April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Street Smarts on a Cold Winter Night

I was in my 30s when this happened and my being smart is questionable.

Trying to find parking in our overflowing neighborhood was not easy in those days. It was not uncommon to walk four or five long blocks to get home after parking a car.

I remember the night I was circling blocks looking for a spot. I noticed a man in a parked car; it was running and I could see smoke coming from the tail pipe. It seemed as if he was just sitting there maybe listening to the radio and he paid no attention to me…so I drove away. Later on when I drove around the block again, that space was empty. All I could think of as I was parking my car was how lucky I was to get that spot so late at night in the cold even though it was five and a half blocks from home. When I got out and started walking home I noticed a car at a hydrant about thirty-five feet in back of where I parked my car. A man was sitting in it… It was that same guy! In that same car! How nice of him, I thought as I was walking, until I heard his door open and then click shut. I turned and saw him leave his car at the hydrant, and when he started following me I began to feel uneasy.

When I looked down the block and saw another person standing out there at the corner it didn’t take me long to figure out what was happening. I was going to be sandwiched in by these two guys and I had no place to run, to get away. There were no alleys between the houses, just wall-to-wall brick, all attached. They were going to stick a knife or a gun in my face and take everything I had, and if I was lucky I’d get away with my life. I had to think and I had to think fast, and as I slowed my pace going to the corner, the answer came to me!

I’m the grandson of Yitzchak and Pinchas and like them, I had a ‘plan’ also, which was the only thing that I could do, short of submitting to them. I was halfway to the corner where he was waiting, I had seconds to act. I was going to bluff having a gun, but I had to make it very convincing, so when I was in the middle of the block and close to the light of the lamp post for them to be able to see me clearly, I undid the two center buttons of my coat and put my left arm inside my coat pulling up like I was lifting my gun from it’s holster on my left hip, and then switching the gun to my right hand in my coat while holding a finger stiff to point at him as I pressed it against the coat’s lining, creating a visible bump for him to see. All these precise movements with my elbows bending made it believable that I was moving a gun to my right hand into position to point at him.

I then walked faster creating a distance from the one who was following me. When I came to the corner I looked directly into this guy’s eyes. My expression was intense and confronting as if I had total control, daring him to say something so I could put a hole in him. He just stood there astounded and motionless as I rounded the corner slowly walking backwards away from him until I felt it was safe for me to turn my whole body as I kept walking and looking back while holding on to my mythical weapon. My immediate impulse was to run as fast as I could, but I continued walking and turning at a steady moderate pace; I had to show no fear! By then I realized that I had the upper hand, which I literally did, and it was beginning to hurt from holding it stiff. I relaxed my hand as I watched them both standing there quietly talking. I could just about surmise what he was saying, like; “Man he had a piece pointing right at me!”

As I came to the end of that block I went through the motions of placing the gun back in it’s holster on my left hip, to leave no doubts in their mind, and now with both hands at my sides I walked through that next corner.

When I was completely out of their sight, I bolted and ran without making a sound with my rubber soled shoes. I can’t ever remember running that fast. I cut into every corner heading north that I came to, vanishing into the cold, dark winter’s mist on my way home.

In the warmth of my bed that night, I kept reviewing what I had done in my mind, as I said a prayer of thanks… I couldn’t fall asleep. I just could not stop smiling!

By David S. Weinstein

 

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