In Pucklechurch Terrain

Contributor: David Macpherson

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The knuckles crash my cheek and one of my teeth loosens. Later, I will spit blood. But now I swing from my side and connect with somebody’s ear. My shoulder twinges from the compression of the impact. I hope I didn’t hit one of my own. My bros: Joey, Mac and the other guy. The guy whose name I don’t know. He sits by himself most nights at the end of the bar. But when the swinging starts, he usually swings for us.

Mac clobbers the bearded dude with the frosted beer mug, clubbing him on the top of the head. Joey takes an elbow to the chin. We are all backing up to the fire exit. We’re not surrendering, its just that we can see the bouncer heading our way and its best to take it outside then to be taken.

I aim my foot for the little guy’s knee and I get nothing but air. I can’t do any of that karate shit. I grab the front of his collar and swing him to the side, hitting the broken bowling game. I step outside to the alley and now I’m doubled over from a shot to my gut from some fist.

The assholes run. The only one left is the one we’re all kicking on the ground. The one that stumbled. He moans long and low like a fog warning. We step back and I guess he crawls away. I don’t know the assholes we swung at. I just saw Mac moving hard and jumped in.

The bouncer pours into the fire exit door. “This shit keeps happening and you’ll be out for good. Not just the night.”

“Fuckers started it,” Mac says.

“They always do,” the bouncer says.

“We can’t help it,” the guy whose name I don’t know says. “It’s part of the DNA of every bar goer. It’s a royal tradition. Hell, a king of England died in a bar fight. King Edmund the Magnificent died in a pub fight in 943 in Pucklechurch. This thief Leofa was giving one the King’s bros some shit and wouldn’t leave and they had at it. Leofa knifed Edmund. But at least the King’s men got Leofa too, Evens it out. If it’s good enough for kings, who the hell are we to stop?” He wipes the blood from his lip.

I don’t know what he’s talking about, but I know he’s right. The way I feel now, the pulsing of the blood in my veins, it’s not just my blood, I feel all my bros and all the bros before me, like a line going way down the years.

The bouncer thinks its funny. He almost smiles as he shakes his head and steps back to close the door on us, leaving us heaving for breath in the alley. The click of the door’s lock telling that we’re exiled again.

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