This story actually happened about 6 years ago. My sincerest apologies for the length of this story, as I am verbose and often include too many details. But I think you all might enjoy this.
It was a sunny warm Sunday and I had been hunting for the recently released G1 Android phone on Craigslist. After emailing back and forth a few times, we arrived at a great price for not one but 2 phones! So, we arranged to meet at an apartment complex about 30 minutes away. I gathered my cash and drove to the location.
I was stupid and young at the time, and did not comprehend how dangerous the part of town I was heading into was. But, I felt relatively safe upon arrival since it was a pretty well populated apartment complex and there were lots of people around in broad daylight. I was standing on the sidewalk in between the parking lot and the pool area, where a bunch of kids were playing, swimming, shooting each other with water guns, etc. Parents were all around watching. Even so, I had folded up all the money and stuffed it in an almost empty pack of cigarettes. I was wearing jeans, a t shirt, a gray hoodie with two pockets on the front, flip flops, and glasses. I put the cigarette money pack in my left hoodie pocket and I had a switchblade in my right hand in the other pocket. (Hey, it seemed safe enough, but I was being cautious- or so I thought.)
So, the seller comes out, shes a 20 something girl, and shows me the phone. I have a look, agree to the purchase, and she says she needs to go back up to the apartment to get the other phone and cables. She asks me to come up to the room with her, and I decline (haha! I am so smart!) and respond, "That's ok, I'll wait here." She comes back down another time to apologize that its taking so long, and goes back up to get the rest of the stuff. I'm standing around, happy as can be, when she comes back again and starts talking. I can't even remember what she said because this is when shit got real. Like, real real. As in time slowed down and I entered an alternate reality where this was happening to someone else and not me.
She's blabbing about something and suddenly I feel wetness on the right side of my face. I sort of laugh, thinking one of the many children has got me with their water pistol! Ho ho! Well played, little sir! Then I notice that the area, once full of playing children, was completely empty. Not a soul to be seen. My brow furrows as my synapses fire at previously inexperienced speeds to try and orient myself. I notice that the wetness feels oily. My eyes go back to the girl, and I notice that she has stopped talking. Then she bolts. I look to my right, the direction of the blast, and see a skinny man, crouched very low, scuttle around a parked car. Confusion intensifies. Then I see a shadow to my left.
I turn just in time to catch a glimpse of a very large man charging at me, who immediately lands a Mayweather magnitude right hook on my left temple. I go down. Hard. My sandals fly off, my glasses are ejected, and my arms go flailing as I hit the rough asphalt of the parking lot.
It is at this point that I realize that the wetness was mace, or pepper spray, or whatever you want to call it. It drips into my eyes, my mouth, my nose, its all over my hands, and its pretty much all over my face now. The burning begins, the scorching searing pain of Mount Doom tearing at my flesh and mucous membranes. The pain is over whelming. I am trembling with adrenaline, even as I write this, 6 years later.
No sooner than I stop skidding on the asphalt does my large assailant reappear, now kicking me in the ribs, and punching me mercilessly, left right left right left right. He's screaming, "GIVE ME THE MONEY! GIVE ME THE MONEY BITCH." I yelp like a little girl, desperate for any intervention or even acknowledgement of what is happening. I remember my mother always telling me that in her rape defense courses they taught her to yell "FIRE" and not "RAPE" as people are more likely to come to your aid. So, naturally, I yelled everything.
"FIRE! RAPE! HELP! STOP! NO! FIRE AGAIN!" but it was in vain. I am no greedy person, and my life was not worth whatever money I had brought, and so I quickly decide to offer it up. But when I reached into the pocket to get the cigarette pack with the money in it, I found nothing but lint. Struggling to squint through the searing pain, my eyes darted around, but I couldn't find it, as I was doubly blind without my glasses. "I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY!" I began to yell, between the blows. But he was not having it. "I KNOW YOU HAVE MONEY," he retorted. And so I desperately rolled over and said, "TAKE MY WALLET I DONT HAVE IT JUST TAKE IT."
And take it he did. He rifled through my left jeans pocket and took my shitty flip phone, and then grabbed the back pocket of my jeans, which contained my wallet, and ripped the entire pocket off my jeans. This ripped a huge flap out of the jeans, almost all the way down the leg, exposing my nearly bare ass as I curled into the fetal position on the ground. But the blows did not cease.
Rolled over onto my right side as I was, my right hand found its way into my right hoodie pocket. My hand gripped tight around the switchblade. I didn't even think twice about what I was about to do, and in retrospect it could have ended a lot worse. I rolled back to my left, and as my arm came out from under me I flipped the knife open and began waving and jabbing and tearing the space immediately around me into little ribbons. I was blind, so my eyes were jammed shut, which meant I had no direction in my attack. I resorted to attempting to appear as insane as possible, and began shouting like a mad person. Obscenities, sounds, animal noises, anything. And it worked.
All I remember hearing was "oh shit" and then the hurried footsteps of that asshole running away. I stopped my targetless attack, and drug myself to my hands and knees. I had to get out of there. I found my glasses, cracked and scratched, close by. I struggled to get them on and feebly collected my keys and one flip flop when I looked up and saw it: about a foot under the back of my parked car laid the cigarette case containing the object of the assault. Somehow, the irony of the situation gave me strength, and I collected my money. I stood up and shouted, angry with the world. "FUCK YOU!! FUCK YOU ALL!" and jumped in the car. I had no phone, and obviously nobody was going to help me, so I got the fuck out of there.
I drove. A few miles. Nearly blind. As I sat at a stop light, shaking, my mind began to assemble the facts. This was a setup. There were 3 accomplices. I was the victim of a Craigslist scam. Now, I should mention at this point that I am an attorney, and was at the time a law student. My desire for justice is a driving force in my life, and injustice infuriates me beyond my ability to express myself. I gripped the steering wheel tighter, white knuckled, and when the light changed I floored it.
I screeched into a tiny gas station with two pumps and about 30 square feet of interior space. I bolted inside and surveyed the store. Most of it was a large glass box where the attendant would sit, sheltered from the pieces of shit that passed for people around here. My ass was exposed. I had tears streaming down my face, which was red as a tomato, and I was mad. Really fucking mad.
A little old asian lady was sitting in the glass box, and we locked eyes. She was using a cordless phone. I locked onto that phone like a fucking fighter jet, and demanded, loudly, "GIVE ME YOUR PHONE." She pointed outside and said, "Use payphone." I had zero fucks remaining to give, and so I insisted. "LADY, I AM NOT FUCKING AROUND. THAT PHONE. YOUR PHONE. GIVE IT TO ME." She stared at me blankly, and slid it through the little window on the counter. I jabbed 911 and began shouting at the phone as soon as I heard a response. Location. Squad car. Name. Mugging. Battery. Now. I hung up.
Not knowing that milk and oil are the best treatment for pepper spray, I walked to the soda vending machine. I pulled the plastic wrapper from a sleeve of large cups, stuck it in the ice dispenser, and filled the bag. I tossed the phone on the counter, thanked the nice lady for her help, and went outside to wait for the cops.
As I sat there icing my face, they pulled up. I told them what happened, and they mumbled something into their radios. They calmed me down a bit, then put me in the squad car and drove back to the scene. I collected my missing flip flop and we looked for my phone but didnt see it. Back in the squad car, and they drove me next door to a seedy motel. As we pulled in, I saw the small parking lot filled with cop cars, dogs, and officers everywhere. I got out, and retrieved my last crumpled cigarette from my cigarette-wallet. I asked a homeless man sitting on the curb for a light, and stood there, ass to the wind, smoking my cigarette of victory as the cops paraded my 3 assailants out of a second story room onto the balcony of the motel.
I walked up the steps, looked them each in the eye, and provided affirmative ID to the officers, with some flair. "do you recognize this person?" "yes. thats the asshole that pepper sprayed me." "do you recognize this person?" "Yes. thats the piece of shit that beat on me." " Do you recognize this person?" "Yes. thats the cunt that set me up." This got a laugh from the cops, as they snickered and led them downstairs.
They took me to the precinct to finish up the report, document the craigslist post, etc. I borrowed a cell phone and called my mom (i was staying with them over the summer) and lied, telling her I ran into my friend and was hanging out with him but would be home soon. They had freaked out and were calling police stations to file a missing person's report at this point since I wasnt answering my phone. My wallet was returned to me, soggy, in a paper bag, since they had tried to flush it. I added insult to injury when I used the bathroom, thinking I had washed all the pepper spray off my hands. Wrong. My dick began to sting but by this point it was the least of my worries. They took me back to my car, I threw on some shorts I had in there, and went home to fill my family in. They were hysterical, but my dad thanked me for lying to my mom until I was there tell her in person.
The next day my boss berated me for showing up a few minutes late. I told him the story, showed him my shiner, and he gave me a pass, but I would later reflect on that morning as the first of many instances in which he treated me like crap. I grew to hate him even more than my attackers. In the end, they all went to jail for several years. The last of them just ended their probation this month. In the mean time I finished law school, got engaged, paid off half my student loans, and made something of myself. Fuck those guys.