Where’s the bus, Charlie? – Short Story

I was looking down the street for the nearest bus stop because I didn’t know which way it would be, right or left, and I wanted the closest, quickest one. There were a large group of rudely pretty women gathered outside a building and concerned about something. It’s a normal sight for a weekend, but this was Tuesday, so what right did they have to look that beautiful and full of life and concern?

A young white man, dressed uninterestingly, yelled at me from the opposite direction with self-assured authority, “Stay away from ‘em. Those girls. You leave ‘em alooooone!

I looked at him, felt mad, but caught out in  exactly what I was thinking. He walked on and I went back to looking down the street for the bus stop, and again at the girls. Then I assumed that I must’ve been in the middle of the stops, and might as well walk in the direction I was heading, which was away from the girls.

The next stop was not nearby and a minute later, I found the young white guy leaning over a homeless man wrapped up in a sleeping bag in a shopfront. This was a main street and not at all prime real estate for homeless bedding down. This young guy leaned in and his face was now red, yelling at the greasy, sad man,

“You get a JOB. That’s how you get money! You should get a job you bastard. I’m not gonna give you my fucking money…”

He was drunk, I was drunk, the homeless man might have been drunk, but this guy was an asshole. He had yelled at those women, he’d yelled at me, he was yelling at this man. That was his life: He yelled at the world, and I wanted to do something about it all.

I had a full, unopened bottle of wine in my hand. I started to think of just telling him to leave the homeless man alone. I was good with words, and I could offend this guy or even reason with him; I was good with words and understood the drunk. Then I started to think of how to attack the guy, because I had a weapon and he was distracted. I was drunk and maybe not in the best shape to get into a fight. I wore glasses and had an expensive phone on me. Then another young white guy walked past me and stood beside the yelling young man. I wanted to ask him if he knew this yelling guy, and to get involved in stopping his pointless yelling. The other guy said nothing, but stood close enough that he had to know the yelling guy. I hated them both, but I couldn’t attack two guys. I was not a fighter really, I was good with words.

I had to walk on and shoulder this as a silly memory, but privately, it was another painful and crude example of my ineptitude in the face of challenge, as well as my overall dullness of character. What the fuck is the right thing anyway, and who is a good man?

I looked back and shared moments with the other good men by my side who felt disgust, and hatred, and sadness for the whole world we had to live in, for lack of options. I thought about what I should have done, and maybe, just maybe, could still do. But, every time I looked back the other guy seemed more and more to be the yelling guy’s companion and fighting partner. I was only in fantasy now, a sweet violent reverie about what I could do with that bottle of wine. I could switch grips on the neck and whip it brutally down on the back of his head, maybe knocking him out, and then run off into the night. If he was not unconscious after my blow, I could throw my boot into his stomach and try to get him down to the ground and find his liver or kidneys for a devastating shot. Maybe I could have walked a little further and, out of his periphery which was already degraded by his pre-occupation for hateful speech, from behind and at an angle, dig a boot-heel sharply into his knee. It’d bring him to the ground no doubt, and then I’d whack the full bottle of wine into his head at whatever angle it was. Maybe it was his temple, which would just hurt him a lot, if it was his nose, it would shatter and spew blood, if it was his jaw or the base of his skull, it would likely knock him out. If he was still not out or overcome with blood and pain, I could dig my boot into his kidney while he was on his knees, bring him to the ground and pummel his spine, get him on his back and step on his guts, and for good measure, if I was feeling an excess of energy, and a lack of empathy, I could even stomp his balls. Maybe I’d step on his hands or feet, because I’ve heard they are extremely hard to heal.

I spasmed with muscle tension and testosterone teases as I walked to that bus stop. I didn’t do any of those things I saw in my head; he kept on being an asshole, and the girls kept on having to deal with it because they were pretty and dressed to show that off, along with their youth. What right did I have anyway? I had been standing in an alleyway on the other side of that main street for an hour, trying to imagine as real and viscerally as possible, my own suicide.

I’d finished a bottle of cheap wine, and felt the pinch of cold rain more than my tired despair so I bought a new bottle and headed home. It was a fine time to go home: I had some wine, I had no lust to worry about, and I was good with words. I knew what beauty was; what it meant. It just fades so much fucking quicker than ugliness. That stuff seeps into your clothes and your dreams, and your bus rides. At every damned turn it is people like this yelling young white guy who have anger and anger and anger, because it is easier to not know and to yell than to know and to love. Any decent person feels that it’s too hard to go on, or to be optimistic. Many have no one to go home to, no beauty or job skills, nor any damned purpose, but… I had a full bottle of wine and I was good with words. I could stand in the street and be ignored by a thousand billion better dressed better organised, better loved people and yell with a smile and wine in my teeth,

“I am Charlie Dorr, and I can be an asshole and I can’t do many things you need of me, but I have love in my heart for you all, so forgive me and roll over baby!”

My life would be shit and dull and ugly, but stupid, hopeless bastards would read about it many nights after this one – multiple times, with drink in their minds and hope in their crotches! So that’s something. Just don’t get me wrong, I’d trade whatever that hope amounts to for the comfort of your total beauty right now and some unrelentingly sweet fucking pussy wrapped around my face and all the self-assured boring normalcy of your lives.

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