I dreamed I was back in Atlanta. I was hanging out with a photographer friend in the area around Lenox Square of a Saturday afternoon, and we were walking from restaurant to pub, taking photos and reminiscing about the good old days and how much the area had changed. (It had changed a great deal, since my brain was fabricating a dream Buckhead/Lenox that was a sort of amalgam of mid-'90s Atlanta and Twenty-Teens Near Northside Indianapolis, cityscape-wise.)
The night dragged on well past midnight and our wandering afoot had wound us up in the parking lot of the Brookhaven MARTA station, from where my friend bid me adieu and headed home.
I am now realizing that I'm in an empty big city parking lot, afoot, at 0430, with a camera bag containing a couple DSLRs and other very pawnable stuff, and I'm mildly inebriated and the better part of a mile away from my car. So I start walking southwest along Peachtree Industrial. As I'm trundling along, I'm taking heart in the fact that we're nearing the end of the crook's working day and it won't be but another thirty or forty-five minutes before joggers and early-rising first-shift types outnumber gang bangers, dope dealers, and last-call-dodging drunks on city streets.
Sure enough, a few blocks along and I pass a couple groups of runners headed in the opposite direction on the sidewalk; two to four dudes out huffing and puffing a few miles before work. As the second group passed me and I turned my head to follow them, I noticed I had a guy following me. He was looking around as though keeping an eye out for witnesses, and gaining on me pretty steadily.
I stepped up my pace but, P'tree Industrial being seven lanes wide at this point and already starting to pick up in traffic volume from its wee-hours doldrums, I couldn't easily just jaywalk across the street to see if the guy followed or if I was just being nervous. I would have had to pause long enough to look both ways and make sure it was safe to cross, which would have given him time to catch up, and that seemed no bueno.
Glancing over my shoulder again, I saw he was closing fast and still scanning around him. I quickened again into the shambolic jog that's the closest thing I have to a run these days. I heard him start to jog behind me.
"Hey, I'm not gonna hurt you. I just need..." he says.
"I don't have anything. Go away!" I yell.
"You stop!" Fingertips brush my right shoulder.
"Don't touch me! Leave me alone!" My right hand goes under my jacket and onto my pistol as I try to run even faster.
Accompanied by a growl, his hand tries to grab my right shoulder again, misses its grasp, and instead gives a forceful, unbalancing shove. I start to stumble forward, half turn, draw the gun and fire twice. He's very close. I hit right where I'm aiming and the dude stops running forward, stands up straight for a second...
But I've already turned and run another half-block. Finding an open doorway, I back into it. I fumble my phone out of my shirt pocket with my left hand. I haven't holstered the gun and I'm trying to work the phone and safely hold on to the pistol at the same time. I can't get my fingers to work my phone's screen right and end up asking Siri to dial 911. (Can Siri do that? Note to self...)
The guy doesn't follow me. I set the gun and the phone down on the pavement, collect my breath, pick the gun up and holster it, then pick up the phone to wait for the po-po. The cops show up. Detectives show up. There's yellow crime scene tape being strung up back down the block. The cops tell me the dude is DRT. For some reason, I feel compelled to defend myself, to relate the entire narrative I've just told you to the police.
I lay out the details of the guy closing on me deliberately, and all the pre-attack cues, everything from his constant scanning combined with direct movement towards me, to actually physically laying on of hands. Kathy Jackson is there for some reason. "Mas would be very disappointed in you," she says, somewhat wryly, after I finished my tale to the responding po-po.
"I didn't want to clam up and ask for a lawyer and look guilty, but I probably said too much and look like a Strange Ranger," I moped.
I had to wait there for a while. I'm relieved of my gun. By the next afternoon, they'd got video from cameras in three or four locations, including one of him trying to shove me to the ground and me shooting. They'd also completely combed over my social media accounts. It turned out that dude had a big knife under his coat and a long prior record. I woke up in the middle of them telling me that I was free to go, for now at least.
That was extremely weird.