Friday, October 23, 2009
This certainly isn't news to most people who know me. Most people learn of this in some passing conversation, and usually interrupt what I'm saying with "Whoa! Back it up. " If you've read the message boards at Beatbots for at least six months, I'm sure there's been some reference made by me or another member. In another time, I was a stick-up man. I'm not saying I was a great stick-up man, just that I was one. You can read my abbreviated story in Ted Rall's "Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I've Ever Done."
This story requires a little setup: I went to high school in Tangier, Morocco from 1979-82. In September, 1982, I began my first semester as York College of Pennsylvania and at the end of November, I dropped out and joined the U.S. Navy. About a month into basic training I had an epiphany: doing push ups really sucks. I broached the subject with my drill instructor and after berating me for about five minutes, he sent me off somewhere. About a month later I received a general discharge. At the time, my mother was still in Morocco (teaching at a different American school in Rabat), so I went back to Morocco for a couple of months. On March 1, I returned to Randallstown, MD (with 250 grams of hash).
While the hash was good, I had a second epiphany: Randallstown sucks. So after a week, I decided to take a trip up to Union College in Schenectady, NY to visit with a couple of guys I went to high school with. I packed a bag and, before heading out by bus, I took a gun that I knew my mother had kept for protection as she raised three children as a single parent. While I didn't really have a plan in using the gun, I did consider the possibility that I may have to use it to get money (I've never proclaimed to be an angel). So I packed that huge .38 Saturday Night Special in my bag and hit the road for Schenectady.
I arrived at Union College that evening and hooked up with my friends. I slept in their room for a few days as we smoked hash and had a good old time. After a few days, the hash wore out and I believe so did my welcome, so I packed my bag and decided to catch a bus to Rochester, where my mother's side of the family lives. When I got to the bus station in Schenectady, I found out that I didn't have enough cash for a ticket to Rochester. I bought a ticket to Utica instead.
While on the bus to Utica, I decided that I needed to rob something to get the cash for the rest of my trip north. When we arrived in Utica, I took my bag and went to the bathroom. I grabbed a stall, pulled the gun out, loaded it and stuck it in my jacket. Yeah, better said than done. The jacket I was wearing was a leather jacket of my older, but smaller, brother, so the jacket was a bit snug on me. The pockets were deep, but not very wide, so I ripped the pockets a little so I could get the gun into one. The gun barely fit in the pocket, but it was in. I took the rest of the shells and put them in the other jacket pocket. I put my bag in a locker and set out on foot to scout Utica.
I walked around for a few hours, ate a burger and fries at McDonalds and found myself standing across the street from a Mobile gas station with convenience store attached. I smoked a bowl, steeled my nerves and headed into the store when I saw no cars getting gas and no one inside the store, save for the cashier. I walked into the store, said hello to the clerk and walked to the back of the store. I grabbed a pint of chocolate milk and asked how much it was? I'm not sure which was odder, that I asked how much the chocolate milk was or that I bought it, because I've never much liked chocolate milk. But I bought it, said thanks and headed out the door. As soon as I got outside, I put my right hand in my jacket pocket and gripped the gun. I spun and walked back through the door and into the store. I threw the chocolate milk as a distraction, pulled the gun out of my pocket, shoved it in the cashier's face and said "Give me the money, bitch!"
Well, while that's pretty much how I planned it, it didn't actually go down like that. Instead, as I walked back into the store and started to