Thursday, 7 July 2011

U Certificate Gangster


I cracked an egg open into her face – right between the eyes. Be a man Andy, said the internal scream beforehand, me egg in hand. Think of yourself as a gangster, continued the inner other me, a gangster wouldn’t put up with what you’ve been through. That was the barefaced truth of it. I was on the wrong side of thirty-five and it was finally time for me to be a man. No one on this earth would have put up with what I had been put through. And so there it all was. In the kitchen. Mum’s old kitchen. Now my kitchen. Morning touching noontime. A combination of damned circumstance – a brutal tiredness from working through the night, her stony traitors silence and my head-talk about being a gangster – had brought me to this act of violence. The fuse of my patience now burned to melting, the egg then fired spectacularly from palm to forehead. Splat!
          I suppose I did feel a bit like a gangster in the immediate moment that followed through. A monstrous sense of power, control. Like a gangster leader. But then again when I say I felt like a gangster leader, I don’t mean that I was some sort of feared modern-day offspring of The Krays; I guess I would always be in my mind's eye a romantic gangster, still somehow dangerous, but playful at heart, an old fashioned Al Capone type, feet pointed up on a desk, puffing away on a fat Cuban cigar from afar, enjoying the triumphant news about the St. Valentine’s Massacre. Hmmm. Valentine’s Day.
          But I do now think I really did feel the power and control of a man putting his woman in her place, with that egg. Some moral authority as fractured bits of shell grazed her delicate skin while yellow and transparent phlegm dripped down her thin pointed nose and into the waiting hole of her astonished mouth. I clenched my eyes shut. Everything silent, everything still. When I opened them she really did look such a pathetic wonderful sight. I almost forgot myself and all that she had done to hurt me; I almost grinned. I didn’t grin because I am undoubtedly the kind of person never to glory in domestic violence let alone any kind of violence. I am simply not vicious by nature. I abhor violence. Always have done. But now, now that I have come to think about it all, I’m all twisted about the facts. What I mean is, is that I guess I know exactly how they would have both – and him – reacted if they had got to read any of this now. All of them would have definitely laughed and then spitefully sung to the world about how if I was any sort of a gangster I’d have been a U certificate gangster, bleeding Bugsy Malone. Bugsy sing-along Malone. Splat! Thank God for Eddie. Always remember how he showed the way. I will. Because it could have been so easy for me to have been swallowed up and spat out onto the pavement. The dead spit under your shoe. That’s what drove me forward. In such a short space of time, I fatally had so much to prove. That’s why I got sucked in. Because everything about me, the real me, was clearly at stake.

An extract from the opening of Barking Frog by Joe England.

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