Find the new outpost

Posted Wed 22 Apr
7 comments so far

There’s blood in my mouth ‘cause i’ve been biting my tongue all week.
I keep on talking trash, but i never say anything.
And the talking leads to touching,
And the touching leads to sex,
And then there is no mystery left.

I used to tell stories here. I don’t have any stories to tell, they are all drained from me, along with everything else, left with the mundane and trivial. But still, I can’t help myself, so have a story, that I have already told, but not here, and not to you. It only happened today as I type, and while now is still today, it didn’t happen now.

And it’s bad news, baby I’m bad news
I’m just bad news, bad news, bad news

I would have mentioned this to Cassandra, but she isn’t here, and didn’t seem to want to engage earlier. It started on the train. Actually, scratch that, it started years ago, decades ago, with a vow then. I have written about that episode before, but I am too lazy to find the post. Maybe I will retro-fit it. I know what I am talking about, even if you don’t.

I know i’m alone if I’m with or without you,
But just being around you offers me another form of relief
When the lonliness leads to bad dreams,
And the bad dreams lead me to calling you,
And I call you and say “c’mere!”

It started on the train. Hot, busy, noisy. Phones, people, bags and books. A gaggle of footie fans (you could tell, they must have been in the pub all day, they were unkempt, smelt, and you could have mistaken them for carriage-jumping homeless) huddled by the offside doors, hanging on the grab-rails, swinging if not menacingly, then at least incoherently. Five of them, all told. No visible tatts, no closed cropped hair. No threat.

And it’s bad news, baby i’m bad news
I’m just bad news, bad news, bad news

If I miss the fast(er) train, which I did, there is the local-stopping variety. Which only takes ten minutes longer overall, but that is enough to call it the slow train. I was on the slow train. The next stop, two young ladies boarded, took the seats opposite me (vacated by local people for local stops) and proceeded to chatter about whatever it is young ladies chatter about. Commuting life, the regex in my head filters out most noise, but not all, as some conversations are worth interuppting. But this isn’t a story about that.

And it’s bad news,baby it’s bad news
It’s just bad news, bad news, bad news
‘Cause you’re just damage control
For a walking corpse like me,
Like you,
‘Cause we’ll all be portions for foxes.
Yeah, we’ll all be portions for foxes.

It all started when one of the football fans (you can tell, they were all wearing the same uniform) swung on the grab-rail, and noticed the two girls. You could excuse it by the drink, you could excuse it by the group mentality, you could excuse it by the neandrathal knuckling-dragging no-thinking ill-bred upbringing, or you could just not excuse it. But one thing you shouldn’t do is ignore it. It was loud, it was obnoxious, it was lewd, it was rude and it was uncalled for. It wasn’t funny, it certainly contained no wit and wasn’t meant in jest.

But everyone ignored it.

There’s a pretty young thing in front of you
And she’s real pretty, and she’s real into you
And then she’s sleepin’inside of you.

I couldn’t. A few statements in, I could see where this was going. Knowing the distance between stops, listening to the undercurrent from the others in the group, I knew I should do something, not as no one else would, but because someone should, indeed, I should.

And I did.

And the talking leads to touching, then the touching leads to sex
And then there is no mystery left.

Sitting on the outside seat (with a studiously-ignoring-everything guy on my inside) it was easy for me to swing out and up, a few paces from the lead taunter. Calm down, I said, leave the girls alone, you are making a fool of yourself. There was a momentary pause, enough for a blink, a breath, I could see the thought passing across his face. What you sayin’? What you sayin’? All I am saying, is calm down. There is no need to hassle the girls. They don’t like it, I don’t like it, you are making a fool of yourself. What? What? What?

He took a step closer, moving to the periphery of my personal space. The brow furrowed, teeth starting to bare. Another step, and now it was ugly. The four others had focused their attention behind, and the collective ignoring was now more evident than before.

A foot shuffled, and I could see the fingers flex. I didn’t take a step back, rather I shifted my weight into a right L-stance, moving my body sideways, dropping my right arm down, pulling my thumb back towards my wrist, closing the fingers together. He moved in towards me, I took a calculated risk. Raising my arm, a quick jab, not a full thrust, I arced my hand into his throat. The pulled back thumb hits the windpipe, just a contact and withdrawl, enough to cause an intake of breath, enough to cause him to step away from me, enough for a warning.

And it’s bad news. I don’t blame you,
I do the same thing. I get lonely too.
And you’re bad news; my friends tell me to leave you,
That you’re bad news, bad news, bad news

At the same time he took a step back, the leader of the back pack step forward and was in my personal space in a single bound. What the fuck are you doing? What is your problem? Calm down, I said, don’t do this. Just calm down, leave the girls alone, step back, leave it be.

This time, his face was red, and his arm was raised. He stepped back, and forward towards me again. One of the sequences we practise is called ‘the drill’, basically a push, hook, grab, slide and counter. A little push, a little hook, a little grab, a sturdy grab and I was done. If you take someone’s arm, turn it over while holding the wrist, you will see the elbow is locked, and if you push on it, the only way is down.

His only way was down. But not to the floor, just enough so he was bent over. At which point, using the locked arm, I pushed him lightly forward, enough to get out of my personal space. Calm down, leave them alone, relax. There is no need for any more. You don’t want any more.

He muttered, took another step back, huddled with his mates and were no more trouble. They got off at the next stop, at which point the girls mumbled their thanks, and the carriage collectively exhaled.

You’re bad news,baby you’re bad news
And you’re bad news, baby you’re bad news
And you’re bad news

All in the space of what, thirty seconds. At this point, Cassandra has returned, pointed out while it was good of me to stand up to them, what if they had a knife? True, I didn’t have enough space to use a cresent kick to swipe a knife away. They didn’t. They were rude, boorish and drunk, the physical contact I used was minimal, a warning and a disarm. Would I do it again? Yes. Replaying it the neck strike was probably a mistake, but it was an opening gambit, probably a reaction to the stance I adopted. But it was a light strike, had I carried it through it would have dropped him.

I don’t care i like you
And you’re bad news
I don’t care i like you
I like you

You are only half as good in reality as you are at your worst during training. These are my principles, if you don’t like them, I have others. Would I have done the same had they been hassling insert your age group/sex/ethnicity here? Yes, yes I would.

  1. I can understand Cassandra’s concerns. Your family need you to keep yourself safe. That is true.

    That said - I believe you did the right thing. I am proud of you. The more people prepared to do what you did today, the better a place we all dwell in.

    I still understand your dear wife. What if there had been a knife?

    Wed 22 Apr, 11:35PM

  2. You need to tell more stories!

    Well done for doing what people are usually too scared to do. I have been the lone girl a few times now (particularly scary if you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language!) and seen it happening a few times on top of that. It’s nice when someone does stand up to the drunks/idiots.

    Get a superhero cape and wear it as you commute. ;)

    Thu 23 Apr, 7:42AM

  3. am proud of you

    (but still worry)


    Thu 23 Apr, 11:35PM

  4. This is quite mesmerising…

    Darryl Collins
    Thu 30 Apr, 3:51PM

  5. Dude, love the way you write. Also, way braver than I am.

    Tue 12 May, 12:38PM

  6. Nice work mate. Glad to see my lessons are put to good use. Can’t work out if you’re brave or stupid though. Cassandra has a point about the knife!

    Tue 26 May, 8:16AM

  7. Tim: I must admit I never expected to use any of what I was taught, and, as you say, the best self-defence is not getting in to a fight in the first place!

    Would I have done this a few years ago? Probably not, or maybe, but would have been done over.

    I didn’t think about the knife at the time, but given this was North London, I probably should have!

    But still, Monday nights are appreciated :)

    Stray Taoist
    Tue 26 May, 8:28AM

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