I remember this one odd scene a couple years ago. It was a peaceful, sunny afternoon in People’s Park. And all the street people were lazing around at their particular stations. When this lunatic staggered onto the scene. Nobody in the Park had seen him before. Or since. He was babbling this crazy talk. In an oddly cheerful mode. He just got out of Santa Rita or the nut-house or godknowswhat. And now he was in the mood to fuck shit up. He looked sort of like a greaser-biker-hippie. Straggly hair. Greasy jacket. Crazed eyes. Was he drunk or drugged or just crazy? Or possibly an odd combination of all three? Who knows.
He hit Hate Camp at the top of the Park first. Babbled at Hate Man for a bit. Most of the people paid him no mind. There are so many weird-crazy people on the street scene, you got to really stand out to draw any attention. Though you could see a couple of the more perceptive street people looking at him out of the corner of their eyes, and silently factoring in that oh-so-crucial meter in their minds: “Harmless crazy or dangerous crazy?”
The chunk of asphalt hit Sang right in the forehead. Sang was this mild-mannered, Vietnamese street person who often hung out with the fellas’ at the picnic table. They said the blow cracked open a hole in Sang’s skull to the point where you could see his brains right inside his head. It was a direct shot. And Sang dropped to the ground like he’d been hit by a bullet.
“WHAT THE FUCK!!!” everyone shouted.
Everyone was particularly stunned and outraged, because Sang was one of the nicest, most beloved people in the Park. Sang was soft-spoken and even-tempered and well-respected by everybody.
Now normally, street people don’t cooperate with the cops. But in this case, when the cops showed up, everybody wanted to help them catch this lunatic. This tall, skinny black guy named Slim — one of the People’s Park regulars — immediately volunteered to jump into the cop car and help the cops find the asshole. Slim had gotten a good look at the guy. He’d been sitting right next to Sang. And he knew that, there but for the grace of God (or whoever is in charge of this shit) it could have just as easily been his noggin that took the blow.
After driving around the streets of Berkeley for about an hour, Slim spotted the piece-of-etc-etc. Pointed him out to the cops. And the cops tackled him, handcuffed him and dragged him back to the cage that he sorely deserved to be locked up in.
But here’s the weird part. The very next day, for no apparent reason, Slim was standing by the dumpsters down at the bottom of People’s Park, when he suddenly clutched his chest and keeled over dead from a heart attack. Just like that.
We always wondered if it was the stress and trauma of the whole Sang situation that caused the heart attack. Or if it was just one more random thing. Just like the Sang attack in the first place. Life is ultimately mysterious, ain’t it?
And why was Sang singled out? Just a matter of the ole’ “wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time”?? If there was one guy who didn’t deserve to have something like that happen to them, it was peaceful, loveable Sang. So it messed with your head on the baffling karma angle.
Anyways, it was one more weird scene on the streets. . . . I still see Sang to this day, hanging out in People’s Park. He always wears a baseball hat. I guess to cover up the nasty scar on his forehead. But otherwise he seems OK. Still as mellow as ever.
And, of course, poor ole’ Slim remains dead.