Painted Face and Pregnant

As I passed through a park I caught sight of a woman walking the median of a side street screaming. Not an odd site in itself but she looked to be pregnant, her face painted black. Some glistening dark substance coated on to contrast her pale skin. She made wild gesticulations and belted FUCK YOU to either all or none. Normally I brush this stuff off as another ill person failed by our system. Someone on drugs, disturbed, or a combo of both. I listen for a minute then carry on. City sickness everywhere. To stop each time would take an eternity. But the baby bump and face paint intrigued me. I needed to know more.

The park and path held few, just joggers. Spring sun pulled them out but it was early afternoon on a weekday. Her shouts went unnoticed by all but me. I was en route to the library but felt curious so switched directions. Knew there’s no plan so important it can’t be superseded by some flash in the pan absurdity. A moment forever forgotten if I don’t capture it. They happen in heaps but only granules sift to my view. I decided to pocket this pellet.

Painted Face clambered to a main road and started to cross. I fell more than a football field behind so scrambled. She passed through fast traffic and screamed at cars. I couldn’t decipher what was said but noted her motion, arms and purse swinging at those she cut off. She berated a stopped car but didn’t hit it, shuffling off as it creaked forward. Somehow Painted Face made it through six lanes unscathed.

A stopped crosswalk halted my progress. I kept Painted Face in sight but now couldn’t hear her. That was a feat as her screams were insane. It seemed she might escape, disappear like so much city ephemera. I noticed her turn to the open campus of a theater whose grounds I know well. It’s near a parking lot that myself and a dozen other bums live in. The signal changed and I fast walked her way, my loaded backpack banging against me.

I crossed to the campus as she tore through its lot. If all the world’s a stage it seemed fitting she did this here. A monologue of rage and erratic blocking. The earth just periphery to the world inside her head. She screamed and made wild movements but then calmed for a moment. There were no people or stimuli to provoke the demon that poked her brain.

A security vehicle circled but didn’t seem to notice her. Her appearance was striking but maybe sun glinted their sight. I slowed to a casual pace ’til the car passed then made my final approach. She looked back but didn’t seem to notice. Seemed to be winding down. I came within fifty feet of Painted Face on a covered walkway. With no one near the verbal provocations took another pause. But now I held a better vista of her appearance. It jarred me.

During the chase she’d turn her head and I couldn’t decode her face. Its dark contrast to her pale skin. From a distance it looked like a black beard but one that filled from forehead down. I knew I’d see it soon but still only glimpsed her back and side profile. She donned a tight white shirt that emphasized a growing baby bump. Her fetus half formed. On her bottom she wore a dark flower print skirt. Her hair was frizzy and in a tie which she undid on the theater campus. The color of her face almost matched the dark hair. Each unkempt in its own way.

I came within twenty feet and she screeched once more. Her voice hoarse, deep, and angry. It sounded like a bellow from hell. Of someone not present. Not in control of their actions. This time the venom flowed at a group of young teens eating at a picnic table. She said something about a pussy and you’re next. I couldn’t catch their reaction as I needed to follow fast. Painted Face maintained an unrelenting pace.

She left the campus and spilled to a street. I got on the sidewalk opposite her. Was now parallel but kept a wide swath. I finally had a good look at her face. It was slathered with a sticky, deep black and purple substance. It was as if someone mixed blackberries with mud then stuck her head in the bucket. I had no idea why it was like this but it looked insane. The Mulholland Drive dumpster monster come to life. I imbibed her whole appearance. How the whites of her eyes popped from the muck slapped to skin. How her hair exploded. How her belly bulged.

I started audio recording so I could document what was said. She maintained her crazy pace and I did too but kept my distance, trying to be inconspicuous. Despite my attempts she noticed me and started screaming. With no one else near I became the new focal point. A fresh target for vocal bullets.

Painted Face rambled words about being pregnant, confirming the baby bump. Then she passed a chain link fence, prompting a dog to bark. She stopped to stare and say my dog wouldn’t get her. Followed that up with a mix of colliding thoughts.

“Your fucking dog and your fucking ass language and shit. Cut out my tongue, bitch. Eat it. Shove it in your momma’s pussy, bitch. Not the fucking point. That’s your money and shit. Like I want your honkey ass fucking dollar bills, BITCH.”

Her tempo kicked into the next echelon of rage. Some deep throated psychosis. “You think I’m angry at youuuuuuu and shit, I’M ANGRY BECAUSE I HAVE A FUCKING VOCAL CHORD, BITCH!”

She came near the sidewalk so I scooted to a connected parking lot. She went forward once more, screaming at a bougie white lady who stepped from her BMW. The lady stood still and Painted Face returned her attention to me. We’d kept our equilibrium but it was hard to maintain as she now faced my way and threatened to come closer.

“Oh my god you people are sick.”

She picked a hubcab from the grass. I reacted quick, stepping back as she readied to fling the disc at me.

“Whoa, whoa, oh,” I spouted without thinking.

She held the hubcab like a shield, no longer poised to hurl it at my head. Still, I didn’t escape her anger as she tore into me once more.

“Did you point that thingy at me? Are you gonna call the co– ARE YOU A FAG, BITCH? I DON’T WANNA FUCK WITH YOU IF YOU’RE AN UGLY ASS GERMAN DUDE.”

I backed up. Full retreat then response. “No I’m just walking through the lot.”

My words mattered little for she was off in some psychotic episode. Drugs or just the poison from her brain. Who knows. The result for the external world the same. This sad, absurd sight. Fucked up but also funny in its extremes.

She set the hubcap down and threatened me again. “I’m gonna pull a knife from my pussy and stab you, BITCH.”

She stuck a hand in her purse as she said this. I feared she really had a knife. Felt little doubt she’d use it. Me stabbed in a parking lot because I just had to follow. Curiosity got the gab cat.

I stood back as she plowed forward once more, telling a mailman I tried to kill her. He nodded along. She gestured my way then walked to the woods. The same patrol circled ’round but once more did nada. A cop rolled up but I don’t know if they even knew about her. All they did was park. Maybe lazy, maybe unknowing. This lady needed help but no one was on the case. I thought of reporting her but she’d threatened violence and would do the same to them. I didn’t want her execution on my hands. A pregnant lady shot dead.

Painted Face had trekked to a trail by a creek. After mulling what to do I stepped there and searched but she was gone. Joggers passed as if all were normal. No sign they’d seen this woman. The pregnant lady with face paint. There was no closure for either of us. Her rage at the world remained unresolved. Her problems, her psychosis, still pushed her down a dark path.

I had no way to know how she or the fetus would fare but all outcomes looked poor. She threatened to kill me and surely would another. Perhaps herself. I intruded on her life and received a scare but nothing like the demons that nipped her brain. If I’d passed through the park two minutes later I would’ve missed her. A reminder of the bubbling chaos and pain that stays unseen. People in distress and on the brink. Slipping over the edge to the snarling abyss of a brain they can’t escape. To a world that takes no notice.

Here’s audio and video of the encounter. I unfortunately couldn’t get a good shot of her. Scroll to the second video for the best feel of how much she went off.

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