Monday, January 18, 2010

A Nice Night for a Walk... Not!

After all my years on the night shift, I have become a creature of the night. I can run around and do things during the day, if need be, and I often do, but somehow I have reached a point where I am most comfortable in the dark. As such, when I am not working, I tend to try to keep the same hours I would when I'm working.

Saturday morning was the end of another nine-day stretch for me at work. I only got a short nap Saturday before I went out to a friend's house to watch District 9. Good movie. Came home and crashed.

I spent most of Sunday indoors, as it was raining. I alternated sleeping, playing Mass Effect (8 days till ME2!)on the Xbox, and watching DVDs. I went out for pizza around 1900, and vegged out in front of the computer for a while. Around 0030, Nate said something about walking up to 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes. I mentioned that I was thinking of making a run there myself, because I ran out of Coke Zero, and after a few minutes, I said I'd go. I could drive, but it's only half a mile, and walking saves gas and gives me a little exercise in the bargain.

I've been walking around this neighborhood for almost a year, day and night, and never had a negative experience of any kind. Much of that I attribute to my size. I'm a little over six feet tall and weigh over 200 pounds. No matter how I dress, I'm big, and no one willing messes with a big person. In theory, at least.

As I was putting on my shoes, Nate came in and asked if I had any pocket-sized weapons. I haven't openly carried any weapon for years, and the only weapons I own anymore are of the bladed variety, and long enough that I could get busted just for carrying them (I forgot I have my grandfather's nightstick, d'oh!). Besides, no one's ever bothered me in a hundred excursions or more, I said, and I'll only be gone half an hour or so.

There are two 7-Elevens within a mile of the apartment. I went to the nearest one, just a straight shot up Elm Avenue from home. They had Nate's smokes, but no Coke Zero, so I came back down Elm to London Boulevard and headed east, toward the second store, one long block down the street.

Just after I turned onto London, a man called out from across the street, "Man, do you have a cigarette?" I didn't understand what he said, and kept walking away. He ran across the street toward me, and I turned around. "Do you have a cigarette?" I told him "No" and kept walking. He asked me again, and I told him to "Fuck off." Not my brightest idea, but I wasn't feeling him.

Next thing, two more "gentlemen" approach from the opposite direction. They start chatting with gentleman #1. Obviously, they're not strangers. Number 1 tells the other two that I dissed him, and #2 starts looking at me funny. There wasn't any traffic on London Boulevard, so I crossed the street. The other side was better lit. Safer in the light, I thought. Heh.

Numbers 2 and 3 followed me. I don't remember what they said, but I tried to get them to back down, all the while looking out for #1. Number 2 slapped me, or something. He hit the right side of my head. It wasn't a hard blow, and it triggered my adrenaline response. In the back of my mind, I remember what I was taught of hand-to-hand combat. One fighter I could handle. Two, maybe, but only if I fight to win (no pulled punches, no soft blows). Any more than that, and you're supposed to run, but they were within ten feet, plenty of room to run me down, and I still didn't know where #1 was.

No worry. Number 1 came running across the street swinging ... a bicycle tire? I couldn't write shit like this. He swung the tire at me, and I side-stepped and yanked it out of his hand, pulling him off his feet in the process. I dropped into a fighting stance and gave the tire a couple of tentative swings, to put some space between them and me. Then they backed off and I drew... my cellphone. At that point, they ran back across London and down one of the side streets. I resumed my walk.

I got about half-a-block from the "attack site" and called Nate. I didn't call the police. What was I going to report? Three strange men half-heartedly attacked me and then ran away? I wasn't injured, beyond a cut lip (cut on my teeth). They certainly didn't steal anything, aside from a little peace of mind. Anyway, Nate came out and picked me up, and we drove out to WaWa. He got his cigs. I found that Coke product 12-packs were on sale, and grabbed a pint of ice cream to consume once the adrenaline wore off. Adrenaline's great when one is in action, but it's a hell of a thing to come down off of.