Did you pee on my bike?

I ask matter-of-factly to an 18-year-old surrounded by forties and his friends. And then there was me, alone and in a strange basement in Ashland, Oregon. Confronting someone palming brass knuckles is no easy task. My heart fluttered and hands grew clammy but there was little choice in the matter. This was about respect.

Brook was upset that I had went on a walk with a woman at the hostel, a woman he considered to he "his." When we returned from our adventure a few hours later my motorcycle had been pee'd on and Brook was intoxicated. Brook had a belt with a detachable buckle shaped exactly like brass knuckles. I knew I couldn't sleep and had to confront this situation no matter how hard it was.

The girl had suggested I sleep in a spare bed and let Brook sleep this off but I knew that avoiding the symptoms never cured an illness. Surrounded by his goons in a dimly lit basement, I take a seat nearest Brook. He is dressed in over-sized, gangster clothes and minutes earlier he was slurring a Dre Mac song and spilling Mickey's beer all over his puffy jacket. "Did you pee on my motorcycle," I ask. "No man," he replies. "I wouldn't do that." "Alright," I respond. His hand holding a black belt and the other holding golden knuckles glistening under a halogen light.

I didn't understand why he lied. He could have beat me mercilessly in that basement in front of his friends and no one would have came to my rescue. This tough, just-out-of-juvee kid with a world to impress and intimidate could have just as easily said "Yeah, what you going to do about it?" but he didn't. I grew emboldened.

"That's good because I 'm an adult and so are you so if you have a problem with me then we can talk about it," I say. "It seems like a cowardly thing to do, that's all." I realize his tough exterior was just a game. He wasn't man enough to tell this woman how he feels or do little more than passively piss on my bike when I am away. It was a show and he wanted people to be afraid of him and while I couldn't stomp him I wasn't about to let him intimidate me.

I fell asleep on a small twin bed while Brook passed out upside down in a recliner. The next day he was kicked out of the hostel for an unrelated event.