No matter if you are a pessimist or an optimist, Derek Esposito’s life wasn’t a good one nor a bad one. It was just a mediocre insignificant existence.
His father was a bipolar abusive man, capable of disappearing is his bedroom for days during the depressive phase. He would wake up only to eat, use the bathroom and the occasional “let’s make your life miserable” fit of rage.
During his euphoric phase, he would work like a madman, but not having any talent either as a businessman nor as social climber, he was unable to both being successful and establishing the right connections.
In his natural state, whenever he decided to actually take his medications, he was just a coach potato that would stand up and go to work just to avoid the blame and spite from neighbours and peers.
Whatever was his mental condition, he always was a perfect example of an abusive father.
His sons were always a disgrace in his eyes.
They never studied hard enough, never were disciplined enough, nor did show enough respect.
And he was always there to remember them how wrong they were.
He would yell at them for the slightest mistake, constantly reminding them that they were just parasites that leeched off his hard work.
And when words weren’t enough or when they did fail to meet his expectation with school grades or chores, there was no teacher like his leather belt.
Hence, Derek and Carl had to quickly learn how to fend off for themselves, since their absent-minded mother practically forgot about them right after giving birth, dedicating her life in pursue of peace and quiet, staying as far as possible from her spouse tantrums.
Derek was two years older, and desperately tried to take care of his little brother, but to no avail.
They grew up watching and reading stories about heroes protecting the weak and upholding justice. But no hero ever appeared to save them.
Every week they would be forced to go to church to worship a nondescript benevolent god and his son, the saviour of all mankind. But no matter how much they prayed or how good they were, no miracle occurred.
So, they simply stopped believing in heroes and instead of wasting time with prayers they crammed.
School was their only oasis, but that lasted only until the sixth grade.
Once in middle school, it didn’t even take a month before the bullying started.
Their cheap clothes and gloomy disposition made them the easiest targets. They were so used being tossed around and insulted that they didn’t even bother trying to fight back.
For a long time, Derek had considered it the worst moment in his useless life. After a month, he knew he could not take any more of that, so he tried to make things better.
He reported his father’s abuses to the social services with an anonymous email, but being overworked and understaffed the social work assistant made a brief visit and never came back.
Then he tried to end the bullying by reporting their aggressors to a teacher, which in turn washed her hands by reporting it to the principal. The principal did not want to meddle with what he deemed as childish pranks, so he called Derek’s parents to inform them of the problem, hoping they would let it slide. And at least his wish came true.
Derek, instead, took and extra beating for not being man enough to face his own problems.
“Are you really that stupid to never learn anything from me? Never delegate, if you want something done right, do it yourself!”
Derek had never felt so helpless and desperate, so that night he bawled his eyes out, until he fell asleep. That had been the last straw.
The next day he felt different, clearheaded like never before. It was not the time for despair anymore, he needed a plan.
It would take him years to realize that something inside him had died. He was no longer able to trust, hope or develop any sense of kinship. He was surrounded by enemies, and to survive Derek needed to be able to fight back.
So, Derek asked his father to let him join a dojo and learn martial arts, and to his surprise he did not have to beg or even ask twice. His old man was glad that his wimpy and scrawny poor excuse of a child was finally interested in becoming a man. His only condition was that Derek was not allowed to quit for at least one year, otherwise he would have to pay for it.
Not only Derek started practicing aikido almost daily, he would also wake up two hours earlier every single day to build muscles doing push ups, squats, sit ups and running until he was out of breath.
In a few months he was finally able to do every day 100 push ups, sit ups and squats and run for at least 10 kilometres before going to school.
Aikido soon revealed to be a perfect choice for his situation. At low level was mainly focused on self defence but there plenty of space for attacking and fighting dirty.
By practicing martial arts, he finally discovered something he was good at. He was not particularly nimble, nor a fast learner. His hand to eye coordination was also average at best. His talent lied in the ability to spot the best time to hit a sensible spot during a block or a defensive manoeuvre.
Even when the sensei was teaching sword or tanto arts, Derek was always able to grasp the killing moves at his first try, sometimes even before the sensei completed the practical demonstration.
It was an exciting yet disappointing discovery since his only talent had no practical use. Even if aikido was a sport with tournaments instead of a discipline, hits to groin, eyes and trachea were universally forbidden.
For months Derek kept training hard while keeping a low profile at school, planning his next move.
At the end of the first semester, Derek stopped hiding from the bullies and started replying in kind to every single insult they threw at him, using the best quick-witted roast lines he had found online. Derek paid attention to never go to the bathroom or to remain alone for too long, always keeping and adult witness in line of sight.
It did not even take a full day before his enemies were fuming and outraged. Only when the veins almost popped out their necks, he threw his bait.
“I have enough of your sh*t, as*holes. Meet me in an hour behind the grocery shop between Lincoln and the 3rd. Or are you too scared?”
“Since you seek death, I will happily grant your wish, you fag*ot. It will only be you and the three of us, alright?”
Derek nodded without believing him in the least. And he was right.
When they entered the back alley, they had brought along two more people.
Derek was waiting for them, leaned against the wall at the end of the blind alley.
“There you are. I was starting to think you would stand me up.”
They started laughing. “Sorry we were late. Hope you do not mind we taking some friends for the party.”
Derek shrugged, while grinning from ear to ear.
“No problem. No matter how much, worthless trash is always trash. I chose this alley because it’s fully equipped with enough dumpsters to accommodate all of your friends.”
The last line hit a nerve so they charged at him blindly.
“Gang up on him, guys! Do not let him escape! Let’s how him who is the trash.”
And so, they fell into his trap. Derek had come here preparing the terrain, and choosing the best spot the fight. A blind alley to not make them escape, the end of the alley so they would not notice the trip wire due to the dim light.
The first two fell down hard on the concrete, and those behind them were so worried about not trampling on their friends that never saw the steel pipe coming.
They did come in numbers, Derek had come fully armed. Using the pipe as a sword he quickly hit them respectively on the head, the side of the knee, in the groin. Only then he started hitting the two that were trying to get back on their feet.
While they were moaning and sobbing on the ground, he used a small knife to cut the trip wire, then he started beating them again and again with the metal pipe giving a special attention to the nether regions.
Deeply inside he knew what he was doing was wrong, but he could not care less. If the world was built to be unfair, the only possible course of action was to make it unfair at his advantage.
So, he took out the taser that he borrowed from his father and tased them until unconscious. Then he stripped them completely and took multiple photos of each one of them and even filmed them after arranging them so that they would seem to be spooning to each other. Then he splashed them with a bucket of cold water and sealed the deal.
“Sorry to ruin your Brokeback Mountain moment girls, but I need your attention for a minute.”
When the bullies woke up, they were still in so much pain they could barely notice that they were naked and embracing each other. Retorting to Derek while he had still a firm grip on the steel pipe was out of question, so they kept quiet and listened.
“I have made quite a scrapbook of you, even a short movie, uploaded it on my computer and even into the cloud. And it would be terrible if someone, I do not know, like me, for example would upload them on all the biggest image hosting sites. You know how they say, internet never forgets.”
The bullies started crying and begging.
“Imagine how terrible would it be! Whenever someone would Boogle your names, be it your grandma, your girlfriends or even the colleges you were willing to apply to, the first thing to appear would be those photos!”
“Dude, no!” “Please, I do not even know you. I was just making a favour to a friend!” “It was only a joke, please forgive me!”
The choir of begging gave him the goose bumps. Derek wanted to puke at their hypocrisy.
“I do not care for your pathetic excuses! From this day onward, you will leave me alone. And you better pray that nothing happens to me, because the cloud is set so that if I do not enter the password every day, it will upload them everywhere.”
Without waiting for their reply, he turned back and walked away.
“Almost forgetting, I randomly threw your clothes in the dumpsters, can’t remember which is which. If you don’t want to go home in your birthday suit, you better start digging. So long, suckers!”
Derek returned home euphoric, almost singing. He had never felt so proud of himself and had the completely undeserved confidence that he would never think about those b*stards ever again.