It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
- Mark Twain
I am not a fighter. Not really. I have been in exactly two fights in my life. One ended because we both threw two punches and got bored and the other ended when I threw a chair at the guy before it started. I believe that the best offense is to be a deterrent. I am a big guy, tall and lanky with enough weight on me to appear that I have some type of muscles. I guess I do have muscles, enough to carry my big ass around anyway.
So watching Dave fight kinda surprised me. Especially in my library.
I thought of putting the cops on speed dial. Dave would not hear of it. He offered to have it all happen at his home, but if he didn’t want the cops then a beat down in that little apartment of his was the worst place it would happen. I just made him promise that the only thing being beaten in my library would be Dave himself. He made me promise not to jump in in return. I could live with that.
So, after hours, Amazing Morty the magician and Marcus Mallani the clown came to beat Dave from IT out of the circus family. Dave’s wife Clara followed them. I think the only reason I was letting this happen was because the entire scenario had taken me by surprise. If I stopped to think for a second, none of this would have been going on.
“We’ll give you another chance, David,” Morty said, “We don’t want to do this.”
“Speak for yourself, Mordecai,” Mallani said, “Soon as this is over, we can get out of this little dump. Leave the scrap behind.”
Dave was quiet. His eyes were focused on Clara. Tears were in her eyes.
“Do you have our computers?” I asked.
“In the truck. You will get them back as promised when all this is over,” Morty said.
“Let’s get this over with then. Marcus, go ahead,” Morty said.
The clown moved with grace and speed. He covered the twenty-five feet of the library and was on Dave in a second. But Dave was not there to meet him.
Dave also moved fast. He went low, dodging the larger man. Mallani brought up a knee to trip up the younger man, but Dave was already beyond his reach. Dave grabbed a dictionary on display and swung in a high arch. Before Mallani could react, Dave slammed it down onto the clown’s head causing him to crumble to the ground with a thump.
Dave dropped the dictionary and turned toward the magician. Morty pulled three dangerous looking daggers from his coat.
“Whoa,” I said, “I thought this was a good ol’ fashioned fisticuffs.”
“Evan,” Dave said, “I appreciate the concern, but this old man is nothing to worry about. Say quiet.”
Something in Dave’s voice reassured me. I do not know why.
Morty flicked his hand and Dave had a knife in his shoulder. He cried out in pain and slid the knife from his shoulder. As he did that, a second blade appeared in his other shoulder. Dave fell to his knees.
I moved toward the phone. Dave held out his hand as Morty approached him. I stopped and watched.
“Just one more cut, David,” Morty said, “I wished this was not so. There should be another way.”
Morty raised the last knife to Dave’s forehead as if to scalp him. He grabbed hold of Dave’s hair and pulled his head back.
“This will only take a moment, boy,” Morty said.
“I know it will, Uncle Cai,” Dave said.
I did not see Clara move. Like everyone else in the room, I was focused on the knife play and not the beautiful woman as she snuck behind the magician. She grabbed the larger man from behind by the hair and drew a line with a knife across his forehead and down his cheek.
Amazing Morty screamed and let go of Dave. Morty’s knife hand whirled back to the space Clara had been, blood dripping from his face wound. Clara had moved back, holding the little knife blade down toward the large man.
Morty took one step toward her before Dave hit the back of the magician’s knee. Morty fell to the library floor, blood splattering on the wood.
“Give up, Uncle Cai,” Dave said, “It’s over. You’re out.”
Dave stood up. Morty rolled over and looked through the blood at his nephew.
“Why? What do you care, cast out?” he said.
“Clara told me what you did. How you took over the family, used this maniac,” Dave gestured to Mallani, still out on the ground, “to take over after Pa stepped down. She told me what you’ve been doing. Now leave, and if I see you again, I will finish that cut across your throat.”
Morty stood and faced Dave. Rage spread across his face, deep red I could see even under the blood mask. My stomach turned.
“Don’t know what you’re doing, boy,” Morty said, “That ‘family’ ain’t nothing without me. And you aren’t a part of anything anymore.”
Mallani rose behind Dave and screamed, rushing the smaller man. Dave stepped right and also ran forward, away from the clown and toward Morty. Clara threw her knife, burying it in Mallani’s throat as Dave drove a shoulder into Morty’s stomach as the magician turned to attack Clara. Three bodies hit the floor at the same time.
Dave stood up, looking down at his uncle stared at the knife he had buried into his uncle’s chest when they landed. Clara walked toward her husband, putting an arm around Dave’s shoulder as he started to shake.
After a moment, Dave looked over at me. I had not moved.
“I think I can lock up tonight, boss,” he said, “don’t worry. I’ll clean up.”
I nodded. The man before me was not the mousy computer tech I had known for years. The man before me had blood on his hands and a cold look in his eye.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Dave,” I said and left the building. Outside, I vomited in the bushes.
My cell phone rang. Natalie was calling. I put it back in my pocket without answering. I went to find a drink.
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