The streets are filled with energy and anger. Mostly anger. In nooks and crannies men are trying to bring their women around from some situation or other, or people are shouting on the phone to people they've become separated from probably by design rather than accident.
I see striped shirts are out now and checked shirts are in. The streets are a sea of check over blue denim and men loiter in gangs whilst shouting. Spatial context is gone and they roam and wander with no regard for anyone else and you're constantly dodging some zigzagging 80s arm chair in a world of his own, oblivious to everyone else. Women strut down the street in defensive stances, their arms crossed and tucked squarely, only breaking form to occasionally pull their skirt down from 1 inch below their ass to the maximum extent of 2 inches. Packs of men hunt down the solo females and posture in a contest to devour them as the females strut on, eyes fixed forward and praying inside. Being the biggest, loudest fucking asshole you can be is obviously appealing to women.
Homeless men sit on benches and call out to you as you pass. I don't hear them as I'm listening to music through my earphones but I know they're calling out as they always do. Homeless females prefer to sit in doorways looking downtrodden, luring men into their lair. Men always want to save women when they're drunk…not because they want to free them but because they want to own them. Men kneel down in their check shirts to offer trite words of advice about giving up drink and drugs, which the homeless women toss away, and money which they keep, ready to be saved by the next man too.
Outside the popular pubs are schools of men in check shirts, and women of all sizes in short skirts. Fake tan and pink Stetsons cause a feeding frenzy that I have to carefully pick my way through as I know the slightest knock or nudge could alert the sharks to my presence. Voices are raised everywhere as men either pick out victims or look down at illuminated faces of phones, women flirt with doormen while they pull their skirts down, some sit on the pavement with kebabs in their laps and their knickers on show while the pavements around them are a collaboration of streams coming from doorways where men are pissing like animals.
I get to my destination; a small shop just beyond where the pubs thin out. "No alcohol" the angry man barks as I come in, the same as he does to everyone. I take a diet coke to the counter which he rings up in silence. I look at the price on the till display and pay, then he hands me my change in silence. I think "no alcohol" is the only English he knows and as I leave a gang of men dressed as marathon runners pour in to a chorus of "No alcohol".
Walking back the way I have come I once more walk through the chaos and anger, the fear and the desperation, and the further I walk the more the women thin out having all but been picked off. The city seems to work as one; a predatory eco-system with everyone hunter of some and victim of other. Men have returned home with their trophies, or their hangovers, and I have returned home with my diet coke.
I don't even need diet coke…I just have an urge to be among people that are, like it or not, my peers. I need to prey on them, I want to experience them even if it is at a distance. I hate them but it is the jealous hatred of a child who can't have what he so desperately wants.