I had to go to Wal-Mart to pick up a prescription for Jessica. Now, I know what this place is gonna be like right now, considering the time of year and all. In anticipation of the Hell that I will being entering, I suited up accordingly: jeans tucked into combat boots, studded belt, booze-related shirt, leather jacket, wrap-around shades. Not that most of this actually protects, but combined with a certain single-minded look of determination, a heavy tread, and a speed of movement above the average shopper, and I find that people tend to get out of my way and let me go about my business.
So, I get a great parking space and head in. Combat-walk to the pharmacy, get the stuff, and head back out. It looks like I'll be clocking a total in-store time under 4 minutes. As I'm leaving, I pass a woman in too much perfume and way too many bracelets, cart full of various items, talking a mile-a-minute to her friend (similarly adorned). I didn't much note her at the time, but I hear her voice again as I pass through the "airlock" (you know what I mean, the double-set of doors), hollering "He's got my purse, help!"
I turn and see a lanky black kid tear-assing in my direction carrying a purse that clearly does not go with his outfit. Look, it's bad enough that you're a thief, but this time of year? That's just fucking wrong, man. I'm already worked up that I have to endure Wal-Mart right now, and I'm frustrated because Jessica's had to suffer through another of those headaches that has lasted 2 weeks (and had a painful period at the same time, it's been a gas). This kid picked the wrong way to run, as I'm in the mood to take things out on someone.
He button-hooks around a fat guy in a Hawaiian shirt pushing a cart with two, count 'em, two 40-something LCD TVs. Chunky McTelevision can barely get his head around to see what's going on, and a few other people are starting to try and give chase, but this kid was booking. Me, all I had was that one pill bottle, and it's in my jacket pocket, so I have nothing to put down. I dropped to one knee as I turned and caught him in a clothesline across the gut.
When you see this kind of thing in a cartoon, the runner inevitably bends in two while the striker is stock-still. In reality, this doesn't happen. Now, he DID bend nicely and might have cried out if all his air hadn't just been knocked out of him, but I was dragged with him. While this did not make my shoulder happy, it did give me momentum to wrap the other arm around and tackle him. By this point, the others that wanted to chase were on him as well as a couple of Wal-Mart security types, and it mostly looked like he'd run into me, so no one really asked much. They hauled him off to call the cops, Chatty McFumecloud got her purse back, and all was well. She tried to pay me something, but, again, come on, this time of year, no.
On the way out, Fats McLuau clapped my shoulder (the one I just wrenched, thanks a load) and commented that he'd not want to make me angry. While that was cool and all, i wish he'd chosen the other shoulder. on a separate note, that was way too much loud pattern shirt to have to see. Seriously, it was like being next to the King Kamehameha Tent. There oughtta be a law.
Watch yourself out there this season, kids...and look out for each other.