“Hey lets go get some beer,” Robert said to Adam.
Adam smiled, “Yeah and we’ll go to the Knob.” As he said it he looked at me as I was the only one old enough to buy beer for the trio.
“Okay,” I said without further discussion.
It was a Friday night in Crescent City and that was about the only thing that the three of us could do. Within minutes he had the twelve pack of beer in the back seat of the little Opel Cadet that Robert owned
Adam sat in the front passenger seat while Robert drove. He grabbed a beer out of the box and popped open the top. It foamed up and he slurped at a multitude of creamy white bubbles. He finally took a long drink of the content.
Adam popped a top and took a long drink. “For generic beer this doesn’t taste half bad,” he announced.
“Hey, beggars can’t be choosers,” I shot back. Then I added, “Besides, it’s all I could afford.”
Then Robert chimed in, “Beers a beer as far as I’m concerned, just as long as I can cop a buzz.”
The three of us agreed with the statement as we headed down Highway 101. The little blue car turned onto Enderts Drive and headed down the paved and then gravel roadway to the Knob.
The Knob jutted out into the fog shrouded Pacific Ocean and had been a meeting place for area kids for years. Teenagers headed up the hill to get together with their friends and hang out with the opposite sex nearly every Friday and Saturday night. Even if it rained, there was always a backseat one could climb into for a couple of hours of socializing and entertainment.
But there was hardly a vehicle parked along the bluff. And the few that were there had fogged over windows.
Robert cruised past the parked cars and two trucks and turned around. He aimed the Cadet back down the hill and towards the highway.
“Let’s go hang out by the harbor,” I suggested.
“Better than nothing,” Robert replied.
Adam just gulped at his second can of generic beer.
They pulled off the highway just south of the harbor. The Cadet slowed down in the sand as Robert negotiated the small access road along the beach.
He parked where they could see the lights of the small town, the harbor with its neatly lined row of fishing boats, the foam laced waves as they rolled in from Japan, and the intermittent flash of white light of new Point St. George’s light house as it stabbed its beam through the night. The three of us sat on the hood of the car and drank our beer in a brooding silence.
The headlights of cars on Highway 101 slipped through the trees. We could hear the rubber of the tires as they wore along the asphalt.
In the distance the waves gently toppled and fell. Then they lolled their way over the grey shoreline of volcanic sands. The fog moved in and out, moody and mysterious in patch work puffs in the chilled night breeze.
“This ain’t cutting in,” I said, voicing our disappointment.
“Yeah,” Adam returned, “But what else is there to do?”
“I want to find some girls,” Robert replied.
“Me, too,” Adam said.
They sat there and turned over ideas for the next few minutes.
“Tell you what,” Robert started. “Let’s go hang out in the Denny’s parking lot.”
Without another word we drank the remainder of the beer we had in hand, tossing the rest of the twelve pack in the car and climbing in after it.
Again we turned onto Highway 101. We drove past the harbor with is fog cutting parking lights. They continued north, past the towns greatest land mark, the tetrapod, which was moved from its platform when struck by a tsunami in 1964.
We drove by the Squeeze Box music store and the now vacant building that once was home to a roller rink and then a furniture store.
The three of us turned in to the parking lot of the Denny’s Restaurant and cruised for the ideal place to park. We needed to be able to see people, especially girls, coming and going. And they needed to be seen.
Within a couple of minutes a female voice called out, “Hey guys!”
It came from a car full of teenage girls as they sped through the parking lot and turned north onto Highway 101.
As I climbed into the backseat as Robert fired up the Opel’s engine. Adam flopped into his seat as the car backed out of the space and turned for the highway
“Hurry man!” Adam demanded.
He leaned forward in his seat and looked in the direction the other car had gone, “Crap, I don’t see them.”
Robert swung the car out onto the near empty roadway and slipped the shifter into third, “Don’t worry, it ain’t a big town, we’ll find them.”
Suddenly a bright red Chevy Chevelle roared past our little blue car. There were two young men in the front seats.
The driver looked over and flipped us off. The mood in the blue Opel Cadet changed suddenly.
The three of us were immediately spoiling for a fight. Both Robert and I knew that Adam could fight and he was instantly mad, “Let’s catch up with them and kick their asses.”
The red Chevy turned left on “H” street and we sped up to follow them. We chased the Chevy towards the hospital, then along Pebble Beach Drive and then into a residential area that I knew well.
We turned onto Grandview just as the Chevy came to a stop. Adam jumped out of the car and while standing at the passenger door of the Opel yelled out, “What’s your problem?”
The driver of the Chevy got out of his car and yelled back an obscenity laced answer about the fact that we were following him. Adam walked towards the Chevy and its driver.
His shoulders were squared back, making his already muscular chest look larger. His waist appeared small giving him a wedge shape to his body. I recognized this as one of Adam’s fighting stances.
Adam was making certain that he looked as big as possible. I also knew that opponents who wanted to fight at first usually changed their minds as soon as they saw Adam’s size. His brawn was as big his bluff and he was as fierce as fearless.
Just as Adam approached the driver, the passenger got out of the car. He walked over to the driver of the Chevy and turned to face Adam. I realized that my younger brother was about to get into a fist fight with two opponents.
Robert, however was busy talking to a young woman who had appeared out of the house they were parked in front of. She leaned in the driver’s window and spoke softly to Robert.
Meanwhile I fumbled with the lever to let the passenger seat fold forward.
The headlights of both cars were on and illuminated the street where the confrontation was about to erupt. The driver of the Chevy faced-off against Adam.
Both young men stood, face-to-face, speaking in very low and vulgar tones to one another. The passenger stood just to the left of Adam.
The seat in front of me finally folded down so I could get out of the car. I had not taken my eyes off the two from the Chevy.
Suddenly I saw a flash of silver in the driver’s hand. I knew Adam had not seen it as he was still looking the driver eye-to-eye.
Without notice the passenger pushed Adam sideways. Adam stepped back and to the side, launching himself at the passenger.
He struck the young man in the face. The blow caused a rush of blood from the attackers face as he crumpled to the ground.
“He’s got a knife, Adam!” I cried.
Adam had fallen into a trap. He had taken the bait by failing to watch the driver’s hands. The driver stepped to his left and half way behind Adam.
“He’s got a knife, Robert!” I shouted again.
Without hesitation, I rushed towards the fight. However I was not quick enough to prevent the driver from slashing Adam across the back as a bright streak of red appeared against his white tee-shirt.
A second or so later my right fist slammed into the driver’s head. The knife-wielding man fell backwards to the asphalt as I continued at him.
Meanwhile Adam slowly dropped to his knees as he reached around to his lower back. The passenger raised himself off the roadway and kicked at Adam, but he blocked the oncoming blow, using the leg as a lever. Then Adam stood up, raising the man’s trapped leg waist-high, he jerked on it and smashed his fist into the passengers face over and over again.
As I continued to hit and kick the young man who had slashed my brother from behind, Robert joined in the hitting and kicking as well.
The driver managed to roll away from the beating he was receiving, get to his feet and run. I pursued him as he ran around the back of an out building, where he fell down and I dived on him.
Robert joined me once again, but this time had a weapon. It was an old long knife that Pa Sanders had given me a few years back after I broke the tip from the blade.
Before I could stop Robert, he plunged it into the driver as he lay curled in a fetal position. Twice more Robert stabbed the tip-less knife into the motionless body as it lay on the ground.
Still in a rage, I kicked the driver in the rib cage. He didn’t make a sound.
Robert appeared poised to run the knife into the body again when I pushed him away, “Stop it, damn it!”
The body jerked suddenly and I kicked the driver viciously in the side. I then picked him up and with great effort tossed the limp body of the man into a darkened patch of blackberry brambles.
It occurred to me at that moment that Robert and I had left a severely wounded Adam alone to fend for himself. We turned and ran back to the street.
Adam was in the middle of a swarm of people. They were being struck and kicked by Adam. No one was able to lay a hand on Adam as he fought on single-handedly.
“Adam is great in a fight,” I thought as I rushed to assist my brother.
The passenger and another man rushed me. I side-stepped the first one and slammed my fist into the back of his head as he ran past. The attacker fell, sprawling to the pavement.
The second one was met by a left shoulder that lifted him from the ground. That attacker found himself tumbling over my back and landing with a painful thud in the roadway.
However, the passenger was on his feet, ready to have another go at me. This time I leaped into the air and with both feet, hit the young man squarely in the chest. The blow sent him crashing backwards to the ground.
The second man got up and grabbed me by the hair. I reached around and caught a handful of the assailants reddish beard and twisted.
The man tried to get away by rising up on his tip-toes and leaning with the twist. That’s when I jerked him forward, which was made easy by his lack of balance and brutally smashed his faced against the edge of the Chevy’s roof.
In the meantime, Adam had another man in a headlock and was proceeding to knee him in the face, in-between throwing punches and lightning fast kicks into other attackers. Robert came back into the fight by smashing one of Adam’s attackers in the back of the head with his fist, dropping the assailant to the ground like a bag of wet sand .
Out of nowhere came a shrieking cry. It filled the dark edges of the street until a body materialized.
It was the driver of the Chevy. He was running towards the melee with a double bit ax, raised and ready to use.
He ran headlong toward Adam, but Robert tripped him. He stumbled, losing momentum but still swinging the ax at Adam. Adam stepped back and to his right.
At that moment someone standing behind Adam, slugged him in the lower back. The pain was so intense that Adam grew weak in the knees and fell to the ground.
That’s when I realized how badly my younger brother was bleeding.
“Robert,” I yelled, “Get the car!”
The Opel was slowly being backed up by the woman with whom Robert had been talking too when the brawl first started. Robert raced to the driver’s side of the car and reached inside, switching off the ignition.
Then he pulled on the woman, yanking her entire body out through the open drivers window. I could see that the woman was pregnant.
But I didn’t have much time to pay attention to this fact as I still was busy fending off one attacker then another. I started thinking that our attackers were starting to multiplying in number and it was time to pull out of the melee.
Robert climbed in the car and forced it into first gear. It moved slowly forward and came to a stop just in front of me and my gravely injured brother.
As Robert got out of the car, the driver from the red Chevy pushed forward with his ax and took a swipe at him. The blade bounced off the edge of the open car door.
The driver swung the ax again and again. He slammed the bit into the left headlight of the blue Opel, where I became momentarily wedged, and requiring brute force to yank it free.
As he popped it loose and started to swing again, he struck the pregnant woman in the belly. All the attackers rushed around the now injured woman.
This proved to be a convenient time for the three of us to retreat. I knew we needed to get Adam to the hospital.
Robert climbed into the front seat as I assisted Adam to his feet. The passenger door was jammed shut, so I hoisted my kid-brother onto the roof of the car and climbed on behind him.
“Go! Go! Go!” I shouted, pounding on the roof.
Robert stepped on the gas and they quickly drove away. I could see the extent of the damage to Adam’s lower back as he had taken a deep slashing that left the tip of his right kidney hanging out.
Quick as I could, I pulled off my gray sweat shirt and wrapped it tight around Adam’s waist. The wound was gapping and extended from side-to-side, just above the hips.
Robert sped up and skidded through two corners. The second one threatened to send the Adam and me flying off the car’s top.
“Slow down! You’re going to kill us before we get to the hospital!” I yelled at Robert. He immediately slowed down and I was able to continue dressing the injury using my tee-shirt.
The car pulled up into the ambulance bay, where Robert got out and ran inside.
Seconds later, two nurses with a gurney came outside to the car. Looking down at the gurney, I saw some neatly folded white sheets. I took one, unfolded it and quickly tied it around Adam’s waist near the hips.
Meanwhile the nurses were urgently attempting to coax us off the top of the car. I was the first off, and then I helped Adam slide down on his belly. He however refused any assistance as he crawled up on the gurney.
Three and half hours later and so many stitches that the doctor lost count later Adam came walking out of the Emergency Room under his own power. “I still think you should spend the night for observation,” said Dr. Kim.
“Naw,” Adam replied, “I’ll be okay at home.”
“Any problems and you get back here right away,” the Doctor retorted. He looked at the three of us.
As we turned to leave we were met by two sheriff’s deputies. “We need to get statements for you,” one of them said.
The other one chimed in, “We can follow you to the station.”
It was more of an order than anything else.
At the sheriff’s station each of the trio was questioned separately. Soon Robert and I were sent to sit and wait out front in the public waiting area.
Not much more than fifteen minutes had passed when the front door to the sheriff’s station flew open with a loud crash. A growling voice boomed, “I’m going to kill the bastard’s who had my brother arrested!”
A large man came walking straight towards Robert and me. I rose to my feet.
However Robert remained seated and had a hold of my left coat sleeve. That was all I had on since my sweat shirt and tee-shirt had become blood soaked rags.
“Let go of me, Robert!” I growled as quietly as possible.
I swung my hand up and over Robert’s hand, then down and over the outside of Robert’s hand, effectively breaking his grip.
Just then the large man slammed me in the lower back with an iron-like fist. The punch nearly dropped me to the floor. However I managed to remain on my feet knowing that if I fell down now I’d be injured severely or worse.
Without seeing where I was swinging his leg, I kicked out. It caught the large man by surprise, causing his right knee to buckle. Next I threw a roundhouse punch that landed on the man left ear, but it had no effect.
Yet the large man had no real chance to respond to my kick or punch as he was jumped on by six deputies. Within thirty-seconds he was handcuffed and bodily dragged off to share an adjoining cell with his younger brother, the Chevy driver.
Deputy Seats walked over to me, as I rested on my knees in the middle of the station floor and asked, “You okay?”
“Yup,” I answered, “But I sure thought I was gonna be dead for few seconds there.”
“Let’s get some pictures of your back for evidence,” said the Deputy, “and a statement too.”
Sitting at a desk across from Adam, we each gave the sheriff deputies a statement. I added my statement about the attack in front of the station desk.
“Do you all realize you took on fifteen people tonight?’ one of the deputies asked us.
We looked at each other in astonishment and then shook our heads sideways to indicate that they had not known that fact.
“That’s five to one odds,” said Deputy Seats, “amazing someone wasn’t killed.”
He looked over at Adam.
“What about that pregnant woman?” I asked.
“Oh, she’ll be sore tomorrow and she’ll a nasty bruise on her tummy, but she’ll be alright,” the Deputy responded, “That ax was so dull you couldn’t cut warm butter with it.”
We didn’t return to the apartment we shared until around four in the morning. The three of us dragged ourselves from the little blue and battered Opel, ragged and worn out.
Adam had the remainder of the twelve pack in his hands. I couldn’t believe what he was seeing after the night they had just been through.
“What the hell are going to do with that?” I asked.
Adam smiled as he stepped in the doorway, “Hey, I ain’t going to let perfectly good beer go to waste…even if it is generic beer.”