So, in the late Seventies/early Eighties, there was This Thing, called “Punk Rock”. At that time, the aficionados of this genre of music favored spiky hair, boots, torn jeans, and what might be charitably be characterized as “a bad attitude”. Surprisingly, venues favorable to hosting this sort of entertainment, did not tend to run to the country club zip codes, rather, the neighborhoods seemed to be more of the druggies-in-the-alley-and-hookers-on-the-corner sort. That meant (ta-Daah!), Downtown Da City!
So one night, there we were, TINS ©, TIWFDASL ©, and I was working my schedule at Medic 17. For some reason, Da City had just gotten new ambulances, replacing the second generation of 100,000 mile relics from the Dark Ages. Medic 17 had been blessed with a new ride. Athos had just waxed the floor of the patient compartment, and Porthos and I had checked equipment, washed the exterior, and generally spiffed up our home for the next 12 hours. A couple of hours into the shift, half a dozen runs, nightfall, life was good.
So, having casually followed the news, more to laugh at just how many ways they could mis-report the runs that I myself had personally been on the scene for, I was aware that there was some sort of punk concert that evening. The details were hazy, but the location part of the story became clear as we caught a run to The Michigan Theatre, for an assault.
DBCPD at that time had a special detail colloquially called The Big Four, with three (huge!) plain-clothed officers, and one uniformed officer. This unit was special called to scenes where general jakiness suggested the need for reinforcements.
The Big Four was there, on the scene, as we arrived. The uniformed officer pointed out one sullen lad, who appeared to have been on the receiving end of one enthusiastically applied, Mark 1, Mod 0, butt whooping. The officer explained that Our New Friend had exited the show, along with his three friends,and had evidently determined that it would Be A Good Thing should they expectorate upon passing residents.
It appeared that these fine young specimens of enthusiastic youth had finally encountered The Wrong Resident upon whom to expectorate, for he had pasted Spitee Number One most vigorously. We invited the young gentleman to enter our ambulance, to assess him and offer him care.
Our New Friend sat upon the cot, and Porthos returned to the driver’s seat, while Athos and I saw to our patient. Athos began the litany of questions our trip sheet demanded, and sought the “History of Present Illness”. (ie, “what happened to you tonight?”). For some reason, he was not providing an abundance of details, and finally spat a collection of bloody glutenous mess onto the floor of the rig.
Athos handed him a wad of gauze, and invited him to “Wipe that up, eh?”. Mr. Spit appeared not to take it in the spirit in which it was intended, and drew back his right arm, balling the fist.
I was NOT about to watch this asshole punch my partner, and so, with my right hand, I released and unlimbered my heavy flash light, tensing up to hit a line drive with his left eyeball.
Then, inspiration struck. I really did not want to smack this joker (notwithstanding the fact that half-a-dozen police officers would in all likelihood establish in their notes that Mr. Spit had possessed these very same injuries prior to our arrival). Dunno where it came from, but I launched into some street theater.
I ducked beneath his right arm, placed my left hand on his right shoulder, and began to babble. “Noooo! Don’t be like that! We’re friendly little guys! Let’s be friends!”, followed by an idiot grin.
He looked at me, as if he had only now realized that I was crazy as hell, and had not recently taken my meds. I glanced at Athos, and he looked at me, similarly surprised, but looking a bit disappointed that he was gonna be deprived of the opportunity to thump a fool. I looked back at Mr. Spit, idiot grin still pasted large across my face, and waited for him to make a move that appeared to be a punch.
One of the officers became curious, long around this point in the performance, about what our hold up was, and poked his head into the rig. Seeing Mr. Spit with a balled up and drawn back fist, and me and my bat-sized flashlight coiled up for the right field fence, he determined that Our New Friend was not all that needful of medical attention, so much as a little continuing education on Proper Deportment When In The Ambulance. He grasped Mr. Spit’s collar, and, WHOOSH!, he was gone.
The next I saw of him, Our Friend was sprawled across the hood of a patrol car, and a Very Large Officer was whispering into his ear. While laying atop him. Didn’t look too comfortable.
The uniformed officer poked his head into our module, and we exchanged car designators, and he waved goodbye. “We have everything under control here. Your friend just refused care.”
Another night of saving lives, in Da City!