Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The American - Number 29

In the split second before the battle sure to come, Paul Sr. scanned the surroundings of the restaurant for casualties, obstacles, and potential weapons.
Twenty to thirty feet stood between the enemy and his cold hard fists.
Three Aspersers – Maybe more in the kitchen or in a trap door somewhere.  Paul would have to keep his eyes open just in case. Most likely he just had to prevent them from pushing a button and calling for reinforcements.  In the old days, he would have held back for a minute or two and let the reinforcements come to their brothers' aid. This always added to the excitement of the battle, but with the kids here, it was probably best to stop this thing before it gets started.  And once it was over they could grab a couple of tacos, Paul Jr. and the kids could get their cheesy-things, and then they could get the hell out of Santa Fe before they arrived.   
Asian Couple, weak - Paul Sr. knew all of the patrons but two—an Asian couple. They were in their upper forties, short, in flowered shirts. But they didn’t have the usual stereotypical cameras. He wondered if they would be an asset, liability, or if they were possibly a plant put there by the Indian to attack anyone foolish enough to invade his house.  If that were the case, then they would probably sneak up from behind when he least expected it.  That would mean during the battle at a moment when he was the most exposed, they would attack.  Or maybe they would just start shooting guns at him and his family if he got out of line. 
 Unless, they were the whistle. 
Damn it, they were probably the whistle, which meant that their job was to simply lift a cup or eat a chip, and that would be the message to someone somewhere who would come and firebomb the whole building. Or let the poison gas out of the cylinders. Or blow the floor out and the place would drop into a vat of freeze foam. Hell, It could be anything.
Paul stared at them as long as he stared at anyone before a fight. He sized them up head to toe. He looked at their weak frames. There were no burn marks on their hands or fingers. Their skin was loose and their butts were flabby. Their shoes were not tied well, nor did they observe a gig-line of any kind. But the biggest tell Paul could find occurred when the man tried to stand, and his body’s shape and movement told Paul he had never been anyone more than a desk jockey in a big building somewhere.  Because of this, Paul knew they were nothing more than tourists with very bad taste in food. They probably saw the word taco in the name and thought this was an authentic Santa Fe restaurant, which served special food only known in this region; instead of the ‘mega-taco-mart’, which was this place’s M.O. throughout the United States and two provinces in Canada. 
Now that Paul Sr. had determined that the couple was not a treat, what should he do about them?  They would surely be casualties if the fighting moved in their direction. He decided he would do whatever it took to keep the fighting close to the front of the establishment and prevent any unnecessary collateral damage.  But they would be witnesses.  After the fight people would come and ask questions. What if they answered the questions, and a member of his family paid for it?  Would it be easier to snap their necks?  Should he do it before he jumped the counter or after?
If he did this, Paul and his family would be assured that the couple would never be able to point out his family or explain to anyone which direction they went after the fight.  It would save the couple the pain of torture, in the event the wrong people thought they were trying to protect him. No, they would have to take care of themselves. They came into the restaurant, and they could see themselves out.     
Quick Left, Right, Left, then Jump - the twenty or thirty feet would be difficult to move through with efficient strides because of all of the restaurant tables and chairs.  Paul thought about using them as steps, but the zigzag motion might confuse the enemy, so he decided a ground assault would be optimal until he reached the counter, then it was time to fly. He would jump off his left foot so the right would be available for kicking.
  Dust, A1 – break jaw, A2 – crush larynx, A3 – shatter nose – Unless there was an invisible force field protecting them, first attack would be simple.  Paul would jump the counter and while he was in the air he would punch the kid on the far left in the mouth. This would leave him dazed and if he stepped back to block the punch, Paul would not be left open for attack.
After the punch to the mouth, Paul would immediately ram his right knee into the throat of the middle marauder. This would be even better if he was still agile enough to move his upper torso in a position to allow him to grab the boy's ears and force his head into the strike, but he would have to wait and see how the punch to the mouth went.
The final blow would probably come from the same leg, Paul would extend it to the face of the third of the bunch and hopefully break his nose, which always provided enough blurred vision to set its victim afloat in the room while Paul finished off the other two.
In the event, the second kid grabbed him and held on after the knee to the throat, Paul would have to spin his body, push off of his face, and round kick the third with the other foot. This was much more difficult, but nothing he hadn’t done numerous times in the past.
The only real problem was the potential of an invisible force field. If Paul jumped toward the boys and a force field got him, then he would either be frozen in midair or would fall to the ground. Then the enemy could leisurely pull their guns and fill him full of lead, steel, diamonds, what have you. Paul was not willing to take the chance with his untrained and sheltered family behind him. If he died, they would be soon to follow. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a table with trash, which included some shredded cheese. He would grab it and throw it at the enemy on the way to the counter. If, indeed, there was a force field, the cheese would be caught up in it, Paul would see it, and have plenty of time to react.  
Absorb counters, aim for joints and pressure points – After the first wave, Paul knew that the first order of business would be to get on his feet. If he were to stay in the air, they would surely shoot him down. Paul remembered his training and how to ball and thrust until he hit the ground. Then leg sweep. Absorb blows and try to get into a standing position as soon as possible. If that weren’t possible, he would simply defend at all costs, maybe absorb a blow or two, and yell for the kids to run for it. Hopefully, this wasn’t a lockdown Taco Palace, and they would be able to get out before reinforcements came or the three amigos took him out. However, knowing Paul Jr., he would just sit and watch the whole affair like a dumbass.
Damn TV! Makes kids weak and sterile – Paul Sr. was pretty sure that Paul Jr. had lost his virginity some time after he learned to drive. He was now way too old to not have had at least one of his sperm slip through enemy defenses. Further, he had never come to his father and sought advice about a ‘tough situation.’ Finally, he wasn’t smart or systematic about things enough to always wear protection, Paul Sr. could see it in his eyes.
Contemplating all of the above, Paul Sr. came to the only logical conclusion, Paul Jr. must be sterile, and if he were sterile, it would have been that Damn TV and those bulbs in the back that sent out those tiny rays that no one knew about. DAMN IT! Paul Sr. knew better than to let that kid watch TV without tinfoil or some other form of aluminum covering his crotch, but he had gotten old and tired at that point and sometimes knowledge goes out the window when you need a nap.
At least Carolyn had kids.  Even though she married a dumbass that took all of her youth and money, then moved in with a girl with two tits big enough to hide the rest of her.  Paul thought it would be sweet irony if one day the busty girl broke a hip during sex, fell on top of him, smothered him slowly amongst her cleavage, then asphyxiated on his gas.  He had often thought about this fact pattern and how it would read in the paper.  And if he had been able to drive when the whole affair had been uncovered, he was sure those set of facts would have been written on the ass’s death certificate.     
Alligator Pit – Looking in front of the counter, Paul scanned and did not see anything that looked like a trap door—the ‘Alligator Pit’ if you will. It was stupid to think that Alligators would be in front of the counter, but something could be there waiting for would be attackers.  But if it were alligators, Paul would just snap their spines and throw them at the three boys behind the counter. Then after he got done beating the boys senseless, he would make a Gator suit to wear to church on Sunday.
But Alligators were as stupid as dropping a bucket of elephants on the head of an attacker. A realist would be looking for a series of lasers that crossed the floor, which would be used too sever a foot from a leg.  Or maybe an acid bath, some poisoned spikes, or some other defensive tool.
Looking harder, it didn’t seem possible that anything was lurking in the general area in front of the counter.
Let’s go! - And with that Paul Sr. cursed a little curse, pushed himself away from his daughter, and took off running into battle.   

Paul McConnell is the American.
"The American" is a free web comic and pulp story brought to you by the good people at Pro Se Press.
Written and Illustrated by Fuller Bumpers

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