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The Mugging of Devotion Del Palicia

November 12, 2005



She dialed the number and settled luxuriously into the recliner as it rang.


"Hello, Babir?"

"Yeah, Sis; it's me."

"Hey, you pickin' up Devotion?"

"Yeah; I'm out here now, but he's not here yet. What time did you say he'd be ready?"

"About 6:30; should be anytime now. . ."

"Wait," Babir interrupted; "here he comes now."

Although trees obscured the streetlight, he could see a figure emerging from the park. As the young man approached Babir noticed that he was holding one arm in the other and limping a little on his right leg.

"Are you gonna. . ."

"Hang on, Panela."

Babir lowered the phone from his face and addressed the young man.

"Hey. What happened to you?"

His shirt was torn and he looked completely disheveled.

"I got beat up," he said, managing a weak grin, ". . .jumped by some guys."

Panela heard these words clearly through the telephone.

"Is he alright?" she asked, somewhat alarmed.

With the phone away from his ear Babir apparently did not hear her question.

"What guys?" he asked.

"What guys did it?" Panela asked, raising her voice as she spoke into the phone. "Hey, Babir! Who beat up Devotion? Who beat up my son?"

This time Babir heard the first part. He raised the phone to answer.

"Just some guys," Babir said. He lowered the phone again.

"They approached me as I was. . . ," the young man began.

"Did you know them? Did you know them?" Panela yelled into the phone.

She was thinking way ahead, but no one was listening to her. And with the phone away from his ear Babir was on his own train of thought.

"Did you know these guys?" Babir asked.

"They were just some guys," said the young man. "I think I know who they were, but it doesn't matter."

That did it. Panela threw her body forward to bring the recliner upright but it didn't work. She struggled to free herself from it, dropping the phone in the process.

"Yes it does, yes it does matter!" she yelled as she was recovering the telephone.

Standing now, she was very excited, particularly because she was being left out of the conversation.

"Are you OK?" Babir asked him.

"It does, too, matter!" Panela continued through the phone. "Babir, Babir!" she yelled, "Let me talk to him; let me talk to him."

"It's just my arm," the young man responded.

"Hang on, Sis," Babir said again into the telephone. "When did this happen?" he asked.

"Just a few minutes ago, after I got off work."

"Let me talk to him; let me talk to him." Panela was yelling loudly now.

"Just a minute," Babir said with some disgust in his voice. "Here, she wants to talk to you."

Babir handed him the telephone.

"Hello, hello!" She was still yelling.


"Hi; it's mom. Are you hurt?"

"No," he said; "I don't think so; but who is this?" he asked, incredulously.

"It's mom."

"Oh," he said, surprised; "How'd you know where to call me?"

"What about your arm? Do you need to go to a hospital?"

"Mom? Is everything OK? How'd you happen to call right now? How'd you know Babir's phone number?"

"I was just checking to see if Babir was picking you up on time."

"Babir picking me up?"

Clearly, Panela thought, he isn't responding right; he doesn't seem to know what's going on. She was getting very alarmed.

"Yes, Devotion; that was our arrangement; I couldn't pick you up so Babir was going to do it."

"Devotion? I'm not Devotion; I'm Richard."

My God, she though; he doesn't even know who he is!

"Richard? No you're not; you're Devotion."

"No, I'm Richard. Where are you calling from, mom?

She could feel his confusion through the telephone, and she could feel her own panic turning to resolve. She had to do this; she had to get him through this.

"Let me speak to Babir," she commanded firmly.

"Mom, are you calling all the way from California. . . ?"

"Let me talk to Babir. Let me talk to Babir," she commanded. She had to get him to a hospital. "Let me talk to Babir right now!"

He didn't understand what was going on; but reluctantly, he handed the phone back to Babir.


"Babir! Babir! He's delusional! He doesn't know who he is! You've got to get him to a hospital right now!"

"Who's delusional?"

"Devotion! Devotion's delusional!"

"Devotion? That's not Devotion; that's Richard."

"Richard?" she asked; "Richard who?"

"Richard; Devotion's older friend; they work together. What are you so excited about?"

"But you said it was Devotion. . . ?"

"Well, it's not; I couldn't see him that well when he was approaching."

Dropping the telephone to her side Panela sunk limply back into the recliner gasping for breath.

"Who was that crazy woman on the phone?" Richard asked.

"Oh, that was my sister; sometimes I wonder why she gets so excited."

"Well, I gotta go," says Richard turning toward his car; "so long."

"Yeah, so long," says Babir; "I gotta pick up my nephew. . .oh, here comes Devotion now."

"Hey, Sis," he says into the phone; "Nice talkin', but I gotta go -- here comes Devotion now."

November 12, 2005



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