Advisory: Strong Language
This story is the second part in a two-part story. Please read the first part (entitled E3) before reading this story.

A Little Background

My day of school had come to an end. I could hear laughter behind me as I approached my school bus. It had been a long day and I was anxious to get home. I glanced around my shoulder and recognized the faces from which the laughter was coming from. I shuddered, knowing that those same faces belonged to the ones who jumped me not too long ago.

After I was jumped, many of my friends at school vowed to avenge me. One such friend was Bud. I’m not sure where “Bud” got his nickname, but I doubt it was from the beer. Bud was one of those cool people that had a truck with an awesome sound system. I would ride with him wherever, often to steal cigarettes or ditch school. Bud was my homey and I described the jumping to him in detail.

“Those guys are punks!” Bud once told me.

Agreeing, I replied, “Yeah… What a bunch of bitches.”

Those same guys I called bitches were now behind me. I could not ignore them.

“Sup Ron?” One of them asked. I looked behind me and realized that Ches had asked the question.

Not really caring for an answer, I replied, “What’s up guys?”

“How’s your head?” Robert asked, trying to make fun of me.

I paid no attention to the comment. I reached my bus and was dismayed when they got on it also. I figured they were trying to stalk me or something. I sat towards the front of the bus to test this theory and was relieved when they sat towards the back.

It seemed like a long bus ride home, but Ches and Robert didn’t bother me and nothing happened when I got off the bus. I was hoping I would never see them again.

Showdown

It was my last day in Fairbanks, Alaska. The date was sometime in May of 1997. Summer might as well have officially begun in Alaska because the temperature wasn’t going to get much warmer.

As nice as Alaska was, I had to leave. I had put my dad through so much. I practically failed all of my classes in school and needed to clean up my act. I decided to go back to Vegas to live with my mom again. My dad was reluctant to let me go, but he and I both knew that leaving was best.

My last day mainly consisted of tying up loose ends, packing, and waiting. I was chatting online saying goodbye to all of my e-buddies when I heard the familiar sound of Bud’s truck pulling in front of my apartment building.

I thought to myself, “Is he coming to say goodbye?”

I watched him walk into the apartment building, but could not hear the pounding of footsteps coming up the stairs. I decided to investigate.

I walked out of my apartment and went downstairs to the building entrance. I traversed several corridors before reaching one of the doors that opens into the Sophie Plaza courtyard. I made a quick glance at a girl standing near the door before walking outside.

The courtyard area was rather large. Most of it was greenery, but there was space set aside for picnic areas, a basketball court, and two tennis courts.

I didn’t recognize the girl holding the door, but she looked to be about twelve or thirteen. As I walked outside the door, I could see Bud at the basketball court. Bud was talking to Ches and Robert, which were the same guys that had jumped me.

My mouth dropped. The same guy that was my friend throughout my entire sophomore year was friends with the same guys that kicked my ass. I decided to turn back, but Larry was now blocking the entrance. Larry was also one of the guys that had jumped me.

Immediately hostile, Larry made an accusatory statement, “You called us a bunch of bitches.”

I looked around for an escape. There was none. I could have ran around the building, but Larry would’ve just ran through the building and cut me off. I was stuck.

“I never called you guys bitches,” I said playing dumb.

Larry, not willing to let me off the hook, pressed on, “Oh… So then Bud’s a liar then, right?”

“Crap!” I thought to myself, “I was betrayed.”

Trying to make a scene, Larry called Bud over. Bud walked slowly and looked very surprised to see me.

“What’s up Ron? I thought you left Alaska?”

“I leave later today.” I replied.

Larry interjected, “Hey man. Your friend called you a liar.”

I fired back, “No I didn’t.”

Bud calmly asked, “How am I a liar?”

Larry explained, “He said you made it up about him calling us a bunch of bitches.”

Bud smirked, “C’mon Ron. You know you called them that. Don’t bullshit.”

I kept playing dumb, “I don’t remember saying that.”

Trying to change the subject, I tried focusing attention on the girl I saw earlier. She was now at the basketball court. Pointing towards the basketball court, I asked, “Who’s that girl over there?”

“What girl?” Bud asked.

“The one in the black jacket.”

Laughter erupted. I had no idea what I just said.

“Jason! Come over here!” Bud yelled towards the basketball court.

If there wasn’t a hole in the ground already, there was one now. I didn’t know how I was going to get out of this one. I tried to explain my mistake, “Look guys, I don’t have my glasses on. I couldn’t tell from this far away.”

They ignored me. Jason finally reached the group.

“Jason, this dude just called you a girl.” Larry said while laughing.

Out of breath, Jason got in my face, “Is that true bitch?”

“I couldn’t see. I don’t have my glasses on.”

“I don’t care bitch. I’m still gonna kick your ass.”

Ches and Robert had now joined the group. There was now five of them around me. I felt like I was going to get jumped all over again.

“What’s up?” Ches asked.

Larry summarized, “This faggot here called us bitches, called Bud a liar, and called Jason a girl.”

“Sounds like someone’s going to get his ass kicked,” Ches concluded.

Bud finally defended me, “Why don’t you let him go. It’s his last day.”

Larry–with no emotion–said, “We’ll give him a going away present.”

I thought silently, “You already gave me one.”

Robert had a bright idea, “How about you and Jason duke it out. We won’t kick your ass. It’ll be just you and Jason.

“Yeah right.” I thought to myself, “Once I throw the first blow, all hell will break loose.”

“No, I’m not going to fight.” I firmly stated.

“Fuck you bitch. You don’t have a choice,” Jason said after spitting on my jacket.

I stood there and took the verbal taunts. I wasn’t going to budge. Regardless of what I did, I was probably going to get my ass kicked anyway.

The group huddled together to decide what to do with me. Bud approached me and whispered, “Run man.”

I whispered back, “You know damn well they’ll catch me and beat my ass.”

Bud nodded in agreeance.

“So what’s it going to be Ron?” Larry asked me.

Bud–trying to defend me again–asked, “Can Ron do anything to not get his ass kicked?”

“No,” Larry quickly replied.

“Not even if he gives you all a pack of smokes?” Bud asked, trying to persuade the others.

The group thought about it for a few seconds.

“I want two,” Larry said, implying two packs.

“I just need one,” Robert added.

“I want two also,” Jason said with a look of disgust aimed directly at me.

“Where you gonna get the smokes?” Larry asked.

I thought for a minute, “I don’t know. Fred Meyer and K-Mart are out of the question.”

Bud suggested, “How about that place on-post?”

Bud knew there was only one place nearby that didn’t have cigarettes locked away. A friend and I once stole a carton there and barely got away. I was reluctant to go back, but it was my only option besides getting jumped again.

Ches spoke up, “I don’t trust you two. I wanna come with.”

Bud and Ches walked me to Bud’s truck. I sat in the middle, nullifying any hope of escape. Bud started the truck and he began heading towards the convenience store on-post.

I was very scared. I practically sucked down a cigarette trying to remain calm. The cigarette didn’t ease my feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. I was trapped. I just wanted to go into the store and persuade the clerk to save me.

Bud snapped me out of my daze of terror, “Ron… Meet me at the place we always meet.”

Bud was referring to a church a block away from the convenience store. Ches grew immediately suspicious and wanted to know what we were up to. Bud filled Ches in on why we were to meet at the church. Since the store is on-post, the chances of getting caught are higher. If caught, the military police would be ruthless. The reason Bud parked somewhere else was to avoid getting caught along with me.

We finally reached the convenience store and Ches let me out of the truck. I looked back to see Bud’s truck disappear as he drove off. I was all alone now. I walked into the store and did a quick look-a-round. There were cameras everywhere and plenty of mirrors. It would be a miracle if I wasn’t caught this time.

I quickly located the cartons and grabbed a carton of Marlboro-Red 25s. I found an aisle with no customers and tried to unsuccessfully shove the carton down my pants. Desperate, I broke open the carton and started shoving individual packs into my pockets. I got six packs into my pockets when an employee walked past the aisle I was in. The people in the convenience store were on to me. I walked out and immediately began running towards the church. Bud was waiting. I quickly got into the truck and Bud gunned it. Bud did a quick drive-by of the convenience store. There was a military police car there already. I let out a sigh of relief.

“You get em?” Bud asked.

I nodded my head, feeling relieved.

Bud and the other guy smiled. I had renewed my credibility.

Ches said to me, “You’re a cool guy Ron. But you’re just not hard enough. You coulda rolled with us this summer.”

“Yeah.” Bud said agreeing, “Maybe Vegas will make you hard.”

I didn’t say anything. Vegas and Fairbanks were totally different. I was more scared of Fairbanks than I was of Vegas.

We finally got back to my apartment building. I dropped off the smokes with the guys and went back home. My dad was ecstatic.

“Where have you been?” Dad asked, “We need to leave for the airport in half an hour.”

I confessed, “Those same guys that jumped me tried to jump me again.”

With frustration throughout his face, my dad said, “This is going to stop.” My dad began walking outside the apartment.

“Dad… Don’t worry about it. I’m gone in a few hours, okay?”

My dad nodded. He understood.

Flying Out

As my plane took off from Fairbanks, I gave out a huge sigh of relief. I was glad to be out of there.