I got beaten up by twelve-year-olds this morning, and I deserved it.
I was on my way to the corner shop for some milk and squinted my eyes against the sun, when someone called for my attention.
“Excuse me, miss!” A girl came running towards me, about twelve years old, blond and twiggy. Her podgy friend came two meters behind her, a boy of the same age, you know the type: miniature hooligan.
“Could you buy us some cigarettes?”
I looked them up and classified them as bullies. “Yes, of course. Which brand do you prefer?”
“Marlboro, miss,” said the boy, and he handed me a fiver. “The red ones.”
I accepted his fiver and bought my milk. When I came back out, they were still there waiting for me.
“Sorry kids,” I said, “buying cigarettes for teenagers is illegal.”
“Can we have our money back?”
“What money?” That will teach them, I thought. “I would never accept money to buy cigarettes for someone else.”
Before I knew it the miniature hooligan slashed a knife at me. In a reflex, I swung my plastic bag at him. Milk sprayed out of it, all over the pavement. I tried to locate the knife, but the girl grabbed my arm and kneed me in the stomach. Gasping for air, I bent in half and landed with my face in the fist the boy had waiting for me.
With a little bell, the door of the corner shop opened behind me. The girl let go of my arm and dropped me on the pavement.
That was all it took to chase the kids away. No one went after them. I deserved it, after all.