and that is all I will need. 


  1. The woman trundled up the rough trail into the hills around the ashram, letting her hand-carved walking stick kiss the earth as she went. The air was cool and carried the scent of pine and woodsmoke drifting up from the compound below, and her legs and back began to loosen with the exercise. She smiled to no one but the birds as she enjoyed the feeling of freedom, of her bodily strength, of the solitude of her thrice-daily constitutionals. Nearly always, she was alone. Even when the younger denizens asked to accompany her on her walks, she politely declined. These souls came in two varieties: those eager for wisdom, and how disappointed they would be to find that she didn’t have much to offer; and those who feared for her safety, since she refused to carry a phone. She had a strong sense of when her time would be, and she knew she would not become at one with the universe while out in these familiar and friendly woods.

    She at last reached a place with a good view and a rough-hewn bench, and there she stopped to appreciate the scenery and give her knees a rest. Early autumn had begun working its witchcraft among the trees, breathing red and gold into the maples and oaks. Soon the valley’s trees would be awash in their coats of many colors before it dried to ochre and the wind stripped the limbs bare. Each of nature’s acts was still a marvel to her, and she felt pleased about that—so many her age had become jaded to these little miracles. Even some who were younger. Maybe one day she would accept a walking companion, if only to share that lesson, to never stop appreciating the magic of living in this beautiful piece of the world.

    She gazed down at the compound, watching the industry of the afternoon unfold. Students wandered the grounds or gathered in small groups, the volunteers raked leaves or unloaded deliveries. She knew she would soon be needed, because all who were gifted sanctuary here had to contribute, but she stole a few more moments to breathe the afternoon into all of her senses.

    That’s when she saw the visitor. Rather, she felt the visitor’s approach. An average sized human of average build and weight was walking up their long driveway, leaning forward to balance a heavy backpack. And as she also leaned forward on her bench, in a kind of unconscious solidarity or to get a better view, she swore the human looked in her direction then stopped dead, vibrating with intense emotion. Granted, the woman’s vision wasn’t what it used to be, but an inner eye that had only grown stronger with the years told her that she was the visitor’s destination, the emotion was rage, and that a debt she had long ago taken on was about to come due.

    She closed her eyes and stilled her body, breathing to expand one chakra after another, grounding herself in the energy of the earth, hoping it would give her strength for the confrontation she knew she could no longer avoid.

    She was lost in her practice for longer than she thought or the visitor was faster than she’d anticipated, because when she opened her eyes, the person stood only feet away. Arms crossed, stare icy. Waiting.

    The change, how the child had grown, took her breath. Many times she’d rehearsed her explanation, played the scene in her head, but all of it evaporated in the heat of those angry eyes.

    “Hey, Mom,” the visitor said finally, the words so much like bullets she pressed a hand to her chest and expected to find blood. “What’s new?”


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