Episode XXIX – A common side effect of random insults is spectator slowing.

Mysterious grimaced at the post-apocalyptic levels of filth in the foyer while passing the loitering parties that supported the walls. I followed him into the darkened dining room. The grand table designed for entertaining was buckling under the weight of empty bottles and one prone person. My worn shoes crunched and ground broken fine china into the flooring like desiccated bones. We pushed through into the next room, finding it similarly ransacked and gloomy. Midway through, Mysterious turned and with all of his might screamed in my ear.

“This sucks. Let’s go.”

I nodded my head in easy assent. If we were lucky, we could make it to the gate before the Police arrived, and if nothing else, go to Denny’s, because they were open twenty-four hours a day. We turned and started shoving parties out of our path of travel. Midway, I paused to rest my arms, and to remove the impish claw of half of a tea saucer from my sole. Mysterious took the opportunity to shoot ahead of me into the relative light of the foyer. As I passed through the doorway, I heard a voice behind me start speaking loudly and distinctly.

“I really hate your goddam face.” It said. I turned, surprised at the interruption, and looked for a spectacle worthy of the dialogue caught in my ear. I peered around. There was no elephant, no rhinoceros, and no rumble between fogged parties. There was a stocky male. He was holding the doorframe for support. I had never seen him before. His short, scowling visage spoke again: “Did you hear me? I hate your goddam face.”

I actually wasn’t sure if I had heard him correctly. It was quite loud. It was possible that the words were coming from somewhere else – the aether, or somebody – anybody else. I saw his lips moving, but it just didn’t seem possible that he was speaking to me. It was so unreasonable that he would choose to vent his vitriol at me, a total stranger. I considered just ignoring him and continuing out. But since the whole evening had been one folly after another, my curiosity overrode my common sense.

“Excuse me?” I mouthed at him.

“I fucking hate your face!” He roared. “And I hate every inch of your body, and what you stand for.”

That was pretty clear. It was very certain what he meant. What was less obvious was why he was speaking to me, or what I would state in my reply. As I searched for the perfect words, I watched him sway and sweat in the cool night air. I also watched his eyes writhe in their red-rimmed ovals like caged renegade marbles. I then easily decided that he was high on some bad, bad ju-ju, smoked banana peels or drugs. Regardless of his choice of personality obliterator, I didn’t want any part of it.

I just wasn’t sure which response to use from my plethora of choices. I could say nothing, which seemed wise. Silence, however, did sometimes get smashed people upset like a goat. With this in mind, I attempted to be diplomatic. I apologized for having my face, but mentioned, that as it was the only one I had, I was stuck with it permanently. I then turned to get the hell out the front door.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the individual bellowed some more choice words about my apology and myself along the same vein. I had forgotten that altered people sometimes also don’t respond well to apologies either. At this point, Mysterious had caught wind of the situation. He stopped me to whisper in my ear and suggest that we make ourselves scarce. I responded snappily that I had been attempting to do that when he had stopped our progress.