Tag Archives: novel

Blue Moon Baby

Some folks have asked me about the title for my novel-in-progress–“Blue Moon Baby.” Well, it all started with a song I wrote back in 1998.
The song itself was just another song back then (15 years ago??? Holy Crap!!). Sacramento was going through a particularly rainy winter and spring, and my future ex-wife and I were sick of it all and wanted to get away for good. Thus, a song was born.
Well, fast-forward another 6 or 7 years, and I started to get an idea for a novel, and this song was the center of it all.
What’s the connection, you ask? Well you’ll just have to wait for the novel to complete itself.
Until then, here is another video made from my iPhone of me playing the very song in question.
I hope you enjoy!!
I have plenty more of my songs up on my YouTube page, so please feel free to browse them all. As always, all comments are welcome.

Thanks for stopping by!!

joel

http://youtu.be/Brta7sPsqFQ

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Filed under Blue Moon Baby - The Novel, videos

I Don’t Always…

In keeping with today’s earlier post.

psychedelics

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, man...

Lazy

Well, not exactly lazy–more like sick, exhausted, busy, and other various social ailments.

I feel like I haven’t been producing my finest work here this past week, and I am continuing that trend today by bitching about it. But hey, the A to Z Challenge refuses to play by my rules–which would be to take Saturdays off–and I have to post something today, or else they will cut off one of my Meemaw’s fingers.

But I have felt a bit lazy, if only for the fact that I have had a few great ideas, but they required too much effort, and so I skipped them and went with music reviews, or song lyrics.

For “J” day on Thursday, I originally planned to write about the Juxtaposition of my songwriting and fiction writing, and how I am combining the two into a story that has been in my head for years. However, that would have required much more brain power than I possessed this week, and so I wrote a fluff piece on Jane’s Addiction; and not a very good one, at that.

For “K” day, I promoted my friends’ band, The Kimberly Trip, but that was actually my son’s idea. I was originally going to write a history of the Knight in Medieval Europe. Once that seemed like too much work, I decided to honor one of the most magical concert venues in the land: The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, home of the Grateful Dead throughout most of the 1980s. But, “The Kaiser” also seemed like too much work.

I guess I can write those posts some other time.

I am already feeling overwhelmed here in Bloglandia. I post everyday, and I read about 50 bloggers every single day. It’s a bit much. I do not even have any time to finish this stupid book that I started reading ages ago. And now the A to Z Challenge?

Well, this is all my own choice, so I cannot really complain, but since I was sick all this week and working doubles every day, and getting a damned PET scan, I felt as though the “lazy” route was the only route for me to take.

I promise to write better stuff soon. As it is, I feel as though this antiquated computer that I use may not survive April, and so I feel privileged to even get a post up every day.

And to all of you whose blogs I read faithfully every day, I really enjoy them, so I am not complaining. I guess I am just getting wrapped up in a new obsession, and I need to find the balance.

And so, I keep on truckin’ on…

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, man...

Back to the Beginning

(Attention: This story contains profanity, suggested drug use, adult themes, and is intended for mature readers only.)

(continued from yesterday’s post, After the Fight)

Monday, June 28, 1999 – 6:15 pm

Lily knew there was no more time to stall.  Regardless of Justin’s drug habits and work habits, and of all the neglect she has felt in the past year or so, she knew that having an affair was inexcusable.  Yet, she learned that with Cody, offense was the best defense.

“I am sorry for what I have done…”

“What?  What did you do, exactly?”  Cody would in no way let her off so easily.  He wanted her to say it.

“Running off like that and…”

“And what?  What exactly did you do?”  He was not going to let her off the hook for this.

“ I had an affair with Charles, and…”

“You ran off and fucked some other guy!”

Lily, was beginning to fume with anger.  “Yes.  I fucked Charles.  I fucked him, and you made me do it!”

“What the fuck did you just…”

“I never would have done that.  Never!  You drove me out of our own home because of your stupid drugs.  You left me all alone while you worked in the studio.  You left me here with nothing else to do but study Kung Fu.  I’ve spent more time with Charles in training in the last year than I have with you.”

“You what?”

“No.  Not like that.  I mean real training.  Without you around, it was the only thing that interested me.  I get bored around here.  So, I trained.  Every day.  Charles had been making moves on me for a long time, and I laughed them off every time.  When I saw you stoned in the basement, I just wanted to hurt you.  And I wanted to feel some pleasure that I haven’t felt in a long time.” She paused.   “I didn’t feel anything, except guilt.  But, I was so goddamned angry with you, Justin.  You have been too busy for me lately, and we haven’t had any real time together in a long time.  We hardly make love anymore, and when we do, it is so fleeting because you are either tired, or you are heading off somewhere.”  Lily was sobbing again.  “I guess you are also too stoned lately to want to make love anyway.”

“You can’t put this all on me.  I will own a lot of that, but I will never believe that I made you fuck another man.  If you did that, you must have been thinking about it for a long time.  And, it probably wasn’t your first time.”

“It was”, Lily moaned.  “I swear it.”

“You’ll have to excuse me for not taking your word on that.”

“Well, I guess I don’t blame you for not believing me, but I swear on my life that I have never done that before.”

“I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but I have never cheated on you, Lily.  You know that I have had had many opportunities, and I never cheated on you.”

“I know.  But, I never gave you a reason to.”

“Don’t give me that shit!  You have a beef with your husband, you talk it out, or you leave.  You don’t cheat!  You just don’t do that.  That is a level of betrayal that is simply unforgivable.”

Now that Cody had said that word—unforgivable–the real crux of the issue was out.  Cody had to ask himself if he could really forgive her or not.  Lily wondered the same thing. She wanted to equalize their crimes by comparing drug addiction and neglect to infidelity.  After all, were they not both different kinds of betrayals?  But she knew that she had crossed a line to which she may never return.  She could have left Justin, but she never wanted to.  She was afraid to confront him because he was so busy and tired, and a little fragile.  And, because she was afraid of the truth.

Lily was certain that Justin would choose his work and his friends over her if given an ultimatum.  Sure, they had a strong bond that they once saw as unbreakable, but it was now fraying at the ends.  She knew it.  Surely Justin did, too.

Once again, the deadly silent stare between them replaced the words they needed to speak.  Neither knew what the other wanted, or where the other would go.  Twenty minutes into this confrontation, and they still did not know how it would end.

Jamil was right, Cody thought, I do want to forgive her, but I just don’t know if I can.

“So, what do we do, Justin?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t even know what I want; let alone what is possible at this point.”

Lily began to sob again.  She was afraid that Justin would throw her out of the house and end their marriage, but she tried to believe that was not possible.  Hearing him admit that he did not even know what he wanted to do crushed her, and she feared the worst.

After finding Cody in the basement last Friday, stoned and apathetic, Lily wanted to believe that she had had enough.  She knew about the drugs, and she was tired of being neglected.  She imagined that she would break their bond finally by betraying him, and then she would move on with her life.  Now, she knew that was not what she wanted at all.  She wanted things to go back to how they were before Dutch Oven, MGHB, and all the drugs.  She remembered the happiness they shared together, on a daily basis, on the road with the Manatee, and especially at home during his off time.  That was what she wanted.

She hated how much Justin was working these days, and she hated all the extra time on the road touring that they have had to do in the past year.  Life had become chaotic with the success of Dutch Oven, and she hated it.  She wanted her old Justin back.

But now they were set on a frenetic pace bouncing back and forth between Sacramento and New Britain; between Dutch Oven’s commitments and Colonel Manatee’s commitments.  Before Dutch Oven and MGHB, Justin worked only half the year with the Manatee, and then they spent the rest of the year in Sacramento.  That, of course, opened the door to working with a side project—to working with his friends—and that is how this mess all began.

Lily only wanted her Justin back.

Cody broke her train of thought.  “So, what are you going to do?”

Cody was certain that she would want to go, and he was prepared for that possibility.  But, after careful consideration, he knew that was not what he wanted.  If she chose to stay, he would take her back.  He did not know how the marriage would survive in the long run, but he would take her back.

“I just don’t know how we even got here, Justin”, Lily cried.  “In just five short years, we are already like an old married couple that barely acknowledges each other anymore.  I just wanted to feel something that I was missing so badly, but I don’t want Charles, or anyone else for that matter; I want you, Justin.  But I don’t want the person you have become.”

Cody acknowledged her plea with a subtle nod.  He felt ashamed.  He knew that she was right; he had changed.  He allowed an obsession control his life, and it affected his relationship with the one woman he believed that he would ever love.

“I am not sure what to do about it right now”, Cody said.  “I have so many demands piled up so high, and I can’t just walk away.  I need to find some sort of balance.  I need help.”

“I could have helped you all along, but I felt like your Sacramento bands were like a private club closed to the public.”

“They are…”

“But you could have let me in.  You always did with the Manatee, so why not here?”

“I don’t know.  I guess I just wanted to hide that lifestyle from you, even before I got submerged in it.”

“Well, you had your mistress, and I had my own.” Lily tried to joke, but was met by Justin’s piercing eyes.

Cody simply brought the conversation back to topic.  “So, you are unhappy with the way things have been, and you had an affair with another man.  I’d say the choice is yours, Lil; what do you want to do?  You can either stay, and we’ll try to make it work, or you can go, and we’ll just start off on our own.”

Lily could not believe her ears.  Was he giving her a choice?  No ultimatums, and no threats, but a choice to stay or go.

“If you go, you’ll get a nice chunk of alimony or a settlement of some kind, so you won’t have…”

“If you think for a second that I give a shit about the money…”

“I’m just saying it’s there.”

Lily was disgusted, but also a bit relieved.  She was happy that he offered to let her stay and work on the marriage, even if she had doubts that much would change.

Lily smiled, walked over to Justin, and squeezed in beside him in his chair.  “I would like to make this work.  I love you, Justin, and I don’t think that I could ever love anyone the way that I love you.  But with so much hurt and betrayal between us, do you really think that we could fix this?”

“Maybe the only way to fix this is if we don’t trust each other for a little while.  I hope that we will again build that trust up, but for now, maybe we just have to keep an eye on each other.  I don’t know if that sounds right, but I think it may be the only way, for now.  And then, if we cannot get past the trust issues, then we will have to talk about splitting up.”

They gave each other another long, hard, and silent stare, except this one was soft and loving.

“I love you, Lily, and I am sorry for the hurt I have caused you.”

“I love you too, Justin, and I am so sorry that I hurt you, too.”

With no more words between them, they held each other’s hands and walked back into their bedroom to show each other exactly how much they loved each other.

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Filed under Blue Moon Baby - The Novel

After the Fight

(Attention: This story contains profanity, suggested drug use, adult themes, and is intended for mature readers only.)

(continued from last Tuesday’s post, The Fight, part 2)

Monday, June 28, 1999 – 9:10 am

The silence in the car was toxic. There was plenty to say, but between the two lovers, there was a wall of shame, confusion, and fear that kept their mouths closed, and their eyes from making contact. Cody shifted in his seat. He was uncomfortable not only because of the terrible rift that had been created by both Lily and him, but also because he was going through withdrawals from the drugs that he had not had for nearly sixty hours.

Cody was arrested Friday night after the fight at NorCal’s, and he was not arraigned until Monday morning. There were lawyers from both the Dutch Oven and Colonel Manatee offices trying to post bail, but the judge refused to make an exception of Cody based on his celebrity status.

Cody did not mind. Every minute he was in jail was another minute that he did not have to face Lily. He was ashamed of his drug use, and he was ashamed of the fight that landed him in jail. He was also ashamed that his marriage was surely ending after Lily’s infidelity. This was the biggest issue for him to face, and he was not looking forward to it.

Now, in the car with Lily, on the way back to their home in Fair Oaks, he wished to be anywhere else but there. He sat slumped in his seat, staring out of the window, and tried not to acknowledge his wife in the driver’s seat next to him.

Lily also feared this meeting. She dreaded the drive home, but knew that she would have to confront the issue head on. Still, she did not visit Cody in jail; instead, she communicated with the lawyers and met Cody at the courthouse on Monday morning. Lily spent the entire weekend alone wondering how their confrontation would go. She was angry about his arrest, and was doubly angry about his drug use, but she knew that she would have to answer for her affair with Charles.

The closer they got to their home, both Lily and Cody felt their stomachs tighten and their hearts pound a little heavier. They were scared, and had no idea how this day would end.

Once inside, Cody tried to speak, but Lily was still not ready. He ordered him to bed. He needed some real rest, and she needed more time to think. She could tell that Cody was not ready to talk—was in no condition to speak rationally—and that he, too, would need more time.

Cody did not argue. He went straight to their bedroom, kicked off his shoes, and collapsed on the bed into a virtual coma.

Lily sat in her study and cried. Once he had come home, it became more real to her. She sobbed hysterically with the realization that their marriage was probably over. Once the tears had stopped, she walked into the bedroom and lay down beside Cody. When she realized that Cody was in a deep sleep, she curled toward him, threw her left arm around him, and held him tightly—perhaps for the last time.

She was in the living room when Cody emerged from his sleep some eight hours later. She heard him taking a shower fifteen minutes earlier, and made a pot of coffee in anticipation of him coming down the stairs. Cody poured himself a cup, and sat down in his chair on the opposite end of the room from her. They stared at each other in cold silence, waiting for the other to speak first. No movement, and no words; only eyes locked in silent battle. Just as Cody was about to make the first move to ask her directly about the affair, Lily spoke first.

“Why were you naked?”

“What?”

“Why did you strip down naked to fight that guy?”

Cody had to think hard for a moment about the question. He was so prepared to talk about the affair, or about his drug use, that he had almost forgotten about the fight outside of NorCal’s.

“I wanted to shame that punk all the more by kicking his sorry ass while naked. You should have seen this guy, Lil–all brawn and attitude, on a steroid-infused rage—he needed his ass beaten.”

“By a naked junkie?”

“Okay, Lil, which issue are we starting with? The drugs, the arrest, or the affair? We got a lot to cover.”

“You’re not kidding, Justin.” There was another moment of silent staring before Lily spoke again. “I would say the drugs started it; let’s start there. How long has it been out of control?”

“I don’t know if it ever was out of control.”

“You were barely conscious in the basement of our house. Your eyes were rolling back. I’m not even sure you knew that it was me yelling at you. You just had a stupid grin on your face…”

“I was just getting the last of the tour out of my system…”

“In our house? You brought that shit into our house, Justin! You have never done that before.”

It was then that Cody realized that Lily had known about his drug use for some time now. His shame deepened.

“How long have you known?” he asked.

“How long do you think, Justin? I am with you all the time. Did you really think you could hide that from me?”

“I only did a little bit, and you never said anything about it before…”

“You and Huey aren’t exactly sly about it. You make it look like you have been drinking, but it’s not the same. You are not the same when you are drinking.”

Cody had been open with Lily about all of the drug use in both the MGHB and Dutch Oven, but had always sworn that he stayed away from it all. He assured Lily that he would be fired from Colonel Manatee if he ever was caught doing hard drugs, so he would never even try. But when he discovered Huey’s penchant for heroin, he could not resist the temptation to share this one vice with his best friend. Cody and Huey never used needles; rather, they smoked it so that it would leave no trace. Once the heroin became a regular part of the band dynamic, cocaine soon followed as a natural counterpart.

“Besides, you have completely pulled away from me this past year”, Lily continued. “You work too much, and you spend too much time with Huey, Jamil, and all the others, and you have been pulling away from me. How long have I known? I’ve known the whole time, and I just watched it happen without saying a word because you were fulfilling your dream. I wanted you to be happy. I wanted you to realize your dreams. But, I also wanted to be a part of it, and I haven’t been for some time. I’ve just been your wife, not your mate. I feel like you replaced me with the drugs…or with Huey.”

Lily was sobbing hysterically now, and Cody was speechless. He had no answer for her. Of course he wanted to make a name for himself; to be something more than just a side player in the Manatee, but he had no idea that it had affected Lily so negatively. He was unaware that she was so unhappy, and so left out; just as he had no idea that his drug use had gotten out of control.

Picking at a fiber from a small hole in his leather chair, Huey took his eyes away from Lily. “For what it’s worth, I have decided to quit using drugs all together.”

“Why? Because you were caught? Because you are up against charges? Or are you only now quitting because you know that you can’t hide it from me?

“No. I’m quitting because I realize that it has gotten out of hand. You know how I hate to be controlled.”

“Well, don’t do it on my account.” Lily was not sure what to make of this new claim.

“Well, I am doing it on your account, and my own, for that matter. I told Huey and Jam on Friday that it had to stop. And yes, you catching me in the basement had a lot to do with that decision. So did the arrest.” Cody had the sudden realization that all the guys from the Manatee must already know about the arrest, and that he would have to answer to them about it, as well. His stomach tightened further.

Lily was not sure that this decision would affect her at all. She still had to answer for her own crimes, which she was not yet ready to do.

“So, how are you going to do it? Quit, I mean.”

Cody never really thought about it. “I guess I’ll just quit. When I gave up smoking cigarettes, I just quit. Simply made the decision to stop, and I stopped. I guess I’ll do the same now.”

“And what about working with Dutch Oven? The whole lot of you are constantly high on something.”

“Well, I guess I’ll have to set some boundaries. You’re right. It’s everywhere on every level of the organization. I’ll have to change things within the band. I don’t know…hire more handlers, I guess. I’ll worry about myself first, then I’ll see if I’ll have to play boss with anyone else. You know I’m not comfortable having to tell anyone what to do.”

“I think that’s part of the problem, Justin.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I’m going to have to get more involved in a lot of matters in my life. Things have gotten slack in a lot of places, haven’t they?” He gave a hard, accusatory, glare into Lily’s eyes, and the silence returned to the room. For about two, long, uncomfortable minutes, they said nothing; only stared at each other’s eyes, knowing where the conversation was headed next.

“Okay, we’ve talked about my shortcomings in this world…”, Cody started.

“Oh, not by a long shot…”

“…what about your own? Are you even aware of your own? Let’s talk about you now.”

(to be continued tomorrow…)

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Filed under Blue Moon Baby - The Novel

I Got Stuck…

…and so I skipped around a bit.

I’m talking about my novel, Blue Moon Baby, and my recent progress in writing it.  I started writing it from beginning to end, but then I got stuck on a section, and then waffled about for a while not writing anything.

I have had the entire story mapped out in my head for years now, and I have only recently begun to write it.  The whole purpose of this blog is for me to get practice writing, and so I write about a host of different ideas that swarm in my head throughout the day.  I also have been reading other writers’ work to see their process, and of course, I read tons of writing tips from people who seem to know what they are talking about.

However, after I got stuck, I decided to jump ahead–WAY ahead–in the story, and share a piece of it that I have really wanted to write for some time.  I posted it here on WordPress here, and here, and…<crickets chirping>.

That story is pretty gritty; probably the grittiest part of the novel, and is filled with cussing, graphic drug use, and a bizarre fight scene.  I liked it, but I did not get much reaction from anyone out there in Bloglandia.  I got a decent amount of views, but only a few like, and no comments.

Was it too gritty?  Did it suck?  Does anyone actually READ anything on my blog?

I realize that complaining about the internet means I’m doing it wrong, but I am puzzled over this one.

Anyway, if anyone is still reading this far, I must ask this question:

Have you ever skipped around while writing your novel, or do you stay firmly on your timeline?

As I mentioned before, I have the whole story planned out in my head, and I made a solid outline for the novel, but I just felt that this chapter of the story needed to be written.  Of course, I realize that everything I have written for the novel will have to be re-written later down the road.  Likewise, I wrote “The Fight” in blog form, with lots of back story that wouldn’t necessarily be there in the actual chapter.

I plan to continue this story where it left off after “The Fight” with posts on Monday and Tuesday, so if you are interested, stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

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The Fight, part 2

(Attention: This story contains profanity, violence, and graphic drug use, and is intended for mature readers only.)

(continued from yesterday’s post)

Friday, June 25, 1999 – 8:40 pm

There was a distraction at the other side of the room, but Cody barely acknowledged it. There were four college-aged boys; the macho, muscular type, yelling across the room at Cody, Huey, and Jamil. Huey and Jam had been trying hard to ignore it for several minutes, but Cody was only now becoming aware.

The boys were drinking cheap beer and bothering some of the bar’s other patrons when they noticed the three friends sitting in the far booth. The obvious leader—a tall, muscular blond wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and jean shorts—was pointing at Cody, Huey, and Jam and yelling “Hey Big Time!” in a mocking tone. Some girls were chattering on about how they thought the men in the far booth were celebrities, and wanted to get autographs, and the boys decided to impress the girls.

Led by the muscular blond, the four boys walked over to the table and demanded to know who the three men were.

“Hey! You guys big shots, or what?”

Huey looked as if he would be glad to jump into a brawl with these bozos, but Jam was not the fighting type, and Cody was in too fragile of a state to be bothered.

“Hey guys, not tonight, okay?” Huey tried to dismiss the boys.

“Aw, come on, big shots, you too important to talk to some regular guys?” The blond leader was clearly amusing himself, and his friends, but not Huey.

Jamil tried to be more diplomatic. “Look, you guys, we got private business here, and we’ll have to give you a rain check on…whatever it is you want.”

“What we want is to know who the fuck you guys are, and who the fuck you think you are thinking you’re so fucking big?”

“Look”, Huey was getting irate, but still tried to keep his cool, “We are just hanging out, trying to have a peaceful night. Go bother someone else.”

One of the other boys—another tall, muscular, blond with a baseball cap on backwards—figured it out. “Hey, it’s those Dutch Oven guys. Sacramento’s newest superstars.”

The muscular leader smiled a drunken, roguish smile, and decided to taunt them further.

“Oh, the famous rock stars. Those girls want your autographs, but how about you sign my dick instead? In fact, sign all our dicks, and those bitches can suck your names right off. That should make everybody’s night.”

Up to this point, Huey and Jamil were doing all the talking, trying to keep the peace, but Cody finally felt compelled to step into the conversation.

“Go back to your table, and fuck off”, Cody spoke calmly, and did not even turn to face the boy.

The blond leader zeroed in on Cody, apparently feeling as if his night was about to be made. “And what if I don’t want to fuck off? What the fuck are you going to do about it, Rock Star? You’re the big rock star, why don’t you sing something for us? Sing me a song, sign my dick, and then I’ll fuck off.” The four boys were howling with laughter as if this were the funniest thing they had ever seen.

Cody turned to meet his attacker head-on. Something in Cody’s eyes rattled the blond leader for a second, but he continued his taunts.

“Why are you three little faggots sitting all alone in a dark corner? You guys jerking each other off, or what?”

Huey stood up as if to punch the blond leader, but physically, he was no match for the larger boys; neither of them appeared to be. The blond leader pushed Huey back into his seat, and one of the other boys held Huey back, lest he should try to rise up again.

The blond leader ignored Huey. He had found his prey, and went back to taunting Cody.

“I asked you a question, Big Shot. Why are you little pussies jerking each other off in your own private corner of the bar?”

Cody had never felt that he needed a bodyguard. Even on tour, when fans can get aggressive, Cody felt that bodyguards and handlers only drew more attention to him, and so he eschewed them and chose to handle matters on his own. Before this night, he had never had an issue; certainly not in his own hometown, but he really wished that he had someone to remove this problem right now. The bartender had warned the boys to stop, and the boys ignored him, and continued their catcalls. The bartender even phoned the police, but the boys finally pushed Cody too far.

Cody rose suddenly. ”You want to see how much of a pussy I am, motherfucker? You want to see? Congratulations! You’re about to find out.”

The boys all cheered as the anticipation of a quick fight between their leader and this skinny celebrity pumped adrenaline into the night. Everybody headed outside. Huey grabbed for Cody’s arm to hold him back. “You don’t need to do this, man”, he pled, but Cody was already half-way across the room before Huey could finish the sentence. Jamil just laughed a knowing laugh, grabbed the tequila, and followed them all outside.

“You little bitch”, started the blond leader, “you have no fucking idea what you’re getting yourself into. And you know what? It’s too late to back out. Your ass is fucking dead!”

Cody just stood there staring at his attacker. It was too much. The last twenty-four hours had been too much for him. The haze of drugs; the fight with Lily; the realization that he may be in over his head with an addiction problem; and finally, a bunch of punks looking for a fight. It was too much. He came to the bar to meet with his friends and try to take the edge off the situation, but it had escalated further than he had ever imagined it could. All the cocaine and tequila he had in the bar, combined with the adrenaline surge from the impending fight brought a sudden focus to him.

He had come to the bar half-crazed, strung-out, and deeply saddened by the events at home. Now, he was faced with an idiot kid who looked as if he made a weekend habit of starting fights with smaller, weaker targets. Cody now faced a bully who had three equally muscular and testosterone-driven meatheads behind him to back him up. Cody knew this was never meant to be a fair fight, and so, he would not allow one. He knew that he was in no condition to allow one. Cody meant to give his attackers something to ponder for the rest of their bullying career.

Cody gazed into the eyes of his attacker. Then, he peeled-off his T-shirt, showing a thin, and stringy upper body. At six-foot two inches, Cody only weighed about one hundred and fifty pounds. The drugs had made him thinner than usual, but his Kung Fu training had kept him lean and strong. Even during the two years that Cody had used the hard drugs, he still continued his workouts and training.

Cody’s eyes never left the eyes of his attacker. He then kicked-off his shoes, and peeled-off his socks.

“What the fuck is this?” mocked the blond leader.

Cody then took off his pants and tossed them aside.

“What the fuck are you doing, faggot?” the blond leader cried out. Huey and Jam just giggled. The crowd was getting larger, and the bystanders were just as baffled as the attacker.

Finally, Cody stripped off his underwear, and stood naked before his attacker and the crowd surrounding him. Suddenly, cars driving by on “J” Street stopped to watch the spectacle. They had no idea who the naked man was, only that there was clearly going to be a fight between some nude lunatic and a very puzzled muscular boy.

“I’ll tell you what”, said Cody to the blond leader, “I’ll let you have the first punch. It’s free, just take it.”

The blond leader was flummoxed. All of his bravado was lost as soon as Cody stripped naked. He turned to his friends, who were just as puzzled; “What do I do? He’s fucking naked! I don’t want his shit touching me.”

Cody stepped forward and pushed his right cheek up close for his attacker. The blond leader, not knowing what else to do, summoned his earlier rage and charged Cody. His right fist smashed into Cody’s mouth, knocking Cody backwards and causing a spray of blood from Cody’s lips. The boys all whooped and cheered, mocking Cody, and pointing at Huey and Jam as if to suggest they were next.

Cody took a second to gather himself, and then smiled maniacally at the attacker, who, for the first time, realized that he might have made a mistake.

It took only about 15 seconds. In a flurry of movements, Cody punched, jabbed, and kicked his attacker in a series of moves he had practiced in Kung Fu training for years, but never used in any practical reality. Three swift punches to the face forced the blond leader to raise both hands for protection. Cody then gave two jabs to the kidneys, and a series of punches to the ribs, forcing his opponent to bend forward. He then gave two quick roundhouse kicks to his opponent’s hips and left leg, dropping him to one knee. It was Cody’s turn to taunt.

“Come on, little boy. You wanted to kick my ass, now get up, and kick my ass. You’re getting beaten down by a naked dude, you little fuck, now get the fuck up! NOW!”

“Hang on a second…”, the attacker groaned.

“No, now! You said my ass was dead tonight, now make me dead. Get up and kick my ass, motherfucker!” Cody was yelling like a lunatic, spraying blood and spit onto his attacker.

The regular Friday night brawl that the onlookers were hoping to witness had quickly become something darker and sickening. The three other boys, who would normally step into a situation like this, were frozen in awe of Cody’s assault.

The blond leader was stupid enough to stand up again. He charged at Cody, who then delivered two punches to the blond leader’s nose and jaw and a series of punches to the ribs and solar plexus.

All of the anger and frustration that Cody felt in the last twenty-four hours, and all of the fears and angst he had felt his entire life. All the years spent proving his worth to anyone he cared about, it all crescendoed in this one moment of time in an explosion of violence and hatred.

Cody finally decided to finish the blond leader off with an Inside Crescent and Tornado kick combination that broke the blond leader’s nose and jaw. Cody’s attacker crumpled to the ground unconscious.

One of the girls who had originally asked the boys to go get autographs vomited on the sidewalk.

Cody looked crazed at the three remaining boys as if to ask, who’s next? But before Cody could inflict any more damage, three police officers broke through the crowd and ordered Cody to stand down. The fight was over, but Cody was standing on the sidewalk on “J” Street, outside of NorCal’s Pub, naked, and pulsating with rage.

By the time Cody had come down from his adrenaline high and realized exactly what had happened, he was in handcuffs in the back of a police car charged with assault, battery, public nudity, public drunkenness, and two counts of narcotics possession. He also realized that his clothes were back on his body.

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