Mark Dalton is taking a trailer load of theater sets from a production in Winnipeg to the Elgin Theatre in downtown Toronto. Near Kapuskasing, Ont., he comes across a man and woman arguing outside of their car on the side of the highway. She’s obviously in trouble, so Mark stops and gets out of his truck. The woman is in trouble, but the man doesn’t appreciate Mark’s intervention. As Mark confronts the man a carload of the man’s friends arrive on the scene, their car striking the girl and rendering her unconscious. Suddenly, it’s six against Mark on the side of the road.
Just because Mark was outnumbered six to one, that was no reason for him to back down… or act scared. If he maintained his confidence, maybe one or two of the punks might think twice about taking part in this beating.
Sure Mark was going to get his ass kicked, but there was still a good chance he might seriously hurt one of them along the way, and they had to be thinking, “Is it worth it?” right about now.
Just then the girl let out another moan and rolled over onto her side like she was going to get up off the pavement. One of the punks went to her side, watching over her in case she decided to run while the rest of them were busy with Mark. If she could run, that is.
“You should have stayed inside your truck, buddy,” said Holly, obviously the leader of the gang.
Mark knew it wasn’t the time for a wisecrack, but he couldn’t help it. “My name’s not Buddy.”
“Your name is mud, asswipe,” he said in response.
“Yeah, mud,” one of the others said.
The rest of them laughed. Somehow a young girl with multiple broken bones and other serious injuries, and a five-on-one fight was funny to these creeps. Well, thought Mark, we’ll see who laughs last.
At that moment, Holly stepped forward and threw a right cross. Mark ducked it easily, but as he was coming back up into his fighter’s stance, another one of the punks kicked him in the leg. It was a good hard shot right to the outer right thigh and it made the leg useless to stand on.
Mark’s body lurched to the right and despite his best efforts to remain upright, he was unable to stay on his feet.
Another punk took a swing at him on the way down. The blow glanced off the side of his head, but still stung. He had his hands out in front of him as he hit the ground, but as soon as he was down, there were boots pounding his legs and back. Mark curled up into a defensive position and hoped they wouldn’t be much longer.
And then the beating stopped.
Mark opened his eyes and saw that two of them were standing over him, while the other three had gone over to where Mother Load was parked. Each one of them had stones in their hands and was using them against the truck.
One of them threw a stone against the driver’s door.
A rock shattered the left headlight.
All of them were dragging the sharp edges of their stones against the new paint and polish of Mother Load’s exterior.
Mark’s heart sank. He could handle any amount of abuse to his body, but Mother Load… she was defenseless against these punks. Not only that, she’d been such a valiant road warrior over the years; she deserved more respect than that.
Mark got to his feet and ran over to the closest punk and pulled him away from the truck. The punk laughed as he was thrown backward, eventually stumbling and falling to the ground. He wasn’t laughing when he got back onto his feet, but the rest of the group were now laughing in his place.
“What’s the matter, buddy?” Holly said. “It’s just a truck.”
Just a truck, Mark thought. That’s my livelihood.
That’s my life.
My home. He lunged forward, wanting to take a piece out of Holly’s ass, but before he could go anywhere, there were two sets of hands on him, holding him back.
“Or is it just a truck?” Holly said, a devilish smile breaking over his face. “I bet it hurts you more to see this thing broken than it does for you to get a kick in the nuts.”
Mark stood still, showing no emotion.
Holly kicked in the remaining headlight.
His buddies laughed.
Mark barely blinked.
Holly walked around to the side of the truck and began kicking at the body panel, putting a huge dent in it and scratching the paint with a series of deep scuffmarks. Then he moved on to the mirror on the driver’s side, picking up a rock and smashing it until the glass shattered and all the rigging was bent and broken.
Mark couldn’t control his rage any longer. He tried to break free of the two punks holding him. He managed to get away from one, but the other hit him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.
Holly walked over to where Mark was down on all fours catching his breath. “I’ll tell you what,” Holly said. “We’ll stop beating the crap out of your truck if you open it up and show us what’s inside.”
No way that was going to happen. Mark had just about anything and everything of value he owned in the world inside that truck, not to mention papers for invoices yet to be written, and a good supply of emergency cash.
“What do you say?”
Mark didn’t answer right away. Instead he took a moment to wonder what the hell was happening. All he’d done was stop by the side of the road to help a damsel in distress, and now he was being beaten, his truck battered, and he was moments away from being robbed blind. He remembered watching an episode of Judge Judy once where the judge told someone who had a similar experience that, “No good deed goes unpunished.”
Well, here was Mark the good-deed-doer, getting his just reward for trying to do the right thing. What was even worse was that no matter how this thing ended, these punks were probably going to get no more than a slap on the wrist for what they’d done. No jail time, no record, not even their names in the local paper.
Well, thought Mark. If not jail, then maybe the hospital.
“I’ve got money hidden away in the truck,” he said, trying to put an edge of fear into his voice. “There’s plenty of it…and I’ll get it for you if you don’t hurt me, or my truck, anymore.”
“How much money?” Holly wanted to know.
“I’m supposed to make this month’s bank deposit in Timmins.” That was a bit of a white lie, since Mark only deposited checks, but he had to make it sound like there was thousands in cash inside the truck.
It seemed to have worked because Holly’s eyes went wide at the thought of all that money. “Get it,” he said.
Mark broke free of the two guys holding onto him and stumbled over toward Mother Load. He was able to move better than he’d thought, but he wasn’t about to let on to these punks. Right now, he had the element of surprise and he was intent on keeping it that way.
He unlocked the truck door with his key, then climbed up a step so that he could reach into the cab. But instead of reaching for his money, Mark dug behind his seat for the Louisville Slugger baseball bat he kept there for checking air pressure in his tires… and for situations just like this one.
Mark came out swinging, bringing the bat around on Holly before he’d even turned to face him. He struck the punk in the left knee.
There was a satisfying crunch of bone upon impact, and a scream of pain as the punk’s leg crumpled beneath him.
There was another one of them to his right. Mark changed his grip so that he could swing in the other direction with power. He tried for the kid’s legs and managed a strong strike on his left thigh, halfway between the hip and knee. There was no crack of bone, but the kid did let out a yelp of pain before falling in a heap.
Two of the punks wanted no part of Mark and backed away, but the other two were standing up to him, even egging him on like they were going to bust him up.
But there was no way Mark was going to let that happen. He decided to take on the bigger of the two first, cocking the bat over his right shoulder and moving in for a strike. But the thing was, the punk was looking for a big swing, so Mark kicked him instead. Mark’s right leg snapped forward, catching him right between the legs.
This time there was no yelp of pain, only a slow fall to the ground, with the guy’s hands firmly holding onto his balls like they might turn to liquid and slide down his pant leg if he didn’t hold on.
The fourth one made a move toward Mark, and Mark swung the bat with just his right hand, since that was all his balance would allow. The punk put his hand out to block the blow but that only earned him a few broken fingers.
Mark recovered from the swing and set his feet with the bat once more cocked over his shoulder.
At that moment an OPP cruiser arrived on the scene.
Because no cars had passed since the truck had gone by, it was obvious it had been the trucker who had called for help.
“Put down the bat,” the officer said, drawing his weapon, “and get down on the ground!”
“But they were -“
“I said, put down the bat!”
Mark took a look around and realized things weren’t looking good for him at the moment.
There he was with a baseball bat in his hands, while four punks were laid out on the pavement, two more were afraid for their lives, and the only witness to the thing probably wouldn’t be able to talk for days.