It has already been a trying day for Richie, Freddie, Charlie, and Tim. But, the drama isn't over yet. Thankfully, getting the Jimny off the truck proves much easier than loading it had been. As the guys shell out a whopping $270 for the twelve hour nightmare of a drive that got them here, their truck driver begins demanding $300 instead.
With just a few hours sleep between them, exhausted from an agonizing all-night-long crawl through the Mongolian steppe, Richie and Freddie display a truly impressive level of calm as the situation escalates. They respectfully decline the driver's persistent demands, reminding him of the price they agreed on. But, he isn't having it, and his eyes are growing more and more wild with each denial.
A crowd of onlookers is gathering, forming a semi-circle around the scene. This calm exchange is rapidly turning into quite the spectacle. There is a girl in the crowd who speaks English; we ask her to translate. We think she's told the man that he is being unreasonable, and that he has been paid the agreed price, when he responds by thrusting his hands into Freddie's hoodie!
Freddie passively puts his hands in the air, shaking his head as the man, ostensibly trying to grab the $30 he feels he is owed, rummages around. There is no money to be found, but the situation takes a turn for the even-worse when the driver pulls his hand out of Fred's pocket, clutching the keys to the Jimny. Is this guy crazy?
So begins a ten minute standoff whereupon Richie and Freddie follow the man in circles, still completely calm, asking the man repeatedly for the keys. They are getting nowhere. Eventually, he climbs into his truck! Worried that he'll drive away, I jump on the hood and reach my hand into the driver's window, joining the chorus by asking calmly for the keys.
He is livid. Reaching around, he smacks the side of my head in response. Rather than engage this volatile situation even further, I back away and sit cross legged on the hood of the truck. Realizing I have no intention of moving, our driver gets out of the truck in a huff, grabs my shirt and pulls me down in slow motion. A flood of memories from our Arnis de Mano training race through my mind.
The last thing I want is a physical altercation of any kind, but once I'm standing on the ground, the man releases my shirt and walks into me, our chests practically touching, his eyes piercing into mine. We're the exact same height and there is scarcely an inch between us. When I try to back away, he stays close, in lock step, clearly spoiling for a fight. The crowd watches on silently.
Richie steps in, saying, "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but this is our fight." Freddie, in a move of pure genius, defuses the current situation by jumping into the truck and grabbing his keys. The intense gaze of my aggressor turns to Freddie. Now he is trying to pry Freddie's hand open! Fred's iron grip won't yield; it appears we are at an impasse.
Eventually, they negotiate a trade. The truck's keys for the Jimny's keys. Reluctantly and distrustfully, the two make the exchange. The moment the trade is complete, the driver takes a swing at Freddie! Reacting instinctively, Fred dodges the punch, quickly leaning back to avoid the incoming blow. Finally, admitting defeat, the man gets in his truck and drives away.