Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Punch!

The Punch!

I’ve always had trouble taking off sweaters. I can never position my arms correctly to snake out of the sweater efficiently- there’s always some awkward pretezeling of arms and rising of my undershirt to expose my hips and stomach. It is not a casual exercise, I feel like a desperate man who knows he will not succeed and tries regardless. But now was not the time to worry about my exposed belly, I had madder dogs at my heels.

Taking off my sweater was a necessary part of the plan. It was very cold outside, and the thin black t-shirt underneath the sweater was not suitable armor for the early evening, but I wanted the wind at my elbows and the hair on my arms standing at attention. I also wanted to go unnoticed as the man who had just punched Rudy Giuliani in the face.

The punch was quick, one might call it a sucker punch in order to vilify my character, but I implore you not to subscribe to that type of commentary. Out of left field, true, but I must say that Ol' Rudy had a shot coming to him whether or not he was expecting it.

For the record, he wasn’t expecting it. He was holding a small child and posing for a photograph. All he was expecting were the lights of a few snake-jointed flash bulbs. I took advantage of that light. I could tell that he was smiling and waving to the morning papers rather than the cameramen or even the crowd, absorbed in the projected image of himself, blinded and unaware of his surroundings. Rudy thought of the impending by-lines and braced his eyes for the flash-bulbs, but he didn’t brace his neck for a right hook across the temple from a meek looking man in a black and gray argyle sweater.

I gave it to him good and the feeling of my knuckles crossing the left side of his forehead was like a great release. I had invested a great deal of time hating this man and I was letting him have it right in the face right in public and now I'm gonna have to throw this sweater in the dumpster because I've gotta look ultimately casual when I re-emerge from this alley, not like a man who just awkwardly changed clothes.

The pundits may say that this was the act of a simpleton with little to no plan, but I do take pride in some of the smaller details of the attack. I knew that Rudy was right-handed, and would therefore be supporting the head of any photo-opted child with his right hand. As fate would have it, I am also right-handed, allowing me to use my stronger arm to deliver the punch. I had also purchased a smoke bomb from a firecracker store and lit it just before the punch to add a theatrical element and cause enough confusion for an escape.

As I darted towards Chambers St., I did feel a sudden pang of regret and guilt. I did not expect the baby to go flying from Rudy’s warm leather-gloved hands. I wasn’t able to witness it’s landing (I was already running through the slowly building cloud of smoke and panicked crowd), but unless there was some stroke of great luck, that child will never be as smart as it could have been, because it’s head probably hit the ground very hard. This collateral damage was not my intention, only a consequence of the situation, and again I implore you to view the events with an open mind and not listen to the talking heads that will undoubtedly call my actions savage and irresponsible.

Weaving the 200 meters from the steps of City Hall to the Chambers St. alley was much easier than I thought. You might imagine hundreds of brave citizens immediately dragging me to the ground and piling on top of me like a loose football. This was not the case. The success of my escape was due largely to my smoke bomb, which performed rather admirably given that I received it free of charge after buying five other fireworks. Usually those things don’t even work, so let me tell you I was pretty excited to see smoke rising quickly above crowd-level, the smell of sulfur causing people to cough and become scared of an impending explosion. But it would be an error of humility to place all of the credit on that little smoke bomb. To take off some of the heat I pretended to be talking on my cell phone as I fled the scene and kept repeating that someone else just punched Giuliani and that it was a crazy thing to do.

I blame Rudy’s press-hungry, front-page mongering, exploitation for whatever happened to that young child who has no idea what New York was like before Giuliani decided to clean things up in the early nineties. But I understand that not everyone has spent two months in prison and therefore does not have the same perspective as me. If I thought that everyone had the same perspective as me I could emerge from this alley in my argyle sweater, warm and protected from the chill of late autumn, and raise my hands in the air and receive cheers for my bravery. But I understand the perspectives of others, and therefore I emerged wearing a New York Yankees cap and sunglasses, and not with my hands held high but one of them in my pants pocket and the other smoking a cigarette, looking maximum cool.

Emerging from the alley was the trickiest part of the plan. Despite my casual appearance, I did not go completely unnoticed. I was immediately tackled by a man much larger than myself, a man of gigantic proportions, a whale of a man. I flailed my arms in protest and feigned innocence, but he did not loosen his grip on me. As he lay stretched out on top of me on the ground I acted quickly, before a large crowd could form. The cigarette I casually puffed on my exit from the alley had flown from my hand as I was tackled, but it was still lit on the ground and within arms reach. I grabbed it and burned the whale of a man on the right side of his neck, just below his ear.

The man screamed and loosened his grip. People began gathering around the spectacle we had created. I freed myself and stood up, pointing and yelling at the man, accusing him of punching Rudy Giuliani. He screamed back at me from the ground, calling me a liar and blaming me for the attack. I felt like the people were on my side, largely because this man was so overweight and he was on the ground in a position of vulnerability, just where they would want their criminal to be. Call the police I said! Someone call the police!

Here is where my quick thinking truly paid off. In my pocket I had a string of Hot Pops, the other five fireworks that I had purchased from the fireworks store. As I backed into the forming crowd I lit the fuse casually, and dropped the string of fireworks on the ground. It exploded in five loud pops like gunshots, and the crowd reacted, running away from the whale of a man on the ground and forgetting all about me in my black t-shirt and Yankees cap.

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