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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A manly breakfast

It was a normal morning. I woke up, stumbled into my shower, brushed my teeth and got in my car to go to work. "Hmm... breakfast tacos sound good, I think I'll call ahead and order some so they will be ready by the time I get there. Wait... make sure you have your wallet!" I checked and, alas!, my wallet was no where to be found. I then remembered that I had put it in my backback yesterday, which was still in my apartment. Time was running short, but this simple equation proves: breakfast tacos > being to work on time. I quickly walked back and got my wallet, and as I was exiting my apartment I heard a woman yell out, "No, oh God no!" It sounded like she was talking with a friend, maybe they had played some sort of practical joke. There was another guy in the complex, closer than I, who appeared to have a view of the goings-on, and he wasn't moving, so surely nothing was really wrong. Besides, I have to get to work, and let's not forget my breakfast tacos!

As I am unlocking my car I see a young black guy walking down the center of the street. He's wearing a red shirt, and shorts. He has a black bag strung over his shoulder as he nonchalantly meanders down the center of the street. All seems normal, except that there is a woman chasing him, yelling, "Somebody stop him! He took my bag!" A man across the street just looks on with polite, but distant concern. He makes no move. The woman is still yelling for someone to stop the man, he's taken her bag, she claims!

I step in front of the man to block his exit as the woman closes ground. He keeps moving and I keep my distance, but still blocking a quick escape. The woman hits him on the back, grabbing the bag, trying to pull it from him. She continues to try to get the bag, but the man turns to fight back. The two fall to the ground, the bag falls to the side. I yell to the man, "Hey!" They separate and he regains his footing, his attention now focused on me. In the meantime the woman has gotten the bag and stands back as the young man and I circle each other, arms raised to ward off attack, eyeing the other like a strange animal that has invaded the other's territory. "What?! You just gonna let her take my bag," he asks me, the anger apparent in his eyes; his hunt interrupted, his quarry lost. He comes at me, faking an attack. I move back, maintaining distance, but keeping him from escaping. I hold one hand out open, telling him, "We don't have to do this." A man across the street walking his little dogs stands by, even as I motion to him and say, "Hey, can I get a little help over here?" The man with his little feminine dogs stands there. Useless! The young man thrusts forward, his fists flailing. I dodge and his strike falls short, hitting me in the chest, his other swings missing wildly.

Just then, a woman appears in a minivan. The young man explains to her that I've just let that other woman take his bag. She offers him a ride. This is Houston. Women don't offer rides to strange black men accused of crimes. (Though with the adrenaline pumping, it does not occur to me that they must be working together until the police later make the suggestion.) He accepts. He maintains that the woman took his bag, and that it's my fault. I calmly say to the guy, "Hey, I think I know where she lives. (I lied.) We'll go talk to her and get her to open the bag up, and we'll sort this out." We start back toward the apartments, the woman in the minivan drives off, but I warn him, "you stay back, we'll go see." He asks to use my cell phone to call the police. This seems like a good idea, so I pull out my phone, but I will dial, not him. When he realizes that I am not going to give him the phone, he starts to walk away, muttering all the while about his stolen bag. As I give his description to the 911 operator he disappears around the corner. For my safety I am warned I should not pursue.

And all I wanted was a breakfast taco!

1 Comments:

Blogger Jarod said...

One of the few possibly chilavrous guys around today. I doubt I'd have tried some crap like that without some heat on my side. You're a brave bastard, I'd say.

6/14/2008 11:08 PM  

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