Showdown At The 7-11

The 7-11 at Park Avenue and Sixth Street becomes a lively town square at night. Sort of a Mardi Gras without the religious overtones.

It could be because there isn’t anything else open for miles in the Omega Man landscape of downtown Bremerton, no where else to buy a bottle of Big Bear malt liquor, a pink Hillary Clinton baseball cap or a grape Swisher Sweet.

But on Friday night, when I stopped in to my favorite mart, I walked in on a loud and violent disagreement between two scruffy-looking men.

That disagreement was captured here, in a CODE 911 item that I didn’t write.

Allow me to set the scene: small, black man with a doo-rag yelling and slapping at a tall white man wearing a South Kitsap High School sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off.

Something about money, “Give me my money,” and the taller guy saying things like, “Why are you trippin’?”

Instead of a violent beating, it was more comical, like the younger brother bullying the older brother with all the pomp and circumstance of a middle-school altercation.

I really didn’t know what to do. I didn’t come to the store for street theater, I was working from home, writing a story, and wanted a pack of cigarettes. So I just stood and watched. Many other people stood and watched as well. I don’t think any of us knew what to do. I had the impulse to tell the smaller man to leave the bigger man alone, but then I thought, maybe he did take his money. What do I know? Do I have to step between every crack head amidst a paranoid delusion? When is it OK to just buy my smokes and go home? I think my fellow shoppers were dealing internally with the same dilemma that conscientious citizens face as the fight dragged on and we did nothing.

In our defense, the pair was fighting like 13-year-old girls. The only thing getting hurt was egos.

And to our credit, nobody whipped out a camera phone.

The smaller man chased the larger man around the store, shoving the clerk who tried to break it up, and kicked at the larger man. The larger man had a greater reach, and perchance could have leveled the smaller man, but didn’t. He seemed honestly stunned that the smaller man wanted to beat him up.

Of course, the men were using the kind of course language not allowed in the Bremerton School District or a family newspaper. Very unprofessional. Maybe us customers should have surrounded the combatants and chanted, “Dare not to swear!”

However, I can say the black man – the smaller of the two – was calling the white man a derogatory name for black people, which gave the whole experience an added surreal touch.

“Why are you tripping?” the larger man kept asking to no avail.

The clerk called the police, explaining calmly to the 911 dispatcher, “Yes, they are fighting in the store.”

The smaller man yelled at the larger man that he didn’t care if the police were coming. I’ve heard people say this before. It usually means they DO care the police are coming, they just don’t know what to do next.

As I stood there, wondering what was going to happen, a guy brushed past me with a few cans of beer. The clerk rang him up. Business as usual.

Finally, the smaller man left the store and went and sat in the larger man’s car to pout. This obviously befuddled the larger man, who explained to the clerk he wasn’t leaving to safety of the store.

The larger man threw up his hands.

“I don’t even know him,” he said. “I was just giving him a ride to the ferry and he freaked out.”

The police arrived. I went home. That’s life in the big city, as the old man says.

5 thoughts on “Showdown At The 7-11

  1. Night Rider and city Night Life…. Andy’s adventures and a thanks no one was hurt.

    btw: Don’t know where else to put a cycling warning:

    We are sending this special announcement so that you can be especially careful if you are biking on these roads. Please help us spread the word by passing this information on to anyone you know who may be riding on Highways 3 and 101 in Jefferson, Kitsap, and Clallam Counties.

    PTBA, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, and other area cycling groups have been in contact with WSDOT. In addition to the obvious safety hazard created by the installation of the rumble strips, we believe that the strips were installed in violation of WSDOT’s own standards.

    We have been informed that some corrective work will begin, perhaps as soon as this week, at places on 101. PTBA will continue to monitor the situation. Check our website,, for updated information….”

    Of course…the warning is less deadly for those riding the recumbent trike…but there aren’t too many of us yet.

    Be careful riders…
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Man. I have a rep for stuff happening to me here.
    It’s unreal how many crazy things happen just when you are doing normal every day stuff.
    I went into this store a few weeks ago. I gotta say the girl working there was very nice… that’s crazy in itself!
    Keep up the good work… I’m usually tucked in safe and sound by this time of night, so it’s nice to hear these stories.

  3. This is what happens when South Kitsap people try to reach out to our Bremerton neighbors–they go trippin’ on us. Personally, I am too busy dodging raccoons on my way to the ferry to pick up hitchhikers. I think I’ll keep it that way.

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