It all started in bus. Not a typical English bus like the ones you see bouncing happily along the streets of central London. It was the #143, a garden-variety people carrier. I was sitting staring out the window, calm and peaceful like, when the driver stops to pick up commuters. The doors swing open, their hydraulic hinges aggressively forcing them apart.
But something was not right, for white-hot fire and smoke had engulfed the doorway. Agonizing shrieks and howls pierce my ears and visions of pain and suffering tear through my brain. I look at the door through a disturbing red haze and watch as two demons step onto the bus, their black eyes rolling back into their heads and forked tongues darting around a Snickers bar.
Well, perhaps not quite, but if you?re going to set the scene for a 'chav' embarkation, you might as well go for it.
A 'chav', for the uninitiated, is the label given to the phenomenon of working class British teenagers uniformed in branded sportswear (preferably Adidas, but other chav sports brands are available), baseball caps, trainers and gold necklaces. A good place to spot chavs is lurking around council estates; in parochial English towns like Ipswich, and at any JD Sports (other chav shops also available).
Chavs migrate from place to place in two main modes of transport: buses and blinged-up bangers. Let me elaborate on the latter, before I return to my experience of the former. A chav vehicle is easy to spot at night as it will be engulfed by a fluorescent orb of light. Blue lights mounted under vehicles, crazy rims and lightning-bolt emblems are just a few of the blinged up accessories chavs use to turn their Fiestas into a Ferraris.
The chav phenomenon extends outside the borders of England and they are sometimes known by other names. For example, Scottish chavs are known as 'Neds', or Non Educated Delinquents. With an accent as thick as a pint of bitter, Scottish Neds have the additional attribute of being totally incomprehensible. My Scottish friends were particularly amused when I sent a picture of myself standing under a Nedbank sign in South Africa.
"...like a chav Lenny from 'Of Mice and Men'..."
The chav characteristics ? or 'chavistics' to coin a phrase which may, or may not, take off ? all apply to the two beauties who have just stepped onto my bus. One of them was large and dumb-looking ? like a chav Lenny from Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men'. The other was more weasel-like, but the sinister twinkle in his eye suggested he was the brains of the outfit.
The smaller one, who was busy devouring a Snickers bar, begins to swear and insult everyone on the bus. I get off in two stops so decide ? in a typical London fashion ? to ignore them and keep staring out the window.
Suddenly, a little old man sitting near the front stands up and bravely challenges these young rapscallions. With a look of severe cruelty the smaller chav hawks up a chocolate and saliva projectile and fires it directly at the man's face. The projectile hits its target and with a look of shock and horror he recoils back into his seat.
In a moment of rare valour I bolt off my seat and stride fearlessly towards the enemy. Sensing that their party is about to be gate-crashed by a man whose middle name is trouble, they quickly head towards the exit. The bus stops and the doors swing open. I shout at them and race towards the retreating cowards. The little one jumps out first and Lenny is hot on his heels. I'm right behind Lenny and just as he steps off the bus I give him a big push and send him careening into a wall.
Had I known that they weren't retreating and they were actually getting off at their stop, I may have let them be. Had I known that the wall I pushed Lenny into belonged to a house which belonged to a man who was standing outside, perhaps I wouldn?t have acted so rashly. Had I known that Lenny?s father was the man standing outside, I definitely wouldn?t have been such a bloody idiot.
While I was arguing my case with Chav Dad ? or Chad ? I notice in my peripheral vision other children of the chav-netherworld emerging from behind bushes and out of cracks in the pavement. Before I could say 'The Lord Is My Shepherd' a posse of vicious looking 'youfs' had formed an intimidating band around me.
I decided to leave. They followed me home. They know where I live. Now I carry around a stick in my bag.
I hate being a hero.