Get in the ring

Jayme and Mack after the fight.If we had seen it coming it would have been a different story. It was swift. It was coordinated. It was driven by hate and prejudice and racism. To them* we were skin heads. We were hooligans, as they say even in Portuguese.

The name calling was nothing new to us. We get it everywhere we go. But the violence and precision was something we never expected. Hindsight is always 20/20, and the five hours at the outdoor concert leading up the the attack was more than enough time to hatch a plan to take us down.

It started out simple enough. Mack was hit in the back into me. I turned to see what was going on and watched as Mack planted both fists into the chest of the guilty party. The small Brazilian man rocketed backwards into the crowd.

The crowd?!

Two more men stepped into the semi circle and approached Mack from each side. It was now three on one and I stepped up to the plate to take swing. I didn’t get that far. Before I even cocked a fist back I was wrapped up in a blood choke from behind. I was yanked backwards off me feet as the pressure around my neck increased. 15 seconds, I thought as I instinctively grappled for the man’s eyes who held me like a vice.

Tick. Tock.

I knew all I had was 15 seconds, and every tick of the clock was a deafening boom ringing only in my ears. I flailed where his head should’ve been and felt nothing. No hair, no head, least of all no eyes to gouge. Mack was swinging left, then right, then left and straight and right and left again. I watched helpless as man after man rushed him from the semi circle. Mack crouched in a defensive posture and hit whatever was within reach. They kept coming.

Tick. Tock.

I drove my elbows back with all my force hoping to connect to a rib or a hip or anything. I felt nothing.

Tick. Tock.

I had one more option. I grabbed his forearm and began tracing it up to his fingers where I could break them one by one if necessary. My world began to dim. Mack continued to fight.

Tick. Tock.

I felt fingers. I pulled…

Tick. T…

I slept. I dreamed of dolphins and crystal blue oceans. It was hard to breathe under the water but I felt relaxed and comfortable. I was warm and could tell the sun was shining brightly above the sea. I slept.

The ocean suddenly turned to black. I could taste dirt in my mouth. I was being pushed and pulled and lifted. But why did they disturb me? I was happy here. I was tired and only wanted to go back to sleep in the warm, clear waters.

I swallowed dirt and my eyes opened. At the end of the tunnel I saw a federal police officer helping me to my feet. I didn’t know where I was or what the hell he was doing. I only wanted to sleep. He hoisted me up to my feet and swung my arm over his shoulder. Another officer joined him on my right and turned me around. I saw Mack again and the world snapped back into focus. We were helped across the street and sat down against a building.

Under guard by the federal police came four men. None of them were one of over a half a dozen who I saw Mack fighting off before my lights went out.

In the police station we pointed fingers, wrote our statements, and sang Amazing Grace to a guitar played by a detective. The men were released without charges. Initial estimates put the attackers at seven, but further evidence and “unofficial eyewitness” statements support numbers in the range between 15 and 20.

Nothing has changed. We do not live in fear. We do not hide behind guarded walls. We live our days now as we have always done with contentment and pleasure.

But we are wiser. And we will not falter again.

*To Brazilians’ credit, Mack and I have never encountered aggression of this nature before. The people in Brasilia are very friendly and are usually willing to help in any way they can. This incident was a fluke fueled by ignorance and alcohol. The attackers are not forgiven.They are not forgotten.


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2 Responses to “Get in the ring”

  1. Dan Shuga says:

    I wish I was there to help. Three on 20 is even odds. Take up boxing, Its a great workout.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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