A knife in the dark.

When do you fight?

“Please,” Cori whipered, “we don’t want any trouble.”

A hand on her shoulder. “Stay behind me,” David said in a calm, even voice, “and be ready to run.” His eyes carefully tracked the blade between them and the other end of the alley.

“Your purse and your wallet,” the mugger repeated, voice harsh and scraping

David’s sensei had said, “Never get in a fight you can’t win.” Now David took slow, deliberate steps toward the stranger.

“David what are you doing?” Cori hissed

But his eyes were fixed on the figure ahead. “I’m need you to put the knife down,” he called.

The blade slashed threateningly. “Don’t come any closer!” The hand holding the knife was shaking.

His sensei had also said, “The best way to win a fight is not fighting.”

So when do I fight?” David had asked.

“David please, it’s just money.”

The hand holding the knife was shaking.

Hopefully,” David’s sensei had answered, “you never have to fight.”

David lunged. Cori screamed. Bodies collided. David had flawless technique, but the mugger had nothing to lose.

A body on the asphalt. Blood on a knife in the dark.

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox