You could say I live an exciting life. I would rather watch it on television.
My name is Bill King. A month after I moved to California I was sitting in a bar in San Francisco’s Mission District. At about 9:00 I decided to go back to the apartment of the friend I was staying with. When I left the bar I heard a man yelling obscene insults at two Hispanic women who had just left a restaurant. My parents raised me not to be that way. I thought he should not be that way either.
I walked over to talk to him. “Why are you yelling at those women?” I asked.
“This is our country. They don’t belong here.” By now I could tell that he was harmless, possibly homeless, drunk, and twice my age. “Everyone in this country who is not an Indian came from somewhere else, or their ancestors did.” I said. “Where did you come from?”
“I’m Portuguese,” he admitted. Recognizing the difficulty of his position he smiled, shook me on the shoulder, and said, “You’re all right kid.”
By now the women had had time to get into their car and leave. I smiled at the man and left.
Soon later I was thrown into an ally by two men who started beating me up. I thought I was being mugged until I noticed that they wore police uniforms.
I stared at their uniforms. “That’s right. We’re cops,” One of them said.
“Why are you doing this?”
“You were making abusive remarks to women and harassing winos.”
“I was not!”
He pushed me to the ground, and kicked me in the ribs. “You calling me a liar?”
The only thing I could say was, “No. I’m not resisting Officer.”
“Let me see your ID,” he commanded.
I gave him my wallet. He opened it. “Why did you come to California?” he asked.
“I was given a job here.”
He threw my wallet at me. “You better go home before you get hurt.” They snorted and left.
When I tried to get up I realized that something was terribly wrong with me. I could still walk. I walked slowly to the apartment of the friend I was staying with. It is dangerous to walk in a dangerous neighborhood after dark when you have been hurt. You are telling the muggers, “I can’t fight back. Mug me.”
When I got to my friend’s apartment I told him what happened. “There have been a lot of crimes in that area,” my friend explained. “You probably met the description of a criminal suspect. They heard the man yelling at the woman, and investigated. When they saw you talking to him they thought you had been yelling, and were trying to pick a fight with the man.”
“That makes sense,” I said.
“Now I am going to take you to an emergency room to see what they did to you.”
X-rays at the emergency room demonstrated that I had several broken ribs. I was told they would take a week to heal.
When my friend was driving me back to his apartment he said, “Let’s go to a police station and report this.”
“Report the police to the police?” I asked. “They took off their badges. There were no witnesses. Nothing will happen. I am new to California. You are the only person who knows me. I do not want to get the reputation of a cop hating trouble maker.”
When we were back in my friend’s apartment he told me, “I have to tell you that you did not get the job.”
“I thought everything was taken care of.”
“It was. I told you to lie about your psychiatric background.”
“When I came back from Iraq I had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I still have symptoms. So I went in for treatment.”
“That is what spooked them.”
“Are they allowed to deny me a job because of that?”
“No, but they did. They can say you lacked experience for the job.”
“I came across the country for that job.”
“I know, my friend said. “Until you can find a better job I suggest you work for the guard agency I did. They like to hire military veterans. They may promote you. They won’t care about your PTSD. They hire people with felony convictions.”
I got the guard job. Because guards do not get paid much I had to move to a dangerous neighborhood in one of the most dangerous cities in the United States: Oakland.
I worked the swing shift, from 4:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. I do not have a car, so I walked along streets where people get mugged, robbed at gunpoint, and sometimes killed.
Walking there in the afternoon is not so bad. Walking back after midnight is a real adventure. Sometimes I would like some boredom.
Two weeks ago I was at my guard site in a warehouse at 9:00 pm. Someone started pounding on the door. When I opened the door I saw a beautiful young woman who was half naked. “They tried to rape me!” she shouted. Let me in.”
I did and looked for something for her to drape around herself. I was able to quickly find a blanket, which I gave her.
Before I could call the police I heard, “Hey look! They got a nigger guarding the chicks. What’s the matter, nigger. You want all that white stuff for yourself?”
I looked up and saw two white thugs in their early twenties. The other one said, “Hey man, we got no argument with you. We’re just two white guys who haven’t had any for awhile.”
I looked behind me, and saw the girl. “Do you want to stay around and congratulate the winner?” I shouted. “Get out of here. Run!”
She ran back into the warehouse.
Those perps were about to learn that I was an above average security guard. I had taken karate lessons in high school, Tang Soo Do to be exact. That’s Korean Karate. As much as possible I kept up my training when I was in the Army. What I knew saved my life once in Iraq. I still took lessons at a local studio. I had also written a few articles for Black Belt Magazine.
The garbage in front of me did not know that. When they rushed me, I tried to plant a left side kick into the abdomen of the one in front. It fell short. He pushed it to my right. “Hey look” he sneered. “We got us a karate expert.”
I told you I was a karate student. I did not tell you I was a karate expert.
He spun me around, and grabbed my arms. The other one began to punch me in the face. I was aware of the punches without really feeling them. Adrenalin dulls pain. With my left foot I pushed him away. With my right foot I snap kicked him in the solar plexus. That took the fight out of him.
I pushed my right elbow into the stomach of the one holding me. He let go, and doubled up. I turned around, and planted a right reverse punch into his jaw. Then I hit him with my left fist. He fell back, unconscious.
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