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SMALL Talk – by Will Paine

SMALL Talk – by Will Paine


Okay, so today was a day of running errands (what a word! Errand! One of my favourites!)… I had been all around town, from the Newsagency for a deck of footy cards, to the pharmacist for some creams/ ointments (you’ll be happy to know my downstairs-heat-rash has already settled beyond belief!)

Anywho, back to the point, at the end of the day I was running my final errand (errand errand errand!) and heading to the High st Armadale Post Office to mail a sudoku book to my much-loved elderly, amnesiac uncle Darian in South Australia, who still has a passion for mind games (which is why I wrote ‘I hope you have a great Christmas, from Jared’, despite my name being Will and him not knowing any Jared’s- that’ll get him!).

I parked my car around the block because the street parking was as full as an unopened carton of milk. On my way to the PO I noticed something across the street that was somewhat concerning… It was a furious dad, abusing (what looked like) his 6 year old son, who was crying hysterically. “I told you I don’t like caramel you little piece of shit!” (There was a waffle cone of ice cream planted into the pavement, btw). The dad continued to rain down on the helpless little boy, “stop whining you premature panzee!”

Despite the man’s actions being completely unacceptable and generally offensive, his alliteration was actually somewhat impressive as he proceeded to reel off insults such as “You snivelling swine!… You blubbering baboon!… You Howling Hindu!… You whimpering weasel!…You Jewish Jew!” (Not his finest, and probably contradicts his earlier scorn about the boy adhering to the religion of Hinduism)… But regardless, it was all just shocking.

I was as stumped as the base of a tree. As a member of society, as a stand-up citizen in the city of Stonnington, as a resident in the family-friendly suburb of Armadale, I questioned whether I am expected to have a role in attempting to resolve this conflict. I couldn’t see the boy’s face, as I was standing behind him- but his body language said it all. He was hunched with his head stooped, like a dog with tail between its legs. I also noticed he dressed quite maturely, with a leather jacket and a coffee colour pair of cords- probably dressed by his father, whose choice of outfit wasn’t too flash either.

The little boy was also quite a stocky fella, and had an abnormally large head, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was being bullied at school too! As I observed the two, I remained there standing, unsure what to do… until THE DAD UNLEASHED A WHOPPING ROUNDHOUSE INTO THE SIDE OF THE KID’S HEAD!!! Nup, that’s it. I stormed over, in fury, yet tried to be polite as possible- “hey mate, I know I’m not the biggest expert, but I don’t think that’s the way to treat your son”.

I was pleased with my delivery: calm but firm. However, he wasn’t. The dad turned to me and responded in a very Clint ‘Eastwoodesque’ manner, “what’d you say boy?” I wasn’t expecting that as I thought I was quite clear the first time- so I awkwardly repeated in a less confident tone, “hey mate, I know I’m not the biggest expert, but I don’t think that’s the way to tr…”- he cut me off, “I know what you said sonny boy!”

To this day, I remain unsure as to why he asked me to repeat myself when he supposedly knew what I said. Similarly, I’m still unsure as to what the difference between a kebab and a souvlaki is- but that isn’t even nearly relevant to anything I’m telling you! So I continued by nervously responding, “I was just saying that’s no way to speak to your young boy”. Then the worst possible thing happened. The little boy turned around- and when I say little boy, I mean a small Pakistani man. Yes, he was a dwarf (or a midget, whatever the correct term is), and furiously retorted “who you calling a young boy N****?!”

This was so fkn typical. This shit always fkn happens to me… Why couldn’t he just be a child getting beaten up?! Why did he have to be a Pakistani Midget?! And why the FLIPPIN HECK was he calling me the ‘N word’?! For one, I’m as white as glue! And two, is he even supposed to be saying the ‘n word’?? Isn’t the term exclusively for slave owners and used as an affectionate term amongst African-Americans?? He was in no position, as for as I’m concerned, to be making such remarks.

He continued to bark at me like a Yorkshire terrier with his thick accent, “wot the fuck you lookin’ at you PUNK BITCH?! Let’s throw down Pussy Bitch!!” He held his menacing stare, and rocked back and forth with his fists clenched, fixed in the ‘I’m ready when you are’ position. It was then and there where I had an epiphany.

My whole life I’ve always been that perfect kid- mistake free, always staying out of trouble, home early from parties and never missed a class during school. My uncle (Not Darian, but Daryan- pronounced the same way but we distinguish them by calling Daryan ‘Daz’, ‘tall Daryan’ or ‘incarcerated Daryan’) used to always tell me through the prison phone booth that ‘if you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never learn’. Mum always told me not to listen to ‘tall Daryan’ and just visit him occasionally because he’s family- but maybe it was time to give his advice a go and make a mistake of my own (please note: these were my thought processes at the time, and in hindsight these decisions were mostly unwise and just generally dangerous).

The older man then locked eyes with me in preparation for a telepathic conversation, and gave me the ‘would you beat up a midget look?’ (at least that’s what I assumed the look was; but then again, in hindsight, he could have been trying to ask me if I thought his caramel pants clashed with his chestnut shoes, but I just had to assume it was fight-related). I responded with the ‘buffering’ look, followed by the ‘yes’ look. ‘Let’s fkn do it’ I said with my most threatening stare I had in my arsenal. I think the both of them were surprised that I agreed to fight, then the little man came bounding at me like a hound running down a corridor after hearing the doorbell (an exaggeration tbh- the man is a midget- his running style was more like a penguin hurriedly running to a tram stop on his way to his first day of work).

I had no time to think. I had to react based on my primitive instincts. As he neared closer, I stuck out my foot, and shoved it directly into his sternum. I connected. Big time. The little man collapsed like a Jenga tower- and not like the collapse after an intense game, where the walls just crumble down, similar to the twin towers circa ’01. No, this was more like when Alec Thomas (a fellow primary school student who we were never sure if there was something wrong with him, or if he was just socially inept) used to kick down the tower as soon as we set it up and yell, ‘DENGAH!!!’ (He meant Jenga) with dribble streaming down his chin and ending up sitting on the collar of his skivvy.

Like blocks from the Jenga tower, limbs went flying, arms flailing as he fell onto the curb. The smaller-than-most man began to weep uncontrollably again… It honestly felt great, but every silver lining has a cloud, as I immediately regretted what I had done. The angry little man then pulled out his Samsung Galaxy, and dialled triple zero, “I’ve been assaulted! I’m a midget and I’ve been assaulted!”

… Within a matter of minutes I was swarmed by a flock of police, and the next thing I know, my cheekbone had been slammed into the bonnet of the policeman’s Ford Territory. This all happened two weeks ago and just today have I returned to civilisation… One criminal record later, here I am. GROUNDED FOR A YEAR!!!! Talk about a rough day at work!!

Will Paine


The Local Scoop

Image: JD Hancock, Flickr Creative Commons

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