Tim was thirteen years old. I was six.
I don't remember what exactly started it, but I do remember the moment I knew I could fight. Tim at thirteen was of course much larger than me, a kid who played on his basketball team and was a good athlete. He pummeled me from corner to corner in his basement because I refused to let him bully me, which older boys tend to do to younger boys. Looking back on it, I should have realized it was because he did actually like me but didn't know how to deal with being thirteen--hell, he took the time to play video games with me, but when you are a young man power is something very difficult to wield and often young men make mistakes.
Anyway, the moment: after pushing me into walls of his basement, kicking me, and saying some nasty things in general, I belted him. A clean haymaker across the jaw that put a boy who was so much taller than my 6 year old ass on a knee. He then proceeded to beat the unholy hell out of me until our parents separated us. But from that moment when I put him to a knee the passion for pugilism, grappling, and combat was there.
I started martial arts not long afterwards. Back when my parents could not afford the judo classes they still found a way to pay for them until they could not anymore. Same with Shotokan Karate, which didn't last long when I started beating up kids on the playground during elementary school, but it was on those playground where I really learned that what I knew could hurt people--and from then on I stopped. Save for a few fights with a couple of kids in my neighborhoods in St. Louis and Apex, North Carolina, I went out of my way to intentionally not hurt anyone. I did so because I didn't like making people cry when I shouldn't have, even if they were bullying me. The result was that I was bullied a lot, even to the point where my own mother was telling me to take my pound of flesh and stand up for myself.
Then I walked into Apex High School.
I remember the exact moment all best were off--I had incurred the wrath of two girls because I had embarrassed them in a class debate, which drove them to start a series of rumors over the next few years that I was going to come to school and shoot everyone or harm a teacher. The police came, my family and I were threatened with my expulsion multiple times if I did not confess to something I did not ever plan to do, and even two of my favorite teachers at the time went out of their way to implicate me, which seeded my inability to trust in the place I had to go to everyday afterward. They made an attempt to apologize later on after I was able to prove multiple times that I never had such intentions (one teacher even cried her way through hers), but from then on it didn't matter as the damage was done. I was going to fight the world and everyone in it using my fists, elbows, knees, feet, and whatever else I needed. I was going to accept and benefit from my power to do harm.
And I did.
For that choice I suffered a lot, and in an attempt to tell that story and the lessons I learned I did so through the allegorical device of Fantasy which allowed me to author WAR PIGS. This is what happened after I assumed my own power to do harm and the consequences that followed.
And it is now available for preorder. WAR PIGS will be $0.99 until it is released on 11/15/2016, at which point it will be available via KDU for free or as a download for $2.99. I hope you all check it out. It is a piece of me that I hope to not only exorcise but to show others what violence creates.
Click HERE to get WAR PIGS today!