Stomp (Libbie Chellew)
I wish I didn’t have a hole. It seems extreme, I know. But I can’t seem to get the idea out of my head. Life would be easier without a hole. There’d be less anxiety. It seems I’m forgetting about the arsehole in all this and I guess I am. We’re all equal in that sense. Maybe it’s more to do with wishing for a cock. Penis envy. I don’t think so.
Grace was attacked. She’s a friend of mine. She’s fine now. It’s been years, you know. She had counselling. She says she’s fine. She’s engaged to a guy named Craig. Clearly using her hole. I don’t mean to be rude but she is actively using it. She says she’s fine. She must be fine. She’s had a lot of support.
I find myself thinking about it, though. Every time I see a guy. I get hot around the ears and tight in the throat. Grace says she didn’t see anyone as she walked through the car park to her car. She says she was still on edge because it was empty. She’d actually thought at the time that it was the kind of place where bad things could happen. In some ways that was a bit of a premonition for Grace, I think.
But I think about it all the time, now. All the time; and I notice when I’m in the kind of place where bad things happen, if I walk through a dark park or near a train station. If I’m alone with a thing, a thing with a cock, like stuck in an elevator with one.
Grace and I talked about it in the first week after it happened. Grace says she had her keys in her hand. But she wasn’t holding a key between her middle fingers; she wasn’t holding the keys to use them as a weapon. We’d been told in a self-defence class in year ten not to do that. If you try to stab an attacker with your keys and dropped them, how would you get away when you finally had the chance? How would you get away if your keys had been lost in the struggle? That’s what Grace remembered from self-defence.
Do you have the time? the man says to her. Then he is next to her, against her, backing her between two cars. Excuse me, is all she says. That’s all she says and she pushes against him. He has her arm. Like a bouncer guiding some delinquent through pub traffic.
This is the most detail she ever really talked about. This is where her story gets wrapped up. She tells it only to show how she didn’t really have time to react. How it happened so quickly. He pushed her down on the concrete after this. And that was that.
She gave me her statement to read. A few days before the trial started, when I was at her house, she gave it to me to read. I can’t seem to get over it. I keep thinking about it. It’s fucking revolting and I hate myself for thinking about it. I think that’s why I don’t really see Grace much anymore.
But back then I stayed at her place after it happened. I stayed in her room in case she had bad dreams, in case she woke up upset. I hugged her when she cried and I cried with her. Grace would keep saying how we were taught not to hold our keys between our fingers. And I made cups of tea for Grace and her mum.
I was in court to support her, too. We saw the guy in court. He was there. Grace was trying not to cry because the guy was in the room. She didn’t want to cry in front of him again. Again. The first thing I thought was, he’s not so big. He was only a little taller than I am. Maybe Grace should have pulled instead of pushed when he had her arm. But he had her arm close to him. He was holding her tight, I think.
Anyway he was facing the courtroom but he didn’t look around. He just looked calm. I stared at him. I couldn’t help myself.
In Grace’s statement she gave more detail. I read it over twice. She says he pushed his forearm against her neck so her face squished against a car window. She says she dropped her keys. That annoyed me to read that. If you’re going to drop them anyway you might as well have a go at the key stab. The self-defence instructor should know that.
The loser says, you’re not going to fight, you’re not going to try anything, I’ll kill you if you do. And Grace believes he’s going to kill her. And he throws her to the ground. She says she doesn’t know what he was wearing but his jacket made swishing noises. And the bitumen rips her face. And he pulls at her underwear but she is pressing her pelvis against the bitumen. She hears him undoing his zip. And it doesn’t really matter what she was yelling but she explains it all in the statement. He says to her, shut up, cunt.
What I remember from self-defence is learning how to fight while on our back. I say to the instructor, what about if we’re being held down on our front, on our face? The instructor just says that after the eight weeks of one-hour lessons we shouldn’t get to that point. We shouldn’t even get to the point where we are fighting on our backs either. But he taught us that, how to fight a guy from the ground. I say to him, what if there is more than one guy holding us down? And he looks at me like I’m a downer.
I imagine Grace choking out a few words, saying something to make the guy flip her over, something like, you’re a coward and you can’t even look me in the eye while you do it. And it works. That’s how she gets him to flip her over, because if she’d been on her back she could have put up a fight.
She can fight like we learnt. When he puts both his hands around her neck, she knows what to do, and she brings her knees up, and as he takes one hand off her neck to take his cock and enter her, she clasps her hands together and pounds down on the elbow of the arm that holds her neck, and he falls toward her, and she uses the momentum of his fall, bucks up her hips, and throws him to one side, and as he falls on his side, she rises.
But it can’t be that easy, I don’t think. It seemed easy in our self-defence class, though.
Say he grabs her ankle or something and that makes her twist back down to the ground. When he tries to get on top of her again she kicks her legs wildly. He moves around her legs and goes to strangle her again but she digs her finger into his eye socket. The eye socket is the best target. It makes him yell out. I have dreams all the time about sticking my fingers into an eye socket. I can feel the moisture and pressure under my fingernails as I wake up. If Grace could have done that, then, he would have been shocked. Shocked enough for her to get to her knees and push him onto his stomach and lay her body weight across him. And then he can feel the bitumen ripping his cock, his eye burning and bleeding. And then he’s on his face.
He is on his face on the pavement.
This is what I keep going over in my mind. Over and over. I feel guilty about imagining what could have happened. But I still do, all the time. It doesn’t feel good but I still do.
If only she could choke him out like we were taught, wrapping her right arm around his neck from behind and holding her left bicep, push the back of his head with her left hand. She pushes his head and squeezes his neck with her other arm, choking him. And even if he struggles, she has the intent. She has the intention of snapping his neck before letting him go. And as he becomes limp, she keeps squeezing his neck. She tells herself to count to five. She counts slowly. As she releases him, his head drops heavily against the concrete. And Grace stands up ready to strike. But he doesn’t move. Then she calls triple zero. And she’s crying of course. And this makes me feel bad. She’s crying again. She’s crying in my scenario. She’s on the phone. Police, Fire or Ambulance, a voice asks. Should she go back to her car and wait with the doors locked? Should she check his pulse? I think she should tie him up, but she’s not MacGyver, I guess.
Grace was strong in court. She didn’t cry. I did. The guy got off because of the mishandling of evidence. All that part is complicated. But I wonder about my scenario and the police coming and the court case happening and he still gets away with it somehow. I wish she didn’t need them. I wish she didn’t need the police or the courts, to rely on them to catch the guy, and to ensure he gets justice and Foxtel.
It’s fucked. And it doesn’t satisfy me, and I make up this story in my head, and it doesn’t satisfy me either. And I wonder how Grace is satisfied, how her parents are satisfied, how they can smile and carry on.
So I imagine a fight. But only one ending satisfies me. It happens like this: Grace sees him there, unconscious, mouth slack, and his cock showing between his undone fly. And I see Grace stop. She stops crying. She stops shrieking into the phone with the police and calmly walks over to him.
She walks up to him—to his limp penis protruding from between his jacket and his jeans—and I imagine her stomping. She stomps.
She stomps and she stomps. And she doesn’t stop.