We’re back to hypotheticals with longish storytelling OPs. If you don’t like these, why’d you open the thread?
Today’s story is about Edmund, a black man in his mid-30s living in Memphis. There’s four things you need to know about him.
[li]Edmund spent ten years in the Marines, during much of which he was an instructor in hand-to-hand combat; after that he spent a couple of years as a cop; and now he owns his own business teaching self-defense. He’s in extremely good physical shape and sometimes competes in MMA competitions, at which he’s undefeated. He doesn’t talk about his skill, but it is fact, not brag, that he can take the vast, vast majority of adults in a fight.[/li][li]He’s a father raising his 8-year-old son, Paul, all by his lonesome. They are very close, as one might hope given that Edmund has no living parents, siblings cousins, or whatnot. Edmund sometimes worries that Paul has too romantic a view of his skills; he often cautions him that violence is not the solution to every problem, though by the same token he tells him not to let himself be pushed around by bullies, and all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.[/li][li]Edmund just had a birthday, for which Paul gave him a garish-but-warm pair of gloves and matching hat. That morning Paul asked him if he were going to wear his presents; Edmund grinned, said of course, and shoved the more equally-warm but more-restrained gloves & hat he had been to put on into his coat pocket.[/li][li]His car has been in the shop since Wednesday. He got a call at noon saying it was ready to pick up whenever he felt like it; he’s planning to do so the next morning.[/li][/ol]
That last one matters because it’s a very cold Friday in Memphis, and Edmund had to take Paul to school on the bus and pick him up the same way, which has involved two transfers both ways. In the morning, at the first transfer point, they saw a fairly large fellow Edmund quickly sized up as an idiot. It was 35 degrees and not only was the Ninnyhammer without coat, hat, and gloves, he was declaiming that he didn’t need them, as it wasn’t really cold and anyone who said otherwise was an sissy. By that afternoon it was fifteen degrees, and the Ninnyhammer–again at the same transfer point–was still dressed as he was that morning, but no longer blustering about his toughness. Edmund and Paul are sitting several yards away from the Ninnyhammer when he hears the following.
“You there–what’s your name?” the Ninnyhammer says to the appropriately-dressed guy he’s standing next to.
“Um, it’s DeShawn,” the guy says.
“Hey, DeShawn, nice to meet you. I’m Andre. You wanna be friends?”
“Um, I guess.”
“Good,” Andre says. “Gimme your hat.”
“What?” DeShawn says.
Out of nowhere, Andre slaps DeShawn hard enough to send him reeling back, in the process knocking the hat to the ground.
“I said gimme your hat, fool,” Andre says. “Pick it up and give it to me. Your gloves too. And quick, or I’ll kick your ass.”
By this time, without thinking about it, Edmund has stood up. More consciously he tells Paul to stay seated. A few quick steps take to within arm’s reach; the latter, clearly terrified, kneeling and reaching for his hat. There are no police officers in sight. The other people at the bus stop are all standing clear.
“Hey, Andre,” Edmund says.
Andre turns around. “What you want, punk? You want a piece of this?”
Now, as implied above, Ed has a lot of experience dealing with thugs. Everything about Andre–his stance, the beer on his breath, his tight clothes–tells him the other man is neither armed nor a trained fighter; he is, Ed judges, the sort of bully who relies on sheer bulk and bluster to get what he wants. There’s no doubt in his mind that he can take him down in seconds. But he’s also acutely aware that Paul is behind him, watching. The bus isn’t due for at least fifteen minutes.
Now here are some possible courses of action for Edmund to do next:
(a) Say “Never mind,” go back to Paul, and walk to the nearest stop.
(b) Mollify Andre by offering the extra hat and gloves he has in his pocket.
© Let Andre take the hat & gloves DeShawn is about to hand over, then give DeShawn his extra hat & gloves.
(d) Try to use words to defuse the situation without any threat of violence, moving on to (a) or (b) if that doesn’t work.
(e) Try to defuse with the threat of violence, but not actually using it unless Andre turns tries to hit him.
(f) Kick Andre’s ass.
(g) Something else.
Which should Edmund choose?