June 27th, 1994, late evening
Oh, diary, the ugliest thing happened to me just now.
The city is a beautiful and bustling throng of entertainment, but it can be as dirty as a pig. I was walking along the sidewalk--minding my own business and minding the road and all of its traffic, minding all of the people and their children and their dogs and shopping bags and hog dog stands. I’m sorry, the last sentence comes to ramble.
I was walking, minding my own business, when out of left field--I mean that figuratively, for I was on the sidewalk--comes a dirty, brown and scuffed old man who comes and stands directly in front of me and says, “Is your name Marion?”
What a shock it gave me! I--a poor, young, educated, beautiful country girl in the big city--suddenly faced with this alleyway mugger! And such a shaggy, grisly face he had, it gives me the shivers. He gave me such a start that I swung my purse at him, right at his head!
But the fellow ducked my attack and rolled backwards into a small man with a shopping cart. The man accosted him with words and groceries as I scrambled up the street. What a scary place the city can be, but that is only the beginning of it my friend. The dirty, shaggy man came running up from behind me giving me another start, but he kept his distance and didn’t obstruct my way.
“Get away from me, I haven’t any money for you anyway, whether you’re a mugger or a bum!” That’s what I said to him, but he didn’t leave. He kept going on and on about Marion, Marion, Marion. Are you Marion? I have to talk to Marion, I need to talk to her, I must tell her. He became so bothersome that I yelled again, saying, “I’m not Marion, I don’t know who Marion is, and I haven’t got any money you crazy kook!”
Well, if you think it couldn’t get any worse, this bum gets a sly look in his eye and says to me, “You… you are Marion, aren’t you?”
I got a really creepy feeling at this point and I admit: my heart started racing and I felt a little panicky. He was obviously a deranged, stinky alley bum, and I didn’t know what he wanted or if he was going to attack me, so I was slightly fearing for my well-being. “I’m sorry I swung my purse at you, you frightened me. I really don’t have any money, I’m sorry.” He didn’t listen to a word.
He started rambling something like, “The strings of fate have pulled you so far, but your strings are snagged on the branches!” He was shouting crazy stuff. I decided to ignore him now and pick up my pace, but he followed behind me, shouting, “You’re strings will no longer tug you upwards and make you dance! They’ve caught in the thorns! The thorns, Marion, the thorns!” Suddenly I felt his hand on my shoulder and I broke into a run.
I saw a taxicab stopped at the street light at the end of the block and made that my target. If he followed me all the way to the cab the driver would see a horrid old man chasing little me and he would come to help me.
I run pretty fast too, being a country girl and raised on farm work, so I was sure I could outpace him, and he was a stinky old man probably with gout and a limp. Even so, my little pitter-patter heart was going BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! and my head was about to pop with the sheer tension and craziness and scariness of it all. The cab was right in front of me now and I slowed down a little and chanced a look back because I thought it was safe and this is what I saw:
That old man was about ten paces behind me with tears streaming down his face. The weird thing is, he wasn’t huffing and wheezing and the tears didn’t look like they were from running, and when I saw them in his eyes he actually looked not so crazy as I had thought. He looked sad.
Well, I hopped in the cab, told him my address, the light turned green, and we were off down the road. I sat down in a huff, but I feel much better now that I’ve written down that unpleasant ordeal. It’s so strange, though! How did he know my name was Marion?
Oh--I’ll have to end it there. I’ve missed my stop and the cab driver seems to have forgotten he has a passenger. He is driving kind of fast, even for a taxi driver. I don’t recognize the area…
Well, did it have the desired effect? How did it make you feel? In the beginning? While the bum was trying to talk to her? The last couple lines? What impression did you get? Leave a comment and let me know.