Wednesday, March 31, 2010



It was near the end of the workday yesterday when I drove through a particularly depressed area of the D. Normally you don't see much in the way of excitement around those parts. A man leaning up against a burned out building here, 3 guys sitting on the curb near a bus stop there. Maybe half of the buildings still house businesses, while the rest are either decayed to the point of rubble or burned out. Either way, they won't be utilized anytime soon for anything beyond an escape from the rain or drug reasons.

So it was beyond odd to see a large mass of black teenagers going nuts across the intersection from the red light I was approaching.

I tried to look like I fit in, as I adjusted my tie a little and turned down the Wu-Tang Clan on my ipod. My guess, and it proved to be correct, was that a few people must be fighting. It was after school hours, but just barely, and the way kids were clamoring over each other or up fences and trees was a pretty good clue. As was the two girls who squirted out the side of the scrum, arms flailing at each other, both girls with one arm death-gripping the others hair.

The crowd quickly gobbled them up as they positioned themselves for the best viewing angle. Cars were still trying to get through the intersection and I was waiting on my red light still as the empty lane next to me was quickly filled by a teenage quick insertion team. The car almost squealed to a stop with how fast it slowed down, and the two teens (both girls) shot from the car like they'd taken a running start like that more than a few times. They sprinted through the intersection with total unawareness of the traffic still trying to maneuver past the mob. A quick scan saw kids flying in from every direction for a look, maybe for more.

The last kid I saw, as I sadly had a green and had to drive on, was a boy who I honestly couldn't say did not have a gun. The problem is that infuriatingly stupid hip-hop style of gigantic jeans belted halfway down the ass that somehow gained popularity with "urban" teens. This last kid was making his way across the street much slower than the others. Even the fat girls had some hustle in their steps. This kid, however, was moving much slower and he had his hand in a position that said one of two things.

1. I gotsta hold my hand here so my pants don't fall down, yo. (What, you thought he'd talk like Mr. Belvedere?)


2. If I move any faster this gun is going to slip outta tha band on my jeans, yo.

Honestly, I couldn't call it. In fact, I may have sped the rest of the way out of the D. I only know how to kick people in the nuts and run. That strategy isn't very effective against weapons.

I checked the news today. No gunfights except for a few miles away at a body shop. And while many of these teens already could have used a little work on their bodies (Kids are fat as fuck these days, yo!) it wasn't that type of body shop. That gunfight, with two dead at 3 fucking 30 in the afternoon smack dab in my territory, was more likely a guy or guys getting all murdery over some rims or something equally stupid.

It all reminds me of a couple fights I may or may not have mentioned over the years.

What, you've been reading my stuff for all the years I've been writing?

Thanks, mom!

Anyhow, the first fight I ever had a chance to watch was a friend of mine who told some douchebag to meet him just off school property after school. It would go down in the church parking lot and we were all pumped. I wasn't worried for my friend because he was a lot taller and stronger than the other kid.

School gets out and word has made it to every nook and cranny of the school. It was like they were handing out free Funyons and Munchos at that church. Somehow the entire school exited the grounds at the same exact time and our mob of kids ran down the short stretch of sidewalk to the next lot where the fight would be.

Here's where it gets good.

The length of our run was probably a hundred yards. The lot was fenced so we had only enough room if we weren't running in the street to all fit within the 10 feet from the curb to the fence, which was mostly grass and sidewalk.

I'm excited. It's the first fight I've ever watched in person. It's with this level of enthusiasm I contain that I never notice the crowd part in front of me to run around the fire hydrant in the grass. I run directly into the damn thing, my fast-twitch muscles failing to let me side step the thing at the last second like a young Barry Sanders.

I went down like sack of potatoes.

I hit my knee so hard on that goddamn thing that it hurt for weeks.

Sucking more than that, however, was missing the fight because it was over just after it started. My friend won. Maybe had I not spent the last couple minutes playing red rover with a fire hydrant I would have seen it.

The second fight was another kid I was friends with. He was fighting the older (Came from the high school while we were in middle school) brother of a cute girl in our grade that he was hanging out with. Apparently the kid took umbrage with the fact that his sister was dating anyone at all, because this Worthington kid (Yes Tony, the same Worthington family) was a pretty solid kid. Family turned out to be more than a bit fucked up, but that was years later and it was his dad not him.

Anyhow, the kid from high school was not new to us. He had come down with the rest of the Karate Club to give a demonstration in our gym class that year. Him and a few others kicked, punched, tumbled, jumped, and basically tried to make us understand that there was some cool stuff we could do the following year in high school.

So lunch was the time. The older kid was waiting outside the lunch room and we all filed out to watch. This time I watched intently for any random fire hydrants as I hustled into what ended up being a front row for the battle.

Old kid took a fancy karate fighting stance, letting us all know right away that he thought Matt was fucked. After all, he knew karate.

Matt took a classic untrained teenager fighter pose, fists held in front of him like whatever boxer he'd last seen on tv. They sort of moved in a circle around each other for just a moment before the old kid went on the attack. He moved in, still clearly attacking within his learned art of karate, and that's where it started and ended.

As he moved close Matt took one step forward and kicked him in the chest like he was trying to breach a door in the movies. Old kid went down. I can't recall if he got embarrassed and left, the fight was broken up, or Matt jumped on him and got a few punches in before it was over. Fact is, it didn't matter. Karate kid got his ego stomped into his chest in front of his little sister's entire school.

I wouldn't be surprised if he turned into this guy because of it.


Unknown said...

Or maybe that guy from "The Foot Fist Way."

Thanks for writing again. I need laughs at work.

DrChako said...

I shall never misuse Rex Kwon Do.