First thing in the morning and he rose like a shot, pushed the sleep moodily from his eyes and stood by the window gazing into the rising sun of a bold new day. He showered, shaved, dressed and moisturised. He plucked the errant hairs from the bridge of his nose and admired the effect. He was shaking stylish, and if that wasn’t enough, he was full to the brim with nuggets of hot truth. He was ready for the world, and God help the world if it wasn’t ready for him.
He walked down the street basking in the cool heat of the early morning sun and the salty water of the shallow puddles underneath his feet. He was alone and he liked it that way. It gave him time to nourish his many and excellent thoughts. He noticed a woman walking along the opposite side of the street. She was around seventy, holding a butter laden croissant in her hand, spring in her step and eyes twinkling with the wistful reminiscences of a youthful passion because she has a back story or something. As quickly as she appeared, so did a seagull. Sensing vulnerability, it launched itself swiftly and savagely on the old woman, biting her hands and tearing the croissant from her hands. It swooped into her face, knocking her off balance and onto the hard concrete. Then it swooped back and in an entirely unnecessary, and apparently premeditated, final act of cruelty – defecated all over her cardigan before making off with her breakfast. He observed the scene with horror and ran over the old lady’s side. He knelt down and checked she was conscious. She was, thank heavens, because she had to hear this; “Just so you know, I’ve never stolen anyone’s food, at least not after biting them on the hands and I’ve definitely never shat all over someone’s knitwear so I don’t exactly see what the problem is here.”
Triumphant, he stepped over her body and got on with his day.
He arrived at work. Customer services because it suited his vibe. He sat at his desk and the phone instantly rang. He sprang for it; diligent not only for customer care but for frank and honest debate. Immediately, he felt his skin starting to crawl.
“Excuse me,” they wheedled, “But there appears to be a problem with my bill…I think I’ve been charged twice.”
Charged twice, indeed. He was incandescent and he wanted them to know it; “Charged twice, how much is that? Hundred pounds extra? A hundred pounds? Do you know what kind of interest the NHS has to pay on PFI contracts? Have you got any idea about the national debt of Angola? No you don’t and you don’t even care. Do you know, if you could show some interest in the REAL ISSUES then perhaps I could take you seriously.”
He threw the phone down in disgust.
Later, as he was clearing his desk he bemoaned the kind of pathetic, politically correct society that would censor him for making a clearly logical point. He slammed out of the office and down the street. He was storming, and who could blame him? But his sulk would have to wait because he could smell trouble. Two figures came careening around the corner, one of them shouting; “Stop him! He took my phone.” Without a thought to his own personal safety, he grabbed hold of him and brought him crashing to the ground.
“What are you doing? I’m chasing that man…he stole my phone,” shouted the man, trying to wriggle from underneath our hero’s iron grip.
“Oh yeah, so you know it’s a man, do you? How do you know that, it’s just as likely to be a woman. Just as likely, I’ve got statistics and anyway, you only saw him for a couple of seconds. It’s not like you could pick him up in a line-up, you could send someone innocent to prison. That’s selfish. And over what? A lost phone? You weren’t mugged were you? Just pick pocketed. Lots of people have it a lot worse than you and you’re making a mockery of their suffering. Besides, don’t you think that you need to accept some responsibility in all of this? You’ve probably lent your phone to people before so what’s this person supposed to think? What…why are you crying? Just because you’ve been a victim of crime doesn’t mean you need to act like such a victim.”
He stood, dusted himself off and left the man sobbing on the pavement. He congratulated himself on a job well done. People are so infantilized these days.
He walked into a pub to buy himself a drink. He’d earned it, after all. But quickly, he realised that his work was not yet finished. Two women were having a conversation at the next table and it begged for his intervention.
“I know she means well, but I’m so sick of her. I’ve told her to stop putting my red wine in the fridge so many…”
“Listen up, doll face,” he said angrily, “In 1991, we went on a week long holiday to Bognor Regis. While we were there there had been a power cut. All of the food in the fridge had defrosted and it was August. Do you know what it smelled like when we got back? George Bush’s soul. So don’t you ever talk about fridges and trauma without mentioning that. Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about what happened to me in 1991? Talk about it. Talk about it right now.”
But of course, they didn’t because they were selfish and narcissistic and had no idea what was really wrong with the world – i.e. things that had affected him personally.
He stormed out of the pub and went back home. He sat on the end of his bed and turned on his laptop. He was tired and sore but he couldn’t let this stupid world beat him. He poured himself a strong black coffee, turned his weary eyes to people being wrong on the internet and solemnly started to type; “Not all men, not all men, not all men, not all men, not all men, not all men, not all men, not all men…”
- Emma Milo