If we were in America

If we were in America, I would’ve called the police.

Five men, a black BMW, every window tinted so heavily to be completely opaque. I missed seeing them pull into our humble courtyard, but I rushed to the window as soon as Farrell said, “That dude just pulled out a knife!”

One man was yelling and pointing furiously at another, while some stud in a black track suit, the one with the knife, cautiously hung back, probably because he already made his point.

It’s half-snowing, half-raining; the worst weather I’ve experienced since moving to Bishkek and a sure sign of the impending harsh winter seasons rolling through the steppes. The men were only dressed in shabby sweaters and quickly (though, reluctantly) piled back into their car, swapping the safety of open space for the warmer, cramped interior.

At least the one with the knife sat up front.

And the car sat there. Farrell took down the license plate number (which we’ve heard is a useless way to keep track of the cars here) and we tried to figure the make of the car.

A few minutes later, the doors flung open and one man ran around to the other side to pull another man out. Another scuffle, more punches thrown, another man pushed into a slushy puddle. Suddenly, several of the men looked to the direction of our apartment building, a couple stories above us, and started yelling and pointing.

They had been spotted. With nothing resolved and tension running high, they all climbed back into the car and drove off.