It was so late that it was early. I was walking with my father – a dignified (or so he thought) man wearing an awkwardly unstylish coat and sixty years upon his face. Despite being hideously embarrassed to be seen with my old-Old Man, I liked to try and up my game for him – watching my language, standing tall, that sort of thing. He may have been waaaaay older than most dads but having been through t’mill of late, his age meant I had to tread a little more respectfully.

Not this time, though.

This was the one occasion I had the chance to become UNCIVILISED and grotty and partake in some fisticuffs with a local scumbag. This one occasion would require me to be – well, to put it mildly, unrestrained. I was at my tether’s end with bullies as I’d never defended myself before, having adhered all my life to that parental “just ignore them” horseshit and the “they’re just jealous” claptrap. I’d ignored away…and it hadn’t offered any consolation or provided a resolution. But THIS? This was going to be cathartic, plain and simple.

SHE was fifteen – the same age as me but in the year above at school. Cock of the place, she was: a title that was essentially self-attributed and against which nobody would dare argue lest they be bloodily beaten to a fucked pulp. It was all bullshit, of course – any person who saw fit to declare themselves the hardest cunt in any gaffe clearly had something missing. SHE was missing many things: wit, compassion, brain cells – and to this day, she remains absent of name – I didn’t know it then and have never since taken the trouble to find out. This chick had nasty friends in low, low places – two of whom I’d experienced for myself.

Up to me she bowled, calling me a middle-of-the-road insult in the middle of the night. I have no idea what we were doing being out at that late hour – I remember only the blue-blackness of a foreboding sky. This was also an untwinkling sky – perhaps its black-blueness helped mask a celestial observation of the imminent bloodfulness. The sky just wasn’t ready to see this. But was I? Fuck yes.

The backstory doesn’t matter so much any more – but from my nutshell perspective I can tell you the type of bullying involved. They’d picked on you if you had the wrong hair, they’d picked on you if you had the wrong clothes. They’d picked on you if you had Jaggerish lips or a bulb for a forehead. Hell – I was bullied for the way I turned the corner in the school corridors. Seriously – what in all fuckness?

It was being bullied for smartness, prettiness, or weirdness that had given birth to my quasi-empathy for HER particular breed of underdog. I don’t attribute that emotion entirely to bullies, but I can say that it definitely took me to Stockholm, where I found it extremely hard not to care about them and to wonder why they did it. But at that moment, right then, I didn’t care at all. Not for her – I wanted her blood on my shirt.

Did she REALLY speak to me that way in front of my father? Even back then, being called shit didn’t bother me – but it bothered my dad and THAT purpled my face with anger.

Me: Say that again.

She: Fucking SLAG.

She had it coming.

So I came.

I punched.

I conquered.

Just the one BOOF – and she was down. Her petrified eyes told me she knew she’d fucked with the wrong person this time, and my seething voice told her the same through gritted teeth. And after they’d grut, those gnashers bit down on my hand’s back lest they bite down into her.

I wasn’t bullied again. I box with words these days, and I’m generally an easy-going pacifist. But being called a slag for being raped by two lads from school? Yeah – that’s a punchable offence.

It’s not your fault.

It’s never your fault.

And it wasn’t mine.

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