A Small Man Belittled

She’d gone too far.

This time, too far.

She’d made a small man out of him,

though he stood six foot something

in his shabby cellar-worked shoes.

This time, he’d seen her play around

with one of the good old boys,

seen her play him for a fool,

which he was not.

He had to make sure we knew that,

that he was not a fool.

He was unpleasant, ugly,

small-minded and full

of his self.

But he was the manager,

the boss. The big man.

The husband.

“Out,” he said.

Nothing more.

Not loud, not angry.

Just, “Out.”

So out we went, all of us,

after-bird drinking buddies,

who didn’t really know why.

We even know each other, really.

I saw it coming, though.

I saw his face.

It was his pub.

She was his wife.

He shut the door, locked it,

turned around

and kicked her.

He kicked her many times,

I didn’t count.

We could see it happening

through the glass door panel.

We watched her cowering on the floor

down among the fag ends,

heard her screeching,

heard him ranting,

heard the thuds

from the cellar-worked shoes.

We hammered on that door,

howled and threatened and swore.

We couldn’t stop him.

I found a phone booth,

called the police.

Then I went home.

It was all I could do.

I don’t know what they did.

I don’t know what he said.

And I still don’t know why

but his wife

never ever spoke to me again.

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