By Amy Brown ETC EDITOR
I always assumed if someone tried to rob me, I could kick them in the nuts, then while they were down, I’d take their weapon, shoot them in the knees, maybe pistol whip them for good measure, quite possibly steal their wallet, and take off.
I had revised my strategy many times and devised multiple plans of action for a variety of situations.
For example, if they took my purse and started running, I envisioned myself taking off after them and managing a well-placed ninja assassin kick where my stiletto severed their spinal cord, then I and my slouchy Kenneth Cole leather tote could escape valiant and unscathed.
You can imagine my dismay when on Tuesday, Sept. 1, my boyfriend, his roommate, and I were robbed at gunpoint outside of my apartment, and I did none of those glamorous things.
To set the scene, my boyfriend, who we’ll call David, my roommate, who we’ll call Ryan, and I, who we’ll call always right, were convened in the parking lot outside of the apartment at approximately 9:30 p.m. to view Ryan’s new tattoo, courtesy of Royal Street Tattoo.
As we were talking, a dark green, somewhat disheveled Honda Accord with about four male passengers pulled off of Palmetto St. and pulled into the parking lot. We all looked at the car.
“What the heck are they doing?” asked David.
“Who cares? Passing through, I guess. It’s not like they live here,” I said thinking it was odd that they were pulling through the parking lot when they could access Broad Street from Palmetto. Maybe they were just stupid.
Any misgivings I had about the unfamiliar car dissipated when the driver, a relatively well-built, square jawed, dark-skinned, African American male wearing a cheddar-yellow sweatshirt, rolled down the window.
“Excuse, me can you tell me how to get to the interstate?” the man asked.
“Which interstate? Are you trying to get to I-65 or I-10?” I asked stepping toward the driver and squatting down.
“Uh, the one to Mobile,” he replied.
Idiot, you’re in Mobile. My assumption that the man was stupid confirmed, I pointed down Canal Street and said, “Well, if you go straight down Canal….”
As I spoke, the back door on the driver’s side opened and a tall, slim, dark-skinned African American male stepped out. As this happened, I stopped talking and took a step away from the car. The man’s hand swung toward me.
I thought he was going to shake my hand, so I started to extend my right hand.
I don’t know if David pulled my hand back or if I saw the gun first. It was small, toy-like. I later found out the gun was a 22 caliber. It had a long, skinny barrel, and the handle was almost engulfed by the young man’s hand.
“Give me your sh*t,” the man demanded.
“Are you f***ing kidding me?” asked David.
Like any victim, all I could do was stare at the gun. I looked at Ryan and David as they emptied their pockets. I was in a dress and obviously had nothing on me. Once the robber was assured of this, he paid little attention to me.
“Give me your wallet,” he ordered David. He threw Ryan’s wallet into the backseat. “Look in this,” the gunman ordered of his fellow backseat passenger.
“I don’t have my wallet,” David said truthfully. David’s wallet was inside my apartment.
The lout didn’t believe David and became agitated.
“Baby, turn out your pockets; show him you don’t have anything,” I said, begging God to not let this deplorable waste of humanity shoot my boyfriend while simultaneously hoping against hope that these idiots wouldn’t realize this was my residence. I quickly decided that if they asked if any of us lived there, I would lie and tell them we lived down the street.
Once the gunman was satisfied he had everything of value, he stepped back into the car. As the gang prepared to leave, I gathered my bearings and committed the license plate to memory and ran upstairs while singing the tag’s numbers and letters. Once inside, I wrote them down, and called 911.
Later, as we recounted the events to police, I realized how little detail I remembered about our attackers. They were um, African American. They were male. The gunman was wearing a white wife-beater and cargo pants; we were mugged by a stereotype.
My descriptive abilities made the cops in “Superbad” look like sapient wordsmiths. I blamed adrenaline. If it weren’t for chemical fear, surely I would have been lucid enough to focus on relevant details such as: What did the car look like? What did the driver look like? What did the gunman look like? I couldn’t remember a single distinguishing detail, not even if the creep was bling-blinging.
After conducting a Google search, I realize that epinephrine, the chemical released during life-threatening situations, cannot be suppressed without the aid of drugs. If this ever happens again, I plan to try to remember more concrete details despite this hindrance.
In the aftermath of the incident, I have had haunting nightmares. I have written down suspicious license plate numbers, just in case, and I have cast hateful glares upon sketchy-looking youth.
There is really no way to conclude the recounting of this incident. I cannot stop dreaming about it nor can I stop fantasizing about new strategies of self-defense, all much more frightening and much more violent than I’d ever fathomed.
I suppose should I ever fulfill any of these grotesque fantasies, I will curl my lip, as did Scarlett O’Hara, and say, “Well, I guess I’ve done murder. Well I won’t think about this now. I’ll think about it tomorrow.” After all, tomorrow is a new day.
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