January 2008 / Volume Eight / Issue One
George Anderson
TABARNAK!

Urinating methodically, luxuriously  on the rear hubcap
of a car at midnight on Crescent Street in Montreal
Pud sways imperceptively in the frozen air
a car door slams, then another
two cops guardedly approach–
there is a brief blurred entanglement of
     bodies & shadows
     before he is handcuffed
     & flung into the back of a paddy wagon

The downtown communal cell reeks of vomit & shit & alcohol
Pud (as he recalls later) is pissed as a mute
but not sufficiently to pass out– yet
he is wary of a big predatory Frenchman
stalking the cell–
in rising, chocking fear he watches the lunatic
as he searches for sleeping prey
amongst the fifty or so men in the crowded cell
from time to time he finds one
& throws up his hands in jubilation
with an imaginary hockey stick
& dances–
as if he has scored a goal
& shouts out
TABARNAK!!
& then kicks the body & head of the sleeper
in a thumping, bruising agony,
teeth splintering, bones cracking–
the screams & the pleadings of the other inmates
unmoving the smirking cops sitting at their desks

Later, more sober, exhilarated
Pud pretends to sleep in the bare bright light of the cell
with one eye partly open
& waits,
waits for the loon

Soon the Frenchman shuffles towards him
shouting in anticipation
his hands triumphant over his head in the air
& as he preforms his victory dance
Pud leaps up & pummels the bloke
about the head & face & chest
in a flurry of left jabs & right crosses–
    & then he is down
    Pud smashing, cracking him in the
    ribs & head & groin
    with frenzied brutal kicks
         
TABARNAK! Pud shouts–
         
TABARNAK! another boot in
  & again–
to the escalating,
maddening roar of cheers
from the crowded    buzzing    police cell
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