Mittens and The Economist by E F Fluff

E F Fluff, Fiction, International Noir, Non-fiction, Punk Noir Magazine

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They told me he deserves what he had coming to him.

That it was about time.

That, he’d always been a bit of an asshole.

It was a wonder it’d taken so long.

They often say that.


An asshole?

When we were young, when we were kids; he always hit to hurt.

Always went too far.

A cruel streak?


Something like that. Yeah.

There’s not much sympathy for him.

Then why did you hang out with him?

We’ve all been friends since school…

Always hit to hurt eh?


Something like that. Yeah.

There’s not much sympathy for him.

Then why did you hang out with him?

We’ve all been friend since school…

Always hit to hurt eh?


But wh-

Got away with it because he’s so big, I guess, I think…


I don’t think you remember…

Oh, I remember him being tall alright…



Very tall.


He’s just very tall is all.


Big. He threw his weight around.


Always drank too much.

I see.

But if no one really likes him, then why the silence?

No one is going to witness anything-we’ve known each other since we were kids.

That motherfucker nearly killed me.

I think he’s having trouble at home. With the wife. They have kids, small ones. I think. He’s unhappy.


No sex? Kids? She got fat?


Maybe an affair? Bad books. I’m not sure, I know he’s unhappy, haven’t seen him that drunk in awhile, maybe years, he’s not even out that much.


He was wasted when I got there.

Wasted? He could barely speak when I got there.


I don’t understand why he was so obsessed with me.

I was talking about you.

Oh. Yeah?

Yeah. Just talking about my Irish lover.


Of course Badger!

Yeah it’s not like anyone else had that much interest in me…

has he got something for you or something?

He did.


Yeah. Nothing happened though.


I mean he wanted it to. But it didn’t.


For years.

So he’s had a crush on you?

For years, since we were young.


Yeah. Well, we had a bit of a fumble recently.

Oh..makes sense..

No! Badger! Nooo! It was incredibly drunken and I didn’t want it.

A fumble?

Ohokay, he tried it on, I said no, I didn’t want to, pushed him away…turned away.

Got a wife yeah?

Yeah, apparently she’s very stuffy.


Yeah it’d be weird and mbleh!

Yuck Badger! Complications!

Thought you didn’t like him?

I don’t! But we were young! You know how it is, don’t you have people like that?

So you’re sure you weren’t the affair before I got here?

What!? No! Badger! Complications!

Jus’ checkin’


No, just wanna know the lay of the land is all, I give no fucks-I’m here now..with you..fuck it…just checking…working things out, the way you do after someone tries to kill you…


I didn’t fuck him.

I didn’t ask.

We never fucked.

I didn’t ask.

Yes, you did.

No, I asked if you were the affair.

Same thing.





Drink up Badger! You’re so slow!

I don’t see it as slow.

Oh? Yeah?

No. I see it as methodical. You-you guzzle.


Yah, eh, glug-glug Shit-eh…like eat/drink really fast, a glutton…like a kid with sweets. Shit, eh, you got the Internet on your phone?


Dict dot org

Dick dot org?

Shut your whore mouth




Yeah! Badger, like I always say; we’re here for a good time, not a long time.

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Flashbacks are weird eh?

Yeah, that story is wild!


Threats though?


You mentioned threats?

Oh yeah, hold up I can show you on Skype, let me pull it up.


The winter had turned malevolent.

The old granny with the extra long thumbnail intent she knows how to tendon pressure-point like surgery.

“Yeah my fucking arm…right in the crook.”

“Ache for hours.”


“The winter was like that.”



We’d been hanging out for a few weeks at this point.

It was disorderly. Chaos drinking and very fighty affection broken up by hangovers and drunken disagreements. But the sex was good.

Okay, the sex was weird, but good, but great, but weird.



She fucked my foot.

Oh yeah, monster foot eh?

Except in Afrikaans

Weird though?

Well, it was sometimes fraught.


Right, okay



We met through a dating site right?


That’s all a story in itself.

Yeah, yeah, I remember now, that was shady.


It wasn’t right.


Fucked up creepy weird shit.


Sorry man did mean to, go on.

It’s okay, it was…

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The apartment had a balcony. It was on the seventh floor of one of the Merihaka apartment blocks. Big bleak Soviet towers configured like a mini-village on the edge of the Baltic sea.

It was viciously cold and the blocks created wind tunnels that’d sear the enamel from your teeth.

I used to smoke there. It was always a bit of expedition. You had to wrap up even for a covered balcony and it was often so cold you couldn’t taste your cigarette.


I can’t remember what I was doing by the balcony, but I was lost in thought and she came up behind me silently, ran her fingers into my hair, curled them about then gave it a sharp twisted thug.


I didn’t know I had trigger shit with my hair.


The sudden jolt of hair pain was like a switch turning off all and any affection for her and I had to ask her to leave. I tried to do it gently, tried explaining but it ended in a row that spilled over to Skype.




Told me her best friend called me Black Tar Heroin. Told me her friends had told her not to see me any more. Told me some of her friends wanted to kick me in the throat.

For what!?

I don’t fucking know…

Look, there on Skype.

Anyway, the Economist.

Yeah shit sorry, I had to explain the threats. Anyway, the economist.


I’d gone to Navy Jerrys to watch a DJ as I had a try out later in the week. I was to get a feel for the place. She phoned said there was a birthday party in Kallio, asked me if I wanted to join them. By the time I got there it was the bars had closed and they were going back to someone’s apartment.


When I got in, there was this shitfaced economist who got very hassle-y.

Kalle was his name I think. Said he’d heard a lot about me…heard I was an English teacher, he wanted classes, he wanted to make his English better. He was an economist, he needed to get his English better.

In fairness, his English was shit.

He sounded like a drunk Finn trying to do an impression of a drunk Russian trying to do an impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator.

He was demanding English classes, demanding I help him make his English better. It was very drunk in your face, he was demanding prices, and I kept telling him he could phone me on Monday when we were sober, and I could find out what he needed, test his level of fluency. But he was demanding prices now now…


Yeah I gave him my number repeated it’d take a sober meeting, he kept demanding now, now…

Then one of the women at the computer distracted the situation with “Sullivan, do you want to queue a song?”

Taking the out, I wandered over.


The apartment was the typical Finnish cramped bedsit.

Though they never called it a bedsit.

Open plan. A small hallway led to a small kitchen. A large bed took up most of the room and there was a computer in the corner. The average living space there seemed to be somewhere between fifteen square metres to twenty-two or five.

It could be cosy.

But it was often oppressive.


As I wandered over someone handed me a bottle of Port.

Late bottled vintage or something.

I remember saying something like…

“This is so good someone would have to wrestle it off me.”

That’s the only thing I can think of, the only fucking only think I could think of later that could have given him any reason.

Well ‘cept for the other-

Well now yeah, retrospectively yeah those other things.


Next thing I know Kalle the economist had snaked his arms around my neck into a chokehold around the throat. You know, the crooked elbow from behind type?

Yeah. Fuck he could have killed you.

I think he nearly did.

I’m tugging at his arm, and I go to pull his thumb and fingers back you know, to break them?


He leaned his head in to my ear and laughed and told me “You’ll have to do better then that” then hoisted me off my feet. Think the last thing I thought was “Than, than motherfucker…”

It kicked in pretty immediately. I was choking and foam was coming out of my mouth.

I went to swing the port bottle at his head, but someone caught it, and dragged it from my hands.

I was just there…

in the air


foaming spit was all that was coming out of my mouth


As he hoisted me up further

some of the foam sprayed across the bed

then one of the women started screaming

That sounds suspicious as fuck.


Then he just jumped up and brought me down to the floor, you know like a Stonecold Stunner or WWE wrestling neckbreaker or something…

He could have killed you.

He nearly did, I don’t know why he didn’t…or how…the doctors were shocked…he should have crushed my larynx…and I’d have just died on the floor trashing and clawing at my throat…


Yeah. I blacked out for a moment.

When I came to

I was on the floor and he was around me and still choking me.

Women were screaming.

People were there, I was told they made an attempt at pulling us apart, but I don’t remember any of that.

Just him choking me and being unable to breathe and the warm foam of spit spilling over my lips.



I felt like I was going to black out again, so I just went limp in his arms. Completely limp. The screaming got more intense. I thought it’d change things, but, the cunt just tightened his grip at first. That’s what did it for me. His reaction to it was to tighten his grip, this cunt was trying to kill me.

Fuck’s sake…certainly sounds like it.

So I lost my temper…

Like…completely fucking lost my temper…

Red mist…that shit…

went more limp,

full dead weight,

give him what he wants

seemed to have gave him a fright as he only momentarily and slightly loosened his grip…


And that was all I fucking needed…

I was able to turn my head into his ribs and I pressed my face into his ribs and I got my teeth around the edge of one of them, and I bit that fucker. I bit that fucker harder than I’ve ever bit anything. I bit and I fucking held until I heard him scream.

Until the my teeth scraped off rib.

Until my teeth met between the flesh.


When he screamed, I hung on.

When he screamed, his grip loosened

And I was able to slip from his grip

up and back around him

And just like that I had him in a sleeper hold.


Standing in the middle of a room

Holding this big guy

tighter and tighter

Fuck Sullivan


I think he struggled a bit, punched me some in the back and ribs.

Whenever he did, I just tightened the hold

I had it rough about his head for a bit of it… I think…


Well yeah, at one point when he was punching me so I tightened it around his temple as hard as I could until he howled.

I may have been talking to him I don’t remember.


Void shit, that fury abyss voice you use when someone has nearly killed you.


Guttural promises and hissed questions, that sort of red mist shit.


I readjusted it back about his neck after another punch to the back.


People were shouting at me to let him go

I couldn’t speak properly

My throat was fucked

Mouth kept filling up with blood and foam

It took everything to un-strangle the words and bark at someone

“He’s a fucking lunatic, I’m not letting him go, he tried to break my fucking neck!”


“You’re killing him!”

“He can’t breathe!”

“You’re going to kill him!”




“He’s suffocating!”




“He’s killing him!”




“Somebody do something!”




“He’s suffocating!”


Someone lifted his arm and it flopped down by his side




“You’re going to kill him!”


“Let him go!”


“Badger let him go.”


When I let him go, he fell away on his hands and knees for a second coughing, I staggered away holding my throat, but he near immediately jumped up and drew back and was about to charge me and as he did, I did the only thing I could think of…


I rushed forward at him with my finger pointed and roared


What happened?

He froze.

And that was the end of that.

We were separated, he was taken to the hallway rubbing his throat and his ribs.

I sat down near the computer in the corner by the window.

One of the men looked at me rubbing my throat trying to say “fuck” and angrily began to snap “You brought that on yourself!”

I wheeled on him, “Brought what on myself! That cunt tried to break my fucking neck!” and he melted back into silence.

Someone handed me the port again and Mittens sat down beside me asking me if I was okay.

I looked down the room. He was with three men, pointing at me, and had to be escorted to the toilet to prevent it kicking off again.

No one had done anything.

“Badger, do you want to go?”

“In a minute…”

I resolutely skulled the bottle of port. Half or two thirds of whatever was there, in two or three long glugs.

Leaving was a surreal chaos where her friend threw beers at us, gave us beers to take home and then we were out in the snow and I was pausing to spit blood into the snow. We argued over whether it was blood or port.

Which was it?

I’m pretty sure port ain’t bright blood red.


You could have killed him!

I should have.

I should have just snapped his neck

Choked him out

Probably would have been easier.

Prison is lava though.

Prison is indeed lava.

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Her sister, a lung specialist, wanted me to go to the hospital immediately.

I was not fully registered and could not afford it.

I decided to try and wait it out.

What followed was a four day nightmare.

My back was fucked from it.

The damage to my throat wouldn’t let me sleep.

Each time I would begin to drift and my body would relax, my throat would close up. Deep tissue damage or something.

But I’d immediately wake up, unable to breathe, clawing at my throat, trying to force my throat open. Sometimes she’d suddenly slap me on the back or shake me and the shock would force things back working.

I couldn’t eat.

Even drinking liquids was painful.

I had to remain tense.

Except for the moments where exhaustion would take me, and my throat would close and-

Fucking hell man!


On the fourth day, driven nuts from being awake and the pain, in the small hours of the morning, I tried to overdose on sleepers.

No easy feat with a fucked throat, I had to work each one down. Like this…


She found me in the bathroom and scattered the pills.

I don’t remember much after that except apparently I slept for thirty or more hours.

We went to the hospital after that.

It was a long wait.

While we were waiting, Mittens turned to me and said, “I hope you know I won’t help you. I’m not going to help you with this, besides the doctors. I won’t help you.”

“What, why?”

“They’re my friends, I’m not going to help you or rat.”

“He tried to break my neck.”

“I won’t help you.”


All in all we were there over fourteen hours, maybe more.

When we were in with the doctor, the doctor was very firm about making a police complaint. I said I would not. This angered the doctor and I had to explain that I could not and that my girlfriend would not help.

I told the doctor to tell her what she’d told me.

The doctor then went on to ask if anyone there had been a doctor or nurse. The answer was no.

She then went on into graphic detail about what could have happened had he crushed my throat. What it would have looked like. My trashing about the floor clawing at my throat.

How long it would have taken me to die.

How long?

Not as long as you’d think not as short as you’d like and not long enough for help to get there.

She then asked to speak with Mittens on her own.

When I came back Mittens was a whiter shade of pale and stressed looking. She looked at me and said “Okay I will help.”


What did the doctor say?


She gave Mittens a speech about how it was near a civic duty to report the guy, that it was likely he did this all the time and got away with it. She asked if he had a wife and kids. Mittens said yes. She said if he does this stuff out, there stood a good chance he was doing it at home. That he needed to be reported. She then went into more graphic detail about how I could have died. Mittens promised me she would help me.


That’s something.


She didn’t really though.


It rounded on a nauseatingly long series of emails.

He had a daughter I think. It all seemed bad. I just wanted the costs of the hospital and treatment for my throat. Made clear I felt bad for the little girl.

The hospital were very understanding and kept delaying the bill while I dealt with him.

He was demanding non-disclosure agreements and other crazy expensive things.

I had to tell him if he wanted those things, it involved lawyers, and then I would have to go the police.

Said he didn’t remember anything, only that he had a scar on his ribs.

Eventually he agreed to pay the hospital bills.

And I thought it taken care of.

Except he lied.

Paid a small services fee. Lied about the rest.

Next thing I know the hospital has issued me a court writ for the unpaid bill he said he’d paid that they’re now suing me for and I was forced to go to the police.

All the lady in billing said I had to do was keeping phoning them.


He’d lied and said he’d paid.


Fucking idiot.


Seems a very arrogant Finnish male thing that’s common.

But yeah, fuckin’ idiot.


I always wondered if his wife knew. She worked for some big law firm in Helsinki. Before court he emailed trying to convince me court was pointless and to bribe me with an offer of €1000 or €1500, I can’t recall, telling me it was far more than I’d get in court.

I didn’t see the email until after.




Court was fucked anyway, the security guards gave me a hard time over having medicine with me until I had a panic attack and had to be carried out of the court house by four security guards. The interpreter told me it was very common for the security guards to cause panic attacks, I wasn’t even the first one that day. Regardless, I had her apologise for me.

He was there alone.

No lawyer.

No friends.

No wife.


Guess he didn’t tell the wife then?

Or she told him to sort it himself.


We settled out of court with a stipulation that we shake hands outside of court and that he apologise to me.




How’d that go?

Remember when I said she’d said he was big?


When we went to meet outside the court and he walks up, I’m just staring up. He was two meters or a little over and not one of the skinny gangly ones, but built solid as fuck. What the fuck is a two metre cunt like that doing picking on someone my size?


Yeah, bullies, and whatever else.

And whatever else…

That’s some shady shit.



Throat has never quite been the same though.

Took a very long time for the closing episodes to fully die away.

Fuck, yeah you told me. Horrendous shit.


Sometimes, I wonder did the wife ever find out.

Or if some of the later legal was because of the wife.

I wonder if they got divorced.

I know mittens stayed friends with him.


When she got back in touch with the Untamed Heart storyline about the Romanian ex-hacker porn star…

That was wild!

Yeah, they were still friends on Facebook.

Always did wonder how big the scar was.

Hopefully big enough so he remembers.


They did say he had it coming to him.

They often say that.

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