Why Call the Police When You’ve Got A Black Belt?
My coworker, Randy, is crazy, and by “crazy” I mean he’s a total spaz who shouldn’t be allowed out in public without supervision. He’s the friend you can’t take anywhere, but you do because you know he’ll make a scene.
Randy is really just a mellow guy with a short fuse; not a temper, really, but a spaz who becomes overly-animated and passionate about small things, like a newsstory about parents leaving their kids alone for too long at department stores or state fairs, or when he wonders why atheists talk about God so much.
A group of us trekked like hobbits across an empty field to a nearby semi-upscale-shopping-center-plaza thing.
The plaza has your usual suspects of commercial entities: some Americanized-Asian food restaurant named with some combination of “China” or “Panda,” and “Wok”; a bookstore, some authorized cell phone dealer, a martial arts studio, and the offices of a personal injury attorney who’s almost big enough to be on the cover of the yellow pages.
And then there’s a stand-alone Starbucks which supplies Randy’s crazy fuel. I hate coffee, but lemon pound cakes and vanilla-syrupy Earl Grey lattes weren’t going to eat and drink themselves.
Beyond Starbucks, there was a subsiding commotion outside of a martial arts studio. It’s one of those places for kids who’d otherwise be home alone for ninety minutes between leaving school and a parent being home.
Otherwise, they’d be playing video games in place of studying. Instead, they’re learning self-confidence: how to punch and kick each other in the teeth.
There were two police cars and several guys in street clothes, one of them in handcuffs. The Law & Order sound effect going off in his mind, Randy wanted to go check out what was going down, because there was serious spaz potential in a setting like this.
Few things get Randy’s attention as easily as a small group of people congregating for reasons unknown to him. He’s the guy who’d walk up to strangers huddled together on the street, possibly exchanging illicit substances, like “Hey, what’s everyone looking at?”
He hadn’t spazzed about anything in the time it took us to walk to Starbucks and ponder why such a small drink is called “grande.”
It was time.
One of the two female police offers looked at Randy like he had the makings of trouble, while the rest of us trailed him, half-heartedly.
I was actually thinking “We’re in a recession, and I spent HOW MUCH ON TEA”? But before I could say “What happens to the Euro if Greece defaults,” Randy was in the thick of things, getting the four-one-one on the situation.
Minutes earlier, it seems, some guy had tried to rob the martial arts studio. At the moment, he didn’t look so tough in handcuffs, but I wasn’t about to say so.
“So, what’s going on, over here?”
“Sir, you need to get out of here before we have to…”
“Was there a robbery?”
“Sir, please leave, or else I’m going to…”
And that’s when Randy flipped out like a Russian gymnast.
“Why are the police here? You mean some dude came into a karate place, and you called the police? What’s the point of having a black belt, then?!”
That awkward moment when the crazy guy suddenly made a lot of sense.
You can imagine the how odd it was for all of us – even the suspect – to look around at each other, until that moment when we realized we were all wondering the same thing.
But that’s when the chicks with nightsticks started glaring at us like a pair of mean substitute teachers, and I hadn’t planned on suffering police brutality that day. Both officers looked directly at me like I was responsible for… something… but I just flashed them the “Hey, he’s not mine” look that I’ll use when my children act up.
My mother did her job rearing me, so I sensed the we-mean-business tone from Cagney and Lacy, and decided that we should, indeed, get away very, very quickly.