The dense air took hold of the small metal box that I had made my home for the past thirty-three hours, and counting. A large man towered over me, he was a real fuck you height. You know what a fuck you height is? It’s those dudes (and some women) that grow to be like six, seven-foot-everything at the crisp age of twelve. Imagine that. A life of accidentally looking down on people. These majestic people who were lucky enough to grow into a real fuck you height are in the centre of all the happenings in anything that matters. Me? I wish I was just a smidge taller. I wish someone handed me a foot or three. God probably made me short to compensate for all my tall dreams. Well, at least that’s what my mum would tell me. Suddenly, the seat opposite me flew to the other room followed with a great big bang.
“You’re running out of bargaining chips mate.” The large man said.
“Chips…” I replied.
“Yeah mate, bargaining chip-”
“How insane is insurance though?” I asked enthusiastically.
Dumbfounded, the large man tried making sense of the shit that just came out of my mouth.
“Insurance… where’d you get that from mate?”
“Insurance is insane man. Like, it’s a billion dollar industry that’s been ‘round longer than an elephant’s trunk on ‘shrooms. Yeah you’ll tell me insurance is important because it protects your stuff right? Like your car, your house, you can even insure your dog. Like, what the flying fuck? That’s insane right? Insurance, the giant booming industry that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s pretty much the fuck you of huge industries. Right? Am I right or what?”
I thought I came off pretty damn eloquent. Instead of applause, the large man answered me with a forehead scrunch and a shitty little rub of his temple with his shitty little finger.
“Okay mate, that’s great and all, but let’s get back to the matter at hand alright?” He asked, absolved of any patience he might’ve had prior.
“Don’t you get it? Why are you so dense? It’s built on mistakes.”
“What in the hell are you on about?” He asked, now in anger.
“Mistakes. Insurance. The big fuck you industry? Have you been paying attention? They make billions based off the idea of making mistakes. Dickheads and idiots will pay thousands and thousands of dollars a year on insuring the things they care about right? Well, as a society, aren’t we all just a bunch of bamboozled baboons? We pay these companies a large fuck off sum of lettuce-greens for a maybe, maybe not service because we don’t trust ourselves to not fuck up. Tell me that’s not insane. The only question now is, are you the dickhead or the idiot?”
The large man focused his green dreams on the words that had just escaped my mouth. Either what I said got to him, or even worse, it really got to him (send help).
“Is there even a difference?” He asked.
“Exactly. Now you’re getting it… dickhead. Oh. Can I have a cigarette?”
The large man shook his head in laughter after a tense and chilling silence, and fiddled around his jacket pocket. He handed me a cigarette, revealed his lighter but paused before lighting it.
“Why do you think we don’t trust ourselves enough?” He asked.
His green dreams now had a shade of curiosity striking through the pupils.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said smugly.
“Enlighten me.” He retorted with the same level of smug.
“Light me first, then I’ll tell you.” I said with just a little more smugness.
A cloud of smoke escaped my smart mouth.
“It’s the world we live in man.”
“How do you mean mate?”
“Ever since we were little shits, we were taught to be ourselves, and that our very best is good enough. But clearly it’s not. You get older and you soon learn that your very best is not at all good enough. Not even close. Our fuck you society is built on insecurity. Nasty word I know, but it’s true. Just one big fat depressing crapfest of insecurity.”
“Maybe to some people, but not me mate. I’m better, stronger than that.” The large man said toughly.
“You’re literally wearing insecurity right now… dickhead.”
“I’ve had it up to here with your smart mouth you stupid little shi-”
“Shoes. Watch. Sunnies.” I interrupted.
The man halted his body from bulldozing me into a flat mess with the physical integrity of a mirror.
“What about it?”
“You’re wearing it.” I muttered.
I blew out another cloud. And took a deep mental breath.
“You’re wearing Adidas sneakers. The 2018 UltraBoosts too, the maroon rainproof ones that go for what, like three, four hundred? The latest in the line of trends but I’ll bet you my third testicle that you bought it for the compliments, not the comfort. Your watch is an Emporio Armani. That’s a nice one isn’t it? Rose gold on the edges, and black all the rest over. Would have totally had me begging for that spicy look, if the watch was actually working. From first glance, the battery’s been dead for what, two, three weeks?”
Silence and smoke filled the dense air.
“What about my sunglasses?” He asked.
“What about your sunglasses?
“You pointed out my shoes, watch and sunglasses. What’s wrong with my sunglasses?”
“Oh fuck, I just think they look dumb.” I laughed, as I exhaled the end of my cigarette.
I stretched my arms out in a premature victory and immediately cracked a couple of bones as I flew back down to the cold, unforgiving metal table. My delicate cheek reddened and bruised by the force, my eyes twitching wondering what kind of twisted rollercoaster I just put it through. The large man leaned over.
“You didn’t forget where you were now did you, mate?” He laughed.
“Say again? My ears are still ringing from my travels.”
“You mean, forgetting you were handcuffed to the table and you stupidly went for a stretch and ended up making a fool of yourself?” He laughed once more.
“Yep, that’s what I meant by my travels… dickhead.”
“Enough horsing around mate, tell me who else was in on it. You really want to take the fall for a couple of worthless sacks of shits?” He said, now in a serious tone.
“Oh fuck, I totally forgot about this part. Must be all the dense air.” I replied.
“Look mate. You got a smart mouth, but you seem like a good kid. Save yourself the trouble. Tell me what I need to know, and I’ll let you go, hell, I’ll even be your insurance. Just don’t make a mistake, if you catch my meaning.” He said with a weird wink.
I laughed, because that’s all I knew I could do in that situation with a large man who also happened to be an officer of the law that can most definitely overpower me.
“Okay, fine. I’ll talk.” I said meekly.
“Mate, I’ve been waiting the last thirty damn hours to hear those words.”
I took a deep breath, and calmed myself. Slowly… slowly.
“It’s okay mate, you’re safe here. You can tell me.”
“Okay… here goes nothing. So… how insane is CityLink though? Like, we literally pay extra of our hard earned lettuce-greens for essentially, a faster road. But what are we really paying for? Exactly! It’s time. We’re paying for some time back. To get to the places we need to go faster. How absolutely insane is that? Am I right? Well? Am I right or what?”
The large man let out a huge sigh, “… oh for fuck’s sake.”