A mellowing and meandering trip through this American life. Follow the adventures of Jan, Jack, and Patrick as they take you on a whirlwind trip through Washington, DC's seedy underbelly of cut-rate poolhalls, thrift stores, and temp agencies.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

So, last night, I finally won an adversarial confrontation in my neighborhood.

I got out of the bus in front of the Wah Sing chinese restaurant at about 10pm last night and crossed Pennsylvania Avenue to pick-up some beer at the Mom n' Pop store. Unfortunately for me, they were already closed (they had possibly been closed for an hour). Anyway, on my way across the street I noticed a group of kiddies hanging-out in front of the juvie-house nextdoor to the store. I thought it was odd, but my spidey-sense wasn't really tingling. So I turn away from the closed door of the store and start walking up the street towards my house, when my path is blocked by two street toughs. Mini street toughs.

They start in with the, "Yo, man, what'ch you doing in this neighborhood?"

As I had lived in the neighborhood for many years and had never seen these two particular homies before, I naturally responded with "What are you doing here?"

[An aside: I could tell that these were imported hoodrats because anyone worth their salt knows who the fuck I am. I am the stupid-ass whiteboy with all the twin brothers]

Kid: "Didn't scare you did I?" [follows this with a head and shoulder feint]

Me: "No." [simulates a chest-bump]

Kid: "Awww, It's all good, we just messing with you"

Me: "Yo man, that's great. I'm glad we're cool like that."

Kid: "Yeah, but this is our hood." [another feint, this one more of a shadowbox]

As we were speaking, I noticed with my third eye (that's the one in the back of my head) that another hoodie was creeping through the bushes and circling behind me. Well anyway, our sparkling repartee continued:

Me: "Isn't it a little late for you kids?"

Kid 1: "Yo man, give me a dollar."

Kid 2 (a little smaller than the first): "Empty out your pockets and give us all your shit."

At this point, I don't know quite what got into me. Maybe it was the kid in the bushes waiting to jump me or the other five kids in front of the house walking over that I just noticed, but whatever it was, it was kind of intense. My first move was to take a couple steps into the street so that no one other than a manned-vehicle could club me over the back of the head. The next was to start gesticulating wildly with my head and my arms as I said:

"I don't have to give you shit."

And I threw my newspaper in his face.

I can only start to explain this response in regard to my tremendous advantage in stature to these little muggins. I had to have atleast 8 inches and 40 pounds on the biggest one of them. It was a slight oversight on my part I realized, as I backed up into the street and all 10 kids came after me shouting various epitaphs like:

"Jump him!"

"Let's jump that bitch"

"Oh shit!"

"Did you just touch me?" (because I just touched Kid Number One while attempting to diffuse the situation with a high-five)

Now it might look like I was in trouble at this point, but I was in the grips of an insane confidence--a confidence founded on no previous life experience--that I could actually kick some serious ass in this situation. This was my kind of fight. Although out-numberbed, not one of them was older than 13. Which is almost ass-kicking age. Like, give them two years to grow and mature and practice their ass-kicking on the streets and I am a goner. Possibly they continue beating me until I lose consciousness and then they leave me in the street to get run over by cars.

But, that is two years from now. At this point it is me on ten 11-13 year-olds. The youngest of them has already picked up some rocks and commenced to throwing them. So they come at me, about six or seven strong. They keep the rest as a sort-of rearguard. Possibly to serve as archers, whatever. Fortunately I am a giant. I stand tall. They circle. I circle. Why am I circling? There are seven of them? I circle anyway. One of them has gotten larger. The hoodie from the bushes is actually kind of big.

As two or three make their initial run at me

[all I'm thinking is don't get knocked to the ground/ don't get knocked to the ground/ don't get knocked]

the traffic on Pennslyvania starts coming in full force and the ridiculousness of our position becomes apparent. We are dispersed wildly over three lanes of Northbound Pennslyvania Avenue and a half-dozen cars start blaring their horns.

It is as if someone yelled "Car" and we all had to clear the street before we could commence with our street-fight.

I moved to the sidewalk to put a little distance between me and my hoodies, also positioning myself closer to home. I did not relish the prospect of running the three blocks to my house with a blood-thirsty mob at my back. But, just then, there came the old familiar whine of a siren. And the kids bolted.

Except one.

This little fat kid.

Who continued to throw rocks at me.

Me: "Stop throwing rocks, you little bitch." (and I meant it)

Him: [throws one more rock and runs away]

Me: "27th Street Krew iz Bitchez."

Okay, well, I didn't say that last part exactly, but one my way home (with occasional over-the-shoulder glances) I sure as hell thought it: "27th Street Krew iz Bitchez." Yeah.

Anyway, the moral of the story is: Whenever you are getting hassled by people that are smaller than you (even if there are more of them), say cool shit that you might hear in a movie because the next day you will feel alot better about it."

patrick b.

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