In Seattle we played two shows, both were fun for different reasons. We liked the DIY space of the bicycle shop, and of course The Can Can was great because we were playing with members of Circus Contraption (love!)
On Monday morning I went to a coffee shop and ended up chatting with the girl who worked there who had had her purse stolen that morning by a customer. Later that day we heard about the local philly cheese steak sandwich shop which had just closed down because someone had walked in with a gun and blown the owners away - driving by we saw the bullet holes. We heard gun shots in the neighborhood and were told of a 58 year old man who'd been murdered just last week. And then...
We were just a block from our home at 2:30 in the morning after our Monday night show when I spotted something bad happening on the sidewalk. I stopped the van and backed up to where I had seen a man hovering over a cowering figure. I couldn't see much because of our tinted windows. Dakota and Zoe were wondering why I stopped.
"Something is going on there." I said. And then Zoe screamed,
"Go! Go! Go!" With visions of gun toting maniacs in my head I hit the gas until Zoe screamed, "Stop!"
The van bounced to a halt and a terrified woman with wide eyes flung herself onto the van, she lifted her body and clung to the side view mirror and screamed, "Drive!"
I hit the gas. We careened down bumpy neighborhood streets, Dakota and Zoe afraid the woman was going to fall screamed for me to stop, but the woman was urging me to drive on and since she was the only one who really knew what we were running from I decided to listen to her.
"She's got a good grip," I said, "She'll be ok."
After we made it to a major street and it was clear the man was no longer chasing us we stopped to open the side door and take on our new passenger. The woman collapsed onto Zoe's lap and started to cry so hard she couldn't breathe. Zoe soothed her and told her she was ok and we were taking her far from that place.
I drove us to the police station.
We got a little bit of a fractured story about an ex boyfriend who just got out of jail and forced her into his car, beating her (and more) and taking her phone and her wallet. The talk was intense, emotional, she cried and shook. We sat with her until she was composed enough to make a phone call with Zoe's phone. I glanced into the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of my stage makeup still on my face - moustache and all.
While the woman stood outside smoking and talking on the phone a car pulled up with two men who tried to pick her up. She explained to them (unnecessarily, I thought) what was going on. "I don't care," one said, "You're just hot." They looked back at the van where we watched in horror and fascination. One man pointed to us and said, "Who are those motherfuckers?"
I turned to Dakota and asked, "Are we motherfuckers?"
Dakota nodded seriously and replied softly in a maternal tone, "Yes, I think we're motherfuckers."
Keep in mind we were parked right in front of the police station.
Our story with our passenger ends there. She declined our help and didn't want us to go into the station with her. We gave her our phone numbers in case she needed us as witnesses and told her to call us to tell us how everything had turned out, but we never heard.
When I tell people I want to move to New Orleans they always ask about the crime rate. I live in Oakland - ranked fourth in the most dangerous US cities to live in. I've been mugged at gunpoint outside my house, my sister had a gun pulled on her just recently. But from now on when people cite the crime rate in New Orleans I'll have to say,
"I can handle it, I've been to Seattle."
This is what a super hero looks like (when that super hero is me.)