The Night I Ran the 40 Yard Dash In 4.47 Seconds

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The night was September 7th, 2001.

I had been living in Hoboken for about 7 years, and life was good. My regular bar haunt was The Farside, where I knew quite a few of the regulars and had become friendly with the bartenders and owner - this is very helpful for your youthful alcoholic to get cheap booze. It was another typical Friday night at the bar, just getting drunk with friends at the local pub.

Around 1 am I decided to leave the pub and go home. I was fairly intoxicated, but not drunk. Everyone knows their limits, and I was just 'feeling good', but I was in control and about 3 shots away from being smashed. You get the idea.

Now my apartment is close to the Farside, only about a 3 block walk away from Washington Street. I started to head back, and I was about 50 feet from my house when I noticed something strange.

On the steps to a brownstone/townhouse were two guys sitting on the steps. This isn't uncommon for Hoboken, a lot of people would sit on their steps at night and have a cigarette or chat with someone after a night on the town.

I didn't think much of the two guys, until I started to pass them.

I gave them a brief glance and noticed that they were sitting there, looking down at their feet, bobbing their heads like they were listening to music. It was hard to see both of them, because a tree on the street blocked out the street light and they were in the shade.

They were wearing baseball caps. Their faces were covered, from the nose down, with bandanas. I couldn't tell what color the bandanas were I think they may have been white or yellow.

They looked like robbers out of the wild west or something. But when its 1am on a Friday night, I kind of glossed over it and I distinctly remember thinking...

"What the fuck was that?"

...as I walked past them.

Now being somewhat tall (6'3), I also have a fairly long stride when I walk and move at a fairly brisk pace. I was about 20 feet from them when I heard that sound from behind me that I will never forget.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The sounds of someone running at you full speed, the sound of their shoes slapping the sidewalk with each step getting louder.

I quickly spun around counter clockwise with my arms up and fists clenched, to see what was coming. There were the two guys from the steps coming at me. One was a heavyset guy, maybe 5'8 and the other was a lightly built guy slightly taller, like 5'9. By the time I spun around, the smaller guy was in mid-swing towards my head. In his right hand was some kind of object in a brown paper bag. Maybe it was a pipe. Or perhaps a full bottle of beer. Either way, it was something designed to knock me out.

Instead of cracking me in the back of the head, like I think he was trying to do, I spun around so quickly that he glanced the blow off the left side of my head.

It was all kind of surprising in retrospect, because this dude has some serious balls to attack me. One on one, he would be dead meat, but there were two of them and they already had the initiative by hitting me. He was a small guy, maybe weighing about 160 pounds with dark brown hair. I truly can't tell what nationality the person was. Thinking back to the event, I get the IMPRESSION that they were hispanic, but I couldn't be 100% sure - it just happened so fast and it was dark - plus I had a few beers in me.

BONK!

The brown paper bag with the beer glances off my hard head and it stung, but didn't necessarily hurt. I was shocked more than in any type of pain.

The attacker was on my right, near the sidewalk and parked cars. His buddy was maybe a few feet behind him, to my left and near the stairs to other brownstones on the street. The next few events happened in about 2 seconds...

My first reaction, after getting hit, was to express my anger, so I shouted...

"You fucking bitch!"

...while doing a pseudo-Hulk move where I clenched both of my hands, bent down slightly with a glare and bared teeth. I don't know, exactly, how intimidating that I was - but it did give me about a half-second pause in their actions to realize three things:

1. There were two of them, and one of me.
2. The street was completely empty - no cars, no one was walking around here.
3. I'm about to get rolled if I don't do something quick.

Like I said, its funny how quickly you can think when you believe you are about to get hurt.

Its also amazing how fast I ran after this.

Over the course of my life I have always been athletic, within reason, and I would categorize my speed as good, but not great. I can outrun just about all my friends, except of course my brother who always beat me in anything I tried to do.

Suffice to say, that night I transformed into Deion Sanders.

When I die and go to heaven (or hell) i'd like to see the move I made that night replayed for everyone. It was like a Heisman Trophy move, I did a stiff arm on the little guy and bolted between him and the fatter guy, up the street, back towards the bar. My main thoughts were that "I need help, because there are two of them and one of me."

I ran a half block in Hoboken, in about the fastest time I have ever run in my entire life. Even as I was running I was thinking to myself, "Man, i'm booking." (i'm not sure if they use 'booking' up here, but it just means that someone is running fast). I remember that I was running so fast that my feet were barely touching the pavement, I was running like a gazelle down the street towards 6th street.

That, of course, lasted for about the half-block, and the left turn I made at the end of the block on 6th towards Washington, I proceeded to run towards The Farside bar.

I don't know if they were chasing me - I never looked back. I noticed by the time I reached 6th street that I was woefully out of shape.

At the time I was a smoker, so my amazing dash was fueled by adrenalin. I must have looked stellar for those first 40 yards. But by the time I was making my left turn on 6th, I transformed from Deion into Homer Simpson, wheezing and huffing.

With my blazing speed lost, I turned around to see if they were following me. I was in the clear. I whipped out my cell phone and called 911 while I did a half-jog up the street. I calmly told the police that two guys tried to mug me and the details of the crime. I told them where I was mugged and I was at the Farside bar.

I noticed a dripping sensation on the side of my cheek - but I didn't think it was raining. Maybe condensation from an air conditioner? I wasn't sure, until I touched the wetness and noticed my blood.

Everything did happen quickly, including the open wound on my head. If you aren't aware of head-injuries - you bleed like a stuck pig when you get a cut on your scalp. I wasn't sure how bad it was, and I was in a sort of confused state when I got to the doors of the Farside.

The owner, John, was outside talking to two patrons, with his back to me. I was still on the phone, behind him and he turned around and his face said it all.

The look he gave me was surprised shock. I knew by his look that I must have looked really bad. His shock quickly faded and turned into concern. He told me later that I looked like hell - with half of my face covered in blood. John ran inside and quickly told the drunken masses what happens as he got me a bar towel to staunch the wound.

What happened next made me proud, well in a vigiliante way...

My friends, fueled by alcohol and anger, cleared out of the bar, running down 6th street looking for the two hispanic guys with bandanas and baseball caps. It was like out of the movie The Warriors, when the Baseball Furies were running after the gang ready to exact some street justice on their ass. It was sort of nice to see that outpouring of emotion from everyone.

Fortunately for the two people who tried to mug me, they were never found by my friends.

After a while, an ambulance showed up and they assisted me to a trip to St. Mary's Hospital. I walked into the emergency room, and the shocked looks of the waiting room people and nurses at my bloodied face made me quip with an evil smile...

"You should have seen what I did to the other guy..."

I got about seven stitches by a very rude emergency room doctor who had the bedside manner of an East European Olympic Swim Team Coach. I guess at 2am in the morning of a Saturday they aren't trained to be very nice to people who got mugged. Asshole.

On September the 8th I actually had a bar-b-que that day at my apartment (it was scheduled BEFORE I got mugged), and I had a great story to try and get some sympathy sex out of it. ;)

People have different theories about what this was all about. Some people speculate it may have been gang-related - mug some guy and you get into the gang. The smaller man was the one who hit me, and if the larger one had just tackled me - it would have been all over. To this day it would be nice to know if it was gang-related or not. My thought process on what would happen if I ever found these guys - is along from what Marsellus Wallce said from Pulp Fiction:

'What now? Let me tell you what now. I'ma call a coupla hard, pipe-hittin' n-----s, who'll go to work on this soon-to-be-dead hillbilly rapist here with a pair of pliers and a blow torch. You hear me talkin', hillbilly boy? I ain't through with you by a damn sight. I'ma get medieval on your ass.'

Actually I felt that way for about a year or two. Now, I don't really care anymore, but it would be nice to know what the deal was. For the record, they never got my wallet.

Of course this was an interesting story, until the next Tuesday morning at 9:04 am.

2 Comments

Wow, I can't believe that happened so close to the 11th. They seem worlds apart. I remember you telling me that story the next day at your party, it seems like yesterday. But the 11th was such a hard time, it seems like it's been going on since the beginning of time. I guess that makes sense, it was the day the Earth stood still. It's strange how your brain can operate and trick you. 2 stories, 4 days apart, an eternity of difference. Not to minimize your happening, but in the spirit of "if I only knew then", I'd take that mugging over and again to avoid what would happen 4 days later.

My friends, my hobbies, my family, they all mean so much to me. Backyard BBQ's were good times. take care my friend.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on January 28, 2005 2:13 PM.

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