How To Take A Beating
Andreszj, if that was his name, leaned closer to me. So close that I could smell his breath, his aftershave, his sweat. “You know what fear tastes like?” he hissed in an accent I couldn’t place.
This was no rhetorical question. The ferocity of his glare when I didn’t answer made that clear. It mattered to him that I was scared. My blood drummed in my temples at the tempo of death metal, making it hard to think, but some part of me told me this was important.
In this straight-to-download movie world I had stumbled into, information was a weapon. What information I could gauge. What I gave away. My answer mattered.
“Chicken?” I ventured. This, as it turned out, was not helpful. I had not chosen well. But the answer to that question always seems to be chicken. Snake, human flesh, feathered birds; apparently they all taste like chicken.
And in my defence, I wasn’t trying to be helpful.
Boris, if that was his name, was trying to hurt me and that didn’t seem like something I should be trying to assist. That would be a little needy, if we’re honest.
To take the honesty a bit further, Laszlo, if that was his name, didn’t seem to need much help. He was doing a bang up job of banging me up against every wall, doorframe and pillar in the place.
That’s not to say he was winning. Oh no. I was fighting back, hard. I knew there was a limit to how much he could withstand of my barrage of brutal whimpers, stabbing cries of pain and ferocious bleeding. Dmitri, if that was his name, would be hard pressed to hold out for long against such an onslaught.
I was right. He surrendered just as I was on the verge of cracking my rib hard against his fist. I had him exactly where he was. A vicious sob to the solar plexus, a right moan to the jaw, a stinging gasp to his kneecap and the fight was as good as over.
Igor, if that was his name, stood panting in humiliated triumph over me. My victory was complete. For every deep breath he was forced to draw, I lay barely breathing. As I towered underneath him I pressed my advantage home. With a voice leant menace by a possible broken rib I demanded to know; “Who are you?”
“My name is Dave”, he said, in what I finally recognised as a Welsh accent.
I should have known. If the answer isn’t chicken, it’s likely to be Dave.