HE MORON CAME walking towards me not only talking to himself, bursting out into sporadic laughter but complementing the awful spectacle with an array of facial contortions that could only be seen to reinforce his rightful status as an idiot. Isis was tugging on my jacket sleeve, pulling me towards her as she lent into my ear, ‘it’s a mobile phone,’ she hissed, ‘hands free,’ as if this was some kind of excuse. I waited until he had just passed and booted his heels together, man this was some tumble, there was screaming in the street. I went up to him and noticed the earphone lying on the pavement next to his head, its new home, the old one having been reoccupied by a bubble of blood.
‘Someone phone for an ambulance,’ came a voice of concern from the gathering crowd.
Just then the ambulance arrived which created a distraction, a welcome break. The injured man got strapped in and stretched off. The crowd was going nowhere though, it was buzzing like a curious swarm of bees.
‘Don’t worry I’m on it,’ I said, pulling out the guy’s phone from his inside pocket, ripping out the jackplug and punching out numbers with the urgency of authority. I scanned the crowd, no accusing faces, good no witnesses.
‘Aaaaaaaaargh’ I shouted, throwing the phone into the pavement where it smashed into many, many pieces, ‘its one of these hands free fuckers.’
‘Calm down mate,’ a suit said, fumbling with his mobile, ‘I’ll phone,’ and he did.
The boys didn’t come running though and when they did it was the police, no sign of an ambulance. Some woman, a passing nurse, was making the guy comfortable, lying him on his side and some other stuff.
The police are well trained these days there was no ‘what’s happened here?’ or ‘stand back please,’ no, they were right on the case making sure the guy could breathe and jabbering into a radio for advice. Changed days.
Changed days indeed but it wasn’t long before they wanted to talk to me.
‘What happened here, did you see?’ asked a tough looking kid, no more than twenty but well built and boxer faced like one of them Italian heavyweights.
‘Not much, well obviously he went flying but I don’t know, must have been talking into his phone, maybe he tripped on a loose paving stone.’
‘What that phone there?’ he asked, pointing to the smashed mess of wires and plastic.
‘Yeah, sorry that was me, I tried to phone you guys and it wouldn’t work, I must have been caught up in the urgency or something, it was one of these hands free jobs.’
‘Let me get this straight, you saw the guy trip,’ his tone had changed, more angered, ‘then went to help, tried to phone the emergency services with his phone then flew into a rage and smashed it when you couldn’t get through.’
‘Yeah. Like I said, it was one of these hands free mobiles, I’ve never used them, it got to me somehow.’
‘It was him.’
I spun round to face this accuser, a small woman about fifty whose gait appeared twisted into a wire figure of vengeance, her face a crust of ire. Yes she cut a formidable presence, but worse, much worse, I’d seen her before.
‘Did you see an incident?’ asked a suddenly animated Marciano unable to control his emotions, to disguise his enthusiasm, he’d smelt crime. Tuning into the vibe and anticipating an escalating situation his partner left the care of the injured man to the nurse and moved in closer, which irritated me, he was a ginger.
‘No but I’ve come across him before, he scrubbed a busker’s face with a brillo pad until it was just a mush of shredded skin and blood, the poor man was made and dressed up as a court jester, he was singing mediaeval ballads and playing a lute, this madman came walking by with his puppy, the dog took fright at the busker’s appearance, that was it, that was his crime and for that he was put in an arm lock and probably disfigured for life. I shouted at him to stop and he turned and stared straight at me with the face of a murderer, I thought I was next. It was him all right, where’s the loose paving stone? I tell you it was him.’
Ginger moved in even closer, close enough to grab me if I’d tried to make a run for it, Marciano started to inspect the paving stones, you could feel the change in atmosphere among the gathered crowd, it was getting thicker, a thickness somewhat akin to collective hostility. Anyone would of thought I’d just personally executed a busload of window-licking spastics.
The Moron and Marciano continues...