Give it Back!

Travel Photos of Italy - RomeSome people live for confrontation. A chance to face off with somebody appeals to them like nothing else.

I’m not one of those people.

So I’m not exactly sure why my feet – with absolutely no permission from my brain – jumped off that subway and started running along that platform after my father in law. Especially, in a subway environment so gritty it would have made Robert De Niro nervous. I knew this situation wasn’t good.  It would be nothing like those altercations when I was young, at parties, when two guys faced off and spouted shit to each other until the inevitable peacemaker came along. No, this was my father in law – a man who jumped into everything head first. I was probably going to get dirty, and I knew this as my legs kicked my two-hundred and twenty five pound body into a gear it hadn’t known since twenty five pounds earlier.

He rounded a corner and raised his arms, like a farmer getting his grips on a wild pig. I couldn’t see the pig, only Lee’s side of the struggle. I felt another jolt of adrenaline and I propelled even faster toward him.

In the fleeting micro seconds just before jumping off that subway, some form of assessment processed in my subconscious mind about this tough old bird I called my father in law, the man who always told it straight. He didn’t take crap from anybody, and this was annoying at times, but I forgave him because while he showed no mercy for a lazy waiter or slow drivers, he would give his right arm for anybody who needed it. He always stood up for his kids and I heard he even marched down to the high school one day to scold a German teacher until she cried – all because she treated Donna unfairly. He’s kind and always welcomed people into his home and treated them like family – even the lanky, wild-haired, big nosed accounting student that chased his daughter in college and he eventually accepted as his son.

My feet shuffled to stop. When I came around the corner, I saw something that far exceeded my worst expectations. Lee was holding onto a girl’s leather purse strap.

“Give it back!” he demanded, pulling tighter on the strap. She looked no older than eighteen. Her curly light brown hair fell gently upon her pink sweater which adorned a tiny cross necklace. The only think missing was a bible under her arm.

“I don’t have your wallet” she sounded as convincing as a bad actress reading lines. In spite of Lee’s tight grip on her strap, she opened her purse for us. “See for yourself.” Inside were all things a girl might have in her purse, but no wallet. Her eyes had a distinct look of guilt. She seemed a little too at ease considering two strange men had accosted her.

“C’mon, Lee, lets get out of here.”

“I want my wallet!” His trance-like eyes remained fixed on her.

“She already passed it off. Let’s go before somebody thinks we’re stealing her purse.”

My words must have registered with him because he finally let go of her strap. She scampered up the stairs like a dog off a leash.

Next:Visiting the Polizia di Stato

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