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Slap me once, get hit by a crowbar

Dear friend,

It’s a cliché I know, but a funny thing really did happen to me on the way into the office this morning.

Actually it wasn’t particularly funny.

I was riding my bicycle in London’s seething West End, where our offices are located and had to stop at a red light.

Leaning against the traffic light was a dodgy looking character watching shiftily from left to right.

I was stopped near the kerb, about two yards from him.

He stepped towards me — I expected the usual request for some spare change, or the story about being £5 short for his train fare home.

When — smack! He lands a left hook on the side of my head and is off.

“What the hell was that?” I thought and turned around to see the man striding down the street behind me, barging and pushing people out of his way.

Soon he was in a dispute with a far tougher customer than me.

A wiry delivery guy was squared up to him and they were shouting frenetically.

Suddenly the little delivery guy dashes off to his van and reappears with a crowbar.

I winced as the little wiry guy whacked my attacker hard in the midriff with the weapon.

He calmly went back to his van, got in and drove off. My attacker melted away into a Chinatown backstreet.

The cops arrived and started taking a statement from me.

We got to the part about the description of my attacker when my assailant made life easy for everyone and suddenly reappeared, having doubled back on himself and revisited the scene.

He was detained.

“Would you like to press charges sir?” asked the policewoman.

I thought for a minute. The guy only slapped me, and he was obviously a drug user or severely mentally disturbed, or both.

And the guy had also just been assailed in the midriff with an iron bar. I was starting to feel a little sorry for him. He’d probably had enough justice for one day.

But then I overheard him say:

“I never hit no-one” in that defiant tone so beloved of cockney criminals in cheap cop shows. It made up my mind – the dastardly lying cheek of the man!

“Yes, I’ll be happy to press charges, officer”.

Bizarrely, he started crying like a baby as they led him away, poor fool.

What to make of it?

It’s a risky world out there — and you never know where your next slap is coming from. When you assume risk, you can never be quite sure of the consequences.

Sometimes you probably deserve it, other times you don’t. Either way it still hurts

Moral of the story 1:
Make sure you know what you’re getting into when you randomly hit someone. You may have mean fists, but they might be a wizard with a crowbar!

Moral 2: Never lie to your editor!

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