Monday, March 03, 2003

Vagrant - Another story
People in this city are starting to get a reputation for themselves. With me, at any rate.

They stroll past nonchalantly and whisper audibly to themsleves, “Vagrant”

I twist and swivel in heightened fury. “Eh?”

They stroll away, hands in the air, as if to say, don’t blame me, it’s not my fault, you’re the one dressed in second hand clothes.

Yesterday two kids cycled past and bellowed “Yello Vagrant!”

I chased them for two blocks. Their silly giggles edged away gradually as I huffed and puffed behind.

Then, salt in the wound, on the way home, as I walked all sweaty and flustered, a man with his family cruised past at a snails pace in their stately car. Their windows were rolled down. The kids stuck their heads out like thirtsy pups. The father glanced at me strolling alongside and bellowed in a baritone-boom; “Vagrant!”

His family looked and laughed. Giggled and gassed. Shrieked and squealed. I stood in disbelief. Enough was enough. Not from a family man would I tolerate that.

I sprinted around in front of their automobile forcing him to screech to a halt. They stared in a horror, disbelieving this shredded personality was making a stand.

‘Look here! Youze!” I roared with my head pumping red “I am no vagrant. A vagrant is by definition a man of dishevelled appearance of no fixed abode. I’ll have you feckless feckers know, I have a house, no mansion I’ll admit, but it’s a place to call home, so kindly refrain from calling me a vagrant, right?”

The father held his hands in the air and nodded slowly, as if to say, o.k. Just don’t touch my family. The mother looked away as if it wasn’t happening. For a second I imagined her returning home and scolding her husband for his mindless insensitivity. The children hid behind the front seats except the youngest whose mouth hung in horror.

“Everyone got that?” I said. The father smiled forcibly, his face said diffuse, diffuse! I stepped aside and let them pass. Victory was mine.

The father fumbled with his gears and bundled away. I stood basking in my moment. That would shut those fuckers up for a while.

As their car headed away one of the kids stuck their heads out the roof window and shouted “Bum!”

I could hear them burst into peels of laughter as they wheeled around a corner. Even if I could catch them I had, sadly, no counter argument to that particular point. I turned away fearing to catch another souls eye all the way home.

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