Saturday, June 17, 2006

No good deed goes unpunished.

An acquaintance, Chuck, dropped by the office today and I asked how his trip was to New York recently. He said it was fine, but that something bizarre happened when he got back to Dallas.

Chuck is a big black guy, played college football, but quit to concentrate on his non-athletic studies. He is not personally in danger in the line of work he does, but let's just say it involves what must amount to a steady run of adrenaline when he is on duty, intense situations and harsh environments. He is in his early forties, and is typical of late baby-boomers who were spoon fed post-punk and britcoms, and in a lot of ways he reminds me of my favorite schoolmates of suburbia from the days of yore.

When he was thinking of buying a home earlier in the year, I encouraged him and said he'd be crazy to miss out on the bargain he found. What worried him is the house was in a cloistered little neighborhood in Oak Cliff (just southwest of Downtown) and that he had never lived any place that bordered a rough sort of neighborhood.

He flew in on Sunday, exhausted and ready to be home in his new house, and as he was driving down Hampton road, he saw a young Mexican woman running, maybe 19, carrying a baby car seat with a small infant inside, shrieking and crying, obviously in hysterics.

Chuck pulled over and said "Ma'am, do you need help? Can I give you a ride somewhere, are you alright?"

She got into his car and started telling him where to drive her. She said her boyfriend disappeared with her car and her niece, and the brakes aren't working and he just beat her up, etc. So far, this is hysterical but seems plausible and clearly she needed the help, although she never thanked him or in any way acknowledged that he did her a tremendous kindness. It probably seemed rather "day in the life" to her.

He drove along, and she asked to use his phone. She dialed. Next she started yelling into the phone "You fucking nigger! You are not ever going to put your hands on me again, you motherfucker, or I will kill you!" She hurled the N bomb again and again in an otherwise artfully non-repetitive volley of bilious invective.

Chuck's mouth fell open - here this creature is, accepting a ride from him and using this offensive language as if he were not there. Chuck takes a dim view of such language, and is slowly realizing he's stepped into a real mess.

They arrive at the destination, and she looks around, and instructs Chuck to drive another place nearby. They get there, and she jumps out of the car and runs over to another car, presumably her own -and starts yelling at the man behind the wheel.
I asked Chuck if that guy was, in fact, black. Chuck couldn't see him.
Anyway, she is such a crazed lunatic that the guy floors the accelerator and the car pops the curb, soundly clipping the back of a tricked-out Cadillac Escalade with 20" spinny rims, doing some serious damage and causing quite an uproar.

Oh, the shit is ON at this point. Homeys appear from all over the barrio to see what is happening, and Chuck, being a gainfully employed legal taxpayer, is out of his element. Period. He finds this a tiny bit uncomfortable.

Chuck said to the woman "I have somewhere else I have to be" and she turned to him and cocks her head, and then lays down some neckwork saying "You can't leave now. Nobody's leaving." You see how that works? He was nice to her, and now he'll have to pay. (Incidentally, spellcheck suggested I substitute "Negroes" for "neckwork" in that sentence.)

This is getting creepy for Chuck. He said "I'm not involved, I just tried to help, but I have somewhere else I have to be." He hopped in his car, and took off, relieved that it was all over and he'd soon be at his new home after 2 grueling weeks out of town.

He's driving away, and his cell phone rings, and a man's voice starts yelling and cursing "who the fuck is Chuck? What are you doing with my woman?"


nongirlfriend said...

Jeez. Yeah, that shit happens down in this part of town. I don't live in the Cliff but it's about 10 - 15 minutes away.

Still, Kessler Park (if I'm guessing correctly) is an awesome part of Dallas. I can see why he wanted to live there.

Attila the Mom said...

Holy cow!

Thank God nothing else happened. So much could have gone sooo wrong!

Dick said...

Yep, sounds about par for that part of town.

Will said...

That sounds like an absolute nightmare.

phlegmfatale said...

nongirlfriend - Kessler Park IS amazing, and I do think that's where his house is. Oak Cliff has some neighborhoods that are absolute gems.

attila the mom - Yeah, thank goodness! It had to be a very stressful experience for him

dick - damn skippy. Too bad people pull up their nasty depressing neighborhoods and sick society and bring it here with them, rather than improving their lives and having a more sedate and subtle existence.

will - yeah, it really does - there had to be a great fear of being knifed or shot, in that circumstance. Sheesh.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh lord, poor Chuck! I hope he changes his cell number post-haste.

And the sad thing is (apart from there being a baby involved) that Chuck will likely be (quite understandibly) reluctant to offer assistance next time.

Heather B said...


Sidenote ... I do love the line "no good deed goes unpunished" from one of my fav songs from Wicked!

CP said...

Isn't that disgraceful?

It's a damn shame that people can't be genuinely kind to one another any longer without taking their lives into their own hands.

Poor Chuck. Wish him well from a princess, won't you?


chuck said...

What is it about "Chucks"?

They just leap in "where angels fear to tread"...

Tickersoid said...

What a great story!

I'm so glad Chuck escaped unharmed.

phlegmfatale said...

barbara - I suspect he'll never succumb to that Good Samaritan urge again, and with good reason. What a world, eh?

heather b - I LOVE the book Wicked, but have never seen/heard the musical. Love Kristin Chenoweth, though. She's amazing.

cp - I'll pass your well-wishes along to him with the rest. I feel for him - no one likes to feel they are vulnerable to out-there lunatics.

chuck - well, you would know! :o) Thank heaven for the chucks of the world, though. You guys are alright!

tickersoid - yeah, it's better to be hearing the story than telling it, I'm sure. I did think it was interesting and asked him for permission to re-tell the tale on my blog.

I'm sure he'll be heartened to know so many strangers empathized with him and wished him well. You're a peachy bunch of folks!