We're family now right?
Well I sure hope so, but I'm gonna be up front. In today's featured story, there is going to be a crime committed. Only an idiot would confess of such wrong doings in a cyberspace confessional right? So let me preface this....."account" as a fictional piece, yeah - that's it, consider the following a piece that I'm submitting to some wonderlunk writing contest LOL
At the age of 40. I didn't have a vehicle, I was a one car family. Sue McGleno had the "house ride" and I took buses bicycles or skateboards to my place(s) of destination.
On Sunday mornings the buses ran less often, so often times I would have to wake up early, walk to the neighborhood coffee shop, get a depth charge, and then read 20 some pages of something until the 74 D came around.
On one particular Sunday morning, early in the Spring. I started my pursuit. As I got to Hamline Avenue I smiled like dogs do when they flop around in warm grass while pushing their backs hard against the afternoons heat.
For a Minnesotan to outlast Winter is reason enough for celebration. Hamline is lined with historic Ash tree's on both sides of the Avenue. The vast amount of foliage reaches out over the street forming a green canopy that makes you feel as if you were living out some kind of Hobbit fantasy.
I'm guessing it's 6 a.m. and I think of Bob Dylan's lyric (which Bono will steal years later)I'll give you a highway with diamonds on it."
Brah - it was just so wonderful out, and I so got off on the fact that I was the only person in my neighborhood hoarding God's natural resources, kinda like going into a movie theater, and you and your peeps are the only ones there for the flicks duration.
Highland Park is one of the nicer neighborhoods in Saint Paul, and although I haven't seen the official tally, I will throw rough supposition at you that 1/2 the community is Catholic and the other 1/2 is Jewish.
All the Scandinavians and Lutherans....well you'll just have to cross the ocean to Minneapolis to find them.
Klecko grew up Catholic, and in fact he met Sue McGleno at bible camp when he was 15. I remember it was some newer modern camp where they took inner city kids, kids at risk, and plopped their a**es up in the woods. It was ecumenical with higher power doctrine, but they let you wear jeans, plaid shirts, ride horses...and get this, they even let us smoke cigarettes!
So thats the first time I met my future wife. I remember how attracted I was to her, she had the number one quality that Klecko yearns for, that final touch that will separate.....smoking hot from pretty good.
Sue McGleno had a Big "Roman" - Eastern Euro - Bohemian nose!
OMG.....so being a guy, I was checking her out, sizing her up, and imagining her in parochial plaid skirt which would certainly be accessorized with those long, clean white stockings that only a young Catholic girl can sport.
Holy Saints of Warsaw....I almost passed out.
However...LOL, upon further discussion, after asking what Parrish her family attended, she just rolled her eyes and explained in the simplest terms "Catholic? Whatever....I'm a Jew!"
Cardinals, Popes and Priests were turning in their graves, cuz I gotta be honest, just like Sampson, I knew at that moment, one day I would marry this woman even though we came from different tribes.
And to be honest, and let me preface this with "Forgive me Father for I have sinned!" That was the least of my worries.
My biggest mental hurdle was not seeing those muscular calves and thighs clad in pristine white stockings, and the plaid skirt....OMG, 1/2 my post puberty thought process focused on meow girls and their plaid skirts.
So digress no more Klecko, lets get back to the main plot line. Klecko is walking down Hamiline, it's 6 a.m. on a Sunday, it's spring time and nobody is outside. Well that's what I thought at least. after putting several blocks in my hypothetical rear view mirror, I was now approaching the Cretin Durham Hall high school campus.
This place is Iconic in the Twin Cities, it is our states Vatican by proxy. Many of the kids pay higher tuition to attend there, than they might at college. In addition to being the shooting set for Disney's Mighty Ducks 3 (the one that only had like 9 seconds of Emilio Estevez) it is also a hot bed for baseball.
Hall of Famer Paul Molitor went there, present Minnesota Twin Joe Mauer went there. Somebody help me out...who was that quarterback at FSU that was in their program too?
But then you can throw in the likes of Jack Morris (10 shutout innings in game 7 of the 91 World Series) and Dave Windfield were on rival squads, but both were true-blue Saint Paulites as well.
So in front of the school, even on weekends it is not uncommon to find off street parking. A slew of cars formed a column that outran my vision, and just when Klecko was approaching the baseball field, he hears a car door slam behind him.
With the combination of the hour, weather and destination, you shake those up in a Yahtzee cup and the sum of your die cast will be "No need to be concerned - go on with your day.:
But when I impulsively looked over my shoulder. I noticed a dude with a shaved head and a hunchback was walking behind me at a brisk clip. I know in stories you add adjectives like Skank - Turd or Hunchback to draw shock value, but I swear to Caesar....dude was hunchback, and he had one of the prison tear drop tattoo's under his eye.
Did I mention he limped?
I could tell from the guys flushed skin, perspiration and hollow shark eyes that he was jonesing for a hit. The whole thing was starting to come together, some peeps have speculated that even our small hamlet is not immune to drug trafficking and Hunchback parked just down the street from a drug house that urban legend dictates is in close proximity to Syndicate & Watson.
Unless the guy was packing, I wasn't too worried, concerned....for sure, but he was small, hunchbacked and I'd toss his little anti semetic frame around like a rag doll.
So dude is closing the gap right? Do you know how creepy it sounds to have a limping hunchback trying to run you down?Then out of my peripheral.....I notice a second skinhead, a bigger skinhead, a more agile skinhead on the other side of the street.
Skinhead #2 is now jogging, and I figure out what these scoundrels were up to. They were trying to catch up to me when I got to the outside of the ballparks left field wall. It's constructed of brick and rot iron so if they timed this just right....Klecko can't employ evasion as an option.
I have been attacked - beaten on numerous occasions, so often times I have shared my "beating wisdom" with others who haven't. The initial reaction becomes fear. When I saw that there were 2, and I realized they were both jonesing and possibly packing.....dude, I really thought I was in a bad way. Yes, Klecko was officially afraid.
Rule #1 - Accept the fear, but don't let it control you. If you even have a fraction of a chance of getting out of this mess, you'll have to have a clear head, asses options immediately and act on them.If you don't do this reactionary, to much time passes and you're toast.
Oh yeah.......I remember just before the rubber hit the road, I actually started laughing to myself. I thought "Man....this is Highland Park, home to Lawyers, Doctors and Professors, and these clowns are going to try to roll a 6'3" Pollack weighing in at 262#'s who might have had 7 bucks in his wallet. Why not wait 10 more minutes and jack a guy half my size who is 15 years older, and certainly holding more digits"
So Klecko decides the key to this is to find a way to drop Skinhead #2, take the whale out of the equation, and the minnow typically will swim away. Another element is to let your attackers think that you are ignorant to their intentions as long as possible. You can actually have the element of surprise work in your favor when you are the victim
So as per their plan.....we converge at the point I figured they had preplanned. Skinhead #2 is about 15 feet in front and closing in....Klecko still acts aloof, now aloof is a fine line. aloof doesn't mean that you whistle, talk to yourself or stare downward. Aloof simply means that you acknowledge their presence and let them believe that you are not afraid, and you don't even have time to recognize their pathetic existence.
You are momentarily self absorbed.
When Dude (Skinhead #2 was 8-9 feet in front, I listened intently to the footsteps behind me.I estimated Hunchback was 15-20 feet behind. It seemed logical. Skinhead #2 would strike 1st, he was the warrior. So right when #2 was about 3 feet out of my outstretched wing span......I lunged forward "BAM". as quick as a cat (remember....there was a good chance both of these guys are suffering from withdrawal and are possessing muddy minds), stepping off of my right, while rotating to my left (his right, and odds would favor he would attack from that side) and I arced my right hand in a rainbow pattern, momentarily blinding his vision, and in unison I used my arm like a piston and gave Skinhead #2 an open hand strike, flush to the side of his face.
The punch didn't feel like I had a lot of velocity on it, but dudes jaw bone gave way like a match stick that never drank milk in it's adolescence.
"POP".....everything froze for a second, when I saw him ready to drop,I turned and looked at Hunchback Skinhead.....his eyes shot out of his head like Buckwheat's used to on the Little Rascals.
Hunchback wasn't gonna do a thing, but he stood there (frightened I'm guessing) issuing death threats to me, cussing at me, Now People in the Neighborhood start looking out windows, a couple approached there stoop.
I figured the cops were probably at least 5 minutes away, but I didn't want to be around when they witnessed the aftermath. In situations like this, nobody is let off the hook. Not immediately at least, and I was opening mixer, and on a Sunday....if that guy isn't at the bakery.....it's like a football game without a quarterback.
But I also remembered what my step father Whiskey Willie instructed me. "Danny, if you win a fight, and the guy whose a** you just kicked starts talking s***, you don't want to walk away. Drive the death nail in him by simply remaining. You won't want to say a word to the guy, it shows that you are in control, but as the guy keeps rambling, he's going to realize, and if other people are there, it will be obvious to them that the guys a p****."
So I did stand there, motionless, Skinhead #2 was still "bag of bricks" motionless on the ground. I continued standing there for about 90 seconds, and then I split.
Nobody in my hood ratted me out, and over the years as I have recalled the event of that morning, or shared some of the details some friends of mine who have mentioned that maybe the story should be tabled.
They are w/o a doubt correct, but I think they echoed these sentiments out of fear of potential retaliation, but dude, you can't live in fear, you can't let ignorant louts who attack and destroy people feel as if they can control you .
It's better to take 1000 thumping's than to give them that satisfaction.
Last August, right before I took my son off to Iowa to go to college, I saw Hunchback at the Deli section of the Cub Foods on University Avenue. My son had heard this story, and I pointed dude out. He was with a woman who I presume was his love interest.
In Klecko's past......he has done things that will shame him for life, I'll bet you have too. But as hunchback had his lunch meat handed over the counter, he looked at me for a second. I smiled and nodded. I was with my son, the Center of a football offensive line, dude was with a chick. Advantage me this round, but in my heart I hoped that God, logic or common sense had taught this guy a better way.
I smiled at the Cat, and as me and my son walked out to the bread truck, he asked if I thought the guy remembered me......I just chuckled and replied, "I hope not, I hope the dude has forgotten the whole deal and moved on."