Last Saturday night, I met up with some buddies from the Parrots, including 1st baseman Sloppy Joe, who was all depressed because his girlfriend dumped him. Once they all went off to a strip club, I was by myself at the Volcano, where I stuck around after closing so Keaton could give me a ride home.
We were in McCormick Alley on our way to the parking garage on DeLacey when this dude walked up to us and stopped right in front of Keaton.
He was about my height, more like 175 than my 185, with dark hair in a lameass bad trendy haircut. He was wearing jeans, a white tshirt and a black hoodie.
He stepped out right in front of Keaton and blocked his way to the garage.
“The fuck?,” said Keaton.
“We’re settling it tonight, man,” said the dude.
“You and me. Only a bitch fights a man when he’s drunk. I’m sober tonight, and I’m gonna knock the shit outta you, tough guy.”
The dude was asking for serious trouble. I’ve told y’all before what happens when you get in the way of Keaton’s fist.
“I got no idea what the fuck you’re talking about, man. I never fought you before, drunk or sober. Maybe I tossed you out of the bar one night, but that’s it. The only dumbfucks who’ve taken swings at me at the bar were all wetback trash. I’d have remembered a white dumbfuck like you.”
“Ok, so you threw me out. But it was in front of my girlfriend and her friends. You embarrassed the fuck outta me. I don’t let anyone get away with shit like that. Let’s go, man.”
The dude got into a fighting stance. He looked pretty silly with Keaton just standing there looking down at him from his nearly 6’3″ in cowboy boots.
I could see where this was going. Nowhere good for the dude.
“You don’t want this, man. You’re giving up way too much weight.”
“Yeah, I want it. You’ve got it coming to you. So stop acting like the bitch you probably are. Is pretty boy here your boyfriend?”
This dude was pretty dang stupid for a sober guy. If Keaton wasn’t gonna fight him, I’d gladly have been the one to kick his ass.
Thing is, I know Keaton, and I know the one and only thing that’s sure to get him into a fight. That’s taking a swing at him.
Which is what the jerkoff did next.
I was actually pretty surprised: the punch landed. It caught more leather jacket than body, and it wasn’t much of a punch to begin with, but it landed.
“You really are a dumbfuck, aren’t you?”
Keaton turned to me and took off his jacket and ball cap. “Hold these, bubba.”
While he was taking his jacket off, the jerkoff sucker punched him in the neck. It was a pretty decent shot, but Keaton’s the last man of the planet who’ll let you know you’d landed a good punch on him.
Keaton’s got blue eyes, but they’re a lot lighter than mine. Joyce calls them “piercing” and they can look pretty damn threatening when he wants them to. Judging from the glimpse of his eyes I caught as he was turning around after giving me the jacket, the jerkoff was in serious trouble.
Keaton caught him in the gut with a right that obviously knocked the wind outta him. If the dude had any sense, he’d have quit then.
Only he didn’t.
He got a few punches blocked, but then he made a good move and nailed Keaton pretty hard in the stomach. I could tell it was a good punch, and I knew it hurt. Keaton didn’t show the slightest reaction.
Then Keaton nailed the dude with an absolutely filthy left to the nose.
I heard the squishing sound from where I was standing. Then the blood started running down the dude’s face.
“You’re finished buddy.”
Keaton had the answer to that: a shrug and a right that was perfectly aimed at the dude’s chin. The jerkoff’s head went around and his legs went out from under him.
Keaton had some blood on his fists. He wiped it off on his jeans.
I looked down at the dude. He was out cold.
“What are we gonna do? Leave him here?”
Pasadena gets real deserted real fast after the bars close. If we left him it might be a long time before somebody found him.
“Fuck,” said Keaton. “I reckon we can’t just leave him. See? This is what I was telling you: hit a dude in the gut and he crawls away on his own, knock him out and he becomes your problem. He’s also got a busted nose and the dumbfuck needs to get it set.” You can tell Keaton’s nose had been broken, so I reckon he knows what he’s talking about. “You got a bottle of water on you?”
“Nope. Just the cigar.”
Keaton took his jacket and hat from my free hand and put them on. Turns out he had half a bottle of water in one of his pockets. He poured it out on the dude’s face.
It took a few seconds, but it brought him around. He choked pretty bad from the blood and the water.
“You need to sit up, man,” I said. “Or you’re gonna be in serious trouble.” I’d never had my nose broken, but I’ve gotten my share of bloody noses over the years. I know they tell you as a kid that you should lie down with a bloody nose, but that’s pretty lameass advice.
The dude sat up and realized how bad he was bleeding.
“Fuck, man,” he said, looking up at Keaton. “You fuckin broke my nose, didn’t you?”
“Hey, I warned you. You start a fight with me, I’m gonna finish it. Now what the fuck am I gonna do about you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You need an ER to get that nose set ASAP. I also probably gave you a concussion you need to have looked at.”
“How the fuck am I going to get to an ER?” He used his wrist to wipe some of the blood out from under his nose. He was running out of wrist pretty fast.
“You sure as fuck ain’t driving yourself,” said Keaton. “Not in that condition.” He turned to me. “C’mon bubba, we’re driving this dumbfuck to Huntington.”
“What about my car?,” the dude asked.
“Where’s it parked?”
“In the garage over there.” He pointed to the one on DeLacey. He was still kinda vague, partly from getting knocked out, and partly because he clearly couldn’t figure out why Keaton was being nice to him.
I gotta admit I was a little puzzled too, although I don’t know what else we could have done. Both times I knocked a dude out, there were people watching. That made it easier to walk away.
“Don’t think of driving his car for him, bubba. I know how many beers you had tonight.”
“How about we drive him to the ER in your truck, then we Uber back here, get his car, and you drive that to the hospital so he can get it?
“That work for you?”
The dude gave a fuzzy nod. Not like he was going to disagree with Keaton after what he’d done to him.
So the three of us went across the street and got into Keaton’s truck. It’s a short drive to the Huntington ER – it’s pretty much straight down Fair Oaks. It was 3 in the morning, so it took us 5 minutes to get to the next part of what was feeling like an adventure.