A Left. . .And a Right

Have you ever seen a fight?

I don’t mean on TV or the movies. Or reading about one in a book.

I mean an honest-to-goodness fistfight.

On Sunday, Mom and I were heading home after grocery shopping when we got stopped by a red light. We were in the right lane and, as usual, I was checking the rear view mirror, making sure nobody was getting too close to my bumper.

Suddenly, I noticed a car pull into the far left turning lane and come to a stop. A young man emerged from the passenger side door and started walking toward the car behind him.

Another young man got out of that car, and they started beating on each other.

Right in the middle of the street, less than two blocks from the police station!

Seconds later, they were rolling on the concrete, fists flailing.

Cars swerved to avoid them. People gaped and stared.

Just as a third young man got out to join the skirmish, the light changed to green.

And, as I was first in the queue, I had to drive off.

But I did so slowly and kept watching, fearing the worst.

Someone could’ve had a gun. Or a knife.

Someone could’ve gotten hurt. Or killed.

And it wasn’t fake. It was fisticuffs.

Still, while my human heart was horrified at the sight of this slugfest, my writer’s brain was ecstatic.

I write mysteries, and some things a writer can’t — or won’t — experience for themselves.

Yet readers deserve accuracy. Gripping scenes that put them in the middle of the action.

I’ve often wondered what a fistfight would look like.

Now I know.

I just hope all those kids are okay.

26 thoughts on “A Left. . .And a Right

  1. Wow that was exciting! Maybe there will be something in the local paper! I started a fistfight between a cab driver that littered and another car. Being from Texas I always consider that someone might have a gun. I did not stick around and watch the fight—I kind of wanted to tho. Truthfully, I wanted to beat the crap out of litterer myself. Jack ass. When I first moved to Chicago I saw a man shoot another man outside a bar while I was at a light. That was awful. I dialed 911 and took off. The police were not far behind the scene. I did not have to testify. It was an open and shut case.
    Fistfight between men are kind of cool. Glad you had a safe experience.

    • I lived down south long enough to worry about the gun thing, too. Your stories were much more interesting — litterers, shootings? Dialing 911 and vanishing sounds like an excellent idea! I’ll check the paper tomorrow, but it happened so fast that I doubt it was worth newsprint (unless, of course, someone pressed charges). I hate littering, too, but I’m glad you refrained from getting involved then!

  2. Good golly. I would have been the one who jumped out of the car and yelled “hey–break it up!”. Or maybe not. I have not seen a fight like that or anything like Katybeth and I have to admit—-I would make a horrible witness. The one time I was asked to describe someone who had come into my office for help (who later committed a crime) I was horrible at identifying and describing. 😦

    • After all those years in journalism, I thought of myself as an excellent witness and judge of character. Still, in this case, I failed to see who threw the first punch, nor could I pick any of them out in a lineup if I had to! I can totally sympathize with you being a horrible witness!!

  3. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve seen an actual fistfight since my school days. It always made me nervous to hear or see those commotions. Glad I didn’t come upon that scene.

    • I know what you mean, Suzi. Violence still unnerves me (even though I write about crimes and such!). Fortunately, the windows were up, so we didn’t have to hear the actual blows and grunts, ha!

  4. Yes, Debbie, I have witnessed a fistfight. In fact, several. One of them was actually in the store I work, when some man took a parking space that a group of young boys were waiting for. They actually got out of the car, followed him into the store, and then proceeded to beat him up right there on the sales floor. And they just didn’t beat him up with their fists, they kicked him severely. Store security had to come out and pull the kids off him because it was that bad.

    VERY scary.

    Have a super week, my friend!

    • Okay, then, Ron, now I know who to run to when I need descriptions of things like fistfights (for my novels, of course!)
      My word, kids actually beat and kicked a man in a store? What were they thinking? Was a parking space so important that they had to attack another human when they didn’t get it? Was it Christmastime by any chance (not that it matters, just that that would make it that much worse).
      Thanks for sharing — hope your weekend was wonderful!

  5. How awful for those involved, but if it was going to happen anyway, I’m glad you’re writing could benefit from witnessing this scene. I’m not in a hurry to witness a real punch in the face, but I always wonder, when I see punches on t.v. or in the movies, if they actually sound the way they do onscreen.

    • I didn’t actually HEAR the fight, Terri, so I can’t answer that question for you. It looked pretty brutal to me, but then violence is something that makes me shudder. I kind of wish I knew what provoked the thing, though. I mean, the first guy out of the car didn’t look livid or anything, and the second one probably should’ve *stayed* inside rather than hopping out.

  6. Deb…where’s your sense of nosiness? Girl I would have pulled over to the side of the road and got my camera rolling!!!! LOL!

    I just had a fight in my own house with two relatives fist fighting…women. I tried to step in to stop them…and that wasn’t a good idea. Ouch! Never do that. After that…my whole body was shaking from the stress of it all. It was not a good feeling and I’m too old for that kind of stuff. My nerves can’t take that!!! What nerves I did have…raising 6+ kids took that away…you know…my last nerve!!!

    Once I saw a man and women arguing in the parking lot and I hung aground until they stopping… with my phone ready to call if more happened. Another man walked up to them though and asked the woman if everything was all right.

    We must be ready to do something in these cases but being wise in what we decide to do because it could be very dangerous. I’m glad you’re OK!

    • Tanya, you see what happened when you intervened. Even our best intentions can sometimes be misconstrued, and the fighters can turn their anger at *us.* It’s like that when someone is drowning — they’re so frightened, they grab their rescuer and try to pull them down, too.
      No way was I going to get in the middle of that! And there really wasn’t any place I could pull over to either phone for help or start taking video. I think everybody in the area was just as afraid as I was. Thankfully, it didn’t last long (unless they took their disagreement elsewhere!)

    • Kathy, thanks so much for the link — I’ve bookmarked it and am sure it will come in handy (hard to write mysteries without a fight scene or two!). Isn’t it “terrible” how we writers think first of our craft when we encounter something new? Part of me sure wanted to stick around and find out how that brawl ended, ha!

  7. Idiots. Seriously, what ever happened to talking it out (with words, preferably not profane) or letting it go? On the upside, glad you got some writing material. But think of how much more you’d have gotten had you intervened, or watched until the bitter end 🙂

    • The writer part of me *did* want to watch, Janna, but intervene? No way! Guess I value my face and don’t want it rearranged, ha! You’re right, of course. Talking it out would have made more sense, but I don’t imagine they even thought of that with their emotions so obviously stirred up!

  8. It’s so interesting to me that your first thought was of your writing. I’ve been sitting here thinking about it, and of all the things I’ve written about, I never think of writing about them while I’m experiencing them. It’s only later, as I sort through memories, that I begin to select and cull. That’s one reason I never carry a journal with me while I’m traveling. I have a tiny notebook where I’ll write down names and such that might be forgotten, but that’s it.

    As for the fights – nope, I’ve never seen one. I’ve been mugged, and I’ve punched a guy, but that’s it. Shortly after I moved to Houston, I stopped at a yellow light, and a guy behind me got out of his pickup, came up to my window and explained that if I kept doing that, eventually I’d really hack someone off. Off course, he also suggested I get my Texas plates pronto, and that I ditch the “I Love NY” bumper sticker. 😉

    • You’ve been mugged?? Oh, wow, now that’s interesting from my writer’s point of view. If I ever have to describe a mugging, would you mind letting me interview you?

      I had to laugh at your description of moving to Houston and the guy’s suggestion to switch license plates. Yep, they’re definitely proud of being Texans down there, and they don’t much cotton to outsiders who won’t fit in. I always liked seeing the bumper stickers saying, Drive 70 and freeze a Yankee. Now we ALL drive 75 and this winter, we were ALL freezing!!

    • HeeHee, I wish I knew! Something tells me it was probably over a ridiculous hand gesture one driver gave the other, but I didn’t stick around long enough to find out, especially when BOTH of them started rolling around in the middle of the street!!

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