After having quit some months before, my life had returned to one where I have the obligatory cigarette now and again. I had chosen to take this particular smoke break alone on the porch during the low-key birthday celebrations of one of my best friends. It was the middle of the afternoon and muggier than most people would have liked it to be, myself included. Lost in thought, allowed my mind to wander into the past and future until I heard a string of obscenities coming from my left. Looking up, I could see a mustached gentleman looking angrily in my direction with his wife several feet behind. Anytime I saw her I could not help but think that she looked sad and, despite years of aggressive drug abuse, remained surprisingly attractive. He, however, looked like all of our dad’s looked during the nineteen-seventies: a little creepy.
His parade of cursing led him back into the house and upstairs. I finished my cigarette and returned inside. For a while, everything seemed benign and we had no reason to worry, but that all changed when he came back outside full of angry vigor. It started with more swearing and quickly incorporated throwing trash at other trash. It almost seemed comical but his profanities became focused at her as he began to hit the property itself with bottles and cans. Becoming slightly worried about the Suzuki I had parked against the house and the well-being of his wife’s face, I exited the building to better survey the situation. At this point, the police had already been called. When the first squad car rolled up, he approached me and asked what was going on. Standing near my motorcycle, I pointed at what should have been obvious and suggested he explore the situation himself as another car pulled up and the trash hurler’s adult fit throwing hit full swing. He was getting rather vehement and was definitely not happy to see the police. He expressed this by backing quickly inside under a shield of unintelligible verbal rage and locking the door to his upstairs apartment.
Meanwhile, the birthday celebrations had morphed weirdly into documenting this experience on video and getting keys to the apartment so that the police would not need to break down any more doors than absolutely necessary. I remained outside as several more police officers descended on the house and neighbors began taking a keen interest in what would happen next. At this point, there were roughly six officers on the scene. They asked us a few questions, assembled near the door and swiftly made their way up. You could hear arguing and slamming upstairs and it quickly became apparent that he had locked himself in some out of the way part of the house. After several minutes of loud talking, there was more banging and I went around the side of the house with the birthday boy’s brother. There was more banging and yelling and then something I didn’t expect.
Very little can prepare you to for a shirtless and shoeless man to jump through a second story window. There was a moment of quiet and then the crash of a human body flying through a once solid pane of glass. He landed on his side, slid on the grass, rolled around and got up without really missing a beat. Then he hightailed it through the back yard and over some bushes. For a moment I considered chasing him because I believed all six of the officers were still inside the apartment that he had so impressively exited, but they closed the gap quicker than I thought and surrounded him at a nearby intersection. As our videographer made his way quickly outside, the stymied protagonist began screaming frantically at his wife and, for a moment I felt sorry for him, I felt sorry for her and I even felt a little sorry for myself. This was their life and that was her husband standing in the middle of the street surrounded by law enforcement and acting like a crazed animal. I was just so confused how they could stay together for so long under such terrible circumstances and abuse while infinitely better pairings fail due to fickleness, laziness or fear. I didn’t understand what made that man wake up and decide to act that way or what kind of woman would willingly choose to remain with a person like that. It was terrible and after feeling nothing for an hour, I felt truly awful. I looked around at my friends and their expressions ranged from horror to elation. Then they used a taser on him and I felt a lot better.
No person will ever be capable of writing anything that could be so perfect and real as what I saw. Seeing someone get zapped by the police on the internet is already pretty great but bearing witness to it in person is just indescribably wonderful. First of all, they told him that they were going to do it about seven times while he paced around topless and bare foot, yelling indiscriminately. I also realized that, at some point, he had to have consciously removed his shirt and shoes after being chased upstairs by the police but before he decided to jump through the window. What was his plan? I can only imagine him barricaded in the bathroom and undressing while saying to himself, “I think this is the right thing to do in this situation.”
But all of his planning and running and yelling became irrelevant when the police sent enough electrical current through his body to disrupt any voluntary muscle control he had left. Being super high and crazy had made him a fairly impressive adversary before, but it did little to assist him here and he popped and locked himself straight onto the ground after the initial jolt. By five-thirty, the only evidence that was left of such great showmanship and artistry was a bent door frame, some broken glass and the looks on all our faces. All and all, it was a pretty good start for a birthday party. The cake was good too.
Artist’s Rendition of the Man Himself in Under Four Minutes: