Tag Archives: drama

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, you’re 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:

BISCUITS.

__________________________

Photo titled Hoodlum by carbonnyc.

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The Problem

I’m a little tipsy. I’ve had a few pints. And I’m walking through the bus station. Smiling.

I don’t know why but when I’m tipsy it’s like I act as a magnet to every other person who’s reality is skewered. It’s like crazy can smell crazy, and everyone knows I can’t think straight.

I walk by a homeless man. He’s lying in a shop doorway, slowly licking a cigarette he’s in the middle of rolling. I’m still smiling to myself when I make eye contact. An invite. He stops licking the cigarette and stares back, shouting up into the doorway “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! CAN YOU SPARE SOME CHANGE!” and I know he’s really saying “you, can YOU spare some change” but by the time he’s finished his sentence I’m no longer looking at him and I’m pretending he’s not there and I can feel his eyes watching me as I walk by.

I sit down in the bus station. Wait for my bus.

I feel guilty. I ignored something in plain sight. A man looked into my eyes, I looked back. Then moments later I pretended he wasn’t there. I feel disgusted with myself. But I don’t go back and give him any change. I’m too ashamed. I wonder why I’m too ashamed to give money to a person in need. He needs the money more than I. But I feel like everyone would look at me, say “look at him, giving money to a homeless person.” I don’t have the guts.

I wallow in self-pity.

Then another man comes over. He wears a cream coloured suit, slightly dusty after what was obviously a good night. The good night is spread on his face in the form of a wide smile, each muscle of his face joins in on the activity.

“When do you reckon the bus is coming?”

I know when the bus is coming. He knows when the bus is coming. There’s a digital sign beside us, telling us when the bus is coming. I humour him anyway.

“About 10 minutes, mate.”

He’s not my mate, but I’m tipsy and he looks like the type of person that would make a good mate. He repeats my answer through his wide grin “about 10 minutes?” and he laughs loudly.

I get caught up in the laugh and I laugh with him, “aye, about 10 minutes!” I say. He laughs again. I laugh again. I’m laughing at a joke I don’t understand, a joke he probably doesn’t understand, but it doesn’t matter because we’re both happy and we’re laughing.

He skulks off a bit to talk with other people. But I know he’ll be back. Jovial people in white suits always come back.

He comes back.

“Hey mate!” he says. I turn to him, we make eye contact, but he says it again, just incase I’m looking through him. “Hey mate! I’ve got a problem.” I don’t say anything, but he knows I want him to continue.

As he tells me his problem he continues to smile, the happiest man alive. “I’ve only gone and got myself two girlfriends haven’t I?!”

He laughs. I laugh. We laugh. “Two girlfriends?! How’s that a problem?!” He laughs again. I laugh again. We laugh again.

“Well” he says “I love ’em both, don’t I!” His grin seems to get wilder, so happy about his problem. I grin back and my moral side speaks up “maybe you should own up?”

Stupid suggestion. He shakes his head. Walks away for a few steps, staring at the ground, mulling over the thought. He paces back “nah, I can’t man. I can’t!” He pleads with me, begs me to give him better advice, the wrong advice.

“How’d you get yourself into this mess?” I wonder aloud.

He runs his hand through his curly grey hair. His mouth still grins but his forehead wrinkles, deep in thought.

Well…she broke up with him didn’t she! Then when he was out the next week. You know, at that pub just around the corner. Just over there. He met the other one didn’t he, and she was amazing man, wasn’t she! Then a few days later his lass rang up didn’t she. Said she might have made a mistake, wanted him back didn’t she. Then he was stuck with both of them wasn’t he.

I sigh deeply. “I think you’ve got to pick one of them over the other, mate.” And he is my mate now.

He doesn’t even let me finish the sentence though. “You don’t understand man..” he brings out his hands, places them in front of him. “You see..” he shakes his right hand “..this one has a great house…” he shakes his left hand “..and this one has a great house.”

He looks at me as though it should make sense, but we both know it doesn’t, he swings his hands back down and sighs. He paces away again, but a presence stays in his place, a piece of energy holds his spot. He jumps back and tries to explain it again.

“You see mate, this type of thing…like…” his eyes dart about as he tries to figure out the words to tell me. “The chances of this happening are like, one hundred thousand to one.”

I tell him. He has to choose. One of them. He has to choose.

He shakes his head, continues to grin. “I can’t choose man. I just can’t. And this whole thing, you know. It tears me apart. In here.” He points to his chest, the grin still wide across his face. But he’s betrayed by his eyes. The eyes tell me the smile is a lie and the eyes turn the grin into a grimace.

I think of what to say, some choice words of wisdom and  but after a few moments he walks away. Gone.

This time he doesn’t come back.