TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
As Ghost walked down the hallway, the group of hecklers were there and confronted him. He didn't know they were there to cause trouble...he'd never even noticed this group out there. There were six of them, and as Ghost passed by, they surrounded him, and started making comments about everything...the show, his singing, Steve's playing, how they looked...and, how they never should have come to their town.
Ghost didn't answer back, but he still tried to push past them. That's when one, the supposed leader, shoved Ghost up against another one, and he pushed Ghost up against the wall. Grabbing Ghost's arm, he said, "We don't like your kind here in this town. We don't like queers playing in our bars, so you and your fag boyfriend should leave now, or you won't like what we can do to you...got it?"
Ghost shoved his knee, as hard as he could, into the guy's crotch. "Get your fucking hands off me."
The guy staggered back, looking for his group to take Ghost down, but his friends had backed up out of the way. Just as Ghost had kneed the guy, Steve had come into the hallway, saw what was happening, and charged into the guy and his posse like a raging bull, and was bellowing just as loud. He rammed the one guy into the floor, and punched him in the face a few times, before the owner of the bar came and broke it up.
The bar owner knew these hoodlums, and knew they liked to start trouble, but asked anyway if they wanted to have Steve arrested for assault. The guy held his bloody nose, and said, "No, just having some fun with them." He and his group walked out. As they left, one of his friends asked, "Why didn't you press charges, dude?"
"Because, I don't want anyone to know I got beat up by the likes of those two...and that's the end of it, understand?"
The owner asked Ghost and Steve if they were ok, then paid them what they'd agreed on. Steve grabbed his guitar, and he and Ghost went out to the parking lot to leave. There, they found the car had been vandalized. The tires were slashed, a window was broken, and discriminatory words were spray painted all over it.
"God damn it, look what those mother fuckers did! Where the hell did they go? A bloody nose was too good for him, I should'a killed him when I had the chance!" Steve kicked at the flat tires, and ranted around the lot, looking for them.
Ghost was finally able to calm him down, then they just sat there on the curb, behind the bar.
"Ghost, what are we doing? Why are we here?" Steve asked. "We don't need this much trouble. I think we should just go back home."
Ghost understood how he felt, but wasn't ready to call it quits, yet. He stood up in front of Steve, and said, "Steve, there's trouble makers anywhere...we just ran into one the first time out. I don't like it either, but I don't want to quit, just because of one asshole. It's like they won, and they're chasing us away. We're gonna play our other show tomorrow, and they'll know we're not afraid of them. You know, like our song? We are not afraid...and even if we are, we shouldn't show it. OK?"
Steve was still down about it, and shook his head. "I don't know, Ghost. I don't want to have to fight someone everywhere we go."
Ghost waited for him to continue. He already knew what Steve was going to say, and he appreciated it, but still didn't want to hear it, or hear Steve think he had to say it...but, here it came anyway."
"Ghost, I always want to protect you, to watch out for you. I always have your back, no matter what..." he looked up at Ghost and saw the expression on Ghost's face. "Don't look at me like that. You know what I mean."
"Yeah, I know Steve, and I love you for it, but I can take care of myself, when I have to."
"But, Ghost, I want to take care of you."
"Steve, listen to me. I love you wanting to take care of me, but sometimes you don't have to. I mean, I have to know I can do what I have to do. I've always had to...maybe it turns out ok, maybe it doesn't, but I have to keep trying. I don't have to be rescued from every confrontation, like some little helpless kid. I don't think I'm saying this right, Steve, but can't you see?"
"Yeah, I think so. You want me as back-up, just in case, but I should let you take care of it when you can."
Ghost nodded, "I don't mean to hurt your feelings..."
"I know, it's ok...so when am I allowed to swoop in and kick some ass?"
Ghost smiled, "You want a signal or something? I think you'll know when to swoop in. If I'm for sure getting creamed, then ok...rescue me."
"Well, you sure gave that guy something to think about. Good job! Ghost don't play around."
"Yeah, well..." Ghost said, feeling pretty good about it, himself.
They were quiet for a few minutes. Ghost didn't say what he was thinking, though. He'd been dealing with people calling him every name in the book, ever since he could remember, and it just rolled off him like nothing, anymore...or mostly it did. Actually, it hurt like hell to be called names, but this may have been the first time Steve had been singled out, too, for the derogatory terms, and it was because he is with me. So he knew it bothered Steve - a lot - even if he wouldn't admit it.
Steve was having those feelings and thoughts, even though he didn't want Ghost to feel bad about it. He'd never been called those names before, and it did hurt...like Ghost had said, words were powerful. He didn't know how Ghost could stand it, and know it from when he was a kid, and that it would never end for him. How could he continue to be calm and just take it for all these years? Ghost was so strong in that regard...way stronger than he was.
Ghost figured enough was said on the subject. He sighed, and looked at the car. "What'll we do about that?" he asked.
"I don't know, Ghost. I have one spare tire I can put on, but that's not gonna help, when I need three more. Guess we just have to wait til in the morning and go get more tires. The window, well, it's on the side, so it'll wait. Tonight...?" he shrugged.
Ghost opened the car door and started brushing out broken glass. "I'm tired, Steve. I'm gonna sleep right here in the back seat." He spread a blanket out, just in case there were tiny pieces of glass still on the fabric of the seat, and stretched out, closing his eyes. Steve guessed he'd keep watch - never know if those guys would come back. He leaned back in the front seat, but soon enough fell asleep. There were no more incidents that night.
The next morning, they were awakened by the bar owner. He was surprised to see them still in his back parking area. "Hey, guys, what happened? I thought y'all left after the show."
Steve got out and stretched. He was stiff from sitting up all night. "Well, we were going, but I think those guys that started trouble last night wrecked our car. Now we gotta get it fixed, or at least get some tires."
"Gee, I'm sorry. I know those guys. It's not the first time they've done something like this. You want to file a police report on them?"
"Guess not, man," said Steve. "We didn't actually see them do it, so...just need some tires. Where's a place to get them?"
The bar owner said he'd drive Steve over to the tire place right then, if he wanted to. Steve agreed, and woke up Ghost to tell him what was going on. Ghost could barely get his eyes open, and just nodded, and said, "Uh-huh, get me some coffee."
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing