Wednesday, August 6, 2008

it's wasted in the night.

words: david castrodale, photo: sandra croft

my first fight was a couple of summers ago, and it was
pointless and unsatisfying. it never amounted to more
than a bunch of strangers blindly clawing at each other
on a street dried up of traffic and excitement. we tussled
outside the club while everybody watched slack-jawed
until the bouncers put a merciful end to it. you expect it
to be high drama - bodies pummeled, then restrained,
sweat-covered, shouting, veins throbbing, blood flowing -
but it wasn't that at all.

he came at me and i was confused more than anything;
if i were wearing a jacket he would have dragged me by
the lapels, but it was a t-shirt and he just dragged me by
the fabric while i calmly waited for somebody to step in
and stop it. nobody did, though. the specatators were as
calm, curious and confused as i was - we were all just
watching a situation develop.

finally, i got an arm free and hit him on the side of the
head. it probably didn't hurt, but he was drunk and it
knocked him off balance and i went with the momentum,
leaning forward while he reeled back, and we both went
down. he hit his head on the concrete and i bounced
back up while he stayed down and rolled over on his
side. i lunged forward to kick him and then instinctively
looked over at the gathering crowd to make sure i was
doing it right, that this was the correct way to act, but
nobody seemed to know whether i was supposed to kick
him or not. it was probably the right thing to do, but
neither me nor anyone else seemed certain about it either
way. I stood poised and bewildered, utterly motionless,
petrified, while he slowly pulled himself up. we looked at
each other and waited to see what was going to happen
next. finally, a bouncer came in and reasoned with the guy.

"look" the bouncer said. "he could have kicked you while
you were down, but he didn't. what does that say about
him, huh? what does that say about him?"

i couldn't say what it said about me. anyway, that was
the end of the fight.

the fight happened because he had offered me $10 for
a cigarette and i told him to just go buy a pack. and then
somehow in a way i couldn't quite comprehend, one thing
led to another. i was with my friend joelle, and all she had
to say afterwards was "well, he had a cool shirt on." and
he did, it was true.

anyway, i guess he had given me the $10 at some point in
the fight's preamble, and we went into the club, upstairs,
to the deserted dance floor, and shuffled around to ironic
new wave music while a cheap lighting show crashed
around us. i spent his money on beer, and all of a sudden,
my nerves caught up with me and it all hit at once, like i
had crashed into a wall. and, still, compulsively, i kept
dancing, jerking spasmodically around the dance floor
to the jangle of the cure like a broken automaton in a cage.

junior boys - teach me how to fight

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