My car had been acting up, needed a muffler and brake work and assorted other crap, but it had also acquired this strange inability to start on the first try, no clicking, no churning, just a whole lot of nothing. So I got out early to find a mechanic, explained my troubles dropped off my car, and waited for the return call. They were "unable to reproduce the problem" and after checking the battery, alternator and starter, determined that my problems could all be solved by "wiggling the clutch a little" when I start it. I had a new muffler system put on (ah, quiet) and called it a day.

Chris and I made a fine dinner. Ate like kings who eat perfectly grilled, medium rare steak with fresh green beans and wine, and talk afterward about the greatness of the meat cut, the perfection of the marbling, the crispness of the beans.

I took the kids up for a bath, made great big bubbles, washed hair, tickled toes with soap and scrubbing, watched my son stuggle to get his big toddler head through the neck hole of his Dora t-shirt whithout wanting ANY help.

Then I went outside for a smoke. There was a man at the bottom of my stairs. At first I thought it was one of my neighbors, but then the guy turned his face and I could see blood dripping down. I was watching as he tried another phone number on his cell, only to click it shut again and sigh.

I went from wondering, what the hell is that guy doing on my stairs, to, oh man, that guy needs some help. I told the kids to kick it on the porch and I went down to investigate.

"Um. Hey. Do you need some help?"

He turned to me, his face all bruised, with a bloody scrape on one side. His eyes were wide and scared looking, as well as red, a bit drunk and shocked. He looked like he did not know how to process me.

"Uhm. Yeah, I kinda was like. I was at the game. And then these. There were these guys. I don't know. I have been drinking most of the day, so maybe it was my fault. I. hmmm."

At that point I excused myself, saying I will be back in a moment, and hooked the kids up with a video (Scoobi Doo) and hurried back with some paper towels and peroxide.

I handed them to him and he looked grateful. He handed me his cell phone. There was a woman on the other end screaming, "Holy crap are you ok?"

"It's my sister" he said, "...don't know where I am".

I told her where he was. She asked how he was doing. I told her he was a bit raw around the face, but safe. I told her how to get to my house, and again said he was safe, that I would mind him while she was gone, but to relax because he his safety was assured, because my porch is safe and I certainly wasn't going to beat him up. I handed back the phone back and asked him his name.

He has the misfortune of being a man named Courtney, this slight fellow with very old eyes, maybe mid twenties, this non-fighter with a bruised face. I bummed him smokes and made small talk. Go Bucks.

Mans inhumanity to man, we called it. I told him no beat up guy gets to sit on my stoop without some help. Case closed.

He wanted to know if September 11th was just a tainted day. I said no. Babies are born and love is made, and your team wins, and the sun comes up, and a stranger can be just as worried about another stranger as they would be about a friend. Some go for blood and revel in it, but some just want to see it cleaned up.

His sister came looking worried and mad, clucked near his wounds like a mother hen, thanked me like I did something, and then they were off.