Jan. 8th, 2014

v_harkryder: (Hat)
[personal profile] v_harkryder
Harkryder's Gym was a squat building located in what passed for Las Vegas' industrial district. It was open during regular business hours on weekdays, and on Thursday nights and some weekends self-defense classes for women and teenagers were hosted. Those classes were free. It was good PR, for one thing, and Virgil was of the opinion that women and kids needed to learn how to take care of themselves if they lived in a city of any size. Las Vegas wasn't cold like Chicago could be, but urban life always held dangers.

"Now remember, folks, the easiest way to disable an attacker is to hit them in their weak spots," the veteran said as he stood in front of that night's class. It was mostly females on this particular occasion, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. There was one woman who'd stood out from the rest, the one with the fading black eye. Virgil was planning to take her aside after the lesson and ask her if she was having trouble at home. He still had connections with the police department despite having quit the force, and he had some cards from the local women's shelter in his desk, which he gave out in emergencies.

"The eyes, the bridge of the nose, the throat," he said, pointing to each spot as he talked. "The groin if you have to. Don't be worried about being lady-like. If someone comes at you in the street, hurt them before they can hurt you. Then get away as fast as you can."

There was a smattering of laughter at his advice about the groin-shot, and white teeth displayed themselves in Virgil's dark face. He'd bought the gym after he and Mattie got divorced, and she'd been the one to suggest he offer self-defense training. They were much better friends now than they ever had been as husband and wife. When she remarried, he danced at her wedding.

Class broke up, and the women talked among themselves as they gathered their jackets and other belongings. Virgil filled a plastic cup with water from the cooler, then sipped at it as people left. The woman with the old shiner was lingering, reading the flyers pinned to the corkboard near where the boxing ring was set up. She'd said her name was Tanya. He saw the way she was re-reading the bright blue flyer that said 'Are You Afraid To Go Home?'

"Ma'am? Are you all right?"

She started a little. She was about thirty, but the haunted look made her seem older. "I...can I...I need to talk to somebody."

"I guessed as much," Virgil said, and he pointed towards his office, which was located in the back of the gym. "Come on. We'll talk. If you need help, I can give you a number to call."

They headed back towards the smaller space. Just because he wasn't a cop anymore, that didn't mean he couldn't protect people.

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