This is one of those stories that you have to prefix with “Everyone is okay. Well, Joaquin has a black eye. But he's been putting frozen blueberries on it, and I think he's alright.”
It's late on Thursday, though it's technically early on Friday. I've got Friday off, and it's one of the last days that Kelsey
's in town, so we've got a little crowd together-- five of us, buddies from high school. Kelsey, Devin, Joaquin, Zach, and me.
We've just left IHOP and are headed for “The Spot”, a place Devin and Joaquin know of in the foothills. It's one of those little cul-de-sacs in the foothills, as far into the Northeast Heights as it gets. It's a long way to get there, and the banter is interesting and comfortable. It's been a Good Night, so far, and this is a group of people who actually gets how in love I am with Albuquerque, so they're the perfect bunch ot drive out and see city lights with.
We eventually get to The Spot. It's one of the most beautiful spots I've been at night for looking at the city.
I get out to take a walk, get some air-- we've been driving a while, and I'm feeling a bit sick. The rest of the car follows me. There's another car there, but we've assumed that they're just having sex. It'd be a good place for that.
The people from the other car get out, though. They're sort of “gangsta” dressed, but so is half the city. They ask us if we've got any cigarettes, and when we say no, they ask for money.
“I need three bucks for gas,” one of them says. When we continue to insist we don't have any money, they accuse us: “You've got a house out here, and you don't have any money?”
Then the following things happen. I don't remember the order they happened in.
- One of them jokingly says that they're gonna take the car. “Go ahead,” Joaquin says. It's his car, but he's got the keys in his pocket.
- One of them starts yelling at Zach about respect. This one's dialogue is interspirced with chants of “NORTH SIDE”. Zach says he knows plenty about respect.
- One of them asks Joaquin if he thinks he's stupid. Joaquin responds that, well, he's acting pretty stupid.
- Zach gives one of them a dollar.
- I walk away from the group, figuring I'll see if I can get the license plate on their car. I'm followed by one of them. He tells me to go back to the group, threatens to hit me, and spits in my face.
- Two of them (one male, one female) throw Joaquin against the car and hit him. He gets out of this with a bruise on his eye and a couple of cups. The female hit better than the dude, he says later. I yell at them to get off of him, stepping forward, but I know there's not much I can do.
- I get my phone out, to take their pictures, but it's too dark to do so.
- Devin and Zach both get hit.
We get in the car, planning to leave. They start kicking the side of it. We drive away as fast as we can, but after a couple of blocks, they catch up to us. I call the cops. They drive behind us, then pull up next to us, trying to drive us off the road. They pull in front of us and stop. The girl that hit Joaquin in the face gets out, standing in front of us.
She gets back in before he had to make the decision whether or not to hit her.
I'm talking to the dispatcher. They tell us to stop somewhere and wait for the police to come, so we do.
The police tell us there's nothing they can do. If they didn't see it, it didn't happen. We tell them we just wanted to report it in case they hear anything else about these guys tonight. They don't even ask for our full names or numbers in case of follow-ups. I guess that was pretty unlikely.
We head back for my apartment for truffles and some Decemberists
, catching our breaths. I don't have any ice, so I give Joaquin some frozen blueberries for his eye. We talk 'till four in the morning, trying to make sense of the whole story.