Sixty-five years on Earth, and I’d never had reason to look with concern at the sharp end of a knife. A revolver was pulled on me once, and pointed straight at my chest at point-blank range. That was a long, long time ago. But never a knife. Not until last week.
It was a Sunday evening at the beach motel. I approached a large group of loud twenty-somethings. My intent was to politely suggest that they turn down the noise. It took maybe two minutes to climb one flight of steps and walk down one wing of the motel. In that time, the group dispersed. Three young, white males remained to confront me.
It was about 8:45 p.m., and the lights on the balcony were behind us. I thought I saw a movement and heard a faint sound. The young man in the middle of the threesome was holding a pointed object at his side, pointing outward, about belt high.
In the dark, I had to look twice to see it. My first reaction was — a box cutter. On second thought, I decided it was a knife. What can that young man have been thinking?
I turned around, walked away, and called the police.
They arrived in about 10 minutes, by which time the three young men and their cohort had fled. Indeed, all the balconies were suddenly empty and quiet.
The police seemed to wonder if I was imaging things. But a sharp-eyed officer spotted the discarded knife. He gingerly flicked it open. A switchblade with a black handle and an evil blade.
“It’s not an illegal knife,” the officer said.
“It’s illegal if you point it at someone,” I said.
Let the record show that I have a zero-tolerance policy regarding knives.
The police confiscated the knife. The young men wisely did not return. All’s well that ends well. One knife in 65 years. Nothing to worry about. Odds are it won’t happen again, even if I live to be 100.
You may consider this post an update on “Summer of Discontent and Division.”
A few years ago, we had the plague of green laser pointers at the beach. I suppose 2013 is the summer of the knife.
– John Hayden