It wasn't until I was back inside and my nerves stopped humming and lowered their frequency to a very unsettled rattle that I thought about this: Never bring a baseball bat to a gun fight. Happily, there were no guns, but while I was out in the street, it hadn't occurred to me that the teen aged hooligans I was confronting might be packing something a little more technologically advanced than my Louisville Slugger. To my post-traumatic relief, they were armed with pockets full of rocks and incredibly foul and sadly redundant mouths.
It was the rocks that got me up off my chair in the first place. I heard our dog yelp and then a thud. She skittered in the front door as I got there, and I saw four young toughs laughing heartily at their little prank. That's when the barrage of filth started. They were every bit as ugly and disrespectful to my wife who opened the window to try and reason with them. And that's when the cable that had been tethering my patience snapped. Stolen car. Burglarized house. Now someone was throwing rocks at my dog.
I remembered exactly where the bat was from the night of our break-in. I was out on the front porch and down the steps before I ever thought of putting on shoes. This had the effect of moving the creeps down the street. When I went outside the gate, they turned around to yell back at me. "Just keep moving," I growled.
They did, but that didn't keep them from hurling rocks and epithets. I didn't think to try and knock any of their missiles back at them, nor did it occur to me just what kind of cranky old man I must have appeared. That came afterward, when my wife congratulated/admonished me for "getting all Clint Eastwood on those kids."
I guess I should be relieved that I haven't as yet been reduced to shouting at empty chairs.