I turned left in front of the Grand America hotel and spotted two men about fifty yards behind, one of whom I recognized from the Kendrick hearing. I wondered if he’d gotten a belt since our last encounter. It wouldn’t be at all cool if his pants fell down during our next conversation. His companion looked about the same size, which meant they thought the two of them could handle me. Deciding not to risk involving bystanders in the hotel elevator lobby, I walked down the underground parking ramp from the outside. Once out of their line of sight, I hurried even faster toward my car. Luckily, less than a dozen cars occupied the space near the elevator, which meant we’d have the garage to ourselves. It also meant that the inevitable security cameras near the elevators would put any physical activities in context. But to be sure, I hung my cell phone from a lanyard around my neck and connected through the hotel’s Wi-Fi system to a streaming video. Both sound and video would instantly stream to the Internet, creating a record of the encounter. If I played this fair and square, notwithstanding greater risk to myself, Lyle Kendrick might have some friends and family with whom to while away the hours behind bars in Draper. Greater risk to myself, because I’d have to let them make the first solid move, as opposed to my OPA philosophy—that’s Overwhelming Preemptive Assault philosophy—intercepting the first incoming fist and pulverizing everything in sight with overwhelming retaliation.
The two guys following me didn’t take any great pains to do it stealthily. Interesting. Maybe they hoped I’d run from them. Or die of fright. Or let me get my car door half open before rushing and pinning me half way into the seat. Upon reaching the car I examined their reflection behind me from my tinted glass windows, and they didn’t appear to come armed, walking with their arms loosely hanging away from their bodies the way weight lifters strut around the gym—or the prison yard—after getting pumped up.
“Hi, guys,” I said, turning slowly to size up the visiting team. Then, to Lyle’s look-alike, “You must be a Kendrick?”
“You owe me an apology,” he replied.
“They don’t teach manners in the trailer park, huh?” I said. “My name is Morgan. And you are?”
“I’m Lavar. Lavar Kendrick,” he said. He didn’t seem to take my trailer park comment as an insult, possibly wondering instead how I knew where he lived. Gesturing to his companion, “This is Lamar Kendrick.”
“Lyle’s brothers?” I asked.
“Yep,” said Lavar.
“Cousin,” said Lamar.
“Like I said, you owe me an apology,” restated Lavar.
And at that moment, I realized I probably did owe the poor blighted soul an apology. Sure, he’d been about to vent his frustration on a poor defense attorney, but I’d humiliated him in public just after his brother had been thrown into the slammer. Maybe the two of them had endured quite a few beatings in their respective lives. Maybe the abused hadn’t yet become the abuser, and Lavar’s problem solving skills had evolved past physical confrontation. I decided to cut him some slack.
“You’re right, Lavar. I guess I do owe you an apology,” I began. Neither one of them could make eye contact without looking up at me, and I hoped they’d use my apology as an face-saving excuse to back off. “I was just trying to stop you from giving that poor attorney a heart attack. The pants thing just happened.”
Alas, Lavar didn’t take my apology in the spirit I’d intended. Instead, he did his smirk toward Lamar, incorrectly assessing my honest apology as cowardice. Then back to me, “Too little. Too late, Morgan.”
“So I don’t suppose you’ll let me buy you guys a beer and call it even?” I asked.
“You’d probably get arrested for walking into a bar without your pants on,” smirked Lavar.
“Ah, quid pro quo,” I said.
“What’d you call me?” said Lavar, flexing to keep his pump-up going. Lamar looked equally confused and flexed, too.
“Boys, that means eye for an eye. Pants for pants.”
“Yes it do,” said Lamar, wanting to keep up his end of the conversation.
“Too bad you feel that way, Lamar, Lavar,” I sighed. “Let me therefore apologize in advance.”
“In advance of what,” said Lamar.
“I truly didn’t want to hurt you guys, but you’re not leaving me much choice.”
The faintest shadow of concern registered as Lamar’s eyebrows seemed to grow together. He looked about to step back, but Cousin Lavar seemed to miss the implication of my pre-pology. He snickered and said, “We’ve taken down big guys before.”
“In a bar fight, maybe,” I said. “Fair warning. I’m a US Navy SEAL. Team Three if you know anything about SEALs. I’ve seen a lot of combat, and I could whip ten of you. So, last chance Lamar and Lavar Kendrick.”
I repeated their last name, for my streaming video record.
“Don’t forget Cousin Laverl,” said a voice behind me. Obviously, he couldn’t get to me with the car to my back, but perhaps he wanted me to turn so the other two could sucker punch me. My only risk in not assessing the threat might be a baseball bat to the head, but I mitigated against that threat by stepping away from the car and toward the two guys in front of me. Laverl would have to throw his bat, if he had one.
My forward motion threw off the timing of Lavar’s round house punch, which glanced off my shoulder, instead of my jaw. Lamar also stepped forward, which accelerated his throat into my two right knuckles headed for his larynx. Luckily, I pulled the thrust at the last instant, thereby saving Lamar’s life. But even the pulled punch put him out of the fight, which I knew it would. Lavar had quickly followed his right-hand round house with a left jab to my solar plexus, and it might have hurt me if I didn’t have the reach advantage. A split second after I’d slugged Lamar in the throat, the heel of my eft hand slammed into Lavar’s unprotected chin. Combined with his forward momentum, the force snapped his head back and into a garage supporting post. He bounced rather nicely with eyes rolled back before he hit the ground. Now, where was that little scamp, Cousin Laverl?
I turned to see a wide-eyed statue on the other side of my car. He hadn’t moved since his opening line of the scene. A quick glance behind me at Lamar on his hands and knees and breathing, albeit with difficulty, reassured me that I hadn’t killed the poor devil. Maybe time for an olive branch?
“Laverl is it?” I said. “You want to take a crack at me, that’s fine. Or you can give me a hand with your cousins to make sure I haven’t hurt them too badly. Your call.”
He came around the car, both hands with palms raised and facing me. “Okay, mister. Whoever you are, we don’t want any more whup-ass.”
“Good call.” I knelt by Lamar and massaged his throat. “Relax man, you’re panicking and that’ll just make it harder to breathe. I’m not going to hurt you unless you give me a reason to.”
Laverl was shaking his unconscious cousin. “Lavar?”
“Is he breathing?” I asked.
“Y-yeah, he is,” stuttered Laverl.
“Good,” I said. “I’ve got a bottle of water in my car.”
I opened the car door, the remote-proximity feature of the key in my pocket unlocking it, and grabbed a bottle of water from the door pocket. After squirting a little into Lavar’s face and seeing a quick shudder, I handed it to the now sitting Lamar. “Take a very small sip of this water.”
He accepted the water tentatively, as if expecting the bottle to get jammed down his throat or into an eyeball.
“Okay, Mom, I’ll go feed the chickens,” came Lavar’s voice to my left.
“He’s probably got a concussion,” I said. “Would you guys like a ride into emergency? Lamar ought to have his throat looked at. If his larynx is bleeding, he could drown in his sleep.”
Both Lamar and Laverl stared at me in disbelief. Lamar croaked something unintelligible and then shook his head to decline the offer. Laverl got the gist of the message and said, “Lamar’s truck is on the corner. We can take it.”
I helped Lamar to his feet. Laverl grabbed the semi conscious Lavar and walked between them toward the parking lot ramp. Lavar looked up and around, probably wondering how he got here, and Lamar carried my water bottle in his free right hand, using the left to steady himself against his cousin.
“I’m serious, Laverl,” I said. “I know your name, and if you don’t go to emergency and something bad happens to either one of these guys, me and a bunch of SEAL buddies are going to pay you a midnight visit.”
“Yes sir,” said Laverl. I watched them disappear up the ramp, and turned off my telephone streaming video. My one or two video followers would probably have some fun passing around the link.
IMHO, the most serious problem with Google Glass is lack of stealth. A simple lanyard attachment to any smartphone and an instant-streaming account with a video online repository (like QIK) is a necessity in these dangerous (read that as "litigious") times.