Near Death, Vol 1

I grew up Oregon Hill, when it was still a pretty hood place to live. I lived there until I was 17 (2002) when my dad died and I moved off on my own. I moved back to the Hill in 2006 for a few months with the worst combination of people ever. Regardless of the feelings I have toward those people — some of whom I detest, some of whom I still like — it was the worst combination of people to live with. Through the most convoluted bargaining on our part – in all honesty I had not a fucking thing to do with the bargaining but I should own some part of the sin because I did nothing to stop it – we ended up living on the 300 block for three months, then on the 500 blocks for a couple of months. We had a lease which we ended up breaking due to the circumstances I will describe in the following paragraphs.
It was a Saturday night and Greg and I were sitting around my apartment with an unnamed female and despite her annoying insistence that we stay up all night, around three am or so we decided that we should sleep. Given that we had to both work in the morning, it was a responsible decision. I used my roommate’s car to give her a ride back to her apartment. On my return trip, I drive down Laurel St and the burgundy SUV in front of me pulls over and gets behind me. I take note of this but I’m honestly too tired to think twice about it. I get back to my house which is on the left side of the street but as there is no parking on the left side of the street, I park on the right.
The burgundy SUV pulls up in between me and my house, and a guy about twice my size jumps out of the passenger side of the vehicle. He’s a rather expansive fellow with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled down low and a bandana across his face so what I can gather about him is this: he’s big, he’s fast, and he is pointing a gun directly in my face.

“Give me the wallet.”

Truth be told, I have gone through several long periods in my life during which I didn’t carry a wallet. I have rarely carried a real wallet in the few years since Aiden convinced me to buy my first pair of jeans that fit. At the time that I am staring down the barrel of this gun, I’ve got about $22, a driver’s license, and my cell phone in my pockets.

“Give me the wallet!”

The first thing I can think is that I have to get away. I can’t just hand him my shit, but I definitely can’t stand here with a gun in my face either. So I duck down low and run past him and around the car toward my front door. I have my foot on my front steps when he grabs me by the back of my shirt. In this moment the idea of getting shot in the back somehow seems way worse than getting shot in the chest so I spin around immediately and in the process fall backward onto my steps. I’m basically sitting on my front steps and this guy is standing above me at this point, gun still pointed at me.

“Give me the wallet!”

I honestly just can’t bring myself to peacefully hand over anything in my pockets. First off I have this weird sense of pride where I will take a beating way before I’ll admit to being wrong or give up anything willingly, and I was really convinced that if he was going to shoot me or beat the shit out of me, he was going to do it regardless of whether I gave him my money or not. I just knew that if I handed him my cash he was either going to shoot me or smash my face in immediately afterwards so it sorta seemed in my head like a good idea to just not give it to him. Secondly I was about a block away from the house I spent the first 17 years of my life in, and it just doesn’t seem right to get robbed in my neighborhood.

“I don’t have a wallet.”

…was the best I could stutter out. I was determined not to give him anything but at the same time I was definitely scared out my wits. He raised his arm to smash me with the butt of his gun. Like I said before, this guy was definitely big enough to handle me without any help so the thought of him hitting me with a heavy piece of metal was pretty terrifying. Fuck getting pistol-whipped.

I reacted really fast, and I just charged him. I was in a position to put my shoulder in his gut really easily. He cocked his arm back to hit me and I was on him. The thing that stuck out to me was how easily he collapsed. I hit him hard with my shoulder and he flopped onto me like a rag doll. It genuinely shocked me to the point where I hesitated momentarily as to what to do with this guy draped over my shoulder. I heaved with all my strength and managed to throw him into the dirt between my porch and Tim Barry’s porch.

Here is the short back story of what was going on inside my house while I was gone. Greg had gone to sleep in my cluttered living room, full of not yet unpacked boxes from the move. It was October and uncharacteristically cold so Greg had fallen asleep on my couch with two space heaters plugged into the same outlet in a electrically unwise attempt to heat my shitty old house. This had blown the shitty old circuit and so my whole house was pitch when I burst through the front door screaming.

“Greg! Greg get the fuck up there’s a guy with a gun! I’m being fucking mugged right now Greg get the fuck up!”

So I come barreling down my hallway and make the quick left into the my living room and immediately trip in the darkness over one of the space heaters and fall to the ground. Greg panics and tries to escape out the back door while I fumble with a box that I know is right by the doorway. I’m looking for a metal pipe that I had once used as a pull-up bar. While Greg tries desperately and fails repeatedly to get out of my back door due to the darkness and a deadbolt lock he can’t seem to find/utilize, I am standing at the ready with a pipe just inside the doorway to my living room. It takes me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that the guy didn’t follow me into my house.

I peek around the corner and can see all the way out the door and into the street.

No burgundy SUV, no guy, no gun.

How the fuck did I not die?