• Mario Alberto Gonzalez Robert

(Brussels,Belgium) The Congolese friend

One day I called my cousin to go to the park which was a ten minute walk away from the hostel where I was working at the moment to go play ping-pong with the kit he had bought a few days ago at the 1 € store at the corner of that same park. When I finished my morning shift and lunch, I went to the park and waited a few minutes for him to arrive. I told him I used to go to that park because it has some nice structures where you can do exercises like pull-ups and such so we could play ping-pong for a while and then workout a bit. We had a good time playing with our crappy Chinese rackets and balls which got carried away by any small draft of wind, but still had fun and when we got tired of it, we went to the workout area to do some exercise. We had been there for a few minutes and it was my turn at the pull-ups bar so my cousin was resting when suddenly a black guy, about as tall as my cousin, around 190cm, with a kind of dodgy attitude that made me think wanted to sell us drugs or something weird approached. We shook hands and began to make conversation in French asking us where we were from, to what we answered Mexico and he said that he came from Congo. After that, almost without further discussion, he asked my cousin "Tu sais battre you? (Do you know how to fight?) "and approached him putting himself between both of us with his back towards me. At that moment I realized what he was looking for, I took a deep breath and thought "Damn it!" and started to bring myself closer ot them in order to help my cousin in case this guy got aggressive. My cousin wasn’t sure what to answer to such a weird question when suddenly the Congolese guy said "allez! Tous les deux contre moi, je vous fais caca (Come on ! both of you against me, I’ll make you shit). "My cousin started pulling back saying we did not want any trouble, I caught up and the Congolese started following us while saying weird things like "well, when the other person does not want to fight, it’s not right to keep insisting", but still trying to provoke us, for example, throwing a kick to my calf. We ended up leaving the other side of the park, keeping an eye on whether the Congolese followed or stayed there. In then I noticed that in the soccer court, right in front of us was a group of boys about eleven years old, encouraging two of them as they fought with closed fists and I thought "what the hell is this?". We kept an eye on Congolese while we talked about the incident which caught us off-guard, when we saw that he started walking toward us again, with one of our rackets we had left there while exercising in hand and started screaming, "you forgot this, come here, I’m going to give it to you! " to which I said no thanks, he could keep it and we left the park through the other exit, going each to our own home.

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