Decree of Hope

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I knelt beside Kailee, offering my hand to pull her up. As I helped her to her feet, I heard, “Jason, that whore isn’t worth your time.” Something snapped inside of me, but I got Kailee into a standing position before I allowed myself to react.

I’d heard the word “whore” before all this started. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t think he was talking about Kailee until he mentioned she was with a “sand nigger.” I was angry at myself. I shouldn’t have got involved with her. I knew in a place like this people would trash a girl for being seen with me. I wanted to kill him, but before I could react Kailee had a cue stick and was beating the hell out of the guy.

Three army skinheads against one raghead. If I lost control, I already knew how the story would go. Then that smug bastard that’s called my girl a whore twice in five minutes looked at me and grinned. The arrogant grin was not what broke me. I recognized him. He was the guy that grabbed her ass in the gas station that day. Any control I had was gone.

I knocked the bastard to the ground. “Apologize to the lady.”

“Raghead, get off of me,” he gasped.

I centered my weight on his gut and slammed his head against the floor. “If I hear you call her a whore again, I’ll cut your tongue out. If I see you touch another woman, I’ll break your neck. And if you get close enough to grab this girl again, I’ll castrate your sorry ass with my pocket knife. Understand?”

Tough guy didn’t answer. It must have been a hell of a lot harder to trash someone his size. Someone tugged at my legs, and I hoped like hell it wasn’t Kailee, because I kicked as hard as I could and their weight slid off.

Thud! Something crashed to the ground. I kept the jackass pinned under me but looked to the side to see what happened. One of the skinheads—not Jason—was up against the wall with cue sticks falling over him.

Jason moved toward me slowly. The big bad soldier boy stopped between each step. He was approaching me, but he didn’t want to. “Can you get your buddy out of here?” I asked.

He looked to the loser stuffed between me and the floor as if he was asking a question. I didn’t know if he got the answer he wanted from Loser, but he said, “Yeah, we’ll go.”

“Okay, I’m going to stand up. If anyone touches either of us or speaks to my girl, I’ll mess up both of your faces. You’ll be counting stars under the cue sticks with your buddy over there.”

Skinhead nodded, and I sprang to my feet.

I grabbed Kailee’s hand.

“We’ve got to get out of here,” she said.

“Wait until your brother finds out about this,” the punk I’d just let up said.

“Oh yeah, because he wouldn’t be the one to cut your tongue out then.”

The thought never crossed my mind that Kailee’s brother would protect her. I was glad she thought so, and it must have meant something to Loser because he hung his head and didn’t say anything else.

On the way out the door a waitress carrying a pitcher of beer and several mugs on a tray stopped us. “Did you two have a problem with the grunts?”

I shook my head. “No.”

But Kailee crossed her arms. “I don’t like being called a whore, but it’s taken care of.”

The waitress smiled at me. “Did you take care of those assholes?”

I didn’t know how to answer that or if I should try. I didn’t want to admit to doing anything. When I didn’t answer, she patted my shoulder. “They talk to me like that all the time, and I hate it.” She reached into her apron and pulled something out. She handed me coupons for free beer and appetizers.

“Thank you,” I said. Ironic, I wasn’t old enough to drink.

We walked out of the double doors, and I let out a sigh. “I guess we’re not going to get arrested.”

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