Flash Fiction Experiment: Paradigm Shift

Why are we running? Oh yeah. I keep hearing that Trainspotting song, the opening track in the movie. You know, na na na, na na nana nana…

It’s quite uplifting for a few seconds, the excitement, the soundtrack in my head, until the cold reality sets in and I feel the very real burn in my my thigh muscles, the thorax-crushing fist clenching tighter by degrees.

“This’ll be fun,” Vick had said. Fun. I should have seen it coming. I’m running from a villain from a Disney animation. Actually, a little cortège of them. Full on villains. Mascara, long black nails, goth get-up. A six-foot, deathly pale monster. With his Goth friends. All cut from the same cloth (ie: chain-mail).

You know that expression, or joke, that you don’t need to swim faster than the shark, just faster than your friends. Well, that applies.

I never followed the exchange, just saw the altercation from a distance. Bar fights always look the same anyway. A tense freezing of the air, a moment of quiet before the storm. If you’re close enough to feel the energy, that is. But from afar you only see the tipping point, the sudden collision of energies, like a flock of birds exploding in flight.

My best friend Vicktor at some point decided Goths weren’t entitled to the same measure of respect and civility as the rest of the world. Didn’t think to warn me of this paradigm shift, just winked: “This’ll be fun.” Just casually threw a bottle across the bar.  Wouldn’t be the first time. And wouldn’t be the first time I pay the price for his fuck-ups. I’m tired of being the fall guy. The butt of the joke. Something has to change. Like that time he tricked me into pecking that girl on the cheek to see her MMA loving boyfriend test the depth of my belly-fat with his fist. I’ll just forget Vick, make other friends. This isn’t friendship.

Adrenaline. Violence. Testosterone. Battle Rage. And all that. Yes, I see the appeal, a sad, boyish sort of appeal. But Vick, he’s just a sad, boyish kinda guy. He’s the good looking one, but he’s an idiot. He thinks he’s clever and that’s the worst kind of idiot, that is. I’m falling behind. I can no longer hear Vick laughing. God, am so fat; knees barely able to handle the weight I carry around like a polar bear; wheezing in my bones now; the flush of exertion like a giant hot hand presssing my chest and face. I just want to lay down and swallow a packet of monster munch and some Perrier. I just can’t get enough of the miniature bubbles in Perrier. My healthiest addiction.

Bubbles of pain rising in my skull right now, lancing sweat drops rolling upwards on the inner surface of my skin. I decide death-by-Goth is better than death-by-heart-implosion, and slow to walking pace. As the angel of death looms closer and closer like my fat shadow in a time lapse video, I start to rethink my priorities in life. Vick just got knocked down a few levels, and Goths just got relegated to the “predator” class of human beings. (I thought they were pacifists, or at least had poetic sensibilities.)

“That your friend, the slick guy with the pony tail?” He’s barely broken a sweat and he’s clad in leather. I’m a dead man.
“Yes, yes unfortunately, apologies. He’s drunk. You know, I have no beef with you.”
“I dun give a fuck about you either, fatty. Give me his home address, and we’re OK. Someone has to teach your friend some manners.”

Goth King’s little army catch up with us and stand around me, crows eying a meaty carcass. This makes me think hard, wondering why I am the way I am. What is the price of loyalty?

“Sorry mate, I just can’t do that.”

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