On a seemingly normal day, Michael Barnes, professor of Creative Writing at Utah State University, was taking a nice walk to his car right after class…
Hmmm, there lingered a concerned ebb and tranquil course tightly bound by the structures of his new chosen life. He was quite happy, yet there was something missing… Something, indeed. His new life was defined by his oscillatory students’ grades and by his published novels’ many successes. The profound mouth of the unforgiving winter that had begun gave bitter-way to a most hesitant spring and wrecked in the warmth and unassuming nature of the second semester’s final week.
There was something, though, that wanted to get out, that wanted to come back; part of him fought against serenity, even though he had chosen to erase that chapter of his past life long ago. His memory would not let him forget about it. A very strong part of his concealed former life, long ago when younger, in the seemingly clandestine service of the U.S. government, the part that would always remind him that he had deserted and vanished under his new name, new face, new life, and new identity.
Six years had been since then, but he still had the nightmares once in a while, it was engraved in his blood, in his secluded mind and tortured soul. The stress and shocking brutality of his great love’s death had been the major catalyst of his mental and physical metamorphosis.
Cloudy afternoon with dark shades in the firmament. He was out near the empty parking lot when he heard raspy and harsh, deep voices and heated conversations, and saw large and massive shadows moving along the far building wall.
“You betta have all my money, bitch, otherwise we gon’ slit ya’ fucking throat!”
“I—I’ll have it next week, I—I promise,” the voice stuttered scared.
Michael dropped the stack of papers and books he had been carrying and sprinted toward the voices. He stopped before nearing them and saw three young black men, about twenty-five to thirty years old, wearing long black trench-coats threatening to bring a world of pain, or even death, to a younger white male. They were violently trapping him against the wall.
They had a particular stance, which Michael studied carefully; their knees slightly bent, their strong upper limbs loose but threatening, and one of them holding a pocket knife. They were boldly dominant and ready to slice him up!
“Muthafucka,” snarled one, wiry and a bit twitchy. His face defiant and of strong features. “Give us our money or we’ll cut ya. You been told and your time is gone, you hear me?!”
“Man, you fuckin’ prick, dunno shit, don’tcha.” He stepped up to the kid and readied his sharp blade.
The scared young victim-not more than twenty years old-began to tremble and beg for his life. They laughed raucously and sinisterly, making mocking gestures and clicking their pocket knives for threatening effect, at what the white male shrank back farther away against the wall as the black guys closed in. The one closer put the knife closer to his throat.
One of them, thick-muscled, heavyset, drew an arms-length metal pipe from underneath his black trench-coat, looked to both sides, and got ready to bash him. “That right, bitch! Lemme break his punk-ass fruity hands, Dar.” He gripped the pipe tighter in his hands in a batter stance. “Just tell me how d’you want it, baby. I’ll break ya fucking skull.”
“Yo, man, put that away!” the boss ordered, while nearing the blade to his thin throat.
As the wiry kid put the pipe down and obeyed cursing under his breath, Barnes hurried at them. So quiet was his attack, so targeted were they on their malignant and gruesome intentions that they did not became aware of the pounding they were about to suffer.
He grabbed the wiry kid’s pipe in his right hand as it was resting down, left elbowed him in the face, then the kid cursed mightily to this pain and fell down to the ground unconscious.
One knocked-the-hell unconscious on the floor. Two to go!
When the second one saw this, he instantly swung his balled-fist at a very alert Michael, knuckles sweeping through the air with sharp-edged rings, these big-ass rings aimed directly to his ribs.
At that moment, from that hidden and dark place in his brain, synapses exploded and memories flowed like current, and the Ex persona took control. The now active Jay Ex deflected the steady-rushing blow with his left arm by doing a circular blocking motion, advanced two small steps, and then balled-fist with his two fists at the same time into the thug’s lower rib cage section. He went down like a sack of potatoes, clawing at his chest and squirming.
The third and last thug, meaner and larger than the other two (more muscular and about six feet tall plus in height), cursed and dropped the pocket knife, then unveiled an almost two feet butcher’s knife from underneath his loosened trench-coat. He lunged psychotically at the Ex persona, who studied in less than a second the fast movement of the huge thug, delivering a quick and clean blow to the side of the hand holding the knife; the weapon was thrown clear like a projectile, the hand of the thug was left dangling sore as it had been targeted at the wrist with full precision.
A very robotic, very movement-calculated Ex produced a swift kick to the back of his right knee and then this one bent like paper, then, suddenly, he snaked his right arm around the large thug’s neck (he had to jump a bit since he was just 5’9” and the thug a full six feet 4 inches).
“I will not repeat this again…” he whispered with confidence and calmness into his ear. “In five seconds I will let go and all of you will disappear, so I will not have to hurt you any further. This is final, you hear!” He slowly let go of him while making sure they understood this. Then they hurried away swearing and gasping for air, agitated for the shocking display. The one that had been unconscious on the ground was woken up by one of his mates, moaned and cursed about his broken tooth, and started running away with the rest.