As soon as I opened the door to the garage level I heard the voices from the bathroom. I ducked behind the closest car and walked in a crouch as quietly as I could toward their voices, glad I had my new soft soled running shoes on and not flip-flops. When I thought I was close enough, I pulled my head up by the rear window of the car I was crouched in front of. My thighs were screaming at me from crouching, but I was going to have to use stealth to get my bag back.
I looked around and saw the women one car over and one car up. They had the trunk popped on the car, and I saw my bag sitting open in it. They were going through it with their backs to me. What was I going to do? How was I going to get it back?
I carefully pulled my laptop case around my body trying not to make any noise, and dug around until I found the new multi-tool I bought earlier in the day. I pulled the biggest knife out and closed the tool making a handle. I wasn’t sure what I planned on doing with it, but it was the only weapon I had. I didn’t want to hurt them, I just wanted my stuff back.
I stayed crouched behind the car trying to decide what to do. Time was running out. What if they shut the trunk when they saw me? It would be nearly impossible to get the keys away from them. I would have to go with my gut.
I stood up and walked over to them, trying to act friendly with my knife hand behind my back. “Hi, I was wondering if you could help me. . .” I trailed off as they turned to look at me.
The one closest to me was about my height with long bleached yellow hair. She was paper thin like she never ate enough. The other one was short with a brown bob and at least twenty pounds overweight. I could take the smaller one, but the bigger one would be harder. She looked like a fighter.
“What do you want?” The yellow haired one asked in a zippy accent. She turned to face me, planted her feet shoulder width apart and put her hands on her hips trying to hide the contents of the trunk. The other woman turned to the side of the car blocking that view as well.
“Funny thing happened to me in the bathroom,” I said continuing to make my way to them. “Two women came in while I was in the stall and took my suitcase from under the door. I thought they were just watching it for me, but when I came out I couldn’t find them.” I stopped less than two feet from the blond one. “Can I please have my stuff back?”
“What are you talking about? I do not understand you.” She folded her arms in front of her chest. “Go away.”
“You,” I said slowly pointing at her. “Took. My. Suitcase. Give. It. Back.”
“Why? You are rich American; you can buy more stuff.”
“Yeah,” the other one chimed in folding her arms to match her partner.
I looked back and forth between them. I didn’t want to threaten them, but I had to do something. It was my stuff, and I was tired of losing my stuff. I pulled my hand from behind my back and showed them the knife. “I don’t want to have to use this, but I will if I have too.” I brought the blade to my eyelevel and made a show of inspecting it.
They both tried to take a step back, but they were against the car with nowhere to go. The yellow haired one stood up straight and put her hands back on her hips. “You’re not going to do anything. You will go to jail.”
“You know; I’ve had a long week. I broke up with my boyfriend, lived out of a tent, suffered from horrible headaches, and broke someone’s finger, nose and jaw. Don’t worry they were all different people. I have been betrayed, hunted, and saved. Now you bitches stole from me. I’m so tired of people telling me what I can and can’t do. The last thing I’m going to do is walk away like nothing happened.” I took a half step closer to them. “This is your last chance. Put all my stuff back in my bag and give it back or this is going to get messy.” I put the tip of the knife in my mouth pretending I was thinking about which one I would cut first.
“You won’t do anything,” the fighter said and moved to punch me in the face. I ducked, and with my hand around the base of the multi-tool, I slammed my fist into her gut. I moved to the side as she gasped for air and hit the ground face first.
The yellow haired woman was slowly moving toward the front of the car with her hands up. “You killed her,” she cried. Tears were running down her cheeks.
“I did not.” I rolled my eyes, showing her the blood free knife. “I punched her. Now I’m going to take my stuff back, and if I ever see you again I’m going to call the police. Do you understand?”
“You didn’t knife her?” She looked at her friend who was starting to wiggle around on the ground.
“No, I didn’t see the point.” I went to the trunk and shoved all of my stuff back into the suitcase. It looked like everything was there. Even if a few things didn’t make it, I didn’t care. I just wanted to take what I could and get away from them.
“I suggest you come up with a better way to make a living.” I lifted my suitcase from the trunk to the ground, pulled up the handle and made my way to the stairwell.
I made it up one flight of stairs before I stopped, bent over, put my head between my knees and completely freaked out. I couldn’t believe I had just taken on two criminals and won. I was proud of myself. A few weeks ago I would’ve gone to the authorities, reported my suitcase missing, and hoped for the best. My trip would have been ruined. I wasn’t going to let anyone take advantage of me ever again. It was still scary as hell, but it was worth the adrenalin rush.