4:13 p.m. - 2001-10-16
There is something very comforting in being associated with people who are hard core. It is probably the same feeling people get when they hold a weapon, or drive a fast car. A relationship with danger.
When Jane and I first started seeing each other, somebody began stalking her. We never found out exactly who it was, but she had suspicions. It was actually pretty serious, the person threw a rock through the window of a house she was taking care of, keyed her car, sent an anonymous letter to her mother that exposed her online journal address and donated her entire bank account to a charity.
All of this began as soon as she mentioned me in her journal.
There are a lot of things that I can let go without pursuing vengeance, but having someone terrorize my loved ones is a difficult pill to swallow. I wanted to find the "suspect" and scare the shit out of him. I, myself, am not incredibly intimidating, but I have friends who are. I never knew exactly how that intimidation translated to action until a few months ago.
I have a friend, B, who's a "club promoter". Because of his "job", he often deals in large amounts of cash. How large? Large.
I have heard a lot of stories about him, from his mouth and others, and they have always been the kind of tales that you take with a grain of salt-until you see the pictures of the rented Ferraris and the playing of $500 blackjack hands yourself.
I also heard tell of unpleasant events such as searching an entire club for someone who was reportedly talking shit about him in order to throw a cup of urine in his face.
Aside from the obvious aggressiveness of that act, what always struck me about that story was the amount of thoughtful preparation one must go through to collect all of the accessories necessary to pull off this maneuver. First you have to think up the plan. Then you have to find a glass, piss into the glass, carry the glass through the club while you search for the pee-receiver, and then have your anger level still high enough to follow through and be prepared to fight.
I think I'd be more likely to stick with the ol' standard reply of "Oh yeah?"
But B is a more aggressive animal than I am. I have arm wrestled him before- and won, but I know that if a real physical confrontation between us were to develop, he could kill me. Literally.
A few months ago he was the victim of a home invasion attempt. Someone had come over to his apartment to discuss business and on their way out, they let their accomplice in who produced a gun and a machete. B and his partner were held at gun point by one intruder, while the other tied up a girl and her baby upstairs and searched for the safe.
The safe was located, and in a miraculous development that seems like it came out of a Bruce Willis action movie script, the thief with the gun put down his weapon while he attempted to open it. B's partner made a grab for the gun and immediately shot and killed the man. Upon hearing the gunshot, the second intruder ran down the stairs in an attempt to escape. B tackled him and a long struggle for the intruders knife ensued, with B eventually gaining the upper hand and beating the second intruder to near unconsciousness. What happened next is fuzzy in details, but the second intruder was shot to death with the 911 operator on the phone and police on the way.
B and his partner escaped with only minor scratches, the two would be thieves were killed with their own gun.
It turned out that the intruders had a long history of criminal activity that included running a crack house, armed robbery and a car jacking while running from the police. I have no doubt that they had every intention of killing B and his partner. The fact that they both came out of the situation unharmed is amazing. I don't know if I would have been able to take the opportunity to seize the gun, for some fear turns to anger, for others it stays fear.
I don't know why, but I get a sick sense of pride from being a friend of B's. We have had good times together and I have always felt that even though we don't have a hell of a lot in common as far as our outlook on life goes, his loyalty to me is unquestionable. I would never want to hurt anyone, but living vicariously through his lifestyle is appealing in some strange way. I guess it is not that extraordinary really, boys have always looked up to the no nonsense tough guy image, from gangster movies to gangsta rap, war cinema to boxing matches.
I'm just glad I have the choice to not live it for real.