Saturday, July 16, 2011

crack park

An evening in crack park, enjoying a last can before accepting we are too tired to giggle at our wit any more.

A man came off his bike in slow motion, landing softly on the dark grass at a hilarious velocity, the opposite of speed.

We mocked him jovially, suggesting he probably walk his bike the rest of the journey. Home? Where was he going, diverting through crack park at a late hour? We were hardly hoping for his company, but that's what you get in crack park. Company.

It wasn't the words that were terrifying, words half formed of shattered English and large shards of Russian. His ruddy and compact body, stout shoulders and fat hands punching each other. His face a smudge of intoxication. He was saying something about a boxer. Vladimir I think. Was he the boxer? He could have been a boxer. His body seemed pretty small for that but I suppose boxers come in different sizes. Has his face really been beaten into that shape?

He was a mumbling fool, truth be told, but the way he towered above us with his arms folded before him, hands cradling elbows. We were just four, sitting quietly in crack park, enjoying beer number last, not ready for the potential violence in this man. We had narrowly avoided a beating from a topless man only half an hour previously. He was sure that Alistair was a tramp. We were making it worse to tell this man that no, Alistair owns a house and he paid for his beer. At least this guy had the decency, eventually, to leave us.

Vladimir was troubling. He wouldn't leave and he wouldn't sit down and he wouldn't shut up. It seemed that to his Russian and blitzed mind that we had wronged him. He continued to punch his own fists, making boxing gestures to the air not so far from our nostrils.

Concern spread among us. We were amused enough to remain calm but there was a sense that this was a sign. It was our last beer after all. The beer had made its point and now we were in crack park with a drunk potentially professionally violent beast.

When the miraculous occurred. He took off his shirt! Triumphantly, a smiling child finding a rubber duck in the bath. He turned around to display to us - his late night audience - the toning on his deltoids.

This was our moment. I gestured with my most assertive finger and we, as ninjas in a shadow, gathered up our instrument bags and made for the park exit. Cackling wildly like geography teachers, we scarpered into the night, turning around only once to see our hero, standing topless, alone in crack park, flexing his meaty back to the trees.

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