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by Chris Chapman

The steelworkers and a supplementary collective of drips and drabs from the nearest Starbucks surrounded you. Prior to the arrival of the coffee carrying midmorning snack brigade you have been hog-tied by a near seven-foot tall, plaid-shirt clad girder-basher called Jezzmond.

Your ankles are bound and then raised to meet your wrists, which in turn are bound by the same rope; this leaves your hands and feet waggling redundantly in the air. The mucus green of your jumpsuit and the positioning of your hands and feet make you feel like a piece of broccoli.

Your hopes of rolling onto the single stump of hands and feet and then somehow bouncing away are ruined by Jezzmond's consistently well-placed boot, which is more a prod with the boot tip than a blast with the heavy heel.

Every time the boot tips you back to your original position of floundering on the floor Jezzmond titters to himself and slaps his thigh. You are reduced to a grunting sack of sweating meat and where your face has been scrunched on the gravel tiny pieces of it have become embedded in your chin and give the impression the of stubble growth.

Some of the on-lookers have started to barrage you with mild insults ranging from questions regarding your fashion sense to simple queries about your hygiene. Each and every one of them gargles the words through cinnamon, eggnog or toffee swirl Americano-style beverages, and this causes the air to be assaulted by a spittle shower of grey/brown. A flying piece of carrot cake glances off your forehead.

You have been caught licking timber in one of the corrugated steel supply huts. When asked about the act you protest your innocence with a shake of the head. It was Jezzmond who caught you, and as stupid as his face is, something seems to move underneath it that suggests he's thinking.

His hand darts out like a cracked whip and envelopes your neck. In a cartoon response your tongue pops out, like a cuckoo emerging from a clock and shows the shards of timber that sat in your mouth.

Your tongue, the knobby pink betrayer, waggles silently like a hedgehog readying for slumber. From this point on there can be no escape from the judgment you face.

You have been caught in a corrugated supply hut, sitting on a stack of roof slates with teeth marks gnashed into them, and you have a tongue that is skewered like a cocktail sausage. I just want to know why?

Copyright © 2006 by Chris Chapman

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