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Introduction:

. . .
. . .


This is a story about a Chinese immigrant in the USA and an African-American woman suffering from a mental disorder due to the constant beating her husband dishes out to her. It was written for the CAW #19 forum competition in which XNXX writers were challenged to write a story based on or inspired by a song. I chose "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas and wrote this story based on that song.

The following text contains unrealistic, stylized fight scenes, brutal violence, an abusive husband, interracial sex, and an ambiguous, temporary, swastika tattoo.


For readers only interested in the sexual activity, you can find it in:

Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine




KUNG FU FIGHTING

Written by Norton X




Chapter One


The immigration officer at the passport checking desk looked at the visa and at the individual standing on the other side. Michael Huxang, twenty-five years-old, glanced at the line of people behind him. He spotted several Asians, all of them seeking a new life in the Land of Opportunity. He knew he would have it easier than some of them. His uncles had everything set up for him. He was going to be a shareholder in their shop business, which primarily sold ornamental items, but also supplied Chinese food ingredients in bulk to businesses such as restaurants and hotels.

How did this come about? His father and his father's two closest friends, Bill Tin and Sam Chong, who Mike had been raised to think of as his uncles, had started the business. However, a month ago, Charles Huxang had passed away due to a life-long illness, so now Mike was taking his father's share of the business, but on the condition that he would physically be there to help manage the shop, which was called Chinese Lightning. Mike thought that name was a mismatch for the shop. He would see about renaming the establishment once he was on proper footing.

His passport was stamped and he was ushered through. Outside the arrivals terminal, he pulled out his cell phone, removed the old network card inside it, replacing it with a local one he had purchased, and dialed a memorized number.

A voice he barely recognized answered his call at the other end, speaking in heavily-accented English. "Chinese Lightning. How may I help you?"

[ Cantonese ]

"Uncle Sam?"

"Mike!" Sam had been expecting this call, but couldn't contain his excitement at hearing his nephew's voice.

"I'm here."

"On my way, nephew!"

They ended the call on both ends.

[ English ]

A voice spoke to him from behind. "Hey, man, help a brother out? Good thing to do when you first arrive in the land of freedom. It's all about helping each other here in America."

Mike put the phone in his back pocket and turned to face a black man with a goatee, a loose white shirt, baggy black pants, and white trainers. Seeing that he had Mike's attention, the man launched into a rehearsed speech about needing money to attend college so he could find a decent job and work for a living. Mike understood English, but pretended to look confused.

A public announcement came over the airport speakers as the man plied the new immigrant with rhetorical questions in his attempt to get some free cash. A female voice said, "Travelers are not obligated to give money to people asking for donations, whether it would be for charity or personal benefit." Even without hearing the announcement, Mike wouldn't have handed over any money. He had about two hundred dollars in his wallet, which was in the carry-on he slung over his shoulder, but he wasn't in the mood to hand out free money to beggars.

I'll frustrate him with Cantonese. That should get him off my back.

[ Cantonese ]

"What are you asking for?"

The man raised his eyebrows at him, but kept at it.

[ English ]

Pointing at Mike, he said, "You. Give me," rubbing his fingers together, "Money." Pointing once more, "You. Help. Someone in need of your donation. Understand?"

Mike smiled and bobbed his head as if he finally understood.

[ Cantonese ]

"You want money, but I'm not giving you any. I will take a picture with you, though." He laughed merrily and reached into his back pocket. The man smiled and nodded his head, but his smiled turned into a frown when Mike pulled out his phone, stood next to him, and quickly snapped a shot of them together. Mike waved at him and left the man's presence before he could say anything else.



Chapter Two


Sharon Jones, thirty-one years of age, African-American, left the diner where she worked as a waitress. It was afternoon and her morning shift had ended.

Emerging from behind the diner onto the street, she noticed a white van slow down, and caught a look from the driver as it passed by. She perceived him to be in his late twenties, white male, shaved head and had a red and black tattoo on the left side of his scalp. Sharon wasn't sure if he was checking her out or just curious - she didn't really care, but she knew he regularly picked up boxes of things from the Chinese shop nearby. The van drove on out of the street, onto the main road.

A delivery man ogling her didn't bother Sharon, who had enough to worry about as she was married to a man who beat her almost routinely. Their marriage was just another one of those situations where a man and a woman fall in love, drift apart due to some external, internal cause or lack of communication, and then after one argument resulting in the wife getting bashed, the husband realizes how much he enjoys unleashing his inner beast on his significant other.

Her husband Jeffrey had sent her a text message when she was at work, telling her he was horny, which meant another night of pretending to be crazy about him, while letting him fuck her brains out. She hated the way her body betrayed her as it went into climax. She also remembered how she used to love it.

One thing Sharon was deeply grateful for was the fact that she hadn't become pregnant yet. Jeffrey thought she was barren and she thought he had no sperm in his system. He had told her never to go to the doctor to confirm this, but she secretly had and the doctor had told her they were both healthy and should be able to have children. Five years of marriage and no children; this was the one miracle Sharon had in her life. The superstitious part of her told her that a benevolent force of nature was preventing children from being born into a loveless marriage. She earnestly hoped that was true. The thought of bearing a child for a brutal man like Jeffrey was more horrifying to her than living a life without love.

Her route took her passed the Chinese shop, and a woman's voice called out to Sharon. She turned and saw Lin Tin, a Chinese woman in her fifties. She was the wife of Bill Tin, co-owner of the Chinese Lightning. Lin Tin had a gentle and generous spirit and she would often smile, wave, and say something in Cantonese to Sharon when she passed by on her way to and from the diner. That was all they shared: smiles, waves, and a few words that only the person speaking could understand, but the other could feel in her heart.

Today Lin Tin left the broom she was using to sweep, went inside the shop and emerged with two clear, plastic bags filled with a multicolored, crispy snack that looked like fluffy, curled, potato chips.

"Oh, Lin, that's a lot. I don't think you should," said Sharon.

[ Cantonese ]

"Don't refuse me. We are friends. These are for you."

She pushed the two bags at Sharon who had to grasp them, or otherwise they'd fall onto the pavement.

[ English ]

"Lin, thank you so much."

[ Cantonese ]

"No payment, please. I'm forcing you to take them."

She smiled, waved, and went back to her sweeping.

Sharon said a final thank you before choking up with emotion and continuing on her way home.

By the time she reached her and Jeffrey's apartment, she had forgotten to go to the grocery store to get food for dinner, and when she finally remembered, it was too late. Jeffrey got home from work at his usual time and stopped her as she was heading out the door. "Where you goin', baby?"

"Honey, I forgot to stop by the store. I'll go grab something quick and cook dinner fast when I get back."

He grabbed her arm strongly, a dangerous look on his face. "What's that? I am not eating some unhealthy shit tonight, Sharon. I want real food. Food that will do something good for my body. Food that won't kill me fast. You telling me you can't do something as simple as remembering to cook a proper meal?"

She pleaded in a soft tone, knowing she was treading on thin ice already. "Please, Jeff. I'll make it real quick. I promise. Just give me an hour?"

His grip on her arm loosened and he chuckled. For a split second, Sharon thought he would let her go, but a voice on the inside said she was about to get thrashed. She felt it coming, but didn't expect the hit from the elbow of the arm he used to grab her. It was so fast, she didn't have time to shriek in surprise. Just an uttered "Oh!" as the hard elbow collided with her nose.

Jeffrey was the stereotypical sexual fantasy of what a black man should be, which included frequent gym sessions and rippling muscles, so it was excruciating when Sharon collapsed on the floor and felt the pain register in her nose. She uttered a cry and saw blood beginning to flow down from her nostrils.

He picked her up like she weighed nothing. She was too busy fighting off the immense pain that she almost didn't register the second blow to her right jaw, but definitely felt the third to her left eye. Two swift punches to her stomach and ribs had her retching her lunch on the floor. He towered over her, reveling in his strength and power. "What a mess. Littering my floor with yourself, and now soiling it with your filth." Sharon coughed pathetically and painfully. She pushed herself up slowly. He walked past her, then walked backwards. "Just so you know - I was really pissed this time." A kick to her guts and she was flat on the floor again, but now she felt herself coughing blood and she'd emptied her bladder.

Quickly, she quietly cried, bled, cleaned her mess, and herself. As she left the apartment, she did her best to walk as if she hadn't just taken a beating; pretending like she wasn't hurting physically and emotionally; as if everything was okay.

She made the trip back faster. In the apartment kitchen, she moved frantically, yet doing her best to focus on the task at hand. Discounting her injuries, one wouldn't have been able to tell that this woman was cooking for a man who had brutalized her less than an hour ago. All she knew was Jeffrey was hungry and angry. He still expected to be fed, so she had better not be slow, and she had better get it right this time.



Chapter Three


The table was cleared of the bowls, plates, and cups used for dinner. Mike Huxang, Bill Tin, and Sam Chong sat around it with official documents in several folders.

[ Cantonese ]

Bill said, "Mike, these are all the files pertaining to the ownership of Chinese Lightning, a partnership between myself, Sam, and your father, whose place you are now taking. We welcome you into this business."

Mike nodded solemnly. "Thank you, uncles Bill and Sam. I do not deserve this honor, so I will do my best to earn it."

"Being the son of Charles Huxang is proof enough of your right to his share, yet we know you will still work hard," said Sam.

"Oh, and there is a recent development with Chinese Lightning," said Bill. "Very small, but you should know. We are teaching basic kung fu in the large spare room at the back to a few eager citizens of this city. Being a graduate of the Four Dragons Fighting School, we thought you would relish the opportunity to pass on some of your skills to our students."

Mike looked at both their expectant faces. He felt terrible about this, but he had to let them know. "I am sorry, uncles. I am only interested in regular business. I will take no part in this martial art club. I am also against passing on my fighting skills to non-Chinese people. Forgive me."

"That is alright, Mike. We hope you do not mind us continuing these classes without you?"

"Not at all."

"Good. Now on to the regular business...."



Chapter Four


Nobody wants to be served by a bruised and lumpy waitress, so Sharon called her boss, notifying him that she wouldn't be arriving to work that day. This was bad. Her boss didn't like 'problem people' and she would be slotted into that category. Once classified as such, her prospects of continuing her job at the diner were quite slim.

"Ma'am, what happened to your face?"

Sharon stopped and turned. It was the guy from yesterday, crawling slowly by in his white van. He had pulled to the side. Now she could clearly see what was tattooed on his shaved head: a swastika. She continued walking.

He tried again. "Everything okay?"

Still walking, Sharon glared at him for two seconds before she picked up her pace. Does it look like I'm okay? (Fuck no.) The white van drove off.

That morning, Jeffrey had given her a tongue lashing about how she had manipulated him into beating her and would now be dependent on him, since she couldn't go to work that day and probably the next two.

Jeffrey beat me up again and I've lost count what number it is. How can we be together like this? Why am I still with him when any sensible woman would've left a long time ago? Am I afraid of him, is that it? Or am I afraid of being on my own? (Rolling my eyes. No comment here. You already know what I think of all of this.)

She rounded a corner and realized she would be walking past Lin Tin's place. I can't let her see me like this. Sharon crossed the street, but a voice called out to her in Cantonese. Lin had seen her. Keep walking.

[ Cantonese ]

"Oh, my! What happened? You can't hide it. I see your face, young woman. I see you! What happened?"

Sharon power walked the last two meters to cross the street and took a different route.

Lin jogged across the street after the young woman. She took hold of Sharon's sore arm and pulled to turn her around just so she could see her face-to-face. Sharon yelped in pain - a catalyst that brought the memory of the previous night's beating to the forefront of her consciousness. She burst into tears.

Seeing the bruises up close, Lin went into a long, rapid sequence of Cantonese while she gently touched Sharon's partially swollen, bruise-colored face. Then she softly felt her arm, pulling up her sleeve to get a proper look. From this she correctly deduced that there was more injury elsewhere. Lin gently prodded her hips and upward. Sharon hissed when the woman touched her hurt rib. This elicited more rapid Cantonese with even doses of anger and pity from the older woman.



Chapter Five


Feeling great after a shower and breakfast, Mike descended the stairs, and entered the combined dining room and kitchen. He was surprised to see at the small dining table, Lin talking soothingly to a battered and bruised black woman while watching the woman gorge herself on chicken chow mein. Lin had just finished saying something unflattering but true about men.

[ Cantonese ]

"If only she could understand you, aunt Lin. Who is she?"

"She understands my heart and that is the most important thing right now, son. She is my friend. I see her almost every day as she goes to work at a food place around the block."

Lin looked up at Mike and he saw the look of deep, troubled concern on his aunt's face. It made him feel uncomfortable because he always thought of her with a peaceful, calm expression. Lin said, "She was beaten by her husband last night. From her demeanor, I gather that this isn't the first time. I feel broken myself. She hasn't even had breakfast or dinner from the way she's eating."

Mike spoke haltingly. "Aunt Lin, it is best not to get too close to matters which are of no pertinence to us, and would only bring us trouble."

"Yes, such wise advice from one more aged and experienced than I."

"You've always been good with sarcasm, but this tone of yours I find disturbing."

"My friend has been brutalized - I AM disturbed!"

Sensing the emotional stirring, Sharon put the chop sticks aside and rose slowly from the chair.

[ English ]

"I didn't mean to cause any trouble. Thanks for the chow mein, Lin." She nodded to Mike. "Sir."

Lin threw up her hands and shook her head in frustration.

[ Cantonese ]

"Oh, for fuck's sake, just sit down, will you? Nobody's chasing you out of here. Mike, did you have to irritate me so much? Now she thinks we're saying bad things about her in Cantonese."

Mike ground his teeth looking at his aunt before smiling at Sharon.

[ English ]

"You're not causing trouble. My aunt and I argue a lot, mostly in the mornings. We're morning grumps. She is angry that I forgot to take out the trash last night. Nothing to do with you. Please, be seated and enjoy the chow mein."

Sharon became more at ease and sat back down. Lin put more chow mein in her bowl, telling her to eat.

[ Cantonese ]

"And where are you off to, young man?"

"I'm just doing what the Americans call 'scoping out the area'. Taking a look around."

"Stay away from Japanese establishments, especially their dojos. There is one about a mile away from here. I've heard of the troubles in which you've been involved in China."

"Dojo, huh? That sounds interesting."

"Mike!"

"Just irritating you, aunt Lin. Don't worry. The Japanese and I are as like magnetic poles - we repel each other."

"It would be better if you didn't get close enough to do any repelling at all." Before she had finished speaking, the front door had opened and closed, announcing Mike's exit.

Lin sighed tiredly and smiled at Sharon. "You young people."



Chapter Six


The girl was beautiful, enchanting. Standing from across the street, Mike ogled her in a cool, subtle way. She was about his age. Too bad she's practicing a crappy Japanese fighting style. But she IS Japanese so there's no helping that. Why do I keep falling for non-Chinese, Asian women?

Throughout that day, Mike had browsed most of the lower east quarter of the city, becoming familiar with his new surroundings. He had bought himself a new phone, some new clothes, and a book on East-meets-West hand-to-hand combat techniques, including true life stories relating to the subject. Now it was the afternoon and he always held that the best and greatest martial art was done at this time.

He heard the karate class simultaneously yell "Kyaii!" and kick the air at an eighty degree angle. The Kubiyo Karate Dojo had a functional, straight angle, shoe box design and a primarily white with gray stripes color scheme. It was located between a lingerie store and a pharmacy. The front glass panel was very clean, allowing outsiders to look in and see the training sessions.

They got into sparring. Mike watched the girl go at it with her partner, an older man. She seemed competent, but was no match for him. Time passed, the class ended, and the students went into changing rooms, emerging in their regular attire, and either getting into their cars, or walking.

I'm sorry, aunt Lin. I've got to take a bite at this one.

Mike went up to the dojo door just as he saw the girl coming out. "Hi. Is there a karate class here?"

He'd caught her unaware, but she was soon in control of herself. "The class just finished. I'm sorry. Were you misinformed?"

"No, I was told there were karate classes here in the afternoons, although I never bothered to ask the specific time, stupid me. I'm Mike by the way." He held out his hand, which someone else took and squeezed harshly. Mike felt and heard some of his finger joints popping.

"I'm Philip. Nice to meet you, Mike." Philip was several inches taller, more buffed, and definitely Japanese. He didn't look sincerely happy to see Mike. There was a large danger sign behind his fake smile.

Mike kept his friendly expression in spite of the crushing grip. "Hi, Phil. I was just talking to uh- Sorry, I didn't get your name?"

"Ran." She seemed a little concerned with the pressure Philip was applying in this particularly long handshake.

Hah! There's more than one way to get a girl's name.

"Ran. That's a wonderful name. Japanese, right?"

"We're both Japanese," said Philip. "My girlfriend and I attend Kubiyo Karate when we're not busy fucking each other’s brains out." The fake smile was gone, replaced with the look of a predator pondering what to do with its prey. Did you have to be so blatant about your relationship, Phil?

Mike tried to withdraw his hand, but Philip held on. Ran was looking uncomfortably from their joined hands to her boyfriend's face. "When's the next training session? I would love to attend."

"I don't think we have any more room for new students," said Philip, squeezing harder. Mike was just beginning to feel some pain.

"But you can call our head sensei," said Ran quickly. She produced her phone, pressed some keys and handed it to Mike. This prompted Philip to let go of his hand. Mike could almost hear the silent fury inside Philip at seeing this act of mercy from his girlfriend. He pretended to memorize the number.

"Got it. Thanks, Ran." He gave her phone back. "And thank you, Phil." He received a fake smile that said, Go die in a ditch, asshole. "I hope to see you both in training, if they let me." He was never going to bother, since all he wanted from this encounter was to know the girl's name, and now he did. Ran.

Mike turned on his heels and took several steps, but before stepping onto the street, he turned back and said, "By the way, Phil and Ran, I live at the Chinese Lightning. If either of you ever get into the mood for little statues or jade trinkets just stop over, and I'll give you a discount."

Ran didn't seem like the kind of girl who expressed her emotions very well, or maybe she wasn't an emotional person, but Mike could see a faint glow in her features as he waved to them and crossed the street.



Chapter Seven


Damn, I hate modern technology. You piss somebody off and turn your back on them, the next thing you know, they've called their buddies on their cell phone to find you and kick your ass.

One more block to go before reaching his place, and Mike sensed a group of guys closing in on him. Phil's pals.

He slowed down, giving them time to reveal themselves (how many were there and what each of them seemed capable of) while they blocked off his chances of escape. They numbered seven. Mike always fancied the number seven for some reason.

"You must be the Chinese prick who tried to move on my buddy's girl?" The speaker was Japanese. They were all Japanese.

"Are you talking about Full Lips?"

"Philip, smartass!"

"Names confuse me."

Mike felt fingertips touch his shoulder from behind and reacted like a striking cobra. Before the thug behind him had time to grab, Mike whirled around, snapped two of the other man's fingers and kicked him in the stomach.

Knowing that strikes from the others were a split second away, he grabbed the thug by the shirt - before the guy had time to crumple to the pavement - and shoved him into the cluster of attackers.

The next brief moment, Mike was kicking, punching, blocking and attacking at such an astonishing speed and force that his attackers were caught off-guard. His instructors at the Four Dragons Fighting School had taught him that blocking and striking at an opponent were best done simultaneously when fighting hand-to-hand, so while his attackers launched punches and kicks, he block-struck back at them like lightning incarnate, easily bringing them down one and two at a time.

Soon he was surveying seven bodies sprawled on the sidewalk and street pavement. He felt a small amount of pity for those with broken jaws - that sucked, since it interfered with enjoying a good meal.

"Thanks for the work out, boys. Take care of those injuries." Not wanting to face any reinforcements, he jogged back to the Chinese Lightning.



Chapter Eight


The best part of her day so far had been the morning breakfast at Chinese Lightning, courtesy of Lin. Now it was getting late in the afternoon and Sharon felt like the most worthless person in the world. She didn't look forward to Jeffrey returning, and hoped he had decided to go out drinking with his friends. That could turn out bad for her as well when he came back drunk and in a bad mood.

Sitting on the concrete stairs outside the apartment building and thinking fearful, depressing thoughts, she didn't notice the van parked near the end of the street. Just before she was about to stand up, she heard the rustle of a plastic grocery bag. Someone was walking down the sidewalk.

Shit! Swastika freak! I should get up and go into the building. (No. It would look like you were afraid of him, and you can't let him scare you in your own neighborhood.)

Swastika was wearing a cap. Smart. Don't take unnecessary risks showing that tattoo when you're out in the open.

When he came to where she was sitting, he paused on the sidewalk and calmly looked at Sharon. Every muscle in her body was poised to move, but Sharon just sat still and stared back at him.

Reaching into his bag, he tossed her a packet of Doritos (Ranch flavored) that landed in her lap. He said, "That make-up doesn't look good on you. I like you better without it." Then he continued on his way.

Sharon watched him get into his van and drive away. She looked at the Doritos. Uh...? (Interesting development.) She turned the packet of junk food over in her hands. Something caught her eye. Writing in black marker on the blue packet. A cell phone number. Swastika's cell number. Sharon's mind turned into a boiling, bubbling cauldron of mixed thoughts. It seemed to her that her problems had just multiplied two-fold. Jeffrey and now this creep. If I want to get through this day, I'll have to deal with the devil I know first.

Back in the apartment, she cooked supper for two. As the preparation was coming to an end, she looked at the clock. 6:45 PM. Finally everything was done. She served a plate for herself and went to the living room to watch television.



Chapter Nine


Bill and Sam didn't look happy. Maybe that was because they had just found out what Mike had been doing before returning home. Lin stood in the background, a look of anger on her face.

[ Cantonese ]

"Why did you do this? Do you want to start a feud within the Asian community in this city? Is life in America boring you already that you have to go out there and start trouble?"

Mike answered calmly. "I didn't start anything. I wanted to know this girl's name. It just so happened that her boyfriend was there. He tried to show me how strong he was by attempting to break the bones in my hand. Then he called his friends and had them ambush me in the street. I defended myself and they got hurt in the process."

"What was this girl's name?" Lin had spoken from where she was standing.

"Ran. Her name is Ran. She's very beautiful."

Sam punched the corner of a table, breaking and disrupting the joints. "Beautiful enough to risk the livelihood that we have strived so hard for years to build in this country?"

"No, uncle Sam. I had no idea I was risking our livelihood. Finding out a girl's name didn't seem that dangerous to me. Philip overreacted."

"Who is this Philip?" said Bill.

"Ran's boyfriend."

Sam pointed a stern finger at Mike. "Listen. No more Ran and no more Philip. You will focus on the business here or you can even take up college, but stay away from the Japanese, understand?"

"I understand, uncle. No more Japanese."



Chapter Ten


Sharon was alarmed to realize that she'd left the packet of Doritos on the kitchen counter. What if Jeffrey had returned, found it and saw the number on the back? She took it to the garbage bin to dump it, but sooner thought she shouldn't waste food, even if it was junk food, so she went back to the living room and watched television as she ate the Doritos.

Okay. No more Doritos left. Empty packet. Now I'm supposed to throw this away. Grrr! What to do? (Easy. Do this.) She stared at the number hard before disposing the packet in the bin. That number is stuck in my head. (Of course, you idiot, you memorized it.) Why? (So you can use it.) No. (Yes. Call.) No. (Call!) No! I need to go to the bathroom. She went.

(Oh, Sharon.) Keep quiet. I'm trying to get busy here. (Going to the bathroom doesn't shut me up.) I'm aware of that. (Are you also aware you've got your phone in your hand?) What? Shit! (Appropriate use of the word, considering where we are.)

She closed her eyes, opened them, punched in the number and called. A voice answered after the second ring. "Hello?" It was his voice.

"Hi." She couldn't think of anything else to say.

"I'm Robert.” He must have guessed it was her. “My friends call me Rob. What's your name?"

Her brain froze and she impulsively said what was foremost on her mind. "I'm calling you from a toilet pot. Bye." She hung up.

(That could have gone better.) I know. (Call again.) I can't believe I called him. I don't believe it! (Maybe he doesn't believe it either.) So? (Opportunity knocks. Take advantage of both your disbeliefs and call him again.) No. That would make it look like I'm desperate or needy. (He's needy too. Go ahead and call.) I... I can't, I shouldn't, I-

Her phone rang and she dropped it like it was a hot coal. It landed screen up and she saw it was his number.

(Answer it.) No. (This is your chance.) For what? (For something other than Jeffrey.) Jeffrey might not be so bad compared to this guy. I mean, he's got a swastika tattooed on his head! (And you might end up in a coma or dead one of these days thanks to your husband.) I'm married. (Alright. Just talk to him then. Nothing wrong with talking. Make him your phone pal.) That doesn't sound so wrong. (It isn't. It's healthy for you to have a male friend while your husband is beating the crap out of you every time you make a mistake that annoys him. Not all men are bad.) I know that. (Being traumatized by a male can change the way you think about men. That's why I'm recommending you take this opportunity to open up yourself to a different possibility.) Open up? Are you referring to any particular part of my anatomy? (Would I imply something so crude? Never. I meant open up metaphorically.) Okay. (Hmph.)

The phone had stopped ringing. Missed opportunity. (Wait for it. Now you get to see if he really is needy or not.) I screwed it up. I should have answered. (You're the woman. Let him suck up to you.) Forget it.

She left the bathroom and went into the bedroom. Her cell phone beeped, the screen informing her that she had received a text message. She viewed it. It read: Save this number, pothead. Rob.

(See?) My life just got more complicated. (I like to think of it as more fun.) I'm a bad person. (Not bad, just naughty.)



Chapter Eleven


Mike was busy looking through one of the record books in the morning when a voice said, "Excuse me. I was wondering if I could purchase this jade elephant at a discount price."

He looked up and saw Ran staring back at him from across the counter. Mike smiled reflexively and she smiled in return, but very subtle. "Welcome to Chinese Lightning, or have you been here before?"

"I have, but only once. You weren't here then. Have you recently arrived in the United States?"

"Yes, I have."

"Your English is quite good, but no trace of an American accent. You don't pronounce your vowels and R's like they do here."

"Do I need to in order to be understood?"

"I understand you perfectly." Ran looked at the jade elephant she'd placed on the counter. "Is that discount offer still open?"

"No, it isn't."

She looked up at him, slightly taken aback.

"The elephant is yours. I want you to have it."

Ran shook her head. "Someone has to pay for it."

"Guess who."

She didn't say anything for a few seconds. "Thank you, Mike. I wasn't expecting this."

Mike put the jade elephant in wrapping paper and deposited it in a Chinese Lightning gift bag. "Thank you for remembering my name, Ran. I wasn't expecting that."

"And you remembered my name." She smiled more than subtly as she received the bag with her gift inside from him.

"I couldn't forget it. Not when I pretended to be interested in karate lessons just so I could learn what it was."

"Wow."

"I'm sure a lot of guys do that when they see you. I'm just one of the many who tried that trick, and I'm glad it worked."

Some color came to her cheeks. "Well, I guess I'll see you around town, if not in karate training."

"I look forward to that." He watched her walk to the door. She turned around abruptly with a curious look on her face.

"Have you studied any martial art, Mike?"

He shrugged. "Only a little bit of kung fu I picked up off the street. I'm no expert."

Ran looked at him, thinking. Then she pushed opened the front door. "Bye, Mike."

"Bye, Ran." The front door closed.



Chapter Twelve


Later on in the afternoon, after closing down, Mike went to the back part of the shop. There was a class of fourteen people in the back room following the moves being made by Bill and Sam. He noticed the black woman from the other day in the class as well. Lin Tin quietly appeared beside him, making him jump when she spoke.

[ Cantonese ]

"They could learn much from you."

"Aunt Lin, I'm too young to die of fright, so quit that ninja stuff."

"It wouldn't be like ninja if you worked on honing your senses more."

"My senses are fine. I got into a fight recently, remember? No scratches."

"Sounded like your attackers weren't well-trained as you were. How would you do when faced with opponents who do know how to fight?"

"Every fighting style I've learned at Four Dragons is far superior to anything the people here can throw at me."

"Can you dodge bullets?"

"You know what I mean."

"My friend seems to be doing well, don't you think?"

"Only time will tell. What's her name?"

"I don't know."

"You call her your friend and yet you do not know her name? That's funny. Is she paying for these classes?"

"No. Everyone else pays, except for her."

"Remembering the injuries she had the other day, I would say she needs the classes more than everybody else, although I don't think her husband would attack her in the manner uncle Sam is demonstrating."

"That's why I said they could learn from you. You could teach them in a way that is more practical."

"I am not interested in this self-defense training business. I see no future in it."

"Yet you made sure you graduated from Four Dragons. You contradict yourself."

"Attending and graduating from Four Dragons was a one-time, personal choice. An accomplishment to create value in myself. I had no other intention. The way I see it, uncles Sam and Bill are giving themselves unnecessary work."

"Teaching people how to defend themselves from bullies and criminals is not unnecessary."

"Very true, yet I remain unconverted." He turned to face her. "Would you like me to start preparing dinner?"

"You'll cook tomorrow. I want you to seriously consider contributing something to these classes. It doesn't have to be much. Example: what to do when a drunkard comes at you with a broken wine bottle."

"Fine. I'll think about it, but my advice for that particular scenario is to get a safe distance away from the drunkard. Broken glass is nasty and will seriously damage a person, martial artist or not."



Chapter Thirteen


The street lights had come on a minute ago. That was a sign that she was late. Damn it. Jeffrey's going to be pissed.

A dark figure came alongside her. "Hey, baby. Whatchoo doin' walkin' out late at this hour?"

Sharon saw the street light reflected off his light brown, bald head and recognized him. "None of your business. I don't know your name, but I know your face, so get out of mine." She kept on walking, never pausing.

He kept pace with her, walking backwards alongside. "Yeah, that's how it is with your type. Got no time for low-level folks like me."

"If you got time for me, why I never see you at my door on Christmas, singing your heart out to a carol, huh?"

He chuckled. "Nah, I'm a-" A vehicle pulled over and the driver quickly stepped out.

"Is this dude bothering you?" The man she knew as 'Rob' looked more pale standing directly under a street light. He had a black beanie on, gray jacket, gray shirt, blue jeans, and black boots. For a slim-non-buff, average height, white guy, he looked potentially dangerous at the moment.

Okay, which road do I take? Inner voice, you got anything? Hello... ? Shit. You left me just when I needed you most. (Chuckle. Way to slap me awake with an oldie.) Bitch. (Slut.) Whore. (Soon-to-be-swastika fucker.) No way!

Baldy was about to respond to Rob's interruption, but Sharon slapped him across his head. He cried, "Ow, girl!"

She attempted a smile of confidence at Rob, but it came out more like a grimace. "Uh, thanks, but I got this. Just some punk who lost his brains."

"Okay then." He turned to his van, then as if remembering something, turned back to her. "I'm heading past your place, if you would like a ride."

Oh, snap. He did not just ask me to get in his van. (He asked nicely. Get in.) You're reckless. (And you're safely getting clobbered in your own home. Be adventurous.) By taking a ride with someone who could be a serial killer? (You don't know that for sure. Hit baldy harder, he's trying to interrupt again.)

Sharon slammed her palm against baldy's head and ear. He howled in pain, "Crazy bitch!" and disappeared back into a dark corner of the street. (That felt good.) It did. (Smile.) At who? (Rob. Nobody else to smile at.)

Sharon smiled. What she got from him wasn't a smile as much as it was a transformation of his image in her eyes. She couldn't explain it, but he seemed like a new person to her, although still very plain-looking. Rob opened the passenger door to his van and went around to the driver's side.

Um.... (Get in.) No. (Then go home to Jeffrey and get belted happily ever after.) But I... (Get in the van.) Why? (Practically speaking, you'll make it home quicker. Four wheels are faster than two legs on a clear road.) What if he doesn't drive me home? (Ooh, I know. He's part of a white supremacist organization and he abducts black women and rapes them for kicks. Run along home to your loveable Jeffrey.) Better Jeffrey than dead. (Then say goodbye to me, sister.) You're getting me into trouble. You don't care what happens to me.

He'd waited long enough. She wasn't coming. Rob reached over and shut the passenger door he had opened for Sharon. He held her gaze for a moment that seemed longer than it actually was; his mouth was closed with his lips pressed inward over his teeth. It was a neutral look and yet there was an air of rejection and longing about it. He started the van and put it in gear. One more glance at her. Hoping. (Get in!) No! The van pulled out onto the road and moved on. Sharon watched it go, slowly at first, then it picked up speed.

(Frustrated groan, but I'm still your friend.) Thank you. Glad to hear that. (And I'm not going anywhere. No matter what, all the way, you and me.) I'm sorry I disappointed you. It's just that.... Gosh fuck! You're with me, right? All the way? (I am.)

She broke into a run, up the sidewalk. "Wait!" She waved with both arms and yelled at the van, diminishing in her view. "Stop!" The van kept on going, oblivious to her. “Stop, wait for me!”

I screwed up again. I blew it. I should have listened to you sooner. (Hm.)

She stopped running and bent over, stabilizing her breathing. "Wait for me," she said to no one, panting and hating herself for the irrational sadness creeping into her. (Oh well. At least, we've still got Jeffrey.) Shut up.

She heard the engine and looked up. The van became larger in her vision as it reversed and came right next to the sidewalk where she stood panting. The window rolled down. Rob had a relaxed smile on his face. "I like the way you run. No offense. The way your legs move, you actually run really good."

(He likes your legs. Great. Let's show him what we can do with the rest of your body.) Shut up and stay in the back seat. I'm driving solo now. (Is that attitude I hear? Girl, you are-) Zip it.

Rob opened the door, Sharon got in, and they drove off.



Chapter Fourteen


She could only pretend to be fascinated by the road for so long. "Rob, right?"

He nodded. "Yep. I never got your name."

"Sharon."

"Sharon. Nice." He glanced at her quickly. "You look like a Sharon, although I've never seen a Sharon quite like you before." He smiled and laughed, a sound that was very white-boy-next-door and liberating compared to Jeffrey's deeper, authoritative you're-in-my-domain type. "You okay? You seem a bit dazzled."

She loved the attention he was giving her. "It's the street lights. They're so beautiful at night. Gets to me."

(Horribly cheesy. Where the fuck did you get that from?)

He nodded. "Yeah. That's one of the reasons I like night driving."

(Ugh! Surprise, surprise. You're both full of corniness. I'm rolling my eyeballs like crazy.) Sincerely, thanks for all your help, but be quiet until this ride is over. I'm handling this, okay? (Fine.)

"Thanks for the Doritos."

"Thanks for calling me."

"Maybe I'll call you from someplace nicer next time."

Rob laughed. "Toilet pot's just as good a place as any. Just don't call me when you're... going."

Sharon giggled. "I wasn't really going yesterday when I called. I was arguing with myself and decided to pause the battle for a while by calling you."

"You argue with yourself on the pot?"

"Everywhere."

"Interesting."

"Do me a favor?"

He glanced at her. "Sure."

"Stop stalking me." She smiled after saying that. "Come to the diner where I work. I'll get you a free coffee and maybe some toast."

"Sorry about that. I'll stop stalking you and I'll also stop by the diner. Rizzo's, is it?"

"That's the one."

"Is it okay if I ask about your bruises?"

"Uh... It wouldn't hurt, I guess."

"Your husband give 'em to you?"

"Yes." She ran her hands through her hair, slightly ashamed of admitting that fact.

"Why did he hurt you? You're beautiful. Really beautiful. Is it your personality he doesn't like or... Sorry if I'm probing too deep."

The hard thumping of her heart made her catch her breath. Thankfully, he didn't notice it. "No, it's fine. I forget to do things sometimes, or I do the wrong things, and he gets upset."

He didn't say anything in response for a while. "I'm sorry."

"It has nothing to do with you. Don't think about it."

He gripped the steering wheel tighter. "I sort of wish I could do something." His voice was calm, but there was an edge to it.

"No, Rob. Don't."

Saying his name calmed him down. "Okay."

Sharon noticed several plastic figurines on his dashboard: a Dalmatian cat, a woman standing on a rock, a samurai, and a dragon. She reached out to touch- "No!" he shouted.

Her heart froze, senses on high alert. Years of abuse at the hands of Jeffrey came to the forefront of her consciousness. In a frightened voice, she said, "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to... Shit! Stop the van!"

He held out his hand to calm her. "No, it's okay. You're fine. It's me. I've got this thi-"

"Stop the van now!"

(What the fuck's going on? What happened?) I don't know! He just went berserk! (What? Hold on a minute. Pull yourself together.) I was right, you were wrong! He's a freak with a swastika hidden under his beanie! Got to get out of this van! "Stop the van!"

"Look, we're almost there."

"Stop it! Just stop, stop it now!" She fumbled at the passenger door in panic.

"Okay, calm down!" He pulled over to the side and she let herself out, not bothering to close the door. Sharon ran the rest of the way to the apartment.

When she finally arrived home, Jeffrey was waiting and very angry.



Chapter Fifteen


Chinatown is an interesting place in the daytime, but it is fantastic at night with paper lamps and other sorts of lighting bringing out Asian colors, art and designs. Outdoor performances are frequent, if not every day. That night there was a sword show on in what served as the community square.

Mike thought he recognized something as he neared the show. Finally it clicked. These men were practitioners of Wun Dangshou, an ancient and highly revered sword fighting style. Mike watched two consecutive performances, and at the end of the second, they asked for volunteers who would be used to display their accuracy in the use of the sword. No one was eager enough for that. No one, except Mike. He raised his hand and was bidden forward.

They told him to stand straight and not move any limbs or turn his head as they juggled spinning swords back and forth, one swordsman on either side of him. Women screamed and men gasped as the swords flashed in the primarily golden light, and Mike stood at ease, smiling. For him, it was a great honor to be a part of this show. Wun Dangshou swordsmen were legendary and their modern day successors shared in this esteem.

When they were finished with that, they asked Mike if he wanted to volunteer for the next accuracy performance. He would have to stand against a board and they would mark his body's outline by throwing swords that would plunge and stay stuck on the board. He happily agreed. There was more screaming and cries of fear as swords thudded into the board only two or three centimeters away from his body which he calmly leaned against the surface.

Finally, Mike confidently took a peach and placed it on the top of his head. He pointed at it and chose the youngest and least experienced of the swordsmen (in his early twenties) to split the peach in two. Mike folded his arms and smiled. The young swordsman looked at his elders and they nodded. Believing in their trust in him and his years of tireless study of the art of swordsmanship, he took a sword, made a stance, visualized hitting the target, and threw.

Schnapp-thud! The peach halves fell down either side of Mike's head with the sword embedded a centimeter above it. He caught the pieces and threw them into the crowd of spectators. The crowd applauded loudly. Mike shouted, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to introduce to you the Wun Dangshou swordsmen, practitioners of an ancient sword fighting style and some of the deadliest blades-men in the world!"

Mike was busy chatting with the swordsmen when he saw someone move toward him from out of the crowd. Ran. She wore a red Asian silk shirt and violet pants. Her hair was done in Chun Li style buns. Oh, yeah. Their eyes met and he waved at her. "Hey, Ran."

"Mike. That was scary, what you did with the swordsmen." She looked slightly afraid, but even more impressed with him.

"Wun Dangshou is a master art. Nobody comes out of that school and shows off their skill unless they're an expert."

"So you knew you'd be okay."

He nodded. "Where's Phil?"

"We came together and watched the first part of the show, but when you volunteered, he got bored and wanted to go someplace else. I decided to stay and watch."

"Well, I hope it was worth losing Phil - for one night, that is."

She smiled in that subtle way of hers. "It was."

"Could I further compensate you for your loss of a date?"

"I think I would like that." Ran took his hand and Mike enjoyed holding hers in his as they walked through the beautifully-lit stalls and shops of Chinatown, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. And also constantly checking out each other.



Chapter Sixteen


Right hook, left hook. Sharon's head whipped in the corresponding directions from the force of her husband's punches. Blood almost completely covered her face from multiple breakages of facial skin and bone. She collapsed to the living room floor.

The beating had started after she had closed the door. Jeffrey had risen from where he was sitting and walked right up to her. He grabbed her hair, pulling it back harshly, eliciting a cry from her. Then he shoved her head forward and down to meet the hard open-palm strike to her face. Sharon saw star bursts, yet managed to stay on her feet - a tribute to her familiarity with the blow.

He grabbed her shirt from behind and flung her forward, causing two buttons to be torn from her shirt. She slammed into the shelf containing books, magazines and trinkets she had bought from a used-goods store to make the apartment look homey. The hard edge of the shelf bumping against her sore ribs made her gasp in agony. Jeffrey didn't give her time to slump to the floor. He took her by the neck, and rammed her down into the couch. Sharon coughed and tried to get up, but he hopped onto the couch, straddling her.

Jeffrey's eyes looked deranged as he said, "You don't just walk in and out of my place whenever you want, like you're the one running the show. I am! I'm keeping us afloat because you can't work!"

Sharon tried to say something, but he shook his head and rained punches down on her. Blocking him was futile and she was soon further restrained as he shoved her arms under his weight, leaving her face completely unprotected. Now all she could do was control which side of her face received the smashing blows.

The punches came down; smacking and cracking sounds. "Jeffrey, no!" Left fist, right fist. Smash, wham, slam. Her voice got weaker, struggling to speak between the blows. "Baby, please!" Then no more words came from her. The punches continued, accompanied by angry grunts like a worker doing a job he hated. But Jeffrey didn't hate this. He relished it, landing blow after blow on his wife's face, receiving satisfaction from hearing her call his name as he wrecked what little beauty she had left.

He finally relented. Deep red leaked from almost every part of her face. Her breath came in bubbles of blood that popped after swelling from her mouth. Jeffrey dismounted her, expecting Sharon to get up and run or walk away. But she did nothing. She just lay there, breathing bloody bubbles weakly. Somehow this annoyed him and he sneered. "Yeah, go on and lie back like that and let me do all the work. I ain't falling for that act no more." He picked her up. She was deadweight in his hands, but he held her anyway, just long enough to land a right hook, left hook.

Sharon collapsed to the floor.



Chapter Seventeen



She wanted to fall into unconsciousness, but kept hovering just beyond its reach.

(Go to sleep, baby girl.) I can't. I need a hospital. (You're dying. We had a good run. Lots of people had it worse, believe it or not.) I believe you.

Water splashed in her face, bringing Sharon back to awareness, yet she was still severely weakened and unable to move.

She saw Jeffrey's face. He was holding the cup he'd splashed her with, and he looked concerned.

"Baby, you alright?"

(Son of a bitch!) I need his help if he's willing to give it. (Fucking bastard!)

"Need a hospital," she said in a croaky voice.

He shook his head. "Can't do that, baby. They'll ask questions."

Her weak voice turned quietly pleading. "Hospital."

"The cops, Sharon. They take me, who's gonna take care of you?"

She tried to grab his hand, to make him understand the importance of what she was asking, but the best she could do was make her fingers tremble. I'm fucked. (If we survive this....) No hospital. I'm fucked. (I love you.) Is that the best you can do for me now? (....I'm sorry.) So am I.

Jeffrey lifted and carried her into the bedroom and placed her on their bed. She closed her eyes, hoping for death to come quickly, while Jeffrey wiped the blood off her with a cloth.



Chapter Eighteen


Ran looked at Mike attacking the food on his plate. "How do you like the sushi? And the rice stuffed in eel skin?"

"Delicious! This is the third time I've eaten in a Japanese restaurant."

"I eat Chinese take-out frequently."

He pointed a chopstick at her. "Make sure you know for sure what kind of meat they put in the stew."

Ran laughed. Mike was thrilled to no end, hearing her laugh and smile without restraint.

"Hey, John." Ran waved to someone. An older Japanese man with graying hair came by their table and smiled a smile that could only be described as noble.

"Good evening, Ran. You have company, I see."

"This is Mike. He just arrived in America and helps run Chinese Lightning."

John and Mike shook hands. "It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mike. I've talked with Bill and Sam on several occasions. They're good men."

"Thank you, sir."

"Please, enjoy your dinner here at my restaurant."

"I'm afraid we'll have to cut this dinner short," said another voice.

Mike almost regurgitated his food when he saw Philip approach the table with three tough-looking men behind him.

"Greetings, Philip," said John. "Could I get you a table?"

"No thank you, John. Ran here deserted me on our date tonight and was ensnared by this new character."

"We've met," said John, glancing at Mike.

"I would like to see you outside, Mike." There was a cold fury in Philip's gaze. "Now."

"May I finish my meal with Ran first?"

"I forgot the Chinese equivalent for the English word 'now' but I'm hoping you understand what it means."

Mike set aside his chopsticks, but John placed a hand on his shoulder. "Continue eating, Mike and Ran. This is very unnecessary, Philip. If you have a problem, I suggest you put it on hold until tomorrow, daytime."

"You must be descended from samurai, John. However, I have ninja blood in my veins. Night time is my time for sorting out problems." Philip’s smile was pure malice.

John smiled nobly in return and two hard men came to stand alongside him. "It is dishonor to start something and not be able to finish it, Philip. You are harassing my guests and you've insulted me in my place of business. Most of the folk here would hate to be you right now."

Mike rose from his chair. "The Chinese aren't foreigners to the concept of honor." He bowed respectfully to John. "Thank you for serving a fine meal, sir. I will return to enjoy another. And there is no need for you to resort to violence on my behalf. Philip's trouble is with me. I must cooperate with him to resolve this. Please, allow me to seek a solution to this problem that I have unwittingly brought to your noble establishment."

Of course, this mainly involves kicking Philip's and his goon's asses, which could also mean impressing Ran even more. Go, Mikey! Seriously, she might just wash her hands off both Philip and me. She doesn't seem like the type that gets turned on by violence. Either way, I'm kicking Japanese butt.

John looked him over. "Can you fight?"

Mike once more rallied his collection of dignified thoughts and put them into words. "A man's knowledge of martial art or lack thereof shouldn't determine the degree of honor with which he conducts his affairs."

"Well-spoken, young man," said John. "But why do I get the feeling I'm sending you on a connection trip to the hospital?"

Yeah, he loves me because I talk good. All those hours spent reading fancy-pants English books are finally paying off. Is Ran catching any of this highly intelligent English I'm spewing out? Guess not. She looks upset. What a waste of my effort. Shame if I end up banging her with alcohol rather than poetry. Nothing works out ideally anymore.



Chapter Nineteen


Mike stood outside the Japanese restaurant. Behind him stood three of Philip's goons, another three to his left, and Philip himself standing before him with two other goons. These ones looked like they knew how to fight, unlike the seven from the last brawl he had. Ran, John, and four of his men stood in front of the restaurant, surveying the scene.

"Philip, if anything fishy happens, I'm sending in my men. When that happens, you better be ready." John nodded at Mike.

"Philip, just let it go," Ran pleaded. "Let's go see a movie or do something fun."

Philip responded in a light tone. "Sure, Ran. After I teach this Chinaman a lesson." He cracked his knuckles and flexed his limbs.

Mike could sense the goons around him cracking their knuckles as well and warming up their bodies for the fight. Karate, jujitsu, whatever it is, they’ll be using a Japanese martial art.

He remembered the words of an instructor while he was attending Four Dragons. "Japanese martial art is about structure. Chinese martial art is about form. Structure is rigid and unimaginative, whereas form is flexible and fluid, leaving much room for innovation and individual expression. It is no surprise that there are more fighting styles in China than there are in Japan. Here at the Four Dragons Fighting School we aim to teach you form, and after learning it, we hope you can express yourself in performance, sport, and real-life combat. Some of you may even formulate your own unique fighting styles after you leave this institution. But pay heed to the words of Bruce Lee: 'Expressing oneself honestly, without lying to oneself is true martial art.'"

The instructors at Four Dragons had taught him how to mold himself around structured attacks. This involved exposure to Japanese martial arts such as judo and karate, and then learning how to beat anyone utilizing the structures in those disciplines.

A subtle signal from Philip prompted one of the goons behind Mike to attack, quick and silent. Sensing this, Mike dropped to the pavement, pivoted on his hands, and kicked the man's feet from under him via a low sweeping motion of his right leg. The thug was upended and there was a sick cracking sound as his head made contact with the pavement. Hm. Not as fight-wary as they should be. Or maybe that was just them feeling the water temperature.

The other two other goons launched punches and kicks that he answered with block-attacks, winding himself around their strikes and executing punches and kicks that didn't miss or get blocked because of their speed and unexpected delivery.

Mike felt a hand grab his shirt collar, so he swung his head back fast, smashing the man's nose cartilage. The lowlife went down screaming and bleeding.

Philip was sneakier than he looked. While Mike was busy dodging a strike from behind him, attacking to his left and defending his right, Philip viciously kicked from him in the stomach. The kick sent Mike sprawling backward on the pavement.

On his back, he raised his feet up and even further back, and then boosted the rest of himself up from the pavement with his hands like a spring. He landed upright on his feet and didn't wait for his opponents to pat him on the back for a rapid recovery.

Mike launched himself forward, spun bodily in the air and caught a goon in the face with a kick. Then he twisted himself airborne in the opposite direction and delivered a kick to another goon's neck. His lightning attack after flipping up from the pavement shocked not only his opponents, but the onlookers as well. Philip didn't look so sure of himself, but he was still very much angry. He motioned two other goons beside him and they attacked as one.

A woman who had attained the level of Master at Four Dragons once gave a speech and opened up the floor to questions afterward. A student asked her what she thought was the best counter to three opponents attacking from the same direction in a combined effort. The Master replied that he should gain control of one opponent, attack the others, and even use the controlled one as a shield and/or a means of attack.

Mike could tell Philip loved kicking. It was his favorite type of strike and he used it as much as possible. Not so smart, Phil.

As Philip and the two flanking goons came within striking distance, he kicked at Mike who deftly caught the striking foot and flung it back slightly to the left. Not quite thinking ahead as Mike, and with his leg still in motion, Philip attempted a three hundred and sixty degree, come-back kick with the same limb, resulting in his foot slamming into his right wing man's face. Mike caught the “Oh, shit” look on Philip's face. Priceless. He blocked and knocked legs with the second thug, headbutted the guy, and then turned just in time to divert a punch from Philip, grab the upper arm for support to raise himself and deliver a hard knee into the back of Philip's head.

Three goons came at him, spread out so he couldn't repeat what he did with Philip and the other two. A fourth one sneaked up behind him, delivering a hard kick to the back of his leg. Mike went down on one knee, and then the three attackers in front closed in. Punch, kick, punch, kick. He was down to merely blocking strikes.

Fucking shit, I'm getting hit! Soon they would land a punch with some weight behind it. For now, they were fighting panicky and frantic, sending quick, light punches and kicks to disorient him.

One of his Four Dragons instructors had told him, "Contrary to what you see in some movies, suffering multiple hits from your opponent significantly decreases your chances of winning the fight, so do your best not to get hit. In many instances it is impossible not to get hit, but do understand the concept: the number and location of effective strikes made by a combatant are the major contributing factors to his or her victory."

Pull your shit together, Mike!

He rolled forward and sent an upward kick into a goon's crotch; rolled backward and kicked the goon behind him with both feet in the gut. He sprung himself onto his feet, once again using his arms and the pavement as a spring board. Mike executed a block-strike, smashing the side jaw of the third goon with his fist. The final goon in the quartet sent a punch that would have been effective if Mike was stationary, but he wasn't. He caught the punching arm, wrenched it downward, and bringing his knee upward, snapped the elbow joint. Mike said goodbye to him with a hard elbow to the man's face.

Two others came at him. He dealt the first one a block-strike punch to the face, grabbed his shirt, pulled the man towards him and kneed him in the gut. He faced the other guy: block-strike chop to his neck and a swift uppercut equals man down on his back. Quick scan around: he'd taken them all and they were all down.

Two goons raised themselves to their feet, trying for another go, thinking they could make Philip proud. Mike rushed at them, kicked one under the chin and back-kicked the other in the side of the head.

Where's Phil? Ah, there you are. Just wait for it, Mikey.... He's getting up.... Okay, go. Mike walked swiftly toward him, turned and delivered a text book kick to the face, causing Philip to go airborne for a second and a half before he hit the hard pavement once more, unconscious this time. I hope you see my shoe print every morning for the next two weeks when you look at yourself in the mirror, Phil.



Chapter Twenty


(If you're not going to go unconscious, you might as well put some effort into staying alive.) What do you mean? Can't you see I've been totaled? (Your phone.) What phone? (Your left ass cheek hurts because your phone is still in your back pocket and you've been resting on it for half an hour.) Oh. (Can you reach it?) I think...

It was difficult with her head spinning on the inside from the battering, but Sharon was able to dig into her back pocket and retrieve her phone. She moved her phone hand to her chest. (Good girl. Now open the contacts menu, press r, and call.) Rob? You're insane. Sharon dialed 911 and was instantly in touch with an operator.

"Nine-one-one Emergency Services. How may we assist you?"

"Shmernemisshirenandinedmedcalasstns-"

Fuck, I can't talk shit because my mouth is busted up and swollen. (Why don't we holler for sweet loving Jeffrey and maybe he'll assist us in talking and receiving some medical assistance, and get himself arrested in the process?) Not funny, I'm dying here. (If reincarnation is real, get a better husband in the next life.) And a more considerate inner voice. (I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that.)

They transferred her to a German-speaking operator. What the fuck is that? (Sounds like German.) You wouldn't have foreign language translation in your repertoire do you, oh Great Inner Voice? (No, but I bet we could suck German cock really well and enjoy it.) Give me a break. (You asked for my help.)

She held the phone to her chest as the 911 operator droned on. Opening her eyes was almost impossible. Opening her mouth was also becoming difficult and painful. She had dialed 911 from the visual memory of her phone's keypad. The phone and her contacts in its memory were all she had. She tried to think of her friends, but could think of no one nearby or close enough to care.

My boss? (I think you're pretty much fired and don't exist as far as he's concerned.) So that leaves? (Rob.) No. (Listen. He went out on a limb giving you his number and picking you up in his van, and even when you freaked out-) He freaked out, not me! (Whatever. I think he's still got it for you?) Got what? (He likes you!) What's to like? What little there was is gone now. (Then let this be his final favor to you. The worst he can do is say no.)

Sharon pressed a key on her phone, bringing up the contacts menu; then she pressed r in the search box - only one contact began with r. She pressed call.

He answered before the second ring, sounding focused and apologetic as if he had been rehearsing. "Sharon. I'm sorry. I can explain the-"

"Rb."

"Sharon? Is that you?"

"Rb-" (No time to play "The Mummy Calls". Open your mouth - I know it's broken but do it anyway - and pronounce a few words correctly so he gets the message. This is our last shot. Either Jeffrey gets wise and confiscates your phone or your body shuts down and it's been nice knowing you.)

"Rob. Beaten up. Hurts to talk. My apartment. Need help."

"Sharon, what's going on? Are you okay?"

"Number thirty-nine."

Jeffrey came in at that moment and saw her on the phone. "Bitch!" he said between clenched teeth. He took the phone from her, looked at the caller ID and put it to his ear. "Is this Rob?"

"Who am I speaking to?"

"I want you to mind your own business and never call my wife again, you hear me?"

"Okay."

"That's a good man." Jeffrey pressed end call, turned around and hurled the phone against the wall, shattering it to pieces. The sound made Sharon empty her bladder again. She heard him swear and pace the room for a while. His voice became softer, and then everything else became darker than dark and quiet.



Chapter Twenty-One


Sitting in his apartment, watching television, while his wife bled on the bed was not Jeffrey's idea of a good time. Beating her to a pulp was one thing, but having to share the same place with her after the fact was something else. He decided to go sit down on the building's front steps below, and he took his metal baseball bat with him just in case.

When he got down there, Jeffrey practiced swinging the bat, and at some point, he kept picturing Sharon's face and what it would look like if he took a bat to it. He relished the images of facial destruction created in his mind as he swung the bat and spoke softly, "You like this, bitch? You like that, huh? Want daddy to give you some more?"

A van he didn't recognize pulled up abruptly along the sidewalk. The driver got out and came toward the steps. It was a white man in a gray jacket and a black beanie on his head. He seemed in a hurry.

Jeffrey gripped the baseball bat and hollered. "You Rob?" The man turned to him. His confidence was boosted when he realized that the man was younger, in his twenties, slimmer and shorter than he was.

"Yeah, who are you?"

"I'm Jeffrey, Sharon's husband." He gave Rob a wide, unfriendly smile.

"Glad to meet you, Jeffrey." Suddenly Rob had a gun in his right hand and a small blue cushion in his left. His expression was grim.

Jeffrey chortled and pointed his bat at the gun. "Where'd you get that water pistol?"

"Toys R Us," said Rob, and he fired a cushion-silenced shot by the other man's head. Jeffrey yelped in shock and dropped to the steps, losing the bat. White stuffing from the cushion fell like snow around him.

Rob tossed aside the ruined cushion and produced a second one. This he pressed to the back of Jeffrey's head, where the brain stem was located, and applied pressure with the gun. "I always told myself I'd buy a suppressor for this baby, but never got around to doing it. Now they sell these cheap, specially designed, muffler cushions for guys like me in a hurry. The keys to your apartment, Jeffrey."



Chapter Twenty-Two


The shower wasn't enough. Mike needed longer time in the water so he plugged the tub and filled it up. His entire body ached, especially the places where he'd been hit.

Sam, Bill, and Lin had seen him walk a bit stiffly through the living room, but decided against questioning and lecturing him on the spot. John had had one of his guys drop off Mike after the fight, and he had seen Ran taken home in a separate car. No stars in her eyes after watching his brilliant display of fighting skills. More like a person who had just been rescued after almost drowning - she just wanted to go home.

Mike allowed his mind to wander until it settled on brothels. Japanese brothels. He let it stay there and came up with all sorts of titillating scenarios.

Lin's voice called to him.

[ Cantonese ]

"Someone's here to see you, Michael."

He groaned. "Tell them, I'll see them tomorrow." He tried to remember where he'd stopped in his imagined brothel adventures.

The bathroom door opened.

"Helloo! I'm in here, wait your turn."

[ English ]

"Mike? May I come in?"

"Wha- Ran?"

"It's me."

"What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to see you. May I come in?"

"Er... I'm in the tub. Naked."

He heard the door close, clothes coming off, and then the shower curtain pushed aside. Ran stood on the outside of the tub, naked as a young adult, Japanese female could be. She had pubic hair. Hm. She's perfect, but no cunnilingus tonight. The fur interferes.

"It's big enough," said Mike, after ogling her.

"What?"

"I meant the tub. It's big enough for the two of us."

"Oh."

She got in, closed the curtain, and positioned herself opposite to him, at the other end of the tub. They just sat there and stared at each other, the water, the curtain, and the bathroom walls. Eventually, Mike said, "I'm sorry I ruined the night for you."

He expected an "I'm sorry too for bla bla bla" or "That's okay bla bla bla", but instead, Ran flicked water at his face and smiled. The smile quickly turned into a giggle. He couldn't help laughing as well. This was better than a brothel fantasy because it was real and the girl was real.

Feigning grumpiness, Mike added, "However, I am disappointed that I didn't get to finish my meal. Philip owes me a Japanese dinner."

"How about receiving the consolation of a Japanese girl for the night?"

"For only one night?"

"Don't push your luck, Chinaboy." Ran moved toward him until they were face to face.

"It's 'Chinaman', and we can always renegotiate the terms of this consolation later on, can't we?"

"Only if you behave yourself."

Mike went ahead and kissed her first. She responded with another kiss and they were soon rolling and grappling in the tub, kissing.



Chapter Twenty-Three


Mike and Ran both made a silent dash to his room. Once inside with the door locked, they threw their clothes and towels into a corner and stood kissing each other. He knew she could feel his hard-on poking her in the belly. She reached down and stroked it for a moment before pulling his waist forward, upwardly bending and pressing his cock against her. Mike stroked her silky black hair and rubbed strands of it between his thumb and forefinger while he cupped her ass with his other hand.

"Getting tired of standing," said Ran.

"Where are my manners?" Mike lifted her, walked a few steps, and set her down on his bed. "Is that better?"

"Much."

Hovering over her, he kissed her face and neck; sucked on her breasts, and kissed down all the way to the region just below her navel. She told him to continue.

Mike looked apologetically at her. "Here's the thing, Ran. I don't eat hairy pussy."

She arched an eyebrow at him. "And did you expect me to suck your cock?"

"Uh, yeah."

"But it's got hair surrounding it," she said angrily.

There was a pause.

"Awkward moment," said Mike. "Um.... I have an electric trimmer."



Chapter Twenty-Four


The first thing Sharon saw on waking was the ceiling and lighting. It didn't look very homey. Then there was the smell of antiseptic. Hospital. (We made it.) How long has it been? (Not sure. You missed the part where Rob heroically came to your rescue.) No. (Yes, he did.) How would you know? (While you were out, I was in... sort of.) What did you do with him? (Nothing, for obvious reasons, and you don't make much sense when I'm the only one awake.)

A doctor and nurse attended to her, administering health. She blacked out again. When she came back, she found herself staring at a cute, young, Caucasian girl. "Uncle Rob, she's awake."

Rob came into her line of sight. His beanie was off and the swastika, on closer inspection, was slightly fuzzy due to hair growth. He looked deeply concerned and his eyes roved over her heavily-bruised face. "Sharon."

"Rob-" She choked, whimpered, and began sobbing.

Rob turned to his niece. "Amy, go stay with your mom and dad." He walked her out and watched her until she entered the right room. Then he went to sit beside Sharon. He solemnly watched her cry for a minute before he reached out and held her hand.

"Thank you, Rob." (Ow! Dammit, stop talking! It hurts.)

His mouth moved as if he wanted to say something, but he stopped himself. He looked at her hand in his and narrowed his focus. Sharon felt him thoroughly touch each finger, beginning with her thumb; his fingertips slid along each individual digit, gently rubbing soothingly against the skin of her fingers and feeling the smoothness of her fingernails. He withdrew his fingers from hers, moving downward, and pressed his fingertips to her palm where they rubbed against her hollow and fleshy regions leading up to the thumb and smallest finger. Then he slid them up to the base of her fingers and onward until their fingertips touched (kissed). Sharon felt just the right amount of comfort and eroticism Rob wanted to convey. It reached a climax when he slowly locked his fingers into hers and stroked the skin of her back hand with his fingertips.

(Hot damn, he's a hand-obsessed psycho! Let's do it again!) Down, girl. (Woof!)

"Wow."

Rob smiled. "Sorry if that was too much."

She shook her head. "No. It was amazing." They smiled at each other (Sharon not doing so well in this, obviously) enjoying the company, warmth, and the knowledge of that little intimate moment.

Rob spoke. "In the van, when I freaked out, it wasn't you. It was your hand. Not your hand, but your.... type of hand; I've always had a fear of black people's hands ever since I was a kid. It's weird. I don't know why, but I've always had it, despite having a couple of black friends growing up. When you reached out, I thought you were going to touch me and I lost it. Really sorry about that."

(Maybe not a psycho, but definitely a weirdo.) No, he's not. Besides, who wants to do that hand thing again? (Meee!)

"I guess I overcame my fear tonight, didn't I?"

"In style." Gosh, my face must be so messed up and ugly smiling like this. (It hurts too. Ow!)

"I explained what I could to the police so they're on the lookout for Jeffrey. He must've fled the apartments after I carried you out." He paused briefly, looking around the room, and finally back to her. "After they release you from here, if you don't have a place to stay, I'd like you to come stay with me. I live alone."

(Singing: Party every day, hand thing every day; I've got a feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night.) You have a one-track mind. Settle down. (I'm sorry. Let's play hard to get.) Shush. (Girl!)

"I don't know, Rob. Your swastika bothers me."

"Oh, this?" He indicated the tattoo. "It's a temporary tattoo. One of my friends dared me to put it on. You see, my hair's growing back now through the paint."

"I can't see too well at the moment, but I believe you."

Rob smiled, and at that point, Sharon knew she was interested in him and wanted to explore him further.



Chapter Twenty-Five


For several weeks, Lin observed Ran, Mike's Japanese girlfriend, attending Sam and Bill's kung fu classes. Even more surprising was the fact that Mike regularly showed up to teach something practical based on a scenario, going against his earlier statement. Lin also noticed Sharon's absence and it troubled her. She talked to her husband, asking if there was a way she could find out where Sharon was and how she was doing.

Bill called a Chinese-American police officer, giving him the details Lin had told him. Through a routine follow-up, the officer was able to trace Sharon to her current location: a flat being rented by a man named Robert Snowden. This put Lin at ease, but also pained her when she heard that the cause of her absence was that Sharon had been severely bashed again and was recovering.

One afternoon, Lin launched into a tirade on the evil that men do, and ended up talking about Sharon's case. It was just Mike, Ran, and three customers in the shop with her. He had nothing to say in response to Lin, but Ran was smiling and her eyes were sparkling.

[ Cantonese ]

Lin said, "We ought to go visit her. I'll cook up a heap of chow mein and put it in a big lunch box."

[ English ]

Mike looked at Ran. "What's with that smile?"

"I think it's sexy and romantic, a white man rescuing a black woman from her abusive husband and giving her the love she deserves."

Mike rolled his eyes. "Well, my opinion is simple: stick to your own kind. Less complicated that way."

"What exactly do you mean by that?" Ran gave him a sharp, pointy stare.

"Y'know, whites to whites, blacks to blacks, yellows to yellows, reds to reds, et cetera."

"I don't think combining different or similar skin colors should be the basis of any serious romantic relationship. Love should be."

"So if a Latino riddled with tattoos came into the shop, and you thought it was love at first sight, you'd give him a shot?"

"Of course."

Didn't I read somewhere that Native North, Central, and South Americans are classified racially as Asians? That's too close. Try another one.

"What about a black guy with gold-capped teeth, dreadlocks, baggy pants, and an accent that's hard to understand, hm?"

"I'd give him a shot too."

Mike gasped dramatically, holding a hand over his mouth. "I think I'm gonna barf."

[ Cantonese ]

Lin put a hand on his arm. "Mike, tomorrow I'll cook chow mein and take it to Sharon at her new address. You can come with me."

"Sure, aunt Lin."

She pondered aloud, walking to the door behind the counter. "She'll be more damaged than the last time, so we'll also take some of my special herbs I've been keeping in the storage room..."



Chapter Twenty-Six


Sharon was healing well, but the special herbs she had received from Lin Tin the day before sped up the process exponentially, and even helped reduce the pain, to the point where she could talk normally as long as she didn't try to make wild, crazy faces like Jim Carey. Her bone fractures, bruises and scars became almost non-existent six days after taking Lin's herbal medicine.

The first day she had stepped into his flat, Rob had shown her around and given her the extra room. Before that, the room had been a storage place for keeping all the things he had collected over the years and didn't need any more. Most of these he had either sold or given away to make room for a bed. He didn't have much in the way of food, but after a quick call to his sister-in-law and a trip to the grocery store later, he was able to adequately stock up the kitchen cupboards and pantry. Sharon realized he had gone through a lot to make her feel welcome. She truly was at a loss for words because it had been a long time since anyone had treated her like this.

Rob worked as a delivery man for a company that did food catering. Chinese Lightning was a source for ingredients they used in their Chinese cuisine. He was something of a subcontractor since he owned the delivery van he drove and was paid by the deliveries he made.

Rob would sit with Sharon and talk to her every morning before going off to work. When he came back in the afternoon, he would prepare dinner and be with her. He learned a lot about cooking in the first several weeks Sharon stayed with him, even buying a book containing a wide variety of easy-to-cook recipes.

As Sharon recuperated, she began looking for a job that wasn't too particular about a woman with battered features. She found a spot available, cleaning and organizing VHS tapes for a video store. Soon both occupants of Rob's flat had a job and he was coming home to dinners prepared by Sharon. Her confidence grew to the point where she was giving him a kiss every morning before he went to work. It quickly turned into a kiss for both his departure and return from work. They frequently stayed up to watch late night television and Sharon would have Rob do 'the hand thing' with her. She resumed kung fu classes at Chinese Lightning and Mike invested extra time after the classes to teach her more self-defense moves.



Chapter Twenty-Seven


Friday night and Rob was watching an NBC medical drama. Sharon was in her room and just about to go join him on the couch when...

(Psst. I've got an idea.) What is it? (A game. It's called White Cream, Chocolate Muffin.) Sounds more like a dessert to me. (It could be. There's this chocolate muffin and it needs white cream. Using a pink, fleshy utensil that resembles a sausage, you plunge it into the chocolate muffin over and over again. The utensil reaches something like a boiling point and deposits delicious, warm, white cream inside the muffin - mmm so good! - and can also be used on the muffin's surface.) That game sounds familiar. (It's quite popular. There are other versions of it, varying the colors of the muffin and the utensil. I believe you've played this game before.) I have? I don't think I remember. (Bitch.) Slut.

Sharon went into the living room and sat with Mike, moving into his arms. They kissed, and he did 'the hand thing' while they watched the show.

"Is that a new perfume you're wearing?"

"Yes, I bought it today."

He kissed her shoulder and inhaled deeply. "It's sexy."

She rubbed the back of his head and locked eyes with him. "The sticker on the box said I could get my money back if I wasn't able to entice a man to make love to me the first night I used the perfume."

He now realized her shirt was invitingly unbuttoned; she wore no bra, and had on a pair of very short shorts. "They can keep your money."

Sharon turned her body his way. Rob reached inside her shirt and cupped her breasts in his hands, feeling and gently squeezing the gorgeous, round orbs. She removed her shirt and pulled off her shorts, revealing a smooth, chocolate pussy and bubble-shaped ass. After this, they both went to work on getting Rob's clothes off.

Sharon pulled him down to her and they kissed madly on the couch. Unlike their previous kisses where they first timidly, and then more bravely, pressed their lips together, this kissing involved thoroughly probing the other’s mouth with tongue. Adjusting themselves, Sharon opened herself up to Rob, who plunged himself fully inside. He pulled out partially and felt her internal muscles contract around his cock. Rob groaned in pleasure and pushed himself inward.

Sharon wrapped her arms around his back and Rob was pumping himself into her. (Don't let him stop! Keep fucking!) Fuck yes! Feeling this beautiful woman he was so crazy about grasping his cock with her vaginal muscles was an amazing sensation. Rob kept thrusting until he ejaculated deep inside her. (Kiss! Make love to his face!)

Rob's gaze was unfocused as he finished unloading the first round of semen inside Sharon, but she brought his face to hers and kissed him open-mouthed. He let his hand wander all over her body, touching and manipulating her pleasure points. Experiencing slight trouble breathing through her nose, Sharon paused for breath, allowing Rob to kiss the rest of her face and down to her neck. She regained her breath and brought his face to hers once again to attack him orally. He moaned into her mouth, which she replied with a moan of her own. Regaining erection, Rob resumed surging into Sharon while they kissed. She squeezed him as he slid in and out of her.

Breaking their kiss, Rob said, "Ohh, Sharon!" He gripped the couch, banging her soundly.

"Uuhh! Fuck me, Rob!" She lovingly stroked and dug her fingers into his back intermittently, while he pounded her.

(Couldn't you wait for me to give you the right words to say? You're beginning to sound like a porn video.) You want me to quote from classic literature while he's drilling me? (No. I think now would be a great time to discuss Einstein's theory of relativity with Rob.) What?! (Hehe, just kidding.) You are so weird.

"Sharon? Why are you laughing?"

"What?" She realized that she had just stopped laughing. Rob looked concerned and somewhat alarmed. (Uh-oh. You did it this time.) No, it wasn't me. It was you! (I only made a joke. You were the one laughing.) Shit, shit, shit!

Rob pulled out and cradled her against him. "Are you okay?" He stroked her hair and face, making her feel young and stupid, as if it was a stranger rather than the man she had fallen in love with taking pity on her.

She smiled. "Yeah, I'm great. Let's make love." She kissed him and he responded, running a finger down her hair, around her ear, and tracing down her jaw line. She looked at him with intense fondness. "I love you, Rob."

His eyes pierced her soul. "I love you too, Sharon. But maybe we did this too early. Maybe I should have exercised more restraint. You just got out of an abusive relationship and you're still recovering from a nearly-fatal beating, yet I couldn't wait to bang you once I moved you into my flat. I was being such a fucking guy and didn't think about your condition. I'm sorry." He moved his face closer and planted a kiss on her forehead. Then he got off the couch, stood up, and held out his hand to Sharon. "My fault for keeping us up late. People make bad decisions at this hour. I'm going to shower and head off to bed. Want to shower with me?"

She sat up but didn't take his hand. "No, I want us to continue what we started. I'm okay. You have nothing to be sorry about. You're perfect, Rob. You're amazing! I want to make love to you now."

"I want that too, but I also don't want to damage you any further while you’re still healing. Are you coming or not?"

She folded her arms and stared at the television. "No."

"Okay." Rob looked down at the floor, disappointment on his face. "I'll go shower, and then you can shower after me." He walked into the shower room and closed the door.



Chapter Twenty-Eight


Mike had Ran in the doggy style position on his bed. Both their private parts had been shaved completely bald; he'd given her cunnilingus a lot and she'd proven herself to be adept at fellatio. Sex was quite frequent for the two of them.

"If you try to go anal on me, I'll scratch your eyes out, I swear." Ran shot him an evil look.

Holding her hips and pressing the tip of his penis against her labia, Mike said, "But I thought Japanese girls loved anal sex."

"Do I look like an all-holes-open, hentai nymphomaniac to you?"

"Yes," he said with a grin.

"Well, I don't like anal and that's that. Anal-ize me at your own risk."

"I'm not that suicidal." Mike pushed in through her vagina and they both moaned. Easy does it. Take your time.

He moved back and forth slowly at first, enjoying her contractions around his cock. Then he picked up the pace, causing her to squeeze the bed sheets in her hand. She was moaning again and Mike went faster; he was soon moaning too. As Ran's vocals increased in pitch, he made a transition to harder, quicker thrusts, smacking loudly against her rear. She spread herself wider; he kept going, pleasure building, until Mike shot a jet of cum into her depths. He pulled her up against him with his cock still inside her, still pulsing, and kissed her deeply; wrapping his arms around her while she responded by caressing his face and back.

Mike got onto the bed with her, she lay on her stomach and he covered her body with his, kissing her neck and shoulders.

"Mike, I noticed Sharon's injuries and scars have healed quickly. Was that the medicine your aunt took for her?"

"Yes." Kissing down to her butt.

"That was nice of your aunt. You're kind just like Lin, aren't you?"

"No. I'll never have her heart, but I try to be nice on my own terms." Nuzzling his face between her buttocks and kissing around randomly, flicking tongue.

"Mm. The extra training you give to Sharon?"

"That's me being nice on my own terms." Sliding his tongue inside her pussy.

Her voice became dreamy as she closed her eyes. "Despite your honesty, liveliness, and sociability, you're still a mystery to me. Full of surprises and contradictions."

"I'm just being me." Sucking on her thighs.

"You're a Chinese puzzle."

"No, I'm not." He caressed her butt, slid his middle finger between her buttocks, and then inside her anus.

Her eyes opened and she smiled at the corner of her mouth. "That's the trick: you don't tell me - just do it."

Mike got on top of her, parted her buttocks, aimed his cock, and penetrated her ass. Ran hugged the pillow she was resting on and enjoyed the anal pounding he gave her, at the end of which he released his sperm load inside her bowels.

They fell asleep cuddling each other.



Chapter Twenty-Nine


No words passed between Rob and Sharon after he vacated the shower room and went straight to his bedroom.

After showering, Sharon lay in her bed thinking about herself and Rob. She wondered if she really was sick in the head. Did she really love Rob or were her feelings, acts of affection and devotion toward him just a distraction to take her mind off the horror that Jeffrey had wrought in her life?

(I've had enough thinking for tonight. Move over and get in the back.) Not in the mood. (Neither am I, so get in the fucking back seat!) No, you maniac! I don't wanna mess with you now, so shut up! (YOU shut up.) Wait! What are you doing?! (What I want to do!) NO!! (Who the hell taught you how to drive this car? Oprah? Do you even have a learner's permit?) Nooooo!! Go back to where you belong!! (You'll thank me for this later.) GET OUT OF MY FUCKING SEAT!! (Sit back and enjoy the ride, sweetheart. And if it doesn't turn out so well, I guess things will never be the same between us.)

A shaft of light stabbed the darkness of Rob's room as Sharon opened his door and looked in. He slept facing upwards, arms slightly apart from his sides, legs also slightly parted, straight out; he was like a cyborg recharging in a chamber. Sharon saw that he was naked and had an erection; his cock was pointing straight up at the ceiling.

"Sharon?"

Naked and smelling like jungle flowers, she entered his room and closed the door, shutting out the light. She waited for her eyes to adjust to the darkness before joining him on the bed, lying on her side next to him.

"Is everything alright?" He stroked her black curls and lovingly touched her face.

Sharon placed a hand on his chest, rubbing him sensuously. "No. Far from alright." The tone of her voice was different and he noticed; it was unlike all the other tones he'd heard her use up until now.

"What is it?"

"Shh. Come closer."

Rob moved closer, his face an inch apart from hers; she swung a leg over his waist, placed a hand on his shoulder and pulled herself against him. "Rob, I want you to listen. Sharon is sick." That strange tone again.

He tried to turn on the lamp beside his bed, but she restrained him. "Don't."

"You have me worried."

"What would the light be for?"

"So I can make sure you're Sharon and not somebody else."

She giggled. "I AM Sharon. Not the bogeyman after a sex change operation." She sighed melodiously and reached over to the small table beside his bed, feeling around, and found what she was looking for. She brought the object between their faces and pressed a key. The light from the cell phone's screen made both of them shut their eyes and look away at first, but then they brought their gazes back to each other, and in the digital light, Rob could discern her face. "See, Rob, it's me." She put the phone back on the table.

"What do you want?"

"Well, that's a sudden shift in attitude."

"You're different somehow."

"I told you, Sharon is sick."

They stared at each other for a moment, and then Rob said, "I'm listening. Talk to me."

"Well, Doctor Snowden, it all began when this girl named Sharon fell in love with a man named Jeffrey. They got married and he became a wife basher. One day, he beat her really badly and she could have died, but this nice delivery man named Rob saved her. She fell in love with Rob. End of story."

"I'm a little bit unsettled here, Sharon. What happened to your voice? You sound like a sarcastic Mila Jovovich."

Looking slightly sinister, she raised an eyebrow at him. "Haven't I always sounded like her?"

"Yes, but never like THIS. I don't like it."

"Mm, yes! Assert your male authority. Punish me."

"No! What's gotten into you?"

She kissed him passionately. "I've always been in here. Do you like black sluts, Rob? They're even better after you slap them around a little. Show them who's boss and fuck their brains out. Do that to me. Do it to me, Rob!"

"What? I-" He tried to get up, but she moved on top of him, pinning him down with surprising swiftness and strength.

"You're not going anywhere." Sharon kissed him and humped her ass and pussy all over his pelvis. His erection became rock hard and she rammed her pussy down on his cock, taking him all the way to his balls.

Rob groaned. "Sharon, I think-"

While impaling herself on him, she took his hands and placed them on her swinging breasts. "Think about these while you're squeezing them."

"Stop."

"Fine. Let go of my breasts and I'll stop." She kept sliding her pussy up and down his shaft, waiting to see if he would let go. He didn't. Instead he began sucking on them, playing his tongue over the areolae and nipples, fondling and squeezing her breasts to his heart's content. Taking as much of her chocolate orbs as he could stuff into his mouth, he ravenously feasted on them.

"Atta boy, Rob." Sharon moaned in appreciation of what he was doing while she slammed herself hard on his rod. "Fuck, fuck, fuck! Yes, ooh, fuck!" She felt him grasp her buttocks, while he sucked her boobs. He squeezed her ass and spanked it. "Oh, Rob, yes!" Then grabbing her ass, he jammed it down on his cock. He was now thrusting upward into her, meeting her downward plunges, exciting their sex to no end. "Aaaah!" she cried as he rapidly pummeled her pussy and shot hot jets of cum up into her receptive, warm, moist flesh.

Sharon tittered as she vaginally squeezed and stroked his spent cock. "Shame on you, taking advantage of a traumatized woman like that."

Rob didn't verbally reply, rather he simply ran his hands over her abdomen and thighs, rubbing them in sensuous ways. Sharon enjoyed his ministrations for a while before dismounting from him and getting off the bed. She made her way to the door and opened it.

"Sharon, stay in here with me."

Stay with him. I love him. I want to be with him as much as I can. I don't want to be alone anymore. I don't want him to be without me. (I love him too, but after he deserted you on the couch an hour ago, I think he deserves a little payback.) Please, let's stay with him. I want to hold him tonight and have him hold me. (Thank you for the suggestion, but I disagree.)

"I don’t think so, Rob. Good night." She closed his door and went to her room.



Chapter Thirty


In the morning, Sharon woke up, showered, went back to her room and cried. Rob poked his head inside. "Sharon?"

Sitting on her bed, she had her back to him. "Good morning, Rob."

"Good morning. Could I come inside?"

She shook her head. No.

"Could I talk to you, at least, from out here?"

She shook her head again.

He sighed. "Okay. I'm off to work." She heard him close her door.

He was about to go out the front door when she called to him. "Rob."

He turned and saw her fiddling with her fingers, looking uncomfortable, staring at the floor.

"Yeah?"

Sharon looked up at him and he saw tears welling in her eyes. "I'm sorry about last night. I wasn't-" She broke down and sat on the floor sobbing. "I don't think I'm doing so well. I'm messed-up. You've been really nice and sweet. I don't deserve your kindness. I'll move out of here today. You shouldn't have to put up with a mental idiot like me."

Going to her, Rob got down on the floor and wrapped her in his arms. "What if I told you I don't want you to go? Why don't you try and tell me what it's all about? I don't care if it doesn't make sense. Just put it into words so I can hear."

"Okay. I think it started with Jeffrey." She felt him doing 'the hand thing' with her and it allowed her to focus. "Living with him beating me up frequently made me create this other person inside - like an inner voice, sometimes a conscience. First it was simply me talking to myself, but it got more complicated as the beatings got worse, and before I realized, I had an alternate personality thing going. It never got out, always stayed behind the scenes. Last night was the first time it got loose. When I came into your room, that was her.... but it was me too!" She broke into sobbing again. "I'm so sorry, Rob."

"I get it." Rob kissed her on the forehead and made her focus on him. "You've been abused, suppressing much of your will for happiness for years, and as a result, you developed a separate personality without your inhibitions. She could be braver, but also more impulsive and doesn't filter or properly process her thoughts before she speaks or acts on them. The reason she never manifested before was probably because of your fear of Jeffrey and the desire to someday achieve a peaceful normalcy without having to confront him. As soon as he was out of your life, the restraints keeping her inside slackened, and all it took to unleash her was an emotional stress rather than a physical abuse." He nodded. "That explains it to me - I think - so I understand."

"And?" She looked at him, prodding him for more, maybe an answer to an unspoken question. He answered it.

"I love you, Sharon. I think we can handle this together. Are you willing to let me help, or are you too scared to trust me? I won't hold you here against your will, but I think we've got something really good going, and frankly, I'd be broken up to see you leave. Very broken." She saw his eyes brimming with tears. "So what's your answer?"

"I want to kiss you every morning when you go and kiss you every evening when you return, and do a lot more other things with you, Rob." They kissed deeply, interlocking their fingers, sensuously moving theirs against the others’.

"And what about the other woman?"

Sharon smiled mischievously. "Pretty much the same, except she's adamant that we keep doing the hand thing, and she'd like to try out some new hand-on-hand moves."

"I'm really interested to see what she's got for me. She was great last night, except for when she refused to sleep the rest of the night with me."

"She decided you deserved to be refused last night." Sharon kissed her lover.



Chapter Thirty-One


The day manager at Vivid Variety Video went through the staff-only door, walked down a corridor with four doors on one side and an exit door at the end. He passed the Blu-ray, DVD, and VCD storage rooms and opened the last door before the exit with the label "VHS Storage Room". In here, he found the new VHS clerk on her knees, sorting through several piles of video cassettes and eight more boxes of the same, each cassette containing two episodes of a documentary show that was moderately popular in the 1990s.

"Yo, Sharon. It's five minutes till closing time. I'm letting you off early."

Sharon looked up at her boss, a fat wonderful man her age with a cloud of curly, blond hair on his head. "I promise you, Henry, I'll be done ten minutes from now. I really want to get this documentary series in order."

Henry shook his head. "That's a lot of cassettes."

"I've been doing this job for several weeks now. You'd be surprised by what I can do in ten minutes."

"I'm sure I would be," he said, baiting her with an obvious vocal leer.

"Henry," she said in a playful, admonishing tone.

"I swear, I wasn't thinking anything dirty about you. In my mind, you were perfectly clean and naked, resting on a large silver tray. There was lettuce, tomato, cheese, and slices of ham laid all over your body and you were curling your finger at me with a sexy look on your face, telling me to come and eat you."

Sharon laughed as she looked at the back cover of a tape. "You have great taste in food, Henry, I'll give you that."

Henry glanced around the formerly disordered room that Sharon had masterfully turned into a sensible, easy-to-navigate collection of video cassettes. He settled his eyes on her again. "In case I don't catch you on your way out, have a nice evening and I'll see you tomorrow."

"Thanks, Henry. You too."

Sharon finished up and left the building through the back exit. She crossed the street and walked eastward.

As she was passing an alley way, a figure walked across her path. She had to pause to keep from bumping into the person, but as she did so, a set of powerful, gloved hands clutched both her upper arms and swung her into the alley. Sharon flew head first horizontally and knocked down several trashcans like a human bowling ball before landing on a pile of garbage bags. Reeling from the impact, she got unsteadily to her feet.

"Good to see you again, honey," said the figure dressed all in black. Despite the black jacket with a hood over his head, Sharon knew it was Jeffrey. "How's life been treating you? I see you've found yourself a new job. Even a new man to fix your plumbing. How often do you require maintenance from him anyway? Or do you give it all up to him as payment for letting a nigger whore like you live under his roof because she don't have what it takes to be independent like other women?"

It was a dark, dead end alley and Jeffrey stood blocking her only path to freedom, safety, and a brighter world.

(Just like old times.) No. Not- (this time.)

"Ooh, what's that I see? Is that some fight you got lighting up your eyes? Whooey, baby! That white man of yours musta taught you something. Or maybe you've been sucking his cock so much you've confused its presence in your mouth with the presence of an actual brain. FYI, Sharon: you don't have a brain, you don't have a spine, you ain't got shit."

Sharon clenched her fists and put herself into a standard fighting stance: hands open, arms out and bent at the elbows, feet spaced, facing him, yet standing sideways, making her body a harder target to hit from his position.

Jeffrey smiled unpleasantly. "Hello, Miss Jet Li. I brought you a present, Sharon. Remember my old baseball bat? Back in college, you used to sit with the other girls in the stand and cheer for me while I hit those homeruns with it." He unzipped his jacket, pulled out the bat, and did some practice swings. "I'm gonna hit a homerun on your face, Sharon, and then I'm gonna take a minute to turn you into Miss No Face. I bet your white man will appreciate that – a courtesy gift from me to him for relieving me of your useless ass. Of course, at the end of it all, you'll be dead meat."

I don't- (think so.) Let's- (fuck him up-) for a change.

Doing the expected would make Sharon predictable, and if Jeffrey could predict her, she was as good as dead. Mike had taught her that in the specially extended, self-defense training sessions he gave her. A fist moving toward a target was merely an obstacle to be avoided, but an unexpected fist moving toward a target was a weapon.

Sharon up-turned one of the trashcans and emptied all its contents. She charged at Jeffrey, holding the can in front of her as a bumper/battering ram, and at the last second, she threw it at his face. He relished the opportunity to show how strong he could still swing and how hard his bat was that he wasn't ready to block the flying kick to his face right after he batted the can aside. Jeffrey was knocked backward, a split-second streamer of blood trailing his nose, but he didn't fall. He was tough. The kick had also flung his hood backward.

The brief moment after that first strike brought another one of Mike's practical lessons to Sharon's mind: fighting disregards the "your turn, my turn" sensibility of games; if you can hit, you keep hitting until your enemy is vanquished. You don't give them a chance to get back up for round two. And they won't wait for their turn to hit back at you either. It's go until someone stops kicking permanently.

She'd kicked Jeffrey in the face (great kick) but he was still standing. Imaginary opponents stay up and go down whenever you want them to, whereas real opponents have a mind of their own. A true foe won't turn himself off, so the entire aim of your engagement is to flick his off switch, and there are a number of ways to do this. Fortunately for Sharon, she'd been personally instructed by Michael Huxang, a graduate of the Four Dragons Fighting School and winner of several inter-school and cross-martial arts fighting tournaments.

Furious, Jeffrey swore and came at her, gripping his bat hard, holding it at an upward angle to his right, and ready to swing. It was time to roll with the punches, no more long-term strategies; rapid initiative and counter moves would come into play now. Sharon moved fast, as if on instinct, but she soon realized it was her secondary self making lightning-quick assessments and instructing her body to move, also sharing ideas with her primary person. There were two persons inside her, fighting for their life, the continuation of love with one man, and the dispatching of another.

(Feign taking him full on, like an idiot who doesn't know what a baseball bat can do to her, then duck-spin backwards to your left just on the outside of his strike range; now he's struck and missed, you're still in motion; horizontal tornado spin in the air, moving to the right, back into strike range; he hasn't yet reset himself for the next swing and you let fly a kick to his head from your spinning tornado.)

Jeffrey swung at his stupid wife trying to take him on. Damn, a part of him liked this new side of her. Where'd this come from? He was so horny now from the violence and combative response from Sharon, his cock was iron-hard. He had a feeling he'd be masturbating and ejaculating on her mashed-up face when he was done with her - if he didn't climax before that happened.

Fuck no, he'd swung and missed! Second swing and no Sharon to take the hit? He usually - no, always - got her on the first strike. He couldn't be getting sloppy and she couldn't have gotten better at avoiding hits since last time. He had been rehearsing this confrontation for an entire week - it was supposed to be easy. What was going on?

Moving his gaze to the right, he saw the impossible: Sharon spinning horizontally in the air and rapidly filling his vision. His head had moved faster than his arms. Before he could bring his bat to swing upwards, the right side of his face and head caught a brutal kick, infused with energy from the spinning motion and hardened by weeks of physical training. Jeffrey heard and felt his right cheekbone crack as Sharon's foot made contact, striking its mark precisely. The next injury was to his ego as he fell for the first time from a blow dealt him by his wife. He hit the pavement hard on his belly, painfully knocking his head and bruising the left side of his face on the abrasive surface.

(And everybody was kung fu fighting; those kicks were fast as lightning.) Stop singing! Gimme the next move quick before he gets up! (You know, I can sing and run this whole shebang at the same time. All you have to do is move over just a leeetle bit-) Not gonna happen. (Fine, but tell me why?) It's because of me that Jeffrey was allowed to beat the shit out of me all these years. You exist because I was never brave enough to stand up to him. This is all happening because of me. (Don't forget to give some credit to Jeffrey. You didn't beat yourself up.) True, and if I'm going to live with the consequences of this event for the rest of my life, I want to be the one in front dishing out the damage.

(So you don't think I deserve to get a piece of Jeffrey? I saw and felt all his punches and kicks - I was getting bashed too!) Oh, really? (Yes really! We're the same girl!) But you always seemed out of it, like someone looking in from the outside of an aquarium. (Only because SOMEONE decided to put up with constant thrashings and inadvertently created an alternate personality to deal with all the trauma shit that piled up inside her!) Okay, okay! Sheesh. But please, let me handle this AND have your one hundred and twenty percent support because it is a major turning point in OUR life, and as the first person - no offense - I have to be the one to do it.

Please. I'm begging you. (Oh, alright.) Thank you. I love you. (Wink. I love me too.) Ha ha. Stop being a smart ass, you white cock-hungry black slut. (That makes the two of us. Same girl, remember?) Cheesy smile.

Jeffrey utilized the brief moment of thought to rise and charge at Sharon, who had just ended her internal conversation. He bulldozed her, lifting her off the ground and slam-dumping her on her back. Stars burst into her vision and Jeffrey went looking for his baseball bat he'd dropped when she had tornado-kicked him. He found it and turned toward her, gripping the bat in his right hand and holding it in a downward position.

(Fucking shit!) Shitzenol! (Is that a painkiller? I need some right now.) Good thing we landed our head on a trashcan lid, otherwise it would have been lights out for us. (Jeffrey, baseball bat, heading our way.) You said 'our'. I like that. (Ours, yours, mine - it's all the same! Now to the business of staying alive-) and fucking up Jeffrey. (Throw the trashcan lid at him. Throw anything and everything at him, except yourself.) Why? (He's wizened up and will be taking more precaution in his bat-swinging. Knowing kung fu doesn't turn us into Iron Man. If he gets us once with that bat, it's over, sister. Keep him busy with objects flying his way until WE can work out something.)

Sharon tossed the trashcan lid at Jeffrey like an extra large Frisbee. It spun on its axis and flew right at him, center mass. He deflected it with a raised forearm and continued walking toward her. She swung a heavy, black, garbage bag around and let it loose in his direction. This he stopped by blocking it with the sole of his shoe. Next followed an empty trashcan, a box filled with broken glass (a flying shard making an ugly gash on Jeffrey's forehead), an old computer monitor, a guitar with no strings, a rusted bronze stallion trophy, a wooden carving of a young woman's abdomen, another trash can lid, two silver toasters-

Hah! (Don't do it, just throw them at him!) It's simple. I can do it. (Is it okay if I close my eyes on this part?) No, I still need you - I need all of me now. (Unleash the toaster-wielding, warrior princess!)

The power cords on these two toasters were conveniently longer than normal and the toasters themselves looked brand new as if they had been removed from their boxes and discarded immediately (because the owner hated toasters with abnormally long power cords?). Sharon quickly wrapped the ends of the cords around her two hands and made fists, one toaster tied to each hand - an extension of her arms as she had been taught when Mike had started her on weapons usage.

Fed up with projectiles being hurled at him, Jeffrey roared and came at her with the bat, handle grasped in both hands. Sharon spun out of his way and swung a toaster that wrapped its cord around his lower leg. She yanked, pulling that leg backward and propelling him forward to land on his chin. Crack!

(Ooh, Jeffrey, did that hurt?) Compare that pain to the next one.

He groaned painfully, whimpering as he pushed himself up with his hands. "Fucking bitch! I'm gonna kill you!" It didn't really come out like that, him having a split jaw and all, but Sharon understood anyway. He had dropped his bat again. Seeing it before him, he crawled on his knees to pick it up. She let loose the other toaster she had been swinging vertically on her right, and it smashed into the side of his face where he already had a broken cheekbone. Jeffrey howled in pain as his jaw was shattered where it connected to his skull. Now he couldn't say anything except make sounds of torment.

(Daayum, ouch! I almost feel-) No, you don't. (Chuckle.)

Sharon unwound the toaster cord that she'd used to trip Jeffrey, letting it fall to the pavement. She stood with only the toaster tied to her right hand. It lay before her like a pet dog sleeping while its master held onto the leash.

Jeffrey got to his feet, gripping his baseball bat, face bloodied from the head gash but more messed-up internally with the broken/fractured bones, eyes defiant - Sharon's old life refusing to let her move on. They stood almost three meters apart, silently staring at each other, not as husband and wife, rather more like two gunslingers in the Old West, but instead of guns, one was armed with a baseball bat and the other with a toaster.

A subtle breeze sweeping through the alley was Jeffrey's cue to charge once more at his wife, bat ready. Sharon retracted the toaster in a flash, whipping it back toward her. She swung it over her head, letting it gain momentum, and then released it straight at Jeffrey's crotch. He yelped, dropping his bat, collapsing to the pavement on his knees and clutching his manhood. Sharon swung the toaster in an arc around her and watched it collide with the left side of Jeffrey's head. His body fell to the side, but he shocked her by suddenly springing up and rushing at her.

Panicking, she flung the toaster at him, dove to the right and rolled out of his reach. Regaining her footing, Sharon ran toward the baseball bat he had dropped and almost touched it when Jeffrey grabbed her by the hair from behind, wrenched her head backwards, and punched her savagely in the gut. The air rushed out of her lungs and she coughed painfully. Still holding her by the hair, he picked up the bat and said something she couldn't understand and he didn't want to finish because it hurt like hell for him to talk.

(We're fucked.) No. Change of plans. You take the wheel. (Okey-dokey.)

Jeffrey walked her to the brick wall.

(He's going to put us against the wall and cave our face in with the bat!) Don't let him! (Duh.)

Grabbing a sudden hold on Jeffrey while he held her, Sharon raised herself up and headbutted him in the face, breaking his nose. He screamed and loosened his grip on her. Sharon broke free of his hold, ran at the wall, leaped, pressed her foot against its surface, and pushed off, launching herself back toward Jeffrey. Moving through the air, she positioned herself and rammed her knee into the center of his face, smashing his nose completely and cracking the facial bone that held his upper teeth.

Sharon landed on all fours on the pavement and pushed herself up back onto her feet to see Jeffrey wailing and making noises of agony. He whirled around unsteadily, swinging the baseball bat wildly in one hand.

Dodging his swing and moving in past the wrong end of the bat, Sharon grabbed the bat handle firmly with both hands and cartwheeled to the right, painfully twisting his wrist and wrenching the bat free. She completed the cartwheel with the bat grasped in both hands. Then she pivoted to the left on one foot, swinging the bat in an arc as she went, and struck Jeffrey viciously in the head, cracking open his skull. The blow sent him airborne head first and his body hit the pavement four meters away with a final smack.

Lying on his back, head to one side, Jeffrey wasn't getting up and never would again. Blood oozed out of several places on his head, mostly from the crack made by his own baseball bat. Sharon walked to her husband's body and looked down upon it in grim satisfaction. "Homerun," she said, in her other voice.



Chapter Thirty-Two


"I can do this," said Rob. He was in a kung fu stance, balancing a bowl of rice on his head. He had grown a beard and his hair looked like a short brown mop.

"I don't know, " said Ran, who had taken it upon herself to time him. "One hour sounds like a killer to me. You've been doing it for all of one minute so far and you're sweating already." She had cut her hair short to neck level and dyed the ends one-inch red. Mike liked it and showed how much by banging her more frequently and harder as pleasurably possible.

"Sweat means nothing," said Rob, obviously stressing out his muscles. This was his second kung fu class.

To the left, Sharon followed the movements of Lin, who was now teaching Tai Chi periodically alongside Sam and Bill's regular kung fu sessions. Six other women and five men followed what Lin was doing: slow, steady, relaxing motion. Sharon, bulging with her and Rob's firstborn, was unable to do strenuous kung fu training as before, so she disciplined herself to undergo the more subtle and enduring practice of Tai Chi under Lin's tutelage.

Rob collapsed to the floor after five minutes, spilling rice as well.

Ran laughed. "You did well actually. I thought you'd fall on the third minute."

Mike entered the training room. Seeing Rob on the floor, he asked how long he had lasted and Ran told him. "Good job, Rob. Now clean up your mess." Rob groaned reluctance.

Mike took over from Sam and Bill for his practical scenario session. "Alright, class. I realize that most of you prefer kicking to punching. That's okay. In kung fu, we have what we call 'kick fighters'. They are individuals who specialize in fighting with their legs and feet. But in these sessions I would like to emphasize balance...."

Feeling that she had done enough movements, Sharon went off to the side to rest. She found the gym bag containing her and Rob's stuff, unzipped the side pocket, and extracted a handheld media player. After plugging the earphones in her ears, she turned on the device and selected a playlist titled "Fight."

She watched Rob volunteer to help Mike demonstrate a counter-move to a kick attack. On instruction, he kicked at Mike, who caught his leg and held it there while he lectured to the class. Rob's eyes settled on Sharon. She waved at him and he kissed the air in her direction. Then Mike abruptly swept Rob's standing leg from under him, almost upending Rob, who landed back first smack on the foam mat.

Sharon winced. Ooh, honey, be careful. (He's fine. Listen. Our favorite song is playing.)



Lyrics to "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas


Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing

There were funky Chinamen from funky Chinatown
They were chopping them up
They were chopping them down
It's an ancient Chinese art
And everybody knew their part
From a feinting to a slip
And a kicking from the hip

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing

There was funky Billy Tin and little Sammy Chong
He said, "Here comes the big boss - let's get it on."
He took a bow and made a stand
Started swaying with the hand
A sudden motion made me skip
Now we're into a brand new trip

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they did it with expert timing

Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh (Hah!)
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh (Hah!)
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh (Huh!)
Oh-hoh-hoh-hooooh-
Keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on
Sure yeah!

Everybody was kung fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
Make sure you have expert timing

Kung fu fighting
Had to be fast as lightning.

.
1 comments

darthel0101Report

2014-06-09 13:36:46
logged in positive vote entered

It has also been entered as a favorite so that I will be able to find your works again.

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