“Hey! I know that guy,” you said, pointing across Tartu’s town square to Mico, Katie’s recent tattoo artist. He walked with a cute read head–his girlfriend. You and Katie closed the distance, nonchalantly drawing frites from little sachets and nibbling. You’d been on your way back “home,” to your host’s empty flat far on the edge of town, but had opted to hit up the chipper first.
“How’s the tattoo?” he asked. Katie lifted her shirt to give him a look.
Small talk is small talk. Not sure what it was all about, for you were soon distracted when two very drunken men ambled–almost horizontally–toward you. Your eyes, your head, swung slowly with their rhythm. One of them was a middle aged, stout, figure with a full bottle of beer in each hand; he clung to them like a drunkard steering a bicycle… only he was doing the Electric Slide.
The other was a smooth-faced, shirtless stripling: blond, hairless, lean. He penetrated your group like a catwalk model with two sprained ankles. He arrested his momentum just inches from your face, as though expecting you to tap him along with a kiss on his cheek.
“Oy! Wha… kcshl…” garble garble, went the stout one, catching up to his younger accomplice. But he was speaking to you.
“Excuse me?” you said.
Katie immediately retreated from your side. She joined Mico and his girlfriend, some distance away from the horror show.
“Where….are you from?” he slurred in his best English.
“United States,” you replied and crunched your frites wrapper between your hands, licked the salt from your fingers.
“We’re trying to make some money! You wanna buy this boy? One hundred Euro! And you can have him. Tell me, he’s good to fuck, no?”
You appraised the stripling. He was busy glancing left and right, contorting his hips, swinging his torso–eyes vacant.
“Come on! What do you think? Good boy, no?” said Stouty. He was still several feet from you.
“He looks… sufficient,” you said. Behind the stripling, Katie and Mico were laughing.
What kinds of things happen when drunks meet you on the street? What sorts of things are said? How do you indulge them? “He’s your brother? So then, you are your brother’s pimp? I’m afraid I’m not interested in having sex this evening. It wasn’t exactly on the agenda. Why? Well, yes… yes, I am interested in women. Astute observation. I’m beautiful? Thank you. Oh, you want to fuck me. Charming, sir. I look like your sister? Your sister, you say. So let me get this straight. You are your brother’s pimp, and you want to sleep with people who look like your sister? Keep it in the family. Am I gay or something? Yes, sir. You got it right again. What’s wrong with me?”
Oh Stouty, with his jack-O-lantern teeth and two beers. He had closed the distance and stood face to face with you, heaving chest and belly grazing your body with each breath. You stood comfortably squared to him, hands in your pockets, weight evenly distributed. You were watching a parade.
“I don’t know how she puts up with this,” Katie said to Mico. “See what she tolerates? She just stands there and indulges them.”
Stouty’s breath–fortunately not unpleasant–spewed over your face. “What… is wrong with you? There is something wrong in your head! How–can–you be—a–lesbian? How can you not like to fuck men? I am a man! I want to fuck you! You are so… beautiful. The sky! Look at the sky. And the lights. And that building against the sky. Your eyes. They are so blue. Let’s fuck! I am a man. Suck my cock. For free. You can do it for free. No charge. But him… he is one hundred Euros.”
“No, sir. Not tonight. I’m not interested,” you said.
He stepped into you, chest colliding against your body. “No? Why not… we should fuck. I am a man.”
You drew him into a hug. “There, there, come on now, let’s hug it out. Hey Shifty! Get over here. Hug it out!” you beckoned the stripling to hug his “brother” from the back. “That’s it. Two Shifties at the same time. I love it.”
“Oh my god, gross!” Katie said. “Why are you hugging them?”
Why not? Everybody needs love.
Stouty eventually ran out of material and repeated himself, in so many words, more assertively. You felt inclined to step away. He followed resolutely. You pressed your hand into his chest and gently shoved him back to arm’s length. “No, sir. Not tonight.” But he persisted.
“I love you!” he declared. “I am in love with you. Do you understand? You are so beautiful. Fuck me, please!” He chased after you like a penguin, and you retreated slowly, gingerly laying one foot behind the other, as though teetering on a balance beam. The man slurred and spoke and declared many vulgarities with tremendous passion, and soon you noticed that even his “brother” was becoming concerned.
The stripling’s eyes cleared momentarily. He attempted to step in, offered you a consoling smile, tried to lead the man away, but Stouty wouldn’t have it.
“I am a man! What is wrong with you! What is wrong inside your head?”
“Guess I didn’t swallow enough semen. Or maybe my mother didn’t love me enough.”
Couldn’t help yourself, huh?
“You need the right man! I love you!”
You looked to Mico, the only other pair of balls in the vicinity. He attempted to speak to Stouty in Estonian, but his words had no impact.
You put your arm around Katie. “Can’t have sex with you, Sir. I’m sorry. See, this is my girlfriend.”
“That is your girlfriend? Your girlfriend!” Words, words, words.
“It’s time to go,” Katie said, and dragged you away from Stouty. You’re not sure how or why, but Stouty finally stopped chasing.
“Have a wonderful night!” you called with a smile and an enthusiastic wave, then picked up your pace in case he decided to follow.
Two Shifties at the same time!
“That was a great night,” you said, reflecting on your chill evening of beer, good conversation, frites, and Shifties.
“Maria… seriously. What the fuck. Why did you feel the need to hug a big, fat, gross guy?” Katie admonished.
“Well… he had teeth. And his breath wasn’t that bad. So I thought: why not. Everyone needs love.”
“If you had invited him back with us, we’d definitely be fighting,” she said, hustling through the park.
“Oh please. I have more common sense than that.”
Common sense. Sound and prudent judgement based on a simple perception of the facts. Sounds easy enough, right?
Some people don’t have a clue; it’s tough when you’ve been blinded, when your perception is distorted. Stouty wasn’t deluded. Drunk guys like Stouty are vulgar because they know they don’t have a chance, and any reaction is better than no reaction. Suppose Stouty had said, “If you told me to go away forever and leave you in peace, then I’d say, ‘As you wish.’ And, furthermore, ma’am, sorry for any offense, pressure, or emotional strain. I didn’t mean it.”