Was I about to be shot, possibly murdered, by some crazy on a busy street in the middle of the afternoon? I felt it could really happen.


         I was walking home from the supermarket, a bag of groceries in each hand, when I felt an arm snake around my shoulders. My accoster, his left hand gripped my shoulder while his right was in his pocket holding a gun, so he claimed.


         What to do? This never happened to me before. It’s strange what can run through a person’s mind in a surrealistic situation like that. What came to my mind in a flash of the moment was a Jack Benny sketch on his radio show years earlier. Benny’s character was that of a cheap skate. He was confronted by a holdup man who shouted, “Your money or your life!” There is a long silence. Again, “Your money or your life!” Another, long silence. The holdup man shouts, “WELL?” Jack Benny replies in a strained voice, “I’m thinking! I’m thinking!”


         What to do? This was not a comedy sketch. My mind adjusted to the situation. This was for real! Mine was a Bobby Joe reaction (I will explain in a moment.). I heard myself saying, while I studied his pocketed hand with his claim to a gun, “What did you say?” (A brilliant response to a possible life and death situation.) I lowered my grocery bags to the sidewalk.


         He repeated himself; “I’ve got a gun in my pocket! Gimme your wallet!” All the time my eyes were on the hand in the pocket with the gun claim.


         “You don’t have a gun!” I shouted, pulling away from his grip on my shoulders. I must have held my breath as he pulled his hand from his pocket without a gun being held in it.


         I am not James Bond! I am, however, Bobby Joe (at times). Bobby Joe is my alter ego, that part of me that I keep under control to avoid unpleasant situations. I might add, there is a little Bobby Joe in all of us. We are that nice, pleasant person until someone takes advantage us and then—we explode. It was Bobby Joe that reacted to the no gun situation. He ran!


         There are times, long after that encounter when I think, suppose I was wrong. Suppose there really was a gun in his pocket. I dismiss those thoughts out of hand. I just can’t surrender to a situation like that as well as a few others I have encountered. There is no way that Bobby Joe will not be there for me when I need him.


Bob Flicker




 © robert 2014