Wednesday, 3 February 2016

IWSG - February 2016

Time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which takes place on the first Wednesday of each month. Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh started this group so writers of all stripes could share their doubts and insecurities without fear of being judged.


It's not been the best start to the month.

You don't go out for a peaceful Sunday afternoon stroll with your dogs in a sleepy semi-rural area and expect to become the victim of a violent and unprovoked attack.

Yet that's what happened to me three days ago.

The day started out well. It was my stepdaughter's 19th birthday. She'd had ten friends staying over in the living room in sleeping bags. As chaotic as this sounds, and given that a fair bit of alcohol was involved, responsible Hannah ensured that no one got too incapacitated by also providing copious amounts of pizza. We heard more noise coming from our seven-year-old's DVD in the next room. Everyone left or was picked up by 10.30am and Hannah tidied up. Great. 

Then just after 2pm I took two of our four dogs out. One of our pups had had his operation to get his boys' bits removed and so I left another of the pack behind to keep him company.

This is a nice walk along a road past fields and a few houses. After about 45 minutes it reaches a junction with a slightly more major road. I usually turn either left or right, walk up a little bit and then head back. This day I headed right. There's a row of eight houses here, only on one side of the road. I walked up the right hand side past open land (so I would be facing oncoming traffic), then crossed and headed back down past the houses.

As I walked past one property I noticed a man staring out of the window at me. He didn't look particularly happy but I thought nothing of it and carried on.

I walked past a piece of dog waste on the pavement and the next thing I knew I heard shouting from behind me. I turned to see it was the man who had been looking out the window, pointing out the poo and shouting at me to pick it up. From the outset, he was highly aggressive. In spite of this, I walked back towards the spot and tried to explain that neither of my dogs had left it. Of course they hadn't. I'm a responsible dog owner and an upstanding citizen. I told him that I always picked up poos and pulled poop bags out of my pocket to show him.

He didn't listen to a single bit of this and just kept screaming at me to pick it up, using some choice language. He also raised his fist in a threatening gesture.

At this point, a second, younger and heavier man ran out of the house and after a few seconds, punched me in the face. He was acting even more aggressive than the first man, but this still came as a shock. I then picked up the waste for fear of what else would happen to me.

The older man then told me that if I'd just picked it up, that wouldn't have happened to me. He then rolled up his trouser leg to show that one of my dogs had bitten him, as if he was the victim in the situation. I didn't notice, I was too busy getting assaulted. And what exactly do you expect?

I don't have a phone (it needs a new charger) so I walked almost an hour home with my nose dripping blood the whole way. My wife phoned the police as soon as I walked in and after speaking to them and going to point out the offenders' house we went to the local A&E. I knew I had a black eye, but it turned out I'd been punched hard enough to fracture my eye socket and break my nose. I've got appointments at two separate clinics for these.

I won't go into the ins and outs of the police investigation but we hope there can be a decent result despite the fact the culprits, who we suspect are related, have concocted a story to protect the assailant.

In terms of feeling insecure about it, well, I definitely am. My face feels sore and tight, I get recurring headaches and tire easily, and I haven't felt like working since the incident. Forgive me if I'm not online so much over the next little while, but I'll try my best to return all comments.

In the long run, though, I'm not going to let it affect how I live my life. Why should it? No, I won't walk the dogs on my own again, and no, I won't walk that way again. But I'm not going to be put off stepping out of my front door by the fact that people like this exist in the world, and two of them live in the same small town as myself. If I become afraid, then they'll truly have won. I'm hoping to get back to writing shortly. I don't want my schedule to be interrupted for too long.

Has anything like this happened to you? How did you deal with it?

Don't forget to visit other IWSG participants here!


JeffO said...

Jesus, Nick, that's awful! I hope the police can actually do something about this. One of the unfortunate things about this is that even a stint in jail probably won't do much for the tag team.

I was assaulted at a subway station about a week before I got married. The physical injuries (a couple of cuts that are almost visible in my wedding pictures, and a minor concussion that left me intermittently dizzy for a couple of weeks) were nothing compared to the psychological. When I went back to work after my honeymoon, I made it a point of trying to take the train to the same stop, but it took a couple of weeks before I worked up the nerve to finally do it. The first few times, I was an absolute wreck.

Hang in there, Nick, and take care of those injuries.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Holy crap!! That is insane. What is wrong with some people? Damn, glad they didn't beat you to a pulp or anything, but fractured nose and eye socket is bad enough. Hope the police are sensible and those guys get what's coming.

Murees Dupè said...

I am so sorry this happened to you Nick. That is awful and definitely not your fault. People like that is what's wrong with this world. I'm so proud of you for not allowing the incident to stop you from walking your dogs. I really hope both those men get arrested or something. They sound like a danger. Hope the healing goes well. Sending you virtual hugs.

Jennifer Hawes said...

That's horrible!! I'm glad you are okay!! I hope they get in big trouble, arrested, have to apologize. What was their problem anyway? Sounds like it was more than just doggy doo that got them all riled up. Something must have been stirring in their angry guts ahead of time. Take something/ someone with you the next time you go out!!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

That's terrible! So sorry that happened to you, Nick. Please take care of yourself - physically AND mentally/emotionally.

Karen Walker said...

Holy crap, Nick. I am so so sorry that this happened to you. I hope justice is served, but you have no control over that, so just focus on healing, both physically and emotionally. Don't forget PTSD - it might help to see someone. That is an extremely traumatic event that happened to you. Sending you virtual hugs and good thoughts.

betty said...

Oh my gosh, Nick! I'm just trembling reading this; I can't imagine how you feel (other than awful with pain and then that feeling of being violated). I am sooo sorry! I hope they catch the culprits and I hope you make a quick recovery, but I know it will take a longer time to recover emotionally than physically and sadly you will always carry a bit of those scars with you. I'll say a prayer for you.

I was never assaulted but our dog was attacked several times by other dogs over the years we had him. I was always leery out walking looking where dogs were, if there were people with them, etc. We carried a stick with us.

Take care of yourself!!!!!!


Sally said...

How awful - take time to heal physically and emotionally. Those men need shooting! P.S. I left a review last week on Amazon.

Christine Rains said...

Holy crow. That's horrible! Those people are crazy. I hope you're resting and feeling better. Don't let them keep you from doing what you normally do, but yeah, no walking that way again.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Oh my goodness Nick! :( That's a horrible start. I'm so sorry that that happened to you. What an awful person to attack you like that. I hope you feel better! Feel free to take your time recovering!

Nicola said...

I am so sorry!!!! That is utterly dispicable. How dare people behave like that. Surely they should be charged with GBH at least. I want to swear on your behalf but I will refrain as it won't help you.

I wish you a speedy recovery Nick, both physically and emotionally. Sending you lots of my healing chocolate cake through the ether. Take good care and hope you feel better very soon.

L.G. Keltner said...

That's absolutely awful! Some people really are just looking for a fight, it seems. I can't imagine going through life that angry that I feel like I have to lash out at someone for no reason. And of course your dog bit him, because no good dog is going to let their owner get assaulted without retaliation. He had it coming. I had a dog when I was a kid. Sweetest dog in the world. One day my mom caught a thief trying to steal some tools from the yard, and when he tried to take a swing at her, my dog took a chunk out of him. That definitely scared him off.

I hope the police investigation goes well and that you heal quickly from this awful mess.

Chrys Fey said...

Oh my gosh! I can't believe he assaulted you. It seems they were looking for someone, anyone with a dog, to pin that waste on even if they had nothing to do with it. Truly horrible. I'm so sorry. Some people are awful human beings. Your dog only bit him because he was attacking you. Jeez. I hope the investigation goes well and that you heal. Take care!

Laura Clipson said...

I can't believe what I've just read, there are some despicable people in this world! I'm so sorry this happened to you, but I'm glad you're not going to let it get to you. I hope the investigation goes well and they get what's coming to them, and I hope you heal quickly.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That's terrible! I hope the man that hit you goes to jail. You probably have at least a bit of a concussion. I don't understand violent people at all. Take care and will think of you.

Mark said...

My goodness, Nick, so sorry to hear this. Just reading it makes me want to do some rather unchristian things to those two men, but that aside I just hope that you heal up and they get their just desserts. I can't say I've had the same experience, but in your shoes I would definitely want friends and family around me. The more the merrier. It's their presence that will help heal the emotional scars the most. Sending lots of prayers and good karma your way:)

Anonymous said...

OMG! That's horrible. Why would anyone think it was okay to punch someone over dog poop???????? Even the yelling was an over reaction. Sounds like those men have anger management issues and other than having to deal with them because of legal issues, I hope afterwards you never run into them again.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Nick, that's horrible. They better lock that nut up. And make him pay for all your medical expenses. I am so sorry.

J E Oneil said...

That's so awful. There is something wrong with people like that. I'm sorry that happened to you.

Nick Wilford said...

Jeff - Thanks. I hope the police can do something too because these people are clearly a risk to others. Sorry that happened to you - I agree that the psychological damage is probably much worse than the physical.

Alex - Yeah, it could have been worse. And could be worse for someone else. With that level of aggression, it's unlikely to be a one off incident.

Murees - These men should be behind bars so they don't pose a threat to anyone else. I'm definitely not going to be put off walking the dogs in what is a very pleasant area. All the neighbours we've met nearer to us are lovely.

Jennifer - There's definitely something bigger going on. The level of aggression was way out of proportion even if our dogs had been responsible for that poop, which they weren't. These men are a menace to society.

Madeline - Thanks. I'm feeling slightly more normal now, but I was really shaken up at first.

Karen - Thanks, I'll bear that in mind. I do hope they get them if only because of what might happen to someone else.

Betty - Thanks for the prayer. Hopefully there won't be too many psychological ill effects. Our dogs don't get on too well with other dogs they meet out and about, but that's because they're rescue dogs with anxiety. Humans are a lot more unpredictable.

Sally - Thanks! I'm trying to allow myself to take it easy. Thanks for the great review.

Christine - There's some scary people out there. Still can't believe a harmless dog walk could end like this.

Krista - Thanks! It was a total shock, but I'm feeling a bit better now.

Nick Wilford said...

Nicola - Thanks, chocolate cake is very much appreciated. People are saying with the severity of the injuries, it's definitely GBH. We're not going to just let it go.

L.G. - I can count on them to stick up for me, they're great for that. You're right that this level of anger goes way beyond some dog mess. It's quite frightening.

Chrys - Thanks. I thought that, that they'd had a lot of dog waste and so he simply targeted the next dog owner he saw. That's dangerous thinking. I hope these people get caught too, because it's likely that with their aggression, they have had/will have other victims.

Laura - Thanks. Well, the swelling's gone down a bit, still feeling out of sorts though. I hope the police can do something.

Susan - Thanks. Probably do have a mild concussion. These people would definitely be better off the streets because they're clearly a danger.

Mark - I've been really thankful for my family. When I walked back in the door after it happened, they were just cutting Hannah's birthday cake and my 7-year-old burst into tears when she saw my face. Not that these bastards would care about something like that.

Patricia - It was definitely completely out of proportion. That's what's frightening, it seemed so random.

Diane - Both of them need locked up. With the good old NHS I shouldn't have medical bills, but that's not the point. I haven't wanted to work and being self-employed, time lost is money lost.

Jeanne - There are some people who are wrong in the head and it's alarming to realise they live near by to you. If I let that get to me I wouldn't leave the house, so I can't too much.

H.R. Sinclair said...

This is heart-wrenching. I'm sorry and I do hope you heal quickly and without problems. I also hope the incident gets handled well and correctly and doesn't add more stress the your situation.

emaginette said...

I'm so sorry and hope things work out in your favor.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Liz A. said...

I'm so sorry. That's terrible. There are just some idiot in the world (I'm refraining from using stronger language, but it fits here) who think violence solves things. Karma will find them in the end.

At least you filed a police report. That's all you can do, really. Now you must think nothing more of them ever again.

Although, they would make wonderful villains in your next novel...

I hope you feel better soon.

dolorah said...

Wow, that's terrible. I get tired of seeing dog poo everywhere I walk too; but I would never attack someone over it just because they have a dog. Well, I'd never attack anyone, unless they were attacking someone who couldn't defend themselves. This just proves my thoughts on the world today, everyone seems to have a beef about something, and is willing to resort to violence at the smallest provocation.

Its a scary world out there. You're probably lucky none of them had a gun. I'm glad you filed a police report, and hopefully the bullies will have to pay for their offense. Doesn't help your poor nose and eye, but hopefully you'll get some justice.

*sending icy thoughts to help the swelling go down*

Cynthia said...

Nick, what a scary thing to happen to you! You probably feel angry and violated and it is normal for you to feel those things right now. I truly hope the police can help you. There are some nasty people out there and I just feel bad that you had to encounter some of them. Please take of yourself and best wishes for a smooth healing process.

Jean Davis said...

That's terrible! I'm sorry this has happened to you. While I admit to yelling at irresponsible dog owners for this exact thing, it's only after witnessing their lack of action and because it's in my lawn. But to actually attack someone over poo? That's crazy! I hope things turn out in your favor with the investigation and that you heal thoroughly.

Heather R. Holden said...

Yikes! What happened to you is absolutely horrendous. The fact that some people can be so easily provoked, and then act it out in such violent ways, sickens me. So sorry you fell victim to something as awful as this!

diedre Knight said...

Oh Nick, bless your heart - and damn those fools! May your injuries heal swiftly and the memory fade faster. It seems to me Shakespeare once said something like "a victim who smiles takes something from the thief.."
I once was jumped by several girls after school who'd overheard a boy telling a friend he liked me. I never knew the boy or the girls, and never returned to that school.

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, what a story. So sorry that happened to you. I hope it gets resolved with a happy ending. I also hope you heal well and quickly.

Susan Kane said...

People can be crazy. I suspect these two had some drug issues, and this wasn't the first time they had assaulted someone.
HOpe you heal soon.

Misha Gerrick said...

Oh no!

I'm so glad that nothing worse happened, but man, I feel terrible for your sake. I hope the culprits get their just desserts. Something like this just isn't ok.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That is horrible!!! I said a prayer for you while I was reading this - I hope you have a full and complete recovery. And, I hope you can live life fully without any more issues from those _____ (fill in the blank).
Praying for you and your writing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - that's dreadful ... gosh why are people such bullies and cannot even think straight.

I feel for you - it must have been an awful shock .. and now to have two fracture clinics to attend - not what you need. Take things easily and give yourself time - the time you need to heal and the time you need to adjust ... I sincerely hope the police can give some recourse - but yes don't go that way again ...

Take care and all the very best - and with lots of thoughts - Hilary

Elizabeth Seckman said...

That's ridiculous. What is wrong with people? It's dog poo for crying out loud. That guy needs some anger management.

Stephanie Faris said...

OMG, I'm SO sorry. I had a neighbor who used to do that. He'd watch out his window and if someone left poo, he'd run out screaming at them. He claimed he even threw it at one woman. And yes, he could have EASILY mistaken someone else's poo that had been left there days ago. He was just looking for drama. I hope you're able to file assault charges. There's no point in that.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I'm late getting here. I cannot even believe this. I am so angry for you. NO ONE has the right to randomly run out of their house and accost another. I am so sure I would have at some point, smeared them with the poo. I understand your anxiety over not wanting to go in that area again, but I would do it in a heartbeat. NO ONE would tell ME I couldn't walk in a public area by their actions. I am soooo angry for you. Praying for you to heal from the inside out because this, my friend, was traumatic.

I'm still angry.


Yes, I'm still angry. Grrrr. :) Idiot people is what they are.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Oh, Nick, that's awful. I'm so sorry that happened to you. Like everyone else who's commented, I'm really angry on your behalf. No one has the right to do that, even if they think they are in the right. By punching you, they are very much in the wrong. I hope you get a result for this!

Anonymous said...

This is despicable. I hope they're arrested. They're lunatics and a danger to the community. I hope you're healing fast.

Shannon Lawrence said...

How terrible! I'm so sorry this happened to you. Sounds like they were waiting for someone with dogs to walk by. I truly hope the police can do something about these men.

Shell Flower said...

Gosh, Nick, that sounds truly frightening. I hope your face is healing and that you don't have any vision loss, especially in your line of work. Those dudes sound like trouble and it's probably not the first time they have assaulted an innocent bystander. Yay for the dog that bit one of them. Doggie vigilante justice is fine with me. I hope you can use this experience to write some really creepy stories so at least you get something out of it :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Nick, I'm so sorry to read about this!
As Shell Flower says, use the experience to write a creepy story. Tapping into the emotions you felt at the scene should make for some powerful writing (and your assailant can get his just rewards at the end of the story)
I wish you a speedy recovery.
Take care.

Crystal Collier said...

That's horrible. See, me? I would have walked away quickly, ignoring the shouting man. (That's my NYC training coming into play.) It's mind boggling to me how snap judgement and hasty actions can lead to long term suffering.

I'm so sorry about the mistreatment and hope that justice is accomplished, but either way, I wish you hasty healing.

EEGiorgi said...

OMG, how could this horrible thing happen to you??? I'm so sorry!!! Sounds terrifying, do these people still live nearby??

cleemckenzie said...

That had to be shocking and miserable. I was attacked in a similar fashion on my way into the post office a few years ago. The man was obviously deranged and people came to my aid, but it took a while to stop reacting to what happened. Plus, as a rather shy-I don't want to be noticed-kind of person, I was terrified by the arrival of police with sirens and the gathering crowd.

Who knows where these people come from. I guess we're lucky these kinds of attack aren't frequent in our lives.

ViolaFury said...

OMG, Nick! I just read this! How horrifying for you. I just don't understand people and why they get so emotional in these situations. I hope you're okay and that you get over this trauma quickly. Think of it as just two stupid men, who were just doing what stupid men do. Bless you, I hope you get better quickly!

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