by Hunte

WANTED: One bouncer
Place: Henry’s Bar & Grill
Requirements: Must be strong, a good fighter, both friendly and no-nonsense
Call 927-865-2388
Find us at 8643 West Jacobs Street
Notice: Be ready to test your skills.

the attacker

Henry Thomas looked at the poster appraisingly, though his mouth was quirked in a sour frown. He’d spent a good bit of money printing off hundreds of these different flyers, and spent most of a day getting all of them put up. He’d gotten ten different applicants to the bouncer job, but none of them had been what he had been looking for. Some had been too wimpy, others too aggressive, still others had just gotten drunk themselves instead of looking for people causing a fuss. The applicants had all been so promising before the actual test, too, being strong and friendly…but not so much the no-nonsense part.
He had one more interview left tonight after two weeks. Hopefully, they’d be what he needed, but if they weren’t he’d have to try something else; institute a drink limit, a last call, or give the staff Tazers or something. He shook his head again, then looked up at a knock on his office door. “Yes?”
“Henry Thomas?” a male voice said through the door. “I’m here about the interview for your bouncer position?”
Henry gave a soft sigh, then nodded. “Right, right. Come on in.”
The door opened and the man walked in. He looked to be in his early thirties, tall and brunette and also slim but him arms and legs looked pretty muscular, and broad-chested as well. His hair was short-cropped, and he was clad in a pair of loose blue jeans and a grey shirt. He looked professional enough; Henry crossed that off of his mental list.

the beaten guy

“My name’s Jim,” he said, holding out a hand as Henry stood up and shook.
“Well, you’re the last interview I’ve got,” he said, gesturing to the seat in front of him. “Go on, have a seat.”
The man did so, looking around the office as Henry sat back down. Henry was the third person to own the building: it had started out as a strip club, but the second owner had turned it into a bar and grill, which Henry had bought. From thime he’d made it into the talk of the district, and the place was busy nearly every night. Once Henry had done away with the last call of the previous owner business had picked up, and so had instances of drunken violence. After his last bouncer had quit following someone being knifed, Henry had been forced to temporarily close the bar while he took on a new bouncer.
The office showed signs of the restaurant’s thirty years. The wood on the walls was stained with soot from cigarette smoke (Henry himself didn’t smoke but the previous owner had) and various pictures hung on the walls, showing the staff at the re-opening, pictures of Henry working, or interacting with patrons. His desk was a sort of messy clean, two stacks of papers put in hampers as they waited for him to address them, and a lamp and desk clock completed it.
“So, you want to be our bouncer?” he asked, folding his arms as he leaned back in his chair. “Can I ask why?”
“I think I’d be good at it,” he said, him blue eyes looking at Henry up and down. Henry hoped that he wasn’t mocking him inwardly; he didn’t do much to keep himself in shape and so a small pot gut had developed from beer and fried foods that he’d eaten in his own restaurant. He was in his late thirties, older than him, and his arms were fairly muscular.
“And why do you think that?”
“Well, I was in an MMA club in college,” he said. “I worked as mall security for three years, too.”
Henry’s eyebrows rose as he listened to him. Didn’t expect that, though him physique supported it. “Well, that would definitely help with keeping order here. A lot of our guys are dockyard staff or construction workers, big burly guys. You think you could take any of them?”
“I’ve taken on guys around that size,” Jim replied, nodding confidently. “Guys like that aren’t good fighters when they’re drunk.”
“Hm.” Henry nodded, then got up. “Well, to be honest the interview part for this isn’t really that important. What’s important is what you can do, and you’ll have to show me that.” He kept his eyes on Jim’s face as he got up. “So, what we’ll do is, we--.”
“Urk?” Henry was cut off mid-sentence as he felt something hard bury itself in his stomach, along with a soft, spongy thud. He looked down, seeing a fist buried in his gut halfway to the wrist, then traced the arm the fist was attached to back to Jim. “Wh-wh…wha…?”
Jim gave him a mischievous smile. “You said to show you what I could do. So that’s what I’m doing.” With that he jerked him fist out of Henry’s stomach, sending him wheezing down to his desk as he supported himself on it. He’d been caught off guard by the punch; his legs shook as he tried to hold himself up, and he looked back up at Jim just in time to see him throw another punch. This time it was an uppercut that clocked Henry square on the chin, throwing his head upward. Spit flew from his lips up to the ceiling and he staggered backwards, knocking over his chair as he crossed the three steps to the wall and thumped his back against it.
As Henry stood against the wall, trying to get his bearings back, Jim rounded the desk. Henry didn’t even have time to react before he put a hand on his shoulder and threw an uppercut forward.
“HOOOOOOOOOMPH!” Henry’s cheeks inflated and his eyes bulged as he draped over Jim’s fist while it sank into his gut. Jim kicked his chair out of the way as he hung there, choking on air while he braced his foot against his desk and pushed it towards the door.
“Gotta have enough room,” he said before pushing Henry back up against the wall. The next thing Henry felt was a series of jabs that had him thumping against the wall as Jim’s fists pummeled his belly. Henry’s mouth dropped open in a small “o” shape as his back thumped against the wall while Jim’s fists thumped against his belly, each blow leaving a small, short-lived crater in his shirt-clad pot gut. His cheeks quickly puffed out and then back in as short bursts of breath were belted from his body, each puff letting out a soft “oof.”
Ordinarily he would have done something to try and fight back; tried to punch him, tried to run, whatever, but with just a few hits he’d gotten rid of Henry. Right now Henry was just a punched gut in body and mind, each of Jim’s fists burying themselves in his thick gut with a spongy thud that filled his ears.
When Jim finally stopped hitting him he wheezed and staggered forward. Jim stepped out of the way, leaving Henry to collapse over his desk. As he sank to his knees, his cheek smushing against the wood, Jim grabbed him by the back of his shirt and hauled him back upward, spinning him around. Woozy from a lack of air Henry had enough time to see Jim’s open hand flying towards his face before it impacted right on his cheek.
Henry’s cheek rolled up with the force of the slap, and as dazed as he was he spun back around, collapsing onto his desk and rolling off of it to the other side. As he landed heavily on the ground on his back Jim was already coming around, straddling his legs and rolling the bottom of his shirt up to expose his pot gut. As he cracked his knuckles, Henry could do little but lift his head up and watch dazedly as Jim began to plunge him fists into his soft belly.
To be honest, he thought woozily as his legs weakly kicked and his body bounced up and down off the floor as soft, squishy thuds echoed around the office, this wasn’t the first time he’d been beaten up. In the first year that he’d owned the restaurant, one night he’d advertised a drunken boxing tournament. People would have to get legally drunk before gloving up and stepping into the ring. The thing had been a resounding success; thousands of dollars had been earned from that night for membership fees, glove rentals, and all the alcohol.
Henry had seen beer gut after beer gut get crushed inward by gloves, but thankfully no one had thrown up even as people were knocked out and laid out in a designated spot, all together. Eventually the final person, a muscular looking guy taller than Henry’s own six feet, had been set to win the grand prize: free meals at the restaurant for six months, if he could beat Henry himself in boxing.
Henry wasn’t a fighter himself; he’d only ever punched when he was with friends, and those had been play fights for the most part, nothing serious. A few playful shots to the gut and socking each other in the cheeks, but it had all been in good fun. Henry had reckoned that whatever drunken idiot would make it to the end of the tournament brackets would be easy pickings, unable to even stand up. He’d been very wrong. The guy, while legally drunk, could hold his liquor better than most, and he was a boxer by trade to boot. Henry had been utterly clobbered throughout the three rounds that the fight had lasted, the man’s huge gloves crushing his gut inward again and again as his cheeks were rolled up by punches to the face. Eventually a blistering haymaker to his cheek had spun Henry on his heel a few times before leaving him draped limply over the ropes, out cold.
He’d recovered, of course, and the guy was now invited over to get-togethers with Henry and his friends, where more often than not the five others, Henry included, wound up piled on the ground, placed there by the guy after he’d playfully beaten them up and piled them together.
Henry slammed against the wall, one of his cheeks squashing against the cool wood and pushing his eye shut as Jim finished pummeling his gut on the floor and then hauled him upright and slugged him in the face again. Jim grabbed him by the shoulder and then hauled him forward, impaling him right on the navel with him knee.
“BLEGUH!” Henry’s eyes bulged again and his mouth dropped open as his feet were lifted off the ground by Jim’s knee. He gargled as his feet landed back on the floor, and then he spat saliva as his belly was once again impaled by one of Jim’s fists, lifting him to his tiptoes. “OOOOOOOOOFFF!” Jim then pulled him fist out and then ducked and speared Henry in the belly with a straight punch. “HOOOOOOOUUUUUGH!” Henry jackknifed around the punch and thumped his back against the wall.
Finally, Jim backed away, then ducked low to the floor and thundered him fist upward, slamming it directly into Henry’s chin.
“BLARGH!” Spit flew from Henry’s lips and his head shot skyward, then fell back down. His eyes, now dazed and fluttering, managed to lock onto Jim’s face as he gave him a woozy smile.
“Yer…yer hired…” With that he sank to his knees. Jim stepped to the side as Henry fell forward, landing flat on his face with a thud. Dusting his hands off, Jim smiled and patted Henry’s back in thanks, then turned and walked out of the room. Henry would remain face-flat on the floor of his office for two more hours before he was found by the restaurant’s janitor. Henry waved off calling the police on Jim for assault, and the next Monday introduced him at the staff meeting as their new bouncer. His belly was still sore, but he was happy with his choice.