Traffic Cone Two

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I settled in as a student at Newcastle, living with five other undergraduates who were either first or second years. They were okay to hang around with, but not exactly mates-for-life material. We had a really drunken night out one evening at the Student Union bar and walked back to Summerhill House through shadows interspersed with street lights. Two students picked up a traffic cone each and put them on their heads. All jolly jape student stuff. Off they went down the middle of the road, drawing too much attention to themselves.

“Whhheeeeyyy. Come on!”

“Whoohhoooo. Yeeaaaah!”

The rest of us held back and watched as they shouted their way back to our student digs. As the noise faded into the distance, lights flicked on amongst the first floor flats ahead and skinheads looked over the balconies to see what was going on. One jumped, followed by several others and they ran after the now not so tremendously jovial students.

We walked up to a patch of grass beside the pavement where the Traffic Cone Two were cornered and on the receiving end of a good beating. Spotted and clearly not local-looking, they guessed we knew these clowns.

A big skinhead grabbed me in a headlock, punched me in the face a few times and snarled,

“It’s not you we want, so don’t fucking make any noise!”

I kept my mouth shut.

Another held one of the Traffic Cone Two and growled, “Get some rope, I’m going to hang this fucker!!”

After a few minutes, I moved my head sideways and saw a rope being slung over a tree branch. A noose was slipped over a terrified student’s neck. I had to think quickly. Letting my legs buckle, I fell to the ground and made a choking sound. I writhed around the pavement like I was having a fit.

Everyone looked on and the skinhead who headlocked me blurted out, “I didn’t fucking touch him!”

It must have looked realistic because the skinheads ran off. Students gathered around and peered down. Someone shook my shoulder.

“Callum? Are you okay?”

I leapt up and ran like the wind toward Summerhill House. The students ran after me and one drew alongside, laughing.

“I can’t believe you just fucking did that!”

We all got safely back, except for a few bruises and a rope mark around one neck. They shouted and laughed excitedly in the flat. I felt distanced and wanted none of it. Without a word, I went to bed. Maybe they’d be more careful in the future.

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