...and we crossed the street as fast as we could, the familiar words of hatred in the air.

Bitch. Cocksucker.

They had already knocked the girl down in front of traffic, and she was screaming, sobbing, screaming. The man who almost ran her over had tried to help, and he was on the concrete, three times my size. That left two of us, and six of them.

We got her out somehow, fighting to protect a young lady the size of a twelve-year-old. She didn't even know we were there, I don't think. Only that she wasn't being thrown around anymore, and she was getting away.

By the time security and the cops arrived and dealt with the others, we had made it to the underground parking and out of sight. Leslie kept the police looking elsewhere long enough to share a few cigarettes, and eventually she could talk again. She was from Ottawa, her name was Diane, and between the drugs and the crack of skull on asphalt, she was in pretty bad shape.

The squad car found us eventually, of course. Her boyfriend had already been arrested, and she managed to tell the police that he had her money, her ticket home, her everything.

The security guard asked me if I was alright, and I said that I was. Then she waved to us as the police car pulled away, and by that time it was daylight.