Not your standard film noir.
While walking home from the local supermarket at approximately 2:15pm CST on a beautiful sunny day with two fresh trout for the grill, I cut through the alley about a 1/2 block from our house. I noticed a maroon SUV about two-thirds of the way down, but thought nothing of it (could be just leaving or pulling into a garage, waiting for a local resident, blah blah blah). Then it started backing up. Odd, thinks I. Then two doors fly open and two youths (late-teens) get out. Probably to see a friend or play basketball in the alley, thinks I Pollyannaishly. They walk rapidly toward me. This may not be good, the frontal lobe says. They ask me a question to which I wittily respond, Excuse me?, whereupon one of them responds by breaking a bottle over my head. I immediately bid a fond farewell to my frontal lobe as the primal animal portion of my brain kicks in and I start swinging.
One tries to pull my arms behind me as the other is insisting I inform them of what I have and, as it became clear that my right arm would not be free much longer, I took off my glasses and tossed them on a trash bin (it's such a bother to try to get new glasses, dontcha know). Then the one not holding my arms started administering a beating to the left side of my face (he was a rightie) and continued to inquire -- peppered with various epithets that called into question his knowledge of my relationship with my Mother and his ability to distinguish certain common racial characteristics -- as to what I may have of value. I suggested that they let my arms free and I would give them my money. He apparently thought I was being a wise guy (hmmm...maybe he did know me) and pummeled my face some more. Finally, he took my wallet, but then asked for more, so I mentioned my cell phone. He patted me down and took it. They then tossed my wallet on the ground (they only took the money -- about $50) and ran to the vehicle, which was now at the end of the alley, and sped off.
Results: A big lump on the head, swollen lips, a blood-shot eye (pretty amazing, really). No falling down, no loss of consciousness, no hospital visit. The next day, every muscle above the hips hurt a lot from the struggle, as if I'd been in a car accident. (Maybe you should work out more, sez Mrs. ChiO once she knows I'm physically okay.) The lips turned black & blue a couple of days later. And the middle finger of my right hand -- and only that one -- swelled, ached and turned black & blue (I like to think that's a result of having caught the one guy in the cheek or jaw when I was swinging). Police report: "Robbery/Armed Other Dangerous".
Given time, location, demographics, etc., I am convinced that it was part of a gang initiation; that the robbery was only for the purpose of getting evidence of an assault. The detective (Gang Unit, I assume) who followed up a couple of days later asked that I check with our cell phone provider for any calls made after the assault. Sure enough -- 5 or 6 calls were made to 3 or 4 Chicago numbers between the time of the assault and the provider discontinuing service to the phone.
Will they ever be caught? I doubt it. The worst part is that the following Tuesday, the 4 block walk from the el at 9:30pm after having gone to the Siskel Film Noir series was 4 blocks of constant panic attack. I didn't go this past Tuesday because of that.
I must admit -- and I'm not making this up, which shows the bizarre twists the mind (or, at least mine) can take when under stress -- when the first fist came at me, I thought of the opening sequence of THE NAKED KISS.
There are two million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles