How did your bitter lifelong rivalry with meganemesis Ryan start, anyway?
October, 2007. We were members of two rival gangs in the crime-riddled metropolis of Branson, Missouri. Tempers had flared over rule of vice for the businesses on West Main: escalating hits had left three of my comrades in the Sunset Park Fiddlers dead, while Ryan and his C-Wells had lost a brother and a half. Word went around of a happening about to go down—one that would settle this town.
Then, on the third Monday of the month, the happening happened.
The leader of us SPFs, Setter (short for Blood-Red Setter—we all had dog-themed names), mobilized us troops and led us to Cantwell park—the C-Wells’ home turf stomping grounds. I remember the march more than anything else of that night—we stopped at the Amoco station on Main to get pork rinds and Sunny D’s in preparation for the big song and dance, then sat on the curb, watching the cars pass. Nervousness racked my body while my hand unconcernedly dug into a bag of Porkies to shovel into my mouth. The time approaching the fight from then on was like a dream—I didn’t want to go, knowing that in an hour, I might no longer be alive—but I had to do this, for my honor, for brothers in arms. I walked in line with the rest of my gang, one second drinking concentrated orange drink, and in a second after, woken up with a punch to the face.
Lying face-down from a vicious cold clocking on the woodchips of the playground area in Cantwell park, I got up and looked around to see that apparently, the massive switchfiasco had already begun. My knife was beside me, bloodied. Several members of the rival gang were dead—one draped over the swingset, another jammed beneath the merry-go-round. A few of my friends had been killed, too, including Spaniel, the heart-of-gold comic relief of the bunch. This came as a shock to me, because I thought that his death would wait until a more emotionally-opportune time in the story so that it could serve as a reminder to me that war is indiscriminate towards how good or bad its victims are. I wasn’t thinking of that at the time though, because one C-Well—the one who had punched me—had leaped from a see-saw and was about to bear down on me with this ungodly-sized knife.
I rolled out of the way in time to run the hell away into the woods. Once I was out of sight, I sat down, still reeling from the punch. My jaw ached like all hell. After a while, though, the pain went away and I realized I had been stabbed in the fleshy part of the thigh and was bleeding all over the place. I went around the edge of the woods, hoping that I could get away from the park without being seen and get home where I could apply some neosporin and band-aids to the wound. However, about six hundred feet from the exit of the park, I tripped over something on the ground.
“You clumsy asshole!” the tripping block shouted.
I rolled over to see what I had tripped over. It was member of the rival gang, and one who looked positively pathetic at that. So I gave him a nice hearty, “No, you,” and then added for clarity, “It is you who is the asshole.”
At this, he slapped me in the face. I slapped him back, and then what broke out was this big old slap fight between two wounded people lying on the ground; two idiots looking like angry fish flailing around and smacking each other for no reason whatsoever. After three minutes, our cheeks were sufficiently red and our hands sore. We both agreed that we felt like jackasses for having a slapfight in the middle of the woods, and the scuffle was over.
After a minute or so of basking in awkward silence, I reached into my pocket. I still had some Porkies left in my pocket, and I offered him some.
“So, what are you doing out in these woods?” I asked, extending him the bag of now-crushed pork product.
He replied, “I got stabbed in the fleshy part of the thigh and hobbled away before I could get killed. What about you?”
“Me too! I got stabbed in the fleshy part of the thigh too.”
“We are stabbing buddies!”
He took a fistful of rind crumbs and shoveled them into his mouth. “But I still hate you. I mean, we are members of rival gangs and all.”
“Speaking of that, how do you think that whole thing’s going out there?”
We helped each other up and ventured out of the woods to peer at the progress of the grand battle. By then, all of the gang members were brutally murdered or dying in some way out there, and there was some big climactic scene going on out on the top of the playground. Setter, the leader of the SPFs, was standing on the roof of the slide housing, making grandiose slashes of his mighty switch at Brick, the leader of the C-Wells, who stood on the bridge below. Both of their shirts were off. Between each advance and perry, the two exchanged the most masterful of quips imaginable. Also, the park’s sprinklers were on, giving the effect of a dramatic rainstorm going on. It was truly the battle to end all battles.
We both got bored of watching it almost immediately, and decided to leave the scene, hopefully to get neosporin and band-aids. We stopped at a Bob Evans first, though, as pork rinds are not much of a meal. I proposed over two plates of fries and open-face pork sandwiches that we should stay rival hatechums. However, I was going to have to move away from Branson after what had just taken place (I thought I might have fatally knifed a C-Well in my delirium). We briefly discussed long distance alternatives, like transplant gang exchange programs and letterbombs, but ultimately decided against those. Too much blood had been shed already, and the gang life just wasn’t for people like us anymore.
So, weary from the violence, we resolved to turn our personal vendetta against each other to the internet, where we could call each other things like “poop servant” and “fellater of mules” without any threat of physical harm. After a few awkward failed attempts at hateduels at other online locations resulting in some humorously intense bannings (I had no idea one could gypsy-curse an IP address), we finally made something work with a forum for a webcomic. And our little feud that could has blossomed into something grand.