Lawyer Stephen L. Miles -- a celebrity from his TV advertising slogan, "Let's talk about it" -- said he had no chance for banter when he and a female companion were attacked by two thugs after a night at Center Stage.
"We saw 'The Baltimore Waltz.' It was almost my last waltz," said Mr. Miles, a former prosecutor, describing the attackers as having been so "enraged" that "nothing would have stopped them except a bullet."
Police reports said the robbers were involved in a fight with another man in Mount Vernon Place shortly before they encountered Mr. Miles, walking with companion Cindy Williams in the 100 block of E. Monument St. about 11 p.m.
Mr. Miles, 49, and Ms. Williams, 30, a paralegal who works for his firm, were treated at Mercy Hospital after being struck with a blunt object one of the men was holding in a brown paper bag -- an object the lawyer said he initially thought was a gun.
The robbers fled with $1,800 from Mr. Miles -- 12 hundred-dollar bills and 30 twenties that the lawyer said he had been carrying -- and his companion's white leather pocketbook containing another $20.
Much of the cash was recovered a short time later, authorities said, when a man sought treatment for a broken ankle at Maryland General Hospital while dropping hundred-dollar bills on the emergency room floor.
After showing mug shots to Ms. Williams over the weekend, the police arrested Ronnell Brown, 20, of the 700 block of Edgewood St. on charges of assault and robbery and an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.
He was jailed last night, with bail set at $151,000.
Police also identified a second suspect, Riley Pettus, 28, of the 500 block of E. 33rd St., who was being sought last night.
Mr. Miles said he was wearing contact lenses rather than the eyeglasses so the robbers might not have recognized him. But he found later that his office had represented Ronnell Brown in a 1989 workmen's compensation case.
"He must not have been satisfied with his award," Mr. Miles said, quickly adding in a more serious tone, "I came about as close as you can go."
Mr. Miles said he sensed the presence of one of the approaching men and nudged Ms. Williams away from the perceived danger.
"I heard a bottle break and the other guy was quickly on my left," Mr. Miles said.
He said he took a fighter's stance in the middle of the street and heard one of the attacker's say, "Let's off him."
Mr. Miles said one assailant struck him in the head and the next thing he knew, he was lying in the street and the other thug was holding a broken bottle tightly against his throat.
"They were infuriated because I didn't have a wallet," the lawyer said.
"They kept saying to each other, 'Let's do him,' " but finally noticed and scooped up the money he managed to put on the ground.
"Looking around, I saw Ms. Williams attempting to reach into her purse for a canister of Mace," Mr. Miles said, adding that the man with the bag ran to her, hit her on the arm with the bagged object and grabbed her purse.
Mr. Miles said both men then fled.
"If it had not been for her, I probably would have been killed. I believe she saved my life," he said.
Mr. Miles said the attack left him with a swollen jaw, a lump behind his left ear and small cuts on his neck, while Ms. Williams suffered a broken right wrist and internal bleeding.