Thursday, February 25, 2010

I waited for a friend's train to come in.

Two men at Kursky Train Station were drunk, and passed out upon one another. It was 8:30 am. I wondered if they had missed their train, if they were waiting for someone, if they realized where they were (of course they did - they were somewhere warm). Their faces were leathered and pockmarked.

A policeman, handsome to compare, approached. He tapped one on the shoulder, then more vigorously, spoke, still harder shaking, until finally he began to slap the man's face. "Вставайте!" [Get up.]

The man grumbled and shrugged him off. The policeman called for backup and the drunk was suddenly awake. I couldn't hear but there were words exchanged.

I tried not to watch so obviously, even though everyone else was enjoying the spectacle. A woman - pig-faced - laughed in delight at "those horrid Caucasian drunk men" being carted away.

Another call for backup. The policeman pulled on the drunk's sleeve. "Get up. Stand up. Вставайте."

It didn't make the drunkards look any better, but every time he touched the men the police officer looked more and more ugly. Whatever the right way to coerce a drunk to stand up is, it can not consist of so many slaps and taps, so much effort to antagonize him into fighting back.

Another policeman, in a costume of a superior officer, prissy and demure, walked over. At the same time a cleaning lady edged closer, as if she was a collaborator betraying her undercover garb. Likely - just checking for signs of puke, searching for entertainment.

"Why are you touching him?" - the prissy officer.

The other explained. The drunk man made some off-color remark and the officer didn't say anything else when the policeman started to manhandle him again.

The pig lady was still laughing.

Other policemen arrived, and the drunk man allowed himself to be stood. Without hands upon him, he crashed to the asbestos floor tile - skin's sick thud echoing - and rubbed at his mouth to check for broken teeth. So slow, the water of his imagined ocean restricting his motions.

The first policeman got him back on his feet and to the door before he collapsed again. Meantime two of the backup had gotten the second man to stand - he seemed in better control than his friend - but he searched for some excuse to sit back down. "I forgot my hat."

"You don't have a hat."

The pig lady laughing.

"There's nothing over here." - from the cleaning lady-spy.

"Get up, you're blocking the door," said policeman the first.

The prissy officer stood there. The second drunk rubbed at his head, so thoughtfully, as if he needed to articulate an apology. They got his friend up and both of them out, and the pig lady was still laughing.


Justin said...

I love people.

Miriam said...

Aye, the militzia here make me appreciate Strathclyde police.

They're much like the police in India, actually; thick, racist, and cheap to bribe. Sort of like the hired goons in The Simpsons but without the wit.