Chapter 12:     the Fight

Peter Sinsley continued to persecute Adam at school, at least if 
Melly wasn't around, since Adam would neither snitch nor use his 
size and strength to defend himself.  Adam didn't want anyone to
fear him, which made him easy pickings.  This went on for most
of the school year.

I didn't think it would do any good to talk to Peter's father 
about it, but I called him on the phone anyway.  I was right, 
Peter was just enacting what he was encouraged to say and do.  So
I called Principal Symes about it and he agreed that disciplinary
action should be taken against Peter to make him stop the 

I don't know if that was a mistake or not.  You know kids: they
probably assumed that Adam had snitched after all.  But Adam was 
so worried about being a "monster" that he was unable to stop 
Peter himself.

That only made an outlaw hero out of Peter so that some of the 
"tougher kids" wanted to be in his "gang", which meant that they 
were obliged to taunt the Bigfoot--that being the gang's primary 
function, it seems.  But Peter didn't dare throw rocks or tease 
Adam in sight of a teacher or he could be expelled.  Eventually 
he was expelled several times anyway.

The first time he was expelled was a hard day all around. Peter 
had thrown a dog turd at Adam, hitting him on the back, smearing 
his shirt.  Adam didn't tell but a girl classmate did and Peter 
was sent home.  

That evening Felix Sinsley came up to our house.

Sinsley parked his car down at the gate and walked up. He was dressed in loose fitting khakis and steel-toed jungle boots. He looked like an Airborne Ranger. He didn't come up on the porch and knock, but began shouting outside the door. "All right, Forest, come on out of there, you yellow prick!" Elaine had already driven off to Seattle and there were no IPR guests at that time, the only ones home were Adam and myself. I went to the door. "What do you want, Sinsley?" "You got my kid kicked out of school and I'd like to talk that over with you, sonofabitch!" "Peter got himself kicked out of school--what do I have to do with that?" "Aw, you arranged it. You set it up so that monkey-kid of yours gets special treatment. Why doesn't he learn to fight his own battles?" "That should be obvious. He'd break Peter apart." "Peter can take care of himself. I made sure, I taught him how." "Peter can't even keep from getting kicked out of school, that's how well you've taught him." "Look, Forest, I'm never going to be satisfied until we have it out, man to man. So let's get it on." I remember thinking: he's crazy, he can't do this, he's come here trespassing on my land, if he touches me I'll have him locked up--I knew I couldn't beat him again. He looked so ready, so trained, so angry, so into it. But for some unknown reason I surrendered my legal safety and stepped down off the porch--no, I do know the reason: it was because I was afraid of Felix Sinsley that I had to fight him. I knew that one day we would have to fight at least once again. Better this way than being ambushed in some alley in town. I also knew that he would win this one, but it had to be done with. Of course, any time you go into a fight with that attitude, you automatically lose. And I did, rather badly too. He was in good form and all that combat training had really stayed with him. I had been in the Army too and had some training but had never used it. By the time I would see a possible move he had already taken it and he hit me, threw me, smacked me with his knee. I got worried about just how much damage he was going to settle for. I tried to give up once, but he wouldn't have it; he kept kicking and kicking me. I tried to protect my ribs and he just hit me somewhere else. Yes, I lost rather badly. I really can't say when he would have stopped, I doubt if he really wanted to kill me and go to prison for it, but he was still attacking when I was no longer moving. He only stopped when Adam caught his arm from behind and spun him around. "You stop and get out of here!" Adam shouted with all the authority a seven-year old can muster. Sinsley looked down from his 6'6" to Adam at only 5'8" tall, calculated his 220 pounds against Adam's 210, his training against Adam's age and must have thought that he could teach Adam a lesson too. "Get your hands off me, you fucking monster!" He kneed Adam in the crotch with all of his strength. Adam managed to turn enough so that the knee only caught him in the thigh, instead of directly in his crotch, which still hurt enough that he staggered and cried out. He tried to back away. Adam was no fighter, even less than me, he was only a child who had been told all his life not to hurt anyone. Sinsley pressed on, fast and hard, punching Adam in the face twice before the boy could even think of how to defend himself. Blood ran from Adam's nose. "Ow! You're hurting me! Stop it!" He began to cry, turned to run away. But Sinsley had no mercy in him, he kicked Adam in the kidneys from behind. Adam screamed in pain. Sinsley went absolutely berserk, kicking and hitting him again and again, until Adam covered his head with his hands, weeping and shrieking. I was trying to get up, but couldn't, my legs were useless from pain, "Sinsley, you bastard," I cried, "leave him alone. He's only seven years old!" "He should have thought of that before he attacked me," Sinsley snarled, glorious in his triumph--he had obviously been living for this moment. He moved in to kick Adam again. But he went too far, he got too confident. He grabbed Adam by the hair on his head and bent the boy's face forward to smash it with his knee, so Adam grabbed Sinsley's knee to protect himself. And that was it. Sinsley screamed in pain and terror when he felt the power in Adam's hand crushing his knee, like a vice closing, like a hydraulic machine that could mutilate flesh. Up to this point Adam had never used his strength against an opponent-- except for his kidnappers when he was only five years old-- but now he let it happen. He had Sinsley's knee and did not let go, Sinsley hit at him in desperate panic now. So Adam defended himself with his free hand, one slightly awkward slap to the man's ribs. Sinsley was dashed sideways as if kicked by a horse, then was simply hanging from that knee in Adam's grip, like a rag doll. Adam's face registered surprise. He only then understood how much stronger he was than Sinsley: he could crush the man, cripple him, punish him and even kill him. I saw the emotions that scattered across his innocent boy's face as he considered what to do next. Sinsley was still struggling, stunned, but powered by fear now. With his free foot he kicked at Adam's head. Adam slapped the booted blow aside easily, then jerked the man up over his head and tossed him fifteen feet away. Sinsley landed in the bushes, cushioned, but hard enough to hurt. He tried to get up, but Adam was already looming over him, snarling with hate, his little boy face transformed into the visage of a savage beast. At that moment he really did resemble a wild bull gorilla. Sinsley cowered back down, the fight was over for him. Adam was sputtering with rage, "You Sinsleys are really BAD! You and Peter are always doing everything you can to hurt us. I ought to..." He was clenching those powerful hands and Sinsley was trying to cringe away. The look on Sinsley's face was worth it all, but the look on Adam's frightened even me. "Adam, no!" I called, "Don't hurt him! Let him go. There'll just be trouble." Adam hesitated, rocking with readiness, but turning slightly to catch my eye. Then he winked at me. Sinsley didn't see that wink, he was looking up at Adam with real fear in his eyes. Adam turned back to the man with a threatening glare. "But Art, he hurt you and me--" Adam complained, but I could hear that he was just out to scare Sinsley now, teasing him, playing a game "--and he even MURDERED my own mother!" "Let him go. You might kill him. I don't care about him, but I don't want you to get in trouble with the law and he's not worth that." "I won't KILL him, but I really want to HIT him just one more time..." he bent down to Sinsley's face and shouted " hard as I can!" "Adam! Do as I say!" I commanded, something I don't usually do, but I figured that we were putting on a little show for Sinsley. We had to let him live, but we could and should scare the shit out of him. Sinsley's eyes were darting nervously between us as he lay frozen on the ground, totally at our mercy. Adam gave a theatrical roar of rage and frustration and turned away. The woodshed was near him and he crossed to it in three steps, grabbed the sturdy wooden door, ripped it off its hinges and brought it down over his knee with a slam that splintered the door into halves. He then threw one half at least fifty feet away and shredded the other half into quarters as if it was a sheet of paper. He seemed absolutely enraged, but I was aware that he was actually only making certain that Sinsley saw just how angry and mean a sasquatch kid could get if pushed far enough. When there was no more door to destroy Adam grew calm. Sinsley staggered to his feet, carefully, limping on the squeezed knee, holding his chest where Adam had punched him, really playing for sympathy. And keeping away from Adam. "You'd better get out of here," I told Sinsley. He agreed, hobbling off as rapidly as he could. But when he thought he was far enough away to be safe, about a hundred yards, he turned to shout curses at us, still backing away. "There's going to be trouble about this, Forest! That's a wild monster you've got there! I'll have it shot!" Adam moved so fast that neither Sinsley nor I had time to react. He charged after Sinsley, who stood frozen in fear for an instant, then turned to run, the limp forgotten. But Adam had him by the shirt collar before the man managed four steps. Sinsley was lifted off his feet, twirled around and squashed up against a tree with Adam snarling into his face, "If I was REALLY a wild animal, I'd just RIP YOU APART for all the bad things you've done to my family! Wouldn't I?" Sinsley was too afraid to answer. So Adam shook him violently, feet still hanging in the air, as if he weighed nothing. "Well, WOULDN'T I? Say it!" Sinsley nodded, unable to speak. Finally managed, "Please, Adam, don't..." Adam tossed him on his butt and walked away without bothering to look back. Sinsley crawled out of sight.
When Elaine came home that evening she was shocked to see the both of us looking as if we'd been in an auto wreck. We hurt for a week, but felt good about it afterward. Adam had won his first fight without killing or crippling anyone. He had won by intimidation rather than violence. And I was no longer concerned about Sinsley wanting a rematch. He didn't even try to stir up legal trouble as he usually did and I didn't bother to press charges against him. Let it end. I wished.

Chapter 13

Adam out of Eden