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File it: Dutifully I hand over my driver's license to the police officer. He's about half my age, crew cut, young, built. Decatur PD in the white squad car, sirens off. The officer jots down in a pad the vital statistics off my card -Name, DOB, SS#. He glances up at me with come hither eyes. "You got a phone number?" he asks as if we just met over bumps in a men's room shitter. So I give him a real one unlike I do the cigarette reps at the Admiral's Grave. He jots it down and nods at some quiet intuition that tells him I'm reporting before him on the level.

"Alright," he says flipping the pad closed, " tell me what happened here."

I got, like, four drinks in me, at least, as I'm here at Kid Hemingway's birthday gathering at Plato's Tavern and due to a terrible, terrible social awkwardness need at least that many to be halfway... sociable. I look at the officer, I hope I don't still smell like the bowl I smoked to keep back the crowd jitters, but remembering I smoked said bowl in naught but my boxers proceed with my side of the story confidently.

So I'm in front of Plato's Tavern having a cigarette with NPR Mike and this dude I just met, one of Kid Hemingway's buddy's from back in the day. Just then this car pulls into parking lot, Mike K hops out of it and shouts about how this mother-fucker in a white t-shirt and a backpack just mugged him at knife point and that he's standing right there like nothing happened.

Mike K points towards what appears to be a conifer tree at the edge of a driveway to an apartment complex maybe.

What happens next happened without thought, at least not a kind narrated by words.

What happens next is that I start walking over towards the conifer, barking out for someone to grab Kid Hemingway and Teddy Bear for back up. When I get a few yards away I see this skinny kid in a baseball hat dart from behind the conifer (or whatever kinda tree it was) . He's got a white t-shirt on and a small sack of some sort slung over his shoulder. He bolts with zero hesitation.

And I... because of the alcohol, because of the weed, because of some instinct of who I was before I was soft and old... take right off after him, shouting in my doorman voice - "Hey Mother-Fucker!"

You think it'd be all a blur, right? But no. Everything is clear, the cars, the windows, the street lamps, and then there's the white shirt in the dark with an impulse launching you after it.

I didn't know what I'd do when I caught that white shirt, only that I'd hit with maximum velocity and 243 pounds of chunk bravado and I'd swing and I'd scream and that I was alive, alive and unafraid.

Anyway, so dig, the kid is lean, he's got closer to thirty than twenty years on me, and he's laying down some serious momentum.

Don't care. Go.

He takes a corner, I slow down enough not to ram a fence and 90 degree down an alley way sandwiched between a wall and a chain link fence. This fucking citizen pulls up behind it in a pickup truck, hops out of it, yells some shit about what I think I'm doing tearing ass by his property in the middle of the night. I yell back that the mother-fucker in the white shirt just mugged my friend with a knife.

The white shirt hits a wood board ten feet high and pops up it with some sort of ninja parkour bullshit. Behind the man is out of his pickup truck and running after the kid alongside me from the other side of the chain link fence. I hit the wood board wall, leap, fingers miss the board by a cunt hair (or cock hair all things being equal) and slide down the wall off a slap. Then I see it. There was a broken chunk of wall that he must've used to kick off of and I'm ready to give it a shot when...

"Mosca!" Kid Hemingway shouts with a voice that's pure Steve Rogers.

Boot camp muscle memory triggers a shut down and I abandon pursuit.

I turn to him, dazed, excited, heart pounding, words hitting tongue with a weird sort of alien quaintness - "Let's go."

"No." Kid Hemingway says shaking his head and he talks me down from the adrenalin rush, leads me back out of the alley where Teddy Bear is approaching cautious. I don't know, I don't think I was laughing, but I have this weird post roller coaster feeling and I'm talking but I don't even know if I'm talking any sense, hell, I don't know if I was talking any sense before I gave chase, but there's... everyone, the whole Birthday Party and I don't mean Nick Cave.

I don't know what I was thinking, even know some two hours after the fact. If, by some fluke, I wasn't some old fart who couldn't even hop a wall, the fact is I probably would've gotten my ass stabbed, if not straight up beat down. But, and I know this, beyond the fear that haunts me, I would've landed a few, maybe not many, but enough to let him know it wasn't easy, it wasn't free, that I was alive and even if I only got one punch in it was better than being what I've been for far too long, the kind of man who stands there and does nothing.

"At least I fucking tried," teenage me replays the Ian MacKaye imprinted in my skull, "what the fuck have you done?"

It was stupid. An old man move, totally. But... that instinct. It fucks me up, man, it really does, it fucks me up and I've been clean of the instinct since I quit the club scene. But when you taste it, even just quickly, you become free of all that bullshit that gets cluttered up in your head. All that shit putting you down, putting other people down, the lonely resentment, the meek weasel fear. All of it gone. You want to know why folks put white shit up their nose or drink well past 'happy'. To be there. Even if for a few minutes. Even if it costs you your friendships, your job, your love.

So now, luckier than I deserve, I give to the cop what I'm giving you and right now that instinct in my head is telling me that it's still not too late to take a cab to some last call and find a skinny guy and a thick gal to fuck at the same time, but...

... that's not me talking, just the alcohol and the nerves in need of another bowl.

Ah, fuck it, just another story to tell, right?


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