It’s not like you came out of the shadows in any particularly menacing way; it’s just startling to see anyone emerge from the shadows as the hour nears midnight to ask if you want to hear a joke. I was still in the midst of locking up my bike so there was no escape without being rude––I had to respond.
“How do you find Will Smith in the snow?”
There was only a few directions this one could take and they all seemed to point towards uncomfortably racist. This wasn’t what I wanted. I just wanted to walk the ten paces to the liquor store and grab my beer before they locked the doors––now I’d have to play audience to your bigotry. You swayed before me and I stammered some unintelligible protest and braced myself for the ignorant guffaws.
“Just look for the Fresh Prints!” You slapped your thighs and laughed, almost doubling over. I was surprised–it was funny. A relief. You introduced yourself and we went inside. I helped you pick out beer and you told the joke to the cashier. He didn’t hesitate like I had and everyone in the store laughed. I was the ignorant one. My cheeks burned.
“Want to hear the one about the Italian child-bride on her wedding night?” You called out as I pedalled off into the night.
“I’ll put your penis right up your nose!” That was not a taunt I’d ever heard before. I rolled over the complexity of the action in my mind. How would one even begin? It’s not like the target of your assault would sit idle as you worked to stretch their genitals into a nasal cavity that was only a dark spot on the horizon from the universally distant vantage point of the human crotch.
My childhood in the 90’s was littered with rumours of Marilyn Manson removing a rib so he could successfully fellate himself–friends and I used to tease one another about about wanting to have the procedure done (presumably because we’d all tried and failed without it)–but even if that was true and it had worked, would the penis be able to reach the twin orifices which were still a few floors above the mouth? And once again, even if it did, your subject would never submit to having such a surgery just so you could follow through on a jibe–this clearly wasn’t rational jeering.
I’ll fill your mouth with poop!” The other kid screeched and they both laughed. At least that was a little more realistic.
He yelled at us from his car window. Something about motherfuckers and lack of respect. We continued to skate the edge of the concrete flowerbed, each of us trying to land our tricks before it got dark and we’d have to make the drive back to Castlegar. Cerebral hemispheres of dust plumed as he tore into the parking lot of what I think was Christina Lake’s water treatment plant. He continued to yell. More about motherfuckers but now bookended with threats. We told him we’d leave soon––after we landed our tricks. He said we’d leave now and grabbed a hammer from his trunk as a catalyst.
I wondered about that man’s rage and if I was capable of irrationally threatening thirteen-to-sixteen year-olds like he had as I tried to walk up the escalator and was met with a blockage of teenagers who seemed incapable of grasping the concept of a fucking passing lane. I gripped my skateboard and hoped I could muster appropriate fury when the Skytrain pulled in and the kids ran to catch it. I followed, pretending they were running from me; another man with another issue who couldn’t think to say excuse me.