SMITH OP-ED: Surviving the Riot

(‘John Smith’ is a Triangle area business owner, originally from the coast of NC, and formerly a state regulator.)

As we pulled to a stop, I caught them out the corner of my eye. Fifteen to twenty rioters charging the car on the left stopped next to me! The people in the car rolled down their window and threw something at them, and they swarmed the vehicle, agitated beyond belief!

I told my wife to start filming with her phone, at the same moment the rioters darted around us to charge a car escaping on our right. As the car went by, a red Ford pickup as I recall, the mass reluctantly parted, but one of their leaders was standing on the bedcover, staring at us, as it slipped on by. Letting the truck go, he jumped off, and came and hopped on our hood!

Nose to nose now, he was looking straight at us with steely black eyes. I noticed he was wearing a black mask, just before he began to beat on the car! Droplets of water would appear on the windshield, every time he shook his head in the heat, and his laugh had a wicked cadence as he mocked us!

Just then, I heard something on the roof and turned to the lady on the passenger side of the car to my left, who was looking at me through her window. I pointed up, and she nodded. THEY’RE ON THE ROOF! Starting to feel hemmed in, I asked my wife, “What on earth!!!!”

Suddenly, there was a tap at the door. Cracking the window, another lady said “That will be $17.48.” Apparently I looked puzzled, so she said “Two super shrimp burgers and a large fry?” I said “Sure,” fumbling around for the money, I said, “Here’s twenty-one. Keep the change for your tip.”

On any given day in Morehead City, for at least the past 50 years, the outrageous antics of the riotous, diving, banking, clucking and calling, laughing gulls, are all part of landing that perfect shrimp burger at the local drive in!

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