Monday, July 29, 2013

Evil in the Writings of JZ Murdock

Evil. You know what it is, we all do. Right? Everyone knows. It's...bad people, doing bad things. Or, it's an evil beast, or a supernatural force. Or something. Right? But, just what is, evil? Is it Pol Pot? Saddam Hussein? Bin Laden? Your neighbor? Your brother or your sister?

I wrote Death of Heaven with the intent I've had since I started writing. To bring surprise and affect to the reader. To effect and infect them with a shudder, a scare, a roller coaster ride. But also to write in a way that is an event that includes a journey and not just a destination. Apparently, according to this review, I may have succeeded. But that's not really why we're here.

Death of Heaven was my attempt to give readers another way to view the World as well as our History as a whole, in a completely new and before unconsidered way. In my first book, a collection of my short stories called, Anthology of Evil, my orientation was to exhibit evil in ways other than what we see evil personified as now a days; and to make it interesting. Mostly anymore we see simple slash and gash stories, especially in the cinema. Albeit perhaps a little more complex than in years previous.

Still and all, I do like gory movies and stories as much as the next Horror aficionado. But evil exists in many forms, not few. Not just in the most gross and immediately horrible ones. Perhaps part of the problem now a days is that we tend only to recognize evil at it's most base, that of murders or cannibalism. But evil exists mostly in this world in far more common forms. Forms in fiction that are still entertaining and something to be explored. These forms have taken the backseat for far too long, and they are finally clawing their way back.

For a quick example of what I'm talking about, perhaps a summary of the stories in "Anthology of Evil" would help.

In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear - In the near future, a world famous surgeon is called upon save a life. A simple thing for him in many cases but in this case, he faces a bizarre condition and a genius with his own remedy. And so he meets up with his late son's best friend. Through the course of the story the surgeon does his Hippocratical best to help save his his son's friend. Through his actions and with the best of intentions, slowly the country and the world begin to change. In its way it is a far more horrible story of social horror than any slasher film or zombie story. The evil in this story is in the social change that takes place, how good intentions can end up with evil endings and how easy it can be sometimes, to find yourself thinking in ways you would have considered insane not that long ago.

Gumdrop City - Falling back on the serial murderer trope (as in a common or overused theme, or trope), what would be a parent's worse nightmare? In a story that would lend itself to visuals of horrific things being done to murder victims, my goal was to horror in a completely different way. This story is actually based on a true crime event and the main elements in the story are true. I only fictionalized a drama out of it by using a neighbor to put the reader into what that might be like. The problem in writing this story was in the age of the victims as they were children. How do you tell the story without horrifying people to the point of not even finishing the story? Sometimes the horror is too direct and too hard to experience. It took a long time to work out that fine line. The evil in this story is obvious. Evil intent, and actions.

Quantum History - In this story about a physics experiment gone awry, a man is changed in ways inexplicable and humorous in this comedic take on the standard science fiction experiment gone wrong trope. The evil in this story comes from who the protagonist changes into and how that is affecting his wife. And others. The evil in this story is very indirect and comes from the character and history involved in the story with a kind of Mel Brooks slant on things.

The London Mea Culpa Document - A found document is briefly discussed. It talks like a report on something and about what had been found, its history, who found it and how it affected his professional career. The evil in this is how the man was treated over confusion and misauthenticion in a scientific, academic community. Offered next is the document itself. As a side note, the story of the man who "found" the document is told in my book, "Death of Heaven" as "Vaughan’s Theorem".

The Mea Culpa Document - In a found document in England as described in the previous story, we learn from a Medieval witch hunter and Judge of the Inquisition about the single most important event in his life. That might be enough evil right there considering his professional standing, but he then ruminates in the document about his late Master and role model, as he finds himself unbelievably to be in a similar situation to the one that killed his mentor. The evil here is in one's own ignorance (especially where it is opted for) and self-involvement.

Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer (To A Question He Knever Knew") - In another story set in Medieval times, a Lord has been tasked to take a sword to the enemy of his family as a pay off and acknowledgment of subservience. What ensues is a mixture of insanity, time travel and a splitting of a man and history. The evil here is in society and how individuals can suffer for their merely being human.

Sarah - An old woman has Alzheimer's Disease. Though she lives with her daughter's family, she is pushed aside because of her illness and "reality". It is a disease that takes your mind, twists it and in some cases, the worst cases, can lead to horrible things. The evil in this is in how her disease keeps her family from treating her like the strong minded women she once was, and in how her mind is broken by the disease in bizarre ways. Evil is not always done by a person, a God, or Nature. It is at times done by something else. It is sometimes done by things we cannot understand and never will.

The Fall - Love just forces us to be crazy sometimes. Crazy forces us to love sometimes. In a very short story about love and love lost, the evil here is in one's attachment to one's desires. And some extra crazy.

Japheth, Ishvi and The Light - Exploring the Zombie trope in this story, one of the elders of a self-sufficient religious commune clashes with his relationship with God, just as the Zombie Apocalypse hits the world. A team of military specialists in this kind of scenario (zombies that is) stumbles upon the situation and what you would expect to happen, happens. But then again, not in the way you might expect. The evil in this is obvious, but also not. Zombies are obviously evil, but so is the protagonist's views on life and what sets him up for what happens next.

Andrew - This is the final story in the book, paranormal in nature, and a novella. It also sets the stage for my book, "Death of Heaven". It is the story of a young child, five years old, who suffers and survives a horrific car accident. His good minded Aunt and Uncle take him in, but he is silent in his world now, having trouble even realizing anyone else is there. But he is not alone. All the other characters in the story want something from him. What they want is beyond anything we see in life. Powers that are beyond imagination are involved leading to unimaginable consequences; some in this novella, some continued in "Death of Heaven". The distance between these two stories is vast, so you'll be surprised if you read "Andrew" and then minutes later start "Death of Heaven".

Those are the stories in "Anthology of Evil". Those are the forms of evil in those stories. I've begun a second book on this theme in a similarly titled book. One of these days, I'll release it. But there are many forms of evil. And some are silent, no one ever knows of them, except we do. In our life. We may have to recognize it, and perhaps no one else will see them, or understand them. And if that is the case, then we will have to live with it ourselves, alone, and suffer to bear it until the day we die.

Consider that the person next to you also holds secret one of these evil things from their past. We all do. We may try to forget them, but they are there. We may not have recognized them. But they were there. It may be an evil secret not even about them, but their own personal tiny or immense horror that they have to pull all through life with them in privacy, perhaps painful privacy. Perhaps, not so painful privacy. Some of those people, perhaps sitting right next to you, may not only have one of those evil secrets from their past, but it may continue on right now, and far into the future. Because after all, only mere seconds ago, is our past.

As an example of a different kind of evil, there is a story I published on called, Expedition of the Arcturus (also available as an audiobook), which connects with a certain kind of political evil. [By the way, there are bad links for this story going to from when the story was first published there. These links actually go to the current story for the current month in the magazine. Next month will have a new short story in that position. My story there has been archived as the March 2013 issue.]

Expedition of the Arcturus is a story about Earth's first generational space ship. It is sent on a seventy-five year mission with families to populate another planet. Things behind the scenes are in motion and the evil truly is in that. There is no violence in this story, but in the end, the truth leaves you with a realization of what we do to others in the hope of serving the better good. How our concern for the masses can leave us with little concern for the few. Is it right? Or not?

Evil comes in many forms. It is not always in the actions of the mugger, the murderer, or the corporate swindler. There are a lot of good stories out there and to always seek the most violent, the grossest, or the most disturbing stories all the time is to inure oneself to a wide variety of drama, moments most poignant and well, seriously messed up, fear invoking. But a steady diet of the overt and obvious will keep you from enjoying the finer nuances in the realm of Horror.

Typically this is the purview of the younger viewer or reader seeking the bigger, the wilder. And surely that is fun for all of us in various ways, especially as a fun change. But it's too easy to fall into the trap. Much as Hollywood does in its films. Always having to be bigger (but better?), louder, wilder, it leads to eventually a genre becoming a parody of itself. It also "dumbs" us down. It spoon feeds you your horror. So once in a while we need to jump ship and experience the darker side. Which ever side that would then put you on.

As for Death of Heaven, I believe I have succeeded in my original intent, backed up by this review, as I mentioned earlier. The evil in this book is intense, mostly obvious and everywhere. Literally. If the stories in Anthology of Evil seemed at times tame to some, Death of Heaven will not (read the review for more color on that). In this book, there is nowhere to hide. The Horror is everywhere. But I tried to run the gamut from obvious to subtle, as I wanted to write something that would affect anyone, on various levels and with various intensities.

And so I continue to write stories in an attempt to always try and slip the knife in slowly, pressing in with precision, sneaking it into just that specific point in the body that will do the most appropriate damage for whatever is the present sick situation.

Quick death or slow pain? It's whatever the moment calls for.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Death Throws of Theistic Nations

When your government starts talking about there needing to be a new leader of the Nation's morality, you KNOW the government is in trouble. Because whenever they are in trouble, they always start going back to the basics we all thought we had evolved beyond: morality and religion.

We've been hearing this from the conservative right for a long time now. And look how they are doing. It's been killing the GOP. And in their current incarnation, good riddance.

The real issues are almost hands down that the government, the politicians, the legislators, the leaders have yet to catch up with the morality of the Nation as a whole. We have been held captive but a sad conglomeration of conservative, theist group of Fascists.

As a people we are evolving, but leaders usually do not. They are always slow to change and tend to get old and stuck in the ways they believe work to keep them in office. It's not that the Nation has lost it's way and that the leaders need to draw the Nation back into the folds of those "Holy Know Betters". It's that the leaders need to lead the direction the Nation is headed and show the best way to go in order to achieve that. Yet, they almost always fail in that task, even though that really is the task they were hired to do in the first place. To Lead.

So when you consider the few Nations left in the world that aren't secular, you can be pretty sure they are on the way out and it's only a matter of time. Iran is on the way out. Islam is on the way out, it just doesn't seem like it because of the violent temperament of those hardliners in those Gangs of God. But we also see this in Nations like North Korea, right, some of you might say. And they are secular. Not really. They are a kind of Earthbound theism. A twisted form of the ancient ancestor worship traditionally common in that area of the world. They worship their leaders, who remain in power even after death.

The counter intuitive thing about a secular government is that it allows for more freedom of religion / morality. The problem there being that it also allows for the other kinds of thought, of belief, to prosper. Which is the problem those leaders are having in going that direction. That it isn't JUST THEIR morality or religion that would prosper, but that of others who also live in their Nation.

The problem with the world's few surviving theistic Nations that are now in their religious / morality death throws (and yes these could take decades to finally die), is that during this period of their Nation's Phoenix rising (which many leaders will do anything to avoid acknowledging), they become a very, very ugly thing indeed. Why?

Try holding someone's head under water and see how hard THEY struggle for that last, final gasp. Still, it is the people of their Nation who truly suffer, and far more than the Leaders usually ever do. Except for those few leaders who do pay the ultimate price for their selfishness, greed and narrow-mindedness, who at times allow their Nation its truly sad, yet fresh air to breathe. How long will this world have to suffer the death throws of those like Assad in Syria? Or the twisted government of Iran? Or that of the government of North Korea that also seems now to be on the way out.

It will happen. It's only a matter of time.

The only hope at this time that the people of these Nations have (and the World in general) is to know that one day, all the sooner for the harder they work and sacrifice for it, these theistic nations will one day go the way of the dinosaur and perhaps exist only in History as a kind of intellectual fuel for our descendants of how not to run a Nation and put down the masses for the benefit of only the egos of those few in power.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review of Death Of Heaven - Horror on an Epic Scale

My blog for this week is admittedly self serving and fully selfish on my part. I've also had a rough week, last week with eighteen hour days and I'm exhausted. But, I received some great news and I'm here to share it with you.

My Horror book, Death of Heaven, became available back in early 2012. I've tried to get a reviewer to review it and today I received notice that a Lynn Worton has reviewed it, posted the review on Amazon and so it is now available to the public.

Good or bad, there it is.

So, please feel free to take a look and please feel free to act accordingly.

Whatever that may be.


Monday, July 8, 2013

So what if you're fat? Isn't it more important to feel good about whoever you are instead?

First off, my ebook giveaway lasts thought today so if you haven't yet downloaded these stories of Horror and (okay, one of) Comedy, jump in and grab what you like. See my July 4th blog for details.

I was just watching "Branded" (2012), a curious film that points out a few things and gives an interesting visualization of it in the last half of the film. I won't go into it so as not to give spoilers, but suffice to say that an individual's activities feed the bigger picture, and that feeds the desires of the individual in a vicious cycle that needs to be broken. There's too much going on to discuss it all here, but it evokes some questions. Here's one.

There is a push now a days for us to not follow marketing campaigns about our looks, to accept who we are, how we look. I've always felt a need to be very careful about being satisfied with oneself. To accept, to be satisfied with oneself is to settle for mediocrity when you could achieve more if you weren't satisfied with how one is. We need not be obsessive about our need to be more than we are, but we also do not need to be fully satisfied. I understand the argument that we can be satisfied without being fully satisfied but we tend to always go too far with things. We need an instability in our nature to maintain an equilibrium. To be satisfied, then not satisfied as we and things in our lives, change. Acceptance leads to easily to complacency.

We've heard for a while now that being thin is Wall Street's way to make us spend money on products to make us look "their kind of beautiful". I'm sure there's some truth in that. Actually I'm sure there's a lot of truth in that.

Still, it's more okay now to be overweight because our mental feelings have become more important than our "physical feelings". Should we feel okay that we're overweight? Should we allow ourselves to think that it's okay to be obese? Should we try to be unrealistically thin? Or should we just try to be, thin? Is thin more beautiful than fat? What's the decision point in that? By accepting people as who they are (in the case of being fat), aren't we simply accepting them as fat? IS that okay? For them, or for us, or for our society? Surely we shouldn't be mean toward overweight people, but should we allow it to be something we accept as "okay"? Isn't that kind of like "throwing in the towel" and surrendering? Isn't that even more unhealthy than accepting it as okay?

I guess a lot of the question here is, is it now bad to openly hold a position against something that is bad for us, and allow others to know that is their situation? Or, have we become so politically correct that this is no longer acceptable, or possible?

This is like another well known situation concerning children. Once long ago, if a child was alone in a store acting badly, an adult could chastise them, could "straighten them out". Try that now and that adult could land up in jail, or a fist fight. As a young kid one in the 1960s, I got "read the riot act" at a store for my doing something I shouldn't have been. My mom walked up, heard from the old lady what the situation was and she THANKED HER for basically doing her job, as she said to the woman. Then when the woman walked away, it was as if both her and my mother, and likely any adult nearby us, seemed like a cohesive band of authority figures.

But getting back to America's weight problem, who does the situation reward anyway? Are we healthier when we are being overly concerned to be thin, or in being unconcerned about being overweight? That is, did we spend more money on healthcare say maybe in the 1960s for thin related issues when women were so concerned about their looks, or now where apparently many aren't concerned enough about their looks and America is overweight? The question there is, which is REALLY worse for us? It would be interesting to see a real accounting of which was worse financially. And of course we'd have to include the mental health issues on both.

Remember that many anorexic behaviors are attributed to a strict religious upraising, or certain types of jobs as that with models and actresses. It would appear that on the former way of thinking, the cosmetic industry is rewarded while on the latter, the healthcare industry is. But should we aspire to being thin, or fat? Or is a mediocrity best of being semi overweight? What is even meant by "overweight" has also changed with the Zeitgeist. Should "overweight" be having more fat than is necessary, or more fat than is healthy? Surely we have the right in this county to be fat, or not, but as an indicator what is really best for everyone?

What direction are we really headed in now? This all seems to be a mere "glance at" by our government and our population. As I recently mentioned elsewhere, back in the early 20th century you almost had to pay to see a "Fat Man" in a Circus sideshow. Now, who would pay to see what  is all around us, on the streets of all of our cities? What happened?

Here is another important thing to consider and one that we do not consider quite enough. Some of us try "hard" to lose weight yet we don't put any real effort into it. Not effective effort, just, effort. But putting "just effort" into things that do not really do much other than cause us a lot of effort, simply gets us us nowhere. In fact, it may get us less than nowhere as we eventually want to give up.

Typically we want to maintain our life as it is, yet still lose weight to get in shape. For some of us, it's like that old adage where you do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. It's just, crazy. To change you really have to make changes. Really, the best time for this change is when you are young, just starting out, maybe starting a family. Don't get caught up in that "American Dream" fiasco that can make you in the end, fat and sedentary, and too rushed to LIVE Life. Because before you know it, you will find you truly ARE trapped.

To be honest, fat really isn't necessary in a modern society. Not as it was in the times of prehistory when it truly had a purpose. Being healthy is about a lifestyle, not an "effort". It's not about being fat or thin, though I would argue that thinner is better than fatter, too thin is not, too fat is not. It's what you can live with and what is simply physically healthy and best for you. And it's different for everyone, only you can decide that, with help from those who know and don't simply make guesses or wishes about it.

But as Humans tend to be OCD about things, latching on and over doing, or obsessing about what we choose to do, we do need to be reasonable about our choices. But we need to make these choices, on considered thought, on educated thought and on motivated thought. We need to monitor ourselves and our choices and adjust every so often. A little paranoia is healthy, too much is easily unhealthy. There is no easy, pat answer in life. It's in ongoing process of continuing existence. And that's too much for some people and they find solace in eating, or drinking, or whatever.

We also need to consider how over our entire history as Humans, we have developed and how we live now. Being "healthy" isn't about feeling good about being fat, nor obsessing to be completely thin, or not even a happy medium therein. But in having the right amount of fat on our bodies as we need, which frankly is nowhere near as much as most of us carry around with us. Something that as a collective whole, wears on our national infrastructure and our pocketbooks.

With all of our time being sucked out of our lives by jobs and families, we need to get back to the basics, and design our lives to begin with from the start, to allow us to be healthy, to have the time to live that way, and to live like we want to live. Eating and exercising to be healthy. Eating (and moving) to live, rather than living to eat. And to finish out that reference to moving, sadly we're not living to move.

Which just might make a lot of this a non issue.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July! How About A Horror eBook Giveaway!

Happy Fourth of July, Independence Day Celebration and Holiday weekend (for some of us) eBook Giveaway!

Andrew - Horror novella with paranormal overtones
As I mentioned, "Andrew" led to "Death of Heaven"
Book Video Trailer

Gumdrop City - Serial Murder Horror
This is also published in The Undead Nation Anthology and is being worked on as a screenplay
Book Video Trailer

Japheth, Ishvi and The Light - Zombies & Religion
Also published in my Anthology of Evil
Book Video Trailer

In Memory, Yet Crystal Clear - Sci Fi Social Horror
Book Video Trailer

Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer to a Question... - Medieval Surreal Horror
Book Video Trailer

Sarah - Surreal Horror with Geographical overtones
Book Video Trailer

Quantum History - Comedy/Sci Fi
Book Video Trailer

These are the ebooks I'm giving away over the next five days on starting tomorrow for Independence Day (Browncoats, don't cringe....). These will be free through all day Monday.

All are weird little short stories except for Andrew which is a novella and a kind of foundation for my book, Death of Heaven. The novella and the book at least to me, are very different kinds of animals, yet one grew from the other.

Have a great Holiday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Life is not TV, not even Reality TV. One shot one kill? Good luck with that.On the other hand....

Here is an interesting article: Enter the ‘Stopping Power’ Debate: 5x ‘one shot’ did not ‘stop’. It links to an FBI report: "EPIC - Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST) Project FOIA Request". I collect these things from a writer's perspective because I want my fiction to be accurate. But what you learn in knowing these kinds of things, translates quite directly to your personal life.

I've always kept in my mind when writing fiction or in life for that matter, that when you expect someone to die they don't, just won't. And when you don't want them to die, they generally do. Even if it's not true, it's an effective way to think. And it always makes for a more interesting story.

If ever you shoot someone in trying to kill them, in realty you may very well find that they just won't die. You have to be very focused to make that happen and have even a little luck sometimes. Now if you spray someone with machine gun fire, you'll probably kill them. But that's not quite what we're talking about here.

On the other hand, if you get, let's say, in a bar fight, one blow and the sucker could drop dead either from the strike, the fall, or any number of things. He could have had a brain aneurysm and was going to die in a day or so anyway, but now you could be up on charges for murder.

Stop me if I've told you this one before.

I once was visiting a new bar in Kent, Washington with my (now ex) wife and one of her her girlfriends. We lived in a nice little community east of Kent called, Covington. But this one night we were checking out a bar that had darts in Kent, which had always been known for it's troubled communities. As with most places, it has good areas and bad. This wasn't a bad area.

Let me just say, I don't see myself as a "tough guy". Though people have moved out of my way walking down the street before, maybe because being 6'2" and 200 pounds gives you some perspective in walking through a crowd. Whatever it is, I'd call myself a coward simply repressed by notions of Ethical behavior and just Good Manners.

Anyway, after about half an hour at this bar I got up to go to the rest room. Then when I closed to rest room door I noticed two drunk jailbirds had walked over to our table and were talking to my wife and her friend. Not wanting to be rude, or jealous, I walked up and stood there for a minute, listening to the girls cut these guys up verbally pretty and wondered why they were taking it. It didn't take long to realize the ladies didn't want these guys bugging them. But the two of them were having so much fun chewing these guys up with cuts and slams to their egos, I wasn't quite sure what to do. Rule number one is acquire enough information to react appropriately. Too many jerks react first then get the info, but by then it's too late if they're wrong and possibly they could wind up being the bad guy.

On the one hand, if I jumped in and started telling these guys to get lost, I might provoke them, and also provoke the girls. "Hey, we were having fun tearing those two idiots apart and they asked for it." Okay, then. So on the other hand, if I just stood there, well, so I just stood there. I wanted to see where this was headed anyway. Till I got tired standing around and wanted to sit down.

So, I tried to sit down. But I couldn't sit down because one of the guy's was in the way. I moved my chair and oh God, I bumped him. He bristled and looked hard at me. I looked back at him, then at my chair, then back at him and said, like I was a little confused, "This, is my chair, I just want to sit down." He stared at me, then realization hit his eyes and he suddenly was almost nice and said, "Sorry". I sat down and they continued.

Pretty quickly though it turned into harassment and it was obvious this wasn't going to end well. I worked at the University of Washington back then and I regularly played racquetball and worked out at the same UW gym that the Husky football team used. They had great weight sets there. But I can handle my own pretty well. Not that I want to, I just wanted a beer and to play darts. With two very attractive ladies. One who was mine to get all romantic over, and these two guys were basically "damaging my calm".

So I started to get more involved. Now all five of us were saying things, one at a time, it wasn't like it had degenerated yet into a full out melee. Through the course of our interaction it became clear that they were blue collar jailbird types when one guy said, "I know all the guards at King County Jail really well", from having been incarcerated there multiple times, which he then made clear. It became apparent they were pushing for a fight because I had two very attractive women with me (my wife and her friend) and they had none. And understandably so.

Through our "talk" I tried to diffuse the situation. I've always been very good at that Though I wasn't too worried, nor was my wife. Who, even with her knee in a cast from a horse training accident, she would have joined in being the cowgirl she was at twenty-two. But she knew I'd started martial arts in grade school and was carrying a handgun that night (which I've never used, only shown a few times in my lifetime and never had to pull out.

I've always been a believer that if you pull it you have to be ready to use it, in fact, only pull if it you will use it. Intent is telegraphed to the assailant and maybe then, you won't have to shoot. It's honestly been useful in just knowing that there was a backup available just in case I needed it and, if I thought I was being abused to the point of dying, I had an equalizer.

But I also always believed that I should never pull it out unless it was to equalize the situation, or take control if need be. I've found many times in my lifetime that it is better for me to be in control than other's around me. That being said, a few times I've just kept my mouth shut because I thought someone else was actually handling the situation as well or better than I would. It's not about ego, it's about achieving the mission, peace, in the end.

Getting back to the bar, at one point one guy looks at me and says, "What do you have against a friendly bar fight?" Really. "Friendly"-- bar fight. So I asked him.

"Do you realize how easy it is to kill someone? One misplaced punch, one slip on the floor, accidentally hitting your head on something hard, the bar, the floor, a chair, and it's very easy to just accidentally kill someone in a "friendly" bar fight. So I simply choose to not be involved in bar fights if at all possible. I came out here tonight to have some fun, relax. Ending the night with someone possibly severely damaged is not my idea of a good time."

Obviously, I didn't tell him the other half of that way of thinking. That being that it can also be very hard to kill someone. That flashed through my mind at the time, but I had more imminent matters at hand. I also didn't give him my usual spiel as I wasn't trying to humiliate him or make things worse. That was, if someone can push me into a fight, I'm going to try to kill them as quickly as possible. If that's what they are into, let's do it. It's really hard to make me angry and if someone can achieve that, maybe the deserve whatever comes next.

Believe it or not, I've had that statement end a few bar and street fights before they got started. Look, I'm not into fighting for fun so I figure if you're dumb enough to push me into it, we're going to make the papers.

So anyway, oddly enough he actually thought about what I told them, for a moment. Then he nodded and said, "Yeah, you're right, I see your point." Which both surprised and confused me.

Then the two of them just-- walked away.

Amazing. I had actually convinced them that a "friendly" bar fight as they had put it, could be a very dangerous thing and rather than having a good punch out, you could end up in jail for life for murder, or at least charged with manslaughter.  I really had thought this fight was going to happen no matter what. It had just had that feeling at first.

Either way, it wasn't my idea of how to end a pleasant evening. But I had somehow diffused the situation. I'll admit, I'm pretty sure about half of this kind of thing is in the delivery and timing. I mean, if ten people were in my place and all said the same exact words, I'm pretty sure a fight would have happened anyway for some.

On a side note, two months later we returned. Hey, as it was a really nice bar and had lots of good electronic dart boards, a game which I'm pretty good at. This time my wife and I were there with different girlfriend of hers (also quite attractive) and of course the same two drunks were there and lucky us, they recognized us almost as soon as we sat down.

Once we noticed them, we almost turned around and left. But we thought, "Naw, it couldn't happen twice in a row. What are the odds we'd run into them, and what then are the odds they'd be drunk and in the same frame of mind, again." Well, as it turned out (and perhaps yes, we should have known), the odds were pretty good.

Needless to say sadly, that was the last night we went there. But first we had to deal with it all over again. More interesting end this time though. Once they finally got tired of harassing us (yes, I can't believe I talked my way out of a fight with the same guys twice), they wandered over to the bar to pick a fight with some poor cute girl at the bar. Not happy about it I was about to wander over there when suddenly, a rather staunch lesbian stepped in who had just entered with her own girlfriend. She was bigger than the girl, barely smaller than the guys.

She got right in their faces and barked out, "Pick on someone your own size. You want a fight, go for it! Here I am." The poor girl in question was shrinking and the female bartender was just stunned like a dear in headlights. At that point though I was ready to help her out if needed since I had already been unwillingly enlisted in this stupid "fight club". Though I suspected she really might not need my help and might even resent it. I've been in that situation before. Where a woman was going to fight some guys and I stopped it and to this day, twenty five years later, she still resents my stepping in at her house party.

But the guys just backed down and walked off. So yes, I have to assume now that they might have been harmless. But you don't know that at first (or second?). And a bar fight can very easily go very wrong though many people just don't realize it. It's not that hard to break a jaw, or worse.

Had I taken him out back and set out to kill him, yes it's quite possible I could have beaten and shot him and yet he may have survived. After all, Destiny doesn't always grace us with our desires and it's part and parcel of what makes life so... interesting. Don't you think? I'm no Rambo. I mind my own business and I try not to hurt anyone, but if pushed I'll walk that path to where ever it takes me.

People just don't always die as expected. Consider the film, Blood Simple. Or Blue Velvet as interesting examples of characters who didn't die as expected and added so much to the color of those films or in the former example, structured the entire storyline. Those kinds of deaths really happen. Life isn't what you see on TV. One blow doesn't usually knock someone out. One shot does not usually kill someone. Sometimes in a "friendly bar fight" someone does die, and not usually people can have lifelong issues stemming from that fight.

In Blue Velvet a bad cop is shot in the head and killed, yet continued to just stand there alive but brain dead. Sure, brain dead is good enough but the point is still valid. What you expect isn't always what happens. It's much, much easier simply not to try to kill someone, but if you do want to kill them, you have to try very hard and be very accurate in your attempt. When you're in war, there is a lot of spraying bullets and blowing things up. But one on one, it's an entirely different matter.

The concept of one shot one kill is mostly for snipers and professionals who also have this problem but are more skilled at raising the odds in their favor. Still, when a typical individual tries to kill, or perhaps even means not to, it's just not unusual for the object of their intentions to escape them. Life is real and it's good to know the real from the fiction.

And like I said, it always makes for a more interesting story.