Luanne is a tough gal. She’s got a lot of moxy. Her independence and fiery defiance of anyone trying to control her life is a large and very visible part of her identity. If she were in a sappy movie,she wouldn’t be the one to break out the Kleenex. Luanne is a strong individual. But she is still a woman.
I don’t feel much like writing down the entire history of the situation that I’m about to describe. The short version goes like this. The caring soul that she is, Luanne was kind enough to do her friend a favor in a time of need. We shall call Luanne’s friend Susie (I can’t remember if I had written about this friend previously and therefore had previously assigned her an alias). Susie, though generally good at heart, has the tendency to bring a lot of unnecessary drama into the lives of those close to her. With her husband Brad living with her, the couple occupied one room while Luanne occupied another, leaving one room that is open to a third party.
That makes three rooms, with four people under one roof. Now, the place is a sublet, and Luanne the alpha is in charge. She pays less on rent and splits the difference two ways for each of the other rooms. Susie and Brad, two people, inhabit one room and pay the same rent as the guy who lives in the third room.For some reason, Susie and Brad have a problem with the way that the rent is set up. They had on many occasions suggested that it be divvied up equally. Now, this is a lot of horseshit. Firstly, Susie and Brad are two people. They eat more, shit more, and use more electricity than one person. Not to mention that Luanne and the other tenant are rarely home: they both basically go to work, go out after work, and come home to sleep. Luanne also spends more and more time at her fiancé’s place. Susie and Brad are basically getting a good deal. Luanne told them that if they could find a place that has lower rent that all they need to do is give her some notice and all would be groovy. This tension regarding the distribution of rent has basically been around for a while…at least a couple of months, probably four or so.Clearly, Susie and Brad cannot find a cheaper place that will allow a couple. Seeing that they’re religious, one would expect them to count their blessings, but experience has told me that religion gives no indication to the character of a person. Not only are these two consistently causing trouble and drama for Luanne, they are having some marital troubles. Apparently Brad has had on more than one occasion thrown something at his wife. I don’t think she was ever hit by what he’d thrown, be it a vegetable or a bag of sundries, but it was most certainly thrown in her general direction.
Cut to the living room slash kitchen. Luanne standing in the part closer to the kitchen, talking softly with Stephanie, who is presumably sitting on the bright red futon. Brad is sitting in between them at the dining table, sort of minding his own business. The conversation leads to a more touchy topic, and it gets to the point where Brad is agitated. He stands up to his full height of six feet or so. Though his frame is thin, he certainly towers over Luanne’s stature of 5′ 2″ or so. He stands inches away from her, gets in her face. She feels the complete physical aggression of Brad. Brad demands that Luanne leave the living room. Susie tells Brad to let Luanne finish speaking. Unflinching, Brad repeats his demand: get out of this room. Luanne is in tears now. Brad says that Susie is his wife and tells Luanne again to leave the room. Luanne was justmentallyand emotionally assaulted. She no longer feels safe in her own home.
Luanne returns to her room. Her fiancé was sleeping in her bed but is awaken gently. Luanne tells him what happened, and he asks her if she wants him to have a word with Brad. Luanne declines, preferring to leave it alone.
Luanne told me this story while I was standing on the line at Target, getting a 99 cent Conair pocket comb and a plastic circular container full of Breath Savers in the flavor of menthol. As she told me, she teared up again, tears dripping down her cheeks, nose reddening. She cried when it happened, and she cried now. It wasn’t something you could attribute to hormones, PMS, or contraceptive pills. I got this feeling in my gut. My brow furrowed, my breath turned a touch shallower. My right hand clenched into a loose fist. That hand rose up to fix my glasses, and it thumped onto the cashier’s rubber conveyor belt a little hard.
I don’t usually get such a physical reaction to my emotions. Certainly not something like this. But if there is one thing that you just don’t do, it’s threatening a woman. The second she told me what happened, I felt like kicking a lot of ass. If I were there…oh man. If only I were there. If I were her fiancé, forget it. I wouldnt’ve asked if she wanted me to have a word with Brad. There would be some very strong language exchanged between myself and Brad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting the fiancé. But there are some things that are just unacceptable to me. I’m normally very laid-back, even-keeled. But this is one of those things that turns on that rare aggression in me. You just don’t get up in a woman’s face and get all intimidating like that. It’s uncalled for. Clearly, Brad has some problems with his core values if he’s going to treat a woman like that. Some man of faith he is.
With that said, I don’t think I would’ve resorted to physical violence. The main thing is the law. Fights are illegal. They’re also the beginning of something that can only end one way in my book: their death. I don’t take this lightly. And it isn’t meant to be dramatic. But the way I see it, a fight is only the beginning. The loser will always feel like they need to take revenge. That they have been wronged, and that they need to get even. It never ends. If there is ever a physical altercation, I do my best to take them down quickly and with as little injury as possible. But honestly, men are prideful and egotistical creatures. Losing a fight is not something to get over easily. If I do not end it right then and there, I could have a situation where I have to look over my shoulder everywhere I go. It gets even worse when I have a family of my own.
Brad is fucking dogshit. If I were there, it’d be me getting up in his face. In the words of Hank Hill, “I’m gonna kick yer ass!” Fucking piece of scum…where does he get off acting like that? And on top of it all, they’re being ungracious guests, albeit paying guests, but still. Luanne can easily find someone else to replace them, someone who won’t cause her all this stress. Someone who’ll pay rent on time and in full. Luanne was right when she said that she knew she couldn’t tell me about it right away. She knew how I’d react. And she was right in thinking that it would change my relationship with Susie and Brad.
It’s not even just Luanne. Perhaps with less motivation, I’d still be compelled to intervene with a yellow bellied bastard who’s got to intimidate women half his size. Boy I would’ve loved the chance to kick some ass…