Yesterday I took Jackson to get an ice cream cone after school. We pulled into Fosters Freeze and were unbuckling ourselves and whatnot when I glanced into the rear view mirror and saw a swarm of middle schoolers pouring out the door. Then two girls started beating the crap out of each other. I told Jackson to stay in the car, and we turned around and watched these fourteen-year-old girls yanking the shit out of each other's hair and trying to connect with some fists, but mostly just spinning around in a wobbly circle and tearing off each other's jackets. A dozen other kids stood by shouting and seeming sort of equally giddy and horrified.
So I was sitting there in my car, and I was of two minds. One mind said: Stay out of it. You don't know these kids, it's none of your business. The other mind said: You're a GROWNUP, get out there and break it up.
The moment I decided to get out of the car and see what I could do to abate the damage, a Fosters Freeze counter guy came out the door, the tall one. He had just the verge of a smirk on his face as he circled the girls, who were in a sort of shrieky scrum now, and he chose the smaller of the two and he wrapped his arms around her torso and lifted her up, then he turned 180° and placed her back down on the blacktop, whereupon her best friend handed her her backpack and they both climbed into a Ford Explorer that'd been sitting there with her mom (I'm assuming) waiting for her with the engine running. (The other fighter vanished.) There was another SUV sitting in the space next to the Explorer so the mom couldn't see what was going on on the other side of it, her daughter losing chunks of hair and dignity. I couldn't see the mom's face, I just saw her posture go all rigid and WTF?
On the way home in the car, Jackson and I talked about what we'd seen, and I told him about being unsure of what I should have done. "I could have stopped it," he said in that ridiculously confident way third graders who've played a lot of video games have. Then we got home and he took a two-hour nap for some reason? The end.