Memorial Day Memoir: Sgt. George Artis Boomer
Close Combat (2)
By Richard Sale
My wife and I came back from Georgetown late one night. It was after one, it was a sweltering, humid July evening without a breath of air. The project crowd had left their sweltering, airless homes and had spilled out into the streets. It was clear a lot of people there had been drinking. Crowds breed fear, but as I scanned this one, my eyes suddenly spotted Skinny Pimp, the gang leader. Sgt. Boomer and his buddy, Harry, had once been attacked in their house in Southwest D.C. by a gang. The gang was trying to get in the front, when Harry and Boomer threw smoke bombs out the front door, then, carrying their M-16s, they came out the back. The gang fled.
The sight of Skinny Pimp put me into a grim, furious, implacable rage. Yes, I had been at a party and had been drinking, but the insult of the little stone rolling by me on the pavement still irked me, and if I wanted to confront Skinny Pimp and the time was now.
I first took steps to get rid of any anger. Anger is the breeding ground of mistakes. Up in my apartment, I put on jeans and a jean jacket. I had a small, short club which I put into the belt of the jeans in case Pimp had a knife. I had no mouthpiece. I kissed my Iranian wife goodbye and went out. Some of the party goers saw me coming and were curious. When I get truly infuriated, I get calm, and my lips go white. I was later told that my lips were white. I was six two and so was Pimp. He was lean, wiry, wore cool clothes, black leather jackets, boots, the dark shades, etc. I told him in front of his own people that he had terrorized the little girl, our baby sitter, and I told him I was doing to send him to the hospital. It was not rhetoric. I was going to break his left ribs, rip his nose from his face, or break his collar bones. There was a tactic that I had trained for in which you sunk both stiff fingers into the hollows around the collar bones and simply sank your weight and yanked them out. I certainly was going to pivot and drive an elbow into his face. My mind was rapidly turning over tactics.