Stick ‘Em Up!

It’s been a fair day or two since I last ventured back in the sunless lands of an era or three before previous, but I felt the compelling need to share one more tale from the Princeton days that for some reason I forgot to include when I shut the book on that time. The pleasant thing about books, especially electronic ones, is that you can go ahead and shimmy in another chapter here and there without causing too much grief to some of the more anal retentive characters who manage these volumes. Today’s chapter, my already bored and agitated chillun’s, is the amazing adventure of how I was mugged at gunpoint. I will spoil the ending for you now though; I lived through it and am sorry if you had high hopes that you are experiencing first hand communication from beyond the grave, though seriously, were that possible I would be haunting a woman’s locker room and not penning this tediously dreary missive.

            It was a glorious Friday in May and a scant 3 days before I was scheduled to take the very last exam of my UB career before graduation. I was for an English class; one of the ones I declined to often attend or do the work for in a timely manner. Graduation hinged upon my ability to read and digest Willkie Collin’s Moonstone, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, and one or another of Dickens’s little romps with asshole urchins and snidely douches with improbable names. Piece of cake! A straight shot though of all nighters fueled with gallons of java and a couple boxes of Vivarin would do the trick but nice. Just so long as nothing were to throw me off my game.

            After a few chapters of plodding through Moonstone, a dubious “classic” I had never heard of before, I decided that a breath of fresh air was in order and decided to smoke my cigarette while taking a brisk walk around the block and over to the nearby school where I planned to do some more of the reading perched on the big wooden jungle gym. The gym, mind you, was the icing on the cake when being convinced to leave the comfortable wilds of Comstock for the guaranteed safety of an Amherst address.

            It was early afternoon and the weather was sunny and a balmy 60.The air was sweet and the birds singing high in the trees, just for me. I bee-bopped in my usual gait down the block and turned down Windermere, my blue backpack (which I still own) perched in the cool manner on one shoulder, and my cassette walkman advising me with the honey voice of Amy Manning that I should keep it down now, voices carry. I was but days away from graduation and the big money that would bring in once I starting flashing my degree on the street; nothing, nothing could stop me now!

            I noticed the fellow coming down the sidewalk in my direction while he was some distance away. He was dressed in a vibrant red track suit and walked with a ease of purpose that he had no where to be in a hurry and was saddled with the burden of dragging along a horse cock between his legs and the entitlement such endowment brings. I thought little of it as it was I mentioned in Amherst, the safest community in America, in the early afternoon on a beautiful May day. Honestly, even at Comstock I would have thought nothing amiss.

            When Hoss was about 3 paces in front of me and I was drawing my jaunty gait right in order to accommodate his urban swagger, he surprised me in what I initially thought was a very rude game of chicken as he stepped quickly and directly in front of me. A few seconds later it registered that he utilized my moment of surprise to draw a pistol from some fold in his voluminous track suit and was now holding it to my forehead. Now were I Dave, I would probably be ghost writing this in a very literal sense, as the initial instinct would have been to swat his hand away or position myself into some ridiculous kung fu stance that would have given Homie G a good chuckle before putting a cap in my ass. Fortunately I had enough common sense to glean on to the fact that I was outgunned and that quick draw here probably had a lot more experience in this area than I did.

            Before I could get a real good look at his face, I was ordered to turn around, which I did with a ‘yes sir’ thrown in as a calculated nicety. One never knew when a measure of respect toward some scum bag might make the difference of having them let you off with a pistol whipping or give you an urban legend style warning to help you avoid some terrorist attack. He ripped my backpack off and managed to fish my wallet out of my back pocket all in one fluid motion. Even I, in my disadvantaged position had to admire the expertise with which he practiced his craft. I lamented the fact that I chose to put my Dickens requirement off as it would have been deliciously ironic to have this happen at the same time I was reading about ragged pick pocket who I decided to view with much less sympathy when I got to it.

            I didn’t really have the time to wonder if he planned on shooting or not because the second after he got my wallet, he ordered me to run and I, once again in my role as a people pleaser, was anxious to comply. I barreled down the street about half a block with Til Tuesday still blaring in my ear and stopped to catch my breath as I was woefully out of shape. I looked back and he was still there looking through my backpack when he noticed I had stopped and began to look very menacing. Not waiting to see if he was going to give chase, I resumed my sprint around the block back to the apartment.

            The run back was somewhat anxiety fueled as it occurred to me that the most natural place he might use as his get away was to go past my apartment and up the incline behind Tops. What do I do if I have to pass him for us both to get away? Do we acknowledge each other? Nod hello? Feign ignorance of the others presence because of the sheer awkwardness of the situation? I really hoped he would pick another route and save us both the social anxiety such a chance encounter so soon would cause. While I could probably handle it fine, he seemed the type to turn to the gun again to avoid the unpleasantness. Even worse I could see him ending up living in the building adjacent mine and thus be subjected to bumping into him doing laundry every week. My luck held and he both chose another direction and probably had a better residence. I’m sure he could afford it, his line of work being somewhat lucrative.

            I bolted back up into my apartment completely out of breath hoping to find my roommate at home, but instead found it empty, he probably off pretending to be an elf or locked up at Chet’s “playing Bloodbowl”; a euphemism I was sure was code for some other activity I would rather not acknowledge. I dialed 911 and when the operator answered I calmly explained, “HimynameismikewolfandIwasjustrobbedrobbedatgunpointandumandumwellhehadagunandgotmywallentanduhhhh….” She advised me to slow down, take a deep breath and try again which only furnished the same results. Third time was a charm and I managed to convey, in my most suave manner as she sounded cute, what had befallen me but moments before. She didn’t bit, but was willing to alert the proper authorities posthaste.

            Mere moments later three cop cars came screaming up to the apartment, sirens blaring, making a neighborhood spectacle of my predicament. Two cops came in and directed the other cars to the manhunt with hopes of catching the miscreant before he escaped into Buffalo proper and outside the jurisdiction of fair Amherst. The boys in blue were highly motivated as Amherst had the distinction of being rated one of the safest cities in America and as such the long arm of the law was dedicated to keeping that rating. It was clear from the get go that they were taking this simple mugging very seriously.

            I was brought along to the scene of the crime and was delighted to find that my assailant declined to carry away my trusty blue backpack and he also left my copy of The Moonstone, which had been deceptively difficult to obtain to begin with. Better still, the rogue also failed to find the checkbook I had hidden away in one of the pocket thus securing the twenty bucks or so sitting in my account. To my irritation, the cops wouldn’t let me touch my stuff as they had designs on dusting it for prints. I could feel precious time starting to tick away from my rigorous reading schedule. My would be rescuers, however, were unwilling to budge on the slightest detail. I replayed for them again and again the exact sequence of events as if the particular manner in which he stepped in front of me would clue them in to his MO and thus his identity. I could see if he were a Batman villain and told a joke, riddle or encased me in ice or something where that would be a help, but I was pretty sure we were looking at some generic Blood.

            In order to further impact my day in relation to the event, they insisted I come into the station on Audobahn for the purpose of answering more questions. My bag was returned to me having been through the lab already with a team of experts already analyzing the forensic findings. The detective gave me a cigarette, and had I asked, I was certain he could have also poured me a stiff one from the bottle inevitably hiding in his desk drawer. He battered me with a series of questions, some of which became insulting in nature. He explained after that he had to be sure I was actually mugged and didn’t fabricate the whole thing for attention or some hair brained scheme to avoid a much regretted credit card purchase but moments before.

            Once my victimized status was established, he did kindly help me contact all the credit agencies and cancel my cards. The investigation already revealed that my Discover card had been used to purchase $200 worth of goods at a convenience store on Bailey before it could be cancelled. Evidentially they didn’t bother to check the fellows ID. Next they actually brought in a sketch artist who took down my extremely hazy conception of what this guy looked like from what I could recall in the nanosecond I got to see him before being spun around. While the artist was talented it was more likely they were going to apprehend a young Morgan Freeman than my criminal based on the results. If Morgan was detained at all as a result, I deeply apologize especially if that was what got him sent to Shawshenk.

            Finally, all bases covered, they drove me back to my apartment at about 6 in the evening. I had lost the whole afternoon to that debacle and knew my book a day schedule was now shot. Aaron was still gone; still up to shenanigans with Chet no doubt, and I felt the need to convey my story with at least someone and so made dinner plans with my grandmother, sister and cousin and got the opportunity to regale them with my adventure of the day. When I got home I intended on starting the reading again, but by then my roommate had manifested once again with the gamer geeks in tow, so I had the stage once again to tell of my narrow escape from the clutches of the reaper.

            The fallout from the day was years in the lasting. The immediate consequence was that between the events of the day and the constant retelling over the next few days my intention to read 3 books became a reality of actually reading a book and a quarter. I walked into the exam anyway fully prepared to spin the best yarn of bullshit I could muster. We had a choice of answering 1 of 3 questions, and true to form, I ended up picking a question on Kim, the one book I never even cracked open, as I felt the question was something I could deftly schmooze my way through simply with the knowledge I gleaned from reading the back cover. I got a B+ and graduated on time.

            The far more difficult challenge was in replacing my drivers license. As most of you know, trying to get a license when you don’t have one to show them requires many points of identification, the majority of them being items I routinely kept in my wallet. I showed up at the DMV with my birth certificate, and electric bill in my name, and an expired library card. The woman behind the counted chuckled at my foolish ignorance. I played the sympathy card and explained the whole mugging and whatnot and despite not even having half the number of points of ID needed, she put through my request anyway. Goes to show you can get a license with but the flimsiest of identifiers and a darn good yarn to boot. In a way it was fortunate as it saved me from having to explain the very obvious modifications that had been made to my birth date years before.

            The downside was that it takes a good 6 weeks to get another license. In that time, every place I had been too previously where the waitresses knew my face and had never asked for ID, had suddenly become very inquisitive and denied me service time and time again. Aaron took to buying my beer at Tops for me; a task he deeply resented having given up imbibing some months before to focus on his health and allowing him to ingest more popcorn, tomato soup, and Mountain Dew. Naturally during this period the whole gang got a hankering to go to the Pier every weekend, my favorite non-Anacone’s hang out and left me behind to wallow in X-Files reruns, which by nature had to be watched in the dark and silence. Once my new license came in the mail, all were spent on the Pier and it closed before I could ever go again.

            I was to discover over the years the relative uselessness of having a social security card. Though it was pointed out to me many times that it was essential documentation, I have since been able to: get a drivers license, register to vote, get several loans, join the military, buy a house, get a job, get a passport, and even obtain high levels of security clearance without ever furnishing it. While it had been asked for many times, I simply explained that I didn’t have one and the answer was always deemed acceptable. Some of this was even in the post 9/11 world! Won’t I be surprised though in 30 years when I come to discover that my robber, grown fat and rich on poor college boys, is collecting the benefits in my name.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s Aimee Mann, not Amy Manning. (stupid)

  2. Good story. I forgot about this incident. I’ll give you an A+ for the title itself, but we will see what the real teacher, Mr. Dan grades. What was the essay question?

    Dave would have never been able to live with the shame of not attempting some Karate move to disarm the thug, and would have shown up at our door to turn in the McGuyver Cup in shame.

    FYI, Dave needs to watch “I Love You Man”. The main characters love RUSH, and we all know how much RUSH sucks. I await Dave show show up on my door with a plastic fork, but that is a tale to come.

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