In retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-François Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns.
What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: “Somebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!”
The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.
“I tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,” said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung.
His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week.
Villiers-le-Bel is home to rioting youths and closer to the Charles De Gaulle airport than anyone flying to Paris would ever want to believe.
In 1998, this cowboy made the mistake of stopping somewhere in or near Villiers-le-Bel to refuel my rental car. Things were uneventful until I tried to pay after fueling. The man behind the counter processed my Mastercard, then looked at the receipt and told me that my card was no good. Mohammad told me in darn good English that I should go up the street and get cash from the ATM to pay for my gas.
As I left the building it dawned on me that the wording on the receipt, although in French, said that the transaction was successful. I also didn't immediately see the ATM and felt uncomfortable going in the direction he sent me. So I decided I was not going to get cash to pay him.
As I returned to the gas station, I told Mrs. Headless to get in the Renault and put on her seatbelt. I went inside and pointed to the receipt, and told Mohammad that it clearly said that my card was accepted. Yet Mohammad denied it and pointed me again to the ATM.
I'd be damned if I was going to pay that terrorist twice for that fuel, so I jumped in the car and gunned it into traffic. I could see that fat son of a bitch in my mirror, he ran out to his car and started to chase me in traffic. I got caught at a couple lights, but so did he. I finally steered onto an expressway and peeled out. It felt like that scene in The French Connection. I soon lost him in traffic and got lost myself. It took a while but I eventually made my way to CDG.
At the time, I believed he was trying to double-charge me for the gas or that he refused to take my card because I am American. Today I know he wouldn't take it because I am a Christian infidel. COEXIST my ass, Mohammad was sending me to be robbed or beaten. Based on current events, I know that my decision to race away was the correct one.
Epilogue - My French must not be too good. The fuel charge never appeared on my credit card statement.
H/T - Dad29