Big Fish in a Small Pond

Being an obscure writer living in a small village has one major disadvantage: you're no longer obscure. The old saying, 'big fish in a small pond' is quite true. Every thing I do, as boring as it may be, bears scrutiny. Then, there're certain people who believe they're entitled to put the 'famous author' in her place. 

A case in point:

Just recently, I went to a local deli to place an order for a party in another town the following day. I enjoy conversing with the owner, a very talented woman who led quite an illustrious life. In the middle of our conversation, her landlord, a corpulent older man, interrupted us by screaming bloody murder.

The landlord got very clever over the past five years and received tons of grants to revitalize our village which he used to acquire properties. Because of his real estate holdings, he became overnight a big deal in this town with a population of 250.

Almost a bigger deal than me.

I guess I was a thorn in his side. The 3 times I had the occasion to destroy my gastrointestinal tract in that deathtrap called his restaurant, he'd yell to the other patrons with hardier guts than mine, "OMG! We have a national book award winner here!" Heads swiveled, eyes bulged while I gave a big forced grin. My very presence added a certain cachet, perhaps diverted people from the mediocre food.

This time, however, he ignored me in the deli and plunged ahead, divulging information to which, as a third party, I shouldn't have been privy. 

I quietly stated, "Hey, you're rude and your behavior's inappropriate."

He turned his head, smiled at me and said, "I know."

I said, "Knock it off. I shouldn't-"

With a sudden movement, he flicked his hand at me, in my face in dismissal. It was almost like a bitch-slap pulled back in the nick of time.

I stomped out because I didn't want to lose control. But my heart raced and I thought my head would pop off. I changed my mind and a few minutes later entered his shithole restaurant, shrieking, "Where is that fucking bastard?"

His staff stared at me. "He ran out the moment he saw you," volunteered the waitresses. 

One followed me out. "Please scream at him, " she implored. "I'm tired of being called a fucking cunt every day in front of the clientele. I've no choice, I need this job."

"Don't worry, I'll give that bastard a piece of my mind," I reassured her while fuming.

The following morning I returned to the deli to pick up the order. The place was jam packed with other local denizens. One fellow said, "I heard what happened yesterday. It must've been very upsetting to you because I heard how you acted, so unlike you. What a shame! Anyhow, the landlord's peering through the window."

I whipped around, but saw no one.

"There he is again!" and he pointed.

He made his way toward the front door. I ran out and went right up to him, up to his snout and shrieked loud enough to be heard for miles, "You fucking bastard. Who the fuck do you think you are? You're rude and inappropriate. You don't treat people like that, with disrespect. And you certainly don't have the right to treat me that way."

While I screamed at him, he smiled and licked his lips with sexual overtones. In disgust, I turned away. Behind me, he entered the deli and shouted, "Some crazy person accosted me."

Right at that moment, I realized I left my order inside, so I entered the deli once more. I picked up my order and exited.

He yelled at my back, "Oh, you think you're famous!"

I laughed.

Soon after, his waitress ran up to me, thanking me for my meltdown. It had no desired effect on the landlord who continued his tirade of humiliation and debasement of his waitresses later that afternoon and evening. But, it did one helluva number on me.

I suffer from a rare neurological deafness that's the result of at least the top major diseases where people tend to drop dead in their tracks. In my case, the doctors can't determine which one caused this rare symptom that has reduced my life to a crawl. Even though I'm deemed in perfect health, I live under the sword of Damacles, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I'm under the care of several specialists and encouraged to see them should I feel any deviation from my excellent health, outside of my deafness. The ENTs had enough of me to last a lifetime.

Since I moved full time to the country, I've relaxed somewhat. I may no longer have volume control, and a little too peppy, but it's my version of laid back. No way have I ever screamed like that before. It knocked me out and people noticed at the party later that evening. Three days after my public outburst, I continued to feel under the weather. Although it didn't deter me from mountain biking like an idiot in the heat for 20 miles. Still, the ride didn't alleviate the pain in my chest which was relentless. So much so I had to run to my cardiologist, fearing a heart attack.

"No, ma'am, nothing's wrong with your heart," said my cardiologist, "because if there was, you would've dropped off your bike like a stone, dead."

"What is this pain? It hurts like a motherfucker."

"When you shrieked at that man, it must've been violent because you tore your chest cartilage."

So it goes to show the truth to the old adage - to argue with lunatics makes you one.

Then again, I should've bitchslapped him.  I wouldn't be suffering now.

# # #

This is a work of fiction. Names, character, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

No comments: