Saturday, March 29, 2008

When You are Thrown Into A Street Fight

There are brief moments in life when we learn more about ourselves than we may learn in years of routine life. It is often these rare moments that can reveal the most inner workings of one's soul.

Now no event may be more telling than being thrown into a street fight--especially if you are brawling 16 year old punks who are hopped up on methamphetamines. Here is our tale.
It was a brisk night in late March, but a night that you could smell spring just around the corner. The sun was past the horizon and evening was setting in. Spirits were high as we walked back from our favorite saloon after enjoying delicious cheeseburgers, crabcake sandwiches and beers. The episode began when our Perfect Friend went down the block to grab some beers from his trunk and in turn was followed by three ruffians. When he reached his car the leader of the pack told Perfect Friend to 'get off MY street!' We were all a little taken back by this punks aggression considering we were older, bigger, and strangers to him. However, Perfect Friend fresh off a recent throw down in NYC was not taking any shit from these leprechauns and quickly retorted. After more heated words were exchanged and they realized they were out numbered and sized they quieted down. The beer was lifted from the car and the hoodlums were told to 'go do your homework!' by yours truly (I had been saving that gem of a line after another recent interaction with local ruffians).

After a few delicious, though slightly warm Miller lite plastic bottles, a UNC route, and a near UCLA upset it was time for us to go our separate ways. Perfect Friend left first joking that he would call for backup if the punks returned for more. Sure enough a minute later I get a call that they were back and we needed to come outside right away. We laughed to each other (I was still in my moccasin slippers and mesh) and rolled out of the house to find Perfect Friend out of his car in the middle of the street surrounded by these rowdies, loudly exchanging words. We rush up to the fracas and shove two of them off our buddy and away from his car. There was a lot of shouting and we were even repeatedly called the n-word, which was comical considering how white everyone on both sides was. It also showed how deranged these guys were. During the shoving, T.Rex was the punched (if you can call it that) in the side of the head by one of the little shits who in turn received a bloody nose from Schmo el the Maccabi, who had just tossed the littlest one under a parked car. "It felt like mush," Schmo el would say later of his fist hitting face.

Maybe the most questionable and in retrospect hilarious part of the melee ensued next when Perfect Friend grabbed a tire iron out of his car. This turned out to be a bad move as the biggest, baddest rebel rouser shouted, 'oh you got weapons!? we got weapons too!'

This is when I got a little nervous.

He ran behind a trashcan and pulled out two cement blocks. I was relieved to see cement blocks and not a knife or bat. He then lobbed one at me as he continued his mad ranting. I deftly side stepped his poor attempt as it crash into the side walk to my right. In his blinding madness he ran over and threatened to throw the other block at Bob the Pacifier. The Pacifier had grabbed the rascal the Maccabi had tossed under the car and had his face pinned under his Starbury sneaker. The weasel's death threats and squawking got the attention of his brother who ran over with his cement block held high above his head threatening to throw it. The Pacifier picked up the little brother and held him in between the rock throwing mad man and himself, calmly repeating to the crazy asshole to drop the rock and he would let his brother go.

At this point another interesting development ensued. The younger sister of the two brothers came running into the mess screaming for her brothers to stop because the cops were going to come. Now your average 16 year old doesn't have his little sister reminding him about the the cops coming with the familiarity that most young teens would attribute to emptying the dishwasher or picking up their room. These were clearly criminal minded youths we were dealing with.

After more shouting with the cement block stand-off the little brother was let go. He immediately pointed at the Maccabi screaming to his brother, 'Dats the one! Dats dah bitch who t'rew me down!' The older brother ripped a 2x4 out out of the ground with a nail conveniently sticking out of it and stormed after the Maccabi who dodged a few swipes while backing up down the street. Luckily a neighbor stepped out of his house whose familiarity with the swashbucklers ended the rumpus and sent them back to the hole they crawled out of. More neighbors then came out, asking us what the hell happened as the 3 thugs and their sister could be seen disappearing back to their part of the street.

So there is the story. In retrospect I learned a few things about myself.

All in all I realized I am not a fighter. Nope. I wouldn't call myself a pussy or a wimp because I had my boy's back right away, but I certainly am no Dalton or Kimbo Slice. I didn't run in throwing punches and stuck to grappling, trying to end the fight through strong words and common sense. In grappling the kids I found myself contemplating throwing a punch, but I quickly realized that I may never have thrown a punch in my life. I wouldn't even know how to throw a punch and it appeared to be difficult to connect the way this lunatic was jumping around. I have noticed myself replaying the scuffle in my head, imagining myself beating the crap out of these kids. Illusions of grandeur for sure. I probably should have taken this opportunity to get in some practice.

Some of us weren't afraid to hit a kid who had just cuffed our friend in the head. Others saw the situation clearly and realized beating the shit out of a 16 year old wasn't the way to go. Simple restraining and negotiating was a more appropriate road to take. And then others (who have probably watched too many John Wayne movies or MMA fights) saw this as their shining moment--a chance to kick ass and take names. We all had our approach and in many ways it reflected each of our own styles. How would you have reacted in this situation and what would it say about you?

All in all I am proud of our squad. We kept our cool and avoided any serious injury. When it comes down to it you just can't be a grown ass man beating up teenagers no matter how bad they deserve it-- and trust me, these little monsters deserved every beating that comes their way.

* * *

In talking to the neighbors later, two of these kids had just gotten out of juvie and were 'drug addicts.' From their hyper aggressive approach and violent inclinations they were certainly hopped up on something. In retrospect their lives probably suck, their parents can't control them, and they spend their days bored and looking for anything to get them excited. The other night it was starting a fight with five grown ass men, who lucky for them showed maturity, wisdom, and common sense in the midst of a heated street fight.

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