“Phone!”

Eyes glint, sunk in a sea of black. A mean nose pricks the air, piercing the swirling, breathless, grey clouds erupting from the dark slit beneath, from which the single syllable had come. A flash of light in the lower darkness draws my eyes down: a thin bright steely gash tremors in the black, darting forward erratically from time to time.

“Gimme yuh fuckin’ phone” leaps from the slit as the sharp flash of light makes a short dash in my direction.

I feel the anger bubbling up, smothering the surprise.

I have a phone; I hate it. It’s the key that so many people think they have the right to turn to enter my life as and when they choose. They wouldn’t turn up on my doorstep as and when they choose and expect to enter. So why do they think the slim megabited slab in my pocket gives them that right? I rarely answer it. I have it to call a breakdown service if the car fails, to let my wife know not to wait for me to eat if I’m going to be late home, or for her to contact me in an emergency. I hate it, but sometimes I need it.

The bitter bile of anger surges more at ‘that word’. That corrupted, over-used word which assaults me on every city street, which has me desperately pressing a button on the tv remote, the word which otherwise articulate, witty men and women seem to believe is indispensable to a joke on tv after 9pm, the word which keeps me from the once favourite pastime of standing at the bar with a pint, which has me snapping shut a barely opened book, the word which has me reaching for ‘close’ on otherwise enticing blogs. It was a good word, to be savoured infrequently, as an extremely rare single malt. It was a powerful word which has had its energy ripped from it, its strength sapped as it slashed the English language asunder and now I hate it, even more than the phone.

“You fuckin’ stupid? Gimme yuh fuckin’ phone”.

That’s two too many assaults on the English language for me. My knuckles speed forward, overcoming  the paltry resistance felt when almost at full stretch, finally coming to an abrupt stop in a small messy pool where that mean, sharp beak had previously been. Eyes, messy pool and screaming slit collapse into a writhing black mass at my feet; the light flash clatters to the ground.

I take a handkerchief from my pocket and pick up the knife.

“Kill, Kill” screams in my brain as I rip the balaclava from the squirming black mass, grab the hair to wrench the head back and press the knife point to its throat. Silence.

I roll the mass over, grab the ends of a cord at the bottom of an anorak and swiftly bind wrists to ankles. Whimpers.

“You should ask nicely”, I say as I take the phone from my pocket and press the 9 three times. I hate the phone but, as I said, sometimes I need it.

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