Friday, April 24, 2009

The Robbery on East Fourth

It was a warm May day in 1978; we were all sitting on Freddie’s front stoop talking about anything and everything. Suddenly someone noticed a guy walking out of Glenn Gruder’s house with a ten-speed bike. He carried it down the stairs and started walking it alongside of him on the sidewalk towards Beverley Road.

He must have been right in front of
Cookie’s house when someone said:

“Hey Gruder, isn’t that your bike?”

Glenn squinted with his eyes like he always did, because glasses were beneath him and he probably didn’t clean his contacts.

“No, that’s not my fucking bike you asshole”

“Hey, Gruder, I really think that’s your bike
because the dude just came out of your house.

Glenn squinted again, his dark eyebrows were almost
meeting and looked like two caterpillars ready to kiss.

“Holy Shitttttttt, that is my fucking bike!!!!!!”

“Hey you stop!”
“That’s my bike!”

Glen raced across the street to confront
the guy just strolling away with his bike.

While Glenn was walking alongside of him trying to get his bike, the guy suddenly whispered something to Glenn as he simultaneously put his hand inside the breast pocket of his jacket.

Before we knew it Glenn ran away as fast as he could and hid
behind the massive chrome bumper of a Plymouth Fury.
Crouching on the ground he just sat there frozen until the
guy was almost to Beverley Road.

Once he turned the corner Glenn got up and walked
back to everyone sitting on Freddie's front stoop.

Glenn sat down alongside of us all looking dejected.

“Hey Gruder, what happened?” someone said

“He said he had a gun you assholes,”
“What did you expect me to do
get shot over a bike?

“Oh well fuck it, it’s just a bike.” someone said.

Glenn put his head down staring at the
worn red bricks of Freddie's front stoop.

There was little we could do to console him.

"You know what Glenn, thirty years from now
we'll all just think about this day and laugh
including you"

And you know what, it's thirty
years later and I guess it's true.
Because I know Glenn's reading
this and laughing too.

Ron Lopez


William said...

Getting your bike stolen in brookln was like a fact of life, I remember when I was around 10, I was riding my bike in the vacant lot where J&L Garden center is now, and these two kids that were around 16 asked me if they could take a ride on my bike, so the nieve 10 year old says go ahead. A half hour later it dawned on me that they werent coming back. My brother and his friends caught up to them later that day and I watched as they beat the shit outta these guys for about forty five minutes. I got the bike back too. Will

Pete said...

Will - You were fortunate - my bike was stolen after someone saw me put it in my garage - and they popped the lock when I went in for lunch. One other time when I was 15 or so in Prospect Park a gang saw me riding my bike and they called to me like they wanted to ask a question - but I could see the knife in one guy's hand so I took off cross-country (on a ten speed "English Racer" as we used to call it) - they ran after me for a little while but I got away - with my bike - that was the last time I rode in the park...