HOW TO BEAT UP …
You see them, you admire them, you deal with them every day. Chances are fairly good you actually are one. If that’s true, chances are even greater that you’ve angered one. When push comes to shove—as it always does—the following information will prove to be quite valuable to you.
Not, like, more valuable than gold or anything. I mean you won’t be able to barter with it, or turn it into jewelry, but valuable nonetheless. God! Stop comparing everything to gold already.
HOW TO BEAT UP A MAN HANDCUFFED TO A STAINLESS-STEEL BRIEFCASE
Here’s a random tactic you should try sometime. It actually works with most of the entries in this book. Climb up a tree not far from where you know your quarry will be walking. Then, when they walk by, unexpectedly jump out of the tree, landing on top of them.
Jumping out of a tree is not as easy as it sounds. People in movies seem to have the uncanny ability to predict where people will walk, so they pull this move off quite often. I suppose you could overhear your quarry talking in a cafe saying something like: “Oh, the maple tree? I walk by that maple tree all the time. I plan to today, in fact. When? Well, that’s a rather odd question. Eleven minutes from now, if you must know.”
If you do happen to have this information, it’s something to think about, but in this situation the man handcuffed to a stainless-steel briefcase will already be on high alert, so proceed with caution. I mean, you don’t handcuff a metal briefcase to your wrist because you’re expecting things to go smoothly.
The actual contents of the case will go a long way toward determining the fight’s course. If the case has a high-tech weapon inside it, he may go for it at the first sign of trouble. For instance, let’s say he’s carrying some sort of lightweight, death ray, laser gun, mini-torpedo device? I’m not a weapons expert, so it’s pointless for me to speculate much further … but if he had a hammer with a knife blade instead of a handle (you grip the head), or a hat that shoots tiny missiles containing knockout gas, or a catcher’s mitt that’s been dipped in iron, then had spikes glued to it, or a machete? Again, I’m not a professional armorer, so I’ll stop there … Okay, one more. Or a lasso that’s actually electrified wire? If he had any of these in the case, he’d take it out and use it.
If he attempts to shield the case from you using his own body, that means the case contains a valuable, not a weapon. Possibly bars of Nazi gold, or a diamond necklace. Or perhaps a single giant diamond, so large and lustrous that it would make the Hope Diamond weep with jealousy. If the Hope Diamond could see, and then somehow saw this … and also had a basic understanding of what diamonds were, and that it was one of them, and that this one was better … Man, would it weep. I bet you could sell its tears, too. But I’m getting sidetracked.
Or, he could be carrying a rare animal, or an unhatched dinosaur egg … Maybe the cure for polio? I mean, I know we already have one, but maybe this one is cherry flavored …
Hmm. This is getting annoying now. WTF do you think he has in that case? He’s too good for a backpack? He puts whatever is soooooo important into a backpack, no one would ever bother him. Are we not supposed to wonder? That case, all burnished metal and sharp lines, perfectly put together, catching the light just so … We need to find out what he has in that damn case.
The best way to handle this is to approach him, then tell him you already know what’s in the case, and ask him to hand it over. He won’t believe you. But you just play that game of insinuating that not only do you know, you know he doesn’t know. He’ll balk at that. When he does, ask him to prove it, by telling you what’s in the case. When he says, “No,” tell him you knew he was a liar.
Then start dropping vague hints referencing the possible contents:
“So … antimatter. It’s always so negative, right? Why do they even use it?” Did his eyebrows rise?
“Ah, the corpse of the last Smurf to ever exist on Earth … wonder if they’ll be able to clone him?” Did he nervously shift his weight?
“That’s so odd, that they’re making you carry around twelve tiny nesting briefcases that fit inside each other.” Did he make a run for it?
If he reacted with any of the above, you’re on to something. Continue guessing until you get close, forcing him to attack you just to silence you. Grab the suitcase as soon as you can, then yank it, manipulating the man’s hand so that he punches himself in the face. If he gets free, look out, he might swing the case like a ball and chain. Most importantly, when you defeat him and open the case, contact the author of this book immediately and tell him what was in there. Was it a tiny, talking mouse that grants wishes? It was, wasn’t it?
HOW TO BEAT UP A MAN CARRYING A BAGUETTE
As we all know, a man carrying nothing but a baguette instantly becomes 20 percent more jaunty than he would otherwise be. What you may not know is how to turn that simple fact to your advantage.
Let’s look at our target. The baguette might seem like a minor detail, but in reality it tells us all we’d ever need to know about the man.
A spring in his step, a bounce in his stride, perhaps even a gleam in his eye. Bordering on devilish, mayhap? This is a guy who cares about quality. He’s likely dressed in a tweed blazer of some sort, maybe paired with a rakish hat (I’m guessing the sort that would look appropriate on a brawling 1920s dockworker, but here is refined with a soft sweater/tie combo).
This is the kind of guy who’s never caught without his sketchbook tucked into his back pocket and is always writing a song in his head. He is most likely whistling, and going a step further he may be in love. He’s thinking of her or him, and he’s got his head in the clouds.
This guy definitely has a favorite organic bakery. But he’ll be happy to tell you the how and why of its recent decline.
If he is in love (and the baguette is a sign that he’s running home to someone, because the thought of one buying a baguette for oneself is unsettling. Though I guess he could be planning to cut the bread lengthwise to make himself a gigantic sandwich, in which case this whole breakdown and character profile would be wrong…) then he’s going to fight back twice as hard, because love is, apparently, a good reason to live. But this is counterbalanced ever so slightly by the fact that our target, most likely, is a nonviolent type and thus totally against fighting.
The way to get the upper hand here is to target the bread. He has absolutely no idea the extent to which you plan on battering him, so his first assumption will be that you’re just some guy who wants to swipe his baguette. As soon as he sees you, let your eyes drift to the bread. Then, once you’re focused on the bread, widen your eyes slightly. Let your mouth drop open, just a bit. Licking your lips in anticipation is also an option here, but I’m hesitant to recommend it due to most people’s inability to make this move anything other than sexual in the best case and disgusting in the worst case. If you’re a subtle type, who knows his way around a flirty exchange, then give it a go.
The man will instinctively pull the baguette closer to his body. Feint toward the bread, then without taking your eyes off it, drill the man with a hard shot, right between the eyes. Use either hand, it’s really your call. (What would I use? The left, but don’t let that sway you, this is your day.) Then, hit him with a big left hook in the same spot. Next, reach out and tear off a hunk of the bread and pop it into your mouth. Why not, right? Let’s be honest, you’re not fighting Thor here, this is merely some dude you spotted carrying a baguette. There’s NOTHING wrong with helping yourself to the food he was carrying. What, you don’t like delicious, fresh-baked items that are soft and supple on the inside, surrounded by a flavorful golden-brown crust? C’mon.
In all likelihood he wouldn’t have eaten it anyway, due to the painful memories associated with the baguette—those of getting his ass kicked while holding it. It would’ve gone to waste or, worse yet, some hobo would’ve gotten it. Ha! The very idea. And what would he have paired it with? Half a can of stale Sprite? Remnants scraped off a rusty tuna can lid? Yeah, you get my point.
The baguette-lover should be unconscious by now. You’re done.
HOW TO BEAT UP A TIME-TRAVELING CAVEMAN
The wind suddenly kicks up on a day that only moments before was as calm as can be. A metallic sphere appears out of nowhere amid a swirl of lightning, then floats to the ground. It looks to be made of steel, without a single flaw, crack, or opening visible. Then a door appears in the side of the sphere. It slides open with a whisper and a faint popping sound. A brief pause, and then a bewildered Cro-Magnon man stumbles out. He looks hungover. He’s dressed in animal skins and holding a large femur bone in his hand. He’s armed with brute strength and base, animal instinct.
And he’s about to get the hell beat out of him. By you.
This is where every hackneyed scene from every fish-out-of-water movie—featuring a wacky foreigner or a Tarzan knockoff, played by some Brendan Fraser type—turns into a way for you to destroy a man. You have the wisdom and technical know-how of twenty thousand years of human advancement. Think about that. Bombs, swords, microwaves, indoor plumbing, TiVo, cotton candy … You have the home court advantage times one thousand. He doesn’t even know what a blender is! That’s not a weapon you’d likely use in a fight with him, but if one showed up he’d probably stick his hand in it. He won’t go more than five minutes before walking into a sliding glass door or clothesline. If you handed him a gun he’d probably put it in his mouth and pull the trigger. Don’t do this. The environment is going to be your secret weapon.
He knows to not touch fire and that rocks are hard. That’s it! Go up to him while he’s gawking at a nearby building. He’ll be pointing and saying dumb-sounding shit that ain’t even words. Uh, no, that’s a building, not an, “Ogmog!” Cuff him behind the ear, then dance around him, staying just out of range. He might charge at you. If he does, unbutton your cardigan sweater, grab it near the lower corners, and flap at him with it like you’re a bat. He’s gonna lose it! Hahaha! look at that dumb look on his face, he thinks you just sprouted wings or something. Did he fall on the ground and squawk in horror? I bet he did. Okay, take off your cardigan. (Or rebutton it, depending on the weather and how you’re feeling. Are you chilly? Keep it on, then!)
Okay, while he’s recovering, get up onto some stilts. Run around yelling at him. Hahaha! Look! You’re suddenly a giant! “Whoooa!” That’s what he’ll be saying. I know you’re not really a giant. Are stilts too hard for you? No problem, get on a bicycle and peddle circles around him. Oh, man, that shit will freak him the fuck out. I bet he thinks you tamed some wild creature who then let you ride him. Nope! It’s just a thing made out of metal, stupid! Oh, that’s right, he doesn’t even know what metal is. Hahahahaha!
All sorts of modern-day devices can be utilized to make your fight with a time-traveling caveman super easy, as well as a lot of fun. Grab from the following list as you see fit. I’ve also included information about how he’ll perceive the device.
AUTOMOBILE (“Strange, wild creature with mighty roar!”):
Just starting your Honda Civic up will cause our large-browed buddy to run for the hills. But when you factor in headlights (eyes like fire!) and the exhaust (more fire!) he’ll be so blown away he won’t even have the sense to get out of the way when you run him over. Not like he’d have had a chance anyway. That Civic can move, baby.
TV (“Prison for tiny humans, like Grok!”):
Just flip it on. He’ll drop down before it like it’s a sacred idol. You think you hate reality TV? His eyes might liquefy from the barrage of humanity’s dark side. Give him a few days, he’ll be telling you thatAmerican Idol is the worst thing since pterodactyl jerky.
LASER POINTER (“Tiny, fast fire!” Note: A lot of our modern stuff looks like versions of fire, if you’re an idiot.):
If you’ve ever seen a cat run around chasing a laser pointer, you know what to expect here. Only substitute a 190-pound, half-naked man covered in filth and bloody yak hides for the cat. If you put the laser on him, he’ll swat and tear at his own flesh in an attempt to get it off. If you point the laser on the side of a far-off mountain, he’ll probably try to climb the mountain and seek it out, to ask it some important caveman question.
LINKING RINGS MAGIC TRICK (“Linking rings magic trick!”):
Rejoice, third rate magicians, we’ve found someone who’ll enjoy your tired antics. He’ll be delighted, again and again, as you link and then unlink your metallic rings. The third time, however, he’ll be just as bored as the rest of us. Okay, you can go now.
FIRECRACKERS (“Zack-tar scream at us! We anger her!”):
This is sort of unfair as even modern-day people like you and I are totally frightened when a firecracker unexpectedly goes off near us. But then we have that moment of relief a second later. “Oh, right, that heart-stopping experience from a moment ago was just a firecracker. I thought for a second that it was end-times.” Not so with our grunting guy pal here. He’ll experience terror, followed by more terror … and then a mounting panic as he wonders if that thing that screeches like an avalanche—that he’s never heard before and can’t remotely identify—will happen again. And the whole time everyone’s all laughing at him and shit.
STICK (“Tree leg.”):
Sure he had sticks in his day, but not like this. So smooth! A stick for everything. Tiny ones for spearing olives, one for making words on paper, a special one just for hitting balls! In his day, he had one stick and it had to do it all. Poke, prod, kill beasts, hiking … Show him your collection of identically smooth and well-manufactured sticks; he’ll be enthralled for hours. At some point, whack him in the neck with one of them. Mission accomplished! Stupid Grok.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY LISTENING TO AC/DC’S “BACK IN BLACK”
In this entry I will be able to provide you with some insider perspective, for I am a man who has listened to the AC/DC song “Back in Black.” Perhaps you have as well? Well, then you know of its power. If you are driving your car when AC/DC comes on the radio, you will instantly begin driving faster. Taking chances, swerving in and out of lanes without realizing it, while pounding in rhythm on your car’s dashboard.
It is a phenomenal song and a powerful weapon. The sound of it causes your blood to pump faster, your senses to sharpen, the aging process to slow, and, sometimes, to reverse. It is also a dangerous tool, much like a firearm or a hammer covered with smallpox. It’s so dangerous I believe it should be outlawed. Not just any yahoo should be able to play this song at their leisure. You should have to go before a judge to plead your case before being allowed to play a song as fearsome as this. You should be required to have a great reason for listening to this song.
“I want to play it while I drink beer and work on my car in the garage.” No.
“I want to play it on the jukebox at my local bar.” Nice try. No.
“Well … my ex-wife cheated on me for five years without my knowing about it. Then she left. After years of heartbreak and tears and disappointment, years of therapy that led nowhere, years of floundering in my life, unsure of how to set things right again, I’ve finally found the apartment of the man who slept with her for all those years. Of course, I want to beat the shit out of him. I have his address and everything. Ahem. I’d like to go over there, kick in the door, and then pummel him. And I’d like to hit play on an iPod playing “Back in Black” at full volume a second before I kick in the door.” Permission … granted.
THAT’S how powerful this song is. Future generations will look at us and our blatant misuse of the power of this song the way we’d look at a society of people running around with shotguns for arms.
Approach your foe, the man listening to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Then approach the sound system currently allowing him to hear the song. Can you hear the song, too? If so, use the magic properties of the song, allowing it to boost your own strength, making the fight an even battle.
Is your adversary wearing earbuds? If so, the powerful, strength-increasing properties of the song can also be made available to you. Slap your foe in the face. Take the earbuds out of his ears, then insert them into your own. Now fight this man, tapping into the powers now available to you as you listen to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
After the fight, are you injured?
If you direct the sound waves of a speaker playing “Back in Black” toward the wound on your body, that wound will heal. Be careful, if you direct it to a spot with no wound, the sound will create one. It is a paradox.
HOW TO BEAT UP A MAN … WITH NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE
Yeah, you’ve heard of this guy. His name is often spoken in whispers. Or in a deep voice, during trailers to movies that I’d walk through fire to watch. Deep Voice: “Rupert Jenkins was a mild-mannered accountant just trying to take his innocent daughter—who never hurt a living thing, and who was innocent—to school … but they had other plans. Plans involving murder. Then they took his wife and kicked his dog before keying his classic car (he was really into classic cars, I guess) and now … he’s a man with nothing left to lose.”
The “nothing left to lose part” implies that the individual in question, having lost everything of importance to him, will go all out, take huge risks, and lay it all on the line in a fight. He’s suffered, which has hardened him into an individual who, quite frankly, does not give a fuck. The “man” part implies his gender—male, or “man”—and that he is not a female.
When you see the man with nothing left to lose portrayed in action movies he has typically lost a wife, child, partner, or all three, usually in a hail of gunfire. You can gauge the intensity of their relationship to the man, by his reaction, which can range from, furtively wiping away a lone tear before abruptly exiting, to cradling the dead person’s body, then screaming their name toward the heavens. Sometimes the word, “no,” is substituted for the name. I prefer alternating screamed bursts, first the name of the deceased, then the word, “no,” then the name, then the word, “no,” again. It just makes it clear to any latecomers on the scene that: a) someone specific has died, and b) what your reaction to it is.
“Nothing left to lose,” could be taken literally. The man could have actually lost everything, including his house, clothes, possessions, etc. He could be dressed in rags. Who cares, you say? Well, a seemingly trivial matter like fashion could turn out to be the difference-maker.
For instance, ever fight a guy in a nice suit? He takes his jacket off before the fight starts, folds it delicately, then sets it out of harm’s way, which leaves an opening for a cheap shot. He fights carefully at long range, so as not to ruin his suit. He’s reluctant to follow you into a coal mine, to finish you off, thus providing you an escape route, if need be.
He could be insecure about the rags. Hoping you’re the kind of guy who’d be “cool” even in a fight situation and not call attention to it by mocking him with: “Hey! Nice rags! Ass! Ever hear of clothes! They’re for wearing, you dummy!” That’s the kind of chatter he’s hoping to avoid. That right there could shatter his confidence, and send him running for the hills.
If he is wearing rags, step two is to rip the rags in several key spots, so they fall away, leaving the man undressed. A suddenly naked man is not a man who is focused on fighting. While his face reddens from embarrassment, quickly dispatch him using several of the body’s pressure points. These are points on the body, which when struck can disable a man. You can find them in the normally covered-up areas of a man, now suddenly exposed. Little known fact: This area is entirely made of pressure points.
If the man isn’t wearing rags, and the whole “nothing left to lose” thing was mainly figurative, then we’ll need a different technique. Rage might sound like a nice tool in a fight but it can be turned against you. He’s going to be reckless, sloppy, and wide open for counters. He’s going to overcommit on every blow. Wait for him to miss, then strike. When he misses and loses his balance, turn him further out of position, then strike again. Be aware of nearby dangers that can be used against him, such as a runway car he can be shoved into or a bridge he can be flipped off of. As long as he is out of control, you are in control. He won’t last long.
There are two schools of thought regarding fight attire. Either you choose something that’s loose and allows movability or, something sleek. If the latter, go with a Lycra, head-to-toe bodysuit, preferably one with a skintight hood on it. It’ll cut down all wind resistance and increase your speed by 8 percent. For some reason, the pink-colored suits are always the cheapest, so go with that one.
If you’re going the loose and comfortable route, think cotton, or any breathable fabric. Something non-chafing, but also something that has been rigged so spikes pop out of it at the push of a button. Also, get one of those long connected magician’s scarves they pull out of their sleeves. Just ’cause they might brighten up your day sometime when you’re bored.
Oh, and learn how magicians are able to hide a rabbit on their bodies, but then instead of a rabbit you hide a wolverine. But he’s only loyal to you. And put him in overalls. JUST DO IT.
HOW TO BEAT UP A BOXER
The boxer is a dangerous opponent. Not one to be taken lightly. Fortunately, I have the key to beating him up.
Ideally, what you would do to defeat a boxer is immediately begin taking lessons in the art of boxing, and then through much practice become better at boxing than your opponent. That way when you eventually fight your opponent, your superior boxing ability will allow you to beat him up or “win” the boxing contest.
Note: Do not ask the boxer you will soon be fighting for the lessons. He is liable to become suspicious, eyeing you carefully while scratching his chin, and saying something along the lines of: “Wait a minute … Why do you suddenly want to learn boxing? Does this have anything at all to do with our upcoming fight?” Then he’ll either clobber you in the snoot or sabotage you by teaching you deliberately ineffective, made-up moves like the “light-as-you-can punch” and the “eyes close, chin expose.”
No good at boxing? Well, then, while failing at it you may have observed that hitting your opponent with a baseball bat is currently illegal in boxing. Get yourself a bat or large stick and hit the boxer with it. He will be unprepared to defend such an attack, and will not expect it. Don’t strike the head, just the arms and chest, to the point where his weapons are no longer functioning, and no longer a threat to you. Then, using your arms and fists pummel the boxer at your leisure until he’s sufficiently beaten up. How much? That’s up to you! Have fun.
HOW TO BEAT UP A FATHER-AND-SON TEAM
I think we’d all agree, one of the most beautiful and rewarding relationships life has to offer is that of a father and his son. It will be an honor for you to damage such a union. Let’s begin.
You know that old myth about twins? How, if you hurt one the other will feel pain, and vice versa? (Popularized by, though probably not originating with, G.I. Joe’s evil twins, Tomax and Xamot … that’s right, there’s something curious about those names, isn’t there? Look closely at them. In fact, write one of the names down on a piece of paper, go into your bathroom, and hold the piece of paper up to the mirror. Now look at the person holding the piece of paper. That person is a zero.)
That myth about twins isn’t true, but it kind of applies to fighting father-and-son teams. Because they have feelings for each other, because they care about each other so strongly, hurting one will hurt the other. (I’m not talking like magic or anything. If you break the father’s pinkie, the son won’t feel pain in his pinkie, he’ll merely feel awful overall. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take it.) Use this to your advantage.
Approach the father and slap him as hard as you can. This will freak the shit out of the son. While the son is distracted, quickly slap him, which will likewise freak the shit out of the father. (Unsure about this? Picture some guy slapping your father. Awful, right?) Repeat this until both father and son’s faces are tear soaked, red, and raw as uncooked hamburger, and they’re begging for mercy. This method only works on fathers and sons that get along. If they don’t get along, you’ll need to keep reading.
Now, the father-and-son team who despise each other is a much tougher foe than the happy-household variety above. First of all, hurting one has no effect on the other, and may even make the other one happy. Second, the kid will fight twice as hard in order to earn the grudging respect of the absentee father who never loved him. He’ll be anxious to show off the punch that his mother’s “special friend” taught him as a reward for not making a fuss when he had to crash with them that one time for a couple of weeks while waiting for his bike shop to get off the ground. The dad will also be fighting hard as he’ll be anxious to show his good-for-nothing kid the old man’s “still got it.”
Divide and conquer, that’s how you take out these two. Temporarily incapacitate the dad (Are you regularly carrying a small vial of mysterious powder you can throw into the eyes of your enemy to blind them? You really should be. They’re easily concealable, cheap, and quite effective. Legendary wrestling manager Mr. Fuji built an entire career on this tactic. Don’t tell me you think you’re better than Mr. Fuji?), then concentrate on the son. His shock at seeing his father blinded and fumbling around with his hands out while screaming, “Damn it, Billy, what’s happening?!? You need to be my eyes!” will have him at 85 percent effectiveness. That should be enough of a disadvantage for you to dispatch him, after which you can quickly finish off the father. Conversely, you could blind both of them and then just have fun punching them and turning them in circles, but that hardly seems fair.
HOW TO BEAT UP THE GUY YOU’RE TRAPPED WITH ON A BAMBOO RAFT
The cruise ship you were on has long since sunk to the bottom of the ocean. You’ve been living on an island with this man for months. Surviving together, bonding, keeping each other alive. Foraging for food, shelter, and a reason to keep on going. Eventually, you decide to build a raft. He knows a bit about carpentry and physics, and you like lashing things together with palm fronds. It’s surprisingly soothing and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Not unlike the Zen-like pleasures you’d often found in the simple act of washing dishes. As a boy, you’d never minded getting stuck with that chore, as your sisters ran outside to enjoy one last game of catch before the sun went down on that sleepy New England town you hail from. You were content to watch them from the kitchen window as you went about your task.…
You built a raft made of hope. You built a friendship. Then you built an actual raft made of wood. But at a certain point you realized THIS GUY WAS ANNOYING THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF YOU.
Sure, he found that stash of coconuts—and was able to get them open using sharp rocks after your plan of slicing into them with large blades of grass failed—no one’s saying that wasn’t awesome. But he just keeps going on and on about it. If not that, then his beautiful wife and warm, hug-loving kids, who he expects to greet him with teary eyes at the homecoming he’s just so sure is happening.
He walks around that island acting like he didn’t forget to cover up the rocks you’d been drawing on with burned banana leaves before the rain came. He said he would and then he forgot and the kitty cat picture you’d been laboring over was lost. All he can talk about is “Why weren’t you keeping an eye on the fire?” which seemed to be THE ONLY THING he was concerned with, once the rain came. Well, we all have to sleep sometimes, right? The rain makes you sleepy—the way it makes plunking sounds on the top of the tree canopy—and he knew this. Him and his dumb, loving family and his ability to create tools and find a way off the island. Fuck him and his rock mural-ruining ass. You spent eleven hours using moss and coconut shavings to craft that hilarious Scary Island Monster costume and what did he have to say about it? Thanks for livening up the island? I appreciate your free-spirited approach to keeping morale high? No. He yelled at you for wasting coconut meat and that edible moss that also heals wounds, which he discovered in that cave. Yes, the one he killed the pig in, the pig that provided dinner for weeks, WHICH HE WON’T SHUT UP ABOUT.
Now you’re four days out into the ocean, water is low, you can’t catch a fish to save your life, which is what you were hoping the catching of the fish would do, actually, and it’s time to show this guy who’s boss. Sure, some would say this isn’t the best time for a physical altercation. Maybe it’s not so wise to eliminate half of your chances for survival over some petty disagreement. No need to act like that scorpion carried by that frog across the river in that parable, right?
Well, I trust your judgment, unlike Johnny-know-it-all. If you say he’s gotta go, I believe you. Here’s how you do it.
Say, “Hey! Is that a ship on the horizon?” He’ll look toward the horizon to see for himself. He’ll turn back, annoyed, and ask, “Where? I don’t see anything.” You’ll then point over his shoulder. When he turns to look again, do not hit him from behind. He’d expect that. He’s ready for it, on some subconscious level even he doesn’t realize.
Wait a moment, then say, “Look! There it is again! The ship.” He’s going to be wary this time, and might frown at you before looking for the ship … shit, you know what? You may have been right, I think you probably should have hit him from behind a second ago. Now it’s just weird. He’s suspicious and definitely going to wonder why you keep telling him to look away. Those of you reading this in advance of your shipwreck, skip what I said about not hitting him when he turns around the first time. THAT IS DEFINITELY THE TIME WINDOW YOU’RE WAITING FOR. Do not dally. Those of you huddled on the end of the raft, reading this book with a hastily thrown-together book cover made from seashells and mango skins, press on. Not much more you can do, I guess. There is definitely an awkward vibe on the raft now, and I feel like it’s at least partially my fault.
When he looks back after once again seeing no ship on the horizon, tell him, uh, you feel sick and clutch your stomach. Tell him you ate some bad fish—NO! Shit, he would be sick, too. Or he’ll think you’ve been hiding fish. Um, say that … you … left something back on the island and need to go back. Yeah! That could work. Tell him you forgot your lucky satellite phone—No, no good! He’ll wonder why you didn’t use it to get help … Okay, tell him you forgot a—no, just … Okay, tell him you see a ship again. Whether he turns around or not, just punch him in the face. Then jump into the water and paddle away as fast as you can, for as long as you can. There’s NO WAY he’ll follow you to punch you back, as leaving that raft and what’s left of the fresh water is certain death. You’ve won! And he will never, ever be able to get revenge on you!
HOW TO BEAT UP A TIME-TRAVELING FUTURE VERSION OF YOURSELF, BACK TO HARASS YOU ABOUT YOUR LIFE CHOICES
You’re just minding your business, hanging out—horizontal on your couch, in nothing but your boxers, watching a repeat of Burn Notice at three o’clock in the afternoon, remnants of a burrito on the coffee table—when out of nowhere you hear it. A sonic whoosh noise followed by the sound of your own voice: “Seriously? This is what you’re doing? This isn’t some performance art piece celebrating sloth in the twenty-first century?”
You turn to see yourself, standing in your kitchenette. He’s older, wears a closely cropped beard, has a microchip where his left eyebrow should be, and he’s got a purple and silver unitard on. In his left hand is his Mark VI time shifter, which is what got him there.
It’s you, from the future! Somehow, years from now you managed to right the wildly off-course ship that was your life and get it into a halfway decent port. Actually, no; take another look at this guy. He still sucks. His future clothes are kinda dingy and torn at the edges, one boot doesn’t match the other, and his microchip just popped off his eyebrow. It turns out time travel is available to everyone in the future—even slobs like you two—and he’s pissed at you for screwing up his life.
He’s going to use his knowledge of you to break your spirit and morale. He knows every move you’re about to make and every bad move you’ve already made.
His first gripe is likely to be: “What the fuck happened?” Honestly, he has a point. It seems likely that you won’t have an answer for this. Instead of hemming and hawing just throw an uppercut. He’ll dodge it effortlessly, because he knows your every move in advance.
Then he’ll hit you with: “Were you even gonna leave the house today? C’mon! And are you still moping over her? That was like two years ago, man. Would she even recognize you?” He might offer a: “We could have done something with our life!” At this point you’ll both break into laughter, as clearly that was not the case. The joviality will be short-lived.
He will block your next three punches, so don’t even bother if you’re tired, which, let’s be honest, you are.
“Why are you still selling office plants online?”
“Shut up, what did you ever do that was so great?!?”
“Nothing! And it’s because of you! At least I had sex with her!” At this point he’ll show you a hologram of a beautiful woman who is robot from the waist down, and then woman again starting at the knees. In the middle of the robotic area is some sort of purple, laser beam vortex. It will be pulsing.
Don’t worry, there’s no way he had sex with that. If you challenge him on it, he’ll stammer (“Well, I could have, probably!”) and then try to change the subject.
Ordinarily an older, slower version of you would be easy pickings, but unfortunately—for you and other sad people—medical science makes significant strides in the next thirty years and future-you took full advantage. He takes a little green pill once a year that restores him to the mid-twenties-you. And there’s a hat that gives you X-ray vision and the ability to turn invisible. Of course, future-you didn’t bring it with him because he’s kind of an idiot, too.
You’re going to need to utilize the “Gilligan’s Island Gambit,” so named because of an episode of the ancient show Gilligan’s Island. A show they no longer watch in the future. In the episode, Gilligan and his fellow castaways were forced to team up with the famed Harlem Globetrotters in a basketball game against another team made up entirely of robots. It’s a story as old as time itself. The robots were faster, and stronger than the Gilligan/Globetrotter team, and thanks to their whirring, conking computer brains, they knew the exact perfect play to execute at any given moment.
I’m not trying to ruin the episode for you, but Gilligan’s team wins. They win by playing in an improvised, illogical manner that the robots couldn’t anticipate. The robots were so confused they eventually broke down … and that episode won more Emmys than any other television show to date.
When facing future-you, select your next move, then do the exact opposite. Thinking of a right cross? Throw a left hook! Planning of leaping toward him? Get down on your stomach and belly crawl! Thinking of an uppercut? Uh, do some other thing that begins with the word “lower.”
Remember, this person is you, so don’t go overboard. You don’t want to maim him, just beat him enough to force him to go back to the future, where he belongs. If during the fight, a brain in a metal case connected to three robotic tendrils shows up and starts yelling for you guys to stop fighting, don’t hurt it, either. That’s you from the way, way future. No, everyone doesn’t look like that in the future, just you. I’m sorry, there was a whole thing.
HOW TO BEAT UP A MAN HOLDING A BOOMERANG
A boomerang or “Brisbane Candlestick” as it’s sometimes called, is a curious weapon. It’s a flattened curved piece of wood or metal, that when thrown flies in a wide arc before returning to the thrower’s hand … WITHOUT USING EVEN THE TINIEST BIT OF WITCHCRAFT. No magic at all! Not even futuristic technology recovered from the wrecked spaceship of a life-form far more advanced than ours. It’s like a regular piece of wood!
A foe with this weapon sounds formidable; I get that, but don’t give up just yet. This foe is fairly uncommon. There’s a reason most of your opponents won’t be utilizing this weapon. The reason is 98 percent of people who’ve ever heard of a boomerang don’t know how to use one, and, in fact, actually doubt that it works. Most people try the boomerang once. Then walk to the spot about a hundred yards off where the boomerang has unsuccessfully landed, pick it up, and never use it gain. Even more people get the boomerang as a gift from a friend who’s recently visited a gift shop. They thank the friend, turn the boomerang over in their hands a few times, then quickly begin forgetting that it ever even existed.
But you could be dealing with the other 2 percent. There are some telltale signs. Like, is he wearing a gaudy costume with multiple pictures of boomerangs on it? Perhaps one prominently painted over the chest? Is he wearing a mask, and is the forehead area of the mask made up of tiny boomerangs where the eyebrows should be? Is his name “Mr. Boomerang” or perhaps Jimmy “Boomerang” Stevens? Then chances are he knows how to use a boomerang. You don’t put on a boomerang-covered ensemble for nothing. There’s a chance any “Mr. Boomerang” you encounter could have gotten the nickname figuratively, after exhibiting boomerang-like behavior in dating or whatnot. But, keep a close eye. If he’s holding a boomerang, feel free to rule that out.
If none of the above is true, congrats, you may just be facing someone whose uncle recently visited Australia. Look for further clues. If they’re also wearing some sort of oil-soaked cowboy hat and are working in so-called Aussie slang, and they’re eleven years old, that’s probably the case. If they’ve got the hat but appear older and look more like Paul Hogan, check to see if you’re actually fighting Paul Hogan.
Your opponent being Paul Hogan, someone from Australia, or a boomerang-themed superhero, increases the odds that you’re fighting someone who knows how to use a boomerang.
First, try to get your adversary into an area smaller than a football field. Anything smaller is just too tight of an area for the boomerang to maneuver. If you accomplish this, you’re pretty much in the homestretch.
There’s a moment right after the boomerang owner lets fly, sending the ’rang into a graceful arc, but before it returns to its owner’s hand, where the thrower turns into an ordinary foe without any weapons whatsoever. It’s like facing a gunman with one bullet, a bullet that needs to travel around three city blocks before hitting you. Strike during this period. At some point, turn around to see if the boomerang is about to hit you. It won’t be, not for at least a few more minutes. Keep punching your foe. Check for the ’rang again. If you see it, duck. Then resume the pounding.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY NAMED LEFTY
You gotta figure he’s a southpaw, so the standard rules for fighting a southpaw apply. Step to your left, keeping your lead left foot outside of his right foot, moving away from his power hand. Forget about your jab and instead throw the right as much as possible.
(This is good advice for just about any time, regardless of where you are, and whether or not you’re even fighting. You should CONSTANTLY be pumping a hard right hand punch into the air around you, as you’re going about your day, at unexpected times, and with NO WARNING WHATSOEVER. A) for practice, and B) to make sure it’s working properly.
Sound crazy? Well, tell me this. Would you get into your car before dropping to the ground and belly crawling under it to see that the brake line hasn’t been cut and is still functioning? No, of course you wouldn’t. Let’s not be ridiculous. Well, this is the exact same thing.)
Now, what else does the name, “Lefty,” tell us?
Well, for starters, he’s led such an uneventful, undistinguished life of middle-of-the-road averageness, that the fact that he was one of the 60 million left-handed people on the planet, was somehow enough of a unique characteristic to brand him “Lefty” for his entire life. Think about that. That’s what he did. HE WAS BORN LEFT-HANDED … and then sometime later, another—no doubt more accomplished—person noticed, and then dubbed him “Lefty.” Guys nicknamed “Red” pity him. At least they had to grow hair.
Although … a second, more challenging possibility is that just the opposite happened. He was a stud. The best of the best who excelled in numerous areas. All in an attempt to rebrand himself in the eyes of his parents who insisted on continuing to call him “Lefty,” after they fell in love with the nickname at an early age. He thrived in many areas … but sadly, all his parents ever saw was a guy whose hand looked weird when he was writing.
Number one at baseball!
Number one at the gun range!
Number one in kung fu!
Some Asian word?
Despite his best efforts to shake it, the rage at carrying this half-assed moniker around year after year could have crafted a tenacious foe who will not go away easily. Whichever category he falls under, you’ll need to break him mentally, to beat him.
Sidle up to him in a rowdy, crowded bar (the Double Deuce?) while wearing a large, red, clown wig. Shrug while exhaling in an everyman’s “I hear that, brother,” way. Introduce yourself as … “Red.” Then tell him your tale of woe, which will involve people calling you Red regardless of all that you accomplished, or strove to accomplish in life. He will sense in you an ally, and a confidant. Possibly even a kindred spirit. His guard will lower slightly, like a car window to a shifty-looking panhandler the moment before a harsh, “Move it along, deadbeat!” is barked. His guard will be intrigued.
After he buys you beer number six, when he’s good and soused, and totally trusting of his new best pal, turn to him suddenly and conk him on the side of the head with the palm of your hand. When he tries to ask you what you’re doing, conk him again. Conk him until he starts fighting back … I’m sorry, this is the right technique, but I have to admit, “conk” is just a fun word to say.
During this fight, you’re going to set off a domino effect of insecurity and doubt within Lefty, that will render him an impotent, quivering mass of humanity. This is how.
At some point during the melee, your wig will fall off. This is a failing of the clown wig manufacturers: Their wigs are just not made to stand up to a pounding. I guess clowns are pretty smug and confident in the feeling that most people won’t attack them; this will be to your advantage. As the wig tumbles off your noggin, Lefty’s heart will drop like a stone. He’ll realize he’s been had. But good.
Lefty: “Why, Red? Why did you lie to me?”
You: “Oh, I have lied, Lefty.… But the lie count is at two.… Not one.”
You: “You see … my name’s not Red.”
The waitress places a glass of milk in front of you.
Lefty: “What about your lactose intolerance?!? Another lie?”
You: (Dead-eyed stare, as you drink the milk.)
That sound you hear is the fight going out of ole Lefty. Finish your food … and then finish him. The coroner’s report will read “subdural hematoma”… but you and I know Lefty died of a broken heart.
Broken from punching.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY HELPING A SCARED KITTEN OUT OF A TREE
Oh, really? Does attacking a man helping a kitten sound horrible to you? I’m sorry, I thought we were in the “How-to-Beat-Up” business, not the “cupcakes and pretty unicorns” business. (Yes, I know the membership cards say, “Cupcakes and Unicorns Association,” but as I said, that was a printing mistake. Deal with it.) Maybe you don’t have the heart for this. Or the balls. Or the stomach. Come to think of it, I think you’re missing numerous body parts crucial to winning battles.
If the mere fact that a man is helping a sweet-faced, fur-covered ball of heavenliness will stop you from punching him in the forehead, I’m not sure you’re cut out for this. I guess, if you really need motivation, you could imagine the man intends to do harm to the kitten. And honestly, who’s to say what he’s done in his life, prior to deciding to help out an innocent, sparkly eyed slice of adorable. He could be evil. Helping one kitten does not wipe out a lifetime of violence and tyranny (the judge was quite clear on this).
The main point is, conjure the motivation you require because at some point in your life you might need to fight a man helping a scared kitten out of a tree. In fact, I can almost guarantee it.
Wait for the man to begin climbing the tree before you strike. Kill time by milling about with the other concerned onlookers, occasionally looking up at the kitten and saying something like: “Man, it sure is pleasing to my eyes, how he approximates human emotions with his animal-head. It’s almost like he has greater intelligence than science tells us is possible.… That l’il S.O.B.… He’s got some nerve acting like a people, but I for one like it.” Feel free to read grammatically inaccurate sayings attributed to cats, as found on the Internet, in the voice of the stuck kitten: “I can haz booz and pills to bye-bye?” This will win over the crowd.
As soon as the man starts climbing, quickly begin climbing the opposite side of the tree. Catch up to him, then begin battering him in the calf and thigh region. He will be OUTRAGED. Some of the crowd who’d previously been on your side, will have their allegiance tested. They may yell: “What the hell are you doing?!? He’s trying to help!” Immediately stop punching the man.
If he kicks at you, climb down the tree until you are out of his range. Assure everyone, including the man, that you don’t know what came over you, and that you’re done punching his thigh. Make eye contact. If you can hold your hands out with palms up in a conciliatory manner, without falling out of the tree, do so now.
As soon as he looks back toward the kitten, move up and begin punching him in the calf and thigh again. Make these punches count, while maintaining your balance on the tree. If you fall at this point, the angry mob (formerly known as the crowd) will definitely maul you to death. If some of them are feeling heroic and begin climbing up behind you, kick at the tops of their heads while continuing to fight the man.
Grab the man by a single lapel and pull him toward the ground, over your head. With a quick motion use gravity to hurl him to the ground. Again, using gravity, leap from the tree, aiming for the man’s ample stomach. Land on the man’s stomach with both feet. He will emit a sound like a popped balloon in a cartoon, flying around the yard. He might say, “Yowee!” His stomach will collapse and then expand rapidly, like a cushion, propelling you high into the air and over the nearby fence, to safety. Run away.
When you meet up back at your hideout give the kitten an extra portion of food and an extra head scratch. You both did your jobs today, and no one got hurt except that one guy and some other people.
THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER BEAT UP*
1. Something sleeping. This should go without saying. Think of sleep as nature’s time-out. However, AS SOON as that sleep begins to dissipate, it’s cool to strike with the fury of a screaming god. If you see an eyelid flicker—or even the mouth open and close in that automatic, sleepy/satisfied way—it’s absolutely fair for you to start punching the face that that mouth and eyes are located on.
2. Orphans. God has already punched them harder than you ever could. Leave them be. Let them ripen a bit, like fruit on your counter. In a few years, when they age into bitter, angry adults you’ll get your chance to wallop them.
3. Anyone involved in the making of the motion picture The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I’m guessing there aren’t many of them left, but it’s the least you can do for the people who brought you one of the greatest movies of all-time.
4. Unicorns. Even if these creatures were discovered tomorrow and immediately started acting up, rooting through your garbage, eating your rose garden, etc., it’d be a while before the backlash started and people were comfortable with you hitting one in the snout. Any attempt to attack a unicorn would most likely result in a mob of softhearted people chasing you down and stoning you to death. Just leave them alone.
*Unless they “look at you weird” or root for another sports-jock-running team than the one you choose to cheer.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY HOLDING A SLICE OF PIZZA
Approach the man holding the slice of pizza. (These instructions are for a man holding a slice of pizza in his right hand. For those targeting left-handed pizza lovers, I’m sorry, there’s no data available at this time.) Look the man in the eye and firmly say, “Stop! That slice of pizza has been poisoned! Do not continue eating that delicious, yet poison-filled slice of pizza!”
He’s not going to believe you. Keep going, and say, “I’m warning you for the last time. It. Is. Poison! I don’t care if you’ve witnessed an entire unbroken chain of events beginning with the pie’s creation last night, ending with you holding the slice before me right this second, which convinces you of its so-called purity. They found a way to get to it!”
Grab the pizza from him while shouting: “I won’t let you!” Take a huge bite from the slice, and then let out a horrific, anguished scream. Gurgle and thrash about, then say, “Ugh … body … fighting off … the poison.… So … very … difficult!!! YAGHHHH!… Reconfiguring … molecules … in stomach…”
Bend at the waist, while screaming banshee-like for all to hear, “You don’t get to beat me!!!” Then, suddenly, cease all movement. Stand up, straighten your hair, and say in a calm tone, “It is done.”
The man who earlier held a slice of pizza in his right hand will be totally blown away. A broken, shell of a man, thoroughly intimidated by having just seen you pull off the impossible. Now, at this point you’re no doubt anxious to seize the moment and finish the job with a well-placed kick or throat chop. No. Not this time. You put this one in the bank. Look him in the eyes … and then walk away.
Ten years from now, in some other city somewhere you’re going to meet this man again. Perhaps in the middle of a standoff during a wild shoot-out. You will pull your ski mask off revealing your identity and his eyes will meet yours … and fill with pure terror. “It’s him!” he will shout. “He who cannot be poisoned!” Then, he and his men will fold like a house of accordions.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GETAWAY DRIVER
The getaway driver is probably the easiest member of a heist team to target. The leader/mastermind would be the hardest. He’s intelligent, tough, confident, and capable, in that he’s managed to climb up through the criminal ranks to a position where he knows how to assemble a team of men to help him rob a bank or mansion full of priceless paintings. Could you do that? I know I couldn’t. I’d put out the call on Friday, and Monday morning I’d be staring at my dentist, a buddy with a DUI, my twenty-two-year-old frat boy cousin, and a guy whose knowledge of crime begins and ends with the film Big.That’s right, A MOVIE WITHOUT ANY CRIME IN IT.
The henchman is almost equally formidable. He’s large, crazy strong, prone to violence, and definitely armed to the teeth. He is here because he can both fight and look like he can fight. Not an easy out.
The safecracker is a nice choice. But the fact that he’s going into the lion’s den, so to speak, working under pressure to open the safe while at any time a guard could stumble upon him indicates a level of calm the driver may not have. He’s also likely to be armed, for the reasons I just mentioned. It’s also likely that he’s carrying explosives. It’s not certain that he’d be able to rig something up on the fly to blow you up but you never know. You don’t want to be repeatedly striking a guy covered in things that go boom.
So this brings us to the getaway driver or “wheelman”—the most vulnerable man in the crew and the one who you should go after first.
So who is this guy? This is a dude whose sole purpose in life, his raison d’être if you will, is driving a car fast. The happiest he’ll ever be is doing that burnout, tire screech thing guys in high school loved doing in the parking lot. I imagine he was in high school one day, saw someone do that, and was like, “That’s it. I’m done, I want that every day, all day … I’m dropping AP science and quitting football.”
Like a lot of these tutorials, this one is all about separating the target from that which makes him special. In this case, it’s the car.
A car might not seem like a weapon, but in the right hands, it is. Also, a tiny toy car made of bronze, in the hands of a giant, could also be a weapon … Not convinced? Did you know that cars account for up to fifty deaths a year? That’s more than magazine reading and seashell collecting COMBINED. Think about that for a second.
The obvious methods of utilizing a car in a fight are driving into and over a person. There’s that. There’s also the popular, drive toward a person and then hit them with the open driver’s side door. Less fatal, but still effective, he could adjust the windshield wiper fluid nozzle so that it squirts you in the eyeballs. That may sound like a joke, but that distraction might be all he needs to jump out the open car window Dukes of Hazzard-style and start taking you apart. Is he holding the cigarette lighter and trying to stab you in the cheek with it? It’s possible. You better hope you can spit on it accurately enough to put it out. And do it while under a serious amount of pressure. Like a safecracker.
He could also use the car to flee the fight, if things start to go against him. If he suddenly runs to the car, fumbles, drops the keys while trying to unlock it, then drives off—that’s probably what happened. Of course, if he received a phone call just prior to this, frantically asked the person on the phone, “Is Mr. Jeepers okay?” and THEN drove off, it’s probably less to do with you and more to do with something awful befalling his pet.
Wait for his crew to enter the bank. Then get him away from the car, either by approaching him when he’s outside the car or by grabbing his monogrammed bank robber’s jacket from the backseat and running someplace he can’t follow in a car. A third option is to approach him and inform him that he’s won “A brand new car!” in a contest, and that you’d like to take him to it right away. You definitely want to think up the name of the made-up contest before approaching him. Do not fool yourself into thinking, “Hey, I’m a pretty funny guy, I’m fast on my feet, I’ll just ad-lib something if he asks me.” He will ask you. You don’t want the following happening.
YOU: “Congratulations! You just won a car in our contest! Allow me to bring you to it, right down this dark alley.”
HIM: “What contest?”
YOU: “Uhhhh … It’s … Whoa! What’s with all the questions?!? I mean it’s called Contest … Car. Car Contest. Winning … for … Winning. Look, do you want it or not?”
Try to get closer to this exchange:
YOU: “Congratulations! You just won a car in our contest! Allow me to bring you to it, right down Winner’s Alley.”
HIM: “What contest?”
YOU: “The Official Government Rewards Clearinghouse Annual Contest!”
HIM: “What kind of car?”
YOU: Uhhhh … Shit. What’s with all the questions?!?”
Do you see how the second one is better?
As soon as the car is out of play, take the fight to him. He’s not used to hand-to-hand combat, and there’s a good chance you can intimidate him with your directness. He’s relied on having his gang there to back him up for far too long, and he’s gone soft as a result. Don’t worry about defense right now, just pour it all into laying him out. I’m guessing you’re looking at about thirty seconds before it’s done.
This last step is optional, and quite risky, but if pulled off, is an absolute delight. Get into the driver’s car and drive to where he’s supposed to be waiting for his gang. When they come running out of the building lugging sacks of loot, smile at them, then gun it the fuck out of there. It’s going to feel awesome.
Perhaps you throw in a little middle finger action, here. Sure, it’s overdone and been co-opted by the lesser types a bit too much for my liking. But hell, if this isn’t the moment for it I don’t know what is. I mean, you’re gunning a stolen car down the street, away from a gang of bank robbers whose wheelman you just left for dead in an alley! Treat yourself! They could start shooting, but you’ve probably got a few seconds since their hands are occupied with the bags. Just don’t stall the car out and you’ll be fine. If it works, and you’re able to burn rubber while flipping them off and yelling triumphantly, you might want to think about getting an image of it tattooed onto your chest. Others will want to see this. The story alone will not do the moment justice.
HOW TO BEAT UP THE AUTHOR OF THIS BOOK
For many months prior to the publication of this book, I have been recuperating. Recuperating after a life-and-death battle beyond all reason or explanation. I’d recently decided to take some time away from civilization to truly test myself. To see if I, myself, could beat myself, me, up. What follows is an account of that night.
I traveled to a remote desert location and then stabbed myself in the leg, to see what, if any, effect it would have on my body. Surprisingly, it had ZERO EFFECT ON ME. Like, absolutely none.
In fact, upon impact my body absorbed the metal from the blade of the knife and distributed it among my organs and limbs where it was needed. I now literally have an iron jaw and nerves of steel. Well … one nerve of steel, it was a small knife. But, I’m getting ahead of myself …
The journey began the other night with me lying in bed after a hard day of contemplating fight scenarios. That’s when I decided to leave. But, and this is where it gets weird, I don’t even remember making the decision to journey to the desert. I was somehow suddenly just … there. (Must remind myself to research teleportation and other forms of reality phasing. Perhaps it was the handiwork of some playful adversary of mine?) Suddenly, I was in the desert and found myself fighting off creatures that defied description. And then one creature who specifically looked like a turtle with a hat and a gun. (I feel like maybe the other creatures knew they’d be impossible to describe and were already resenting the turtle, knowing they’d get short shrift in this story.)
After I beat them down—using the upside-down turtle like a skateboard, zooming around on it while punching them—I was suddenly, inexplicably, back in my high school gymnasium … but like it wasn’t my gymnasium, if you know what I mean. Then my dad showed up and I was late for a meeting or something? But not really? You probably have no idea what’s happening here and neither did I. That’s when I used the knife and, again, let me stress, it felt like a tickle to me.
Then my teeth fell out and soon after that I tried to fly. It worked! But apparently I blacked out and flew the rest of the way back home on pure instinct, because I have no memory of returning, opening my front door, using the retinal scanner to deactivate my alarms, and then getting back into bed. Randomly, that’s where I found myself once my memory returned. Insane, right?
What I learned from all this was: It’s good to test yourself now and then, and it’s even better when you ace that test and the teacher asks you to stay after class and then sits cross-legged on the front of their desk across from you, just smiling at you with love and pride and the knowledge that your existence justifies their entire career choice. Since I was the teacher, I just did all that in front of a mirror. I won’t lie, it was a nice moment. Anyway, that’s what happened when I tried to beat myself up.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY WHO’S BEEN SHOT TWICE IN THE STOMACH AND LEFT FOR DEAD
This will truly be a test of your desire to beat up all things. It takes a certain kind of someone to stumble across a man bleeding to death from gunshot wounds, pause, and then begin punching that man. To say, “Yeah, fuck it, I’ll take what’s left of that. Thanks.” Now, this guy might have some secrets to give up—the location of top secret microfilm or something—but to be honest, he’d have probably already divulged that info during the part where he was being shot. So, other than purely sadistic reasons I can’t see why you’d need to beat this particular fellow up. But I’m not here to ask questions, I’m here to give instruction. If this is a scenario you find yourself in someday, for whatever reason, this info could save your life.
But this is gonna be some grizzly goddamn work. Unless you’re a butcher, or already a killer, this is going to be a grueling slog through nightmaresville. Oh, make no mistake, this one’s gonna haunt you. You could spend the rest of your days raising and then petting unicorns on a farm made of gumdrops and magically animated children’s crayon drawings, but you’re still gonna wake up once a week covered in sweat and begging forgiveness.
If you think the guy looks bad now, leaking red stuff like an ox that’s been hit by a paint truck, wait’ll you see the zombified version of him that’ll come to you in your dreams. Man, if he has a say in it, he’s gonna haunt the shit out of you.
We’re talking disembodied head that only you can see, screaming at you in a crowded room, in the middle of the day. Then you react and everyone thinks you’re crazy. Your boss comes over, puts a kind hand on your shoulder, and tells you maybe you’ve been working too hard. Maybe you’re not ready for the Jensen account after all …
You’re shaving, just like you do every morning, minding your own business. You open the medicine cabinet to get a razor and when you close it, there’s a horrible image awaiting you in the mirror! (It’s actually your own hideous face. But it looks extra haggard because a ghost scared you by popping out of your closet that morning.)
You’re out walking your kids on Halloween. Your friend is dressed as a ghastly looking corpse. You start talking to a corpse who you THINK is your friend, only to see your real friend walk over suddenly. Oh, my God! Someone else has the same costume as your friend. Then you have to spend the next half hour making your buddy feel better about his lame costume choice.
Can you even blame this guy for haunting you? Put yourself in his shoes. He’s been laying here for an hour or so, praying for death’s sweet release. Suddenly you come along. He’s like, “Oh, thank God, maybe he’ll bring me a glass of water, or stroke my hair and tell me stories about his loving wife until death comes … Wait—WHAT? Why is he—” Yeah. And then you start walloping on him.
Sigh. Here we go, I guess. The first thing you should do is rush up to him under the guise of helping him. You’re not. You tell him you need to see the wounds, but you’re actually checking to see if he’s got a gun on him. He could’ve gotten a shot or two off before his attackers did him in. I’m guessing he missed, since you didn’t step over any bodies on your way to this guy. But he wouldn’t miss you, not at this range. Check the area around him. Then when you open his jacket, check the inside pocket for a bulge that could be a pistol. While attending to him, let your forearm brush over his pants pocket. You should be able to tell if he’s got a gun there. Don’t let your arm linger, that could tip it. Just a casual brush over, then move on. All clear?
At this point he’ll ask you: “Koff! How does it look? Koff! Koff!” If you’re really set on doing this, and are a proponent of the “Any job worth doing is worth doing well” school, you’ll say the following, after looking into his eyes: “It looks … bad.” After saying, “bad,” count one Mississippi in your head (Don’t mouth it either, you simpleton. Try to act like you’ve done this before.), and then punch him in the wound.
Oh, man, is he gonna scream out in mind-bending amounts of pain. It might even catch you off guard, that’s how loud it’s gonna be. You ever crush a cat’s tail under a rocking chair? You’ll want to call that memory up right now, to cleanse your pallet of this one, that’s how bad it’ll be. Like he’s screaming, relieving himself in the john after a long car trip, and crying, all at once.
Forget the wound and just punch him in the head. When you’ve gotten your fill, stop. It’s done. You beat up a defenseless man, proud of yourself? The only other concern you could have at this point is guys coming back to finish the job. If they do, pull the old, “Oh, no you don’t, HE’S MINE” routine.
For the record, years from now, when the woman you love catches you in a lie, and screams out, “I don’t know who you are anymore! It’s like I’ve been living with some stranger!” this is the image of yourself you’re gonna pull up.
HOW TO BEAT UP A GUY WITH A BROKEN HEART
Wow, you don’t give a guy a fucking break, huh? Do you really want to kick a guy when he’s down? Of course you do. That’s when his head is nearest to your foot. You barely have to move it. It’s like maybe eighteen inches from point of origin to point of contact with that noggin. Do it.
Fighting a guy with a broken heart gives you an instant edge. Knowledge of his recent emotional woes will allow you to hit him at will in a vulnerable area he has no way of protecting. An enemy can block a kick, but he cannot block a muttered reference to having seen his ex canoodling with some new guy at the mall. Basically, you’re in possession of your foe’s emotional kryptonite. Use it wisely. To annihilate him.
Hide the fact that you have this kryptonite until you need it most. Then, strike suddenly and without mercy. As he moves in preparing to attack you, under your breath use a made-up word that sounds vaguely like the name of his ex. If her name is “Stacy” say something like, “Bacy.” If he’s holding a weapon, he’ll drop it suddenly. He’ll look at you with suspicious, hurt, eyes. “What did you say?” he’ll inquire. When you clarify that you merely used a different word than the one he’d thought he heard—a word he hadn’t slept with, given three years of his life to, and then discovered in bed with another man—he’ll recover and attempt to hit you again.
This time just utter a mysterious and out of context, “She’s dating again.” He will freeze like a deer who has just been told its ex is dating again.
If he’s picked up his weapon, he’ll drop it again. “What did you say?” he’ll ask, just barely holding back the ocean of wet, hot tears threatening to engulf his seeing orbs. “Oh, no, nothing,” you’ll offer. He’ll relax, just a bit. A nearly imperceptible exhalation, a drooping of the shoulders. The moment this happens you hit him with this: “Wait, didn’t you used to go out with Stacy?”
He won’t say a word, but his body will offer up all the answer you’ll need. Proceed. “It’s just that I ran into her last night, at a thing. She looked great. Really great. Did she used to model? Well, she could have. Also, the guy she was with looked like one, and they tend to pair up, so … She had a new ring, too. A big diamond one on her right finger. Anyway, she looked amazing, have I mentioned that? Although, it could’ve just been the huge smile on her face. She never used to smile, why is that? I mean this was a serious, glowing, contented fill-up-a-whole-room smile you know? Like how the Dalai Lama does it, or those guys who’ve just won the Super Bowl, like that.”
The stream of questions that will now pour out of him will seemingly have no end. Each question will lead into the next, managing to get more urgent and more nonsensical as he goes: “How do you know that? You saw her? Who are you? She said she wasn’t ready for anything—is it you, you son-of-a—has she said anything about me? Am I capable of being loved? Will being alive always have to hurt so much?”
Indulge him for as long as it continues to amuse you. When you’re done, hit him with one more hurtful line: “She probably just hates life’s losers, not you specifically. Just what you represent and failed to accomplish during your time on Earth.” Then when you’re done talking to him, just slap him around until he runs off. You’re basically beating up the tattered, empty husk of what was once a man. This is why you should never open yourself up to anyone, ever, for any reason. Try to keep your heart like that flying sphere with the blades in it from Phantasm.
HOW TO BEAT UP A MAN ON THE RUN FROM THE LAW OUT TO CLEAR HIS NAME
The line, “He’s good … real good,” will always be the best line in whatever movie it’s uttered. That or, “This guy’s a real pro.” Both those lines are mostly about the guy you’re about to fight. He was framed, stripped of everything he’s ever cared about, and then cornered. Instead of giving up—like you or I would’ve—he ran. He ran in a nearly hopeless attempt to clear his own name and return to the people he loves. C’mon! That takes balls. I mean, forget about the danger involved, just from a sheer workload standpoint it’s crazy.
Have you ever seen someone try to clear their name in a movie? IT LOOKS EXHAUSTING. Hour upon hour of reading, usually done in dusty libraries. The Internet makes that easier I guess, but who wants to be online that long? He’s gotta spend like eight hours doing research on top of what he already logs on blogs and Twitter and whatever else he’s into? Plus there are microfilms to compare, photos to develop in subpar conditions, people to talk to. People who don’t want to talk and try to shut the door on you … Ugh, who needs it?!? This guy, that’s who. He’s a regular workhorse. Here’s how you make that work all for naught.
Your first move after locating the man is to call him by his given name. This will throw him off. He won’t believe you were able to see through his clever “shave beard, then frantically cut and dye hair in a dingy motel bathroom,” strategy. “But, I can’t be Greg; Greg has brown hair and mine is recently bleached. Plus, he had a beard!” he’ll say. You might be able to trick him by pausing a moment, before asking, “Greg?” again. If he instinctively answers, “Yes?” he’ll drop the façade, and you’ll have won a tiny moral victory. If not, move on, it’s not important.
Step two is acting like a cop. No need to rent a patrolman’s uniform or stripper cop costume. A simple conservative-looking outfit, like a detective would wear, will suffice. Use the word, “sir,” when speaking to him, but like you kind of hate him at the same time you’re saying it. Try to channel that tone a cop uses when he catches you betting on hobo races. Like that.
You’re trying to trick him into thinking you’re a cop so he’ll waste energy shouting at you, in an attempt to get you to hear him out, instead of preparing a counterattack for the thunder you’re about to rain down. “You’ve got to believe me … I’m telling you, you’re after the wrong man. Bronson Corporation was using cancer to make children’s cribs and I was on to them!” he’ll be crying. Little does he know, however, that you’re actually just here to kick his ass and have zero interest in his overly complicated affairs. But he’ll know soon enough.
If he’s got a manila folder filled with paperwork that he urgently wants to show you, tell him you don’t know how to read. Then, chuckle, tell him you’re “just effing with him,” and take the folder. Dump it out a second floor window. This will shatter his will. All that wasted work and effort. All those shadowy, parking garage interactions with deadbeats, all that running … Oh, the running. Holy shit, I hope he likes running. Did you know that nipple bleeding is more common among those attempting to clear their name than it is among marathon runners? It might be true.
There are two kinds of innocents out to clear their names:
1. The hapless nobody who found himself in the middle of forces greater than he was, who unwittingly stumbled onto a secret and then showed heretofore unknown levels of resourcefulness.
2. Amnesia-stricken killing machines with ice in their veins.
Obviously one of these poses a greater risk than the other.
If he’s the former, skip to the next paragraph. If he’s the latter, well, you’re in for a rough night. But you do have a chance. You need to somehow cause the man to experience flashbacks to his traumatic past. These will hit him like lightning, revealing to him grainy bits of memory chopped up and out of context. A scream here, an underwater struggle there, you know the drill … This won’t be easy, but it can be done. Start by shouting random words. Use the information he tried to show you earlier as a jumping off point. “We know what you did to him,” could work. “They shouldn’t have done what they did,” is a nice, vague statement that shows him you’re on his side and forces him to think about whatever it was they did. Did “they” dump chemicals into a river and then try to drown him in it? Possibly … Did they build a line of playground equipment out of asbestos and lead paint? Could be … Once he starts freaking out, jump him. He’ll be kind of out of it, so you’ll be able to get a few shots in. Even if you can’t finish him, you’ll do a lot of damage.
Now that you’ve softened up the killing machine (or merely engaged the hapless innocent), here’s the good news. HE IS IN ABSOLUTELY NO CONDITION TO FIGHT YOU. He’s barely getting by, stressed out, paranoid, and he’s been coasting on fumes for weeks. Sure, he’s got the strength to continue his mission, but a street fight? No way. He’ll break down almost instantly. He’ll have been eating shitty gas station snack foods for days. (You know what Doritos are good for? The answer isn’t “fueling the human body.”) His back will be weakened from crappy motel room beds. It’ll be over before it starts.
After you knock him out, maybe you’ll feel like turning over all his data to the authorities, so he can clear his name. But it’s up to you, I don’t care one way or the other.
HOW TO BEAT UP A VEGAN WHILE WEARING MEAT GLOVES
This entry might raise an eyebrow or two and rightfully so. This technique, though effective under the right circumstances, is the epitome of a one-trick pony maneuver and is not advisable under most situations. It is a legitimate tactic and it has its place, but be aware of the risks and limitations going in. The meat gloves in no way enhance your offensive capabilities; they are merely there to taunt your opponent. If you think your vegan foe is out of your league without the gloves, do not attempt to fight them with the gloves.
2 16-oz. T-bone steaks
3 yards of 8 lb. test fishing line
A black magic marker
A sharp knife
A clean, organized space in which to work
Place your hand onto one of the raw steaks, and spread your fingers as wide as possible. Then, much as you would when making a Thanksgiving “hand turkey,” use the marker to trace the outline of your fingers onto the meat.
Cut the hand shape out of the meat, and then use it to trace the pattern onto the other steak. Now sew the two pieces together using the fishing line. Slip the glove on and you’re all set.
Once your glove has been created, carry it with you whenever you feel you might come into contact with a vegan. Store it in a small mini cooler, just as you would any other piece of raw meat you’re carrying with you on your person as you go about your daily errands. Once you’ve encountered and begun whatever altercation you’re having with the vegan, and it’s clear that things will shortly come to blows, calmly remove your meat glove, put it on, and then open and close your fingers menacingly, while narrowing your eyes at the vegan.
This gambit is ENTIRELY dependent on the following happening: The vegan will see the glove, possibly vomit, and then be so crushed and distraught at the idea you’ve slaughtered an animal merely to make a glove to then use to beat up another animal, that they’ll run away in horror. If this happens … Yeah! You did it!
Now, there’s also a chance—a pretty likely one—that the vegan will have the opposite reaction. The sight of the gloves will not intimidate them but will instead ignite a white-hot rage within them—a rage stoked by the kindling of your insensitive and foolish ploy—that will burn furiously until justice has been served. The vegan will attack until you resemble the meat you once wore, rampaging with the strength of a person unhindered by animal fats and enzymes, calling upon limitless reserves of energy born of many meals of grain and wheat.
Eventually they’ll bury you next to your meat gloves in an adjoining plot. The vegan will cry for both of you during a tasteful ceremony before adjourning for an unsatisfying meal of kale and flax seeds.
Obviously we’re looking for something along the lines of the first scenario, rather than the second. Godspeed.
Copyright © 2011 by Kevin Seccia