Ed. note – Jessica ‘Lobster Mobster’ Hudnall’s read-through of Tank Abbott’s Befor There Were Rules, A Trilogy By #1 MMA Cagefighting Legend David “Tank” Abbott, Book One, Bar Brawler, A Novel continues today, and if you haven’t caught up with her SparkNotes yet, now’s the time to do it.
Today: Chapters 5-7. Not a lot of fighting, but a ton of introspection, and at least a few racist epithets! Enjoy.
Chapter Five – East Meets West:
It’s the day after Walter’s fight with the giant bouncer, and luckily he doesn’t have any classes to attend. The guys at the weight room are a bit disturbed by his messed up eyeball, but he relishes all his trophies, whether they be cuts, bruises, black eyes, or fat lips. Walter gets done benching 495 pounds for four sets, then heads to the wrestling room to throw around a chump, and then it’s back home to hang out with Adolf and get drunk.
Now it’s a few weeks later and Walt’s friend Tim calls to say that he and Poppa Chulo are stopping by to “pre-tune” before heading to the Dead Grunion for more drinking. Walter finishes off a six pack of beer waiting for them to arrive at his place, has a few more with them, and then it’s off to the Dead Grunion for more drinking. Since Tim and Poppa Chulo are small guys, Walter knows he’ll have to watch his own back because the Dead Grunion is a wild place (I’m pretty sure if there wasn’t a drunk idiot with a short-temper always looking for a fight, it would be much calmer). Things are uneventful and 2:00AM rolls around without incident. Everyone files out of the place and heads to the parking lot (The same general area Walt had his fight with Donovan), where there are some East Coasters looking for a fight. The East Coast guys start making fun of Walter’s clothes (Especially egregious since they’re wearing hockey jerseys, gasp!), and that’s enough to instigate a fight in Happening Beach. It looks like it’ll be the three members of Kaos against four East Coast loudmouths, and Poppa Chulo especially is ready to square off. Before anything happens, someone breaks a bank window, and security starts swarming everyone. Tim gets handcuffed, but Walt and Poppa Chulo sort things out by threatening to beat up the security guards if they don’t release Tim. Tim heads for his car and doesn’t look back, leaving Walt and Poppa Chulo behind.
They hockey jersey-clad East Coast guys return and Poppa Chulo steps up to confront the biggest one. It’s Walter’s job to handle crowd control, but he does a piss-poor job as a second East Coaster breaks from the fight circle to jump on Poppa Chulo’s back because Chulo just mounted the first guy. Walter charges and clotheslines the guy off of Poppa Chulo, but that just sparks the crowd to turn into a mob. Since he was yelling at everyone during crowd control, Walt is the sole target of the mob, so he goes into fullback mode and starts plowing through people. He makes some progress, but the crowd clings to his back and legs, and Walter tumbles to the asphalt. The crowd beats on Walter for a while until the security guards arrive. The mob scatters and Walt gets handcuffed. The security guards continue to disperse the crowd, a Dead Grunion walks up to the handcuffed Walter and boots him in the face. Foxx screams at the guy, catches another boot, more screaming and a third boot before the cops arrive to haul Walter off to jail. Poppa Chulo gets tossed into the back of the squad car, but the cop is pretty lazy, so the guys only spend a few hours in jail and get released the next morning.
• Did Walter fight? Eh, not really, just caught a beat down
Key lines: “From behind me in the crowd I hear, ‘Kill the ass in the orange shirt!’ Shit! I’m wearing an orange shirt!”
“You cowards will jump on a guy when you’re in a mob – a guy that would put you down like a canary in a gassed-filled coal mine one-on-one – but you wouldn’t dare look me in the eye if you passed me on the street alone.”
YOU WOULDN’T EVEN LOOK WALTER IN THE EYE; ALL HE WANTS IS DIRECTIONS TO THE BANK, YOU PUNKS!
Chapter Six: Going Nowhere
Walt wakes up in the afternoon following his brief stint in jail. He doesn’t feel up to heading to work, so he tries to call in beaten, but his boss, Trike, realizes Walt must be making the story up since Walt hardly ever loses a fight (The ol “can’t get out of work because you’re too good of a street fighter” pickle). Walt gets to work and Trike tells him to take it easy due to his mashed up face. Some professional guy Walt’s friendly with comes in and tells Walter that he should box professionally, because there’s no way he’ll ever be a teacher due to all his arrests. Walt tries to argue that he’ll be fine since he’s only been booked for minor, overnight stuff, but when the guy leaves, Walter admits to himself that he won’t be a teacher.
He has a moment of introspection as he’s worried about the way his life is going. Walter thinks about going to law school, but he hates the assistant district attorneys and how they lie to get people convicted just for the benefit of their careers. Walter considers the career of a criminal defense attorney, but he knows he can’t call someone in a robe “Your Honor” with a straight face, so it looks like being involved in various lawyerings is out.
Walt finishes work, takes a twelve pack with him and heads home. He finishes the beer while curled up with Adolf, watching Letterman and passes out. The next morning, Foxx’s brother (I’m hoping his name is Redd) calls and asks for a ride to his job of coaching high school football. Walter screams at the kids crossing in front of his car, and this makes him realize that being a teacher and a coach isn’t for him because of all the dumb kids. Walter heads home, but realizes he’s running late for work and heads back out.
Work’s easy and he’s light on homework, so Walter reads the newest Playboy, where he sees an ad for the No-Holds-Barred Fighting Championship. It claims to be the real thing, but Foxx is pretty sure it’s “fake pro-wrestling bullshit”. It’s finally quitting time, so Walt heads home with a slight buzz and a twelve pack. He wrestles with Adolf for a bit, then begins his favorite game, “drink a twelve pack in an hour by downing a beer every five minutes” (This game is called BARFS!). It turns out Walter’s heart isn’t in the game after two beers, so he decides to take Adolf for a run. Foxx grabs his skateboard (Despite the fact that he’s close to 300 pounds) and slips two cans of beer into the deep pockets of his coat and harnesses up his seventy-pound pitbull. As Adolf pulls Walter along, Walt thinks about his future. Teaching is out, and boxing is pretty corrupt, but Walt’s got the integrity to stay above it. As he further contemplates a career in boxing, his skateboard hits a rock and Walter goes flying, slamming into the pavement.
Walter stays down on the ground for a moment until Adolf returns to lick him awake. Foxx and the hound head home where Walter decides to restart his game of BARFS! He finishes off ten before things go south in a hurry, and Walt rushes to the bathroom to puke his guts out (He just lost BARFS!). Then it’s back to bed to pass out next to Adolf.
• Did Walter fight? Nope!
Key lines: “As I push him away I realize I have a face only a dog would love.”
Aww, Walt, that’s probably true, you big galoot.
“As I hang up the phone I still feel tired from jail but I’ll just get drunk at work to dull the pain.”
Probably the only benefit of working at a liquor store. Also, probably not the best course of action, Walter.
“I can feel the invisible hands of passing life squeezing my neck and my heart beating in my ears like a clock as time marches on.”
Walter Foxx is deep, man.
Chapter Seven: Rock At Roller’s
Walt wakes up stinking of beer puke and has to use every ounce of his discipline to go in to class, and then head to the boxing gym. Since it’s Friday (TGIF, am I right, Walt?), Walter’s meeting with Rolando and his college wrestling buddies to go to Roller’s (Shane Roller and Team Takedown had a club in the early 90s?) It’s not quite time to head out, though, so Walt goes for a four mile run, his Walkman blaring an eclectic mix of The Cure, The Smiths, N.W.A., and Ice T. Walt knows a lot of people in town would like to run him over, but they’re too cowardly to attempt vehicular manslaughter on the chance he doesn’t die.
Walter gets back from his run and decides to offset the cardio he just did by ordering and eating a large pepperoni pizza all by himself (Well, the last slice gets saved for Adolf). Kaos buddies Skip, Tim, and Poppa Chulo show up, so it’s off to the garage to play foosball and get pre-tune. When everyone’s sufficiently drunk, they pile into Tim’s truck and head to Roller’s nightclub (But first Walter has to throw a beer bottle at a road sign as they drive past).
The gang heads to the bar to meet with Rolando and his wrestling friends, two baby-faced guys fresh from the Midwest. Everyone heads to the patio for some serious party time, when a big guy taps Walt on his shoulder, making him spill some of his beer. The guy complains that Walt is making too much noise and he can’t hear the music. Walter takes this as a grievous personal insult (This guy doesn’t even know Walter Foxx, what the heck, man?!), but he realizes that if he beats the dude up, the District Attorney will be all over him. So Walt gets the bright idea to send Rolando after the dude. Rolando is eager to fight and walks up to challenge the guy.
The fight is on and over in an instant, as Rolando floors the guy with a right straight, a one-punch knockout. The guy’s friends look ready to take up the fight, but Walter spots a bartender picking up a phone inside. Kaos calmly heads to the front of Roller’s, pass by the bouncers and then make a break for Tim’s truck. Walt’s pretty hungry by now, so he calls for a stop at a convenience store.
Poppa Chulo attempts to dispense some liquid cheese for nachos, but is way too drunk to be operating such complex machinery and spills cheese on the floor. The guy working the counter wants Poppa Chulo to clean it up, but he and Rolando pick the dude up and attempt to use his head as a mop. This only exacerbates an already tense situation, so Poppa Chulo and Rolando make a break for the truck. Walter stays behind to make sure the attendant doesn’t get a look at Tim’s license plate, and now he’s got to jump fences and jog down drainage ditches before he can get picked up (This is such a common occurrence that Kaos has a routine and meeting spot for when things go south at this particular gas station).
Walt’s back in the truck and Rolando needs to go back to his girlfriend’s house in Irvine. Tim claims he’s too drunk to drive that far south into Orange County, but Walter knows that he owes Rolando, so he takes the wheel. Walt roars down the freeway at over 100 miles per hour, scaring the Midwest wrestlers to no end. Walt gets introspective again as he thinks that the only thing that’s real in his life is pain and violence. He manages to get Rolando home safely, and gets back to his house, too (Adolf, I’ve missed you, buddy!)
• Did Walter fight? Nope!
Key lines: “There’s blood on my sheets but what else is new?”
Certainly not any better life choices, Walter!
“I walk into the club and ask the DJ to play some good music instead of his techno dance bullshit but he is like most hipster fools and shrugs without even looking up and ignores me.”
Play The Smiths, you big jerk, gosh!
“The towel-head attendant yells at him instead of just doing his job and wiping up the floor and I can see him trying to give Poppa Chulo a mop to clean it up.”
Okay, first of all, Walt, that’s very insensitive. Second, Poppa Chulo made the mess on the floor, so he could at least try to clean some of it.
Be sure to visit With Leather again soon for Part 4, featuring chapters 8-10.