A Hoodlum Spat In My Face

Yesterday a stranger spat in my face. Literally, not metaphorically.

I was sitting with a friend at the time – waiting for the bus – when a group of hoodlums walked by. One of these ruffians turned to me, shouted the word “BISCUITS” and spat in my face.

I don’t know why he shouted “BISCUITS”, possibly because he knew that I would go back to this word in an attempt to find some meaning within it. Perhaps he knew that word would keep me up at night, constantly questioning me, forever making me wonder “Why?! Why did he say biscuits?! What does it all mean?!”

Immediately after the spittle hit my face, I felt nothing. I did not feel angry or sad, just apathetic. I was apathetic, precisely because the entire scene didn’t mean anything. He didn’t do it for any reason I could fathom and without a reason, how could I have a reaction?

Later, I searched for meaning, part of me wishing that there was a little drama to the event. That I had somehow wronged this man in some way. That we were part of some tragic Shakespearen tale. I’m not completely against spitting if the scene calls for it. If the spitter minces their way over dramatically, shouting the words “I spit on thee and thy house for the wrongs thou hath done me *hawk-spit*” At least that spitting means something. Spitting in disgust. But I’m not disgusting. Give me some meaning if you’re going to spit on me dammit!

But NO, this spit meant nothing. Not spitting for feminism, or spitting for socialism. Just spitting for the sake of it.  What a waste of spit. Spit that was on my face. Spit that I barely cared enough about to wipe away.

Yet, I must confess, I am perhaps being a little misleading. When I say he spat on me, I know what you’re thinking:

You’re thinking it was in slow-motion. (Such things always happen in slow-motion.) A weasel-looking youth, with a small moustache, looking down on me with a crafty flash in his eyes.

You’re thinking of the sound he made as he built up the spit. A low rumble of phlegm in the throat.

You’re thinking of the quick instant when he shot the saliva out of his mouth. You’re thinking that I watched it slowly gliding through the air towards me as I screamed one long “NOOOOOOOOOO!”

You’re thinking the spit hit me on the eyebrow, my head kicking backwards like I’d been hit by a gun. You’re thinking the ruffian smiled slyly in my direction, so happy with all he’d accomplished.

But let me tell you, your thinking is wrong.

It all happened so quickly that I barely had time to realise it was happening. It wasn’t slow-motion, it was fast-motion. Suddenly this man was in front of me, he was shouting “BISCUITS!”, he was spitting.

And the spit was weak. There was no conviction behind it. It was apathetic spit. It was spit that said “meh, I don’t really feel like doing this, but I’ve got to.” It was like the piece of homework you leave until the night before deadline. Lousy, half-hearted and lazy. Just plain rubbish. I was the teacher that received that lousy homework, shaking my head and thinking “come on now, we both know you can do better than this! You’re underachieving. You’ll never make anything of yourself if you go through life like this.”

There was no build up of phlegm, there was no force behind the release. In fact, the lousy little shit didn’t even have the common decency to open his mouth! He instead spat through his lips. It was half spit, half accidental raspberry. His spit dispersed into a number of minute, micro-spittles. It was like when somebody tells you a funny joke, just at the moment you’ve taken a swig of cola. We’ve all been there right? The instinctive laugh that we try to hold in at the last second, which shoots a mist of cola onto our friend. (Or in my case, laptop, because I have no friends.)

That’s how his spit was. A short, shallow mist. If spitting were a sport, then my grandma could have beaten this guy. When the spit hit me I was barely aware that it actually had. When my friend asked seconds later “did that guy just spit on you?” I suddenly started to wonder whether he actually had or not. Had he just spat on me? I felt like running down the street after him. “Erm, excuse me, sorry to bother you, I was just wondering… did you spit on me back there? Just, I’m not sure if you did, which means I don’t really know how to feel about the whole thing. Oh. Oh, right. Oh, you did just spit on me. My mistake. Didn’t mean to trouble you. Oh, wait. Wait, wait, wait! Just one more question before you leave. Uh, soooo… what was that you were saying about biscuits?”

Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong though. Perhaps his friend had just told him a hilarious, long-winded joke. The type of joke that goes on and on, and is all building up to one, perfect punch-line. A punch-line like “BISCUITS!” Perhaps upon hearing this punch-line the ruffian was forced to also exclaim “BISCUITS!” Because after that long build-up the punch-line was so obvious, but also so hilarious. “BISCUITS! HAHAHAHA! MAN THAT’S GOOD!” But maybe all he could do was exclaim “BISCUITS” before trying to hold in his laugh. And maybe that laugh turned into an inadvertent raspberry of spittle in my direction. Maybe he didn’t spit at me. Maybe he just accidentally spat in my direction. Maybe he felt really bad about it, but he didn’t apologise because, well, that’d have been really awkward, wouldn’t it? Apologising to the stranger you just accidentally spat on. Maybe he was just being polite by not bringing me into an already awkward situation. How kind of him.

Maybe he had a medical condition that prevented him from controlling his lips? Maybe he thought I was on fire and was trying to put me out? Maybe he didn’t like my jacket? Maybe, he spat on me for no reason at all. No no. That can’t be right. Ridiculous! It must have meant something! Surely!

Maybe. Just maybe, I reminded him of one thing. The one thing he hated more than anything else in this rotten world. A thing that had haunted him since the day he’d been born. A thing that chased him down long corridors in his nightmares. A thing that had killed his mother, his father, and his pet goldfish. A thing he feared, but a thing he also one day vowed to destroy:



Photo titled Hoodlum by carbonnyc.

18 thoughts on “A Hoodlum Spat In My Face

  1. I really enjoyed this! It’s funny how you can think of so many scenarios in which you could be spit upon, from the mundane to the Shakespearian. Perhaps he could tell you kept a blog, and wanted to give you something to ponder and write a great post about? That’s my vote, anyway. 🙂

    1. Perhaps you’re right, perhaps he knew that I hadn’t updated my blog in months and that spitting in my face would inspire me to do so! What a gentleman.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  2. I think spitting is a pretty vile thing to do to someone, but this was hilarious. I mean, really, really funny. Obviously the spitter and I could NEVER be friends because I adore biscuits (if the last scenario turns out to be the reality) — unless, of course, he spit because he was salivating while thinking of biscuits. Then we could be friends and I’d remind him not to discuss biscuits in public because he may inadvertently spit on other people while foaming at the mouth at the thought of them. Seriously, control that spittle!

    1. Here’s a question for you. When I say “biscuits” what do you picture? You see, the word “biscuit” means different things in England and America. In England, biscuits are cookies (more or less). In America a biscuit is like a bread roll type thing. So effectively he shouted “COOKIES!” and not (as you may assume) “BREAD ROLLS!” Obviously this is of great importance in determining the character of the hoodlum. His obsession was cookies, not bread. Unless of course he was an American tourist spitting in my face, then his obsession was indeed bread, but I think that’s one plot twist too many.

  3. Ha! I can’t stand spit at all, not even a little bit. But biscuits, THAT I can get on board with. Just a shame for you that such a fantastic utterance as “BISCUITS” should be sullied in such a way!

  4. You know, I thought I had it all straight in my head then you go and bring up the difference between biscuits in England and America. Just saying if the dude had a REAL dislike for [American] biscuits, and your head is still shaved, well there you go!

    Great story and the time away has down nothing to your wit. Still crackin’!

  5. Me too, it keeps me awake at night if I don’t understand something, especially some mundane thing that I just didn’t…get. I’ve been told I over-analyse things but hey, if it’s directed at you, there MUST be some reason, right? Biscuts.. very puzzling indeed!

  6. I’m sorry that a hoodlum spat/half heartedly sprayed your face with his mouth water mist, but I love this post! I like the way you described your experiencing of this peculiar event.

  7. A cousin of mine was punched in her face while walking a busy, central street. She was deeply upset with the incident and kept asking “Why me?” until someone informed her of a mental institution nearby. Besides understanding how puzzled you must have felt, I think you told it with humour and finesse. You are a very good writer.

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