February 9th, 2003


Not since the 4th Grade

I got punched in the face tonight by a stranger. Three times.

Details to follow.

But if anyone ever meets a guy named "Fruit Punch" from Culpepper, feel free to beat his ass for ruining Katie's Birthday Party.

Fruit Punch and Pretty Lew

So the plan was to meet at Katie's around five for some pre-Scavenger Hunt cocktails. When the agreed upon time came, we all were given our Scavenger Hunt packages and headed out for the alotted hour and forty-five-minutes of scavenging time. Mick, Carla Beth, Keith and I had a strong team, raided their home for he necessary items and then hit Fair Lakes for a frantic shopping spree. We got back to the clubhouse at Katie's apartment complex where the after party was taking place ten minutes early and were confident that we had won. Unfortunately, cheaters abound, and another team suddenly found 6,000 extra points after finding out what our total was.

Katie and Hope share the same birthday and this was the fifth annual Katie and Hope birthday party. Previous years included a hotel room party, a bar crawl, and a roller skating party, and have always been fantastic. After the hubub of the scavenger hunt died down, the party got started and everything was going well until these four guys showed up, making sure everyone knew they were there, talking loudly about themselves, and wondering aloud whether or not it was a prom. I'm better friends with Katie; I've really only ever hung out with Hope at these parties. The group was pretty clearly split between Katie's Friends and Hope's friends. The longer the night went on, the louder these guys got, and slowly Katie's friends started leaving. Keith and Carla left at around ten to go get some dinner. I was talking to another friend Kelly about the dwindling crowd, and we decided that we would stay to have fun with Katie and hoped that the loud guys would leave.

The loudest guy identified himself as "Fruit Punch". He reminded us with every fifth phrase that he was "country". He was openly rude to everyone who tried to strike up conversation with him, and I asked one of the guys he came with if he was always like that. He said he didn't really know Fruit Punch, but from what he understood, that's how he was.

Fruit Punch took it upon himself to start touching the female atendees' asses. Then he challenged the men at the party with the idea that he was going to stand on the coffee table and knock beer bottles over with his penis. This behavior was understandably not appreciated by anyone, particularly a guy named Mike who asked Fruit Punch to tone it down in front of the ladies.

I went into the bathroom where I found Hope and two of her friends and told them that Fruit Punch's antics were not making for a fun party, and his actions were threatening the $400 security deposit that she and Katie had left on the room. Fruit Punch's brother, "Pretty Lew" came into the bathroom and started talking about how we need to learn how to handle Fruit Punch, if we can't handle him it's our problem, and that he'd "shut the party down before stepped to his brother". I pointed out to Pretty Lew that it was Fruit Punch's responsibility to handle himself and if he had any regard for our hostesses whatsoever he'd chill out or leave. Hope, the girls and I remained in the bathroom for a few more minutes, and came outside to find Pretty Lew pinning Fruit Punch to the door yelling at him.

This is where it gets hazy for me. Another friend named Keith stepped in to break up the fight and got hit by one of the brothers, Fruit Punch hit him twice, and Keith pinned Fruity against the wall, so Lew comes and starts hitting Keith. Then Fruit Punch charged back into the hall, leaned back, and punched Mickey clear across the face, bearhugged him to the ground and kept on swinging. I began kicking Fruit Punch in the back and he turned around and struck me across my cheek, knocking me to the ground, and hit me in the face at least two more times, and judging by the bruises that arose this morning, once on the side of my head and once on my arm. I was kicking up at him while Kelly was pulling me by my arms trying to drag me out of there. Fruit Punch began hitting Kelly, and in the distraction, I was able to crawl away.

The next thing I remember is being back outside where Punch and Lew's friends were trying to herd them into a car. In the process, Fruit Punch hit Hope, and she fell to the ground, bouncing her head on the sidewalk. I went inside, then back outside where a neighbor who was not a party invitee was standing outside with what I thought was a golf club. Keith frantically lead me into the building and tried to get me to hide in the back as what I thought was a golf club was in actuality a shotgun.

Punch and Lew left, and the rest of the people were in a frenzied shock. Hope had been brought to the couch and was curled up in the fetal position crying. Kelly was standing in the corner crying hysterically. Mickey was pacing around with rage. He and Keith suggest that we call the police, but Hope's boyfriend and one of her friends protested, saying that this was just a party and that we shouldn't start trouble. Start trouble. Apparently the trouble wouldn't start until the police arrived, no matter who had been assaulted. Mickey demanded why this guy was protecting the animals that hit both of their girlfriends, and the guy stood up, smashed a Corona bottle against the fireplace, and threatened Mickey with it. Mick and I collect our stuff and leave but when we get to our cars, four police cars arrive with a paddy wagon and an ambulance. I asked one of the officers if someone from the party had called and he said yes.

We get back inside and Katie had reappeared, saying she had been hiding in the basement calling 911 for the last five minutes. The police get all of our information--well, most of our information, the guy who didn't want to call the police didn't want to give his name--are looked at by an EMT, and answer questions. No one claimed to know either Fruit Punch or Pretty Lew. No one claimed to know their real names. I told one of the officers that I suspect Hope knows them or at least someone who knows them but wasn't fessing up for some reason. The officer was baffled as to why someone that nobody knew didn't get kicked out of the party the minute he acted up, but still, no one claimed to know him. An officer asked me if I was going to press charges, and I said I couldn't answer then. I'm glad I did, because I was considering not pressing charges. I'm glad I waited for my head to clear.

Mickey and I went over to Dave's house where he, Corey, his neighbor and Bob White were hanging out. Dave took about a dozen pictures of my face and I went home shortly thereafter. I had my brother take more today. They will probably be useful if the cops ever catch the guys. Keith told me that there were helicopters out looking for them last night, so maybe there's a chance. But if I don't hear from the police by tomorrow, I'm going to call them myself.

I don't know how to feel. I'm not in terrible pain, but I look terrible. As today has worn on, my face has gotten more swollen, my eye has gone from puffy to black to red, and I have this unshakeable feeling of nausea. I went to the store tonight and it was horribly embarassing. I can't imagine the Metro or work tomorrow or for the rest of what will be probably a three week healing process. I'm sad. I feel bad for Katie that this had to happen on her birthday. I'm frustrated. I'm annoyed. I'm scared. I'm enraged. I feel sorry for myself.