A talker was sitting behind me. I was facing the TV as he talked to people near him. One guy was actively ignoring him but another guy, in this story, the patsy, was engaging.
The pasty and the ignorer went outside to smoke, that didn’t stop the guy from talking but it was more mumbling twattle than when he had a audience. I can tell by the force of sound he’s starting to turn his attention on me. Why does he have to make it ugly? Why is it not legal to kill someone who invades your individual choice to ignore everyone to watch a little TV, have a little beer and catch a little peace?
And I know it’s illegal to kill them. I called my congressman. And senator. And a federal agent. I guess they just don’t know how hard is it out here for a guy who doesn’t want to talk to someone who has nothing else to give but blathering.
At the moment he’s not barking at me but the noise and his mumbling and his coughing and his throat clearing make me wish for a body bag. I think if he was gently placed in it while alive it couldn’t be considered murder if he just happened to use up all the air in there with his babbling.
I’m looking at the TV, I have not moved, when he starts making loud statements directly to the back of my head. I know it’s meant to force my attention because I can feel his putrid breath drop down my neck.
He doesn’t know I don’t respond to random barking and I can feel him get frustrated. He’s used this for years because he knows, in polite society, people respond to statements that beg for a response. Many people have fallen for this in the past.
But he has no idea that I’m the present. And this present is going to suck for him if he persists. He repeats the statement a little more forcefully as he leans closer to me. He’s wise enough not to touch me because then, and I think those dunderhead law enforcers would have to agree, I could smack him in the face because I would consider his move an assault.
I’m sure it’s happened to him in the past and doesn’t want to go down that road again. That’s why I hate when people say people are stupid. Sure they’re probably doing something you find stupid but they are doing exactly what they want. They just don’t care if you find it inconveniencing.
I can feel him stand up straight behind me. He’s not getting his wanted reaction. He mumbles some things under his breath. I can feel him staring at the back of my head. I can feel his frustration. It’s always come so easy for him. He doesn’t know how much I like making people work for things.
“Hey.” He says.
Nothing. I do.
“Hey.” He says as he gently taps my shoulder. Damn, not a smackable offense because of those damn lawmakers.
I sharply mimic his word.
“What?” He says taken aback.
“Why did you poke me?” I turn and look at him. I see him take a step back.
“I asked you a question.”
“How is that possible?”
“How is it possible you can ask me a question when we were not speaking?”
He blinks. His internal structure is not programmed to handle this conversational series.
“Well, in polite society, a person first has an interaction with another in the form of a salutation. Never, in my experience, has a conversation started with someone screaming a question to the back of someone’s skull.”
Strother Martin’s voice took over in my head. And, amazingly, not a line from Slap Shot.
“Huh what? You’re the one who needed my attention. You’re the one who barked at me to get my attention. You’re the one who initiated this conversation. Where are you going with this?”
He blinks rapidly. He stares at me. He’s a tad perplexed on how to deal with me. Proving he shouldn’t have spoken to me in the first place. Sometimes when something like that happens it tends to go south. Fast.
“Why are you such an asshole?” Asks someone who, I’m sure you’ll agree, started out as THE asshole in this story.
“You poked me because you craved my attention and I’m the asshole? ”
He stands there calculating, mouth-breathing, trying to find a response.
“Well, I’ve seen you here before.”
“Have we ever spoken?”
“No, but I. . .”
“. . .but what? Someone has the ill fortune to sit next to you so they becomes your confidant?”
“I was just trying to have a conversation.” He lied. He was trying to have a monologue.
“And I have successfully killed it.” I turn back to the TV while he mumbles.