“He rode with Hell’s Angels and the Chicago Outlaws?”
“I don’t see why he’d make that up,” said Lilly. “Besides the look on his face was priceless. He loved that time period.”
“Maybe it will be like it is in the movies and when you’re attacked, you’ll automatically know how to fight.”
“Don’t hold your breath,” he said, miserably.
“No one can expect you to fight aliens alone.”
“Lilly, I don’t know how to even start thinking about this.”
“It’s okay, we’ll do it together.”
“Did you just see that?” he asked, turning around. “That thing that just floated by?”
“It’s gone now,” he said looking around.
“Maybe you can see things, that I can’t. It’s probably another one of your gifts.”
“Great,” he said, shaking his head. “You can talk to your cats and I can see weird things, like that guy in the tree over there.”
“The one waving at us?” he said, waving back.
“Why are you waving at him?”
“He looks friendly and he waved first.”
“Maybe you should ignore the beings you see.”
“I don’t know, just pretend that you don’t see them.”
“He’s coming over here and he’s wearing yellow pants. Who wears yellow pants?”
“What do you mean, he’s coming over here?” asked Lilly, looking around. “Where is he?”
“I’m right here,” said the person in the yellow pants. “We can all see you, you know. Your light is really bright.”
“Great,” said James. “He said everyone can see me because my light is bright.”
“What light?” asked Lilly, looking at him. “And, more importantly, who is everyone?”
“I’m here to fight on your side, if the war starts up again. You can call me iug.”
“I don’t think I can, actually. I can’t pronounce it,” said James.
“Then call me…Luke.”
“Okay, Luke, and thanks.”
“Do you want me to make it so that she can see and hear me?”
“I’ll ask her,” said James.
He explained the situation to Lilly who said, “Duh. Of course I want to see and hear him.”
Luke touched her arm and smiled. “Hi,” he said.
“Hello and who are you?” she asked.
“I’m Luke,” he said. “I fought in the last game and word is that the losers want a rematch. A lot of us are coming back to fight, in case they don’t take no for an answer.”
“Really?” asked James. “You’re going to fight?”
“Well, I don’t think you could fight them by yourself and if they took over, things would be even more unpleasant on earth than they are now and before you say anything, yes, that is actually possible.”
“Why is this happening and what does it have to do with James?” asked Lilly.
“I guess he’s the chosen champion. Every battle needs one.”
“Me? A champion? I don’t think so,” said James. “You need to choose someone else.”
“It doesn’t work that way. There’s no one else to choose. You’re the guy.”
“Why?” asked Lilly. “He doesn’t even know how to fight.”
“Maybe he’s pure of heart, maybe somewhere in his past he had an ancestor who was a god. I just know that he’s the guy. He’s a beacon, his light is bright and it calls to all those who fought before.”
“But a motorcycle gang?”
“Ah,” laughed Luke. “I see you’ve been talking with Jerry. He loves biker gangs. He actually rode with Hell’s Angels and the Chicago Outlaws, for awhile, so he would see things that way. He’s not really wrong, you know. But others will be attracted to your light, James. You won’t have to fight alone, so don’t worry. I’ll be back if, and when, you need me. But while I’m here, do you know where I can get good Mexican food?”
James told him where he should go to eat and Luke thanked him and disappeared.
“Now I’m hungry,” said Lilly.”
“Why is everything so violent?”
“Well,” said Lilly, thoughtfully, “let’s assume that the Big Bang really took place. A lot of scientists don’t think it did, but let’s go with it for the moment. If it happened, then we were born of violence. A violence so enormous and powerful, that it made at least one universe, that we know of, and everything in it. It’s still exploding, making new stars, while black holes are eating everything that touches their even horizons. Violence is EVERYWHERE and in EVERY THING. We don’t even know what dark matter is. What if that’s violent as well. It’s sure secretive enough. I mean, think about this whole place. Things implode and explode, die, are born, attack each other and galaxies consume other galaxies. Violence is all we really know. It’s all we’ve ever known.”
“Maybe I should have stayed dead,” he said.
“What about me? If you stayed dead, we wouldn’t be together.”
“You know what I mean.”
“No. I don’t.”
“I have no idea how long I was dead. Time doesn’t exist there, not the way it does here. When I came back, no time had passed. My parents didn’t even know I had been gone.”
“I didn’t realize that,” said Lilly.
“We were sitting down to the dinner where I died while eating the carrot.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, smiling. “I’m not trying to make light of how you died, but a carrot?”
“Just laugh and get it over with.”
So she did. Then she wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “A carrot,” and then she was laughing again, and James was laughing with her.
“Okay,” she said, sniffing. “Down to business. So how would you fight a psychotic biker gang?” she asked. “And please, don’t say that you would just run away.”
“But that’s exactly what I WOULD do,” he said.
“But what if you wouldn’t, or couldn’t. What would you do then?”
“Die,” he said, truthfully. “In the first three minutes.”
“You are such a…”
“Such a what?” he asked. “Loser? Chicken? Coward? Wimp?”
“I was going to say, non planner.”
“Oh,” he said. “Well, that too.”
“Here’s what I would do,” said Lilly, standing up. “I’d act really tough. Like no one could beat me, no matter what. I mean attitude is reality, don’t forget that. Body language is important. Even if I was afraid, I’d be walking back and forth, in front of them, not showing any fear…”
“How? How would you do that? How would you not show any fear if you were terrified?”
She shrugged. “You just do it, that’s all.”
“So not helpful,” he sighed.
“Anyway, I’d be smiling. Enemies and bullies always hate it when you smile at them, like they can’t touch you, no matter what they do. They want to taste your fear, so that’s the one thing you NEVER EVER give to them.”
“I’m gonna throw up,” he groaned.
“ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”
“Yes,” he said, immediately, sitting up straight. “Sorry. Don’t show any fear.”
“Right. Even when you’re scared to death, you don’t let the bad guys know that. I know you don’t have time to learn how to do that, so you’re just going to have to DO it. If you let them think you’re afraid, they’ll play with you, because your fear and weakness is like the best thing they’ve ever eaten. Sure, they might kill you, but if they do, they were going to kill you anyway. You can die on your feet, or you can die on your knees. Get what I’m saying?”
“No. Not at all,” he said, covering his face with his hands. “Not even a little.”
“Okay. I didn’t want to have to do this, but come with me.”
“Where are we going?” he finally asked, after they had been walking for awhile. “Isn’t this a bad neighborhood?”
“One of the worst.”
“I don’t want to be here,” he said, pulling on her arm. “Let’s go back.”
“Hey, bitch, whadda ya doing on my sidewalk?”
Lilly stood in front of James. “Walking, what does it look like I’m doing you dork?”
“What did you call me?” asked the very surprised guy. “You have to pay, to walk on my sidewalk.”
“Yeah, I don’t think so, but nice shirt,” she said.
He looked down at his shirt and said, “You got a smart mouth.”
“Thank you,” she said, looking at the two other guys who were walking toward them.
“OMG Lilly,” whispered James. “Let’s go.”
“Who’s the little boy behind you?”
“Give it to me.”
“He’s a guy who needs to learn how to fight. He needs to learn fast. A bunch of badass biker guys are coming for him, some of them aren’t human, and he’s never been in a fight in his entire life.”
“OMG, omg, omg,” said James.
“I should tell you that he’s already been dead once,” said Lilly. “They sent him back.”
“No shit. What was that like?”
“A really boring office job,” said James.
“Not what I was expectin’,” said the guy.
“I know, right?” said Lilly. “Who knew.”
The guy pulled a gun out from behind him and pointed it at her.
James held on to the back of Lilly’s shirt.
“Who should I shoot first?”
“Put the gun away, Taz. I know her,” said a guy, walking up behind him. “Lil, what are you doing here?”
“Hey,” she said, running up and throwing her arms around him. “Been to long,” she added, kissing him all over his face. “You look…great.”
“I told you not to do that in front of the boys,” he said, smiling at her.
“Oh, sorry,” she lied and kissed him again. “I need a favor.”
“Do you think you and the boys could teach this one,” she said, pointing at James, how to fight really fast?”
He looked at James and then back at Lilly. “No. Not a chance. Why?”
Lilly explained the situation about the civil war, biker gangs, being dead and then asked again. “So can you?”
“Look at him Lil. He’s shakin’ like a leaf.”
“I know but that’s because the doesn’t have any skills. If he knew how to fight, he wouldn’t be afraid. You taught me.”
A smile spread across his face. “That’s true. I did teach you, didn’t I.”
She punched him, then hugged him again.
“Uh, Lilly,” said how do you know this guy?”
“Oh, sorry,” she said. “James this is Tommy. Tommy this is James, and we grew up together. He used to live next door to me.”
“Call me Snake,” said Tommy.
“Sure,” sighed James. “Why not.”
“Okay, leave him here and pick him up tomorrow. We’ll do what we can…”
“Wait, what?” said James. “Leave me HERE?”
“What’s it gonna cost?” asked Lilly.
“We want in on the fight.”
“Deal,” she said, holding out her hand.
“Wait,” said James. “You can’t be serious. You’re just LEAVING me here? With…them?”
All the guys, and there were quite a few by now, were grinning.
“Yes,” she said, turning toward the crowd. “And if anyone gets out of line, they’ll have to answer to me.”
Some of the grins disappeared. Snake snickered. James tried not to whimper.
“It’s okay, James. You’ll learn a lot, believe me and I’ll be back tomorrow before dinner, okay?”
“No. Definitely not okay.”
“See ya Tommy,” she said.
“It’s Snake. Call me Snake.”
“Sure. See ya Snake. Take care of James for me.”
“My pleasure,” he chuckled.
“I’m gonna die Lilly,” hissed James. “And it will be your fault, this time.”
“You’re not gonna die, you’re going to be tougher.”
“Uh, excuse me,” said a tiny voice.
Lilly looked down and saw a hamster sitting by her foot. “Yes?”
“The people who took care of me, moved away and put me in the backyard. It’s scary out there and I was wondering if I could go home with you?”
“Of course you can come home with me,” she said, picking up the fuzzy hamster. “What’s your name?”
“Snowball, what’s yours?”
“Lilly,” she said. “You’re beautiful and I’ll make a wonderful nest for you.”
“You’re welcome. Bye James,” she shouted, holding up the hamster. “We have a new friend. See you tomorrow.”
“No. You won’t. I’ll be dead by then.”
“Is he serious?” asked Snowball.
“No. I mean he believes it, but he won’t be dead.”
“I thought I might be dead when they put me outside.”
“That was mean of them.”
“Tell me about it,” sighed Snowball. “Can I sleep in your pocket. I’m really tired.”
“Sure,” she said, placing the hamster in the pocket of her jacket. “Sweet dreams, little one.”