The one thing Daddy’s little girl will never be accused of is being weak. I can’t stand being around victims or martyrs. They are feeble, pathetic people looking for sympathy. Not me. If you try to do me harm you will become the victim.
Strength is something I learned from my father. He stood up for himself and showed me what it was like to be self-reliant. He was an attorney who fought for his own rights and the rights of others. My mother, on the other hand, was a martyr. She enjoyed suffering so that we could supposedly be happy. It was pitiful, and I never respected her for it.
Her martyrdom drove my father crazy. I spent most of my childhood listening to them argue. Well, listening to my father argue, mother never said a word. If my mom was overcharged for something at the department store, she would never bring it to the attention of the cashier. Poor, pathetic mother. A victim of circumstances. My father would insist she take the receipt back to the store and demand they correct their error. My mother would just say, “Oh let it go, John. It isn’t worth the effort. It’s just my lot in life.”
My parents eventually divorced. I was sixteen. Unfortunately, that was the one and only time my mother chose to stand up for herself. The judge awarded me to her custody. I now understand why they use the word, custody when referring to prisoners. My mother still lives off my father’s alimony payments, because, in her opinion no one will hire a forty-two-year-old woman. Yeah, right.
I got to see my dad on weekends, which was fine because the courts were closed, and I got to spend a lot of time with him. He remarried when I was eighteen. This time he chose a strong woman who would challenge him. Her name was Evelyn and I admired her moxie.
When I turned nineteen, I chose to go off to college. It was my one chance to get away from my mother and live my own life. I found a dorm and moved in with a roommate who didn’t say much, which was okay with me, because whenever she did speak it was tainted with sarcasm.
There had been a recent string of muggings and rapes on campus, and it was the talk of the University. In a fashion; typical to what my father might do, I took it upon myself to be my own protector.
I enjoy going for walks, and I was determined to stroll through the campus every evening despite the recent uptick in crime. I like the rush of endorphins and the fresh air, and I will not be deterred by possible muggers.
I jumped online and purchased a stun gun for thirteen dollars and twenty-eight cents. No background check required. It arrived at my doorstep the following day. The pepper spray arrived later that afternoon as did the police grade handcuffs.
I drove to the Army Surplus Store and purchased some hands-free night vision goggles. They were well worn. The straps had lost most of their elasticity and the lenses were scratched, but the price was something I couldn’t pass up. I also purchased an LED headlamp with flashing red and white emergency beacon. That meant I would have a lot of straps on my head, but I figured better safe than sorry. The final item on my list was a black, military style, tactical utility belt.
The only size they had available was a thirty-six-inch belt, which meant I would have to make a couple of adjustments to fit my body type. The guy behind the counter must have felt sorry for me because he offered me fifty percent off.
The military grade material was difficult to cut, but after several hours I completed the task. Cutting the belt meant I was going to lose a utility pouch or two, but that was okay because it was more pragmatic to carry the stun gun in my hand anyway. When all was said and done, I was ready to go for my walk.
Stilettos aren’t the best shoes for a casual stroll, and they aren’t any good if you need to flee, but as I’ve already mentioned, I had no intention or running away. The shoes could easily double as an assault weapon if needed. I loaded my utility belt, put on my night vision goggles and headlamp, straightened my skirt and was ready to walk out the door. That’s when my roomie chose to break her silence.
“You look like a freak.”
“I’m sorry you disapprove.”
“You look like a Transformer Robot.”
“I am not looking to make a fashion statement,” I said, “I’m looking to preserve my virginity.”
“You’ll have no problem there,” she said.
It was a warm night and there were many students out for walks. They may not have realized it, but they were pigeons waiting to be plucked by a mugger with a vendetta against women.
The night vision goggles were giving me a little trouble. I’ve always had a small head. Even those adjustable baseball caps were too big for me. The goggles bounced up and down with every step and more often than not they would end up around my nose. I kept pushing them up, but it was a losing battle. I held the stun gun in my right hand and held the goggles in place with my left. I would have to replace the straps at a later time. Stopping now to try and adjust the goggles would put me at great risk. A mugger might see me struggling with the straps and pick that moment to attack.
The goggles gave off an eerie, green tint to every tree, bush and building. It took a little getting used to, but the clarity they offered made the inconvenience of a green world worthwhile. I would be able to see an attacker coming from fifty yards away.
I noticed other walkers would point at me, and then make a point of crossing the street to avoid me. My bubble of self-preservation was working.
It was still early in the semester and I hadn’t made any friends on campus yet, except maybe for Robert. He wasn’t my friend, but I could tell from some of his looks he was interested in getting to know me.
My thoughts flashed back to the only boyfriend I ever had. We had met just after our high school graduation. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed David the previous four years, but it didn’t matter. The main thing was we eventually found each other, even though our relationship was short-lived. He broke up with me after only a couple of weeks when I accidently hit him with pepper spray. It took him a half hour to regain his vision. That was the last time I saw him.
There were several groups of little green women walking on the other side of the street. Sure, there was strength in numbers, and each had a rape whistle hanging around her neck, but a whistle wasn’t a sign of strength, it was a cry for help. I would never use a whistle. I was not helpless. I pity any man who would come after me. He would be the one doing the crying.
About fifteen minutes into my walk, a campus security vehicle pulled up alongside me. “Are you okay, Ma’am?” the officer asked.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“We’ve had reports of a psycho walking the campus.”
“So why are you stopping me?”
“No reason,” he said, “Your arsenal is quite impressive, but it’s got to be difficult with those bulky goggles bouncing up on down on your face. Where’d you get them, a Sci-Fi convention?”
“I assure you I’m perfectly fine, and I don’t appreciate your snide remark. If you guys would do a better job of policing the area I wouldn’t have to go to these extreme lengths.” He mumbled something and drove away.
Walking without listening to any music left me alone with my thoughts. I enjoy music, but I promised myself I wouldn’t wear ear buds on my nightly walks. Sure, music makes walking enjoyable, but I had to keep my senses sharp in case I was approached from behind. Just then a hand grabbed my right shoulder. Damn it, the constant chattering in my head had caused me to lose focus.
I felt the pressure of a thumb against my neck. This told me my attacker had grabbed me with his right hand, which meant he was carrying a gun or knife in his left hand. I had three defensive options available to me. I could pivot quickly to my left in which case I might run straight into his knife. The knife would penetrate to the hilt and based on where the puncture occurred the wound could be fatal.
My second option was to quickly turn to my right, that would move me away from the knife. This would force my assailant to extend his arm reducing the possibility of a deep stab wound. Of course, if he had a gun neither tactic would work. These choices flashed through my mind in a split second. My third and final option was to drop to the ground. This, I figured was my best move. It would give me the element of surprise. I chose option three.
I dropped to my attacker’s feet and shoved the electrical device into his crotch. I pressed the trigger and marveled as my thirteen-dollar purchase delivered nine million volts of body staggering electricity to his nuts. The shock was enough to stop and drop my assailant to his knees. His body twitched, his eyes rolled up into his head, and he fell onto his back.
My goggles moved a full ninety degrees during my drop-and-crotch maneuver. They were now positioned over my right ear. I readjusted them and stood to my full height of five-feet-two-inches, five-six in my stilettos. I don’t mind telling you I was feeling pretty good about myself. I widened my stance and placed my hands on my waist as I stood over his supine body. I felt like Wonder Woman. It was quite a rush.
I never expected to be attacked on my first walk around campus but thank goodness I was prepared. We’ll see what my roomie and the campus police have to say now.
I turned on my headlamp and my assailant’s face lit up like a green Christmas light. It was Robert from my chemistry lab. His flirtatious looks suddenly made sense. He had been plotting all along to get me alone before ravaging me, but my aloofness in class made that impossible.
I searched the area around his body for a knife or gun, but the only thing I could find was an envelope. A ransom note I surmised. I took the paper from his convulsing hand and read it. You and a guest are invited to the Dean’s Ball, this Friday, August 11th at 8pm. It suddenly occurred to me that maybe Robert hadn’t been trying to assault me. I reached down and tapped him on the cheek.
It took a while, but he eventually regained consciousness. He rolled onto his side and clutched his groin. Robert fluttered his eyelids a few times, no doubt trying to establish his whereabouts. He turned his head and looked up at me.
I must have been quite a sight. Robert had an LED light shining in his face, and my night vision goggles, and utility belt must have looked imposing. He shielded his eyes with his hand and mumbled a few expletives.
He asked why I attacked him, and my best explanation was that I thought he was a mugger, and everything I did was in self-defense. I reprimanded him and told him he should never sneak up on a person out for a walk.
Robert sat up and stared at the sidewalk. His knees were up against his chest and he rocked back and forth for a moment. I offered him my hand and he staggered to his feet.
“What the hell,” he said, “you look like a monster from outer space.”
He asked me to remove my goggles so he could look me in the eyes, but I wasn’t about to fall for that ruse. I felt around for the pepper spray and expertly unclipped the pouch with my available hand. I wrapped my fingers around the canister and placed my forefinger on the spray button. Robert took notice and high-tailed it out of there, limping as he ran.
I have never been approached by anyone from that day forward and I owe it all to proper preparation. Robert no longer makes eye contact with me; in fact, he reaches for his groin whenever I walk into the classroom. I still haven’t made any friends and I haven’t had anyone ask me out on a date. I guess some people find a powerful woman intimidating. Their loss, not mine.
My phone alarm sounds; nine o’clock, time for my nightly walk. I strap on my utility belt and run through a mental checklist. Utility belt, check. Pepper spray, check. Stun gun, check. Stilettos, check. Headlamp, check. Handcuffs, check. Night vision goggles, check. Pretty blouse and skirt, check. With any luck I’ll bump into a nice guy tonight.
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Thanks, Mike. Very insightful. I did jump into the story too quickly. I was trying to be campy but with insufficient character development it doesn’t come off . Great feedback.
Rudy! What a story. I found your main character to be quite unique. The plot is solid and I really enjoyed the read. I am having difficulty connecting all the background information about the father and mother to the have much significance to the story. I can understand how your main character becomes a product of her parents divorce and differences, and how that could shape her approach to self defence and interdependence, but I felt the mother and father would be playing a larger role in the story with the abundance of character develo...