fiction by Bryan Adrian

Down and Out in Northeast Washington DC & Philadelphia as the Dollar is Crashing Left and Right

Emphatically, I'd like to thank all of you in the Spyderco manufacturer’s home office for your Spyderco metallic credit-card-encased kommando knife. It is ideal for concealment within a side pants pocket, and it is exactly the size and nearly the thickness of a normal credit card or ATM card, as you state in your catalogues. The attractive silvery stainless steel frame is elegant and does not attract attention from security guards, pedestrians, nor tourists, when by accident one pulls it out of their pocket, rather than just their usual keys or coins, as they intended. Any unexpected witnesses to what you are holding in your hand, think simply that you are merely the lucky possessor of a thin and becoming high quality silvery credit card case, to protect your coveted bank cards, and nothing more. 

But to the assailant or perpetrator who crosses your path with ill intent, it is another matter. I had to sleep overnight in parks on a few occasions lately, travelling on a shoestring budget between Washington DC and Philadelphia, seeking stringer reporter or even temp editing assignments as an out-of-luck progressive muckraking writer. Many times a job interview for a new-in-town jobseeker, such as myself, of all times gets offered only on the very last paid day of my paid-in-advance week long SRO hotel residence I had arranged for job hunting in a new town. I often could not afford to pay the daily hotel rate for this last day of my stay, which of course would be the day the interview had finally been set up for me by the customary drone-like young lady human resources manager, a character type that has become a commonplace affair in our newly globalized corporate reality. Thus, once again, the parks called out my name as a familiar bedmate friend, including not only the embraces of dewy green grass, but also the lavish kiss of plenty of dog shit hidden under those leaves of grass.< br>
As a result, I found myself one sultry, hot, steamy summer night in the crime ridden Northeast sector of Washington DC, far away from Union Station and near the notorious Northeast sector dubbed 'Chocolate City' by some people, and nowhere close to the many ritzy Capitol Hill townhouses close to Congress. 

My morning train would not leave from Union Station till 8am the next morning, so I had lots of time to kill before heading up to Philly. I found a small park place to hide and sleep under a children's slide of a fairly nice mini-park adjacent to an African-American ghetto-looking area. This would have to be my sweet slumber spot the night before my distant Philadelphia job interview the next day. 

The mosquitoes were biting the way I had dreamed of prospective employers seeking me out. These skeeters did not need to see my resume in order to exploit my assets. They made their quick appointments without asking me in any formal manner. 

Around 3:30 in the morning, three rust-ebony skinned men meandered towards my toddler playground hiding space to smoke a joint and gossip with each other about women being bitches and hos, and for some reason they did not see me for quite some time, lying there on my back as quietly and motionlessly as I could, under the slide. I had, however, very slowly positioned my right hand to firmly grip around my Spyderco knife, ready for action in case it was needed. Otherwise, I was playing possum and assuming a dead man's posture flat on my back like a fatally stricken soldier after a fierce battle, legs sprawled. 

Suddenly, one of the lads shouted out to his mates, "For Christ's sake man, look at that --- that ---- right over there, a dead white dude, don't you see him?!" 

They all made short snortles and exclamations of dread at seeing a dead white man in an all black neighborhood. 

Then one of them said, "hey look man, he's barely breathing, he must be dead drunk!" 

I remained motionless and reduced my breathing to a few milliliters of air per second. 

I was overwhelmed with fear, but replayed in my mind all the many hours of training videos I had studied on the art of using a Spyderco knife in tight and deadly situations and when outnumbered by adversaries. 

My three months of daily training sessions, sparring with a retired government NSA contractor of the U.S. Federal government, came back to me in a flash, and I was grateful for my older trainer friend's patience in showing me defensive and slashing moves, over and over and over again until I got them right. He not only trained me, but he had given me my first honorary Spyderco knife ever in my possession, the one tightly held in my pocket at the moment. 

This same knife in my hand had kept burglars and drug addicts away from my harm in dirtbag cheap hotel rooms in New York City also, during several other efforts to find work in that big daddy of a town, too. When a thief enters your roach hotel room and thinks nobody is at home, and you are lying in bed naked and hungry, yet very ready to flash such a weapon in their face, or near their crotch. Usually after seeing my Lady Spyderco the intruder inevitably makes some lame excuse and makes a very speedy disappearance. 

If only I had such a hand-held effective other useful tools to help my poor mother, who lost her house and garden and all assets recently to a nursing home conglomerate working hand in hand with State Elderly Care operators, all of them raking in billions in tax monies state by state, quicker than FEMA in New Orleans, confiscating homes after forcibly committing old folks to first a primary police prison hospital wing, as they arrest and then arrange legally power of attorney to take away all the old person’s possessions before their lifetime incarceration in an old folks nursing or rest home.More on that later. In some tight spots, especially against shifty lawyers and legislators, your splendid Spyderco knives can be of little help, I am sorry to confess. 

After hearing jibes against my race for a quarter of an hour from my place of hiding under the kid’s slide, these three bloods with all their insulting anti-homeless-persons jokes, had never made any movements closer to me nor any kind of physical threats had been made towards me whatsoever. The playful young men finally moved on and I took a deep breath afterwards, and went back to sleep. 

About an hour later, for no known reason I have yet entertained to account for it, my inner and ancient reptilian brain stem became aroused into a state of red alert! I opened my eyes just in time to see the same two Guyanese illegals -- who other times before while in DC -- I had seen stealing people's unattended bags near Union Station. Now in the pitch black darkness they were like jackals on the prowl, with the morals of a starving leech. 

The earlier incident with the harmless three black lads who had parked themselves quite nearby me to smoke a joint earlier, and who had been debating among themselves which of them had made off with the most sexual conquests during the preceding week, they had left me feeling somewhat defensive, and for that reason I had fallen asleep with my Spyderco knife, my Lady Knife, loosely held in my right hand while sleeping flat on my back. 

My eyes did not focus on the approaching forms in the darkness nearly as quickly as my fears demanded, and when my pupils did adjust somewhat, I could only see vague shapes in the blackness, and to my discomfort, I suddenly saw the whites of four eyes, and then made out the scruffy mustaches and rodent-like movements of the two attackers crawling commando style towards me in the uncut and weedy grass of the children's park. 

The two attackers were only about 12 feet from me and seemed very confident of their surprise element in a forthcoming assault on me, and they were hungry indeed for my travel bag, which i was using as an oversized but hard pillow. 

I gripped my knife with intent to kill, sprang like an army recruit doing a military sit-up going fast-forward, and sprang into an upright sitting attack ready position. I opened the knife with a swift and final sidewise slicing motion, swinging my right arm to lock in place the razor sharp jagged-edged knife blade, ready for immediate action. I was suddenly aware of any and all deadly blows that would be necessary to be delivered by me, without hesitation, should the need arise. 

This model of your Spyderco knives collection makes a lovely loud snapping CLICK noise, when it springs all the way forward into lock-and-battle mode, especially after having been sidewise whipped properly, as taught in training. 

The snap-and-click 'KLACK' of my Spyderco boomed like a sonic blast in the quiet of the night, and directly into the ears of my would be killers. When they saw the rage in my face and the glint of the open blade in the dim moonlight, their eyes bugged out of their heads like large golf balls. They showed me a kind of epileptic seizure condition resulting from their sudden shock, and then they fled in haste. My travel bag was still at my side, completely undisturbed. 

This allowed me to lay down my sleepy bedeviled head back onto my gear and to catch a little more shut eye before taking the train to Philly in a few hours to catch my cheap flight to Trabzon, Turkey, paid for by my old high school friend, now an airline pilot with employee's discounts. 

I was not going to try any longer the job market in USA and was bound for Turkey and its neighbor Georgia, to seek teaching and writing or editing work there instead. But this was not the highest moment of my Spyderco's faithfulness to me in moments of crisis! About that, I will try to tell you properly in my next tale.

For ‘Jumping Ship in Batumi’, part two in this Spyderco series, click here….