Phoebe’s dad was plastered drunk. He stumbled down the porch steps and weaved along the sidewalk toward the front gate. Gus tucked Phoebe protectively behind him and stood his ground. Almost a head taller than Mitchel Harris, Gus had the added advantage of being sober and built like a seventeen-year-old athlete.
Mitchel apparently didn’t have the mental faculty to take that into consideration before he threw a punch at Gus, who blocked him and pulled Phoebe safely out of the way.
“I will not let you get away with this,” Mitchel slurred.
“Get away with what?” Gus asked. “Kissing your daughter?”
“You hooligans ‘er all th’same. First, it’s kissing, then you wanna git her into y’er bed.”
“Daddy, I have never even had a boyfriend. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“And you, ya little whore, y’er just as bad as th’other girls in this town.” Mitchel pointed at Phoebe, who now had tears running down her face. “You deserved every beatin’ I ever give ya.”
They’d now drawn a crowd of people who’d come out of their houses and stood on the front porch watching the fight. No one came out to help, but Gus had the situation under control. Until Mitchel pulled out a knife.
Phoebe’s mom came rushing down the porch steps to stop her husband from hurting their daughter, but Mitchel slashed at Paige Harris with his knife and created a surface gash along her arm. Paige shrunk back in pain and cried out.
Gus took advantage of the distraction and grabbed Mitchel’s arm, pulling it behind his back. “Drop the knife.”
“Git yer hands off me.” Mitchel struggled and almost managed to stab Gus with his knife, but Gus fought him off, punching Mitchel in the face and grabbing him in a headlock. Gus twisted Mitchel’s right arm behind his back again and growled at the man.
“I said, drop the knife!”
Finally, Mitchel slumped in defeat and the knife clanked to the concrete sidewalk but Gus held him a second longer to make sure he wasn’t faking surrender.
And that’s how the police found them as they screeched around the corner. Gus released Mitchel from his choke hold and the man slumped to the ground spouting obscenities.
“Son step away from the man and put your hands in the air,” a police officer shouted with his gun raised toward Gus.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gus mumbled as he took a step back and raised his hands obediently.