Thursday, October 24, 2013

I blame Darwin

Evolutionarily speaking, I am a step or two behind a modern human.
No, I do not have a bony ridge on my forehead or multiple layers of teeth.
I am lactose intolerant.
I get depressed without a steady supply of red meat.
I am considered "obese" by the modern BMI.
I cant sleep for longer than 4 hours at a stretch.
I have certain triggers that completely trump my thin veneer of civilization.
Like a fish.
Its like this, if you are fishing, and the fish wont bite. If they are just full up with bugs, or little fish, or whatever it is that they are eating and wont even look at what fly or bait or whatever it is that you are tempting them with.
You put something red on the hook. Just a little flashy piece of red.
Blood in the water.
Its instinctive, hard wired into their cold little brains.
They see blood, they hit it.
Every year, on the forth of July. My little family rides our bicycles over to the park to watch the fireworks display.
We have been doing this for 14 years now.
Same park, same route, same everything.
Its a tradition.
This year was no different, we loaded up the backpacks with blankets, the cooler with drinks and the bike basket with the little plastic snap glowing things that the kids love to run amok with, and headed out.
Fun for all.
Child 1 (15 and beautiful) was in the front, followed by me, child 2 (10 and beautiful) was behind me and the wife (beautiful) was pedaling rear guard. Just a normal traditional fourth of July.
There was a plain black car, following us all, politely slow and fairly well back. The streets were thronged with park goers and the energy and excitement that Americans have for this Holiday was buzzing through the air.
Then this fucking hipster opens his door and knocks child 1 off her bike and into the street.
She did not hit the door, he hit her with the door. Right on her side. She spun a full circle and landed on her back in the street. The backpack full of blankets and her helmeted head hitting the ground.
The hipster stood up, had he, at this point, rushed over to the child, expressed remorse in any way, behaved or acted in any way apologetic. I like to think that the outcome would have been different.
Perhaps not.
What he did do, was raise both his arms in this relatively new gesture that has come to mean "WTF!" and yell to the world "What the Fuck! My Car!"
Blood in the water.
I hit him with my right hand 2 running steps after jumping off my bike.
To his credit, he reacted fast and tried to hit me back.
Sadly for him, he appeared to be an evolved human. 6' 4 or 5", well built, a milk drinker, an eight hour sleeper, a chicken and vegetable eater, a perfectly proportioned BMI.
I grabbed the wrist of the hand he was swinging at me, and his collarbone with my left hand. Then i hit him about 30 times.
Maybe more.
He tried to get away at some point, by crawling into his car.
So i bounced his head off the roof of his car a few times, denting it and his head.
Then I crawled into the car after him.
Still hitting him, and choking him.
You see, I really needed to tell him something.
Through the roaring in my ears I suddenly became aware of several things.
A childs voice, coupled with a bike bell. Ding ding "daddy stop" ding ding "daddy stop"
A wifes Voice, yelling at me to come check child one.
And another voice. Machine amplified. "SIR! SIR! STEP AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE" these amidst the normal cacophony of holidaying humans.
So, I hit him a few more times.
Then I whispered a few words into his ear.
Just a few.
Exiting the car I found my way blocked by a small man pointing a taser at me.
He was saying some thing?
I could see my child then, behind him, still laying in the road.
Blood in the water.
I forearmed the small man to the ground and went to my child.
She was ok.
Helmets and a backpack full of blankets kept her injuries to a sore arm and a mild concussion.
The black car?
Yes, a policeman.
He saw the whole thing, and like me, he thought the hipster had done it on purpose.
The hipster had been drinking, a lot. He and his wife were actually sitting in their car fighting about how much he had been drinking.
So, as darkness fell this fourth of July. I found myself, with my family, sitting on a curb.
Other policemen arrived.
They took statements.
Asked questions.
Gave me the eye.
The first Policeman, who has Daughters as well, convinced the Hipster not to press charges against me.
By the simple method of telling the hipster that he would support me in my counter-suit for causing "intentional bodily harm" to my child.
All's well that ends well.
We continued to the park.
Watched the fireworks.
Went home.
The hipster, a bit rough looking now, what with the bruises and dried blood, apologized to my child. His wife apologized to my wife. There were tears.
My ears were still roaring.
The only things I could hear were the voices of my Family.
I said nothing.
At home I kissed them all and sent them to bed.
Then I sat.
Alone in the dark.
Smoke blowing in the night sky.
Fading, diluting, vanishing.
Blood in the water.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

This is not a test

I've an odd job.
Yes I realize that to most of the people that know me, I don't have a job.
I generally come and go as I please. Showing up in strange places at seemingly random times.
I go to work at 4 am.
For those of you that lead normal, sunshine lives. 4 am is not the middle of the night, its just a while before the butt-crack of dawn.
I get emergency calls occasionally.
Sometimes, but very seldom actually are the emergencies real.
I have just had to broaden my view as to what, exactly, constitutes an emergency.
I wont use any names, I cant.
A day or so ago, I started getting calls at 3:30 am. An emergency in one of my buildings. Unspecified as to the nature of the crisis, but from the panicked tones and veiled nervousness on my voice-mail and carefully worded semi-literate pleas in the emails I was receiving I surmised it was something big.
A little background.
About a year ago I had a power failure in one of my buildings.
This particular building houses (among other things) a lab.
As in Laboratory.
They store things in this lab, in giant stainless steel locked refrigerators.
Things that if they got even a little thawed, even a little bit of exposure to humans, could make some very sick people.
A lot of very sick humans.
I got one call.
The other day I got 15 calls. From 15 different people. 36 emails.
All within an 8 hour window.
To say I rushed is a bit of an understatement.
I calmly sped to the building, calmly ran in, I calmly eschewed the elevator and sprinted up the stairs.
8 flights.
Opening the doors to a kicked termite mound of activity.
2 seconds.
That's how long it took for the lowing masses to recognize I was there and start clamoring.
One of those marvelous instances of mass hysteria where every single person is talking at the exact same time.
I picked the calmest looking of the bunch, a distinguished looking gent.
He had a sardonic tilt to one eyebrow that gave me a little hope for the survival of the entire floor. A little humorous gleam in his eye as he surveyed the crowds of cubicle lemmings milling about.
He walked me over to the emergency.
Briskly walked.
That was the emergency.
Last week one of the lemmings had gone on vacation.
He called one of his co-lemmings the day before the emergency to tell a sad tale.
A sordid tale.
A tale of woe and calamity.
See, he had left a bunch of bananas by accident locked in his cabinet.
Sardonic eyebrow and I, we stood there.
In front of the unlocked cabinet, and I reached in and removed the browned bunch.
The sigh of relief from the herd was audible.
This is when it gets weird.

I walked, mouldering fruit in my hand, to the nearest garbage pail and was just about to calmly chuck them in.
It seemed a good idea, after all, if you can simply dispose of the emergency, you really should.
I was stopped.
Mid chuck.
By 4, count them, four women and 2 men. That's a total of 6 (unless I miscalculate) humans.
All of whom wanted the fruit.
Is a banana a fruit?
Needless, these people, budding chefs all of them, wanted those blasted browned bananas to make bread.
Banana Bread.
no shit.
So I set them on a table.
With a conspiratorial glance at the sardonic eyebrow, I left.
Left them to go and type up my required 6 page emergency report.
Left them to cajole, plead, argue and possibly use the wisdom of Solomon to distribute the potassium packed delicacies on their own.
I've an odd Job.