Fiction

Tic, tic, tic

December 24, 2018

I’m in the badly crowded subway, under Nyugati station, making good progress overtaking the losers, when a jerk cuts in front of me. He’s breathing into his mobile phone, has no attention for the rest of the world.

What the hell is this idiot thinking?

I kick out, in perfect rhythm, as though I would be but making a step, just as the next step should follow.

Like a footballer, I’m acting – scheming to take this motherfucker down.

He would otherwise pass me by, and I won’t let that happen. He is so not getting away with this.

I am hitting his heel at just the right moment, before his foot could land, causing him to contact the ground further ahead than planned. Now he’s trying to compensate, to no avail. His weight is already off his other foot, so he is trying to spring up a little, spring up like a daisy.

He lacks the power to pull this off. His knee goes wobbly. All he has left as a resource is his upper body. As he is trying to jerk forward like this, his rear foot catches up with the front foot, and his centre of gravity is now out ahead, lunging forward, very awkwardly. He is trying to get out of the self-made trap, but in the process he just collects some ill-needed momentum and goes with that into his inevitable crash landing.

I’m following this from the corner of my eye, from a good distance away. About a dozen people have passed between us since his fall began to unfold. When he finally looks up, he will have no clue about what happened – who may have tripped him, or if anyone did.

Mission accomplished.

Into the metro. Staring at nothing. At the destination, out the sliding doors, or, rather, preparing. People are lined up outside, standing in the way.

All these jerks can’t wait to get in. A fucking human wall. Why, they are mistaken, very. It’s me facing them, you see: you’re facing me, you fucking zombies! If someone’s getting run over, it ain’t gonna be me!

Dynamically, I crash into the first person in my way. By pure fucking accident it’s the only female among them. Sixteen-year-old, ears plugged in, chewing gum mouth open. She bounces off me like a flipper ball. Haha, take it from someone with real big balls! She will learn the lesson – so will the others around her, too.

The bitch starts lamenting. Gosh! The image of her chewing her gum in that outrageously arrogant manner gives me the shivers – it’s clear she has no manners whatsoever.

Up the moving staircase like nothing happened. As long as smart glasses can’t do facial ID, I’m fine in the crowd. The lamenting dies off behind me.

I’m on a row. Adrenaline pumping. I have just cut a path through the ranks of some real idiots, taking two of them down.

On, now, up the non-moving staircase next, taking the steps on the run, with the energy of a youngster, towards the light above. But then the light gets covered out by a bitch descending with her large shopping bag. The kind of bitch that holds the brand name out to identify herself.

She would walk straight through me, so I take a cunning step aside. Like I’m no one, a nobody. She doesn’t even look up to acknowledge, she’s so sure of herself, confident that everyone else around her will die to please her.

So let’s continue where we left off! I swerve back to get my knee in the way of her shopping bag as I slightly raise it up, pushing the bag up above her hand. The contents spill out, over the stairs.

Cause to celebrate.

But then my series of triumphs comes to an end at the nearest crosswalk. A Rolls-Royce drives past, whizzing past just in front of my feet. License plate Slovakian – from Komarno. Lower insurance costs and (unlike in Hungary) no registration tax were paid for this rolling piece of wonder that almost runs over my toes.

I feel the wind of the car’s movement, and I hear myself unwittingly scream, “Thieving bastards! You think you can do whatever the fuck you want?”

I show the middle finger, in that universal sign of discomfort. It gets me nothing. Nothing happens. The car just goes on. People don’t even look at me.

Some are carrying home Christmas trees. They mind their own business.

***

P. S. The unofficial soundtrack for this story is “Hétfő délutáni idegrángás” from the one and only Négyzet Báró a.k.a. Totoya Priusz.

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