Necessary Heroics

Bill Smith is in the final year of his degree in English with Drama and Theatre Studies.

I was walking down the street, minding my own business, when the cricket bat slammed into my face. I smelled linseed oil and blood as I hit the floor.

          ‘I’m really sorry about this,’ the man who hit me said, right before he kicked me. My ribs ignited with pain. I coughed and tried to call for help but was cut off by another kick.

          Then the violence suddenly stopped. The man dragged me into a side street, propped me against the wall, and stood there looking at me.

          ‘You got to understand me, I don’t have anything against you. I’m just trying to make the world a better place. There aren’t any great heroes in the world. And we need them; we need our Hercules, Batman, Luke Skywalker. And I’ve been thinking: what is it a hero needs? A world of villains. Someone to tip the balance. And we haven’t got that. So I thought I’d help out. With the villain bit, I mean, not the heroics; I wouldn’t be very good at all that. This is sort of a social experiment to see if my theory is right. I am going to hurt you quite a bit. Sorry about that. But it doesn’t have to be all that bad. Feel free to join in, fight back, yell, scream for help, if you like. A bit of audience participation might not go amiss here.’

          ‘You’re a loony,’ I managed to splutter through what I expected might be the beginnings of a concussion.

          ‘Yes, stuff like that is very helpful. Thanks for your support – you’re really helping.’ The man smiled in a friendly manner. Then he hit me again, and everything went black.