Jesse awoke drenched in sweat. He hardly ever got sick, but two weeks ago he had started to feel ill. It started with just feeling run down and a small case of the sniffles. He had attributed it to his late nights working as a bouncer in Macdougals Bar.
    Jesse had come across the job on accident about a year prior when he was a patron in the bar, and a fight broke out. The bouncer at the time was Nick. A very tall and slender man with long black hair, tribal tattoos, and an attitude that was brash at best. Another patron was harassing a woman and grabbing her rear when Nick grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. “What the hell do you think you’re doing asshole?” he yelled over the blaring music. The man didn’t respond with words. In a flash he pulled a knife that was hidden in a shoulder harness and stuck it right up under Nick’s chin. The blade partially cut through his adams apple as it plowed through his head.
    Jesse was not a tall man like Nick, and he was thick. He was a shy man, who had trouble speaking and being in public places. The only reason he was there that night, was because a friend convinced him that he needed to get out more. The screams and scattering of the crowd pulled him away from his thoughts, and he looked up to see Nick with the knife buried in his chin, drop and start convulsing. The man was standing over Nick, staring down and laughing. Jesse didn’t even have time to think as he arose and started toward the man. He turned toward Jesse just as a foot hit him in the guts, knocking him to the floor. As Jesse pounced on the man he saw the beer bottle in his other hand a second too late. It broke across the side of his head, but it didn’t slow him. He broke the mans nose with a swift punch, and knocked him out cold.
    After the police had arrived and taken statements, and the coroner had come and gone, Macdougall took Jesse aside. “That was an amazing display of bravery son. Were you in the service perhaps?” He asked with raised eyebrows.
    “No sir.” Jesse responded with a chuckle, “I just can’t stand by, and do nothing when there’s trouble.”
    “It’s a damn shame about Nick. He was a great kid. He might have had a bad attitude, but he certainly didn’t deserve that. Anyway, the bar will only be shut down for as long as it takes to clean. I still have bills to pay, you know. How would you like to come onboard and replace Nick?”
    Jesse’s eyes widened in shock, “That sounds good, but I have to think about it for a couple days, if that’s ok. I never thought about being a bouncer.”
    “Well, I assume you have about a week until we’re open again… How about you get back to me before then?”
    “I’ll do that sir.” replied Jesse with a smile. They shook hands on their gentlemans deal, and Jesse walked the dark streets thinking about this sudden job offer.
    He had been raised to fight, and it had come naturally to him. In a brawl, somehow his pain recepters were completely shut down. He had once been kicked in the crotch and felt nothing until the offender was laying on the ground in a heap. He had lied to Macdougal about never having thought about being a bouncer. He had contemplated it before, but was too afraid of failure to bother trying. He didn’t like to fail, and had somehow gotten it in his head that if he failed at something, he was completely worthless. He knew he had to take the job though. He had been out of work for awhile, and couldn’t find any. He decided he was going to take Macdougall up on the offer, but he was going to give it a couple days before calling him. He didn’t want to seem too eager.
    He arrived home and didn’t bother turning on the lights. He stripped to his skivvies, climbed into bed, and fell into a deep sleep, plagued with images of Nicks death.
    Jesse accepted the job, and the next year was fairly uneventful.  He had a few brawls to break up, but nothing so bad he couldn’t handle. Most of the regulars didn’t cause trouble, and anyone who thought about it, was regaled with the story of the night Jesse applied for the job. This was enough to calm all but the most idiotic of people. There were also the women. Jesse was referred to by one as, the perfect man. He was quick to act in a fight, with no fear, but he would avoid it if possible; and he wasn’t just a meathead. He could hold very intense conversations with eloquence and sincerity. In fact, most people that had never witnessed him fight, wondered why he would waste his time with something like bouncing. If asked, he would say something that gave no real answer, but basically said, he didn’t know.
    Two weeks ago a man entered the bar and started causing trouble. He seemed drunk from the moment Jesse laid eyes on him. He was staggering a bit, and staring with a vacant expression. He kept running into people, and spilling everyone’s drinks. Jesse finally had enough, and decided to get the man out of there before someone hurt him. He approached the man and asked, “Are you ok sir? You’re gonna have to leave I’m afraid. Would you like me to call you a cab?” The man just kept staring at him, so he grabbed the mans shoulder, to lead him out. With no warning, the man bit into Jesse’s forearm. The teeth sank down to the bone as Jesse punched the man in the side of the head. Staggering, but not falling, the man left the bar as people stopped Jesse from giving chase. The bite was pretty bad, and Macdougall called for an ambulance. A report was made to the police, and Jesse spent the next few hours in the E.R. getting stitches.
    Macdougall offered him time off of work, but Jesse refused. “Who’s gonna protect the bar? Some pissant kid off the street?” He exclaimed.
    “I’d watch it son… You were a pissant kid off the street, and you turned out ok.” Laughed Macdougall.
    “In that case, I’m certainly not taking time off.” Jesse responded, “I don’t want to lose my job.”
    As he worked, and continued to feel run down more and more each day, Jessie went back to the doctors. The bite looked fine, and they assured him that he must have gotten a touch of the flu that was making the rounds. Satisfied with that answer, he continued to work nights at Macdougall’s.

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