This is the story of a time I *almost* got mugged. I leave some details out, like how they initially mistook me for someone else they had bad history with, because this story— like most true stories featuring real people—is already somewhat incoherent and illogical. I tell it because, in retrospect, it’s actually kind of funny for a mugging. It happened four summers ago in the middle of the afternoon.
I was smoking a cigarette in a field near my house when a guy approached me and asked to bum one. I gave him one because, well, I believed in Smoker’s Karma. He started making small talk and asked if I had “any change for a blunt”. I said that I didn’t as I saw another guy approaching out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to see a third guy keeping watch behind me.
I don’t know about you, but when a guy asks me to take out my wallet while 2 other aggressive-looking types stare, my first instinct is to run. And despite being a smoker back then, I could run pretty fast (albeit not for long) so that’s what I did.
He grabbed me by the hoodie as I tried to get away, but I managed to slip out of it. I don’t know why, maybe I was chilly in my wife-beater, but I stopped and asked for my hoodie back.
Now, I want to pause to emphasize that this was in the middle of an empty field and that the following happened in maybe 10 minutes— a long time and with more dialogue compared to most muggings, I’m sure.
The guy said, in response to my request for my hoodie’s return, “Give me your wallet then”.
Now, that being an unfair trade (the entire contents of my wallet for a hoodie that was mine anyway), I declined and said, “I don’t have any money. How do you do this after I was nice enough to give you a smoke?”
He laughed. “That’s nothing, like 5 cents.” A rich attitude from someone apparently broke enough to mug me. “If you want the hoodie then give me your wallet or your smokes”. I don’t know why he gave me a choice. I guess that was nice of him. I reached into my pocket to give him my cigarettes since I was trying to quit anyway. But then I stopped to wonder what would happen next…
He must’ve noticed my hesitation, because he tried to reach into my pocket for me. I moved out of the way of his hand.
For the sake of differentiating the characters in this story, and since I wasn’t on a first-name basis with my muggers, we’ll call this guy “The Nice One”. I could tell that he was still in high school because he was wearing a school uniform. I’m not sure about his two friends. The one watching their exit, or “Large Guy on Lookout”, isn’t much of a character in this story. But “Guy Who I Should Apparently Know” was the main antagonist, and he made his entrance at this point.
He said, “You want to die over a pack of smokes?”. In my head I thought, you want to kill for a pack of smokes. Hey, there’s a “Smoking Kills” disclaimer they ought to put on the packs.
I replied, “It’s not about the smokes. Give me my hoodie back,” as if that was a better cause. Let me pause to describe the hoodie, because it’s a bigger character in this story than Large Guy on Lookout. This hoodie was black with grey stripes and a hole in the back that you could stick your fattest finger through. It was my “bum hoodie”. We all have one.
Anyway, at this point I was shaking. There were two to deal with now, and this 2nd guy looked unstable. The Nice One had his hand in his pocket like he was ready to pull a knife out. He was bluffing badly though; I could see there was nothing there. I guess that’s why he’s The Nice One in this story.
“Do you know who I am??” asked Guy Who I Should Apparently Know.
I answered, “No, I don’t.” Really, I didn’t. Apparently I was in the presence of a celebrity. He must’ve made his fame with his stellar personality, because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t his looks.
Here’s where my memory gets fuzzy because Guy Who I Should Apparently Know (GWISAK to save time) decided to sucker punch me in my left eye. I was pretty disoriented, but not enough to try to return a punch against 3 guys in an empty field.
“Just give me back my hoodie. It’s a $20 hoodie from Bluenotes. You really want to steal that?” I asked them.
GWISAK responded with,”You’re really gonna die over a hoodie?” and another punch in the side of my head. This time the blow was cushioned by my hoodie that he had wrapped around his fist.
The Nice One and GWISAK started laughing, and GWISAK told the other two that they were leaving. GWISAK turned to me and said, “Watch yourself. I know you live around here and you have an easy to remember face”. I pointed out that I knew what high school The Nice One went to. The Nice One denied that he went to that high school. I asked why he was wearing the school’s uniform then. The Nice One denied it further, as if he just wore it for fun. After his poor knife bluff and crappy lying, I should’ve urged him to stay in school. He’d make a shitty career criminal.
They started walking away with my hoodie.
I could barely walk straight; being punched twice in the same eye does that to you. So, I did something stupid.
I followed them across the field.
I remember shouting, “Give my hoodie back,” progressively louder until I was yelling. GWISAK eventually got fed up and said, “Take your stupid hoodie back, you unintelligent person!” He obviously said something far less eloquent, but he threw the hoodie in my face.
I shouted after them as they walked away, “A $20 HOODIE? YOU GUYS ARE SO INCREDIBLY CHEAP!” I’ll admit that I maybe wasn’t that eloquent either.
I went home and saw that I’d have a black eye for a few days. And while those guys were stupid enough to try robbing me for a $20 hoodie, I realized that I almost got my ass kicked over the same.
I figure there should be a life lesson hidden in stories like this one.
So what’s the moral? Something about being stubborn? Maybe a more practical lesson like “would-be muggers get scared when you start following them and yelling at the top of your lungs”? You tell me.
I don’t know. But I haven’t really worn that hoodie since, and—now that I think about it— I’ve got no idea where it is.