Richard looked around at the crowd with anger and astonishment, and beyond attempting to reason with them, resolved to scold them instead. “You should all be ashamed. Grown men and women like yourselves egging on such inexcusable violence. In front of a child no less!”
“Don’t give us that!” asserted one Irish peddler from the crowd. “I saw yer hit that boy. We all did. He’s just a wee boy who has no business having to defend himself from the likes of ye.” A gust of cheers sounded all around.
Richard was bursting at the seams with rage and desired fervently to bludgeon all who stood before him, to bash them to the ground and trample them underfoot. "Oh, it was nothing but a mild smack for goodness sake," replied Richard haughtily. "I am this boy’s father! I am the one who decides in which ways to discipline him, I am the one who must prepare him for this unforgiving world, and I will not be preached to on the matter by the local Irish drunk!"
The aching pain in Graham’s stomach had descended further down to his bowels, and he was now paralyzed with both dread and discomfort. He wished at this moment that his father hadn’t been so brash with his words. The Irishman clearly looked like trouble and bore the exterior of a hardened felon quite convincingly. “Oh, I may be an Irish drunk. But yer a bully and a coward, and bullies and cowards don’t fare well where I’m from don’t ye know? Bullies and cowards get a good seeing to.”
Richard, at the brink of his sanity, clenched his blood-spattered fist and pointed his finger directly at the Irishman’s face. “Now let me tell you something,” exclaimed Richard feverishly. “I’m no coward! I fought for King and Country. I have defended this land from fascist terror. I was willing to lay down my own life so that victory would be ours! How dare you look at me with your strung-out eyes and allege me of such a thing?” Richard continued ogling at the Irishman with gritted teeth. “You do talk a lot of shite, ye know that?” Replied the Irishman, “Now take ye hand away from mi face before I bate the bag outta yer.”
Richard finally lost it and without a thought clobbered the Irishman squarely on the nose. The Irishman deftly responded with a kick to the gut which winded Richard badly. Manic ensued, and all eyes were glued on the scene. The crowd began closing in while the pair fought it out at the center of the human ring, which was formed and tight. Graham, frightened and distressed, called out for the pair to stop, but his bass-less voice had no consequence in the rollicking sea of clamor that had devoured every tittle of silence in the park.
At first, it was a close fight, and although Richard was bigger and discernibly stronger, the Irishman, who was slightly younger and more dexterous, was seeming to get the better of the two. Graham looked up at the woman, who was still sitting on the bench unmoved. What was her deal? Graham thought. How could she just be sat there in her zen completely indifferent to the calamity she’s caused? He began to resent her and wished that he had never turned his head to catch her sight in the first place.
The fight was now moving at a faster pace and increasing in viciousness. Matters seemed more serious now, and there appeared to be a lot more at stake. Richard, who was landing some pretty impressive blows at the start, was now looking fairly weary. The Irishman, however, who did well to absorb Richard’s heavy punches, seemed to be picking up the pace rather steadily; moving in, landing, drawing back, and shuffling from side to side with the grace and lithe of a ballerina.
The crowd screaming, jousting, and singing songs of brutality were beating their chests like inebriated frat boys at an initiation party; demanding blood, broken bones, gouged-out eyes, a pound of flesh, spewed-out brains; and whatever other images their deviant minds could invent.
The sun, emanating beams of stark white light, interfered with Graham’s vision, which swelled his agitation as he struggled to purge the striking pain that continued to invade his bowels. He witnessed his father receive an additional barrage of punches to his midsection, which only further ailed him.
Fretted and queasy, Graham went to pass wind, only to discover warm, wet shit glopping out from his hole and oozing down the back of his thigh from underneath his briefs, traveling beyond the concealment of his shorts, and sliding down his leg with verve and spirit; leaving a trail of dark, yellowish slime behind.
In disbelief, Graham turned his head back over his shoulder as far as he could to see if the worst had truly happened. And indeed, it had. It was a tragedy of the utmost Aeschylean design. It seemed as though the gods were laughing tears at Graham’s wretched state in the form of cylindrical slabs of fecal matter, which bathed on his leg with gladness and satisfaction.
Graham, unsure of what to do next, resolved to ultimately do nothing at all. He laid and he waited whilst wedges of excretion continued to discharge from his guts. And it was in those solemn moments of introspection that Graham realized with epiphanic certainty that he was surely the most pathetic individual on the planet.
It didn’t take long for the stench to travel through the air and inhabit the nostrils of those in the crowd. The day was hot and dry after all, without a single ripple of breeze, and the stink was palpable and sour.
A young woman in her early twenties was the first to catch a whiff of the rancid smell. You could tell by the way she was twitching her nose and making those horror-fueled expressions one only makes when they realize something terribly foul has occurred. She was pretty with shoulder length burgundy hair and smooth sun-kissed skin, which was richly blushed.
Her lips were shapely, plump, and faintly moist, and her nose prominent and sharp. She had deep enticing brown eyes which were glossy and varnished like shiny marbles. Her eyebrows were thick, dark, angular, and perfectly symmetrical. And Graham, although slightly enamored by her, was in greater part mortified at the inevitable event she’d discover him.
And of course, she did. She locked eyes with him for the first time, and an expression most lurid came upon her. She became instantly pale, losing all color from her sandy complexion, before letting out the most deafening of screams, which caught the attention of the fellow members of the crowd.
Graham glared back at her with bemoaning eyes whilst her shrill shrieks continued to ring through the air. She began frantically gesturing at the crowd, spluttering histrionic sobs, choking at every consonant, and jittering all over the place like a first-time drug user experiencing a rather unenviable corollary.
A wiry bucktoothed man with shaggy brown hair looked over at Graham with an air of concern which soon shifted to excitement. “The boy’s shat himself!” he exclaimed boisterously with a laddish chortle. Richard heard the claim and halted his contest immediately. “Oh no, please no,” he wheezed. Forgetting about his opponent, he froze in a paralytic gaze whilst looking over at Graham with a tormented countenance. Stark horror had consumed him.
Graham could only stare back blankly. Richard, in his split lapse of attention, received a devastating blow to the left side of his chin, sending his neck to crank wildly.
The hit was so brutal that he suffered a series of convulsions before he fell with a towering descent onto Graham’s thin lower back, his eyes flickering violently beneath the futile blanket of his eyelids. His dignity forlorn, Graham’s balls took the greater brunt from the fall, and the lumps of feces that had somewhat formed a hill inside his pants were now splodged flat all over his person. Anguished by his father’s drubbing, as with the hot sting of defecation entrenched beneath the skin of his scrotum, Graham sensed his head light and woozy and began to gradually feel his consciousness escape him.
With blurred vision, he saw that the woman and her dog were walking away into the distance. Graham noticed that she ambled a sinister rhythm to her step and had possibly gazed back at him with a malignant grin. He was unsure, however, how reliable his perception was at this time and determined that it all could well have been in his head. In any case, it was a frivolous matter.
Graham was disgraced beyond comprehension and thus took to swoon in the prickly blades of dry grass where he made his bed of shame. Graham never remembered the full extent of what happened afterward. He rarely ever saw his father again from that point on and was shortly after relocated to live with his aunt Carol in Shropshire. It was a long and droning experience, and the sordid memories of that day in the park had never left him, instead serving as a constant souvenir of his immeasurable wretchedness.