My mom and I are walking back from a delicious dinner at Sydney’s popular restaurant, Pancakes on the Rocks, while Dad and Riley visit a nearby playground.
We are almost back to our hostel in The Rocks, an area of the city filled with historic buildings that would cost a fortune if they weren’t government housing. One of these government owned apartment buildings sits behind our hostel, on a street that intersects with ours.
The government wants to sell the buildings and make a boatload of money, but the people living there for practically free do not want to move out of their primely located homes. This is an ongoing dispute between the two parties.
Despite how nice the area is–full of pubs and historic sites–there is a lot of urban poverty and street crime. Something we are about to witness first hand.
As we approach the Y intersection where the street splits, we hear a scream. We look down the road with government housing and see a street fight commencing. It appears to be one woman and two men fighting against three other men. It is impossible to tell who started the fight, and who are the good/bad guys. All we can see are punches flying and painful kicks. The sounds of a trash can falling over and bottles shattering are heard throughout the pub on the corner where we stand watching.
It feels like a scene from a Hollywood gangster film.
Then we notice the 20-something girl starts whooping up on a middle-aged woman who we hadn’t noticed in the mix. We aren’t sure if the older woman intends to be part of the fight or not, but she’s definitely on the receiving end.
Suddenly, the trio of thugs takes off running just as police cars start arriving. Apparently, the middle-aged woman who is now staggering around, was an innocent bystander trying to break up the fight. As noble as the idea sounds, I don’t think she should have interfered.
The three hooligans who fled, we learn, had assaulted the girl and other two guys. These three “victims” are now standing on the balcony of their apartment, clearly high and off their rockers.
The police begin interviewing witnesses, and the young woman is arrested for assaulting the older woman. She’s pounding from inside the back of the paddy wagon like the police might release her if she makes enough noise.
One of the girl’s friends is now cussing out the police, wondering what would happen to the guys who assaulted him, while he holds an icepack to his eye. Another neighbor tries to shut him up before he gets himself arrested. Meanwhile, the middle-aged victim takes a seat in the back of a police car, probably to get a ride to the hospital.
By now, my mom and I are trying to walk inconspicuously down the sidewalk that leads to the back entrance of our hostel. We are hoping to eavesdrop on important police investigation dialogue.
This is where my part comes in:
Walking up the concrete steps that lead to our hostel, I look down and see a…drop of blood.
I don’t think anything of it until I see another on the next step, and then another. I quickly realize it is a trail of blood left by the trio of goons who bolted from the crime scene.
“I found a trail of blood!” I shout to the police who are talking seriously by their cars.
Two of the police run in our direction, calling into their radios, “We found a trail of blood!”
Yeah right, “we,” I think to myself as the two cops take off running, following the blood trail.
By now I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I mean, it isn’t every day you see a street fight, find a trail of blood, and alert the police. All those hours of sitting in front of the TV watching Criminal Minds are finally paying off.
My curiosity, like always, gets the best of me and I decide to follow the trail of blood with my mom on my tail. It leads down through an alleyway.
Seriously, why do trails of blood always lead down alleys?
With my heart beating rapidly, I continue to follow the trail. I guess I’m pretty jumpy because when two college aged boys turn the corner, I nearly have a heart attack.
They, luckily, walk by staring at me while I hyperventilate. That’s when another guy turns the corner. He is really sketchy and scruffy looking and I do not want to stick around in a dark alley with him.
Instincts kicking in, I bolt out of that alleyway, completely forgetting my mom. I don’t realize that she hasn’t seen the guy, and I leave her in the dust. (Sorry, Mom!) Knowing there must be something I’m running from, my mom takes off running after me.
Safely lying in bed an hour later, I still can not believe what we watched and found. It is ironic that I witnessed my first street fight, first police investigation, and first arrest in The Rocks, the historical part of Sydney where the first convicts who arrived by ship were sentenced to live.
My final thought as I fall asleep is that there is a manhunt going on right outside the walls of our hostel…
And I played a part in the search.