—Do it, Jackson says, pushing me. He strips off his black leather gloves and throws them on the ground. Jackson doesn’t ride a motorcycle or drive a fast car, I’ve never understood why he wears those gloves. I don’t know if it’s the gloves, him taking them off, or being pushed that ignites my anger. I slap Jackson, he catches my hand after it strikes his face and punches me with his free hand a couple times.

I am stunned by the sheer cinematic grace of Jackson’s fighting moves. I always forget how good he is at fighting, how stunned I get by his effortless ass-kicking skills, and how sorry I am, right about now, that I chose to fight him.

Jackson would probably continue to punch me in the face until I fall down, but Davy grabs Jackson’s punching hand. All three of us tense up, like a bolt of electricity cables through our bones. Davy lets go of Jackson and hits me in the side of my head, which knocks me off balance and I fall.

I rebound quickly, on my way up grabbing a nearby tree branch, which I swing at Jackson’s face, and miss.

Davy jumps on my back. He’s never, in all our lives, done this. I merry-go-round the fuck out of him but he’s got me in some sort of headlock, his breath hissing in my ear. When I realize Davy is crying, a tsunami of regret washes over me and I stop.

Later, here we are, three men in their mid 40s, two married with children, sitting on the sidewalk curb outside a frou-frou Italian eatery, licking expensive gelatos, it occurs to me I can’t remember what started the fight.

—You were talking shit about the Defender series. Davy and I are gonna go see the latest installment, Mr. Mercurial, and we invited you.

—I never go with you guys to comic book movies, why would this one be any different?

Jackson shakes his head, stares ahead.

Davy regards me. —You should go see this one with us, Ben. It’d be good for you. It might resonate.