My favorite knife was a Defender that my friend Danny had given me. It had a nice rubber grip, edged with metal, and contoured to fit your fingers. I used that knife all over DC and Northern Virginia to take out cop car tires whenever they would unjustly harass me, arrest me, or cost me money. I figured if they were going to take my money, then I was going to have a say in where it went: new tires.
I accidently left the knife at a friends house when I was drunk. When I went back for it the next day, they told me a guy named James had taken it.
James was a big metalhead with long, brown hair just past his shoulders, and he always wore a denim jacket and combat boots. His license plate read, “MTLPNK.”
I was surprised he had taken it, because even though he was big, he had no balls. He came across as goofy, maybe a ;little stupid and annoying, but totally harmless. The fact that we got along well enough despite his deficiencies only added to my confusion.
I ended up hanging out with Danny that night, figuring I’d deal with James the next time I saw him. When I mentioned what had happened, Danny got pissed, and insisted that we went to James’ house to get the knife. I didn’t disagree, so we grabbed Joey and piled into the car, three mohicans in painted leathers, and combat boots, ready for whatever was going to happen.
Danny took the lead at the door, pounding loudly and calling for James, while I scanned the block looking for his parent’s car, and Joey stood there grinning.
James answered the door by barely cracking it and sticking his face out. “Whaddayawant?” he asked angrily, surprising me yet again.
“We came for the knife.” Danny said, a demand, not a statement.
James tried to close the door and it was on. Danny stuck his foot in the door so that it wouldn’t close, and then threw himself into it, forcing it open. The fact was, Danny was a Pitbull, and even though he was much shorter than James, his compact focus of strength prevailed. He immediately started throwing punches up at James, backing him up, and Joey and I followed.
James was trying to fight back, but Danny’s strength and speed was too much for him, driving him back into the living room.
Joey, being the smallest and youngest of us all, ran behind James and jumped on his back, trying to restrain his arms, but James kept careening around the living room, carrying Joey, while eating punches from Danny.
I kicked James in the side and then punched his body with spikes wrapped around my knuckles. He backed up, but to his credit, wouldn’t drop or stop, so I whipped out a short section of hose with a piece of metal shoved in one end, that I kept in my sleeve. It was an excellent weapon, because it bent with my elbow and would drop flawlessly into my hand. I swung it at James’ face and hit his bottom lip, busting it open. He finally dropped to one knee, and I could tell that he was done.
“Stop!” I yelled, causing Danny and Joey to quit hanging on him and swinging.
James got to his feet slowly, nervously. He was breathing fast, and staring wide-eyed in disbelief.
We locked eyes, and I gave him an order. “Go and get the knife, and if you try to pull it, I’ll shoot you.” I didn’t have a gun, but was pushing the advantage, wanting to make sure that he didn’t do anything stupid, relying on his fear to keep him in line.
It worked. His eyes got wider and he disappeared into the back room for a few moments, before returning with knife in hand. Danny stepped forward and snatched it from him, then turned around and handed it to me. He turned back to James, and said, “Don’t fuck up again.”
We left, the sound of the front door being slammed and locked behind us.
When we got back into the car, Danny told me the story of the knife.
It turned out the knife originally belonged to James. Danny had cheated on a girlfriend, and James had told het, so Danny had confronted him at his house for being a rat. Danny saw the knife sitting on a table and picked it up. “This makes us even.” he said.
Danny gave the knife to me a few days later, because the cops had taken my World War Two German dagger.
After hearing all of this, I finally understood why James had taken the knife, but was still surprised at how stupid he was for doing so. He had violated our rules, specifically Danny, who didn’t take shit from anyone. Danny could have beaten him badly, but we let him off easy. Even if James had talked to me, he wasn’t going to get the knife back, but he would have saved himself a lot of trouble.

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