Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Fight

Amanda Spituvnik leered at me as this kid named Josh held me against some bricks by the foursquare court. (I've found that I don't always get along with Joshes, Jeffs, and Jareds.)

“Why did you kick me?” Josh demanded. See, he'd tackled me right after class got out and I'd nudged him with my foot to get him off of me. My fighting back had brought on what I've since dubbed The Foursquare Fight.

Sometimes kids went down to the CVS parking lot to figure this sort of thing out. But I was on the Geography Team and my mom picked me up from school, so I didn't think much about settling scores.

Then this. Amanda Spituvnik leered at me. She must have been 5'8” in the fifth grade. I hated her.

“Why did you kick me?” Josh demanded again.

“I didn't.”

I didn't,” Amanda parroted in a high voice that was, I suppose, making fun of the fact that my balls hadn't yet dropped. She was Vice-Principal Mrs. Spituvnik's daughter and had convinced everyone she was a good-kid.

Even though she must have looked like a good, little girl at the time, in my mind she's still one-part Courteney Cox, one-part Leona Helmsley, one-part fully-adult insolence.

And so it's important that I repeat her full name. Bullying will out! Recompense shall be mine, Amanda Spituvnik. Note: some names have been changed.

“Do you wanna fight?” (Josh may have been “dating” A. Spituvnik, and they made a formidable team. He had orange-peel hair and wore Ricky Rudd t-shirts.)


No,” she repeated Spituvnikly and spitefully. She is a terrible, terrible person. She is wearing red. Was, I suppose.

I'm realizing now that some things about my personality and my actions--the “I supposes,” the Geography, the complete innocence surrounding body parts (jokes thereof and pertaining to), the fact that during recess football I always picked Matt Kelvis instead of Chad Funderwald (a hard-nosed, 3'11” Josh-sympathizer), my blushing crush on fellow goody-two-shoes and floutist Laura Westbrook (a rival of The Spituvnik's for prime brunette)--probably brought this hassling on.

And so now it had come to pass. Josh jerked me away from the brick and wrestled me around. His Starter jacket added bulk but not agility.

Meanwhile, my backpack, with ruler and colored pencils, gave me some key armor. I held my own!

First, some pre-bout background:

Earlier in the day--during a lesson led by the awkwardly beautiful Miss Auchy, our student teacher and the only person I've ever known who went to Franklin Pierce College (“We Polked you in 1844, we shall Pierce you in 1852”)--Josh had shouted to the class, “What David, you want to kiss Miss Auchy?”

I may have hinted that, yes, but Josh's tactlessness was way out of line. I shot him a fighting glance. That led, I think, to his post-class tackle of me, to my kick, to the bricks, to The Spituvnik.

Josh and I fought 2 rounds, 7 seconds each.

He grabbed my bagstraps and jacket.

My attempt to seize his slippery-puff coat eventually succeeded.

He'd gained a distinct advantage.

We drove each others' shoulders like steering wheels, at ten and two.

The Spituvnik's disembodied head circled mine.

It mocked me and my Laura-like. "Who do you love more? Laura or Miss Auchy," taunted the head.

Josh kicked my left calf and my red sweatpants offered no protection.

Round two.

We re-engaged and he swung.

I lost my balance trying to deliver a defensive response, but held fast to his jacket--Charlotte Hornets.

He jerked me back up.

I thought about what I'd learned from football and went for his legs, unsuccessfully.

He struck me in the ribs.

“Trip him,” Spituvnik directed with a sadistic calm.

He released, and leg-whipped, and the leg-whip landed. End of round two.

With my arms ferris-wheeling, I fell, as if from an inner-tube, into some dirty snow. I walked away wounded toward Union St., which I'd always misread as Onion, toward my mom's salt-caked minivan, which had newly arrived.

Just. . . walk. . . away,” Amanda said, quoting the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) mantra we'd learned that day from a kind policeman. She, I'd decided, was mean.

This was my only fight. I'd had strong competition--a toughie and his goading girlfriend. I didn't do very well.

There was a bright spot, though. I may have inadvertently broken Josh's nose with my backwards-flailing-combination: he missed school the next two days. But it's possible he was just suspended. Had a teacher seen the fracas? Had The Spituvnik ratted on her fighter to save her own skin? Was Josh merely a victim of her deceitful plea-bargaining with her mother, the vice-principal?

Probably. Either way, I didn't tattle, which means more on the schoolyard than it should. Josh and I had a tense friendship after that.

I think we considered the donnybrook a draw. My final record: 0-0-1. No KO's.


When I was 12, a sixth grade Jeff, with orange-peel hair and a Guns 'n Roses t-shirt, lifted my heavy backpack over my head until I had to run forward. Then, dropping it, he whip-lashed me out of wanting dinner that day. No one ever stripped me of my undefeated status, though.

And the floutist, L. Westbrook, ended up liking me for a short time--or so a phone call she placed from a slumber party would have me believe.

So, even though that pre-adolescent romance also ended in a draw, eat it Spituvnik.


Zach said...

I've been in 2 1/2 fist fights, the last of which was the half and happened 13 years ago. Since then I've considered seriously getting into 9 3/8 more, but even in my most successful fantasies am plagued by the fear of landing a too-solid punch, my opponent accidentally tripping skullplant into a curb, a rare form of a rare disease exploding into aggressive symptoms of accelerated liver atrophy at the tender slap of my left hand, et cetera, and this person dying, leaving me responsible and guilty of aggravated assault big time, manslaughter, et cetera.

Best to just walk away.

Joe said...

You've heard my long and sordid history of pugilistic entanglements, and as such I won't rehash my own 1-1-2 record. But I was thoroughly grasped and held tight by your tale. You had me at the word "fight."

Jana said...

This is all kinds of excellent.

Being a woman, my fights have always been of the verbal and emotional type. I was in a fist "fight" once, when I threw a punch at a Beastie Boys concert. Of course, I was 25 at the time. And my target was at least eight inches taller than me. A meathead jock. He hit me with an elbow to the ribs.

I hope my Jeff helps redeem a history of lousy Jeffs for you. I've traditionally had problems with Dannys and Daves.

Dave said...

I almost had to scrap the whole project because of that new Jeff in my life.

At 27, I think I've finally learned that arbitrary hatred of a group (Jeffs, for instance) is usually wrong.

I also like my Uncle Jeff, I guess.

Thanks for the comments, folks. It seems like our collective record may be above .500.

Rob Strong said...

I was this close || to punching the entire city of Springfield, MA today. Instead I yelled as loud as I could to see if that would give me back the hour I had inexplicably wasted in traffic on I-91. It did help a little. Thanks, modern medicine!