Tom Seymour wasnít all that big of a man. A bit above average, perhaps, but certainly not large. 5 foot 9, about 180 pounds. This wouldnít really be a problem for anybody else, but in his line of work, size certainly did matter. |
Tom was a bouncer at a local club. It wasnít a real hot spot, few things in Iowa are, but for the area, it was about the only "happening" place that could be found for miles. For that reason, the club he was in was populated by a younger crowd for the most part; college kids really, a class of society that Tom truly despised. Of course, there wasnít a whole lot that Tom LIKED in the world. He was a gruff sort of guy, a self-proclaimed cynic, though whether he knew what that word really meant or not was a subject of some dispute. Most would call him "hostile" or "abrasive" instead. "Part of the job," would be his reply to that. At least his verbal reply, if he chose to go that route.
He wasnít all that bad a guy. Not unduly mean, didnít go seeking out trouble, and was a great guy to have in your corner in a pinch. Good guy to go hunting with, to watch football with, all of that. But he was certainly an acquired taste. A blue-collar roughneck, through and through, not to put too fine a point on it.
In any case, he obviously worked nights; that was his trade. So he found himself sitting at home most afternoons, not doing much of anything. Watching daytime talk shows, sports, whatever tripped his trigger. This tended to leave him in a perpetual state of constant irritation. There just isnít a whole lot to do at 3 PM on a Wednesday, save sitting on your ass watching Springer, something that Tom had been doing for almost 3 years now and was frankly getting a bit tired off. Besides, they made it so the camera points upward during the fights instead of focusing right on them, which was really frustrating because, what else is the draw of Springer? Not to mention the fact that Tom was the sort that liked to get up and do things. So he was usually, at least during the day, in a pretty foul mood.
This wasnít helped that much by his living situation. He had a girlfriend and a son. His girlfriend worked odd hours, being a nurse at the ER of a local hospital. Molly was a sweet girl, a bit on the ditzy side, but like Tom, had sharpened senses, was a stranger to blind panic, and was generally a put-together sort of person. And they had a son together, a bright six-year-old named Eric. Blonde hair, blue eyes, fairly tall for his age. He was also a bit on the girly side for Tom, though most children under the age of 15 had that effect on him. Tom loved Eric, to be sure, but the two didnít get along great. Tom was a stickler for order and discipline. Eric, like most 6 year olds, had other ideas.
But the two lived together on decent enough terms, generally steering clear of each other. Eric had grown to be fairly independent, almost more so then his mother, and he knew that during the day his father was a person to generally be avoided if possible. They played together now and then, threw the ball around, whatever, if Tom was up for it, but Eric knew better then to nag. He had received more then his fair share of spankings due to that. Besides, as Molly worked until afternoon most days, they were pretty much stuck with each other a lot of the time. They tried to make the best out of it.
One day, Tom was in a particularly foul mood. The club had come under new management a few weeks ago, and the manager was a real prick. He was the sort that Tom absolutely despised, a yuppie in lifestyle who tried to make himself out to be gritty and hardcore in personality. Because of that, he was a real asshole to the help, particularly the bouncers. Steve was constantly challenging them, berating them, trying to knock them down a notch to make them realize they shouldnít act like they owned the place, as HE owned the place. Tom liked to think of himself as being a man of action, that the club floor was his territory, he acted as he saw fit to try and maintain order in a sea of sweaty bodies and booze. The new manager, on the other hand, saw the bouncers as his own personal thugs, and had begun to take the tone of a drill sergeant with the bouncers, trying to "break them in". This of course did not go over well with Tom at all.
The night before, the manager had been particularly nasty to him. While throwing out a patron who had been obnoxiously horny with a bartender, to put it mildly, the manager came over to the door after Tom had done his work and began berating him with the fervor that generally only comes where great personal wrongs are involved. "You fucking goon!" this and "You work for ME!" that, Steve was going all out. The worst part about it was that it was in front of a line of people waiting to get in and two other bouncers working the door. And respect, in Tomís line of work, was everything. Tom could do nothing but take it, successfully stifling the near overwhelming impulse he had to take the fucking yuppie by his greasy ponytail and ram his head into his knee. Tom sat there and listened to the manager screaming at him about how the horny drunken patron was a big tipper and a personal friend of his and blah blah blah blah blah. What really got to Tom was that he had to sit there and take it, couldnít argue with the guy as that would only set him off more, at which point those urges may very well become overpowering, and Tom needed his paycheck.
So he took it. He took it like a belittled and helpless man, and for the rest of that night he did his job and absolutely steamed over the incident.
And the next day, he was still steaming.
He hadnít said a word to Eric all day. Eric, of course, new better then to speak unless spoken to when dad had that look on his face, so he went about his normal 6 year old activities without a word. Tom still hadnít gotten dressed. He hadnít bothered; he was still so upset. Eric wondered why his father kept saying things in an angry tone under his breath while watching Springer, apparently upset at the head of security on the show.
At around 3 PM, the normal time when Molly was due home, the phone rang. "For fuckís sake!" muttered Tom as he hit mute on the remote and went to the kitchen phone, pushing past Eric in the process. When he picked up, it was Molly.
"Hi hun, just to let you know Iím gonna be here for another hour or so. Just got a few carloads of new patients and some of the evening staff havenít shown up yet."
"Goddammit, Molly! I have to work in two hours!"
"Well," she replied, "That still gives you an hour when I get home around 4. Donít be pissed, thereís nothing I can do about it."
"But itís Saturday! I have to go in at least an hour earlier on Saturdays!"
"Well, youíll just have to be a little late then, it canít be helped. I have to go now, Iíll see you around 4."
With that, Molly hung up and Tom listened to the dial tone for a minute before slamming the receiver back onto the wall.
Steve will not be happy, Tom thought to himself. Great. Another fan-fucking-tastic night ahead!
"Whatís wrong, dad?" said Eric, standing in the kitchen doorway. Tom glared at him.
"Iím gonna get fucked at work cuz of your dumb ass," was Tomís reply. With that Tom set back for his TV chair, violently shoving Eric to the ground when the kid didnít get out of the way fast enough, muttering curses under his breath the whole time.
Eric stifled a cry, collected his toys quickly, and went to his room.
Tom stewed in his chair for about a half hour more, until it was time for him to eat and then get dressed before his girlfriend got home and he could leave Eric with her and go to work. He pulled himself out of his chair, adjusted his only article of clothing, his underwear, and headed for the kitchen.
Two steps later he was on the ground, holding his foot and cursing wildly.
Eric, in his rush to collect his things, had forgotten to grab a few Legos he had near the kitchen door. Tom, barefoot, had accidentally stepped square on top of one of them. A stream of curses was flowing from his mouth. Following that was a command: "ERIC!!!"
Dutifully and with more then a little reticence, Eric emerged from his room and approached his father who was picking himself off the ground and still cursing. Tom looked up, saw Eric a few feet away, and with a noticeable limp, lurched toward Eric. In a flash, Tom had punched Eric in the chest so hard that Eric fell back almost a half dozen feet before hitting the ground. Tom limped his way over to the crying boy and kicked him once, this one not so hard, in the back.
"What the fuck did I tell you about cleaning up your toys and shit!!!"
Eric, through tears, apologized over and over again.
"You little shit!" was Tomís acceptance as he limped back to the kitchen, punching a wall on his way out and leaving a dent.
Eric went back to his room, trying to not cry too loudly lest he anger his father.
In the kitchen, and while getting dressed, Tom started feeling overwhelming guilt for his action. He had never hit Eric before. Sure, he had come close, had spanked him often enough, even got out the belt once or twice, but had never straight out PUNCHED the boy. "Goddammit," Tom started thinking to himself, "it wasnít the boyís fault. Iím the one that stepped on the fucking thing. He didnít deserve that." He was about to swallow his pride and go apologize to Eric, when he heard the front door open and Molly say, "Honey, Iím home! You can run to work now, youíll only be a few minutes late!"
Tom was out the door in seconds.
At work, it was just as Tom had feared. Another reaming by Steve, for being 15 minutes late on a Saturday. The urge to tear the guyís larynx right out of his fucking throat had to be quelled once again for the sake of job security. The only thing that kept Tomís sanity was repeating the phrase "One of these days you Gucci fuck, one of these days" over and over again in his head while he was being berated.
The rest of the night went decent enough, though Tom was still madder then hell at the new manager.
At about 9 oíclock, while Tom was wandering the club, he noticed that drunken asshole from the night before entering the club. This time, Steve went to the door to personally greet the man, shooting Tom an evil look as he escorted the man to the bar and paid for his first two drinks. The man was obviously already drunk. Must have been club-hopping for awhile now. A black guy, pushing forty. Tom hadnít a clue how Steve knew the guy. Fuck, for all Tom knew Steve had never met the guy before last night and just wanted an excuse to take a bouncer down another notch. The guy looked like trouble to Tom, already that plastered, disheveled, and now getting free shots of whiskey courtesy of Steve.
And it started going the same way it did the night before.
The drunk asshole started harassing the bartender again, a pretty college chick named Lisa. He would lurch at her, try to pork her, only to get shoved away by Lisa. He was talking way to loud, even for a club. He was yelling at other club patrons who happened to garner his immediate attention, spilling drinks, the whole schmiel. Finally, when Lisa was getting another whiskey and thus had her back to him, the drunk leaned over the bar, stretched as far as he could, and slapped her on her ass.
Lisa slapped the guy, he laughed, and she gave Tom that look. That "DO SOMETHING" look that people in his profession new all to well.
"Fuck Steve," thought Tom. "Fuck this guy too."
Tom made a beeline for the guy.
"What the fuck do you think youíre doing?" asked Tom as he shoved the drunk to force his stool to pivot and face him.
"Iím just having myself a good time!" slurred the drunk.
"We got rules here you asshole."
"Hey, fuck you Meester No Neck! You try and kick me out, your bossíll fire your sorry ass, told me so himself!"
"I donít give a FUCK, you asshole."
The drunk got to his feet as if he was looking for trouble.
"Come on, Iím throwing you the fuck out of here," growled Tom.
The next few moments seemed to happen over a period of hours. Tom grabbed the drunk by his arm, at which point the man dropped his drink and took to an inside pocket of his coat, producing a blade. "Awww fuck", thought Tom". As Tom started to dodge, the drunk was already trying to stab, a clumsy sideswipe to Tomís midsection that is fairly easy to counter. Just pivot to the side, get behind him, and pull his arm behind his back. Problem solved.
A split second into the maneuver, as the knife was coming at him, Tom was suddenly seized by an overwhelming pain in his foot. Right where the Lego had nailed him earlier that day, on the ball of his foot, he was suddenly on fire as Tom tried to put all his weight on the sore spot in an attempt to pivot away from the knife.
It lost him a split second.
Sometimes, thatís all it takes.
Before he knew it, the sudden mental focus on the pain in his foot was replaced by a sudden mental focus on the pain in his chest, as the drunken asshole slashed him shoulder to shoulder.
Tom fell to the floor in a second.
He watched with detached curiosity as the patrons screamed in terror, as the other bouncers suddenly jumped the man and proceeded to beat the tar out of him, as Steve headed out a back door, and as Tom bled liters from his chest wound.
"I donít deserve this," Tom thought to himself.
"I donít deserve this."