I was 17. I was 6 hours from home. It was 1:00 in the morning and I was in the wrong part of town. In hind sight, I guess we all got what we deserved, some more so than others.
We were in Newport News, VA. We had just seen U2 as part of their Joshua Tree tour. That was our first mistake.
Our second mistake was lounging around a deserted parking lot at an un-godly hour of the morning in a shit dangerous part of town. But what the hell, we were young and invincible, or so we thought.
We decided it would be a grand idea to hang out for a while after the show and have a couple of mixed drinks. We mixed our vodka concoctions in the hatchback of my friends gray Ford. Every thing was going great, we were having a grand old time standing around drinking our screwdrivers and listening to U2 like the snow white snot boys we were. It was around this time that events began to get ugly.
A huge beat-up pick up truck with a covered back-end drives toward us from out of the night. They drive by enticingly slow, coming within inches of us, as if inviting some sort of dumb white boy response. Sure enough, my friend Dixon, probably the least capable in a fight and by now sufficiently liquored up to invincibility, jabs his middle finger in the air and lets off an extra hardy, "Fuck You!"
"Oh Jesus", I thought, or maybe it was "oh fuck" or "shit" or even "you stupid fat fuck, what the fuck is running through you crack addled brain!"
The truck slowly turned around.
It's interesting the way Americans are conditioned to safety, we never think about harm. We go through our fat little everyday lives oblivious to our surroundings. Then, without warning, our world is turned upside down while we stand gawking in disbelief, muttering to ourselves, "it's not fair, this isn't supposed to happen to ME!"
The truck pulled up alongside our dwarfed Ford. Out of the cab jump two of the biggest, blackest, and meanest looking mother fuckers I have ever seen.
While frozen in place, thinking that if I don't move, maybe he won't see me, I heard Crane's voice pleading in the back ground, something to the effect of, "get the fuck into the car" or "close the hatchback" or some such words of wisdom. All the four of us could do was stand there, holding our screwdrivers, staring in disbelief at our fate.
My brain kinda split in two at this point, each lobe seemed intent on following each of the two characters which had been thrust so abruptly into my consciousness. The right side of my brain followed one to the back of the truck thinking, "What the fuck is he doing?" The left side of my brain followed the much larger one as he was heading toward our car thinking, "Shit, Crane was right, somebody should have closed the fucking hatchback!"
It turns out that the back of the truck contained a large number of very big and variously black men, all of whom proceeded to fall out of the truck and into a casual circle around us, staring menacingly.
"Well fuck, if this is not the fucking cat's meow!", I thought, the endorphins, or maybe the vodka, beginning to kick in.
In the mean time, the really big fucker had rummaged through our hatch back and plucked out a U2 poster my friend Albert had just purchased. What the hell he wanted with a U2 poster was beyond me, but he proceeded to take the poster and throw it into the back of the pick up truck.
They say there is a fine line between bravery and foolishness. Well, I don't know what the hell to call Albert, but he sure as hell seemed to want that poster. He went to the back of the truck, CRAWLED INSIDE, and retrieved his poster. He walked around the opposite side of the truck with the Neanderthal taunting him. He got to the hatch back, tossed his poster inside, and closed it! Yeah Albert!
It must be mentioned at this point in the story that Albert was the only one among us who happened to have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. This training obviously helped to focus his mind on self preservation, because what he did next still amazes me to this day. With out hesitation, he walked purposefully to the passenger side door, got inside, closed the door, and then LOCKED THE REST OF US OUT!!
The next thing I remember was poor Crane's limp body flying through the air before falling to a crumpled mass under the car. Dixon was next, that bastard, he went down quick, but was to big for any kind of stunt flying. I then remember a curious thing. It was as if a small black dot in my field of vision was slowly becoming larger and larger. At this last moment, it was a big black void racing toward my face. And then it hit me. . .
I stumbled back, the punch had forced my eyeglasses into my nose. I cursed in ancient Greek. I heard tires squealing, laughter, silence.
I looked up to see Albert as Kilroy looking over the passenger side seat, two friends knocked cold and bleeding on the asphalt, and an empty 40 oz. bottle of Colt 45 lying in place of a big Ford truck that had vanished into the night.