When Rick told a story he got full into the story. He used noises and very descriptive and imaginative words. He was an English major who believed in using those sixty-five dollar words that often sent me to the dictionary to look up the meaning. He told harrowing tales of his time in Vietnam as well as humorous and entertaining tidbits of the local culture and his fumbling through it all. We would encourage our heroic story teller to tell us of his adventures and he most willingly did.
One day we were all sitting on the bench in the little eatery eating our homemade chips and drinking whatever was on tap. Rick was engaged in telling us a story about a fight he had gotten into while on R & R in Seoul, Korea. He had been a Marine and there has always been a love hate relationship between the Navy and the Marines. Evidently the sailor or squid as Rick called him made some disparaging remarks to Rick about his mother. Rick being a good southern boy and an even better Marine took offense to what the sailor had to say. So Rick took a swing at the sailor and then an all out bar fight ensued. Rick was into his story by this time and was swinging away at the air while demonstrating how he had grabbed one guy after another dishing out an upper cut to one and a right cross to another. Just as he was demonstrating how he came across with a right cross to a sailors jaw I reached forward to retrieve my sandwich. Ricks fist was flying through the air just even with my right temple. Time and space were in the right axis of the quadrant and his fist met my head with a sharp and sudden pop.
The lights went out and the next thing I knew I was lying on the floor. My head was in his girlfriend’s lap and Rick was kneeling over me crying and trying to get me conscious. You know how in the cartoons when someone gets knocked out they see little birds flying in circles above their head or stars? I saw the stars. I looked up at Rick and said “What happened?” He wiped the tears from his eyes and gave me a big hug and said “I just got a little too into my story. I hit you and knocked you out.” Then he just kept repeating how sorry he was. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it didn’t hurt, because it did. I’m also not going to lie to you and tell you I didn’t milk that incident for all it was worth. I had Rick wrapped around my little finger after that. From that day until he moved to Detroit he was my protector.