Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Almost Dead

It happened in the blink of an eye and yet somehow it still managed to feel like it would never end.

It happened as I've always imagined that these types of things happen. Violently and without warning. Add a dimly lit parking lot on a humid dark summers night, a lone victim unsuspectingly carrying on about his business and you have the perfect four liner crime blurb in your local paper.

Except this time was different for me. This time I wasn't perusing through the Washington Post's crime beat section as I casually sipped my first cup of coffee at work. No... no... unfortunately for me, this time I was actually forced to live through the traumatizing real life experience.

As we walked our dog Emma through the apartment complex I thought to myself how nice it was to live in the burbs for the summer. It wasn't much passed 9:45 on a quiet Monday night and Matilda and I were on our way to the back parking lot to see if we could get Emma to do her business for the night.

After several failed attempts by Matilda and I to coax her into relieving herself we gave up and began walking back to the apartment. As we were walking back I noticed that Emma was finally ready to go do her business. I volunteered to walk the 250 feet or so back to the dog bag station in the parking lot and grab a bag.

As I neared the bagging station, about 500 feet away three dark figures caught my attention walking out of a foot path in the woods that connects the apartment parking lot to a large shopping center.

Even at this stage, I was fairly sure that trouble was imminent. Even though they were far enough away for me to outrun them, I considered all of my options. At this point I was under no immediate threat and I figured my best option was to get back to the middle of the well lit apartment complexwhere I felt confident that they would not dare to jack me.

As I walked as fast and inconspicuously as I could, the fear was too overwhelming to look behind me. At some point (and details are hazy at this point) I instinctually knew that they were behind me. Just mere seconds later I heard the fast pattering of running feet.

In a last act of desperation I opened my mouth to call out to Matilda to run and as my brain was crafting the words to roll off my tongue I thought better of the idea and decided not to tip them off to the fact that Matilda was ahead of me. And by this time she was well ahead of me.

"This is it" I thought to myself, my very first time ever being mugged. I wondered how would it go down? I had lived in Woodbridge for 5 years previous to this and knew that it was generally a safe upscale neighborhood. I was scared but not worried if you can even try to makes sense of that statement.

That all changed the moment I saw the small black pistol out of my peripheral vision and felt it make contact with the side of my head just and inch or two above my right ear. It was also at this time that I felt something sharp in my back as well as a clenched hand on the collar of my tee shirt.

My body was instantaneously overwhelmed by shock that I had trouble getting my legs to do what came natural to them. I could barely walk. Whatever chemical is secreted in your brain beyond adrenaline in high pressure situations is a god send. I immediately went into survival mode. As calm as watching the sunset I asked:

Me: "What do you want".
Robber 1: "Give me the money nigga".
Robber 2: "Give us money nigga or you gonna get hurt".
Me: "I'm walking my dog man, I have no money on me".
Robber 1: "You better get money nigga".
Me: "I've got money in my apartment, just chill, just relax".

As I tried desperately to reassure them that they were going to get paid, I saw a large object come towards my face, I reacted by falling into a yard as one of their fists made its first contact with the right side of my cheekbone.

As I laid in the damp grass I thought to myself that it's just a matter of time before I'm dead. What would my family think? What about the things that I haven't accomplished yet? It's amazing the things that run through your mind when you're life is in jeopardy.

I believe that I heard the distinct dry crackling sound of the high voltage stun gun before I first felt the current make its entrance into my rib cage and penetrate legs. I had never been stunned before and the only way that I can attempt to describe the feeling is that I can understand exactly why they call it a "stun gun". It wasn't exactly painful it was just was what it was.

Luckily one of these criminals had a fragment of a conscious and told the others to stop. As they grabbed me and pulled me up I got my first glimpse of the masks they were wearing. Apparently, the common run of the mill criminal ski mask has been replaced by the more stylish and intimidating scream mask.

As they walked me like a dog with the gun firmly pressed to the back of my head, I quickly scanned the area ahead of me to look for Matilda. She was no where in my limited scope of vision. Later on after the fact I learned she had heard an odd sound (the tazer) and saw them pounce on me. Knowing I had no money on me she ran up the stairs and into the apartment to get money.

After reaching the steps up to our apartment I began to cycle through a list of ideas for not letting them into the apartment. Them entering the apartment was an assured deal breaker for me. I knew that if they entered the apartment Matilda and I would b0th be found tied up and dead sometime the next day more than likely. However, as I tried to explain that she would get the money and throw it down, criminal one said he was going to shoot me. As I got three quarters of the way up the stairs the door opened and Matilda was holding onto cash, as one of them stepped a foot into the house Matilda told him that he was not coming in and I said he was not to make another step.

After an exchange of about $50 cash, I stood nearly face to face with him still with his scream mask. He said something to me that I do not remember. Something insulting but neither Matilda nor I can remember exactly what it was.

I stood there and proudly took it like a bitch. You want to know why?...

Because Matilda and I were both still alive at a cost of only $25 a piece.
Because this kid risked 15 years in prison for what I make in 1 hour. That's .0003 $ per hour.
Because statistically speaking this dumb son of a bitch will most likely never live past 30.
and lastly...
Because no matter what I think of that I could have done differently I can smile and think to myself that I know we did everything right and the fact that we are both still alive proves it.

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