Having spent seven years of my life in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., I'd seen plenty of seedy characters, and I'm not talking about the District's elite (though I did once meet Vice President Quayle).
Homeless people in the District are a gentle breed. At least the ones with whom I've had any contact. I don't remember having ever been verbally attacked or particularly weirded out by any one of them. Even if they followed you around for a block or two begging for money, you could be certain that few of them would continue to follow you for too long. My favorite was the one who followed my family and I to the Capitol Building and then proceeded to piss on it. His own personal protest, perhaps.
So you can imagine my surprise when I had my first ever Crazy Bum experience in Gainesville, Florida, of all places. Known as a peaceful, laid back town hopped up on way too much Gator football (and populated with many stupid, drunken college students), Gainesville is actually a safe and family-friendly area with little violent crime to speak of. And this is why I had no problem waiting in the car, which was parked behind a bike shop, for my mother to finish up inside.
This would be a good time to explain the car. I was test-driving it and ready to buy it, having just left the bank and pulled $2,000 from my account. That means I had $2,000 on my person. In cash. The Crazy Bum musta smelled it when the wind shifted.
As I was totally unfamiliar with the car and all it's buttons and flashy thingies, I did manage to leave the window down before I gave my mother the keys (for what reason, I cannot remember). I can still smell the air. It was a gorgeous day and sunny, and being parked behind the bike shop took all the noise of University Avenue's traffic away from me. And like a dumbass, with $2,000 in cash in my pocket, I closed my eyes to rest.
Crazy Bum showed up not too long after and demanded I give him a quarter.
"Sorry, I don't have a quarter."
"Bitch, gimme a quarter."
I never give bums money, but this back-and-forth went on for maybe a minute and I considered giving him a quarter just to shut him up. Plus he was freakin' me out. I desperately wished that I had parked in front of the bike shop, where all of University Avenue's traffic could see me getting accosted by Crazy Bum. Yeah, I was getting nervous, especially because I had no way of giving him a quarter without digging through my phat pockets full of two grand.
"Now I want a fucking dollar 'cause you waitin' too damn long to give me a quarter!"
And I decided, right then and there, that I would die before I ever let Crazy Bum know I had $2,000 in cash on me. Plus my mother would show up soon and she would so kick his ass. Especially after she found out he had stuck his arm through the window and grabbed my wrist, all this to pry off my Hello Kitty watch. Oh, that's it, Crazy Bum!
I vowed to take his ass down.
But I didn't have to. Out of nowhere, the Karate People appeared. There was only one, at first. He was a good distance away and I couldn't see his face, but I knew he was watching Crazy Bum come after me. Then he went back inside. A few seconds later, there was an entire class of Karate People. They all stood watching, quietly threatening Crazy Bum with their body language and possibly saving me from bodily harm or the embarrassment of peeing all over myself in absolute fear. Crazy Bum took the hint, muttered some obscenity to me, spit off to the side of the car, and walked away. The Karate People went back inside and called Ralph Macchio, just to brag. I'm certain of this.
As soon as Crazy Bum was no longer around, I ran into the bike shop like a little girl crying for her mommy. Because I was crying for my mommy. Through controlled tears, I explained to my mother what had just happened and in great detail, too, down to the smudge on the window left by Crazy Bum's oily arm.
An hour later, I bought the car.
I had totally forgotten about my story until I read this story from the Milwaukee area. Milwaukee is another city that I hold near and dear to my heart and I'm happy to see the Karate People have expanded their crimefighting services into other parts of the country.