Dangerous Expensive Principles

Entry by: Tauren

5th January 2017

Phil glanced at his watch, 11:27, damn, he thought; the last bus is at 11: 40. Picking up his pace he was just passing Carey`s lane when he heard a woman`s cry of, “No Bobby please,” pitched high in the terror range, this was followed by a “Crack,” that could only be the sound of a hand hitting flesh, a cry of pain coming quickly in its wake, the sounds echoing out of the mouth of the alley.

Phil stopped, unsure what to do, the Lane was a narrow dead-end pedestrianized shopping street of high-end boutique outlets, all its stores closed at this time of night, and though well lit, whatever was going on was happening out of sight, beyond where the lane curved to the left.
Shit, he thought, looking around, never a Gard around when you need one.

Now a man`s voice emanated from the entrance, “What`d I tell you about talking to other guys, bitch,” there was another loud “Crack,” another squeal of pain, followed by, “Please Bobby, please, I`m sorry, please….”

“Fuck,” Phil said aloud, taking a hesitant half step into the opening.

A passing couple slowed, Phil could see from the guy`s face that he`d heard that last cry of pain, and he opened his mouth to ask for his help, but the woman tugged at the man`s arm, giving him a warning look as she did, the man gave Phil a helpless, what can I do, shrug as he was pulled away.

“Fuck,” Phil said again.

Alone once more, he took a deep breath, braced his shoulders to try to make himself look bigger and went all the way in, hoping the other guy was smaller than him.

The couple were close to the far end of the lane, the man, large, at least two inches taller than Dave, and a good twenty kilos heavier, had one hand around a woman`s throat, the other open, pulled back ready to slap her again.
The woman, small and slight, Phil guessed she couldn’t be more than 5`2, wore a blue knee length party dress, and a matching bruise on her left cheek, rail tracks of mascara ran past her chin and half-way down her neck as fresh tears cut new channels.
“I`ll teach you,” the man said, his hand cracking across her reddening face, “to….”

“Hey,” Phil shouted; conscious of the way his voice echoed back at him in the near empty street, conscious too that he couldn’t see Patrick Street from where he stood.

The man, who looked as if he was about to backhand the woman, looked around, “What`da you wan?” he slurred, and Phil saw his eyes struggling for focus, Oh good, he thought, he`s drunk.
“Let her go,” he said as loudly and authoritatively as he could, pleased not to hear a quaver in his voice.

The man blinked as if confused by Phil`s interference, then snarled, “Fuck you,” made a fist of his open hand, backhanding the woman hard enough to snap her head around, her eyes going glassy.

“Jesus Christ,” Phil gasped, fumbling his phone from his pocket, “I`m calling the Gard`s, you just wait….”

The man released the woman and she slid down the wall he`d been pressing her against, coming to rest one leg outstretched, the other tucked under her, her head flopping from side to side as if she were struggling to shake it, but didn’t quite have control of her neck muscles.

“Gimme that fuckin phone,” the man said walking unsteadily towards Phil, one hand outstretched as if expecting him to simply hand it over.

Oh Shit, Phil thought, walking backwards, tapping the lit face of the phone, murmuring “53213,” as he did, then tapping enter, “Wrong pin,” it said.
“Oh Christ,” he said and got as far as 5321 when the phone was batted from his hand, clattering against the far wall, while another hand grabbed a fistful of his jumper.

“I`m gonna fuck you up,” the man snarled, the smell of B.O. and beer fighting for dominance as he drew his right fist back in what to Phil seemed like absurd slow motion.

Phil hadn’t been in a fight since he`d left secondary school five years previously, and even then he`d only been in two school-yard slap-fests, but there is one blow that all men learn at an early age. As if driven by terror, some muscle memory kicked in, and without even drawing his leg back, he drove his left foot into the bigger man`s groin with all the strength he could muster.

The man snapped into a doubled over position with shocking suddenness, both hands going to his crotch, a primal shriek of agony erupting from him, silenced just as suddenly as it began when he spewed a Technicolour fountain of vomit onto the cobbles, gagging as he struggled to breathe and puke at the same time.

Phil`s first instinct was to run, find some help, but the woman didn’t look good, she`d regained some control of her head and was looking their way, saying, “Bastard, motherfucking bastard,” over and over as if it were a mantra. There was no way he was leaving her like that, but helping her out of the lane meant passing the boyfriend twice, and if he got his wind back…….

The man was still bent double, still gagging when Phil pressed his right foot against one his shoulders and shoved as hard as he could. Unable to keep his balance, the other man almost flipped onto his back, his neck whip-snapping his head into the uneven stones with a sickening thud. He lay there, one leg flat, the other propped up, bent at the knee, then almost comically it slowly fell to one side, unveiling the now piss stained crotch of his jeans, as if he were inviting Phil to kick him again. The man went still, the silence broken only by the woman`s repeated, “Bastard, motherfucking bastard,” chant.

Phil`s skin flushed cold, the terror of being beaten to a pulp replaced by the horror that he might have killed the other man. Visions of headlines screaming “Man dies after hitting head in late night brawl” flashing across his mind.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck,” he said, “no, no, no, no, no.”

He looked around, the urge to run nearly overwhelming, then his better angels won out and he darted forward, crouching over the man, “Please be alive,” he said, near frantic now, “Please God don`t let him be dead.” He slipped one hand under the man`s head, felt the sticky blood seeping from the wound, pulling his hand away the blood on his fingers looked black under the yellow sodium lights. He put his other hand to the man`s throat, the feel of a pulse sending a wave of relief through him.

“Bastard, motherfucking bastard, I`m gonna fucking kill you, you motherfucker,” Phil glanced at the woman, she`d regained her feet, that was good, she looked unsteady, but at least she was talking. He knew from his first aid training it was the quiet ones you had to worry about, he looked around for his phone, he needed an ambulance.

“I`m gonna kill you you motherfucker,” the woman snarled; she was almost next to them and Phil leaned across the insensate man, preparing to shield him from whatever revenge she was contemplating.

“No don`t..” he started to say, turning his head towards her, hoping to reason with her, when something thin and sharp struck him hard just above the right temple, sending a fireworks display of bright multi-coloured sparks cascading across his vision. The Fuck, he thought shaking his head, his vision clearing in time for him to see she was holding one of her shoes by the toe, swinging the thin steel tipped end of the stiletto spike at his face, her own twisted in rage, “KILL YOU YOU MOTHERFUCKER,” she screamed, “LEAVE MY BOBBY ALONE, BASTARD.”

Phil almost got his head out of the way, the steel tip of the heel gouging a furrow across his cheek as it swept past and he stumbled back still on his haunches, trying to scramble away, but his feet skidded out from under him on the vomit slick stones and he spilled helplessly onto his back, the woman throwing herself at him as he did.
She landed on him, one sharp bony knee piling into his stomach driving all the air from him in an “Ooopphh,” of pain, attacking him in a frenzy. Clawing at his face with the talon sharp fingernails of one hand she screamed, “BASTARD, BASTARD, BASTARD,” over and over, punctuating each curse with a blow from the stiletto with the other.

She only stopped when a voice slurred, “Vhickhy,” and as suddenly as the attack had begun he felt the weight of her lift from him, followed by her mewling, “I`m here baby, oh Bobby what`d he do to you?”

Phil tried to get up, desperate to get away from these lunatics, but only got as far as half propping himself up on one elbow before a wave of dizziness and nausea forced him back, but in that moment he`d heard Bobby yell, “Fuck off bitch,” and with a trill of delight saw him shove her violently backwards, sending her sprawling.

Yeah, he thought, that`s what she deserves, hit her one for me; and hiccupped up some vomit into his mouth. He turned his head to one side needing three attempts to spit the vile caustic chunks out and with horror saw that Bobby had regained his feet.

In triplicate the man swayed, stiff-armed the wall to steady himself and then all three of him looked at Phil and said, “I`m, I`m gonna, gonna fuck you u-up,” and still bracing himself with one arm, staggered towards him.

Phil watched him come, his mind ordering his body to move, but he seemed to have lost control of his limbs, his legs wouldn’t move at all, his arms only flailing around uselessly.

He was towering over Phil now, still in triplicate, needing both hands on the wall to support himself, from somewhere a woman yelled, “Fuck him up Bobby, fuck him up,” Phil thought he recognised the voice but couldn’t remember from where.
Bobby wavered, turned his heads away and yelled, “SHUT THE FUCK UP BITCH,” then focusing once more on the prone man, with no small effort raised one boot.

Phil watched in almost detached fascination as three identical boots hovered above his head, he knew he needed to dodge one of them, but which one, which was the real one? In his indecision he never moved at all the first time Bobby stamped down hard on his face.

P.S. I did not misspell Gard, that’s the Irish word for police. Actually it`s Garda, plural Gardai, but no-one calls them that.
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