Chapter 27: War Stories, Part 2

On to Chris’s story…

Freshman year of college in Boston.  Dorm renovations had taken longer than expected, so students were put up at a Double Tree Inn in Chinatown for a few weeks until they were ready.  Walking back from a night of cavorting, Connecticut Chris and his buddy Glenn were just a block away from their hotel when Glenn decided to sprint full speed to their destination. 

“Huh” thought Connecticut Chris.

Now I can attest to the odd bursts of behavior that college kids are susceptible to after a night at the bar.  Most memorable for me was the subway ride home during my summer at NYU when the entire group I was with simultaneously decided to take on monkey personae, using the overhead bars as tree branch substitutes.  At no point did anyone suggest we act like monkeys; we just all happened to be on the same page about it being the right thing to do.

Unfortunately for Chris, this random Carl Lewis impression was no monkey business.  He was sprinting for a reason.

“Yo, where’s your friend going?” Chris heard just behind him.  By the time he registered what was going, he had a guy on each side of him.

“I don’t know” Chris said, keeping his cool.

“Call him back” the other guy sternly suggested.

“No” Chris succinctly replied.

“Yo, give me your wallet” said the first guy, his imperative imbued with an ominous ‘or else’ undertone.

“No” Chris once again said.  At this point he realized that there was no easy way he was going to get out of this situation without losing his wallet.  If you remember my story from last week, it was at this juncture when my mind got to working.  After briefly considering getting all Irish on the guy that had snuck up behind me, I came to the conclusion that it was not worth the risk and complied with his demand that I give up everything I had. 

This where my story differs from that of Connecticut Chris.

A block away from safety, he opted instead for a preemptive strike.  As one of the guys started a reiteration of the “give me your wallet” demand, Chris quickly jabbed him in the sternum.  Knowing that the other guy would be quick to act, he immediately went in for a hook, only to find himself a fraction of a second too late.

The quick spin required to optimize the surprise factor of his attack gave him just enough of a look to see what it was that would foil his 1-2 combination: a pair of brass knuckles.

Seeing stars, Chris made a valiant effort to take on both guys, holding his own for a good forty-five seconds, his only counter to their brass being the handfuls of gravel available to him from the run-down parking lot they were in.  After almost a minute of throwing haymakers he reached the point where it was clear that he was being overpowered.  There was nothing to do now but do his best to protect himself, so he took a fetal position as they went to town. 

After ten of the longest seconds in the history of the planet, Glenn finally came to the rescue back from the hotel.  Not realizing that he had left Chris behind until he got inside, he unsuccessfully tried to find security until it became apparent he’d have to take things into his own hands.

Rocks being thrown at them from the returning college kid, the two muggers finally decided to call it a day.  What should have been a simple mugging turned into a nightmare.  Little did they know that Connecticut Chris, no hood up at this point, would put up such a fight.

“Yo, let’s go” one said to the other after getting pelted with a stone.

Glenn continued to fire away as he ran to Chris’s aid.  Before he could reach him, Chris was already up and back in action with a handful of rocks.  Seeing a giant one, about the size of a football, Chris’s adrenaline rush prompted him into perfect shot put technique.

“I’d normally only be able to throw that thing like ten feet” he told me as he recounted the story on our drive back from Hollywood.  “But I must’ve thrown it like fifty ‘cuz of all the adrenaline pumping through me.”

Doing their own Carl Lewis impression, the two muggers must’ve been wondering how this could’ve gone any worse as they sprinted across the parking lot.  For one of them, however, all thoughts came to a sudden halt as a football-sized rock hit him in the head.

Yep.

With the kind of accuracy you’ll only see in an over the top Action Movie and/or Comedy, Connecticut Chris managed to hit his moving target with a mini-crater.  He couldn’t help but celebrate as the muggers body became limp and he fell to the ground. 

“Yeah!  That’s right mother fucker!”

The other mugger stopped and looked down at his friend.  Amidst all this chaos there was the moment when all three of the standing participants quieted down in recognition of what might have just happened.

“Holy Shit, I hope I didn’t kill him” Chris thought to himself.  This is the part that the Action and/or Comedy movies don’t bother to deal with.  Killing people is a big deal.  Even if you’re exonerated in a court of law you’d better bet there are going to be people out there that are going to want to take the law into their own hands.  This could possibly be a life changing event, and all three of the standing were realizing this.

After five seconds of lifelessness, the fallen began to move.  The chaos immediately began again as the standing mugger turned his attention back to Chris, about fifty feet away.

“Yo!  That was fucked up!” scolded the mugger.  Helping up his friend.

“That was fucked up?!  You’re fucked up asshole, you just fucking jumped me” Chris yelled as he started towards them.  Glenn grabbed Chris as the two muggers retreated, a little less like Carl Lewis and a little more like Jesse Gavin in junior high gym class.

“Dude, we gotta get you to a hospital” said Glenn.  Having witnessed what Chris only got to feel while in the fetal position, Glenn had a better grasp on what should be prioritized in this situation.  Chris obeyed Glenn’s demand, despite the opportunity to exact a little justice (granted his shot put had at the very least evened things out).  It was to both of their surprise that the doctor released Chris with no broken bones or notable damage done.  All that remained of the muggers’ dirty work was two black eyes.

Chris and I were just arriving back to North Hollywood when I asked him how the experience changed his life.  On top of wearing the hood up, he started taking boxing lessons.  He wanted to make sure he was never viewed as an easy target again.  The sixth sense he developed was what had saved us that night in Hollywood, as could tell we were being tailed without actually having to turn around.  As for that crucial decision that made all the difference in our comparative stories:

“If that were to happen again I would maybe – maybe consider thinking about possibly just giving them my wallet.  Maybe.”

Viewing Chris in a different light, I couldn’t help but think of something that had a happened a few weeks earlier.  The possums that lived on our roof seemed to be brawling with either each other or perhaps an invading creature.  Chris and I were in the kitchen as we heard the shrieking of the battling beasts on the roof.  It started to sound as if they were in the house, which was certainly a possibility given its shoddy construction.  We both held our breath as we listened through the wall, each of us having the kind of schoolgirl hissy fit that would have been far more appropriate on the night we got tailed.

Space Cadet Sharon entered the kitchen from her room.

“Sharon.  Sharon!  Be careful, there’s a battle going on on the roof – they might have gotten inside” warned Chris.

Sharon paused for a second, giving Chris a cold, blank stare.

“My village got bombed once a week when I was a kid” she informed us, continuing on to the fridge to get her yogurt cup.

Space Cadet Sharon: the story has just begun…

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