The Best Punch I Ever Threw: Part 9

Posted: March 16, 2011 in Nonfiction

So the pounding at the door was Shauna. And that was a good news. I was certain I could beat-up Shauna.

“What do we do?” I asked. Mike was visibly relieved. Ducking a drunk girl’s unwanted advances was much more within Mike’s skill sets.

“Do we let her in?” I asked.

“No!” Mike almost scolded me.

This girl had walked a couple miles in the cold to stand outside our room. And not just in the “sort of” cold, but in the U.P. Cold. Cold that made you think it would never be warm again, cold that made your skin reject the sun when you saw it. I felt bad, but Mike was right.

“Anything we do will feed this, dude.” Mike explained. “She’s not going to listen to reason, she just wants attention.”

I was shocked. But he was right.

Mike hopped back on his bed and smiled.

“We just ride this out.”

She quit knocking and left. We heard her go down the doors knocking like she had before. We didn’t hear from her again, and I have no reason not to believe that she didn’t end that night as part of some lucky drifter’s chubby sub-artic orgy.

I sat down on the bed as Mike and I shared another communal affirming laugh. “This is our life” I thought. Traveling the country to tell jokes to rednecks who don’t like us, and literally hiding from drunk waitresses in seedy hotel rooms: Show Business.

After about an hour had passed since the last door-pounding incident, I went back to bed while Mike went through the rest of the Adult Swim line-up.

I had drifted off into an uneasy sleep when Mike woke me.

“Pssst! Hey DJ.” Mike whispered.

“Wha— whacha want Mike,” I said, scratching my chest and keeping my eyes closed. Intentionally not committing to being all the way awake.

“Hey, what was that waitresses name again?” he asked while stifling a laugh.

I opened my eyes and resigned myself to the fact that he was going to wake me up.

“It was Shauna Mike, we both know it was…” As I said that I heard a voice from the parking lot scream an anguished cry,

“SHAUNA!” “Shuuuaaa-NA!” “SHAUNA!”

My eyes shot open like kicked in doors.

Shauna’s husband, the guy that was “Never home on weekends,” and “Disappeared whenever he wasnted to,” decided to be there that weekend apparently, and he was angry when he got home and his wife wasn’t.

I realized Shauna wasn’t the sweet girl I had tried so hard to believe she was, as her dude knew where she’d be almost immediately.

I still wasn’t that nervous, not as nervous as I’d been before. At least I knew who this was, and moreover, I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.

The guy screamed a little bit, then I heard a truck door slam, and he tore out of the parking lot. His truck spit out gravel and rancor as he peeled out of this creepy little alcove into the main street and back to wherever he was going to look for his wife. This happened a few times. About every 30 minutes I’d hear a car whip into the parking lot, some screaming, another door slamming, and then he’d tear out again throwing ice and rocks everywhere.

I know this seems extreme, and I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t call the cops, but the answer’s pretty simple.

1) Our cell-phones hadn’t worked for a long time. No reception came in in this little berg, and I had no reason to think the phones that were provided here connected to anything other than the Cryptkeeper’s line or that phone that rings at the beginning of The Twilight Zone.

2) I don’t like cops. That might sound immature, maybe even a little hick-ish, but it’s true. I was in this town for one night, only like 6 more hours. I didn’t want to spend all of it telling some officer what had happened or watching them struggle to figure out that my whole name was DJ. Besides, I didn’t really want this guy in jail. He was acting like an asshole, but he wasn’t out of line. He was looking for his wife. I know the damage a DUI or even just a Public Intox can do to a guy’s job.

And 3) I didn’t want to look like a pussy. I know that that’s immature and hick-ish, but it’s true too. I didn’t want to call a cop and have him drive however many miles away civilization was to come out to this creepy little Rape-atorium to find a 260 lbs man hiding in his room because some hillbilly was squealing his tires. This was just a stupid problem, and I ought to be able to handle it.

We thought about leaving and getting another room, but we were tired. This had been a long night. Plus, Mike and I weren’t making that much money. Even a shitty hotel room split between us would have been 30 bucks a piece. That was 20% of what I was making! I didn’t want to blow it to sleep somewhere for 4 hours then leave to get home.

So we sat there, and let this idiot peal into and out of our parking lot a few times. I figured we’d just wait it out. But then he came up to the door too. He banged on it. He banged and he banged and he banged. Mike and I just leaned back exasperated. This is how it was going to be. I had no idea what hours this northern breed of hillbillies kept. It was like 4 in the morning, and the drunken shenanigans in our neighbors’ rooms had quieted, but not quit. I had no reason to believe these folks weren’t completely nocturnal. They had no reason to be… as there was no sun to speak of in this town, but evolution’s a crazy thing, and maybe these creatures had adapted to it differently than I’d have thought.

All of this mania was still fine. The guy outside was just a drunk who thought we were banging his wife. We weren’t. He’d (eventually?) get tired and leave, then we could get the hell out of there. I was actually more worried about the guy trashing my car than any mortal danger. I had out of state plates, and while I doubted this guy was a trained detective, I thought he might figure that out and do something mean to the only way I had of escaping this place. But I’d worry about that in the morning. Right now. I was just going to wait it out.

Then he started messing with our door.

He grabbed the knob and angrily jerked at it. It spun in place on the other side. That’s an unnerving image, a spinning doorknob. It’s an iconic symbol for a menacing presence. I don’t care if you’re just sitting in your bathroom and you KNOW it’s your little brother on the other side turning the knob, it’s still scary. Even if there’s a fully lit house and your parents are there, watching a doorknob turn will make you edgy and frightened.

At least it did in me.

I couldn’t deal with this. I just couldn’t.

One time, I had a histrionic girlfriend who used to get pushy when we argued. One night she’d been drinking, (we had been drinking) and she finally lit off and hit me. Really came after me. Tried to tear my eyes out and shit. I didn’t flip out and hit her back or anything like that, but I knew I had to do something. I had to act. I had to fix the situation. This was like that.

I know grabbing the doorknob seems like an arbitrary point, but it meant something. You don’t try to let yourself into someone’s house or room. That’s an affront. Turning that knob was something I couldn’t let go. I didn’t know it bothered me, not specifically, but it did. The same way I had never specifically said “I’ll never let somebody hit me.” I had never really even thought about it, but because other people had, because it was important in some obscure “this is how people behave” way, It Was Important.

I got up and I walked to the door. Mike had just kind of shut down a little. I picked up the coffee pot on my way. I blocked the door with my foot and reached my arm with the coffee pot back. The door didn’t have a deadbolt, or even a little knob-chain deal on the inside, just the little twisty part in the middle of the knob. He’d quit shaking the knob for a second and gone back to pounding. I undid the lock and yelled,


He blasted through the door. He came barreling in, screaming and frothing at the mouth. My foot didn’t let the bottom part of the door open, so just his torso and head came through. He screamed and cussed and waved his arms like a possessed Muppet.

I hit him.

I hit him so hard.

I hit him harder than I’ve ever hit anyone in my entire life.

I hit him so hard my own wrist and elbow buckled and stung.

I hit him harder than a man should get hit.

I have no idea how. But the coffee pot didn’t break. It ricocheted off his head at an ugly angle and sent him back across the porch of the hotel.

I know I hit him hard, because all the fight went out of him.

He came in all “I’LL KILL ALL YOU MOTHER FUC—”

And left all, “holy shit my face.”

I didn’t knock the man unconscious, but I did knock him stupid. His eyes were glassy and he wasn’t all there. Big John McCarthy would have stopped the fight.

I threw the door open and stood over the guy hunched on the ground. He was a tall man, but not a big man. Huddled up against the guardrail of the porch he looked scared and wet. He groped about for something he’d dropped still woozy from the shot to the head. I stood there heaving.

He pulled up two 12 x 18 pictures of Mike from high school and some Jewish guy with my name on the bottom. He looked confusedly at them and then up at me.

“Who the fuck are you?” he asked clutching his head.

So there’s the punch (both literally and figuratively.) It took me a while to get to, and this is a really long post. I’ll wrap the story up tomorrow. An even 10 entries is too many, but I feel like I need closure on this piece. And tomorrow I’ll get it. I still need a name.


  1. Kroger says:

    I love this DJ. I am just glad I waited until today to read it cause it would have sucked having to wait for new entries every day. Hope to see you coming through near my area again soon!

    • DJ Dangler says:

      Thanks dude. I’m glad you liked it. That’s a lot of reading for one day, this things getting long. I’ll finish it up tonight and a attach a video of the place. I’m glad I’m wrapping it up, because there’ve been other things I’ve wanted to write since I’ve started. Anyway, glad you liked it. I hope you’re awesome.

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