I was humiliated and pissed off. Allen and Rose had behaved like jerks, and then, of course, there was Glen. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a younger and larger man could lose a fight to a guy who is essentially a geek. Even I’m taller by a couple of inches. Either way, they didn’t deserve to get away with their behavior. I did what I did, and the consequences will be what they are.
I turned out the lights in the kitchen and dining room. I just wanted to go to bed. Glen was sitting shirtless on the couch in front of the TV in pajama shorts. He had bruises on his shoulder from where Allen had been rough in pinning him down.
“I heading upstairs,” I said. “Hopefully it will be quiet on the other side of the wall tonight.”
“You’re in your nightgown pretty early,” Glen replied.
“Just tired.” Halfway to the landing, I saw a light flash on our patio; the security light had turned on. A moment later there was a knock. “Who could that be?”
Glen pushed the button on the remote to turn the TV off and went to the door. Looking through the peep hole, he groaned. He glanced back at me and opened the door. Rose stepped inside followed closely by Allen.
Rose pulled a sheet of paper from the pocket of the sleeveless housedress she was wearing and waved it in the air.
“What’s the meaning of this?” she demanded.
I looked at Glen as he must have realized I’d officially notified the condo board of the constant noise from their unit. His eyes grew a little wider.
“Listen,” I said. “You can’t behave the way you do, you need to be courteous to the people who live next to you.”
“They’re threatening to issue a fine for disturbance,” Allen said. “If they do, you’re going to pay for it.”
“Listen, Allen—,” Glen started to say, but was cut off as the smaller man slapped him across the face. He yelped and held his hand to his cheek.
“I see you didn’t learn your lesson the other night,” Allen said.
Glen took a step back, and I had to close my eyes; it was an act of cowardice. Allen swung his slender arm again, striking him. Glen tried to cover his face from being hit, but Allen seized his wrist and ran the fingers of his other hand into Glen’s hair, pulling him forward. It appeared a strange dance as they both shifted feet trying to gain ground or at least not to lose it. Glen pulled at Allen’s wrist to free his hair from his grip. Somehow Allen slipped his lower leg behind Glen’s and twisted, sending my husband to the floor, but he held his tight grip on his hair. Allen pulled hard, and Glen whimpered as he was off balance and landed on his tummy. Before he could move or roll, Allen sat straddling his lower back and started to pull Glen’s arm behind his back.
“No, you don’t,” I said. Running down the few steps into the living room I reached Allen and yanked back on his shoulder. “I’m just going to have to beat you up myself.” I managed to unseat him, and he moved around sitting on his bottom. Somehow Glen had the presence of mind to get onto his knees and throw his arms around Allen’s chest, driving him down. I stepped back feeling the beginning of a smile that my husband was going to step up.
I was about to yell my encouragement, but I felt Rose’s hand cover my mouth as she moved up behind me. I twisted around and pushed her. We were both the same height. I knew she had recently reached her seventy-second birthday; she was heavier than me, with fleshy arms and a larger chest, but I was over three decades younger and reasonably fit.
“Don’t even think about it,” I said. “I don’t want to hurt you, but if you touch me again, I might not be able to help it.”
Rose grabbed the front of my nightgown and yanked hard. I could hear the light fabric tear just as her hand slapped me hard. I sank both hands into her hair and pulled her from side to side as she began wailing on me, her hands feverishly striking at my face and arms and shoulders. As old as she was, each blow stung. I was desperate to stop her from hurting me, so with one really hard pull, I got her off balance and we both went to the carpeting.
I stole a glance at my husband. He was kneeling so that he had one knee on either side of Allen’s right leg. Glen was struggling to hold his shoulders down, but like me with both hands twined in Rose’s hair, Allen had the same grip on Glen. It was a mistake to look away. I felt Rose’s fingers circle my throat and begin to squeeze. I couldn’t believe a woman of her age had as much strength in her fingers; she was cutting off my air. I disentangled my fingers and grabbed at her wrists to pull her hands away, and she rolled me onto my side.
Glen let out a sharp cry. I was just able to see both men. Allen had driven his knee up into Glen’s crotch. The look on my husband’s face was enough to realize that Allen had found his mark. The smaller man seized the opportunity and circled his arms around Glen’s chest and rolled him over onto his back, straddling him. Glen weakly reached up to push him, and Allen intercepted his wrists and shoved his arms down. Glen pulled his knees up into Allen’s back, but the smaller man just leaned forward, adding to his leverage of pinning Glen while avoiding the ineffective attack Glen was attempting. I saw Glen struggling to lift his arms but my view was suddenly blocked as Rose threw her body over mine.
She straddled my upper tummy and pressed her sizable chest down over my face. I lost my grip on her wrists and tried to push up against her shoulders, but I couldn’t lift her weight. I kicked my legs and squirmed, but Rose was planted heavily on top of me. She pushed her self up a bit and pressed a forearm over my throat and grabbed my right wrist. The flesh of her upper arm jiggled, but I couldn’t keep her from forcing my arm down, and I was choking from the arm bar.
I tried to get words out. “Please, you’re choking me…”
“Aww, poor dear,” Rose said. She pulled her arm up and quickly pinned my other wrist as I gasped for air and coughed several more times. “Still think you can hurt me?”
I shook my head vigorously. Even at seventy-two, between her weight and her surprising strength, I knew she was more than capable of handling me. I looked to my side. Allen was on top of Glen, he’d moved up, his knees were on Glen’s upper arms and his thighs were squeezing my husband face.
“Mom, I need something to tie his wrists with.”
Rose stood up and undid the thin rope belt on her housedress and handed it to Allen. Like a cowboy roping a calf, he quickly bound my husbands wrists and then stood up. He put his foot on Glen’s chest.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say, you’re not much of a man when it comes to fighting,” Allen said, looking down at Glen and pressing harder with his foot. “I can’t imagine how humiliated your wife must be.”
“Get up,” Rose said, giving me a slight kick at my leg.
I rolled onto my knees and stood up shakily. My arms were shaking a little from the exertion of fighting Rose.
Allen moved over to me. “I like your nightie, it’s a shame it got torn, but the view is nicer for it.” I couldn’t help the feeling of revulsion, as Allen’s scrawny body stood in front of me. “To the victor go the spoils.”
Allen circled his arms around me and pulled me close. Keeping one hand behind my back and sliding his other hand up and down my arm, he planted a kiss on my mouth. I tried pull back, but the hand on my arm went to the back of my head and held me closer as he dipped his tongue into my mouth, forcing me to French kiss him.
“I’ll leave you with that to think about,” Allen said. “You might want to consider which kind of man you’d prefer to be with.” He turned to Rose. “I think we can go back home now. I’m pretty confident they’ll be retracting that letter.”
They both went to the door and out, slamming it behind them. I knelt next to Glen and untied the belt from his wrists, and rubbed my mouth with the back of my hand. I suddenly felt exposed and vulnerable even though I was in front of my husband.
“I’m going to put something else on,” I said turning toward the stairs. “Come up when you’re ready. Tomorrow, I’ll write to the board and tell them the situation has been resolved and we wish to withdraw our complaint.”
As it went up, my thoughts turned to Allen’s kiss and wondered if he would press his advantage in the coming days.