It's Friday night. I know this because I'm sipping on a Tom Collins. Friday IS a Tom Collins. Friday is served with extra ice and extra cherries. Every Friday after work, I come to the same bar and drink the same drink. The same cab driver takes me home, and I return to the same quiet apartment. It's a lonely life, but I'm a lonely man. I've never really had a change of pace in my routine, that is, until this particular Friday night.
"Hey Dick, last call buddy." The bartender was always so casual with me. I never told him my name, he just read my driver's license and established this fictitious bond.
First things first, my name is Richard Caldwell. And as long as my memory teeters back, I was called Dick. As I'm sure you're very well aware, this made me a constant target for ridicule. In elementary school, I never understood why the young teachers would snicker under their breath when they saw my nametag saying, "HELLO MY NAME IS: Dick" in thick black marker. Not until middle school did I begin to understand the reason for all the laughing, the pointing and the flat out bullying that was my existence. With such a name as "Dick," I of course had many poor experiences. It was mostly name calling and pushing me into the lockers as I walked down the hall. Occasionally I would end up getting a swirly or getting made fun of in the locker rooms. The main "joke," for lack of a better word being something along the lines of, "Ew! I can see your Dick!" This was not nearly as amusing as 12 year old boys would lead you to believe. But none the less, it was harmless other than psychologically. That is until high school started.
By high school, I was growing cold to the world. After being mocked for 14 years, I was growing more impatient with every passing year. Eventually, I was able to tune out all the name calling and harassment entirely. At this point in my life, Ted was my bully, and he did not seem pleased by my new found passiveness. I didn't even realize how angry he was until he grabbed my shoulder and pulled me around to face him. I smiled as if nothing had been said, because in my mind, nothing had been said. He was even angrier than before. I couldn't even mutter out a greeting before I was against the ground with my head slamming into the concrete hallway floor.
I awoke in the hospital three days later. Of course, I was scolded for ending up there in the first place. I come from a finically unstable family. It wasn't that big of a deal or anything, I mean, I'd been beaten up before. Mom left the room to talk to the doctors about the bill and that left my step father, Maxwell. Maxwell was a strange man. He would be the first to tell you that I wasn't his son.
He would always get very upset and yell, "That little bastard is NOT my son! My wife isn't capable of giving me children. She's lucky I don't just bail out of this relationship so I can get a son." As I'm sure is clear, he was a rather large douchebag. He acted high and mighty. If you hadn't known better, you would think he came from a wealthy bloodline. Looking at him you could tell he didn't come from mansions, caviar, and wine, but quite obviously trailer parks, corndogs, and beer. He hated me. But it's understandable. I am named after my father, therefore, even thinking of my name is forcing him to think about the first man my mother loved. But that's just about all I know about my dad, his name was Richard.
Mom loved Richard, but he was a bit older than her. Richard was 44 when he met my mother. Their relationship was frowned upon due to their difference in age though. Apparently, it wasn't a good idea to be 19 with a 44 year old lover. But then again, I suppose it doesn't sound so good when you think about a twenty-five year difference. Mom got pregnant with me after his forty-ninth birthday. He left the next day, and she hasn't seen him since. Being twenty-four, alone and with child made my mother a nervous wreck. Nobody really paid too much attention to her situation now, other than herself. This led her to a psych ward for many reasons. I tell people that this is where Maxwell came into her life. People buy it instantly, he is obviously a lunatic. But she did manage to test out of there just before giving birth to me. I could go on and divulge more of our lousy family gossip, but I digress.
This particular Friday night felt different. There was something in the air that screamed it would change the world. I'm not sure if the change at hand was for the better, but surely, someone would benefit from this change. At least one person always dealt a good hand when playing a game, so why would this be any different? I decided to finish off my drink and proceed out to my usual taxi. But with the chunks of ice gingerly kicking my lips and a cherry sliding past them into my mouth, I caught wind of a conversation I shouldn't have been a part of.
The conversation was from a greasy looking thug had a vice grip on this dame. Normally, I would have let this go, but he had disrupted my routine. That wasn't any dame he happened to have his dirty hands on. That was my waitress. She worked every Friday. She always brought me the drink I wanted without me having to order. But this lowly scum of the Earth had ruined my routine and her evening. This was not acceptable to me. It was obviously not acceptable to Lucy either. I stood to leave the bar.
"So since the night's young, and this geezer is closing up shop, maybe we could take the party to my car." His words slithered like the scumbag serpent he was. He wasn't even looking at her eyes. How can some people be so disgusting? It really upsets me. Lucy quivered in fear as he slid a five dollar bill in the dead center of her cleavage. My fists were clenched now. It was no longer possible for me to hold back.
With my head down, I reached for Lucy's arm and tugged lightly. This drew the attention of the Neanderthal. "Can I help you sir?" I asked in a slightly bothered tone. I was worried I was scaring Lucy so I handed her a note I had etched on a cocktail napkin moments before I started over. She quickly read it and followed my instructions of running to the bar.
"Kid, you do realize you just ruined my entertainment this evening, don't ya'?" He said as he smirked from ear to ear. "So I guess you'll have to make it up to me somehow." He reached in his pocket to grab a knife. He flicked the switchblade out and went to thrust it at me. What was I going to do in this situation? I really couldn't let him hurt me. I mean, if I did, what would happen to Lucy? I had to be sure she was safe. In a quick burst of adrenaline, I grabbed the hand with the blade, rotated his wrist making him drop the knife. I could tell he planned on trying to continue this spectacle with just his fists. He threw a powerful punch, but it was simple for me to duck and get behind him. I grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop in his tracks and then pulled it beyond its range, letting out a bone chilling crack. To ensure his defeat, I picked him up by the waist and slammed him into the table. That had officially pushed him beyond his limit.
By this time, Lucy had made her way to the exit and was waiting on me. "C'mon Dick, my boss said if we can get out of here, he didn't see what happened." She was safe. That was my primary goal this whole time. I wasn't at all concerned with the consequences. I walked calmly to her. She grabbed my hand and opened the door. But I couldn't move. A rather large man had his hand on my shoulder. He was restricting my get away. Why was this Friday so different?
This man had an odd feeling surrounding him. "Relax son, I didn't see anything either. Me and the fuzz aren't on good terms anyway. But I did see that fight, and I have an offer for you." This was most likely a horrible offer he was purposing. But I stood there and listened to the man who stood before me. "I'll be straight forward about this. I want you to fight for me."
"I'm thankful for your offer sir, but I can't do that. I only fight for defensive purposes." I had decided long ago that if anyone needed my protection, I wouldn't think twice about helping them. This man wanted me to fight for him competitively. He assured me that I would come to my senses and accept his offer eventually. This Friday was different. This Friday was probably the last Tom Collins. This was most likely the last Friday served with extra ice and cherries. This was going to be the last Friday I had a routine.