Saturday, February 17, 2007

River Robbery And Thuggery And Chivalry And Doggie Pee....

I’ve been robbed a few times in my life. Usually, I leave my vehicle unlocked and a wallet on the dash with 500 bucks or so in it. In the morning, the wallet is gone and I curse myself for being so lackadaisical and go through the machinations of getting a new license and what-not and off I go again.

Every robbery was memorable, but none of the robberies were substantially memorable enough for me to change my ways.

I don’t lock things. I don’t hide things away. I don’t live life as if someone is about to take from me something I possess.

I don’t know why I am that way-- it drives some people who love me nuts-- but I am.

I want life to be easy. I want to live life not worrying about the worst possible outcome for every situation.

I want to live life like life was not an exercise in keeping everything I have all in one pile…

I want to live life like I am impervious to all of the bad things life has to offer…

A few years back, some guy got into my truck and started rummaging around. I guess he figured he had a right to something I possessed - since I left my windows down - and his white-trash girlfriend probably thought so too because she hung out and waited for him to find whatever it was I possessed that they had a right to.

And I know all of this because my dogs know what my truck doors sound like when they open. You see, when I open my truck door, it means I am coming or going and they tend to want to come or go along with me. So the squeak my door hinge makes is very important to both of them. They tend to demonstrate consternation when my door opens and they are not anywhere near my truck (like when they are with me, hanging out at the river, taking a sort-of nap in the sand while watching blue herons fly and salmon fisherman dream….)

A few years ago, I was remodeling a house I bought with my brother. I was working by myself, so my days were intensely my own. I needed to put long hours in, so I devised a work plan that I could adhere to. Ten hour days, split in two five hour blocks, with an hour and a half break in the middle, spent down at the river.

In Southern Oregon, The Rogue River is a famous staple of life. It is fished, swum, and talked about. It flows through people’s lives like a vein and feeds their hearts and souls.

Everyday, I would take off my work shoes and put on flip flops, grab a lunch and head down to the river and spend an hour letting it all flow through me. The river. Nature. All of it.

One place I went had a parking lot and a bridge. It had a boat ramp and was a well known sending-off spot for boaters who wished to catch a big salmon or steelhead (when they were running and in season).

This was also the spot the Sherriff’s office used to launch their boats when patrolling the river on busy weekends.

I came to this spot often, as it was close and convenient, and I never locked my truck.

I mean, why should I? Where I napped on the river’s edge was only a couple of hundred feet or so from where I parked.

My dogs heard the door open and started to head back to my truck. Pavlov was right. My dogs were creatures of habit and stimuli. But they were also confused. I mean, I was right THERE with them and yet they heard me leaving them. They had no choice in this confusing situation. They had to bark.

This got me sitting upright and wondering what was going on. My dogs were predictable entities, and I thought I knew them well

But this behavior was a bit on the “uncharacteristic” side.

I thought and thought. My ears were trained on something back there, back where I had parked. I heard my own door hinge squeak. It was then that I knew.

Someone was in my truck!

Son-of-a-bitch! (I remember thinking those exact words).

I thought those words, but I didn’t think this through. I just ran in my flip flops. I was pissed. Someone was in my truck!

There was a fifteen foot embankment between me and the parking lot. I hit it in full stride, and climbed it in three steps. Right foot. Left foot. I was now on top of the embankment and my truck was twenty feet away.

There was someone sitting in my front seat.

Someone was sitting in my truck and their legs were dangling out of it.

There was someone stealing 500 dollars from all of my lost wallets and their legs were dangling out of my truck and I was running and I still had both flip flops on my feet and the bastard was stealing from me so I slammed my door on his shins and pinned them with my weight while I gathered myself enough to say something profound and apropos…

“You mother fucking mother fucker!” was what I think I said. Something like that.

The guy’s eyes were popping out of his head like one of those troll dolls you just squeezed.

My window was down, and I could reach in and choke the SOB if I wanted.

The guy had a knife.

He had one of those Buck knives, with the five inch blades and the safety button and the nice wooden handle and brass ends all polished and lacquered.

He handed me his knife.

“Here” he said. “Take it.”

I took it. Now I had his knife and I had his legs pinned with my door and I had my fist all balled up and I was huffing and puffing from the sprint in my flip flops and the guy was in pure hell and tar nation mode, though he never let on that his shins were killing him, and this is how we confronted each other, and the conversation went something like this….

“You mother fucking mother fucker!” (that was me).

“Sorry man, sorry!” (That was him).

“You mother fucking mother fucker.” (OK. So I had lost a bit of originality in the situation.)

“Sorry man. I am so sorry….”

“You crosskicking mother fucking crosskicking fucker….” (that was me)…

“Easy man. Easy. I’m sorry. Sorry. Sorry man. I am sorry.” (that was the guy).

“I should kick your ass!”

“I know you should. Yes you should. I would if I were you. But you’re not the bad guy. I’m the bad guy. I’m the bad guy. Not you.” (The mother fucker had a point).

My fist was all balled up and trembling. It was just aching to plough right through his nose. I knew I could do some damage to this guy. I knew I could make him deformed and maybe reformed with one brutal punch.

I caught his girlfriend out of the corner of my eye. She was sitting in the car pulled up next to my truck. She was staring ahead and not looking at the scene. She was shaking like a sex toy and her face was as white as Elmer’s glue. There were two puppies in the back of the Japanese wagon she had been driven in, and blankets and weird stuff and trash.

“Don’t man,” the guy pleaded. I looked at him and I looked at the girl. The puppies were wrestling with each other and were fogging up the windows in tiny ovals.

“I’m the bad guy. Not you. I am. I’m the bad guy.”


He was right.

I couldn’t live up to my end of the scene. I couldn’t play out my part.

I let the guy go and I told them I was going to report them, so if they wanted to avoid the slammer (I think I said “slammer”) they should leave the area ASAP.

They sped off and an hour later I gave all their vitals to a Sherriff pulling out of the river and that was that.

“What did he look like?”

“Well, he had two HUGE bruises on his shins, plus some really bad jailhouse tats and he wasn’t wearing any underwear….”

"What about the girl?"

"She wasn't wearing any underwear either."
ADDENDUM-- Two things to note about this tale if you haven't already. One, is the miracle of sprinting over a hundred feet without losing a flip flop or blowing it out by pulling the toe strap out.
The other is the nearly flawless execution of the embankment climb-- in flip flops-- that I was never able to replicate, even in running shoes. A three step hop up fifteen almost vertical feet. I tried and tried days later to make this happen a second time. I never could. I could crash my shoulder into the embankment a bunch. Or I could make the two steps and then find myself in air heading back down to the sand on the last of the three legs...
Amaziing what a bit of adrenaline can do for one.


Hammer said...

I forget to lock doors and have had copius amounts of stuff stolen from me. I don't let it phase me.

Except for wallet and keys, I keep those close at hand.

You did a good thing on that thief, the bruises and the shat upon pants, probably taught him more of a lesson than a sound beating.

Jeannie said...

I'm sure I would not be as coherent as you. We've had a ton of stuff taken from our cars sitting in our driveway. Pisses me off. Usually I lock up but sometimes,you forget...and kids need to fence stuff to buy their drugs ya know?

kario said...

Ouch! My shins hurt, my shins hurt.

I love your vivid stories and your never boring life! And I love that all it takes is a click for me to tune in. Thanks for the story.

CSL said...

Crosskicking fucker?? What is that? But I'm glad you left it where you did becuase the giy was right, you WEREN'T the bad guy. I've had my car broken into twice and I still leave valuables in in all the time. I'm with you about not wanting to live as if something bad will happen.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the word "adrenaline" as I was reading that part. Then I got to the bottom and saw you had recognized what was going on.

Shaking like a sex toy--hilarious

This could have been on world's dumbest criminals--dude handed you his knife??? stupid!!

Glad everyone was safe, except dudes chins. I'm jealous of the scenary--I love fly fishing or laying next to the river listening to the water ripple over the rocks.

Nikky said...

Last picture there, your dog in the water... is it just me or is that a 'taking a dump' squat? I don't know, maybe he's on point, about to pounce a fish or something, but all I could think of when I saw it was "take a dump in the river? EWWWW"

Great story today!! Thanks!

Scott from Oregon said...

"crosskicking" is the word my word processor puts in when I try and type "cocksucking".

It cleans up my potty mouth so I let it. Besides, I like the word "crosskicking"...

Flatcoke-- giving me the knife was the smartest thing he did do. That, and the line of reasoning he took while I crushed his shins with my door...

No, Nikky. That is a "girl dog pee squat..." Not a poo squat. For that, the back is arched and they get they look on their faces...

Sunny Delight said...

I really like the quirky way your mind works...great story.

it's the little things... said...

Excellently written!
We used to live in Venice, CA and I never locked my car doors. What was the point - they would just break the windows. So I left the car doors unlocked and 'they' went through and took whatever change was in the car's ashtray.
They even took pennies.
I figured they needed it more than I did.

it's the little things... said...

PS Your flip flop heroics is surely a nod back to your soccer stay days, no? :)

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Irene said...

I could have sworn I watched the movie version of your tale. ;p

Tammie Jean said...

I don't lock my doors either. My car was broken into once too, right in the driveway, and it was the dog that noticed. He chased the guy out of the yard so I didn't have to.

But I agree with you, who wants to live life worrying about the bad that might happen? My doors are still unlocked.

slaghammer said...

I keep everything locked all the time. Old habits die hard. My wife ribs me for being hyper vigilant but we left the garage door open overnight a few weeks back and of course, some jackass robbed us. Damn karma!