Over the years I’ve gotten the reputation as being a magnet for crazy people. A crazy whisperer, if you will. Almost every time I’d go out with my friend Dave Diamond we’d be accosted by someone that may or may not be an escapee from a local asylum. It would always be a middle-aged to older white male. Topics would vary, from riots in Ferguson to steam-engines during World War II. We’d be sitting there and some guy would come up to us and just start a lecture. There would never be a pause in the conversation so that either of us could talk just this lecture with no way out.
In the beginning, I’d just let them talk. I figured just because they were different or maybe crazy didn’t mean they weren’t lonely. And I did this for the first dozen or so times. Then after a while, I felt like I was being held hostage. Another thing, I didn’t believe it was just me that they were trying to hold hostage. Since it was Dave and me together, I figured it was the combination of us hanging out that attracted the insanity gene.
Then one night I ran to the market to get some milk for the boy and just as I get to the aisle with the dairy products, there he was. A guy that looked like the bearded man from the Oak Ridge Boys. He was camped out in front of the milk with his cart. He starts waving me over, “Hey, come here. They’re having a great sale on milk.”
It really clicked. They are out there waiting for me. I’d never seen this guy before, but he felt that I was coming. It was late and I was tired and I didn’t want to be held captive in a conversation that I couldn’t break out of. So, I said, “Not today, motherfucker.” And I sped down another aisle. Circled the entire market and did a little peek down the corner and he was gone. Fuck.
So, I called Dave from the market and said, “You know how we joke about crazy people finding me? Well, it’s not a joke. They’re here in the market waiting for me.” He laughed.
Today we agreed to meet for lunch at about 12:15 or so. As we left my place and drove down the block there was a guy laying in the middle of the street, face down with his fingers laced behind his head. The cop arrest style. We pulled up to him and he didn’t flinch. Either he didn’t hear us or the “arrest” is so intense he can’t break concentration.
We backed-up and Dave said he was going to call the cops before he gets hurt or possibly hurts someone.
Dave pulled up the number for Devonshire Division, called and got placed on hold. Two gardeners pulled up and tried to talk to the guy in the street. He got very aggro and was yelling something about having “guns aimed” at him. He yelled something else and the gardeners threw their hands up and started backing away slowly. The guy went back face down on the street.
An operator finally answered Dave’s call. He starts to say, “There’s a man lying in the street.” Then I hear Dave yell. “Holy fuck!” I’m looking all around because I don’t see a thing, then Dave tells the operator a man has just been run over.
I look out the back window of the truck and sure enough, a guy in a black Honda or Toyota ran over the guy and only his legs are sticking out. The guy backs up and the street guy gets up and runs for the sidewalk, yelling, “I didn’t deserve that.”
I don’t know how the guy didn’t see him in the street. At first, it appeared the guy was going to flee. I took out my camera to snap a picture of his license plate just in case. He backed up, then parked.
An ambulance and fire truck raced by. Passed us. I was waving them down; they did a U-turn and came back. By the time I made it over to Dave and the street guy, it sunk in how bad this guy got messed up. His head was shaved so you could see a six to eight-inch wound on the back of his head, it was bleeding. There were a few wounds on his face. His shirt was torn to shreds on the back with a tire print and blood stains all over. How he was standing was beyond me.
The chief paramedic asked Dave and me if we knew the guy, we said no. Then he told us to take off and “give the guy some privacy.”
I figured they’d want us to stick around, considering no one else had seen the whole incident, from lying in the street to being under a car. We slowly walked away. The medics put on gloves and started to check him out. The street guy was completely amped and I was afraid he’d try to run away before being checked.
Another lunch time experience.