Again the Instincts

I was coming home on a date and knew something bad was going to come down. Nobody had done anything. Nobody had said anything. But I saw three of them, preparing to get off the bus with us.

One got off in front of me, threw himself down on the ground, and then rose screaming that I had pushed him. A fight ensued. They were all trying to attack me. As the big guy got ready to throw a punch, the other two smaller guys got ready, too, in a half-hearted way. I had been boxing at the time–so I just kept stepping to the left and counter-punching each time the big guy threw a jab. As long as he didn’t land a punch and stagger me, these other two wouldn’t do anything. They were weasels.

Ultimately the big guy – who must have been on coke or something – got frustrated and ran off screaming to harass somebody else.

We left, getting to the corner of Haight and Ashbury under the light, when I heard him coming up screaming behind me. I turned around. He threw a hook, and I blocked it. But it felt like an awfully strong blow. When I stood back I realized with a chill that he had a bloody knife in his hand. And then he just ran away.

I walked down the street high on adrenaline ,going, “Oh, my god!” My girlfriend was terrified. I took a look. I wasn’t sure I had been stabbed. I just saw this ugly welt across my side and thought, “You know, maybe he missed me.”

But when I reached around further, my hands came up with blood. It really is a nightmare. You don’t know what’s happening, but you keep walking and getting weaker.

I walked into a record store, asked for help, then sat down on the ashtray and fell on the floor, and couldn’t breath, and ended up crawling like a rat, trying to hide myself behind the counter. It was ugly.

The medics got there, said my blood pressure was OK and gave me a little oxygen, and I perked up. What had saved me was the twisting. In boxing if someone’s throwing a hook, you’ll turn and drop your elbow. That motion drew the blade. It went in about three inches, between my organs and the outer wall, and made a nasty gash. But I wasn’t severely wounded, just having a normal faint reaction and feeling terrible.

In the emergency room it seemed ironic that there I was, a police and a crime statistician-analyst–a victim of violent crime. Once the emergency crew knew it wasn’t critical, we all had a giddy chuckle.

That’s when I realized you’re either all the way in the police force or you’re not. And I was sort of halfway. That’s really not a position you can stay in.