Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bashing the Bishop

When the weather is decent, I sometimes like to walk around my town and the neighboring areas. I like to explore the little side streets that I'd otherwise never have a reason to drive down, and I need any excuse I can to get some sun and exercise. One Sunday afternoon several years ago, my wife was working and I had a few hours to kill before I had to pick her up, so I went hiking and ended up not far from Brandeis University, at a street called Norumbega Road. I sort of knew where it went, and decided to follow it and make a loop back to my house, rather than the more boring option of turning back and retracing my steps. It's a little more developed today, but at the time Norumbega Road was reasonably isolated, winding through some woods along the Charles River. It's also a horrible road for walking, as it has no sidewalks and guardrails on both sides prevent you from walking on the shoulder, so you're pretty much in the road with the occasional car whizzing past you.

When I got to the other end of the road, I realized that my loop was going to be way farther and take way longer than I intended, so I decided to turn around and retrace my steps after all. Just as I was starting back, new-ish, beige, Mercedes SL with New York tags passes in the same direction I'm heading, swings wide around me and disappears around the corner. As I round the corner, there's the Mercedes up ahead, idling by the side of the road. Immediately, I know that no good can come of this. I briefly consider turning around again and beating a retreat, but the thought of trying to explain to my wife that I'm late picking her up because I was afraid of a little beige Mercedes makes me keep walking.

As I approach the car, it occurs to me that I have no cell phone, and nobody on earth knows where I am. If something happens, I'll be nothing more than a missing persons report, filed away in a police station somewhere. I keep walking anyway, ready to run, or fight, or just fall over and play dead as the situation warrants. As I pass the driver's side, I peek out of the corner of my eye, avoiding eye contact at all cost. I see an older, white-haired guy, and he seems to be fiddling with a manual gearshift. Then my brain accepts the reality of what I'm seeing: he's got his erect penis in his right hand, just bashing the bishop for all it's worth. I just shake my head and keep on moving.
I make it almost all the way back to the beginning of the road uneventfully, except for a light rain starting up, because that was just the kind of day I was having. Then I hear a car, and turn to see the Mercedes coming down the road. All I can think is, "Now what?" He passes me, makes a U-turn at the intersection, and pulls over, facing me on the opposite side of the road, maybe 50 yards away. I can't really see much in the car from the glare on the windows, but I just keep on walking and staring him down. I feel like if I falter or show any fear, I'm a goner. I was just about to try pulling my iPod Touch out of my pocket and pretending to make a call on it, when he pulls out and takes off back the way he came, never to be seen again.

I wish I'd had a cell with me, or a camera, or had at least thought to remember his tag number. As it was, I didn't bother calling the cops. It was too long before I was able to get to a phone, and I didn't have any information more specific than an old guy in a Mercedes with out-of-state tags. Needless to say, I tend to stick to more populated areas when I walk these days.

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