London Markets - Where Bargains met LunaticsSubmitted by w_t_a_y_s_t_r_m at 2009-05-28 08:20:13 EDT
Rating: 1.85 on 77 ratings (77 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
The building that I work in is literally the edge of the city. There's a road that circles it, and at the moment I'm in 'the city'. Less than four seconds walk away is the 'East'. All I need to do is cross the road and suddenly all bets are off. It's kind of like a portal where immigrant stereotypes, white supremists and complete assholes all mix together in what is quite possible the most confusing and violent places that isn't officially at war.
It does have it's advantages though. If you ever need anything, and I really mean anything, it's a short walk away. The 'East' is full of guys who can get you whatever it is you're after with two phonecalls and barely any money. I'm not sure if it's kind of a mafia deal where I owe them a favour, but I can always rest easy in the knowledge that 90% of them will be dead, in jail or deported by the next time I need to venture down there.
One day I got lilly flower seed stains over my shirt. Knowing fuck all about horticulture I didn't know that brushing them off would make things worst. I certainly didn't know that trying to wash them off with handsoap would make it spread to the point where it looked like my shoulder had pissed itself and spread over 60% of my upper body (which is about 150% of the average body).
But I didn't cry (much), because I knew, nearby, someone would have a shirt for me. I throw my coat on, promptly stained the inside of that, and wandered down to the nearest area of the 'East' where I might be able to find someone selling shirts.
The first place I came to was a market, which had cars and vans parked all along with people just generally leaning out of them to try and sell whatever they had found the night before. The weird thing is, the market is completely pedestrianised and there's no real room for any cars or vans to actually get in there. So unless they've been parked there for the past 80 years, and the buildings were done around them, I really have no idea how they managed it.
I approached a guy that had piles of shirts on a table next to his open van.
"Hello my friend!" He called, a little bit too friendly to the point where I wasn't sure if I'd met him before. Better play it cool, I thought, in case I owe him money.
"Hey, dude," I said, as friendly and casually as I could. "How's it going?"
"Wonderful." I was getting scared by his friend attitude. "What you after?"
"Just a white, long sleeve shirt, if you've got any." I told him the size (massive), the style (none) and then watched him dive into this pile. It was like Scrouge McDuck in his vault, swimming through this vast collection of God awful shirts.
After a few moments of waiting, he popped up again with three different white shirts.
"We got this one..." He showed me a short sleeve shirt that was too small and would have basically become a bikini top on me.
"It's a bit small and I was after long sleeves." I explained. I'm a bit of a cock like that. I hate to wear sleeves on anything except coats, so when I have a shirt on, I automatically roll the sleeves up, but fuck wearing short sleeve ones.
"Right." The shirt was thrown back onto the pile. "Then there's this one..."
This next shirt was basically one I'd only wear if I was performing Shakespeare. It had ruffles and stylish creases and all sorts of bollocks like that, which I just don't go for. I dress like an 80's Lego man, in plain colours, no patterns and no shit like creases, folds, extra buttons or stylish fades. Because then I'd look like a prick.
"Everyone's wearing them." He said with a surprisingly toothy smile. I strongly doubted his statement, but for fearing of being bitten I held back on telling him so.
"I'm not one for fashion." I tried to explain in my most civil of voices. "I was just after plain white."
A little less happy, he dropped the shirt back onto the pile and showed me the final one.
"How about this?" He asked, a certain air of self-assurance surrounding him.
It was plain white. It was a shirt, not a frilly sheet with buttons. It had long sleeves. It would cover my gut with some to spare should I suddenly pitch an awesome tent in the afternoon.
"Perfect." I exaggerated. Perfect would have been if he showed me it first. "How much?"
"Three pound." Fucking bargain. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a fresh, crisp five pound note and handed it over in exchange for the shirt. The man looked delighted with himself for making a sale and turned towards his moneybox to collect my change.
For no reason at all, I turned the shirt over in my hands, very fragile like it was the original bible text or something. And then I saw it. Printed across the back, right over the shoulder blades, was the shittest Chinese Dragon image you can imagine.
It was fucking terrible. No wonder the cunt was selling them so cheap. Who the hell would wear this? What made it worst was the fact that it was clearly supposed to be funny or original, because the dragon had fucking great cock sticking out from it's hind legs.
This thing was gigantic, almost live sized.
"Excuse me..." I was trying to catch the right words to say. "But no thanks."
"What?" The man asked, shocked as he tried to hand me my change.
"I didn't realise it had this print on it."
"It's only a dragon." He said convincingly. "Dragon's are cool."
"I'm not doubting the coolness of dragons, but this one is a little bit over excited."
"Just a dick, man." He was starting to lose a bit of his cool now. "Everyone's got a dick."
"Even women?" I asked, starting to think this guy was actually a little bit more mental than I first assumed.
"If they don't, they soon will!" And with this he grabbed his crotch and started shaking. Vigorously. While staring at me, his smile now completely gone.
"Can I just get my money back?" I dropped the shirt down onto the pile.
His eyes narrowed and he stared at me, right in the eyes. Without looking away, he took his hand away from his groin, and slowly reached into the money box. It was at this point I realised that everything else in the world had either stopped or disappeared. The noise as he dropped the two pound coins that would have been my change was deafening, and when he pulled the five pound note out it sounded like a sword being drawn.
It was slow and agonising, as he reached across and passed me my money.
He hadn't taken his eyes off mine since he'd shaken himself.
I took the money off him, and he before he let go he said, very quietly, "What's the matter with you? You got a problem with the cock?"
This is the sort of question which I've never been good at answering. It came up on a geography exam when I was at school and I failed then.
Do I have a problem with the cock? Which cock? His cock or the dragon's? Either way, I wouldn't describe it as a problem. I would say I was kind of indifferent. Like a piece of dogshit on the path, just so long as there's no interaction between me and it, I'm fine.
I took my money away from him, put it back into my pocket and started to make my way back to the office, scared to look at him, but terrified to take my eyes off him. As I began to pick up speed I heard him shouting from behind:
"Go ahead, pussy. You run from the cock monster."
I had no idea what the fuck just happened, but I decided a big, piss coloured stain on the shirt wasn't so bad afterall.