The Smooth Operators by i7Xox0


									                                      You're in trouble
                                     By Chris Elsworthy

       A man who urinates in public is not to be trifled with. Let me back up for a
moment. To give you adequate and reasonable context, I fear I must explain in some
small measure the squalid tenements, littered lots, and surly dispositions that populate my
neighbourhood. The sort of apartment complex that has brown tap water and a name with
'gardens', 'towers', or 'estate' lodged somewhere above the ever-present vacant sign. This
particular slice of geography contained a swimming pool (covered with plywood and
surrounded by a chain-link fence) and several rusty shopping carts loitering by the rear
doors. My balcony overlooked said pool, and I had a (low-flying) bird's eye view of the
flat-tired auto carcasses dotting the parking lot (some of the more permanent residents, I
must add). Naturally, this kind of luxury wasn't free - we were due for a rent increase. I
had stepped onto our balcony (more on my roommate later), when I noticed a gentleman,
or should I say rogue, standing at the sparse tree-line that separates us renters from the
proper sort who live in houses. His back was to me, and unless he was spying rather
conspicuously into one of the backyards adjoining our property - he was up to
something. I called to my co-tenant, Mitch, and we stood for a few seconds speculating as
to the man's intentions.
       "What do you think he's doing?" I asked.
       "Who gives a shit?" Mitch wondered, before retiring to the living room to roll a
marijuana cigarette. I was about to follow when I caught the gleaming refraction of
sunlight ricocheting off liquid. Was this man dumping illegally? Could he be disposing of
some liquid refuse that, if poured on his property, could result in some social
complication? He twisted slightly from side to side, as if some invisible playmate was
pulling on the back of his shoulders, one after the other. Then it hit me. Not 'it' exactly,
but the realization that this man was making pee-pee on my parking lot. Suddenly, I felt
very protective of my turf, angry even. Perhaps this man deserved a second point of view
to heed, other than his bladder's? A call other than nature's? I leaned back, took a deep
breath, and thrusting my chest and head forward screamed:
       "This isn't your fucking toilet, Urinator!"
I capitalized the 'u' because I chose to brand him with that apropos moniker and vowed
any subsequent (and possibly face to face) conversations would involve me calling him
by his new, and evidently appropriate handle.
       He startled easily it seemed, and some small measure of uracil, undigested
minerals, and water splashed onto his foot. He quickly zipped up (I have eyes like a
hawk) and turned to face his accuser.
       I have been given the 'finger' a few times in my life, and certainly as a former
motorist, had dished out more than my share, but this man's digit irked me into a
sophomoric rage and I decided a quick trip down the stairs (only three sets) was in order.
Perhaps I had misunderstood his gesture, and he was actually interested in apologizing. I
chose efficiency of movement, and directness of route over putting on a shirt, so to the
uninitiated spectator - we certainly would've looked two trashy peas in a pod. But perhaps
the impending confrontation with a shirtless (and quickly moving) resident would spook
the un-bashful interloper into a stimulus response I prayed would be 'flee'.
       Sometimes people look a lot smaller from four stories up, and once down on the
street, one realizes hasty judgement and poor visual perspective do not go well together.
We came face to face and even though my forehead was actually facing his chin, should
the two collide - I would likely come out the victor. Alas, my loud mouth was no match
for his quick fists and one punch sent me doubling over (who would've expected a taller
man to aim for the gut?) and as I backed up groaning and trying to catch my breath, my
roommate (and best-friend) called from the balcony:
       "What the fuck, buddy?"
Urinator looked up, squinting towards the sound. It was the only opportunity I needed.
Adrenaline has a way of mending all wounds (however temporarily) and I surged towards
the distracted brute and grabbed his bony Adam's apple in a tight grip. His hands darted
to his throat as I let go and kicked his testicles hard enough to bruise my foot. I'm sure he
caught some air, and that one brief nanosecond when our eyes locked, his wide-eyed
acknowledgment that violating my backyard came with a steep price, was worth a good
punch in the stomach. Even the concerned glances I would receive in the following
weeks as I did laundry, or checked the mail, were worth that magical feeling of having
trounced a bully. As I walked away (waiting to hold my belly and sob until I was safely
inside) I looked back at his beefy frame, splayed on the cracked cement and spoke my
final peace:
"You're not welcome in these parts, Urinator. Best we never meet again."

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