“Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked…”

Disturbingly factual.

Disturbingly factual.

Seriously…Saturday night, all I wanted was some sushi, and some various grilled items on skewers, at a restaurant nearby called the Backhouse. I went with two friends, one of whom was having a birthday, and in short order we were seated at a small table looking out the window at Pico Boulevard.

We hadn’t gotten much food at all before to figures came running from the West side of the street, where the Wellesbourne is located. That’s a decently cool pub, incidentally, except for after a certain hour, it only lets in people who are far trendier than me. one of the figures fell to the pavement, right outside the window, and the other person descended on her. At first it seemed like they might be drunk, or just playful.

The three smacks of the one person’s head against the pavement by the other disabused me of that notion.

Seventeen years of breaking up Public School fights had me out of my seat and out the door pretty much instantly. Thankfully, one of my friends, also a public educator, fell in right behind me. Quickly, we separated the two, and my third friend called emergency services. A huge number of people watched. A few tried to “help”, but vanished into the wind like ghosts the second the authorities arrived. The victim refused medical attention multiple times, and had a head injury that I can only describe as impressive. The assailant, the victim’s spouse, booked it eastward again the instant that she realized that the authorities were en route, and was picked up a block away.

A good amount of my night was spent making statements to law enforcement, which kept interrupting my dinner. I kept checking to make sure things were going as well as they could, but short of separating the combatants and keeping people safe, there’s not much that you CAN do.

I was most frustrated by my fellow humans. They all wanted to know what happened, and several of them took pictures or shot video with their phones. A few called 911. Almost no one got up to help, and of the few “helpers”…all disappeared into the night when it might become relevant to “be involved.” is this the society that we are constructing?

Every single one of those people would have wanted a helping hand in an extreme situation…but few, if any, were willing to do anything about it, to be responsible. What kind of people are we, if that is our basic fallback, not getting involved? What does it really say about our society? I’ve been pretty cranky about it since it happened, Saturday night. I don’t know how things went for the victim, and might never know. The only things that I do know are that her abuser was taken into custody, at least temporarily, and that for the time that we could see her, she was okay. Badly injured, but okay.

It used to be I dealt with this sort of thing literally all the time at school. This school year has been calm…quiet. This made this sort of thing an Event. More so because it was right here in my neighborhood, which I usually think of as a kind of Sanctuary from that kind of craziness. I talked to a freind of mine on scene, who manages the Wellesbourne, and apparently the conflict started there, and became a sort of running issue until it dropped almost directly into my dinner table. I don’t usually see this sort of thing outside of the public school environment, so it was odd.

I still walked directly into it, the way I always do. It has to do with having been educated, in terms of values, through comic books…I just can’t stand to see anyone get hurt. You separate the people, you protect them. You don’t let anyone get hurt, if you can help it. That’s what I understand. It’s partially why films like Batman v. Superman don’t make sense to me, and I didn’t see it. Why would Batman and Superman fight, if all they really want to do is be sure that no one gets hurt, on their watch. If you get away from that idea, you get away from the point.

I’m pretty glad my day job has taken me away from having to do this kind of thing, day to day. I had gotten so used to it, after a time, that I had really forgotten the mental strain and responsibility that it is. You can adjust to anything, and I had been teaching in a place where ambulances were on campus so often, that they idea of a medical evacuation had become ordinary to me. The feeling of separating combatants, giving first aid, and then watching the sirens drive off, hoping it all worked out…that became normal. Being apart from it for almost a year now…brought back the impact, and responsibility.

Also…if the victim is okay…in all probability, she is going to both not press charges, and resume her relationship with the assailant. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about that–it’s a harsh reality of this kind of situation. My friend and I may have saved a life on Saturday, to have something awful happen again in the near future. We can hope that they separate…but even last night, it didn’t seem in the cards.

Cop shows and superhero media never talk about that. When the incident is over, those characters move out of the narrative, and are almost never returned to. The realities, as they pertain to the protagonist of such stories, don’t matter. The good deed has been done, it is time to move on. Maybe the preponderance of such narratives is partially responsible for the lack of foresight in our society, I don’t know.

Pre-digital text balloons.

Pre-digital text balloons.

The art is pretty straightforward. An unexpected battle with a Laser Gorgon, hissing and shooting eyebeams, when all that the protagonist wanted was some @#$%ing sushi. I went with a Laser Gorgon because I wanted to stick with the Edu-Mountain setting, and have something scary and threatening. Also, something surprising, unexpected, and clearly a Hater. It also needed to be feminine but monstrous, since the assailant was both of those things.

And hence, the Laser Gorgon. I considered “Laser Medusa,” but felt that Gorgon was more on point…perhaps from the amount of Magic: The Gathering I have been playing.

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