Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zoatesque Grotesque.

Oh nogod help me! Yet again I received a public humiliation in a piece of psycho-theater performed on Roslyn street at Kings Cross. As a founding member of the Curmudgeon's Club at the Piccolo Cafe I can't help gravitating towards that mecca for misfits as there is no other freak-show quite as declasse and therefore as fitting for my twisted personality. Over the thirty years of my patronage of that infamous Cafe I have been bashed up and had my reputation shredded 121 times at least and just when I think I can be dragged no lower I find there is yet a deeper level of ignominy for me to fall into and yesterday was it.

I went to the Cafe hoping to have the usual deep intellectual converse with my disparate friends only to spot the dreaded Kate Pidgeon (as in Pidgeon shit) sitting at a pavement table with my fellow poof mate Charles. I've known her for 15 years, thru all of which she has descended into her own hell of booze, heroin and methadone addiction and is now a 6 foot scarecrow with broken teeth, creviced face and shrunken brain. She had just tried to skip out on paying her cafe bill, claiming she had no money and dear Charles was honoured to pay it for her. For old time's sake I gave her a peck on the cheek in greeting but was relieved to then see her depart as I haven't wanted to know her beat-up story for many years, possessing very little patience for substance abusers, who seem to blame everybody but themselves for their tortured existence. (Having grown up with alcoholic parents I particularly feel uptight with booze-heads.)

So I was in the midst of a juicy rave about literature, the ineffable to be found in the F-able, when Kate Pigeon staggered back and sat down with us, producing a bottle of cheap champagne which she proceeded to guzzle while Charles admonished her for buying booze and bludging money off him for her meal. She bald-faced lied that she'd been given the plonk and then rattled on nonsensically over the top of my conversation, disrupting, distracting, disturbing us, belligerant, bellicose, bloody annoying so that I flipped. I had worked all week in a nursing home attending to the disabled and dying, wiping up blood, puss and shit and didn't realise I was so fatigued and on a short fuse till I exploded. Once attractive and hip, she was now grotesque in her haggard mindlessness, with all the presence of a croaking witch from Macbeth. I told her to "Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up!" to which she shrieked for me to "fuck-off!" instead.

With one last "Shut up!" I leapt up and yanked the chair out from under her screaming, "Go, go, go you drunken scrag!" She plonked heavily upon the pavement then bounced back up in a fury, one tough broad, notorious over the years for punching out guys with her 6 foot alco street-brawling skills, then getting the shit beaten out of her in return. She rushed at me and threw me into the Cafe's window, almost breaking it, throwing heavy punches directly at my head, but I've also survived 50 years of street brawling and was able to duck and weave and keep her at arm's length. She gnashed her teeth, growled and attacked like a pit-bull terrier, barking, "You rotten fag, you misogynist, you woman hater, you cocksucking dickhead!", all the while throwing punches that would've knocked out Mike Tyson if they'd connected. While skipping backward I returned the hatred, snarling, "You junkie scrag, you methadone zombie, you drunken slut, your brain has shrunk to the size of a pea, go back to the methadone clinic!"

She chased me up and down Roslyn Street for all the world to watch in horrified bemusement, the shopkeepers, the coffee slushers, the good citizens strolling by, all thinking, "What a pair of fuckwits!" I was dying to bitch-slap her ugly face but I don't beat up on women, even when they're trying to kill me. We waltzed back and forward for what seemed an eternity but was more likely ten minutes, me ducking her swipes, her kicks, her gobs of spit. Eventually she tired of all the drunken run-around and drifted off trailing curses behind her and I was allowed to return to my seat of humiliation in front of the Piccolo Cafe, scene of much of my life's deconstruction, (of which I tell many a tale in my eternally forthcoming book "The 7 Lives of Toby the Punk Poofy Cat.")

What would the Daily Terror and their evil papparazzi make of such demoralizing action if they happened to get wind of it? There would be no bright "Toby Zoates was spotted enjoying coffee on Roslyn Street on Saturday afternoon", more like "That arsehole TZ yet again caused public affray, this time assaulting a woman, he should be banished from our naughty but nice gentrified Kings Cross." Thank nogod I'm not a celebrity and therefore not owned by the trash consuming populace. A pity I can be such a bastard, sleep deprivation, bi-polar psychosis, stressful living on the edge, nothing making my flip-out excusable, I should retire to a cave in the Himalayas.

Traumatised, I crawled home to watch a horror DVD, "The Cave", wherein an alien-type creature, looking somewhat like Kate Pigeon, tears to shreds and devours a group of adventurers in the bowels of the earth, and I derived some consolation from it as a metaphor for modern city living and how I might possibly survive it: crawl thru shit for days on end in the dark to find my way out to fresh air and freedom.

P.S. About five years later I met Kate up north at Nimbin during the Mardi Grass Festival. She was sober and pleasant and had completely forgotten out little contretemps on Roslyn Street, possibly because she'd been in a drunken fugue. I apologised to her anyway, my behaviour most ungentlemanly and she forgave me. She confessed that, while successful at her attempt at sobriety, she had lost everything and for some months had been living in a tent in a caravan park. She seemed desperate for company in a town full of pothead strangers but I was fearful of missing my lift back to Lismore and had to quickly bid her farewell. She smiled in sad disappointment as I got up to leave and I could not help but feel compassion, women can be as badly abused as gays in this world and who knows what hard times she's survived. I prayed for her as I walked away.