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I kinda’ like it when my colleagues at the San Diego Film Critics Society holler at me. It’s when they scream inside a food court that I find it so unnerving.

Such was the case during last night’s meeting at the tres chic Mission Valley Mall food court. Nine of us gathered to knock off a few items of business before attending a screening of A Good Day to Die Hard.

Never has a meeting moved at such a record clip. I was seated at a table opposite Rebecca Murray (across from where the Subway used to be). At one point I look up and see a tall, skinny black kid in a gray hoodie walk by the table, scoop up Becky’s fancy-shmancy Smartphone (exposed, it was an easy target) and dart for the exit door.

Where's Paul Blart when you need him?

Unless you’ve experienced it, a colleague letting out an unexpected scream of fear is damn frightening. Becky ran after the punk with fellow scribe David Pinson hot on her heels. Normally the first to say, “Alright, buddy, gimme’ back the phone and you can have her,” something came over me. I took it on the arches running as fast as my cocktail sausage legs could carry me.

Becky later joked, “It was your inner superhero. You couldn’t resist the call of the wild woman screaming for help.”

Nonsense! Don’t you love it when gallant guys say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about “I would never hit anyone, period.” Genitalia had nothing to do with it. The thought of a friend, no matter their gender, confronting a thug alone didn’t compute.

Once outside the food court, the perpetrator was joined by a fellow piece of human garbage and the chase was on. The scum in the hoodie placed a call to another accomplice instructing them to have the engine of the getaway car running.

The two ran through Macy’s doors with Becky in hot pursuit. David -- who has obviously seen too many movies -- decided to head them off at the pass by taking a shortcut around the side of the building.

Given my steady diet of Pall Malls and Coca-Cola, after a block-and-a-half it felt like every frog in Calaveras County had entered a jumping competition inside my chest.

David and I met up with Becky on Camino De La Reina across the street of the Sleep Train outlet. It seems two good Samaritans heard Becky’s cries, cornered the crook, and retrieved her phone.

Becky called the cops, but before they had a chance to arrive the perp’s accomplice -- speaking in foreign tongue -- convinced his friend to put on the scramola. The guy bolted and David threw a block and tackle knocking him into the bushes. As the phone snatcher scrambled to his feet he tripped and stumbled. While attempting to regain balance, the back of his left arm caught me across the mouth.

Like a schmuck, I grab onto the guy hoping to detain him until the fuzz arrive. He takes one look at me, socks me in the shoulder, and makes a mad dash to the getaway car parked in the Off 5th lot. At this point I say to myself, “Fuck it! Becky’s safe and she has her phone back. I don’t want to play anymore.” I light up a butt, catch my breath, and slowly saunter over to the parking lot just in time to watch the bastards drive off in the direction of freedom.

The cops arrive on the scene. Becky was fortunate enough to get the last four digits of their license plate.

Our heroes were in it for the duration and the two gentlemen stuck around until every last witness gave their statement. Becky informed her Facebook friends, “They wouldn't let my husband or I buy them dinner, give them a reward, or even take them with us to the screening of Die Hard tonight. (These boys are really smart!) After talking to the police, they just wanted to go finish their Valentine's Day shopping. Very, very cool dudes.”

As for me, I got a blog item and my left shoulder looks like the top of Gorbachev's head. I'll be damned if I'm going to allow common street hoodlums to put a dent in my moviegoing! Besides, they were nothing compared to the jadrool on my right who spent the first half hour of Live Free and Die Hard gnawing at the tip of his empty DaSani bottle. Jail criminals. Execute rude movie patrons.

In the end, why the pointless heroics? Had the critics group been suitably armed, we would have splattered the court with al-fresco pizza and went on to become the official critics club of the NRA.

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MrWolf Feb. 13, 2013 @ 5:06 p.m.

I don't know which line I liked more...the description of your "sausage legs" running, or "where's Paul Blart when ya need him?" You needed a Purple Rose of Cairo moment, with Bruce Willis coming down from the screen to give chase!


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