Fancy That by ACF Wilson

He’s been trying to ignore the news bulletins and especially the press conferences.
Sometimes it leaked through though.
Various politicians with their porcine snouts wedged in many many troughs.
He’d heard that ” we’re all in the same boat” mantra quite a lot these past few months.
Sinking possibly, a canoe being tossed about looking for calmer waters.
The Titanic sprang to mind. Or something with pirates in it. Plenty of bloody bandits about that’s
for sure.
He’d misguidedly thought that this pandemic would maybe, just maybe, bring about a change in
people.
For the better you know?! Ha!
Time to put away that hopeless optimism at least for now anyway.
Well into the second phase of Lockdown and that hope has been doused down well and truly.
People this time round seemed tense, on edge. Less polite, fractious.
Faded rainbow signs in front windows remained but anti- vaxxers and mask refuseniks stalked
the streets and social media alike.

John tried to put this stuff out of his mind.
He had his bubble- his wife, children, the dog.
In that order most of the time.
Still had work to go to. Supermarket.
The Asda. Big One.
Worked out the back though so thankfully no confrontations with customers refusing to mask up.
Another day another wide eyed loon shouting the odds about ” civil liberties” and ” freedom”.
Not sure about the social distancing back there in the warehouse but that’s another matter.
He’s away to work now. Early doors, earphones in for the 30 minute walk, his relaxing ritual.
Cuts through by the church onto ‘ Fancy Row’, a lovely terrace of houses, bigger than most
around here, very grand, ornate fencing, Edwardian he thought.
A big guy on the step of the third house down.
Dressing gown, beard, roll up. Lockdown hair possibly, John could empathise with that.
There he is on the steps of his nice house enjoying the morning air. Maybe back inside in a
moment for some breakfast.
Just then he spits.
John can’t believe his eyes. A great arc of gob from the doorway lands on the pavement in front
of him.
Not really John’s style but he takes the buds from his ears and turns towards him,
” You think that’s okay do you? Spitting like that? Bad enough at any time but with all that’s
going on?!”
Nothing but a smirk from Spitty, not remotely arsed.
” You disgusting bastard”.
John knew how these things went.
Call someone a bastard and it escalated things. Verbals often led to physical contact.
The guy straightened as if to come down the steps raising a lone finger as further insult as John
walked away seething.


Home from work later. Didn’t always pass by ”Fancy Row’ but did today.
No sign of him though, he scowled at the blue door.
All day he has entertained thoughts of dragging the miscreant down those steps and teaching
him a lesson.
Fantastic fighter in his head, an array of punches and headbutt deployed with great ferocity and
technique.
Reality of course was different.
He would walk on by and once home regale his wife with the tale and that would be that.


Just gone 8pm. No work tomorrow, of course the pubs are shut so he’s heading to the off
licence.
He cuts across a car park just near ‘ Fancy Row’.
A cluster of youth congregated in the corner by the back of the pizza place.
Two of the gang were attempting wheelies to general sounds of derision, a bottle smashed in
the distance.
Semi-feral bored teens, worse in Lockdown somehow.
Emptier streets made their presence more visible.
John spots the Spitting Guy come rolling around the corner almost slap bang into the group and
making the mistake of barging into one of them.
Shouts of ” Watch It!” and more follow him as do the two bikes flanking either side.
Words exchanged.
He’s gesturing at them to get out of his space and attempts to lash out at one of them.
This is the cue for the rest of them to launch their attack. Pack law.
It was swift. A crack from behind and he was down. They launched at him on the ground with a
flurry of kicks.
All over in a moment , they fled.
Silence now.
John approached him.
He was conscious, bloodied and he’d be sore but nothing too serious. Blood on that beard.
Understandably shook up though, didn’t recognise John from this morning.
” Call me an ambulance please” he muttered.
” Okay. You’re an ambulance ” replied John, deadpan, continuing on his way to the off-licence.
Good luck getting an ambulance within an hour thought John, after all we are in the middle of a
pandemic.
Nice bottle of red took his mind off it all.