Fiction    Reading Room    Memoir    Interview

Blackeye for a Backhander

I sock ’im one.
Right in the eye.
I hurl that suck’r as hard as I can.
Left shoulder forward, right shoulder back.
I’m getting the flow of things.
I know how this works now.
I’m beginning to understand.
And then!
Just when I was starting to enjoy myself, wham! there ’e ’is wiv a black eye, there’s
           me wiv a sore hand and it’s all over. Oh yes, it’s all over now.
She socks me one.
Right in the eye.
She hurls that suck’r, hard as she can.
Right shoulder forward, left shoulder back.
Boy, she’s getting the flow of things.
Boy, she’s a quick learner, orright.
Wham! Before I know it, there’s me wiv a black eye, there’s her shaking her hand and
           it’s all over. Oh yes, it’s all over now.
I don’t really see it coming.
Don’t really even feel it or nuffin.
Kind of a whoosh.
Light travels faster than sound, but I’m kinda slow myself, so maybe that’s why
           there’s only a whoosh.
It knocks me over, sure. There am I, on the muddy pathway, wet grass on my elbows.
Like laughter five minutes after the joke.
Like screams ten minutes after the shower scene.
She don’t really see it coming.
Don’t even feel it or nuffin.
There’s kinda a whoosh.
Whoosh! Totally decked her. She’s out on the pathway, muddy and grassed.
Knuckleprint spreading across her face,
like realising you’re about to come off your board once you’re on the concrete,
like not feeling sick until you hit your head on the alley wall after a chuck.
Helps me up, we shake hands, applause from the boys on all sides.
Him wiv ’is blackeye and me wiv ’is knuckles on my cheekbone.
Help ’er up, we shake hands, applause all round.
’er wiv my knuckles on ’er cheekbone and me wiv my blackeye.
‘Good times, good times,’ says Nails.
‘Aw nah fuck off,’ says Spider.
‘Aw nah fuck off yaself,’ says Nails.
‘Aw nah you fuck off,’ says that new dude and pushes Spider down the steps.
He falls a lot further than you’d think.
Still for several seconds.
The breath on our lips freezes.
He stands up, nose bleeding, skateboard arm dislocated again.
‘That wasn’ very nice,’ says Nails.
‘Nah,’ says Beans.
The night is ruined. Spider’s snorting blood and wiping ’is nose on ’is sleeve.
‘Good times,’ says the new dude.
‘Dick,’ says Nails, and the word sounds worse than ‘cunt’.
We all stalk off, single file, off the property, down the street, stalk off to that party at
           Franco’s place.
No one speaks to that guy for a long time.
Johanna Aitchison
Michele Amas
Angela Andrews
Sarah Barnett
David Beach
Ken Bolton
Jenny Bornholdt
Rachel Bush
Mary Cresswell
Stephanie De Montalk
Cliff Fell
Tom Fitzsimons
Brian Flaherty
David Geary
Bernadette Hall
Kerry Hines
Andrew Johnston
Therese Lloyd
Iggy McGovern
Mary Macpherson
Dora Malech
Vana Manasiadis
Emma Neale
Gregory O'Brien
Lucy Orbell
Zach Savich
Charlotte Simmonds  
Marty Smith
Elizabeth Smither
Abby Stewart
Robert Sullivan
Jo Thorpe
Cath Vidler
Louise Wallace
Ashleigh Young

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