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KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on August 2, 2012.]
The Beast, part 1: Facing the Beast
I recently caught a YouTube video of new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield’s Comic-Con speech, where he described how Spidey shaped his life. How Spidey inspired him to do good. I too was a young Spider-Man fan. Perhaps Spidey had influenced me as well a few years ago when fate placed me in the right place at the right time.
I’d left the gym after a vigorous workout and was warming-down on my bike-ride home. Nice ride through the cemetery (before the “locked gates” brouhaha) and then down Southard. As I passed William Street I heard a girlie-squeal to my right. Figured it was kids playing around, but glanced that way anyway. Took a few seconds to register what I was seeing as I slowed — a guy hunched over, and a small woman hitting on him. He grunted and pushed her away and waved something at her (I thought it was a stick) and went back to what he was doing.
She cried out in Spanish and tried to find things to throw. Nothing was nearby, so she threw her purse! I then knew this was serious — no woman I know would casually toss their loaded purse at someone. I quickly stopped and got off my bike as she continued trying to roust him. By this point I realized the man was restraining a child, and I immediately thought to myself “Oh boy, am I inserting myself into a domestic dispute?”
But the woman was clearly terrified, and the guy was mistreating a child. I don’t know if my Spidey sense kicked in, or if it was my ten years of Bushi-no-ryu martial arts, but I didn’t hesitate to wrap my arms around the guy from behind and yank him off the kid. I twisted away as I pulled him up, putting myself between him and the victim. (Throughout all this, my view of the kid was obscured — I didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, nor what had been done to it.)
While pulling him off I was thinking “What am I going to say when this guy accuses me of interfering in a family matter?” But after he twisted away and stood before me, I finally realized I was probably facing a wacko. He was about six feet tall, wore a florescent shirt and an angry grimace and was still holding something in his hand. It wasn’t a stick though — it was a long-tooth razor sharp tree saw!
I took a ready stance and stared up at his eyes. I could see him steeling himself to strike, and he lurched toward me. I placed a high front kick at a point to make contact with his solar plexus had his forward motion continued. But I guess it registered that I wasn’t as easy a conquest as the small woman and her kid, and he stopped and jumped back — just short of the contact my foot would have made. He looked around, saw people approaching, and walked rapidly away east on Southard.
I saw that people were coming to help the victim, but nobody followed the perp. So I jumped on my bike and shadowed the guy from across the street. As I called 911 on my cell, he removed his bright shirt to try a minimal “disguise”. But he never left the sidewalks as he rounded Margaret. A squad car arrived as we passed the cemetery gate, and for a moment I was in the potential line of fire. But he surrendered peacefully and the police investigation began. I will tell the rest of Christopher Cornelius Farrell’s story in later columns (part 2: Face of the Beast, part 3: Caged Beast and coda Trial of the Beast).
It wasn’t until I got home and removed my gym shirt that I realized that the saw blade teeth had actually pierced the shirt (without tearing it) during our altercation. It had laid a row of parallel scratches onto my stomach. It also wasn’t until later that I saw pictures of the little victim, smiling at the camera through bloody wounds on her neck, arm and hands. We had both been lucky that day.
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