about the author

Eugenio Volpe has stories published or forthcoming in Post Road, Exquisite Corpse, Twelve Stories, Waccamaw, Johnny America, and others. He has been nominated for a Pushcart and won the PEN Discovery Award for his novel in progress. He lives in Providence, RI, and teaches creative writing at Roger Williams University. For more info please visit his blog: mebeingbrand.blogspot.com.

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Self Defense

Eugenio Volpe

Sensei Paul was fifth degree. Sensei Pete was second. Sensei Paul drove a Lincoln Town Car. Sensei Pete drove a red Fiero. They were both Boston cops. They were both Italian-Americans. Sensei Paul’s moustache was black. Sensei Pete’s moustache was brown. Sensei Paul was a hard-ass. Sensei Pete was a bad-ass. Sensei Paul hit on our moms. Sensei Pete hit on us.

Sensei Pete was very ninja about his come-ons. He concealed his flirting as encouraging ass-slaps. If someone pulled a hammy while sparring, he’d heal it up quick with a Miyagi massage. I was always pulling hammies and thus received the royal Danielson treatment. I didn’t have a father and therefore Sensei Paul couldn’t keep his hands off my mother. She might have preferred Sensei Pete. Either/or, I was the first kid in class to earn a brown belt.

My mother and I were eating dinner when Sensei Pete walked onto the six o’clock news in cuffs. He had allegedly molested a kid from his Cub Scouts den. Chablis shot out my mother’s nose. Her eyes welled with tears. The news mentioned a minimum sentence of three years. She put it in my hands. She asked if I could wait that long, the alternative being Sensei Paul. Chuck Norris had a brown mustache. I couldn’t think of anybody with a black one. The Lincoln Town Car was certainly a dependable and stylish family vehicle, but I had never known a father; therefore, it was impossible to miss having one. Three years was nothing. We’d all be crammed into Sensei Pete’s bad-ass Fiero in no time, Miyagi massaging each other’s souls.

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