Episode LXXXXIV-Failures to communicate usually lead to fisticuffs.

Ruthlessly, Square-Jaw’s right fist hurtled out of the darkness and smashed into my face, shocking me sober. Before I had even realized what had happened, the ground smacked my temple with a brutal follow-up. I didn’t have time to be indignant that Square-Jaw hadn’t given me any more warning than the inflection of “so”. I was too busy rolling to the side to save my ribs from his slow and predictable kicks that thrashed through the space I had just vacated. White sparkling flashes obscured my vision of the ground as I turned about, and instinctively leapt to my feet.

The sudden movement was a mistake. The world swayed in and out of focus. The stars fell from the sky and streaked into my vision. I doggedly shook my head to see him advancing toward my position. Blood pooled in my mouth from where my teeth had ground into my gum. I spat ferociously and wiped the remnants of the reddish muck across my now muddy pants.

“Now…that…was…a mistake.” I forced out. I had meant it to sound cavalier, daring even, as if I was nonplussed by his action. I didn’t want him to know that that one punch had almost laid me completely out. Instead the words wheezed out feebly at first, and only gained some coherence at the end. He grinned at me nastily, knowing that I was only bluffing. Behind me, someone tugged at my shirt. I didn’t turn around. I knew that another sucker punch would place me back on the ground, the last place I wanted to be. “Let go – I got this.” I hissed at the invisible party with more conviction than I felt, and felt the pressure subside.

At this point he was close enough to me. My right arm darted out and impacted his face, but my quick left merely bounced off his meaty arm. Nonplussed, I checked him one soundly in his stomach, only to feel his left fist carom off the back of my head. I slid to the right – as much as I could, only to find my movement blocked by the chain link fence. I sidled left, and upon finding my foot entangled in the aforementioned bushes, lashed out with another quick series of blows which seemed to have no visible effect. While I took an off-balance shot to the ribs, I realized that my unconscious plan was not going to work. It was an unconscious plan because, while I had realized that we were probably going to brawl at a moment or two before he hit me, I hadn’t really formulated any set strategy.

In the absence of such a rigid and well-thought out plan, my body was trying to adapt by using what natural advantages it had. Square-Jaw was much bulkier than me, but I was taller, so in theory, I should have been able to dart around him Mohammed Ali style and pepper him with blows from a distance, while avoiding too many more crushing blows. It was a really good idea. It was an even more impressive idea because I hadn’t consciously thought it over. However, if I had consciously thought it over, I probably would have noticed the flaw. We were in an area where such movement was virtually impossible. We were hemmed in by bushes on the left, and the fence on the right in a three foot wide zone. This short gap was a perfect place for someone to stand to urinate, or for Square-Jaw to molest his prey unnoticed, but awful for dodging and evading.

I briefly considered my options. Heading toward the fence was nothing short of stupid as it would completely eliminate my movement choices. Heading toward the bushes was dangerous, as I could slip and fall on an errant branch and be in a bad place in a moments notice. I considered taking him down with a classic leg whip; but realized that any sort of struggle on the ground would only amplify his attributes at my expense. I had no choices. The only real viable option was finishing the fight in brutal hand to hand boxing style. The only question was whether I would be able to stay conscious enough to follow through with my decision.