Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Bum Shanker"

Through my high school and teenage years I thought I was sneaky enough that nobody knew the fact that I was homeless. I was sleeping in parks, and showering in my high school locker room.

Yet somehow I earned an "edge" that gave me the reputation of being a bitch fighter.

Although it's true that I did have to use violence once or twice to get out of some sticky situations, I'd always thought I hid that part of my life from my peers completely.

For instance, I had told no one of the time that I stabbed a homeless man after he tried assaulting me in the dark wood trails of Fullerton.

The man was following me along the running trails as I was walking home from a friends house at a very late hour of night. I had my cell phone open and ready to dial emergency in my left hand pocket, and a switchblade open in my right hand pocket. I heard him following me, but since some people go running or biking on the trails at night I didn't think much of it right away. I continued to walk faster and see how this would effect the stranger behind me. My steps quickened, but so did his. I could hear him closing in and I gripped my blade and phone tighter. My arm was grabbed by the shoulder which caused me to spin around and be pushed against a tree.

The stench coming off of this man was overwhelming as he tried pulling me into his arms. I knew I had to act quick. They had always taught us in school that you should never move to a second location with a stranger, the chances of being found weren't very likely. He pulled me in and tried tugging at my clothes as if trying to rip them. I didn't know what this man had in mind for me so without hesitating I took my blade and stuck it in his side. It was a short 3 inch blade but I knew it wasn't meant to kill, but to injure and then RUN.

As he fell to the ground, I didn't think twice, and ran. I ran faster then I thought I could especially with my backpack full of books bouncing on the small of my back. I ran until I saw the lights of a nearby gas station and continued to pump my legs until I was under the bright lights above the gas pumps. I ran to the buckets of water that the gas stations provided for you to clean your windshields with. I dunked my hands in because the weight of the small amount of blood that was on my hands was making me sick. I rinsed and took deep breaths as I tried to calm down. I took out a cigarette that a girlfriend had stolen from her mom, to give to me. I lit it and sat in the grass at the station waiting to see if I could see the man I had injured.

I saw nothing. As I finished my cigarette I started worrying. Should I call 9-1-1? What if he was dead? I decided to call my friend who was the son of the captain of the police department to see if I could get some advice. Luckily the Captain answered and I told him of what I had done. He was soft spoken and calm as he advised me to wait for him to arrive. He came with a patrol car and his partner. I explained once more and the partner went to investigate the man. Since he had run away I was at no fault. The man knew he was in the wrong and probably ran.

I had never told anyone this story until a few years ago. Now it has somehow gotten me mocked in my circle of friends. I am now known as the "bum shanker" and by other silly names. They would joke all the time about this incident.

I am not proud of what I did in any way. I was scared shit-less and did what I thought needed to be done. Others may find this story funny or comical but I find it scary and frightening. I wonder if I will ever live this story down.
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