The other day, my wife and I were at the park with our three-year-old son. He was playing on the swings and I was doing that thing that dads do, where I positioned myself directly in the way of his ascent so that he could kick me up the bum in a slapstick comedy style. After every carefully choreographed impact, I would then express Widow Twankey-levels of shock and surprise that even a pantomime director would ask me to significantly tone down. Still, it was a routine that was delivering lots of giggles, which is better than any drug in the world. (I had a toke on someone’s spliff at the Reading ‘95 festival and then had to spend a good couple of hours pretending that I found fruit hilarious – so it’s definitely better than that.)
Anyway, much fun was being had when something suddenly smashed on the floor only a few feet away. On closer inspection, it appeared that someone had thrown an Oreo biscuit at us and another young family using the swings. The culprits: two smirking tweenage motherfuckers, standing about 30 yards away.
I appreciate that they weren’t hurling live grenades or cranking a colossal trebuchet loaded with heavy rocks and animal carcasses, which would then rain down on the soft tarmacked play area as we ran for our lives. But still, throwing biscuits – throwing anything – at toddlers in a play area?! At a stretch, I might have been impressed with the effort required to construct a trebuchet – but that would’ve taken engineering know-how, an aptitude for carpentry, and brains. And looking at the pair of them, I’m amazed they got the packet of biscuits open.
The boys threw another Oreo before they scarpered, which shattered on impact next to the pram of a young mother, who turned towards me with a look of total dismay on her face.
I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done had I caught up with them. But seeing as they ran away, I’ll never know. The experience has left me with an unquenchable thirst for revenge, so I’m having to rely on my imagination to fill in the gaps.
In my mind’s version of events I manage to catch up with the Oreo twins, whose older brothers and wider gang then turn up brandishing an array of weapons: a 19th century cotton shuttle; a car aerial; a snooker cue; an antique daisy grubber; and a decommissioned flintlock pistol (which is actually a lighter, but has been brought for the scare factor). I look at them pitifully before taking them all down with some blistering Krav Maga. To leave my mark, I then slash a few faces with a coarse granola bar. As I walk away, I crush the pack of Oreos with my foot.
I am Jason Bourne.
But of course, my mind just won’t allow that satisfying denouement. Gradually, my imagined scenario starts to shift and distort until I’m Jason King and the tweenage gang of delinquents are giving me a violent wedgie with my silk neckerchief, which slices through my perineum like a cheese wire. In the melee, I inhale a half-smoked Sobranie Imperial and retch and splutter till I blackout. My son sees the whole thing and can never look me in the eye again.
I really hate my mind sometimes.