Setting: Albany and Berkeley, California. Nighttime, half past eight. A run with friends Cabernet and Elphaba to meet up with Jimmy.
Encounter 1: Obarr
At the commencement of the run, Cabernet, Elphaba, and I notice Obarr and his amigxs wandering down the BART path. We say hi, because we know them. It’s totally benign.
Encounter 2: Runner
Nearing Jimmy’s place of residence, the three of us run by a female student who asks us the difficult question, “Are you running?”. We say yes, and she expresses a desire to run, but explains that she doesn’t feel comfortable running at night. We laugh, and say that Elphaba can protect us. Bemused by the initial question, we bound on.
Intermission: The gang meets up with Jimmy, who joins the run.
Encounter 3: Carlos I
In a well-lit section of Telegraph Avenue, a man appears behind us and asks if he can jog with us. Weirded out but not terribly uncomfortable, we say sure. He introduces himself as Carlos and we share our first names. Half a block later, he thanks us and then hops into a car, laughing. Though the encounter was unsettling, we are not too bothered, and we carry on with the run.
Encounter 4: Carlos II
Nearly two miles later, we’re heading down a not-so-well-lit hill when a shadowy figure surprises us. It’s none other than Carlos! He apologizes for startling us and asks us if we’re okay. We lie through our teeth and say yes. He apologizes and hops back into his car with his buddies, who are roaring with laughter.
Thoroughly spooked that this guy found us for a second time in the night (especially since we ran through the UC Berkeley campus, where cars cannot drive), we abort the run and call in an airlift.