Diurna: an Anthology of Short Stories and Poems

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Reminiscence of a City at Night (4)

I ran to the toilet: a sudden urge drove me to find the public restroom in the train station, which was located not far from the entrance. I ran a little and saw some beggars and homeless people started to open their sleeping matt near the entrance. It was relatively warm. The train station was a good place to spend the night if you do not have a place to go: it has roof, the floor is clean, and not far from the train station there will be midnight food stalls—if you can afford it, but most of them are really cheap.

As I approached the restroom I could hear some noises from the inside. With caution, I opened the door a little. I took a peek from the slit created: I could see two policemans and a person sitting on a chair. The person was handcuffed: a man with mohawk hair and a leather jacket full of cloth-patches. The first policeman was standing in front of him holding a baton; the second was washing his hand—I could hear the sound of water running. There was blood on the hand of the second policeman. The man with the mohawk was moaning in pain; the two officers seemed not to care.

Before I could figure out what was happening, the second policeman noticed my existence. “Hey, you! Get in here!” The officer ran toward the door, pulled the door, and before I could react, he threw me inside the restroom. I fell to the floor; I could sense the wet floor and a smell made by the mixture of cheap disinfectant and urines. “What do we have here, gentleman?” said the policeman with the baton mockingly. He looked at me while pointing with his stick to the punk on the chair,“Is he your friend?”

I saw the face of the mohawk man: his face was covered with blood and bruises; his cheeck and some area of his mouth was swolen. He looked at me hopelessly but did not say anything. The second policeman approached me and kicked me on my stomach. His kicking was hard; I almost threw up. “Answer boy, my friend was asking you nicely.” Gathering my breath, I answered them with as much voice I could muster, “No, I do not know him. I just wanted to use the toilet.”

“You just wanted to piss, eh? But tell me: why were you taking a peek from the door and hesitated to come in? Were you planning something?”

These two bullies would not listen, I thought. “Hey, answer!” the second policeman kicked me again, almost on the same spot. This time I managed to dodge it a little with my elbow. It was so painfull. I tried to answer but what was coming out was a sound a squeacking alike. That policeman kicked me again: twice. I could defend myself with my arms, but the boot he was wearing still made a painfull bruises on my arms.

“Are you playing hero? You want to save this bastard here?” The policeman with the baton pushed his torturing tool to the cheek of the mohawk man. With a swift movement he hit the thigh of the man with the blunt weapon on his hand: the man screamed in pain. I tried to get up and answered, “No. I do not know him. I just wanted to go to the toilet.”

“Is that so?” the second policeman let me stood up and grabbed my shirt, pushing me to one of the door of a closed toilet door. The door knob hit my back; I grined because of it. “So you are telling us, that you somehow just wanted to take a piss and came here. But then you found us, and decided to observe us from the door. Is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes.”

“And you don’t know anything about this man and you never saw him before. Is that what you were saying?”

“Yes.”

The policeman that questioned me looked at his partner. His partner nodded and he looked back to me. “Ok, so that is your story,” he released his grasp on my shirt. “Yes, and that is the truth,” I said to him.

“So you don’t know anything about the drugs too?”

“What? No, no, of course I don’t!”

“That is what everyone is saying too,” he said. His fist flew to my face, dropping me again to the wet and strange-smelled restroom floor. I felt dizy; his partner howled excitedly. I could see the punk looking back at me. I couldn’t understand the meaning emanating from his eyes: was it pity? Was it satisfaction?

“You think you’re smart aren’t you? We are sick of people like you, you know? So where do you hide it? Here, in this smelly bag of yours?” He took my small bag and threw everything out from the inside. I only had my notebook, a pen, one banana, a bottle of water, and a book to read: nothing other than that. He seemed disatisfied with his finding: he opened my notebook, flipped through the pages, and closed it again. He would only find my diary there.

“So what are you? A writer or something?”

I did not answer. The policeman threw his baton to one corner of the room; I was startled; he found it amusing seeing me like that. That person approached me and offered me his hand. “Come, here,” he said, in a way that was in the border between trying to be friendly or mocking me again. I hesitated to take his hand, but I took it anyway.

“There you go,” he said, pulling me on my feet again. I started to gather my stuffs again. I could sense that the punk boy was looking at me with his eyes. After I gather all of my belonging, put it into my small bag again, the policeman who hit me said, “Now you can take a piss.” He opened one of the toilet door.

I entered one of the cabin there slowly because of the pain on my body. When I tried to close the door, the second policeman held it and said, “No, leave it open.” So I left it open and stood for some time in front of the toilet. I felt uneasy because I know I was being watch. I could hear some chuckles. “Go on, we are not looking,” said the first policeman.

When I started to urinate the two policeman laughed. “There you go, boy!” I did not answer them. After I finished I zipped my trouser, flushed the toilet, and found that the two policeman were now standing near the punk with the handcuff.

“I am done. May I leave now?”

The policeman with the baton raised his hand, a gesture of allowing me to go. They both were looking at me: smiling. Slowly I walked toward the door; I kept an eye contact with the three of them, and moved slowly.

The man who was handcuffed to the chair looked at me too. Still, I didn’t know the meaning of that stare: was it hatred or hopelesness? I closed the restroom door behind me and walked farther. I took the south exit; I continued walking south. For a moment I thought I heard the sound of people laughing or screaming; I was not sure which one was it. I was not even sure whether that was really a sound or just me imagining thing.

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