by Steve Bivans
Just so y’all will know, I’m a Southerner, a small town Southerner at that.
Yeah, I’ve lived in or around a couple of big cities growing up in the South (Charlotte and Atlanta), but I was very young, and mostly I spent my days pulling my middle brother out of the mud puddle at kindergarten, or playing Evel Knievel, racing up make-shift ramps, jumping my little brother’s BigWheel with my Dallas Cowboys, Huffy bike! Big city crime was unknown to me, with the exception of what I saw on Hawaii 5-O, or Rockford Files. I spent my entire life, over 40 years, in low crime towns and cities.
Then I moved to Minneapolis.
My ex-wife and I moved to Minneapolis in the summer of 2007 so I could attend graduate school, and began looking for a house. After viewing over 200 (no, that’s not an f’n typo) houses and condos, we found the perfect one. It was in South Minneapolis, not far from downtown, uptown, midtown, and it had a great office (for me) and a great backyard, all fenced in with a long, natural wood privacy fence.
Oh yeah, before I go any further, I should tell you that I study Medieval History, specifically, Viking Warfare. As my friends know, I have more than a few bladed weapons gracing the walls of my house, and I LOVE to handle them, and I know how.
Ok, back to the story. One beautiful September afternoon, not long after we moved in–you know the scene, boxes and crap strewn everywhere–I was sitting at my half-assembled desk working on something for grad school, when Heather, my wife, left the house to go shopping. I continued to work until I heard her yelling a few moments later, “STEVE, STEVE, SOMEONE’S IN OUR GARAGE!!!!” I was like WTF?? So I jumped up and looked around for my best broadsword. It’s about 3 and a half feet long, with a 2″ wide blade, weighing in at just under 4 lbs. It’s hand-forged and it’s my baby 🙂 I couldn’t find it. F**K!!! (Later I discovered that it was right behind my damned office chair, hidden by a bunch of crap.) So I grabbed the first one I could find: a William Wallace, cheap-assed, crappy claymore replica, ya know, like the one Gibson wielded in Braveheart, with the brown, pleather-wrapped grip, and pleather wrapped around the first foot of the blade. It’s a ‘wallhanger’, probably wouldn’t cut melted butter, ok that’s an exaggeration. It probably wouldn’t cut ‘refrigerated butter’. So I”m thinking to myself as I race out of the office, this
damned thing is gonna SNAP before it cuts anybody! …But HE doesn’t know that. I could at least smash his skull with the pommel (that’s the knob on the non-pointy end for you modern people).
Well, there was another problem with my predicament. The house was designed in such a way, that I had to run completely around the bottom floor of the house to get out the back door, which was literally right outside my office window! So here I am, a 40 something fat guy, running through the house to catch some crackhead, who’s in my garage, just feet away from my wife! I mean, I’m not the slowest man on earth, but I’m not exactly what you would call ‘in shape’, if ya know what I mean. I was also not really ‘dressed’. Hey, it was mid September and still quite warm, so I was only wearing a pair of shorts…and that’s IT. No shoes, or shirt, (and no, I was not in my kilt, which would have been awesome) just me, with my not-so-trusty-more-like-rusty, broadsword slash ineffective large butter-knife, my gut bouncing up and down, huffin’ and puffin’, leaping over half-opened moving boxes, (I think one of our cats screamed and ran in terror, seeking shelter in the basement), the whole time thinking to myself, Shit, this guy’s gonna be in the next freakin’ COUNTY, by the time I get there!
So I burst out the back door, I don’t know, like a week later it seemed, covered the last 40 feet to the driveway gate fairly quickly, okay, maybe it took a day or so, and what do I find when I finally arrive? My wife still standing beside our Saturn with an evil look in her eye (I know that one well, trust me), and across the hood from her, standing in front of the garage door, is this African-American dude (I know, PC), with the whole ‘deer in the headlights’ look in his eyes! I”m like holy shit, I can’t believe he’s still HERE! He’s standing there, in total abject fear, shakin’ like rusty, tin sheets on a barn roof in a hurricane, looking at me, looking at Heather, looking back at me with the broadsword.
I mean, you gotta put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Here you are, probably stoned outta your dumb-assed mind on pot, breaking into some stranger’s garage, when you’re caught red-handed by his wife, who for some unexplained reason is still standing there, when her large, hairy, belligerent husband leaps through the gate, gasping for air, half naked, with an F’n BROADSWORD gripped high over his head! What would YOU DO? As for my wife’s actions, she later confessed that she was just so pissed off that she forgot to be afraid, and warned the guy (as I was hurdling and weaving through the labyrinth of the house), that when her husband finally arrived, he would “not be calling the cops!” “NO”, she informed him, “He’s just gonna cut you into pieces!” And that’s what I would have done, if I had had my favorite sword and the guy had made any kind of aggressive move, but I did not, and he did not. So we just stared at each other for a second.
And a second is probably as long as it took, well maybe it took longer. I did have to catch my breath, having just run a marathon and all. But as soon as I caught it, I inquired of him, ever so politely, “What the F are you doing in my F’n garage, Muther___?” To which he shakily replied, “I just went in there to meet a girl, I swear sir.” OMG! I went OFF! For the sake of the children that may be reading this, I will just say that I shot off a string of obscenities like I’ve never done before (and I love to cuss, so just keep that in mind. Just imagine the worst cussing you ever gave or received, add a couple billion to it and you’re there). I yelled at him at the top of my voice, “Does this look like a Holiday F’n INN!??!!!” “Take the Bitch to YOUR place!” (neither I nor my wife ever saw said girl). I then proceeded to instruct him on the finer points of the law, my law that is, in other words, don’t F with my stuff!
Mind you now, this poor guy is glued to the same spot, hasn’t moved a damned inch the whole time…and I don’t know if he pissed himself or not, but i suspect he had to change the ole’ Fruit O the Looms when he got home later. I mean, I’m standing there, big-assed, fat, Southern, redneck looking (I’m not ‘actually’ a redneck’) dude, in nothing but shorts, with a 4 ft. long broadsword over my shoulder, yelling at him to “go tell alllllll your friends and family, that this is MY house, MY street, MY neighborhood, and MY TOWN! GET THE F OUT!” I know, it doesn’t take long for us Southern ‘invaders’ to start claiming everything, but just stay with me for a second and don’t drift away and start thinkin’ about the War of Northern Aggression or somethin,’ that’s a story for another day. So, I continued my belligerent rant, and at the top of my lungs, I told him, “and if I EVER see your sorry ass again, ANYWHERE, I”m gonna cut you into little pieces, send them to your mama, then I’m gonna hunt HER down and cut HER up!” I know, I know, I may have overdone the last part a smidgen, but you gotta understand people, I was trying to put the fear of Khan into him. The whole time, he’s just rooted there there taking it, like an oak tree in the hurricane of my belligerency, nodding his head, saying, “yes sir, yes sir, yes sir.” Finally, after ranting at him for like an hour (ok, like 2 minutes), I told him to “get the hell off my property,” and he began to slowly tip toe down the sidewalk (as if he was afraid to make any sudden movements for fear that the fat, Southern, redneck ‘looking’ guy might make good on ALL of his promises) the whole time repeating, “yes sir, yes sir, yes sir.” As he reached the edge of the fence where he would pass out of sight, I gave him one last word of advice. “And don’t think I”m F’N playin’!” He disappeared on the other side of the fence, and we never saw him again. EVER.
Funny thing is, a lot of crime occurred in the five years we lived there. Neighbors’ houses were robbed, shots were fired over my fence, drugs were dealt on the street, hookers strolled by, a high-speed car chase even raced down our sidewalk on Mother’s Day one year. Among the list of crimes, many of my neighbors’ fences were ‘tagged’ with gang graffiti, but NOT MINE. I had a long, natural wood privacy fence that was never touched. I wonder why? hmmmm
I’m writing my first non-fiction book, entitled, Be a Hobbit, Save the Earth: the Guide to Sustainable Shire Living!
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