Think of one dramatic event from your life (an accident, a fight, a loss) and write the event backward.

462 The meal was fine, I think.

Was this something they did often?

Why me?

Describing what happened to her helped, especially since the whole incident seemed so strange.

I was still quite shaken when I met my friend in Warrington.

So when the bus came, I clambered on and continued the journey, on to the train too.

Even in the late 90s, I'd learnt to just carry on where possible.

But I didn't feel the need to cancel the evening.

The pain in my throat from sobbing didn't help.

My eye socket, lip and cheek were already beginning to hurt, the latter from my teeth scratching me on the inside of my mouth.

I cried as the shock overwhelmed me briefly.

I slumped against the inside of the bus shelter.

Across the road and up the street, I could hear them still laughing.


They ran away.

Which I wouldn't even know how to.

Perhaps they were expecting me to punch back.

Their turn to be surprised.

Then to make full use of my size at that time, which was considerable, and with arms stretched burst at them, roaring, making sure not to touch them.

My first reaction was shock.

He seemed surprised.


He'd punched me.

In the middle of my face.

His fist made contact.

Then one of them began shadow boxing with me as the wall, all three of them laughing.

I froze.

I'd been in similar situations of bullying at school and this took me right back there.

Despite being shorter and at least ten years younger than me and at least a foot or two shorter, they were intimidating, with their crew cut hair and tracksuits.

They stopped and stood around me, my back to the glass wall of the shelter.

Eventually they reached me, but didn't walk past as I'd hoped.

"Go on a diet."

"Fat bastard."

True it was most often people shouting at me from car windows, so brave, but sometimes it was passers-by in the street.

Usually in these situations and it wasn't unusual at that time, I simply ignored it.

"You fat bastard" that sort of thing.

They'd already begun cat calling me as they approached.

I'd watched them walking towards me from up the road, in the direction the bus was due to come.

Three teenage boys approached me.

So I waited and waited and waited.

It was the early evening, so the buses into town were infrequent and I must have just missed one although it was difficult to tell because the timetables in Liverpool are usually nothing more than an approximation of when the buses will arrive.

All on expenses.

She invited me along to be the shadow person who often appears in reviews and to justify ordering more food from the menu so she would have more to write about.

An old pen pal from college who had just begun working at a local newspaper, I think as part of her employment experience on a journalism course, had been given the opportunity to review a Greek Taverna in Warrington.

This is the story of the time I was punched in the face by a total stranger.


  1. Sorry to hear this happened to you :(

    I didn't read the title properly, and read the story not realising it was backwards.

    I really enjoyed it - and by half way through I realised it was just literally backwards. This had the nice effect that when I finished it, I immediately read it again upwards.

    There's something nice about the tension in the reverse order. Did you deliberately write it to it would come out OK, or did you write it and then reverse it without special editing?

    1. I wrote it backwards then read through forwards to make sure it was consistent. I was surprised at how some of it makes sense even backwards if you read it as though you're Yoda.