Nearly Robbed in Bushwick

Many years ago, I lived in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. I was on my way home from my job in Manhattan late one evening. It was at least half past midnight. I wanted to save some time by depositing my paycheck along the way, so I took the L train instead of my usual route on the J line.

When I got off the L train, I conducted my business at the bank's ATM. I didn't make any withdrawals, and I didn't have any cash on me, nor anything else of value - just some leftover food in my backpack. I knew my neighborhood's reputation, and made it a point to never carry cash whenever possible.

I then started to make my way home, which was about five or six long blocks away. About halfway to my place, I noticed two men behind me, about fifteen feet away. I didn't think anything of it at first, since there are usually still a few people around at that time. I heard a commotion in the parking area behind one of the housing developments, but ignored it as I usually do for such things. But at this point I noticed that they had gradually gotten closer to me.

I overheard them talking to each other. One of them said: "They're fighting between the buildings..." I assumed he was referring to the commotion I had just heard. I then noticed a police car slowly driving by, then the other one tersely whispered: "The cops..!" But the police car continued on its way. By now, I was getting suspicious that I was being followed. Why haven't they walked past me already?

I was finally two blocks away from my place. But, the two men were now even closer to me - about a foot away to be exact. As I turned the corner towards my block, I decided to perform a little "test" to see if they were really following me. After all, they were two young black men, and I didn't want to jump to any premature conclusions. My "test" was crossing the street in an unusual manner - walking diagonally in the street from one corner to the other one down the block.

They continued to keep their positions behind me. At that point they were almost on either side of me. I half turned my head to each direction to see their faces - cold, emotionless expressions, both of them. I pretty much knew then what they were up to - they were obviously looking to rob me. I was scared, but I had to take control of the situation somehow. I didn't know what to do, so...

I stopped. I stopped walking right in the middle of the street. I was standing still, and waiting for them to make a move.


They, seemingly surprised and uncomfortable, stiffly continued walking past me - then the guy on my left started reaching behind his back, fumbling at his waistband.

He had to be reaching for a gun. I thought to myself, "If I see a gun, I have to do something. My best chance would be to..."

But then the guy hesitated, and stopped fumbling at his waistband. They slowly continued walking straight ahead. Only after they were about a block or so away did I continue walking. I turned the final corner onto my block, feeling somewhat relieved.

As I was nearing my place, I quickly looked back - and noticed that the two men had doubled back and were continuing to follow me. My anxiety returned. I thought that they might start running after me, but they didn't.

By now, I was finally in front of my place. I went inside, peeked out the window, and saw them walk by. I contemplated calling the police, but since no crime actually took place, it would probably be a waste of time. I think that the suspicious behavior would be probable cause for searching the thugs' persons at best. Oh, well.

At least I was safe.

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