COWARD ~ Steve Vermillion

May 21, 2007

This is what it feels like. This is what a girl can do, what testosterone does. You look…you look twice, and that’s it. It is disrespect, a challenge. Your nose, his nose, smashed like a grape; like a blood red strawberry…. Blood everywhere: Down the new moustache,into the teeth, over the tongue and onto the lips and chin… What the fuck? What’s happening?Two strangers, passer’s by, exchanging looks, and I don’t mean that in one moment you looked like him and he like you; something worse, more sinister, you simply glanced toward one another. That’s it… That’s the whole of it!

One punches the other in the face. It does not matter. You cup your nose in your palm, or he holds his nose in his palm…a face covered in a single impulsive hand; the sudden taste of warm salty blood, and for what? You think for just one moment that you should have only looked at the pavement, the pubs or the shops, never at the stranger walking with his mates…Something challenging about it…something to prove.

One of you fires one fist, then another. You crumple, drop to the floor, more than bleeding, but a fucking coward if you don’t stand up and go at him, knowing though, that you may only return bleeding, hurting, all the more wounded, lying again upon the street under the fleeting lights.

“You fuckin’ wanker, go on, look at me again!” Your nose hurts as much as dying but your mates only look on, no longer friends, but daring you, pleading with you for revenge, though their fists lie open at their sides.

“You fuckin’ wanker, if you look at me again you’re a dead man!” You rise to one knee. You keep your head down out of shame or some kind of planned surprise, preparing to fight back. Seconds go by, maybe minutes, but you do not rise.

The guy walks away from you and you want to smash him from behind. You want to charge him and you know that your mates are watching you and wondering what you’re going to do and you say, out loud: “I’m gonna kick the shit out of him.” You look round for a weapon, a piece of wood, a blade, a rock, anything, but there is nothing but your balls. And what is left of them?

That’s what it’s like. It’s what the boys do. Give’m’a pint. Give‘m’ a game… Give‘m’Leeds United. They will rot in prison, covered in their own faeces, as well as suffer a random look, a smile, a supposed challenge, or stranger.

All waiting like loaded guns, cross-bows, swords and shields… Been there ten thousand years: Casual, common, routine as sex with a drunken teen. Come on, look at me, show me your fucking face and I’ll knock it off…I’ll fucking dust you mate…Come on!”

Only thing worse is walking your bird back: Walking her home and some guy decides, on a moment’s impulse, to pinch her arse as he passes by. He’s a big fellow, a giant. She goes mental, looking at you, spitting, insisting, and demanding that you teach that cunt a lesson.

“That fuckin’ prick pinched my arse! What you gonna do about it?” What sex you were expecting disappears. You look back… The bloke, even bigger now than when he passed by, looks invincible. From somewhere in your survival instinct you think: “Let it go”. Still, you come after him, ready to commit suicide. Pussy or death, and you choose death…You always do…always will.

On impulse, you turn… in silence, attempting the element of surprise, but he, aside from his inhuman biceps, has big ears…he hears your very first step…hears you coming, and he is ready. Instead of pinching your arse his fist stops you like bricks and mortar. You fall. You fail, and your girl looks as though you’d decided to be laid out where you had once stood…as though her honour was as of little importance to you as, say, skid marks in pants. You look up, from the street; pleading, appealing to her, as though saying, “Wasn’t that gallant of me?” But she turns away just as the giant who knocked you down keeps astride of his mates and never looks back. Your girl, this Goliath, walk their separate ways and you are alone…alone, half conscious and no better than had you been a coward.

You realize that you are no Achilles, no Ulysses. Not Stephan Deadalus himself. You lie alone on the street…

You want to shout to her, even to him, that you have not given in, nor retreated and are not a coward… But you have, in your fall, twisted your knee…a knee incapable now of allowing you to stand upright, though you remain full of fight, even of suicide, and strangely, still wanting that promised sex. “Come back”, you want to shout, your mouth full of blood with the now glassine taste of your own teeth. It is then that you realize that it is not your knee, your face, your nose, nor anything somatic. It is cowardice and common sense that keeps you hugging the pavement…hugging the ground for warmth or comfort as though night itself had arms and a blanket…enough to care for you in your absence…

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3 Responses to “COWARD ~ Steve Vermillion”

  1. :j said

    real and raw.

  2. Ellis said

    not a coward, just a boy.

  3. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful info specifically the last part I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

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