Friday, April 23, 2010


My father saw the world as a scary place. No matter what activity in which I was about to engage, if it took place outside the safety of our home, he would warn me about mysterious strangers who would “knock me in the head” and take my wallet. That I was sixteen, worked in a Bonanza Sirloin Pit and that the contents of my wallet usually amounted to thirty-five bucks didn’t enter the equation. The head-knocking and wallet-stealing was a given; the sure result of one daring to tread the dangerous, gangsta-ridden streets of Huntington, West Virginia.

I grew up and moved to Columbus, Ohio—to his mind the equivalent of settling down in Chicago’s Cabrini Green. Decades have passed where I’ve had to reassure him that I’ve yet to be knocked in the head, although to him the fact I like Chinese food is proof positive I’ve gone all uppity with my high-falutin’ big city ways. But still he thinks I’m in constant danger.

So I never told him about the time I got mugged. Sort of.

“Hey man, you got any papers?”

This is code for a stranger that wants to sell you some pot. Thing is, no stranger will ever do you this favor; it is always, every time, a scam. It works because people wanting weed, despite having been burned a thousand times before, always think that this time will be the one where an entrepreneurial stranger wants to furnish the world with ganja out of the goodness of his heart.

I forgot everything I ever knew and followed the stranger behind a building to make the deal.

“I gots to see the money first.”

I fished a twenty out of my pocket, no doubt preparing to buy the smallest amount of da chronic available on the street possible.

“Now let’s see the weed, “ I said.

Instead of producing said product, the man lunged for the bill. I yanked it away and he was not happy about it.

“Motherfucker, give me that money!”

“For what? Your good looks? You gotta show me what you’re selling before you get the money.”

Not a wise choice of words, as my new friend was apparently not used to being called on his line of crap and found it profoundly distasteful that I would suggest such a thing. He grabbed at me, knocked me to the pavement and the two of us rolled, wrestling, back into public view on the corner of 5th and (appropriately enough,) High Street.

I did a magic trick where I pretended to place the bill in my left hand but actually made it disappear. I kept my hand closed, making my attacker think it was still in there so that he wrestled me for a bit, got the upper hand, then pried my fingers open one by one to find nothing there.

“Tah-Dahhh!” I shouted.

He was not impressed.

I managed to break free and took off running. But the tables were turned and it was suddenly he who had the upper hand.

Because he had a bicycle.

I ran down the street and suddenly he was upon me, pedaling furiously and ringing his bell. Ching ching! Ching ching! The sound of impending gangsta beat-down.

He overtook me. He leapt off his Crips-mobile and once again pulled me to the ground. I saw some nerdy yahoo talking on his cell phone.

“Call 911,” I begged. “A crazy man on a bicycle is trying to hurt me.”

“Ew. Er.Uh. I don't think I want to get involved,” the man said. Reason 774 why Al Queda will win.

I broke the crazy man’s grip and sprinted half a block to the Family Dollar store. But before making it inside, my mugger caught up with me and started applying strategically-applied blows to my face.

“Call 911!” I screamed to the man trying to leave the store.

“He’s got my weed! He’s got my weed!” my attacker screamed, a role-reversal tactic that worked like a charm.

“Uh, I don’t want to get into this,” said the man leaving the Family Dollar.
“Call 911!” I yelled to no avail.

I lunged for the doorway but unfortunately my bicycle mugger had a firm grip on my favorite shirt. The beautiful, pale yellow paisley pattern ripped beneath his strong, ebony hands.

“Call 911!” I shouted as I burst into the store, my nipple peeking out from the sizeable rip in my shirt.

They did.

Although I had been mugged, albeit by a guy on a bicycle, the cops finally showed up. I told them the story I just told you, cleverly omitting the trying to buy some pot part. It probably didn’t help that I was together enough to shop for two cans of Family Dollar brand ravioli before they arrived.

"Yeah, we'll check it out," the police said, making it clear through body language that they damn sure wouldn't.

Someone I knew, Connie, showed up shortly after and saw me standing there in my ripped-to-shreds shirt, holding some ravioli.

“Uh, hi,” she said.

“I just got mugged,” I said, leaving out the part that it was a guy on a bicycle. Or the other stuff.

She took me home. Leave it to a lesbian to be my knight in shining armor.


  1. That's the mugging story I was talking about a while back.

    Oddly enough -- or perhaps not -- the first time I heard it the bit about weed buying was omitted.

  2. My captcha word for my last comment was: hempul

    It struck me as funny.