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Vet — A story with a self defense lesson for women

Illustration by Ted Hammond


In hand to hand combat there is one and only one effective method for a smaller person who is untrained to incapacitate a larger person, and it isn’t kicking him in the balls.



a story by by Matthew Dyne

I was a seriously fucked up dude, but I’m not so bad off now. I found a shrink who went through some of the same shit I did, and understood. Aging also helped wear down the rough edges. Most of all, it was her.

I don’t think of myself as dangerous. It takes a lot to rile me. But, if I vaporize, you’d best not have been fuel for the fire. Hurt me badly and I’ll kill you; threaten a friend and you’ll wish I had.

I own and live in the last house on a dead-end street up against a thousand acres of forest. My father built my house with his own hands. I own another house across the street and down a little ways. My uncle built it.

I had rented my uncle’s house to a woman I badly wanted to get to know, but she made sure to tell me that she had a boyfriend. Shit, I said to myself. She’s not even trying, and I can barely keep my best friend respectful—Down boy, down. What really broke my heart was that, besides being good-looking, she seemed to be a nice person too. She baked me a cake the day after she moved in, and she stayed and ate dinner with me before she went home. She signed the lease using ‘Amelia.’ She told me to call her Amy.

As Amy settled in, she asked me to fix a few things, which I was happy to do. I got to be around her and to know her better. She seemed straightforward and sincere, and I couldn’t help but be stimulated by her appearance in the different outfits she wore. My binoculars kept wanting to wander toward her windows, but I forced myself not to invade her privacy. The only time I did spy on her was one hot day when she was planting in my uncle’s garden. She couldn’t be seen from the street—not that we get much traffic—but I had a clear view of her. She wore short shorts and a peasant shirt that was meant to tease with what was underneath it. It teased me all right—the only thing underneath it was her. I could see through its gauzy material, and I could see into it when she bent over. Her nipples were very pale. Watching her made me harder than I’d been in a long time, and filled me with longing.

Two weeks later, Amy’s boyfriend showed up. He looked to be about six-two, two-eighty. Right off I didn’t like him, but it wasn’t his size. It was my jealousy. After their being apart for so long, I knew what they’d be doing. I couldn’t stop thinking of him fucking her. I had to admit I’d taken a proprietary fancy to my neighbor. As I was going to bed that night, I looked over and saw their lights out. I envisioned a cock that matched his girth fucking her to multiple orgasms. I couldn’t sleep. I thought about jerking off to calm and distract myself, but jealousy dampened my enthusiasm for it. I did it anyway. It wasn’t satisfying, and it didn’t help.

Two days later, their honeymoon, so to speak, was over. It was morning. I heard them arguing and then screaming at each other. I couldn’t make out their words, but I didn’t need to. I felt good about his troubles but bad for Amy. Then I heard a scream that sounded like pain. After that, it was quiet. It was a bad combination. I saw him storm out of the house, get in his car, and drive away.

I didn’t see or hear any activity from my uncle’s house. This wasn’t unusual, but the fight and that final scream concerned me. I got my binoculars, but still couldn’t see her.

I walked over to her place and knocked. There was no answer. I opened the door a crack and called her name.

“Go away,” she said. It sounded as if she was in the bedroom; her nose was stuffed up as if she’d been crying.

“Are you okay?”

There was a long pause before she said, “No. I’m not okay. But I don’t want to see anyone. Go away.”

“Okay. If you need anything, I’ll be home. Call and I’ll come right over.”

She didn’t answer. I wanted to respect her wishes, but I wasn’t comfortable with how she sounded. “Okay?” I said more forcefully.

“Okay,” she said angrily.

“Did he hit you?”

“Yes,” she said, now starting to cry openly. “Go away.”

“If he comes back I won’t let him in. Okay?”

I waited for an answer. Amy came out. Her face was bright red on both sides, and the flesh around one eye was turning purple. I came in, took her hand, and led her to the couch. I filled a doubled-up plastic bag with ice, wrapped it in a dish towel, and told her to keep the compress on her eye—ten minutes on and a couple of minutes off, for the next three or four hours, and she’d be glad she did. She didn’t want to, but I insisted, and she gave in.

“Has he done it before?” I asked.

“Once,” she said disgustedly.

I wondered with whom she was disgusted. For her sake, I hoped it was herself.

“It’s over,” she said. “For good. That’s what I told him, but he wouldn’t accept it.”

I shook my head in sympathy. I was glad, for her, that she had made the decision to drop the prick who was abusing her, but I knew these situations didn’t usually end gracefully. It was ungraceful already. To my credit, I thought of myself only fleetingly. It wasn’t the time for that.

“He’ll come back,” she said.

That worried me. We were becoming friends, but she hadn’t risen to the status of Friend—I wasn’t ready to die for her. I didn’t want to get caught between them. Neither could I let him beat her.

I also thought that she should learn to take care of herself—by calling the cops, running away, buying a gun, or any of a number of other options. Clearly, taking care of herself wasn’t something she’d come to grips with yet.

The reason I’d get involved, if I had to, was that I wasn’t going to allow violence to go on unchecked in my house. That would be a violation of me.

I had another reason too: she was sexy and pretty and kind. I was going to beat the living shit out of him if he so much as laid a finger on her, for the pleasure I’d get out of protecting her. I wanted her to love me. I wanted her to fuck me too. I wasn’t sure which I wanted more.

“Will he be back soon?” I asked her.

“Could be any time. Could be now, could be in a month.”

“I won’t let him hurt you.”

She laughed at me. “How are you going to stop him?”

That, I wouldn’t answer. She didn’t have a right to know. Not yet. Probably never.

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” I said. “But I’d like you to sleep in my house tonight. You can sleep downstairs. I sleep upstairs. I’ll take my tractor out of the garage, and you can put your car in there. If he comes back, he’ll think you’re gone.”

She looked at me in a way she hadn’t before—at my face, but not into my eyes. Her expression had relaxed, and she wasn’t focusing. I got the sense she knew how to read people in some way I didn’t understand. It made me uncomfortable.

“That’s generous of you,” she said. “I don’t want to impose, and I’m sorry to have put you in this position.”

“Don’t be, you didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I’m so scared. I don’t have anywhere to go. It’s hard for me to say ‘No.’”

“You won’t owe me anything.”

“I don’t want you to come on to me.”

“I just told you—you won’t owe me anything.”

“Okay then, but you’re putting yourself at risk, and I’m not sure why. And I can’t live with you forever.”

She hadn’t taken it the wrong way—she’d actually figured me out better than I had myself. Her words “live with you forever” rose in my cock despite the fact that she had preceded them with “I can’t.”

“Would you like to learn how to protect yourself?”

“Can I?”

“I think so.”

“What do I have to do?”

“I’ll teach you.”

“What do you know about it?”

There it was again. Another questions about stuff I didn’t want to go into.

“Look at me,” I said.

This time she looked directly in my eyes and didn’t flinch.

“I won’t come on to you, and you won’t ask me about that. But I know about it—all too well. I can teach you if you’re motivated.” Then I was the one to flinch. I’d said very little but had revealed more than I wanted to—or maybe I did want to, but my defenses were deep and long standing and not breached without trepidation.


Amy moved in with me. She tried to confine her belongings to the room I gave her, but her womanly presence was undeniable, especially in the bathroom. She still paid rent, but sometimes she cooked for me, and she kept the house in order. Don’t get me wrong: I like having a neat house too, but it’s easier for me to work at it if someone like her takes the lead. Sometimes I’d come upon a load of her clothing in the dryer, and I’d have to take it out and put it into her basket. I got a special thrill from handling her underwear, but the thrill wasn’t just about her sexiness. It was about intimacy too.

We started with self-defense. “In some ways this is going to be simpler than you thought,” I told her, “because there’s only one way for a smaller person, who’s inexperienced, to effectively attack a larger person. Do you have any idea what that is?”

“Kick him in the balls?”

“There are a couple of problems with that. To knee him in the balls you have to be way too close. If you miss, he can grab you. In defense, distance is everything. You’ve got to attack him but stay out of reach. If you try to kick him in the balls from a distance, all he has to do is close his legs or block you with his hand, and he’ll have a good chance of grabbing your ankle. Then he’ll reel you in and you’re dead.

“You can’t punch him, either. You don’t have enough power to hurt him, and again, you’d have to be too close. The same goes for stomping his instep. If he’s already grabbed you, you can try that, but you won’t be able to do enough damage to incapacitate him. Even if you broke his foot, he’d still have you, and he’d be angry.

“A small person against a big person must go for the knee. You get to keep your distance, and even if you don’t get a good shot on him, you’ll probably make him limp, and then you can outrun him. I’m going to teach you how to kneecap a man. You’re going to practice it five hundred times a day. First, we’ll have you practice on a dummy. Then I’ll pad my legs, and you can learn on me.”

“Five hundred?”

“A practice kick takes less than two seconds. There are thirty-six hundred seconds in an hour. Five hundred isn’t as many as it seems.”

I tried not to be obvious, but Amy wasn’t oblivious to the way I looked at her. I knew it was clear how attracted to her I was. She was considerate and tried not to do things that might stimulate me, and she tried not to intrude on my space. At night, she always waited for me to finish in the bathroom before she showered and got ready for bed. I was usually upstairs by the time she came out, but the few times I wasn’t, I saw her in her robe with her hair all wet. She looked wild and untamable.

She worked hard on her kicks, but she didn’t think she was getting anywhere until I let her kick me. We set up in the basement and fought. I came at her as if she were vulnerable. I taunted her, I pretended to dominate her, and I pretended not to expect a fight. She pretended to be afraid, she was good at faking it, and then she attacked. She had very good balance, and she adjusted quickly to the addition of my forward momentum to the equation of forces. Each time her heel penetrated into the foam of my protective gear, her grunts of effort gave me satisfaction. She became very excited. Eventually, I had to be the one to call it quits.


She was still excited after her shower. I could hear it in her voice when she called out, “Can I come up?”

She’d never been upstairs—I knew because I’d laid down a sprinkling of dust I always stepped over—and I’d certainly never invited her. “I’ll come down,” I said.

“No. I want to come up, or forget it.”

Forget what? I wondered, though my imagination provided plenty of possibilities. I didn’t want her in my domain, but I could hear in her voice that she was still excited. If she’s that kind of excited, and wants to go to bed with me… Don’t be stupid, I told myself.

She didn’t wait. She climbed the stairs. I had my boxers on and met her halfway. Her hair was wet, the way I loved to see it. She had a towel around her. I couldn’t stop glancing at her breasts swelling above its edge.

“I’ve been trusting you,” she said. “I want you to trust me.”

I wanted to say ‘Yes,’ but my head was shaking ‘No.’

“You’re helping me,” she said. “I want to help you. Please. Let me.”

“What do you want?”

“Let me upstairs. And tell me why you are the way you are.”

“I can’t do that,” I said, averting my eyes. “You agreed not to ask.”

She started to turn around, but I touched her arm. “Wait… This isn’t easy for me… Give me a minute, and I’ll think about it.”

“Okay,” she said. “I’ll wait here until you give me an answer.” She turned and sat on the steps and rested her head on her hands as if she would wait forever. It was hard to think while looking at the towel riding up her legs. She knew what she was doing.

I went up and lay on my bed. Let her wait, I thought. This is hard—she can suffer with me. I kept seeing her legs in my mind. They were hard to ignore. I wondered where the towel might have risen to by now. After a while I made a decision. I hoped it would satisfy her. I went back to the stairway. She stood and faced me once more. “You can come up, but I’m not ready to talk about it. If you come up, you might understand why.”

She shook her head in agreement, and I allowed her into to my room. She stopped at the doorway. I could tell she was uncomfortable. She seemed not to want to enter, but she got up her courage and took a few steps in and looked around. Instruments of death were everywhere: pistols, rifles, shotguns, knives, ammunition, reloading equipment, gun-cleaning supplies, a compound bow, tools of obscure usage, military and outdoor clothing, survivalist catalogs. Some of it was my grandfather’s, some of it was my father’s, and some my uncle’s. Most of it was mine. I wasn’t proud of it, and I wasn’t ashamed of it, either; it was just who I was when I wasn’t that other person she thought she knew.

Her gaze turned to my bed. It was the only thing that was soft and inviting.

“Can we go downstairs now?” I asked.

“No. I’ll stay.” So saying, she faced me and took off my underwear, being careful to pull them over my penis, which, with her standing so close to me and being nearly naked, had risen beyond my control. Then she dropped her towel to the floor, took my hand, and pulled me into my bed with her. She wrapped me in a hug and firmly wedged my leg all the way up between hers, and hers between mine. “I like you,” she said. “There are things about you that I like very much. Take all the time you need, but if you want me, if you’re motivated, and if you’re willing to tell me who you are, then you can have me.”

“Have you?”

“You can have me now—this once. But if you want to have me again, you’ll have to give.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“I won’t get pregnant. Is there anything you can hurt me with?”


“Are you sure?”


“Okay. I’m trusting you. With my life. Do you understand?”

“I understand… I was… in the war.”

Amy spread her legs and pulled me on top of her. My eyes filled with tears. She stroked my back and rubbed my cheek with hers as my erection came to full hardness. I dipped my penis into her vagina. Then I took it out and slid it up and down between her labia. I did it again, spreading her wetness over us both. I kissed her mouth and spread her saliva over our lips. I kissed her breasts. Her fingers caressed my ears as I tasted her lovely pink nipples. And then, with a deep sigh of release from the prison of my obsessions, at least for the moment, I pushed on into her. Then I pushed all the way in. And then all the way in and a little more.

Her hands caressed me as I rested in her embrace until I could rest no more, and I began to stroke to her moans of delight. Each time I entered, she pushed gently on my buttocks. I give you me, she said wordlessly. I risk, but I allow. I could be hurt, but I trust. What I promise, I fulfill. I am loyal. Over and over and over again she delivered her message as I reveled in the pleasure she had initiated and now shared with me.

Then she sprinted into animalistic thrashing and a series of undulating moans that grew and grew until they culminated in the violent spasms of her orgasm. For a moment she threw me off pace, but I regrouped and rose to her needs and to my own, and I met her halfway, or so I hoped. My orgasm was violent too. I hoped I hadn’t hurt her, though I’m sure, right then, she was beyond caring. I was hardly in control. Her offer of her self was too generous, too poignant, and too promising. My future was no longer only in my hands; by giving, she had taken it into hers too.

We spent the night together in my bed. It was a long time before we fell asleep, but before we did, I gave up the second of my secrets. “It wasn’t just war,” I said. “It was combat.”


I hoped we were rid of him, but I knew better. He came back six weeks later. It was evening, after Amy got home from work. We heard him banging on the door of my uncle’s house and yelling for Amy to come out. I told her to stay inside, and I went to meet him.

“You’re banging on my house. Amy doesn’t live there any more. Get off my property.”

He looked up the road. So did I. Amy was coming toward us.

He towered over me. A sadistic grin covered his face. “You’re fucking my girlfriend. You must want to die young.”

I thought of my friends who had died young, succumbing to the same mindless brutality as his. He was starting to piss me off. He pushed me. I let him.

“I don’t think you ought to do that,” Amy warned.

He laughed. “What are you going to do? Call the cops?”

He pushed me again. I took two steps back, but other than that, I didn’t react. If it came to violence, I wanted him to hit me first. I wanted him to give up his civil rights, because I knew that if we had to call the cops we’d be calling an ambulance too.

It all happened very fast—it always does. He came at me. I turned to the side, placing one foot behind me for balance. I’d been here countless times before, and even more often than that in sweat-soaked nightmares. I could see he was untrained. I was relaxed and ready. He was one step away from being dead meat. And then, in that instant between rest and explosion, I saw that I wouldn’t need to touch him. Amy was moving forward. I stepped out of her way. She turned sideways, and with twenty thousand practice kicks behind her, she drove her foot like a pile driver into his knee, following through just as I had taught her. It was a sideways blow, but it wouldn’t matter. I heard a satisfying crack, followed by a scream and a thud as he fell to the ground, holding his knee and writhing in pain. He turned white. After about thirty seconds, he passed out.

I looked at Amy and saw that she didn’t share my glee. Her mouth was open, and her eyes were horrified as she stared at her ex-boyfriend lying unconscious on the ground. She was trembling. I knew the reaction. I took her home, laid her down, and covered her with a blanket before I called the police and gave them a brief rundown on what had happened. I held her and tried my best to comfort her. The cops came. One of them was a woman. She interviewed Amy, and a policeman interviewed me. I was glad I could honestly say I never touched him. I didn’t think he’d ever walk right again, and who knew what charges the cops might have leveled against me.


It was a long time before Amy came to my bed again, though I tried my best to deserve her. Compared to what happened to me, her brush with violence was minimal, but it gave us something to share that went deep. That helped me open up a bit more.

On her birthday, I gave her a party. I invited two vet buddies, and she invited two women co-workers. They made unlikely couples, but there was enough harmless flirting for everyone to have a good time, and no one expected more. After they left, I gave Amy her present. I had embroidered a campaign ribbon for her. It didn’t look like one—I didn’t want it to, but that’s what I told her it represented. I explained it was what soldiers wore on their uniforms to show where they had fought. It was the only time I ever embroidered, but I’d sewn plenty of ripped clothing. I took my time, and I picked thread to match her eyes. It came out pretty.

After her shower, she called me to her room. She’d lived with me long enough that it was warm and feminine. She stripped me naked and laid me on her bed, and then she took out clothing she thought I’d like best: a knit dress that clung to every curve; a bra that hid everything, but barely; a string bikini that came to just above the trim of her hair; and stockings and a garter belt that showed beneath the knit dress, but who cared? We weren’t going out in public.

She dropped her towel and watched me as she dressed. I gently stroked my hard-on, but not enough that I’d waste anything I had for her. After she dressed, she dried and brushed her hair and tied it in a bun. She put on makeup and a dab of perfume and topped all of it off by pinning on her campaign ribbon. She gave me her camera and had me take a picture of her.

Then she took it all off—in reverse—one slow step at a time.

I was so hard I felt as if I would burst my skin. “I see you’ve got another present for me,” she said.

“Ohhhh,” I groaned. “Please. Let me give it to you.”

“I don’t know. One present a day seems quite enough.”

I flashed on a whore I met on R and R, back when I was a kid. She pretended to love me, she got me excited, and then she asked for money. I walked out. But with Amy, it was different. It wasn’t about money, and I wasn’t walking out. I knew what she wanted; I knew I was going to give it to her.

I put my head in my hands and closed my eyes. I couldn’t do what I had to do and look at her naked, standing in front of me, waiting, but I tried not to see too much of what I didn’t want to remember. “I killed men… with my bare hands… more than once. I had to.”

She came and put me inside her without delay. She knew I needed it quickly: not to forget, but to honor those I killed but never hated. I could just as easily have been them. They could just as easily have been me.

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