Last night, our little group headed out to Five Points in Columbia, South Carolina to grab some coffee. Along the way we had an altercation with a notorious local.

Hardy stops to grab some cash from a free-standing ATM  located outdoors next to a brick wall on it’s own tiny island of concrete inside what possibly may have been a flower bed at one time. In a sudden split-second, just like a cartoon character, an extrememly drunk (and normal-looking enough) man pops out from behind the ATM. It is as though he was spit out of the ATM right along with Hardy’s cash.

He comes right at me. I am a bit taken aback because my brain is still trying to figure out where he came from . . . . the dirt, the ATM itself, or did he just simply materialize? It is all so surreal. I smell alcohol on his breath.

“What’s your favorite band?” the troll from behind the ATM asks me.

“Um, well . . . ‘favorite’ is such an all-encompassing word . . . ” I answer, “It’s impossible to narrow it down to a favorite.”

I notice my friends begin to move away very quickly. Matt grabs my hand in a silent effort to drag me along.

“Yeah, well how about you stop trying to avoid me with what you believe is such witty banter and just answer my fucking question?” the troll yells at me as I’m being pulled away.

“You guys know him? Who is he?” I ask.

“He’s just this guy who is always just such an asshole!” says Matt as we all hurry down the sidewalk. I’m still confused.

The troll keeps yelling, but none of us are really sure who within our group he’s addressing.”Yeah, you think you are so cool with your black shirt, you fucking hipster. I’ll kick your ass if I see you in Columbia, South Carolina ever again. Do you hear me? I’ll kill you!”

For the record, he doesn’t look like he has the ability to hurt anyone. I think that’s what threw me. He just looks like a dorky office worker in a crumpled button-down shirt who had waaay too much to drink at happy hour.

Hardy, who never has a bad word to say to anyone, calls out behind us, “Fuck off, man. Why you gotta be an asshole?”

The troll follows us down the street, yelling and causing a scene. People sitting at cafe tables on the sidewalk look up, a bit horrified at the skirmish that’s coming their way. By this time, we all just want to get away and we’re walking as fast as we can past the cafe. I hope we lose this guy in the mix.

“Because I want you to confront me! Confront me! CONFRONT ME!” the troll screams.

In front of me, a lady from one of the patio tables jumps from her seat and says with sweetness and understanding to the troll behind us, “Confront me! Confront me!” and moves to grab him.

And we emerge from the fray and dissappear into the crowd.