Blodgett sat under the low lamp light with his arm over the back of the park bench. When passersby came near he would feign sleep. One older gentleman came over to him.
“Excuse me marine. You shouldn’t fall asleep here. The cops or a mugger will get on your case. You could be robbed.”
Blodgett opened his eyes. “How often do the cops come by?”
“Not often. But the muggers could come upon you quick like. They usually pass you by once, turn back and either whack you in the head or hold you up at knife point. There are more of them than cops.”
“Thanks for the information. I’ll be all right.” Blodgett smiled as the old man departed.
Twenty-minutes later a man came walking toward the bench. He wore a hoody sweatshirt enshrouding his face. His hands were in his pockets. He walked slowly by the sleeping marine looking sideways at him and kept going.
Five-minutes later he came back and stopped in front of Blodgett. He looked up and down the walkway and took out a snub-nosed revolver. “Hey. Hey you–marine. Wake up.” He kicked Blodgett on his calf with his dirty sneaker.
Blodgett responded with slow drowsy words, “Wha…what do you want?”
“Just the money in your wallet man. You can keep the wallet and your life. Be quick about it. He kicked Blodgett on the calf again.
The kick was a mistake. Blodgett grabbed the mugger’s leg and stood up causing the man to fall on his back. Blodgett snatched the gun from his hand and wacked him across the face with it. The man’s broken nose bled profusely.
“You like to kick do you? Well here’s one for you.” Blodgett connected a swift hard blow to the mugger’s chest with his right foot and could feel the crack of at least two ribs.
“Ow. My nose you broke my nose. He got up holding both hands to the bright red bloody face. “My chest hurts. You have to take me to the hospital.”
“If you don’t get out of here right now, I’ll send you to the hospital in an ambulance unconscious.” Blodgett grabbed him by his front collar maintaining distance from any blood spatter. He pushed him away and laughed at the mugger’s unsteady running gait.
Haynes and Nodge emerged from the bushes.
“Well done marine. It’s my turn now. Give me the bottle of booze.” Nodge reached for the pint of scotch.
“It’s kind of bloody. I made the mistake of grabbing the front of his sweatshirt after I broke his nose. Who has the towel and what do I do with the gun?”
Haynes handed him a towel they had brought along with some first aid items. “Wipe the gun down and ditch it in the bushes after chucking the cartridges. You can go to jail in New York for having one of those regardless of the circumstances.”
Nodge changed places and slumped on the park bench holding the pint of scotch in plain view for a likely candidate. Almost 35-minutes passed before three young black teenagers slowed down in front of him. They each wore black motorcycle jackets, dark jeans and black engineer boots.
“Hey, solja. What you doin’ man?”
Nodge looked at the spokesperson. “I’m just spendin’ my leave money. Wanta drink? It’s good scotsch.” His slurring and his money statement was the bait.
“You all alone here man? You should be someplace else. We’ll help ya get outta here.” The large black youth grabbed Nodge under his left arm.
“I’ll hold your bottle.” The second one took the scotch away.
“And I’ll take your wallet.” The third pulled out a switchblade stiletto.
Nodge was now held up by two of the leather jackets who each had both their arms under one of his. Nodge feigned unsteadiness until he was fully standing. “Whaddya mean you take my wallet.”
“You wanna get stuck with this?” The third leather jacket made a threatening thrust.
Nodge bent forward flipping both gang members up in the air and propelling them into the third. Unfortunately one of the youths was impaled by his own switchblade.
The self-stabbed youth pulled the knife from his abdomen. “Oh God. I have to get to the hospital.” He held onto the spreading red wetness on his sweatshirt.
His other two conspirators ignored him and went after Nodge again–both with knives drawn. They tried to maneuver a one-in-front and one-in back approach but Nodge moved with his back to a tree. Both would have to assault him from the front.
The one to Nodge’s right held a 6-inch blade hunting knife and the one to his left clutched a stiletto similar to the bleeding mugger pressing a bloody handkerchief to his belly on the ground. They were maneuvering to have Nodge’s back against the tree with one of them on each side of him. Suddenly Blodgett shouted, “I’ll take the one on your left.”
Nodge faced the knife wielder on his right without saying a word to acknowledge Blodgett. “You want to stick yourself like your friend or do you want me to take away your blade and carve my name on your head?”
The man with the hunting knife looked to check his partner. “Clarence. Where you at man?”
The seconds for the sideways glance was all Nodge needed. He grabbed the man’s wrist with the hunting knife with both hands and twisted it over his shoulder to cause the mugger to be lifted off the ground, summersault in the air, and land on his back. Nodge placed both feet on the man’s wrist and took the knife away. “I could use this in the bush in Laos.” Nodge turned to look for Blodgett.
“Over here.” Blodgett had his young Central Park warrior immobilized with the man’s jacket sequestering his arms with the back of the jacket and the sleeves half-way pulled down. He was using the stiletto to filet the clothes to strips of cloth.” You move one muscle and this blade of yours will cut your skin. If you stay perfectly still only your clothes will get sliced.”
“Oh man, you crazy.” The youth remained rigid and immobile as Blodgett now worked on the man’s trousers and when he was done the mugger’s clothes looked like the product of a paper shredder. “You two take your friend to the hospital. Next time you come into Central Park everyone will be looking for you unless you end up in jail after tonight.”
The two young criminals took their comrade holding him up on each arm. The stabbed mugger only moaned. “I’m goin’ ta die. I’m goin’ ta die.”
The three marines watched the sorry lot disappear into the night. Nodge turned to Blodgett. “I could’ve taken those two. You didn’t have to interfere.”
“One from each side with a pig-sticker knife? I don’t think so. Anyway there’ll be others.” He looked at Haynes. “It’s your turn now. We’ll be in the bushes.”
“What’ll we do with the knives?” Nodge looked at the large hunting blade.
“We have to ditch all the weapons after we wipe our fingerprints off. Those crooks are bound to tell the police they were attacked by some marines in uniform.”
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