Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Help Is On The Way

I bore witness to a conflict and it's worth recounting.

A black SUV with fancy wheels cut off a bike delivery guy on 34th street and 5th avenue. A light gray rain was falling—the city was monumental and indifferent. The bike delivery guy, clad in a stained apron and baseball cap, slapped the window of the SUV with his hand to keep from being run over, and the SUV came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the intersection. The driver got out shouting, "Why the fuck you hit my car?" The way he said "hit" connoted collision, but there was in fact no damage. The two men pivoted around an invisible center, widening their stances and squaring off. After an anxious moment, the driver threw a quick punch and connected with the delivery guy's jaw. The delivery guy reared back with his bike lock and shouted, "Bendeho!" but did not strike. A girl emerged from the SUV, and the driver addressed her without taking his eyes off the biker, "Nah baby, get back in, get back in, I got this. Pull the car over to the side. Get back in." She did just that. A small crowd had gathered on the sidewalk, mindless of the increasing downpour. 

The driver cornered the delivery guy against a street sign, pushing him and demanding money. "You hit my car. I want my money. Gimme two hundred for the car right now. I want my money." The delivery guy tried to mount his bike, but his luck was out—the chain was off and he would have to assume a vulnerable position to perform the simple repairs necessary to get away. He gestured at the flashing bevy of NYPD squad cars parked in the bus lane in front of the Empire State Building, only half a block away. The driver spoke again, his tone both indignant and mock-surprised, "Oh you want them? Fine. You hit my car. You fucked up today. Oh no, you ain't goin' nowhere. I'll wait here all day. You fucked up today."

The driver loped in slow, determined circles around the biker, who was somehow completley beleagured by just one man. The biker's cheeks were flushed and strands of straight wet black hair stuck to his forehead. The crowd grew bored and dispersed. 

Thirty yards away the police sat in their idling cruisers, smiling and fogging the windows, protecting a very large building.

No comments:

Post a Comment