Hey, Sharni again - thought I'd share a story I wrote a little while ago regarding a terrifying experience I had - wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this - and how did they react? I laughed -- out of sheer terror ....
I was going to add a picture here to accompany this - but couldn't find one appropriate...
About three years ago I was down on the ground in the foetal position praying for my life.
Three armed bandits equipped with a gun, a machete and a sledge hammer were standing over some twenty of us drinking in the beer garden at an upmarket hotel in Double Bay in Sydney.
A few seconds earlier we'd heard them shouting “Get down on the F****** ground ” , enforcing the command with a gunshot.
How had I ended up in this mess?
Only three days earlier I left the one horse town I was living in for a brief return to Sydney Town where I had been working and living for several years.
As I packed my overnight bag I was wondering whether this trip might make me feel that I should shut up shop in my quiet little town and return to big-city action.
My first two days were filled with lunches, theatre, clubbing and other twenty-something amusements so on Sunday night after a frantic day of shopping my best Sydney buddy Carly and I retreated to her Rose Bay home to chill out in front of the television.
Time somehow disappeared and at 10.30pm we were still rolled up in our blankets on the couch.
At that point we turned to each other and laughed “Are we grandmas? What are we doing at home, we don’t have to work tomorrow! Lets get amongst it! ”
So after tossing the dice over several likely establishments, as fate would have it we decided on the Sheafe in Double Bay and took a cab to New South Head Road.
At this time of night the hotel is normally overflowing with swanky party people, but we noticed it was oddly quiet.
Perhaps the Universe was trying to warn us?
We ordered some vinos and made our way out to the beer garden to have a relaxing drink with a dozen or so other patrons , some of whom appeared to have been there all day.
Suddenly the quiet buzz of the garden was broken by the most horrific shouting.
My first thought was that it was just a drunken fool – but I turned around to see a vision that hasn't left me yet : three masked men – one yelling “ Get down on the ground” .
At first everyone thought it was just bad street theatre and continued drinking.
“This is not a f---- joke” the bandit yelled and fired a gun to ensure we took him seriously.
Carly and I dropped to the ground clutching each other's hands and falling into the foetal position.
I've watched scenes like this on television, but my real-life reaction was a little less predictable.
Certainly tears were rolling down my face but, probably out of complete hysteria, Carly and I were both
laughing uncontrollably .
At the same time I was thinking how I still had stuff I wanted to do with my life , how much my body was going to suffer when they shot or stabbed me and and, oh God, how I didn’t want to die.
I was thinking of the Columbine Massacre (this was the day before the Virginia Tech one) and suddenly felt empathy with those victims.
At this point I was not seeing this was as a pub robbery – if something went wrong I knew I could be involved in a massacre.
My life and those important to me flashed before my eyes.
I told Carly I loved her and then started praying for my life, all the time in some sort of hysterics.
The sheer terror had us reacting in the strangest ways.. “If they catch us laughing, pretend we are crying” Carly hissed at me.
My heart was racing, my mind was thinking a million things at once.
I could hear the guy lying on the floor next to me calling the police on his mobile, and I was worried that the bandits would include us in their reprisal if they heard him.
If you asked me how long we were down there I couldn’t tell you, but after what seemed years Carly said to me “It’s Ok you can get up now” .She was certainly the calm one of us in this scenario; I was still frozen on the ground.
“How do you know?” I asked as I warily popped my head up.
Then I realised that people were standing once again and that the police and paramedics had arrived.
We learnt later that the bandits had put a knife to the barman’s throat and forced the hand-over of the contents of the safe.
The three had escaped through a getaway car stationed out the back of the beer garden.
Never in my life had I needed a reviving a drink so much.
Talk about sneaking back into Sydney for a quiet holiday!
The question I had put to the Universe: “Should I return to Sydney?” was answered.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have packed so much emotion into that question: a little symbolic sign would have sufficed.