the sun was shining. it was an extraordinarily warm day for March. i stood, in a queue, ready to board the #38 that would take me from Glenrothes to Kirkcaldy.
in times of boredom, in overly public places, i turn to people-watching. it’s something inherent in all of us, stemming from the primal flight or fight syndrome.
and so… i stood in the queue, bored. the driver stepped off the bus, lit a cigarette and inhaled deep. he closed the door behind him and slunked off in the direction of the drivers’ mess.
directly in front of me was a young man, in his early twenties. his skin bore the scars of teenage acne, and a permanent smudge of a homespun Indian ink tattoo on his neck that read ‘RFC Forever’. ‘i bet he regrets that now…’ i thought to myself. i watched as he took the dirty, half-smoked roll-up from behind his ear and lit it. i watched his nicotine-stained fingers fumbling and trembling in what seemed like desperation.
behind me, a child let out a squeal of excitement. i turned around and saw a little boy of around 3 years old in a deckchair stripe push chair. he stretched out his little arms to me; his face sticky but smiling. his wire-frame mother threw me a hostile glance as she spat harsh words directed at ‘the sperm donor’ (her words, not mine!). something about his child being “a needy wee basturd!”. the ‘needy’ child giggled when she spat on the ground and clapped his chubby little hands.
“again!” he chuckled.
disgusting. the mother continued to amuse her child by gobbing the contents of her mouth onto the pavement by my feet. and the ‘needy’ infant continued to giggle. peculiar woman.
she opened a plastic bottle containing a blue sugary substance and thrust it into the giggling child’s grubby, grabbing hands. the child xeroxed me that hostile glance, took a gulp of the blue toxic substance and fixed his eyes on his mother, urging her to play the spitting ‘game’ again.
“again!!” he squealed.
she ignored him, and so, his eyes turn to me.
ten minutes later and the kid was still staring at me. curious. i smiled at him. nothing. he just kept staring. unblinking. ‘wow…’ peculiar child. my mind started working overtime.
[‘is it the drink? a sugar-induced stupor?’ i thought to myself. but he kept on staring. ‘little freak’ my mind said. ‘that’s been almost 15 minutes’.]
feeling a little creeped out by this, i glowered at him. he startled and finally looked away, reaching for his mother’s skeletal hand.
a new smiley-faced driver arrived and boarded the bus. i turned to face the tattooed neck of the young child’s sperm-bank father in front and watched as he flicked his fag doup into a puddle.
finally, the bus doors opened and a bunch of cauliflower heads shuffled on board, jostling with their elbows and concessionary passes.
a queue formed quickly.
i found myself watching a man in a wheelchair. i felt for the man, and wondered of his circumstances. how did he end up like this? what quality of life did he have? well-dressed, nice wheels, and a very nice Leica camera around his neck. he fondled it affectionately in his lap. intrigued, i watched on…
to my horror, i saw him secretly depress the shutter. i followed the lens and saw him covertly capture pictures of a young girl, in summer shorts. he kept clicking. his shutter finger not impeded by disability, or his use of the motorised control of his wheelchair. i was shocked. he kept clicking, silently, as he edged closer to the young and oblivious nymphet. i watched as the weasel motioned to her to board before him. how polite, yet all the while he was discreetly capturing up-skirt pictures of those young, long, strong and shapely legs.
what a creep. using my iPhone, i went to take his picture. i knocked on the perspex panel of the shelter, behind which he queued to board his bus and motioned to him that i had seen what he was up to. his face reddened and i stared him down, as he cowered into his wheelchair.
my phone was dead, but he wasn’t to know that. fuck… what to do?
i boarded the bus, paid my fare and sat in the first available seat.
immediately, my mind went into overdrive. ‘who was he?’ ‘does he have a multitude of such images that he covets and masturbates over?’ ‘he’s dangerous’ ‘I should have spoke to that girl’ ‘what if he’s stalking her’.
feeling shocked and frustrated, the best i could think of doing was to share this story; warn others of this beast’s existence.
fight or flight. it pays to be vigilant.
(c) Kat McDonald 2014