Hey friends! It’s Friday again (may the cheering commence), which means its only TWO more weeks until LUCKY STAR arrives. Today, I thought I’s share with you a darker side of E.J. People love him for his gentleness and kindness, but there’s a fiery streak that comes back to haunt him. Check it out what happens when Annie asks E.J. about it.
“So it seems you have a violent past. Care to elaborate?”
To keep from exploding, I started counting to myself. I was at twenty-three when Annie interrupted.
When I reached forty-eight, I spoke. “I can’t freaking believe this. That was like nine years ago. And so now I have a violence problem? Oh come on.” I couldn’t stop my hand from trembling.
“So then, is it true?”
“Does it matter?”
“Well, yes and no. I believe you, honey, and I know this is just awful. We all have a past, but I need to know your side of the story so I can decide how, or if, to respond. Please?”
Caught between utter despair and fire-breathing anger at this latest blow, I sighed. “I got in a bar fight in college. I was hanging out with some buddies when these, I don’t know, bodybuilder-type jerks started razzing us about our bikes being in their way, or something like that. We did our best to ignore them. But they kept after us.”
Anger was causing my voice to waver as I recounted the incident. God, I hated being harassed because I rode a bicycle.
“So one of the biggest guys starts flicking a buddy in the back of the head, calling him names, stuff like that. I asked them to please leave us alone, but when one of them made a crack about my pink Giro d’Italia shirt, I just…lost it.
“He laughed at me and said there was no way he was taking orders from a fairy in a pink shirt. That’s when I punched him. It wasn’t that hard of a punch, but he stumbled back and hit his head on a table. There was some blood from a cut where he hit his head, but that was the worst of it. Anyway, that got everyone on their feet and the cops got called. There was some shoving, but no other punches were thrown. When the cops got there, they took some statements and I spent the night in jail on a battery charge.
“Against my parents’ wishes, I pled guilty, youthful self-righteousness. I was fined, put on probation and sentenced to community service.” A harsh laugh escaped. “I did the community service working for G at the Co-op. Guess I showed them, huh?”
“That’s not all, though.” My voice took on a bitter tone. “When we walked out of the bar, we saw that out bikes had been trashed–rims bent, spokes kicked out. We pointed it out to the cops, and they did a half-assed round of questioning, but not much else. Everyone knew those bastards did it, but there were no eyewitnesses, so…”
“Yeah, whatever. Sorry to be dragging you down again.”
“You’re not, please don’t think that. This is silly, I mean this being dug up now. The fact of the matter is I’m proud of you, defending yourself and your friends like that. I don’t like bullies either.”
I was silent for a while. “So I suppose you should to hear about the other one, while I’m in dish mode, huh?”
“Not if you don’t want to tell me.”
“Got nothing else to lose. So anyway, I was out on a training ride. This was what, six, seven years ago. There were about a dozen of us by Riverside Park hitting it pretty good when we got buzzed by a blue Chevy. I was on the outside and, swear to God, I felt the side door mirror hit me. That got us going, and we raised a few fists and shouted a few words. The driver must not have liked our reaction because he hit his brakes before taking off again. That caused some of the guys to hit their brakes a little too hard and a few people went down.
“That pissed me off. I didn’t get caught up in the crash, so I chased the guy down and threw a water bottle that hit his rear window. At that point, he got out and started acting all holier than thou. He grabbed my water bottle and called the police. By the time the police got there, the guy was trying to say I was harassing him and gave the cop my water bottle. The cop took a report and told the guy to go on his way, so he could finish up with us.
“He walked back toward us, kind of slow, looking at the bottom of the bottle. ‘Any of you named McCarty?’ he asked. I nodded. ‘This yours?’ he asked. I told him it was, and he handed it to me. Then he told us that the motorist claimed I threw the bottle at him and asked if anyone could identify me as the person who threw the bottle. When nobody answered he nodded and looked at me. ‘You might want to make sure you keep that bottle a little tighter in that cage Mr. McCarty. Don’t want it slipping out on you again.’ I told him that I’d do just that.“
“That’s when he got a big grin on his face and started telling me how I’d fit his little boy with a helmet at a youth bike rodeo a couple of years before. ‘My son loves that bike. I don’t know what you told him, but he wears his helmet every time he goes out on that thing. So I guess I owe you one.’ Then he shook my hand and walked back to the car. I never heard anything more about it.
“So there you have it Annie. I’m sorry that you’ve hooked up with such a violent maniac.”
“I’m disappointed in you E.J.” She sighed. “I don’t know–”
“Look Annie, I’m sorry. It just never occurred to me to mention these things. I swear on my mother’s grave there’s nothing else.”
“Oh, so you drag you poor mother into this now. And how did these little incidents make her feel, huh? I’m sure she was just as proud as can be, yes?”
“What? My mom? Fine, whatever. You know what, I give up. First Brian, now you. So if you want to dump me now, too, go ahead and get it over with.”
“What? E.J., no, I was just teasing. I don’t want to dump you. But who’s–”
“They fired me Annie.”
Yeah, that’s a problem. Hope you enjoyed the look into E.J.’s not so perfect past and until next week, tailwinds!