In the landscape of the Big City, mankind is confronted with a full spectrum of dangers to life and limb. It is not too great an exaggeration to say that here, peril lurks around every corner. Even for such an experienced and skilled Land Pirate as myself, a mere moment’s hesitation could mean disaster.
Why, if time and space but permitted, I could tell you tales the likes of which would leave all you denizens of rural and small town America running for the hills!
For I have seen the sewer rats descend upon the downtown Family Law Center Park after rush hour is over. I’ve seen a man try and drive his car through the wall of an eighth floor parking garage only to fail and leap out into the street to his death. I have even watched – on two separate occasions – as a METRO bus drove into the side of a rail car, knocking the rail car right off of its track.
The horror! The horror!
But there is nothing, nothing in heaven or earth that could have prepared me for what happened at the corner of Main Street and Walker this past Tuesday.
I remember it like it was yesterday…
It was in the early afternoon and I was – as usual – engaged in a most heroic mission, the details of which escape me now. And in the course of this heroic mission, I had the misfortune of coming to that notorious corner whose name shall now live on in infamy.
Main Street and Walker [to be read in menacing voice].
And though the crosswalk light was on – meaning the downtown gods had smiled on me with nine or perhaps even ten full seconds in which to rush across Main before all Hell broke loose again – I found myself unable to get across. For there at the red light, my finely-tuned eyes spied a tiny, tiny passenger vehicle atop which was strapped the most massive canoe ever to curse the streets of downtown Houston.
|Not the actual offending canoe. |
For demonstrative purposes only.
Now, I clearly, unquestionably, and most heroically had the right of way, but that tiny car kept inching forward until it had rolled right over the crosswalk and was nearly within the intersection itself!
I proceeded to take defensive action. This consisted primarily of making ominous faces at the driver and shrugging a lot. But the driver, who was engrossed in doing something-or-other with his phone – googling the location of the nearest lake for his massive canoe, perhaps? – remained blissfully unaware of my annoyed gesticulations.
Obviously, this turn of events would leave your average man, woman, or sexually indeterminate land dweller hopelessly stranded on that corner, maybe even permanently. But the first rule of being a Land Pirate is this: Always have a Plan B.
I had a Plan B.
I edged my way around the offending car, intending to cross the street behind that noxious driver in the 4 or 5 seconds remaining for the crosswalk light. But as I stepped out around the end of the canoe, which stuck at least four feet off the back of the car’s roof, that car – canoe and all – suddenly and unforeseeably lurched backwards!
As well as I can reconstruct the events which followed, I was struck upon the head, either by the tip of the tip of the canoe or the side of the tip of the canoe. As the car roared off to locales unknown, I staggered backwards, tripped over a convenient curb, and lay on my back upon the sidewalk.
Anyway, that’s probably what happened.
The next thing I remember, I heard some clopping sounds and opened my eyes to see the face of a man far, far above me. The face was attached to a body, and the body wore a police uniform, and this whole face/body/uniform amalgamation sat perched upon a titanic horse.
It was probably a Clydesdale, but it might have been one of those giant breeds, long thought to be extinct, which in days of yore stalked the Arabian Peninsula eating stray camels and unwary caravans of travelers.
“Ma’am, are you alright?” a sound emerging from the face spoke in my general direction. The man’s face, I mean. Not the horse’s.
I found that I was holding the side of my head and crying. Heroically, of course…
I said, “I got hit!”
The man in the uniform looked around him. “Right here? By a car?”
“No, by a canoe!” I cried.
The man in the uniform began to appear less and less concerned with my situation. “Ma’am, where is this canoe now?”
I rubbed at the side of my head, right at the point of the impact. “I don’t know. It was a hit and run.”
The man in the uniform considered this for a moment. “A hit and run canoe on Main Street?”
“Yes.” I sniffled. It was true.
The horse took a couple clops backwards, and its rider said, “Ma’am, would you be able to stand up for me?”
Either the horse or its rider, or maybe the horse and its rider had sized me up as a drunk or a homeless person, or maybe a drunken homeless person. But I was not a drunken homeless person, or not this week, anyway. I was a hero on a mission. And so I stood up, just as I had been asked to do.
I still clutched the side of my head a bit, though.
Then the man in the uniform looked me up and he looked me down. “Ma’am, are you going to need to go to a hospital? Do you want to get checked out?”
So the horse and the man and the uniform all turned and started making their way back down Main Street. But I heard him exclaim as he clopped out of sight, “I’ll be sure to put an APB out for that canoe!”
I don’t think the canoe has caused me any permanent damage. I can still count from one to seventeen, and I still know that Barry Hussein Soetoro is currently occupying the people’s house on Pennsylvania Avenue, and I know that someday, somehow, I am going to find that rotten bastard with the canoe.
I am on a new mission now, you see, and I will walk these Big City streets until I can have my revenge.
How hard can it be to find a canoe in downtown Houston?