Some might say I have a big mouth. Some might say I say too much. Those some are correct. Don't get me wrong...I'll never change. But that doesn't mean it's not true. However, rarely does my mouth ever get me in trouble. Though rarely is not never.
Picture it...1991. Maybe 1992. It's all the same, really. I was 13 or 14 years old and I lived in the neighbourhood of Thorburn in Airdrie. It was a nice neighbourhood and the house in which I lived was awesome. A four-storey split, it left me with a lot of memories. The house was situated on the north side of an alley way entry (the alley way went along the side of our home and then our garage was perpendicular to the house so cars could turn into it). The alley way curved around the house on the other side from us and wrapped down along to the east. Our home, and the alley, both faced a major road in Airdrie, and so there was an opening for pedestrians to enter the Thorburn neighbourhood from that major road. So the alley way ended up having a lot of foot-traffic.
Being an obnoxious teenager, I sometimes became bored and decided to bother people as they walked through the alley. From my balcony window, I would bellow at a passerby a nugget such as "Excuse me, do you have any soup in your hat" or "I just farted and it killed my dog...call the police!" Said passersby did not appreciate the annoyance but generally said and did nothing.
Along came Mark. This kid was around 16 at the time and he frequented that alley way as he lived in Thorburn (down the street from me). He was one ugly mother fucker with some anger issues (the latter I did not know at the time). He also rode a yellow bicycle. A bicycle that was size appropriate for a seven year old. That thing was tiny. It was a teeny tiny yellow BMX-type bicycle that was worse for wear and he looked like a total idiot riding it.
I had to say SOMETHING. I saw him ride by many-a-time but wasn't in the mood to scream out something that seemed hilarious to me at 13 or 14. But one day I was dying to bother people. And so when I saw him pull his pocket cycle into the alley, I whipped open the balcony door and yelled the rudest thing I've ever yelled EVER!:
I received the dirtiest of glares as he rode by. I laughed. It was funny to me. I said my piece and it was now over...or so I thought.
Maybe a month later, our middle school took the grade eight students to the high school nearby as a sort of orientation for grade nine. I'm not sure what they were thinking. It was useless. They paraded us through the halls and into rooms. We had to stand in a line at the front of the classrooms and let the older students stare at us. Seriously WTF? It made no sense, but the school seemed to think differently. It was one such class that Mark was attending. Myself and my group of grade eight students walked into the front and stood...looking at all the intimidating older people. And I saw him there...gunnin' me down with his eyes. But that wasn't what scared me. What scared me is when, while still staring intensely at me, he made a throat-cutting motion with his hand. Sure, maybe he was kidding, but he looked dead serious. We left the school soon after and I forgot all about him...for a while.
In the summer after grade eight, about two months after my high school encounter with Mark J. Serialkiller, I was riding my bike (which was the right size for me, by the way) with Jeremy (see previous entry The Flood) along East Lake in Airdrie.
Sidebar: East Lake is a man-made lake that was a filthy swamp of water, but the surrounding park was kind of nice to hang out in.
While Jeremy and I were biking along on our way to the local comic book store, I saw Mark and his brother Mike (Mike was a year younger than I was) riding toward us...Mark on his yellow submarine and his smaller brother on a much larger bike. Go figure. When Mark was within a second's ride from me, he skidded his bike so that the rear wheel slid forward and his bike was sideways. He blocked the path so I would have to stop.
I'm not proud of what I did. I dodged him and burned rubber down the pathway, leaving Jeremy behind. I figured that Jeremy would be fine because this Mark character had nothing against Jeremy, and I was correct. But it was still cowardly for me to leave a man behind. Lesson learned. Anyway, I reached the comic store in record time. My heart was racing. The thought of being beaten down by this Mark guy was terrifying because he was much bigger than me. I waited about two minutes and then Jeremy arrived. I apologized to Jeremy and explained why I had to leave and Jeremy said he understood. Jeremy told me that Mark said "I guess your friend isn't coming back," and then Mark and his brother left. I felt like shit but Jeremy understood and I avoided a bludgeoning so life wasn't so bad.
The next encounter with Mark was not by me at all, but by my father. One October evening at around 11PM, Mark and a buddy of his were allegedly in the alley, on their way to the main road I mentioned earlier. Instead of walking the twenty paces to the opening in the fence in order to get to the path along the main road, Mark decided to kick down some pickets and make a new exit that was closer. Yeah. Complete asshole. Anyway, while he was kicking down the fence, my dad apparently stormed out in his slippers and chased Mark and Mark's buddy down the street. Cowardly asshole...but I suppose bullies like Mark can only stand up to people smaller than them. My dad hated all these lazy pricks that were busting public property to save ten seconds of walking time. In fact, it took longer for Mark and pal to knock down the fence than to walk around it.
I didn't see Mark for quite some time...over a year, in fact. I was walking home from school with Brad (think ugly short troll and you've got him figured out) and Dan (think Piggy from Lord of the Flies and you've got him figured out) and decided to hang out at Brad's house for a while to play Super Nintendo. We walked through a different back alley in Thorburn to get to Brad's house. While walking, I found a branch on the ground. Pretending I was going to whip Dan and Brad with the stick (boys will be boys), we all ended up running down the alley. Dan and Brad had a few houses head start on me, which soon turned out to be a problem.
As I was running past Mark's house, I heard a voice yell "Hey, come here!" The person was Scott. Scott was a "cool" dude. He was the same age as Mark (thus a few years older than me) though he was still in high school because he was stupid. Mark had dropped out earlier that school year, but that's neither here nor there. Scott was a bit taller than me and had long hair except on the sides and back of his head. The sides and back were shaved and then he had a long mane of hair that hung down the back of his head from the top. He looked like a total douche but that was "cool" then I guess. He exited Mark's backyard, and to my dismay he was not alone. Mark and Mike also emerged from the unkempt yard.
I should have run. Brad's house was four or five houses away. I could have made it with the head start. But I was tired of running from this fuck. I stood my ground. They swarmed around me like sharks. Mark barfed curse after curse at me, further solidifying his white trash status. He bitched about how he didn't appreciate being called "yellow submarine" two years before. He then complained about my dad chasing him for breaking the fence. Mark said that he was going to "punish" me for what I did and for what my dad did. Some lesson, hot shot.
I was basically held captive in that back alley for what seemed like forever. In reality it was about an hour. Mark spent a lot of time pacing around, suggesting different things he would do to me. He then cleverly thought of a solution. You see, I was still holding a stick. His idea was simple. He would let me hit him anywhere on his body with the stick. Then he would take the stick and do the same to me. The logic was that I threw the first punch and so anything he did was self defense.
First, that's not how it works. There's a law regarding what one may do in self-defense. Three people on one would not warrant a counter attack at all.
Second, if you're wondering why I did not use the stick and get the hell out of there, it's because I could only use it on one person before the other two would tackle me...not much point.
That was the plan. I strike him. He strikes me back...probably threefold. Mark seemed to want me to swing at him really badly. He was leaning in, tapping his cheek and telling me to smack him in the face with the branch. He was throwing out limbs and telling me to thwack them too. I wasn't stupid. I knew his game and wasn't having it. He began to yell and demand that I hit him with the stick. So I wound up, ready to swing. And I did.
I swung in an arc up over his head and let the stick go. It twirled through the air and landed in someone's backyard. Mark scowled and told me I shouldn't have done that. He rushed me and smoked me in the stomach with his fist. I won't lie...it didn't really hurt, but I carried on like I was winded. I hoped that if he thought he got me good, they'd fuck off and leave me be. No such luck. I sat down on a green transformer box, pretending to be trying to catch my break.
That's when Scott butted in. "Dude, do you smoke?" I said no, still playing charades. Mark then said that I was going to start right then and there. Scott took out a pack of cigarettes and held it out toward me with a butt poking out of the top.
"Take it," he said as he shuffled through his pockets for a lighter. I took the cigarette and proceeded to break it in half and chuck it across the alley. I didn't care. Let them beat me down. I wasn't going to smoke. Not for them. Not for anyone. I started to walk away and Mike came up to me. Mike punched me square in the gut as well, but his hit was even less painful than Mark's was. I wheezed and kept walking.
The three amigos didn't follow me. They instead turned around and walked back toward Mark's home. As they walked, Mark spun to me and yelled "Remember, you threw the first punch."
"We'll see," I yelled as I continued on my way.
I went into Brad's backyard and knocked on the door. The Little Troll That Could answered and my first question was bluntly "Why didn't you come help me?" Brad said he came out looking for me and saw me with some guys. Brad said he figured they were my friends and didn't bother to intervene. Brad seemed to forget that he knew that Mark wanted to kill me and Brad knew who Mark was. Dan had already gone home, but I'm sure Dan "figured" they were my friends too.
It was at that moment that neither Brad nor Dan was my friend anymore. I was surrounded by three dudes, two of which Brand and Dan KNEW hated me, and they didn't come to my aid. I respect that this was an interesting reflection of how I treated Jeremy a year before, but it was still a different beast. If Mark wanted to kick Jeremy's ass in that park, I would not have abandoned him. I left because I was afraid, yes. But I also left because I knew Jeremy was in no danger. In the case of Brad and Dan, they knew I was at some risk, but chose to let me hang.
So here's a big FUCK YOU to Mark, Mike, Scott, Brad, and Dan. They say the best revenge is living well...since the whole lot of them above were white trash jackholes, I think it's fair to say revenge has been accomplished. But if I see them jaywalking in the street, I still wouldn't swerve. Oops...I think I've said too much...me and my big mouth.