We Were Heroes

Two weekends ago I was drinking beers in the kitchen at Joe’s with my new room mate, Shane Barnes. Shane is a good guy. I knew him a little bit from around town, just an acquaintance really. He’s been here for a few weeks and I like him. Anyway we were drinking shoddy beer and reading through some books I swiped from the back of the library. On weekends the library doesn’t have any staff and people dump boxes of books off at the loading entrance. The books will sit there all weekend until Monday morning when the library opens back up. I go down there late at night and sift through the donations. I liberate anything that looks interesting to me. My last midnight trip to the library I picked up a few books one of which turned out to be a real treasure. It was published in the early 1950s and the subject matter is Social Deviance. Inside the cover there was an anti-drug booklet published in the 1930s. It’s amazing. It sounds just like the drug war propaganda we get bombarded with almost every day. The 1930s booklet whines about getting more money for police to combat the drug menace but the thing that makes this really funny is the only drug they mention is marijuana. According to the vintage booklet marijuana will make you steal things and murder people. It must be true.

So Shane and I are reading through interviews in the Social Deviance book and while we were reading them aloud to each other we tried to get into character and act like the delinquent teenager from the south that got caught putting sugar in his neighbor’s gas tank. Or the John who got caught soliciting a iron city prostitute. It was a good time. Every few minutes though we kept hearing some noise coming from the alley behind the house. I don’t think either one of us gave much attention to it until one of us thought we heard some yelling. Or a scream. It got too loud to ignore so both of us got up and went out the back door and turned on the porch light.

My eyesight isn’t so good anymore and when I stepped off the back porch with Shane it looked like two giant homeless guys were beating up a little Mexican guy. They had the guy stripped down to his underwear and were in the process of working him over. I think they dragged him down the gravel and dirt alley. Both Shane and I had a good buzz going. These hobo guys were big. Filthy too. We didn’t have much time to think about what to do but I guess we both decided at the same time to do something to help the little guy. He was really getting tore up. Shane and I both rushed the bums yelling shit at them as we did so. I don’t remember what we shouted at them now. They saw us coming straight at them with beer bottles and they dropped the Mexican and quickly walked off in the direction of the railroad tracks. There aren’t any streetlights back there so they disappeared into the dark like they had never existed.

Standing over the Mexican, I got a good look at him and realized this was no man. It was a young woman. She barely had any breasts. She was scratched up and bleeding a little. I think she had a few bruises and none of her clothes were anywhere to be seen. All she had on was some ripped up panties. I don’t remember which one of us did it but one of us called the cops while the other one stayed with the Mexican girl. The cops showed up in a few minutes and we had to direct them to the back alley because it’s not easy to see from the street. Two cruisers showed up and they carefully got the girl into one of them. The cops asked Shane and I alot of questions. We gave them the best descriptions we could of the two bums and which way they headed. The whole time the Mexican girl was watching us from the back seat of the police cruiser. It was evident the girl didn’t speak any English so the cops were talking to her in Spanish. As the police got ready to drive away, the girl looked at Shane and I and did her best to say “Thank you” to us in English. That kinda made me choke up a little.

Both of us had the adrenaline pumping when we sat back down at the kitchen table with the stolen library book. Neither one of us said anything for a while and we just quietly sipped our beers. Finally, Shane looked up at me and he said, “We were heroes”. I guess he was right. We were.

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~ by factorypeasant on August 30, 2004.

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