[Leather Jacket, 1,183 words, Genre: Dark Humour]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
It was another day at work. Gregory worked in an office where a large number of accounts had to be processed. He was working within the financial sector and there was a high volume of accounts that he had to work. He was working within a team in a high rise building that looked over the bay in the suburb of St Kilda in Melbourne. He was sitting down to his lunch at half past twelve. He had a simple lunch prepared, something that he brought from home. It was a salad mixed in with beef strips and bread crouton pieces, drenched in balsamic vinegar that gave it that tang with every bite. It was a simple and healthy meal, but he was now on a diet. In his early fifties he had to be mindful of health issues and ensure that he continued to make regular appointments with his General Practitioner to ensure that he was not afflicted by any form of bowel cancer or some other mysterious illness.
As he sat there, enjoying his meal in silence, his colleagues were pottering about the kitchen area. Preparing or eating their own forms of food. He smelt the air, was it just his imagination or did someone fart? He didn’t have time to consider such things as one of his colleagues asked him a question. From out of the blue, from out of nowhere, came the line of questioning, “Excuse me Greg, but did you ever own a leather jacket?”
Gregory paused to think for a moment. He had been around for some fifty odd years and he had to search his memory banks to answer the question. He sifted through this memory and that, it was an annoying process considering how many years he had lived, but he finally came up with the answer, “Yes, I owned a leather jacket. In my twenties, I think.”
And that was the end of the conversation, that was as far as it went. Everyone went about their own business. Finished eating their meals as did Gregory.
And then the lunch period was over. Gregory had to return to work through multiple accounts. He went back to his desk, but before he sat down, he paused and looked outside the window that from the high rise position, overlooked the bay. At that point, he began to reminisce.
It was in the eighties. Michael Jackson had made the trend of wearing a leather jacket a popular phenomenon and he was still young. There were other things going on in the world, sure there were, but he was young and free. He didn’t have the same cares and burdens that the years had piled in upon him. It had become a popular form of wear for business casual with offices throughout the country. Australia was still Australia and many things hadn’t occurred that complicated the situation. They were all still slightly naive about how large of an impact American culture was having on their own. Gregory, at that stage of his life, was still hypnotized by the high powered budget that the American industry of entertainment had pushed onto the world. Australia, being an English speaking country, were one of the first to buy the lollipop. Being a small nation and still quite young from the time of its own federation, there were several issues of identity and issues of cultural misinterpretation that were occurring as the American entertainment industry pumped blood to the rest of the world.
He had been catching the tram home late one night after drinking with his work colleagues when it happened. He had gotten off the tram and was walking past a group of hoodlums wearing his leather jacket when they began to harass him.
“Hey buddy! That’s a nice jacket,” Gregory had attempted to walk away, ignoring the man who was calling out to grab his attention. “Hey buddy! I’m talking to you!” And that’s when the situation escalated into a physical confrontation. They pushed Greg to the ground and begun to kick at him and scream at him, “Give us your leather jacket!”
Gregory tried to fend them off and yelled at them to, “Fark off!”
But they didn’t listen and they continued delivering a series of kicks to his abdomen. It was after a few kicks that he began to cry and take off his jacket, “Here! You want my jacket. Here! Take it.” Gregory took off his jacket with cuts and scrapes to his elbows and knees and handed over the leather jacket.
And that was it. That was the last time Gregory thought that he’d see his leather jacket. Every night after work he would have to walk pass the same hoodlums, their leader wearing the leather jacket that they had stolen off of him. He wanted to report it to the police, but the truth was that the police had bigger problems to handle than some punk stealing a leather jacket off of someone.
So instead he approached a group of African Australians. They were a large family and he forgot what nation that they had emigrated from. He knew one of them from the neighbourhood. She had always been kind to him, they were one of the first families to come from Africa at that point in time. Her name: Camilla K. She was quite the looker, Camilla K. He often had schoolboy fantasies of Camilla K in what could only be described as a case of jungle fever.
He told her what had happened. How the hoodlums had attacked him one night and stolen his leather jacket off of him. She listened intently and when he asked her if there was anything she could do, she said, “I’ll ask my brothers, this, this should be no problem. Those bastards have been hassling us too.”
And that was the end of that interaction. About a week later he received a knock on the door of his family home. And who was standing at the front door? No-one else but Camilla K, the beautiful and translucent Camilla K.
“Hey, I got your leather jacket back.” Gregory held out his hands and Camilla K handed over the leather jacket. Before he could look down Camilla K gave him a kiss on the cheek. He was knocked for six from that kiss on the cheek and he felt a warm glow come to his cheeks, it was apparent that he had begun to blush.
Before he could thank her Camilla K left and disappeared. When he looked down at the leather jacket he saw that it was ripped and torn and there were blood stains on it. It was possibly evidence in what could be a murder or some horrible gang warfare. He had hidden the leather jacket in a cardboard box where it remained for years after, not wanting to implicate himself in whatever had happened.
And that took Gregory back to his current point in time. He was at work overlooking St. Kilda bay. He farted. He had been suppressing that… Memory for quite some time.