Blackeye for a Backhander

I sock ’im one. 
Right in the eye. 
I hurl that suck’r as hard as I can. 
Left shoulder forward, right shoulder back. 
I’m getting the flow of things. 
I know how this works now. 
I’m beginning to understand. 
And then! 
Just when I was starting to enjoy myself, wham! there ’e ’is wiv a black eye, there’s 
           me wiv a sore hand and it’s all over. Oh yes, it’s all over now. 
She socks me one. 
Right in the eye. 
She hurls that suck’r, hard as she can. 
Right shoulder forward, left shoulder back. 
Boy, she’s getting the flow of things. 
Boy, she’s a quick learner, orright. 
Wham! Before I know it, there’s me wiv a black eye, there’s her shaking her hand and 
           it’s all over. Oh yes, it’s all over now. 
I don’t really see it coming. 
Don’t really even feel it or nuffin. 
Kind of a whoosh. 
Light travels faster than sound, but I’m kinda slow myself, so maybe that’s why 
           there’s only a whoosh. 
It knocks me over, sure. There am I, on the muddy pathway, wet grass on my elbows. 
Like laughter five minutes after the joke. 
Like screams ten minutes after the shower scene. 
She don’t really see it coming. 
Don’t even feel it or nuffin. 
There’s kinda a whoosh. 
Whoosh! Totally decked her. She’s out on the pathway, muddy and grassed. 
Knuckleprint spreading across her face, 
like realising you’re about to come off your board once you’re on the concrete, 
like not feeling sick until you hit your head on the alley wall after a chuck. 
Helps me up, we shake hands, applause from the boys on all sides. 
Him wiv ’is blackeye and me wiv ’is knuckles on my cheekbone. 
Help ’er up, we shake hands, applause all round. 
’er wiv my knuckles on ’er cheekbone and me wiv my blackeye. 
‘Good times, good times,’ says Nails. 
‘Aw nah fuck off,’ says Spider. 
‘Aw nah fuck off yaself,’ says Nails. 
‘Aw nah you fuck off,’ says that new dude and pushes Spider down the steps. 
He falls a lot further than you’d think. 
Still for several seconds. 
The breath on our lips freezes. 
He stands up, nose bleeding, skateboard arm dislocated again. 
‘That wasn’ very nice,’ says Nails. 
‘Nah,’ says Beans. 
The night is ruined. Spider’s snorting blood and wiping ’is nose on ’is sleeve. 
‘Good times,’ says the new dude. 
‘Dick,’ says Nails, and the word sounds worse than ‘cunt’. 
We all stalk off, single file, off the property, down the street, stalk off to that party at 
           Franco’s place. 
No one speaks to that guy for a long time. 


Charlotte Simmonds is the author of two plays and is currently working on a book of poetry. She was born in 1983.