Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood & Bourbon
Disfigured veteran gym owner
“NMFP. Not my fucking problem.”
“When I was in school, martial arts made you a dork, and I became self-conscious that I was too masculine. I was a 16-year-old girl with ringworm and cauliflower ears. People made fun of my arms and called me ‘Miss Man.’"
“It wasn’t until I got older that I realized: These people are idiots. I’m fabulous.”
“I fear no man. If you breathe oxygen, I do not fear you.”
Freak. That’s the word that comes to mind at first glance. Big, ugly, bull dyke might come second, but it’s “freak” first and foremost. Kennedy is large in a way that most women aren’t. She’s tall, right around six feet, with broad shoulders and a chest that would look more at home on a man and the shaved head to match. Any tits she might have had have been burned away in the gym and covered in slabs of muscle, and her ass isn’t round because she wears Applebottoms or boots with fur. No, it’s round from years of physical training, no jiggle or junk in this trunk. Thighs thick with muscle lead into calves any weight-lifter would kill for, ending in feet so large she can’t wear women’s shoes. Not that she would. She’s right at home in her steel-toed combat boots, cargo pants, and muscle shirts over black sports bras.
Burn victim. That’s what the clothes show. Burned and burned badly, with her back and sides and arms and neck still a mess of twisted, angry flesh that matches the expression most often on her face. Deep set eyes peer out from under a brooding brow, and her mouth looks more like a gash in her face than anything resembling lips. Maybe it’s just the way she’s scowling.
Name: Kennedy Gordon
Aliases: Ken, Kenny, Gordon
Date of Birth: 1983
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black, shaved
Complexion: Black. Like tar pits or lava exposed to cool air on its way down the mountainside.
Gutter trash, that’s what they called her growing up. Street rat. Urchin. No-good, lousy, son of a bitch. That last one was her father’s words the day she turned ten. They kept her going; they were her reason for her existence, the fuel in her fire. No-good, she’d think as she hit the bag. Lousy, with a roundhouse kick. Son of a bitch, every ounce of perspiration that left her body, every mile ran, every pushup completed.
She came from the wrong side of the tracks, the side where little girls grew up to work street corners for guys in ill-fitting suits with partially collapsed veins. She wouldn’t end up like them, that’s what she told herself, she wouldn’t let some guy knock her around or knock her up and continue the cycle. She had loftier motivations: armed services, maybe a tour or two, ride that wave until her body couldn’t hack it, then get into private security for some old rich guy when the service couldn’t use her anymore. It was a decent sort of life and it kept her off the streets.
If only she hadn’t been so good at it. If only her commanding officer hadn’t put forth her name for a special unit, the kind you read about in books or watch on TV and think “Wow that’s cool,” until you’re there, until you see it first hand, until you’ve got the blood on your hands and the lives on your conscience and one day
Discharge, other than honorable. That’s what they called it. That’s what they called what she did when she wrapped her hands around her CO’s neck and started squeezing because he’d smiled at her when she told him she didn’t want to do it anymore. Two guys pulled her off but the CO would wear those finger-shaped bruises for a week. She’d been discharged and sent home to Detroit—back to the cesspool she’d fought so hard to get out of.
Only this time she wasn’t a little girl anymore. This time she had training —years of training, training that let her look into the darkness at the core of the world and smile at it like an old friend, because how could anything at home be worse than what she’d seen during her service?
Kennedy grew up in Detroit. The wrong side of Detroit—not that there’s a right side—in a run-down two bedroom home with a mom who vanished before she could much remember her and a dad that was as cruel as he was ugly. She likes to say she got her smile from him. And her name, he gave her her name too. Wanted a boy, see, so when she popped out without a cock he named her Kennedy and called her Ken and that was that. Sometimes Kenny hated her mom for abandoning her with the abusive fuck she called Dad, and sometimes she envied the woman her freedom. Either way, she was stuck until she was eighteen.
She was twelve the first time she had her taste of the unjust world. On her way home from the gym, Kenny stuck to the well-lit areas because she knew all about the monsters that go bump in the night: the guys that wouldn’t care if she was underage, still a child, they’d whisk her away into a life of prostitution and crack or take what they wanted and leave her bleeding in an alley. She’d seen and heard it happen to enough people in the neighborhood.
Then she heard footsteps. A block away from her home, just one more corner to go, but someone was behind her. Kenny turned and came face-to-face with a gaggle of street punks, some of them only a year or two older than her. They held pipes, knives, bats, and one of them a sidearm. Kenny recognized Toby Viets, a light-skinned black kid from down the block.
“Your old man owes mine money,” he spat at her. She saw the black eye and knew all-too-well the evidence of a man strapped for cash.
“Yeah? Sounds like a personal problem.”
Evidently that wasn’t the answer he wanted. Maybe he thought she’d offer up some petty cash, like her bus fare or lunch money. He launched himself at her and that’s when Kenny found out that cardio and light resistance training doesn’t really prepare you for a fight.
After that night she took up boxing and martial arts. She was as much a powerhouse as any freshman could be by the time she hit high school. Maybe that’s why the boys targeted her for their fun little game.
Prom night. It’s supposed to be romantic, isn’t it? Cute dress, fancy makeup, spend the night dancing and eating and laughing with friends. Then the After Prom party, school sanctioned wholesome fun, and then the After-After Prom party, which isn’t school sanctioned probably a bit more risque than any official event might be.
Kenny was invited as a freshman. Kind of a big deal since the only people who actually get to go are seniors and anyone they invite. One of the guys on the (terrible) football team that she saw all the time in the weight room asked her if she wanted to attend with him, and since he was one of the only guys bigger than she was and occasionally offered to spot for her, she thought it’d be a fun evening.
She bought a new red dress, found a pair of heels for her still-growing feet, and asked one of the ladies at the department store makeup counter for some tips. It wasn’t like one of those teen movies where she takes off her glasses and is suddenly pretty, but she looked presentable enough even if she did have to take a safety pin to the excess material around her torso where her dad said “your tits are supposed to go, ha!” She even went through the jewelry box her mother left behind to accessorize.
Dinner was good. Dancing was great. Her date spun her around on the floor and let her take a sip from the flask he and his buddies had smuggled in. She didn’t like the way it made her head spin, but when he told her to mix it with coke so it went down easier she found she didn’t mind it as much. The After Party was a carnival-themed setup in a party center, with games and greasy food and a little carousel where she sat on the pony while her date stood next to her with his arm at the small of her back.
They never made it to the After-After Party. Her date, as it turned out, was only interested in one thing: sex. And not consensual sex. Oh, no. He wanted to rough her up a bit. Slap her around. Tear her dress off of her and have two of his friends hold her down while he plowed away inside of her, saying that she’s “not so strong now, are you.” Then he let his buddies have a go because what brings a group of people closer than a gang bang, right? They didn’t care that she bled all over the sheets in the seedy motel room, or that her lip was split from the force of the blow when she “got lippy,” or that she’d go through an entire tube of concealer trying to hide the black eye they gave her. They tossed her out onto the streets when they were done with her and she had to walk home in heels, panties, and a pearl necklace.
Kenny enlisted the week before she graduated from high school and shipped off to basic the week after. Fort Leonard Wood, MI. She scored in the 99th percentile of her ASVAB and was given her choice of career paths; originally she’d wanted to go medical, but her commanding officer put her up for Psy Ops after a few weeks of AIT and she wasn’t given the option to refuse.
Her first assignment was in Peru. Used to urban life in Detroit, Kenny was floored when she found out that Peru had beaches, mountains, deserts, and jungles within its borders, and spent whatever time she wasn’t on duty exploring this new world around her. Kenny met a native Peruvian who called herself “Lizzie” when she attended a tour of some ancient ruins, and the two girls hit it off. Lizzie told Kenny about her family’s line, how up until the Battle of Cajamarca they had served as priests and mamakuna to Inti in his Sun Temples across the province—many of them in Coricancha itself. Many of them were slaughtered with the Spanish colonization of the Americas, though her line remained.
Kenny and Lizzie began dating shortly after meeting and kept their relationship a secret for the two years that Kenny was stationed in Peru. When she was given orders to go elsewhere she and Lizzie parted on good terms.
She wasn’t as lucky with the people at her next assignment. Lieutenant Cumpstane (called “Cumstain” by almost everyone) was the bane of Kennedy’s existence in Chile. He was fresh out of the academy and walked into base like he owned the place, rubbing his rank in the NCO’s faces as if that would win him the respect he so desperately craved. He wasn’t her commanding officer, just a douchebag that didn’t like his station at the end of the world, and when Kenny got sick of his shit and pointed out “he’s not even first lieutenant,” Cumpstane took a special interest in making sure “that black-tar nigger bitch” knew her place.
She was happy to see the last of him when she was reassigned.
Kenny served six years in total before she was discharged. She returned home to Detroit and spent a few months in a shit-hole apartment applying to various government positions. After a months-long process that involved a thorough background check and multiple interviews, she was finally cleared to work for the DOD. Kenny headed to D.C. to join the rest of the bureaucrats.
It didn’t last long.
Kenny never talks about the accident that left her permanently disfigured. She only says there was an explosion while she was doing some routine fieldwork, and even months in the hospital wasn’t able to repair what happened to her. Fourth and fifth degree burns take more than a handful of skin grafts to repair, and for a while Kennedy sank into a bleak depression. Between the disabled status and the PTSD she considered ending her life.
Then one night she got a visitor at the hospital, one Lizzie Alarcon. Lizzie explained that she’d moved to New Orleans a few months after Kennedy left Peru, and that she expected Kenny to not only keep up with her physical therapy but to get her ass back to the gym to boot. She took Kennedy home to New Orleans with her and the two have been there ever since. The pair eventually opened GroundBorn in Mid-City, an MMA gym that specializes in teaching women how to protect themselves.
A Mid-City based MMA gym, GroundBorn began as a concept when Kenny was in the right place at the right time. She happened to walk into the bathroom at a local bar after a few beers and heard quiet whimpering coming from inside the only stall with a door on it. Rather than look the other way, Kenny asked if everything was alright. No one answered. But beneath the door she could see a pair of pants around someone’s ankles and discarded panties, and Kenny had her own experiences to draw from. She didn’t need to imagine what was going on behind the door: she’d lived it.
So she kicked it down.
And there he was, some fat fucktard with a tiny cock balls-deep in a girl young enough to still be in high school with no business being at a place like this, his hand over her mouth to keep her quiet and fear in her eyes.
So Kenny kicked him down too.
She took the girl to the police station to file a report. But she hated how the damage had already been done, how all the cops could do is punish a man after he commits a crime. Why not stop him in the first place? Why not teach women how to stop others like him from doing the same to them?
Kenny opened GroundBorn within the year. The gym itself is open to anyone who wants to join, but Kenny runs special classes on self defense for women, teens, and children. A variety of instructors offer boxing, kick boxing, grappling, and various types of martial arts.