Ed. note – And now, the epic conclusion to Jessica ‘Lobster Mobster’ Hudnall’s review of Tank Abbott’s literary debut, Befor There Were Rules, A Trilogy By #1 MMA Cagefighting Legend David “Tank” Abbott, Book One, Bar Brawler, A Novel. Be sure to catch up on the rest of the book before reading today’s installment, unless you’re one of those types who skips to the last page:
Part 1 – Foreword, Prologue, Chapter 1 | Part 2 – Chapters 2-4 | Part 3 – Chapters 5-7 | Part 4 – Chapters 8-10 | Part 5 – Chapters 11-13 | Part 6 – Chapters 14-16 | Part 7 – Chapters 17-19 | Part 8 – Chapters 20-22
Click through to experience the finale, because I’m guessing we’ve only got like 20 minutes before Book 2 drops.
Chapter Twenty-Three – Out with a Bang:
Walt wakes up and struggles with the guilt of his Adult Situations (Gross), but eventually rationalizes that Jorge is probably glad Walter took Shelly off his hands. Since he’s going to be heading to jail soon, Walter decides he won’t work today, so he grills some burgers for him and Adolf, and then starts drinking (I’m pretty sure that’s not very different from if Walt was working today). Jorge gets home and starts drinking with Walt. Walt thinks about telling Jorge about Shelly, but instead suggests they head to a bar. After a few drinks, Walter tells Jorge about his Adult Situations (Gross) with Shelly, but not only did Shelly already tell Jorge, he’s totally cool with everything.
As Walt and Jorge toast their mutual understanding of everybody banging Shelly, some skinny, out of town twerp walks up, blows out a cloud of smoke and puts out his cigarette on Walt and Jorge’s table top. Walt’s actually the calm one in this situation (He’s so relieved about Jorge’s nonchalance!), but Jorge won’t let that kind of disrespect stand. They go over to the jerk’s group, where he’s apparently the leader. Jorge and the twerp exchange words, then the guy gives some instructions to the biggest dude in his crew. The big guy stares down Walt, and then unloads with a cheap-shot to the side of the head.
Walt shrugs off the arm punch and shoots a double leg takedown. Walter executes his patented head slam and sees the twerp running away while Jorge is throwing down with the other two guys in the group. Walt punches the guy in the face, then punches a glass out of the guy’s hand, shattering it, and then just keeps up with ground and pound until the bouncers pull him off. Walt runs outside after Jorge, but before they can put hands on the twerp, the cops show up, breaking everything up. The bouncers explain that Walt got attacked first, so he and Jorge are in the clear. Walter gets his hand stitched up, and then it’s back home to fall asleep in Hitler Dog’s loving embrace.
Walter gets woken up by the phone ringing, and it’s Shelly, wanting to know if he wants to party. Being a degenerate alcoholic, of course Walt is, so they head out drinking, and Walter takes a cab home. But uh-oh, Shelly is in Walt’s bed when he wakes up the next morning, and even bigger uh-oh, Jorge is still home, so Shelly has to sneak out the back of the house. Walt drives Shelly to her car, then heads home and falls asleep.
After his nap, Walt heads to the boxing gym for a quick workout, then Walt cruises around, hoping to spot La Mentiroso or his girlfriend, but to no avail. Then it’s back home to get drunk and it’s not long before Jorge shows up and they drink before deciding to head to a strip club. They both drink copiously, Jorge gets a few lap dances, and then it’s back to the house to pass out. Walt wakes up and calls Fred for more garage door bids, but there’s nothing on the slate for him at the moment. He gets a call from Shelly, and decides to head to her neck of the woods, South Bay, to hang out. They window shop and get drunk and eat a late breakfast before heading back to her apartment. Walt gets woken up from a page, and it’s a garage door bid. Shelly goes along for the ride, Walt closes the sale, so it’s time for Walter and Shelly to go get drunk.
• Did Walter fight? Yes
• Walter’s opponent – Big Guy
• Did Walter get hit? Yes, 1 standing arm strike (Total cheap shot sucker punch, bro)
• Walter’s Compu-Strike Numbers – 1 takedown, 1 head pound, 3+ ground arm strikes (KO)
Key lines: “I’m not a one-man band and she was definitely part of the duet.”
Welp, now Walter Foxx has made all music gross.
“As the toilet water flushes and refills, I try my best to flush the guilt from my body.”
I take this to mean that Walter Foxx’s body is a vessel for waste products. I think that’s a pretty accurate assessment.
“I awake four hours later hugging Adolf as if he were Shelly; or maybe it’s the other way around when she’s here.”
It’s pretty clear Walt likes Adolf best, so I would say Shelly is the poor substitute for Hitler Dog.
“Primed and ready I climb on my bike with the straps of my workout bag hanging around my neck like a yolk on an ox.”
Oxen eggs are so delicious, but they’re expensive and fattening.
Chapter Twenty-four – The Gates of Smell:
The next few weeks of Walter’s life speeds past as he works, gets drunk and hangs out with Shelly. Skip and Jorge have long since moved out, so it’s just Walt and Hitler Dog (With Shelly occasionally showing up to stay overnight, or longer). Walt puts his stuff into storage and leaves Adolf at his parents’ house. His stoner friend Coby picks up Walt and drops him off at the jail. While waiting to be processed, Walter laments that the fluorescent lights hurt his eyes, which reminds him of his deceased friend Marcus, and the situation that lead to Marcus’s death (Flashback time!).
It all started when Walt and Tim were heading to Brandon’s Irish Pub in Westminster. Tim and Walter walk in front of a car, and that causes a situation because anything can cause a situation when Walter Foxx is involved. Four guys pile out of the car and start arguing with Walt and Tim. A tall dude steps up to Walter and throws a punch. Walt ducks the punch and uppercuts Tall Guy in the stomach, dropping him. Another guy steps forward, but Walt sends him to the ground with one punch, probably breaking his jaw. Tim’s on top of a third, landing vicious ground and pound, but Walt says the guy’s had enough and pulls Tim off the dude (Wait, Walter was the more reasonable party?). The fourth guy tries to make a break for it and screams for someone to call the cops. Walt decides he needs a beating, too, but the cops show up before STREET JUSTICE can be delivered.
Walt and Tim flee, but Tim ignores Walter’s advice to take the residential highways and ends up getting arrested after he dropped off Walt. Tim’s stepdad says that Walter should pay for the bulk of the bail. Walter calls up another friend’s dad that happens to be an attorney, and gets advised to head out of town for a few days. Walt calls up his buddy Marcus, who is at his dad’s golf condo in the desert, and gets invited out to party, so long as Walt picks up an eight-ball of cocaine on the way.
Walt gets to the condo and he starts partying with Marcus, Dick, and some other friends. During the festivities, Marcus heads to his room then comes back, showing off his new handgun. Everyone gets really uncomfortable, so Marcus finally puts the gun away, and they all decide to head to a club. Marcus does some cocaine in the club, then they see some guys from the Harbor, and Marcus invites them back to his dad’s condo.
Everyone parties at the condo, then Marcus heads to his room and returns with the gun again, and waves it around. He tries to reassure everyone it’s safe, since it doesn’t have a magazine in the grip. Everyone’s still worried, so Marcus tries to assuage their fears even further by putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger. Of course, there was a bullet in the chamber, and Marcus is dead.
Walt ends his flashback as he’s finally instructed to do something in jail two hours after his arrival. He starts walking down a long hallway to begin being processed as a heavy steel door shuts behind him.
• Did Walter fight? Yes, two dudes at once
• Walter’s Opponents – Tall Guy, Other Guy
• Did Walter get hit? Nope
• Walter’s Compu-Strike Numbers – Two standing arm strikes (2 TKOs)
Key lines: “He would drink his bat-juice-with-the-pink-bonnet mixed with coke and smoke cloves, not really caring if he caught anything.”
Holy shit, I need an annotated Befor There Were Rulez to decipher the first half of that sentence. I get the second half is about Marcus fishing, but everything before the comma is a maelstrom of chaos to me.
“It got as quite as a freezer in a butcher shop with the compressors pumping and the cow carcasses swinging in the cold, damp air.”
Either Tank is writing this with a Southern vernacular, or it’s just further proof that Tank’s editor is Tank.
“Party while you can and live every day like it’s your last because you never know.”
Yes, Walt, you never know when you’ll get really coked up, start waving a loaded gun around, aim it at yourself, and then pull the trigger because you’re a colossal moron. Very inspiring words.
Chapter Twenty-Five – Belly of the Beast:
Walter gets directed into a holding cell where he waits. His name eventually gets called and he confirms the details of his charges and discusses his current mental health with a deputy. Walt gets sent to another cell, where more waiting goes on. Other prisoners are brought through to neighboring cells, but nobody else is put in Walt’s until two guys with DUIs on their records are deposited. A few prison janitors walk past, sweeping the floor and try to intimidate Walt. Walter punches the glass of the holding cell, scaring off the inmates. Walter hopes that his mom was able to help set him up at the Honor Farm, an outdoor work area with no cells, only barracks, but nothing’s for certain.
Walter and his two “cherry” friends eventually get moved to another cell, this one with a couple of unkempt individuals. They don’t stay there long, as everyone is moved into a larger cell, filled with even more disheveled people. Everyone in this cell is moved out and gets their booking information. Walt receives a white, low security wristband, so it looks like he might be headed to the Farm.
All of the white wristbands get called out and are stripped down, inspected, and then given prison jumpsuits. They meet up with the rest of the group, now with yellow wristbands that presumably indicate a higher security risk. The guy that shot up is stumbling and drooling, and eventually face-plants into the concrete. He gets rushed away as the remaining prisoners are moved along.
A deputy looks through Walter’s file and decides that Walt’s too much of a security risk for the Honor Farm, and for a white wristband in general. The deputy orders a yellow wristband for Walter and has him sent to the main lockup. Walt realizes he’s screwed, because the first inmate he beats up will get him multiple years from the DA, so now Walter is stuck in the “belly of the beast”.
• Did Walter fight? No.
Key lines: “This is more like the gates of smell than the gates of hell, I think.”
That was the last chapter’s title! You lost your chance to use that line, Walt.
“I’m not afraid to be here but rather afraid what I might do to some scumbag if they get in my face.”
It’s not Walter Foxx locked in here with them, it’s them locked in here with Walter Foxx.
“Another hour of waiting passes and the scumbag that shot up is now in the Land of Nod.”
The place Cain was sent after he killed Abel? Strange to go there after some delicious heroin.
Bonus Time! – Not My First:
I noticed that there were a few times that the phrase “not my first…” were used, but I never put it as a key line because I couldn’t think of a good enough joke for it (Yes, sadly, the deep well that is my clever wit occasionally runs dry). So here’s Walter Foxx realizing that a situation is not his first time:
Chapter Four – “I slide into position with my back against the iron cage, where none of them can get behind me. They try to circle me but this is not my first barbeque.”
Chapter Five – “I’ve been here before and know how to protect myself. It’s not my first clambake.”
Chapter Seven – “This is not my first beach party at this place so I know I’m in for a long trot.”
Be sure to keep visiting With Leather for updates on Befor There Were Rules 2: STREET WARRIOR, coming soon!