Once upon a time, almost 50 years ago, Allentown teens were terrorized by a gang of teenage thugs who called themselves “THE DRAGONS”. They would cruise the city in a car, seeking out teenagers to pounce upon, but only if they clearly outnumbered them. They would stop their car, jump out, beat the crap out of them and then speed away.
God knows what the Dragons home lives were like. What kind of mistreatment would ignite such venom, such anger, such envy? They obviously had a problem and they were passing it on to their victims. The cops knew about them but no one came forward to testify against them.
Then one night, my high school buddy, Mark, was out on a double date and was attacked by the Dragons. The girls were spared but Mark’s friend was overwhelmed. Mark was a high school wrestler in top shape and more than held his own. But the Dragons drew blood from Mark’s friend and fled.
It happened during football season when I was sick for a week with the flu. I wasn’t going to play that Friday night but was planning to go to the game anyway. Mark told me of his meeting with the Dragons and his desire to get even.
Word on the street was the Dragons could be found after football games at the Ritz BBQ in the fairgrounds. We devised a plan to meet force with force. A gang of good guys would pile into my Uncle Natie’s ’47 Chevy station wagon and confront the Dragons head on.
When we got there, the posse decided to visit some friends in the dining room while I stayed outside to talk with two younger pals, Jack and George. We’re talking and all of a sudden we’re surrounded by Dragons and I’m the shortest guy there. The head Dragon comes up to me, stares me in the eye and then spits on my pants. I spit back and all of a sudden I have three Dragons punching me.
I go down and now they’re kicking at my head. Fortunately, this was before football players wore facemasks and I’m used to this kind of treatment. I even get it at home. I get off the macadam canvas and a fourth dragon attacks me after making short work of George.
I’ve had enough and I’m warmed up and I nail this guy with a left hook that sends him reeling. The rest of the Dragons grab me and try to beat my head against a parked car. Finally an employee of the restaurant comes out and breaks up the melee.
Jack did well against the one or two he had to deal with but what happened to the cavalry of good guys? Apparently, everyone else had rushed to the door to watch the fight and blocked the doorway so they couldn’t come to my rescue.
It was over and I was ready to forget about it but one of our friends had relatives in the police department and they wanted to press charges and I was to be the prime witness.
When we got to the hearing we discovered the Dragons had a smooth talking lawyer who sweet talked me into agreeing that we were just a bunch of kids who chose up sides and then beat the crap out of each other, much like football.
It sounded reasonable to me and I agreed with the lawyer while a cop behind the judge kept shaking his head, no!. The Dragons won. So what! These guys needed a shrink to chill them rather than a jailer making them crazier. Didn’t someone say, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”? So I did.