When I was about thirteen years old, I was going rollerblading with a friend. We were heading across town to go to a cooler older kid’s house. He was Oklahoma City’s stunt rollerblading answer to Tony Hawk, at least in our eyes.
We got all of our gear together. Knee pads, Gatorade, a couple granola bars, and a can of mace.
Why mace, you ask? Easy. There must be something strange in the water in Oklahoma City because every stray dog in town seems hellbent on attacking anything that moves on wheels at any cost, specifically rollerbladers and skateboarders.
Mace is a very effective deterrent against dog attacks.
This letter is meant to serve as a preemptive shut-the-fuck-up. Seriously, no one wants to hear it.
My friend and I set out on our trip. After a semi-uneventful trek of four or five miles we rounded the corner onto our friend’s block. He lived at the end of the street.
We skated by a house where there were eight or ten kids playing in the front yard, ranging in age anywhere from two to maybe twelve. As we passed the house one of the oldest kids ran to the curb and yelled,
“Whutchu rollin’ through my hood fo’, niggas?!”
I gave him a dismissive what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it glance and we kept skating. This was such a common type of occurrence that my friend and I both forgot it ever happened about thirty seconds later. I was attending an ultra inner city public school at the time, so I was used to dealing with stupid ghetto idiots. I had been punched in the face more times by age thirteen than most people have in their entire lives, if ever. Antics like his were old hat.
We got to our friend’s house and rang the doorbell. No answer. He wasn’t home. Oh well. We’ll show him our new badass skate moves another day.
We decided to skate back across town to our neighborhood, so we headed back the way we came. About half way down the street I noticed that all the kids who were playing outside were gone. I didn’t think anything of it.
We had just passed the kids’ house and were starting to skate up a big hill to leave the neighborhood when we heard from behind,
“I told you not to be rollin’ through my hood, niggas!”
We both turned around to see two kids running full speed straight at us, with the other eight kids cheering from the yard.
One kid was carrying a crowbar.
The other was carrying an axe. Not a hatchet, an axe.
He looked something like this, only with an axe in place of the gun.
Oh fuck. This is not old hat. This is some completely new shit.
We started hauling ass up this monster hill looking over our shoulders every couple seconds. The lords-of-the-flies were closing the gap on us at an incredible rate. This makes perfect sense because my friend and I were trying to rollerblade up a steep ass hill and the people who were chasing us were, well… black kids on foot. You tell me who wins that race.
We kept skating up the hill, but the kids were getting closer with every stride. It was useless. They were gaining on us and my friend and I were running out of gas with every push.
“I think I’m gonna have to do it, man.” I said to my friend.
“Fuck yeah man, do what you have to do!” He yelled, as if I’m retarded for having to say it in the first place.
Our attackers were close enough where I could hear their footsteps over the slow grinding of polyurethane wheels on asphalt. I took one more look over my shoulder. I stopped dead in my tracks, reached in my pocket and grabbed the mace.
I twisted the valve open and turned around. I held my arm straight out in front of me, squeezed, and let the little shit have it. He immediately stopped and covered his face with one hand and threw the axe in our direction with the other hand. Luckily, twleve-year-old kids can’t throw axes very well with one hand. His little brother was behind him and caught a lot of the spray too. He immediately turned and ran back home, smart kid. The older brother, the original aggressor, was still coming at us, or trying to. Leave it to say that I emptied the entire can of mace and stopped him in his tracks. The kid was just getting back to his feet when I looked back down from the top of the hill. He’d had enough. We made it out of the neighborhood and onto a main street.
I was in complete shock.
“Wow that was really fucked up.” I say to my friend in the understatement of the century.
My silent friend looks at me again as if I’m completely retarded for thinking its actually necessary to say that out loud.
As the adrenaline wore off, my mouth and eyes and face and skin and throat and hands started to burn. It really hurt, a lot. I guess emptying an entire can of mace upon a would-be axe murder on a windy day doesn’t come without its consequences. Who knew?
–To be continued in Part II.