10:10pm. I was bored, so I left Apartment DISH and walked down Telegraph in search of cheap food. Outside Rasputin, slamming himself chest-first into the store window, was a homeless guy carrying a 6′ wide sign. I walked by, to the corner.
The homeless guy turns to follow me, saying, “Look at me. Look at my sign.” I made no such effort to turn around and look, and waited, stonefaced, for the light to change, because I’m Zack Fornaca and I wait for lights to change even though I’ve lived in Berkeley for over three years.
Right, then he started breathing down the back of my neck. No, like audibly. His friend, Wandering Guitarist, warned him to stop, lest I turn around and sock him one. I didn’t, but I did elbow the guy, then turn around to glare at him.
His sign read “I’m a big jerk.”
The light changed on cue, and the three of us–Big Jerk, Wandering Guitarist, and Model Pedestrian Zack Fornaca–walked down Telegraph towards campus. Outside Fat Slice I could see two guys getting into a tussle.
The tussle quickly became a brawl for about all of one second before emerging from its insta-chrysalis to become a big beautiful Guy Punching Other Guy In The Head Repeatedly. To clarify, this is the kind of punch where the head has nowhere to go because its other side is flat against the asphalt.
Then these two other guys ran out (into the street). It looked like they were going to restrain the goblin, but they just stood there supportively while the goblin KICKED THE GUY IN THE HEAD. Then he KICKED HIM IN THE HEAD AGAIN. I didn’t run up to help the guy with the head or stop the guy with the foot, because I was afraid for myself.
Then he KICKED HIM IN THE HEAD AGAIN-AGAIN. Then he stopped and went back to the curb, and I went up to the guy with the head, followed by a few others, to see if he was alright. He wasn’t talking, but he seemed to be, you know, at least not dead. And relatively conscious. And blood was only coming out his nose. And then a homeless girl hugged him supportively, and it just seemed like walking away from the scene was the right thing to do. So I did.
It was immediately clear that what I wanted was Top Dog, so I decided to go order a calabrese. As I approached Top Dog, I felt that maybe I should’ve rushed forward to help, that I probably could have prevented two kicks to the head, at least. And I started to feel bad, like maybe I didn’t deserve that calabrese. That man could have died.
Maybe I only deserved, like, a bratwurst or a hot link.
The calabrese, however, is the hot dog world’s equivalent of ham & swiss: food elevated to an art. And so I, Zack Fornaca, patron of the arts, had a bite to eat.