This is about a protest I was at, but did not participate in.
A while ago, I was visiting Ben*, a good friend of mine. He told me that Eric, one of his friends, called and was asking about me. He suggested that I get into touch with Eric and mentioned that he had one heck of a story to tell me. So, I called Eric and it turned out that we knew each other from way back.
He told me that he didn’t realize that he actually knew me. But the reason he wanted to find out who I was because Eric’s a member at large at one of the deaf clubs and one member, Cain told several others that if I joined the club, he would quit.
I kid you not. Cain and I knew each other through my advocacy efforts, and well… Needless to say, he was not happy with what I did. That’s an entire novel unto itself.
Anyway, after I finished laughing at this, Eric then asked me if I would join the club. I laughed again but realized that he was quite serious. Apparently, Cain was causing trouble for the officers of the club over their lack of by-laws and how the president, Leigh was running things. So they thought me joining would solve the problem.
I refused, because I had enough on my hands and was tired of tangling with Cain and his friends. Our arguments had just ended recently, and I didn’t see the need to prolong our arguments, especially over a such trivial matter.
Nevertheless, Eric and I remained in contact and became good friends and through him, I also became friends with Leigh. She and I would joke often that we had to thank Cain for introducing us.
One day, I checked my videophone, and there were nine calls from Eric! Something had to be wrong, so I returned Eric’s call, and it turned out that Cain was threatening that he would do something at the next meeting. Eric wanted me there, so Cain would quit for once and all.
I told Eric that I did not believe Cain would quit when he saw me and that he was just blowing hot air, trying to drag me into another argument with him. Eric pleaded with me to think about it. So, I discussed it with Ben, asking him what he thought about the whole thing. Ben said he went to the last club meeting, and it wasn’t too bad.
He also assured me that I would not go to the meeting alone. That still wasn’t enough for me, so I asked Gabe, a friend who was also a former high school football player and wrestler to join me. Gabe was all for it and declared jokingly that he was now my personal bodyguard.
We showed up at the meeting, and Gabe was made sergeant at arms, just in case. The rest of us sat in the back. To this day, I still remember vividly when Cain and his friends walked in. They were holding signs to their chest, and Cain greeted everyone in the club, except for me. He didn’t recognize me at first because I was dressed differently and had a baseball cap pulled down low. When he finally recognized me, his only reaction was a flinch.
The meeting was then called to order and that’s when Cain seized the moment. He stormed up front with a couple of his groupies tagging along, carrying the signs. We all stared at him quizzically and his only response was a bright, fake smile. He then asked Leigh, “Did you call the time of the meeting?”
Leigh replied, “I just did when I called the meeting to order. Now please sit down.”
Cain said, “No, you didn’t call the time!” then grabbed Leigh’s chair (which happened to be a folding chair) and stood on it. His head groupie handed him a sign and he held it aloft. We were finally able to see what was written on the signs:
“No Bylaws? No Deaf Club!”
I thought to myself, “This is going to be a classic story to tell!”
The groupies surrounded Leigh, holding similar signs and blocked the meeting from proceeding any further. Things were quickly heating up by the minute. Gabe attempted to remove Cain from the chair, but he screamed at Gabe, “Don’t you dare touch me! I have the right to protest!”
Several other members who opposed Cain started to surround him and his groupies, demanding an explanation. Terry, who was approximately 6′5″, 300+ pounds approached Cain and said, “Cain, please sit down and just let the meeting go on.”
Cain laughed, “C’mon Terry! I dare you to touch me! I dare you!”
Don’t ask me why he said the exact opposite thing to Terry, because only Cain and God knows why…
Leigh’s daughter Saige, who was hearing, was sitting in front of me, watching the whole thing. I shouted at her, trying to get her attention but failed miserably. So I stood up, roughly pushing away my chair then grabbed my half full water bottle.
I lifted the water bottle high above my head and brought it down as hard as I could.
Ker-thunk! Ker-thunk! Ker-thunk! Three times on the rickety folding wooden table. Saige whirled around, staring at me. I said, “Call 911!”
Nothing but a wide-eyed stare from Saige.
So I both signed and screamed, “Call 911, damnit! 911! Now!” then banged the bottle again on the table. Saige finally snapped out of it and used her cell phone to call 911.
As soon she hung up, Terry approached closer and stupid as he was, Cain kept daring him.
So Terry accepted the dare and pushed him off the chair.
The folding chair folded up and Cain dramatically half jumped/fell off, flailing like a rag doll. He landed solidly on the floor on his feet, then whirled around in shock, screaming, “You touched me!”
At that point, Cain rushed Terry and fists started swinging in the air. Nobody could aim properly, except for Gabe, and he was pushing, not punching. Half of the members swarmed Cain and Terry, trying to restrain them.
While this was happening, I grabbed Saige’s attention and told her to call 911 again and explain that there was a physical fight going on now. She quickly called 911 again and explained the situation. While she was on the phone, Cain and Terry were successfully restrained.
One of his groupies said, “Cain, they really did call 911! We better get out of here!”
Cain looked astounded and just about ready to break down in tears. He took a look around the room, then he fled with his groupies tagging along as usual. Saige said, “Oh, I think the cops are here! I better go outside!”
Saige told us later on that when she walked outside, Cain and his friends were standing in the parking lot, plotting their next move when two police cars screeched into the parking lot with lights and sirens blaring, blocking the exits.
The cops got out of their cars and demanded to know who called, so Saige stepped up and explained the situation to them. When it came to Cain’s turn, he was stupid enough to fully admit what happened, and even showed the signs to them. “I have the right to protest!” he declared. (One of his friends’ wife, who was hard of hearing, interpreted for Cain.)
The cops stared incredulously at Cain. “Sir, you have the right to protest. But only outside!”
Cain had the nerve to try arguing with the police, “But… but!”
“No buts! No protests inside the building. That is disturbing the peace! Do you understand?”
They all nodded in assent, then the cops asked all of them, “Now, do you think you all can go back inside and behave yourselves?”
Cain said, “Oh yes! No problem, officer,” but the rest of his group screamed, “No!”
Brilliant! Just brilliant! But needless to say, Cain never came back to the deaf club afterwards, and Leigh, Eric and I all remain good friends to this day.
*All names have been changed to protect their privacy.