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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Future Inmates of America Convention

You have interactions when you commute by bike.  I suspect this is true even if you're not a gregarious, social sort of person.

Me, on the other hand, yikes.  I left work on time with the full intention of coming straight home, catching up on my blog (yes, Anonymous, more 'foodie' posts will come; I still cook a lot but I don't get around to photographing and documenting it here lately—I want to, though).  Oh, and get to bed by, oh about eighteen minutes ago.

That was before I stopped at Frizz and talked to M who's learning Japanese and Dr. G. who says I need a more beat up bike to play Frizz on.  But I only stayed for one beer because, like I say, I wanted to get straight home.  Plus, I'd forgot my phone charger when I left for work and the battery was low enough I had powered the phone clear off just in case I needed to make an outgoing call at some point.

Then, I stopped and took pictures and talked to the folks at the Switzer Community Garden, which I pass regularly but never when anyone is around.  Marcella (sp?) and company were so hospitable and engaging, it turned into a bit of a photo-shoot and interview (a separate post, I'm sure).

Descending Beardsley, I turned my phone back on just in case, and sure enough, my ex tried to call me about a seizure Mo had.  And my wife had texted me about testing the trash boat (another post, that, too).

While I was on the phone, I spotted some tags I'd seen but not shot, and a couple I hadn't ever noticed before and the next thing I knew, Alice (with me in the role of Alice) was down another hole.

After I'd shot some tags and gotten a lot of burrs on my socks and shoes, I emerged and commenced to go 'straight' home.  Then, on the bridge I got married on, I passed a horde of kids.  I'd guess their ages from seven or so to twelve or thirteen.  BMX bikes.  Seven kids and six bikes, I think, with one kid riding the back pegs and holding the shoulders of a rider.

I rang my bell in greeting as I rode past them, the squirts heading over the river into the West Bottoms.

Then I ran into a cable.  I saw it about the time I hit it, and it didn't really catch me, but they'd either cut the cables or found one already broken and strung it across the trail like a garrote.

If I'd been riding downhill in the dark, with minimal or no lights (as many do on this bridge), it could have been pretty ugly.

I turned around and the kids were high-tailing it off on the trail towards James.  I decided, okay, this is on.

I think they imagined they could out run me with their tiny wheels and one gear, but besides the fact they outnumbered their mounts, I'm on a 700c wheeled bike with 24 speeds and I was pissed off.

When I got close to the first one, he called out, "Something fell off your bike."  It wasn't true, but he was caught and knew it.

I said, "Something's about to fall off your bike: YOU!"

"I didn't do it!" he said.  "It was them!"

Bullshit, of course, but by then I was closing on the next kid who said he didn't do it.  These were young kids.  And a couple of them looked slightly terrified.  The oldest one, though, he was too cool for school, and I'll bet he's not even in his teens yet.  He figured I had too much to lose to hit him (unfortunately true), and when I asked him if his parents would like to defend him on this one he told me his parents were in Mexico.

I'm not one of those anti-immigrant types, but you can deport his punk any second as far as I'm concerned.  He has prison-bound written all over him, has no fear of anything, and is the primary bad influence, as far as I can tell, on these other kids who seemed decent enough once I actually got to talk to them about how dangerous what they did potentially was.  They're all squirrelly and unsupervised, but take that oldest kid out of the picture and the others might have something to offer the world.


I spoke too soon. The following evening, I passed one of the regulars I see at the James Street food drop, who told me about how he was flying down the bridge in the dark on his bike when all of a sudden...

It fucked him up pretty good, as I told those useless, piece of shit children, it could. I realized that those same punks had to have gone back after my encounter with them and strung the same line up again. And this time, they tied it tight.

I told the guy they got, he has permission as far as I'm concerned, to beat any kid on a BMX he finds in a two mile radius of that bridge. Beat them, drown them in the river, throw them off the bridge, whatever. The only thing they have to offer the world is bad gang tags, destructive and dangerous vandalism, and fathering more human detritus when they catch up to the female version of themselves. I know, it's not what Jesus would say, but it's true.

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