Mark Dushaw: a high school sophomore who has finally figured himself out. He's got a few friends, a pretty good job at a local store, and a new girlfriend that he loves. Life is good...for a time. He has a small apartment in Virginia with his girl, Stacey, and one day when he got home, she asked him a question.
"Hey, you know that kid Jenson Avery?"
Pause. Jenson Avery is a kid who goes to Mark's school, Middlebury High, and is in the same grade as he and Stacey. He occasionally shows psychopathic tendencies(of the high school kind), as in, beating someone for taking a pencil. It was nothing too serious. He might've just gotten involved in the wrong crowd. Resume.
"Yeah. What about him?" he asked. "I saw him in the street today talking to Kevin." To this he replied "Oh," because it was the only thing that could be said. He didn't really care for Jenson Avery. The day went on, and the weeks went on until one day when he got home she was pretty banged up.
"What the hell happened?" She had a black eye and a bruised lip. Mark kissed her and asked again. He went over and closed the door, and then the blinds. He looked out the window and saw Jenson staring at him from across the street. "Hey babe, did you talk to Jenson today?" She didn't answer.
The next day, he came home from school a little early. He looked over and saw what he feared: Jenson was holding a gun and talking to her. He was saying something about money. Then Stacey held out her arms, and he punched her. Right in the face, and bloodied her nose. Mark went up the stairs to his house. When she came in, he questioned her and found that he had been threatening her for money. She didn't have any; hence, the bruises. "I'm going to make this right," he said.
There was an event that weekend, a dance. It was Thursday now, and the dance was on Saturday. Mark asked Stacey to stay in the house on Friday and not go to school.
Mark went to school on Friday to get people riled up. He needed help, and he quickly went to his best friend, Jake, for that assistance. "You want to do what?" he asked. "You heard me, man. You're my boy, let's get this done." He nodded reluctantly and asked, "Are we gonna be the only ones?" "Hell, no! We'd get our asses kicked for sure." There was a bit of relief after that, but there wouldn't be much until after the deed was done.
Next he went for the big jocks. They were usually around Junior-Senior level, but they'd help you out with anything if you paid them enough. Plus, he was already on good terms with most of them. There was Jason, Kennedy, Jalon, and Michael. He got them all on board for twenty-five dollars each. Jalon looked up and asked, "Dawg, what the hell are you thinking bout doin', anyway?" Mark answered, "Nothing too serious. Just enough to teach him a lesson."
The dance was tomorrow night. Mark spent all Friday afternoon in the gym, hoping he'd look the least bit intimidating when the time came.
It was Saturday afternoon. Jason, Kennedy, Jalon, Michael, and Jake went to Mark's house and got prepared. They got a look at Stacey and decided that it was worth it. She was holding two bags of ice over her face and had a black eye.
"Hold this," Mark said to Kennedy, and gave him the pistol. "Just in case things go bad. You know how those fags are with their boys." Plus, Kennedy had the most experience with a gun, growing up in the country where he loved to hunt. They hopped in Mark's old car and drove down to the mall, where the dance was being held.
They got there and waited outside. Mark gave his entrance speech. "We're six guys, and we don't want to seem like the bad guys, alright? So don't go waving that gun around. Keep it locked up. Alright?" The guys nodded. "Okay. Let's go crash this bitch." They opened the door. Mark turned around and said, "And, we aren't trying to kill anybody." They signed in and walked to the door. Looking through the small window, Mark asked, "Can you see Jenson Avery?", to anyone and everyone who was listening. "There he is. Right in the middle, hanging on to those girls." Mark smiled, but it was a dark smile. This was what he had been waiting for.
They walked in and spread out. "Jenson Avery!" Mark announced the name as he walked over to the boy. Jenson looked up as Mark slammed his fist into his face. He heard a small crack as the boy fell to the floor. No real harm was done.... yet. "What the hell, man?!" Suddenly Mark realized what he was doing, and why he was doing it, and started to get real mad. He said to Jenson, "You know, I have a girlfriend named Stacey Knox." He just stared at him. "We live together." He was still staring at him. "I saw you threaten my girl, you little shit! You pointed a gun at her and beat her. That does not fly with me, boy! I promise, before tonight is done, I will kick the shit out of you!" As realization dawned in his eyes, he actually cracked a smile.
Mark was furious. "Get the hell up!" He pulled him to his feet and punched him in the face again. His head bobbed around, bleeding from his nose. Then, Mark picked him up and threw him. That surprised Jenson as he hit the food table, knocking it to the floor. After about a minute, Jenson got up and said, "Alright, if you want to play it that way, I'll be happy to let you. But you've got to let me have a turn." He ran and punched him in the stomach. Mark didn't seem to notice, as he threw him again.
As Jenson hit the table this time, Mark went up to him and stomped on his balls. He screeched, but Mark was glad to hear it. Then, Jenson grabbed one of the cutting knives that had fallen with the table and swung at Mark. It cut some of his pants, and Mark backed off of him. Jenson looked very nice now: bleeding from every corner of his face and threatening everyone with a kitchen knife. This changed things for Mark, though, because every time he threw a punch, Jenson swung at him. He couldn't get through at all.
Mark grew frustrated after a few minutes of this. "You're just a lowlife! A criminal!" Jenson swung the knife down by his side and said, "Really? You're gonna play that card? Well, anyways, you are correct. But the thing is: even lowlife thugs, like me, have friends." At that moment, a man twice Mark's size came up behind him and put one massive hand over his face, and another over his chest. At first, Mark thought that he was going to break his neck, but he was just holding him still while Jenson walked over and put the blade to his exposed neck. Jenson looked into his eyes as he slid the blade across his neck.
The wound was deep. Everyone was shocked as the man let Mark go and he bled profusely out of his neck. Mark also had friends, though: Jason, Kennedy, Jalon, Michael, and Jake all blocked the doorway. Jenson had at least four buddies with him. A brawl started, with a bunch of other jocks from their school getting in on Jake's side, who was leading it for Mark. People fell, and blood flowed.
Kennedy slid in by Mark, who had crawled into a corner of the room and started to cry. "How you doin', bro?" Mark pointed at his neck. "Mm-hm." Then the big guy who had held Mark came up and grabbed Kennedy on the shoulder, trying to pull him around. Kennedy pulled the handgun out of his pants and shot him in the stomach. He looked at Mark. "It was worth it, bro. Jason called 911. They'll be here any minute."
Mark closed his eyes. About five minutes after, the cops and the ambulances came. They found Kennedy pressing Mark's wound and got him to a hospital. They found many men, about five wounded and one dead, on the ground covered in blood. The cops found Jason, Jake, and Michael beating the shit out of Jenson, and had to pull them off.
Mark went to the hospital, and left about three months later with a stitched-up neck. Everyone else just went back to school. Considering the situation, there were no gun charges against Kennedy. Jenson, however, went to jail for quite a while.
He got one year for third-degree assault, six months for the attempted armed robbery, six years for the attempted murder, and ten years for his involvement in the first-degree assault that was 'the brawl', adding up to seventeen years and six months.
The cell door opened as Jenson Avery went inside. He sat down on his bed as the door slammed shut. A shadow then darted across the wall as a man sat down on the bed opposite him. "Mark Dushaw," Jenson muttered. "How's Stacey?" "She's doing well now that you're locked up," he cracked, still getting used to his voice after the operation. "I guess the real thing I should ask is, 'How the hell did you get in here?'" Mark got up and walked over to him, and he saw the mark across his neck. "Just some small stuff. Robbery, for one month. That's really all I need." Jenson grinned again and asked, "Why the hell are you here?"
Mark smiled. "I told you that night that I'd knock the shit the shit out of you. Given the predicament you put me in by slashing my neck, that didn't necessarily come true. So now, I've got a full month, just you and me, to beat your shitty ass into the ground."
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