After overhearing stories of robberies in my neighborhood, I decided it was time to protect myself. My discipline with the Martial Arts dulled, I sought intimidation as a primary protectorate. The Life Alert medical bracelet was the best system for the money, just a push of a button, and my would be assailant would have to answer to a convoy of flashing lights. But Life Alert required that sweet pension level insurance that only old public servants and those who “know the right people” qualify for. Guns are expensive, require waiting periods and don’t jive with my politics. I overlooked “Brinks” Home Security systems for the same reasons. A big scary dog would require too much care and maintenance. I almost gave up and decided to pay an extra two-hundred bucks a month to live in a neighborhood a few subway stops closer to gentrification, when I stumbled upon Suzette in the window of a incense shop in Ridgewood. My mind replayed one of my favorite moments committed to celluloid, Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge moves up the pawn shop instrument-of-death totem pole from baseball bat, to chainsaw to the unparalleled appropriateness of a freshly sharpened blade.
Suzette is a two foot long scimitar designed for balancing on the sturdy head of a belly-dancer. At 30 bucks, it was a bargain: a stylish, compact, unregistered killing machine. Suzette has “Made in India” engraved into her shiny blade, rusting slightly from the remnants of blue colonial blood. When I took it home and started waving it around the neighbors were far from at ease, but I assured them that they were all safer now that Suzette was hanging above my bed. I proudly told my roommate that if any one tried to mess with us I’d gut them like a fish, splitting them from navel to nose. Really, I hoped to keep Suzette dry. Naturally, any attacker would instantly hightail it to an easier target, after running afoul of Suzette.
Despite her discount price, Suzette was still fairly sharp. I wondered how sharp. I needed to know. If she ever saw action, the answer could be a matter of life and death. Imagine swiping at an attacker and only knocking him back to rush me again. I started by slicing up some cardboard boxes at home. Child’s play. I needed a more formidable inanimate object, one that didn’t compromise my security deposit. By this time it was about 4 AM. I had the paper pulp of all my moving boxes on my hand and was lusting for more. I waited a half hour, practicing both slicing and stabbing motions, while waiting for the last call crowd to dissipate. When the coast seemed clear I went after anything that looked sliceable. Here is what I found out.
Sliceable: Hedges, trees, wooden fences, cigarette signs, sign for the L train, curbed mattress, abandoned stroller, chain-link fence*.
Not Sliceable: Fire-hydrants, telephone poles, no parking sign, steel guard rail, brick buildings.
I walked home concluding that Suzette is the perfect home-security system and that I could sleep at ease knowing that I finally had protection against crime in the city. I note the irony that a device purchased to fight crime led to, perhaps, thousands of dollars in property damage.
*Only minor damage after several attempts in vein, utilizing a running start.