I was sitting in a comfortable leather chair in a high-ceilinged Georgian-style hotel, quietly reading a book. Nobody else was in the lobby, except a man in the other leather chair. He wore a trilby, then didn’t, had owl-glasses and was slovenly and unshaven. He kept loudly hacking up phlegm.
I continued to read, then noticed the man had come and sat on the arm of my chair. He smelled revolting, had grocery bags everywhere. He began sniffing me.
“Hey!” I said.
“Fuck you,” he said. Then he tried to put his hands down my shirt.
“What are you doing?” I exclaimed.
“I can do this,” he said. Then he hacked a ball of phlegm onto my exposed arm.
“Oh god, you’re disgusting,” I said.
“Fuck you,” he said. Then he began slapping me. I pushed him away.
“That’s assault,” he said.
“No it isn’t,” I said.
“Your keys are in my phlegm,” he said. I looked over at the stage behind the chairs, and realized my keys were sitting on it, caked in phlegm.
“Ew ew ew!” I said. I went over and started trying to dry them on my shirt. My hands got all phlegmy.
“What do you think you’re doing??” I said.
“Fuck you,” he said.
At that moment, a silver-haired, birdlike man in a sweater vest, a rolled up New Yorker under his arm, wandered into the lobby. I started to try to tell him what happened. He gave a disbelieving look. I looked at my assailant, who was fiddling with his grocery bags. I realized he could just deny everything. I would sound insane.
But it was not so. He immediately came over and started slapping me again, in front of the New Yorker reader, whose name was Carrol.
“Oh, I see,” said Carrol, as he watched the man phlegmily slap me, hacking all the time.
The man stopped.
“I’m going to call the police on you,” he said. I was flabberghasted.
“You’ll call the police? How well do you think that will go for you? I have a witness!” I could still feel his phlegm all over my hands.
“I’m calling them,” he said, nonchalant.
I turned to the birdlike man in the sweater vest. “Listen, Carrol, would you mind sticking around to help me sort this out?”
“Not at all, he’s the rudest man I’ve ever met.”
Carrol and I went into the lavishly-decorated bathroom together.
When we came out, the man walked up to us.
“The police are here. Now you’ll get it.” I couldn’t wait to start telling them what he had done to me.
Two hotel police officers came out, dressed in forest-green pinstripe blazers and black neckties. The dark-haired one asked what was going on. I began to explain, but he stopped me.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll take this gentleman aside and have him give a statement.” The dark-haired one took Carrol aside and began asking him questions, leaving me with the other officer and the man.
“Describe it,” said my officer, moving closer to me.
I began to tell my story. The officer came closer. He was inches from my face. I noticed he had owl-like glasses and was unshaven.
I became nervous. The officer began sniffing me. Then he put his hand in my shirt, and I realized.
“Oh god! Carrol!” I screamed. “He’s one of his RELATIVES!” It was too late. The officer and the man both descended on me, and began hacking and groping….
I don’t know how, but they later ended up producing a big-budget film version of what happened. It was called A Christmas Story and they added a whole family-friendly dimension and marketed it for the holidays. It flopped, because by the time it was released the crucial 56 minutes of the film had leaked online and been watched by everyone.