Mugging A Mugger

I was living in Odessa, TX, my hometown, at the time. I had been going through some rough times and had stayed early into the morning talking things out with a friend at his apartment. When I left, I stopped by a gas station to pick up some oil for my old beat-up Toyota, which seemed to hemorrhage the stuff. I parked, and before I could get out of my truck, a man approached. I kept my windows down to cool me off in the desert heat, and he leaned against the driver's side window frame. He was big. He probably had a lean sixty-five pounds on me at least, and he dressed in the dirty demin outfit of a roughneck, what we called oil field workers. A mustache curled around the corners of his mouth to his jawline. He said that his brother had been beaten up in a local club, and could I spare some money for a cab to the hospital? I had heard the line before. Panhandling isn't too common in Odessa, but it's common enough that you pick up on these familiar stories. Normally, I'd give someone a dollar and wish them well. But when I dug out my wallet, I realized I only had three twenties. I told him that I was sorry, I couldn't help him, and I set my wallet in the passenger seat. He continued to plead with me for money for an uncomfortable amount of time while leaning on the window. I was basically stuck inside, and the only thing I could do was turn him down.

Finally, he snapped.

"If you won't give me the money, I'll take it!". It was then that he reached through my window, across my lap, and tried to snatch my wallet. Without thinking, I batted my wallet into the passenger side floorboard, at which point, HE PROCEDES TO CRAWL INTO THE CAB OF THE TRUCK. I struggle with him. His big body has me pinned to the driver's seat and I realize that he is going to get my wallet. Now, in the southwest, oversized men's wallets that stick halfway out the pocket are popular, and as I look at his body sprawled belly-down over my lap, I see one of these wallets sticking out of his back pocket. So I make my move and take HIS wallet! We struggle some more in the cab and finally end up falling out of the passenger side door.

"Give me my wallet!" he yells at me.

"You give me my wallet!" I yell at him.

Suddenly, a car screeches from around the corner of the gas station and a woman jumps out and starts yelling. I realize she's yelling at me.

"Leave him alone!" she yells at me.

"He stole my wallet!" I yell at her.

It's at this point I run inside the gas station, with the man in hot pusuit.

"Call the cops! This guy stole my wallet!" I say as I enter.

"He stole MY wallet!" says the man as he enters.

There are two employees working at the time, and one gets between me and the mugger while the other one calls the police. Realizing he needed to get out of there, the man opens my wallet, takes one of the three twenties inside, and hands it back to me. He then runs out of the gas station, jumps in the car with the woman, and they drive off.

I still have his wallet.

When the police arrive, I give them the wallet. They take out the man's driver's license and send a car to the address on it.

The man and the woman are there.

A cop at the scene says they probably would have never caught them otherwise.

They take me to the suspects apartment and have me identify them from the back of the squad car while they shine a spotlight in their faces. Their apartment is on a street that I drive down on a regular basis, and for awhile afterward a wave of anger washes over me everytime I pass by. I try to remember which car is theirs, but I can't quite remember. I have fantasies about vandalizing cars in their apartment complex that I imagine were the one's there that night.

I never get that twenty dollars back.

In time, my anger fades. Now, if you ask me, I'd say it was worth twenty dollars when, at a party or with friends, someone relates a story about being robbed, and I get to tell them about the time I mugged a mugger.