When I was a teenager, my friend Angelo was dating a girl named Gina and a group of us would regularly hang out in Gina’s basement. Once a night, she and Angelo would announce that they wanted to be alone. We’d all pile out into the adjacent room and wait until they finished fucking.
It rarely took very long.
One night, Gina’s ex-boyfriend, Doug, decided to pay her a visit and that’s where the trouble began. Angelo came to me for help and we chased Doug away on foot, tossing rocks and batteries at his car.
Word spread quickly and soon we had about 15 guys milling around on Gina’s block—defending the turf, as it were. When nothing happened for about a half-hour, I guess everyone let their guard down a bit. That’s when the counterattack came.
About six or seven carloads of Doug’s friends came screeching up to the corner and everyone took off…except me, Angelo, and Angelo’s younger brother, Pasquale. Don’t ask me why I didn’t run. I had a vague sense of loyalty to Angelo and Pasquale (they lived across the street from me) but no one would’ve blamed me if I took off. instead, I stood my ground with a bottle in my hand and when two or three guys pounced on Pasquale, I roughly pulled them away.
Fortunately, no one started pummeling us right away. Instead, these idiots made the mistake of trying to humiliate us first. They had obviously seen far too many movies and their feeble attempts at flair were laughable. In fact, when Doug hopped out of his Mustang, he did so in such a hurry that he left it in drive and the car rolled right in a garbage can. Pasquale and I stifled a laugh.
Anyway, like I said, we didn’t get our asses kicked because Doug and one of his larger friends circled us, taunting us with shit like: “You like to throw things at cars, huh?”
Someone had run inside and told Gina’s step-dad, Pete, what was happening. Pete liked us, especially Angelo, so he didn’t appreciate a bunch of punks fucking with us when we were just protecting our territory. Also informed of the situation was Timmy. He dated Rita, the girl who lived upstairs from Gina.
Timmy was older than us and had a reputation around my way. He ended up drowning at Rockaway Beach a few years later but that night, he was there when it counted.
So Pete and Timmy come out and start shoving punks out of the way until they reach the epicenter of the fight. Timmy slaps a bottle out of one punk’s hands and sneers: “What the fuck you gonna do with that?” The punk had no answer. We were still outnumbered about 25 to 5 but that punk backed down.
Then came the fun part.
Pete picked out the biggest guy in the batch. Pete was not big but he carried himself like a brawler: mid-40s, blue collar all the way. You definitely did not look at Pete and think “pushover.”
Pete grabs this guy by the shirt, slams him up against a car, and gets about a fraction of an inch away from the punk’s face: “Who wants to fight? Who wants to come on my fuckin’ block and fight?”
You could feel the confidence draining from Doug and his boys. Me, Angelo, and Pasquale started staring them down when Pete looks around at how many guys are surrounding him. Oh-so-slowly, he opens his flannel shirt to reveal a gun tucked into his belt: “Okay,” he smirks, “which one of you motherfuckers is first?”
Let’s just say Doug and his band backed away towards their cars.
“This better be the last time I see you around here,” Pete bellowed and they were gone. Pete winked at us, rubbed Angelo’s head, and left with Timmy as we yelled “thanks” after them.
Little by little, our friends re-emerged. Me, Angelo, and Pasquale were legends for not running…and “Pete’s gun” became part of the local lore.
Postscript: About two weeks later, Angelo broke up with Gina for good. To make him jealous, she made a play for me.