Somewhere in the back of my mind I sensed I might be walking into an ambush. But I also knew I had to face the five men at some point so I decided the sooner, the better.
Normally I would have come up the back stairs of the barracks as the door to my room was almost directly across the hallway from the second floor landing as it led into the barracks.
“Why give them the edge,” I thought.
Instead I entered the barracks from the front door, making certain to say hello to the Airman on Charge of Quarters duty. Then I turned right and walked down the long hallway of the first floor and stepped inside the stair well.
Having reached the second floor, I was now positioned at the farthest point I could attain from my room. I wanted to be able to stand back in the shadow of the opposite hallway and watch for any unusual activity.
Within minutes I say three of the five I had been avoiding, come walking down the hallway towards me, and the direction of my room. The three were living off base now and had no business being in the barracks.
The trio stood, talking in front of another of the five’s door. One of them knocked on the door and disappeared into the room. The other two turned and walked back into the dark end of the hallway.
It was at that moment that I noticed only the first two lights were operating. Somehow they had disabled the remainder, leaving my end of the hallway virtually in the dark and ripe for an ambush.
It had been less than two months since I had confronted the five men as they rushed me at my house trailer off-base. They were a petty bunch in my mind and still out for revenge after I had gotten sick due to an allergic reaction from marijuana smoke.
I had been exposed to it one evening during a card game inside the barracks — but had no idea I was allergic to the stuff.
The night I was exposed, I was rushed to the hospital, swollen and gasping for air. Evidently the odor of marijuana was detected on my clothing and this led to the Security Police being notified and I was labeled a “narc” from that point on.
The day the five stormed my small house-trailer off base, I surprised them when I fire a .45 caliber machine gun round into the floor of the house, near their feet. This scared them off — but it didn’t stop them from continually harassing me on a daily basis.
That event left me a bit shaken, so I decided it would be best if I moved back on base. At least it would afford me some sort of protection from the menace of the five men.
“Be careful,” Barney had warned over the telephone, “They’re planning to kick your ass.”
Barney and I had been separated by our commanding officer. The C.O. felt I was a negative influence in Barney’s life and would cause the Texan’s career to come to an end.
I figured our C.O. separated us knowing that there was strength in numbers and therefore by not having Barney around I was more vulnerable to whatever might happen.
The officer ordered us to not have anything to do with each other while on duty. After work though, the Captain had little to no control over our actions.
As I stepped out of the hallway and into the common area, I took a deep breath. I knew once I crossed over the common area and into the second half of the hallway, the overhead light would give me away and there would be no turning back.
Without hesitating, I walked passed the door the one man had entered. I was certain he and the man who occupied the room were watching the hall through the peep-hole in the door.
Walking a quietly as I could, I strained to listen for whatever awaited me in the ever enveloping darkness. I could detect voices but couldn’t tell what was being said.
As I made the corner, the light from a street lamp shining through a window at the end of the hall and behind me, cast some illumination down the darker end of the hall. There, I could jus’ make out three figures huddled near my doorway.
Having seen them first, I turned hoping to retreat to a better position, but the two men who had been hiding in the room, were walking down tha hallway towards me and each had a bat in their hands.
There was only one chance for escape and I knew it. I backed up against the window where the street lamp shined through, a quickly unlocked it. I popped it open a fully as it would go and by this time all five men were on me.
First I felt the blows of their fists and their kicks as I fought back. I positioned myself into one of the corners near the window, knowing that the walls might absorb the blow of a baseball bat better than my head.
As expected one of the men swung his bat at me, but instead of trying to duck the incoming blow, I stepped in as close to my attacker as possible. The move caught the man off guard.
About the same time I saw a fist coming at my face. I yanked on the bat and the fist struck the wooden club, full force.
The blow knocked the bat from my attackers hand and I managed to hold on tight to it. Without hesitation I gripped it and started swinging away at the group causing them to back away, fearful that I might connect with one of them.
For a couple of seconds it appeared as if the fight would end in a stand-off. However I didn’t waste my time on that hope.
Instead I raised the bat over my head with both hands and swung it downward. I let the hard wood object fly as the group scattered to get out-of-the-way.
As the five sought cover by diving into the adjacent hallway, flattening against the wall or using a doorway for cover, I turned and dove head long out the still open window. It was a two-story fall that sent me crashing to the sidewalk below.
And though the wind was knocked out of me and I was certain I had broken something somewhere in my body, I wasted little time getting to my feet and dashing down the sidewalk towards the post office where I knew someone would be.
Though I reported the attack to my First Sergeant and his boss, a First Lieutenant, nothing was done. The two men told me there was no way to prove the attack had happened.
From that point on I started carrying a folding lock-blade knife in my back pocket. I didn’t want to be in a position like the one in the hallway and be left defenseless again.
“If it ever happens again,” I told Barney, “I’m going to leave my mark on at least three of them.”
After that night in the hallway, all five men fairly well stayed clear of me. They never physically confronted me again though they did, either singly or in pairs, threatened to “beat me to death when I was least expecting it.”
I expected it though — at all times.