Excellent story contribution from a friend in Oakland, California

Perhaps 5 or maybe six years ago I was walking home from sumfink or other….navigating across my part of beautiful East Oakland towards my stately bungalow at about 10pm ish. It was dark and the streets were largely empty.

A youngish light complected tall (but slight) African American chap turned onto the street in front of me from a cross-street. I thought to myself …”that cross-street is just irritated” and had an undeserved chuckle at my mediocre internal dialogue. I smiled at my fellow pedestrian as he walked towards me and said cleverly. “Whats up dog?”

He red-ishly eyed me…..Heavy ‘lid-edly’ unveiling a pregnant pause by way of response.

I smiled at him radiantly as is the cool thing to do in such situations.

He’s stoned…I thought to myself.

Marijuana and judging by his slight drool probably cough syrup I guessed semi-medically.

The latter confirmed as he stopped in front of me and pulled a baby bottle filled with cloudy pink stuff out of his sagging jean pocket.

(gonna go back to ” ” marks for my internal dialogue I just decided…so)

“Yeah me….I know my local intoxicants…that’s cos I walk the streets. Fearlessly. Wearing my yachtsman hat, blue blazer and glitter even….like a nutter…..hahahaha (cut short)”

Cue sharp intake of breath…as he reaches deeper into his pocket and pulls out a handgun.

At this point we were about 5 meters apart.

He points it at me for a moment and lurched forward a little bit as he misjudged the curb somewhat.

“Nigger….give me your money. Hear me muthafucker? Or your dead.”

For God knows what reason my initial response was.

“I’m from England actually.”

To which he compellingly replied something threatening sounding but slurred and unintelligible involving my predilection for maternal relations.

(He had a good eye…give him his due)

Waving the handgun back and forth by way of emphasis in a sort of swaying Cobra like fashion.

I decided to get my wallet out to facilitate his requested exchange.

At that point from another cross or if you prefer ‘mean’ street another gentleman came into view.

My new mate noticed. A friend of his apparently cos he turned away from me and conveyed salutations to him.

I stood there holding my wallet and looking at his back. In fact I studied his back…noticing details like the gold glitter enhanced “money making…snitch hating” slogan emblazoned thereon. It needed a wash as it was stained with some of sort of white substance. I wondered how he managed to get his back dirty…and and and…. then realized that I was able to go through this thought process due to the protracted conversation he was now leading with his friend…

A conversation taking place with his back to me.

Talking about a party and some bitch who got with some other guy apparently and beyond…..

I thought to myself….“I should hit this fucker in the back of the head. How could I miss? He’s right there. Not even looking at me. Sitting duck. A rabbit punch I think they call it….(losing the plot for a second there)….NO NO….that is how you will get shot you idiot…it’s just fucking money….give it to him and it will be ok…….But what if he shoots me anyway….hmmmm….”

So I vacillated…

Long enough to realize that this dude had basically forgotten that he was mugging me and was absorbed in his new dialogue.

At which point I thought….”fuck it…I’m not thinking about this anymore” and punched him as hard as I could in the back of the head.

nb: For the sake of context here I should share that when it boils down to it, I am not really a ‘tough guy’…..Now I have been in a lot of fights mind you…..But lost half of them at least to people who I call ‘tough guys’. I am however somewhat of an impetuous person when it comes to matters of disagreement though. I feel better getting that off my chest. Tx for reading. So, I do that thing that people talk about as being bad generally….errrm…that’s right I let my mouth right the checks. Leaving me in a position to deal with the aftermath….as in the ‘cashing’ part. Which brings me back to that sub 50 50 record…Anyways…

As luck would have it, I made excellent contact with the back of his head and neck. Pain shot like nerve lightning from my knuckles up my arm which I took as a good sign. “Signifies a good punch” I though to myself stupidly as I had In actual fact broken a knuckle. My antagonist canter-levered forward with the momentum of the blow, (as I mentioned he was not a big guy), and face planted onto the sidewalk. His head made a flat thumping sound as it bounced off the unforgiving surface. The gun went flying and his baby bottle smashed in his trousers which descended to his knees. Coming from England I knew that custom demanded I followed up this punch with an additional neutralizing assault so I kicked him in the face quite hard. I went to do this a second time and drew my foot back…..but stopped as I saw the blood gushing out of his broken mouth on to the street and realized that he was just a kid. Perhaps 18 maybe younger….and that I had already rendered him unconscious and seriously damaged. He was just a kid…I stopped mid kick figuring that he was already “neutralized”.

(A quick aside…..Where did I even get that descriptor from….? probably some martial arts video on YOUTUBE……It makes me sound like a fascist….)

So his friend was watching the horror show with eyes wide and mouth hanging open….

I thought he was next perhaps and took a tentative step towards him. He was bigger and older and did not have his back towards me.

“Shit!” he finally said (as people do in these situations)….”oh-ooooo.”

“We’re good dude….I’m stepping”

I desperately thought for something to say that would sound tough and cool….since I seldom had the opportunity in the past and just HAD to have my macho moment of dumb gloat-ery.

“It was a gun….not an invisibility cloak”

That was what I came up with. I have to admit that I thought I’d found the right balance of wise toughness and dark humor at the time by way of this exhortation.

Retrospectively I realizes that it probably came across as more Harry Potter than Dirty Harry. Particularly given the aforementioned yachtsman outfit I was wearing.

“errr uhhuh” he replied as he turned and started jogging away…..”I’m gonna get his M—”.

I could not hear the last word and figured that it likely meant someone even more dangerous….

MAN or MANIAC or something like that.

So I got to stepping myself …bravely.

I did at least pick up the handgun from the sidewalk. It was quite heavy and sort of old fashioned looking. Like a cowboy type affair, y’know with a barrel and stuff. For a moment I thought about keeping it as a ‘Memento’. Instead I just threw it into a shrubbery that made up the border of someone’s front yard to my left as I myself started to ‘jog’ away. I mean sprint away actually….

I looked back at the still prostrated kid as I made tracks. He was still flat on his face. Blood pooling around his head like a sick halo. Bubbling as he breathed….

“He was breathing!” I muttered out loud to myself as I skedaddled back home post haste….

post script

Now that could be the end of this story but oddly it is not…..

Because the following day, in the early evening….there was a knock at my front door. I opened it and found a middle aged, heavy set, serious looking African-American lady standing in front of me. ‘

She had a very intense and serious look on her face….eyes boring into me like corkscrews….

“Hi” I said…..”Can I help you?”

My voice came out sounding calm BUT my mind was literally racing…..This did not feel good …..AT ALL.

I braced myself and…..smiled at her.

She continued to silently stare me for what seemed like an eternity.

Subsequently the smile froze on my face and started to feel more like a grimmace….

Lips stuck to my molars as the Sahara set up shop around my uvula.

Finally she said….

“Did you beat my son Yesterday? On 38th street. It was you ….right?”

I stuttered and mumbled my way through a vague affirmation…BUT

my voice got louder and clearer as I sought to downplay what had happened.

“Maam….errr I was just scared….he had a gun you know? I did hit him yes….but….just once….I swear. Well…I kicked him too…..errm…..is he OK? I’m sorry ….I’M SORRY ok?”

(reaching deep)

In fact I started to sob a little bit as I made these statements…..

I started to cry to be more exact.

She silently and steadily took in the info I was bleating…..Looking me in the eye the whole time.

The thought crossed my mind that she was going to kick my ass at this point. “Poor me….Only I would have this happen. Jeez….my bloody luck.”

“Thank You.” she said.

….”Maam I really am sor…..err …. Thank You???” I responded.

Yes “Thank You sir.”

“He’s my son…..he’s not a bad kid….just trying to figure out who he is…”

“uhhuh” I said …. wondering where this was leading….still desperately racking my brain for the right excuse.

“Being beaten by you….a fag….in front of his homie…..it was the best thing that could have happened to him. It could be the very thing that keeps him on the straight and narrow as the Good Lord intends. Bless you Sir. He’s a good boy. He’s my son.”

She turned and left.


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