Dear Sack of Shit,
I'm sorry I punched you in the head. I thought that the enjoyable sound my right hand made when it connected with your temple and the fact that you splashed vodka over my beautiful girlfriend would keep the guilt at bay, but I was wrong. I'm worried about you, Sack of Shit. Are you OK?
To begin with, I hope you're not angry that I've decided to call you 'Sack of Shit'. I guess that's what happens when you meet someone for the first time just past dawn on a Sunday morning and hit them. There was no time for introductions. If we had been introduced, I would have asked: "Why are you getting so agitated?" (whatever your name is). "It's 7.30AM, and you're at a party you just gatecrashed. Stop trying to fight my friends. Who cares if they insulted your acid shaman's robe? Many of us are high. You must be too. Because none of us have slept yet, and it's 7.30AM on a Sunday morning, and I'm trying to stop it kicking off, but now you're splashing my girlfriend with vodka, CLAP."
But we weren't introduced, so the only facet of your character I'm aware of is that you respond to lunging right hooks by collapsing to the ground like a bag inexplicably filled with waste matter. And that's the story of how you were named.
Like all decent people, the first thing I do when I start feeling bad about something I've done, is try to laugh the guilt away. So I started to compile a list of things – other than a sack of shit – that your collapse reminded me of:
- A pig falling backwards off a diving board.
- A statue sawn off at the legs.
- Me, attacked by people with bottles in Heroes Bar, summer of 2002.
- LZ 129 Hindenburg.
- A sadder Titanic.
- Any major catastrophe that happened long enough ago that I can get away with making light of it.
- A porn star's dilapidated arsehole.
- My own mortality.
But obviously none of those are as easy to write as 'Sack of Shit'.
If you feel this apology has been lacking in remorse thus far, please be assured that I am sorry for what happened. I have written this letter of apology a hundred times in my head since Sunday. Did you ever make it home, Sack of Shit? In my mind's eye, I have seen three scenarios unfold since the time I lamped you really fucking hard in the side of your face.
In scenario one, you are fine. It was the sort of punch that your fondness for soaking pretty girls in cheap alcohol has lead you to absorb many times. You wander home with your friends laughing, and the next day the girls at work are fascinated by the bruise that I have painted across your face. "When you smile, the purple around your eyes makes your face look like a rainbow," they say.
In scenario two, you are not fine. Your friends have tried to haul you home, but your legs have given way and now they're shouting and crying because they don't know what to do. The fifth or sixth passing taxi has the compassion to stop and load your limp body into the boot, and today you're in hospital with loads of wires in your body connected to weird machinery. After a couple of MRI scans, you're released, but suffer forevermore from dizzy spells, your social life is blighted, your girlfriend leaves you, you're sacked from the job that you love, and I have ruined a life.
In scenario three, you're a haemophiliac and you've already bled to death. I'm chased through the streets, am slapped around by police and there are retributive attacks on my family, a process of mob justice that ends with a sharp spike taking a short sightseeing tour through my digestive system, in reverse. I'm a murderer, but I haven't felt a great cosmic shift in the universe.
My fist is grotesquely injured. The fourth finger on my right hand is fractured and I hit you so hard I've got something called a "rotational deformity." This means that two of my knuckles have probably been lost forever inside the back of my hand, which is a swollen abyss of bones, bruised tissue and contorted tendons. If it's any comfort to you, I've typed every letter of this apology with the two fingers that have been shunted back by your head and now begin a lot closer to my wrist, as a kind of penance.
I hope that you're alive and that your parents aren't worried about you. Whenever my own low-level idiocy has been met with unecessary violence, I always wondered if my attackers ever came to regret what they'd done, the nights that they'd ruined. I'm not one of those people who fights every time he drinks or snorts enough to be awake at 7.30AM on a Sunday morning. I have never landed a punch while airborne before. Maybe the reason I feel so guilty about flooring you is because it happened in the daylight, and hitting another person is one of those things I just can't imagine doing in the daylight, like dancing or trying to surf down the stairs on an ironing board topless while singing the guitar solo from "Complete Control".
All of which is to say that I'm sorry, Sack of Shit. If you come looking for me, I hope that I don't have to ruin my other hand convincing you to go away, because your fat fucking head has caused me enough problems already.