Tag Archives: train

Adios Stink-Town…

‘Why are my hands adhering to the steering wheel? This is deeply unpleasant.’

I peel my palms from the upholstery and sniff the offending digits – honey – the remnants of a squeezy bottle placed in the bin on the way out the door. By my reckoning it’ll be 15-20 minutes before I’m near a sink – No, I am an overly pampered westerner and cannot possibly wait that long. It’s early morning and there’s dew on the ground. Sweet Mother Nature has provided the means of my cleansing. I run both hands through a wet hedge and a giant spiderweb clings to the honey and creates a gloopy gossamer membrane. This is way worse! No matter – I’m passing a row of cars – windscreens glistening with moisture. Again – both hands. Apparently there’s more dirt than water. My webbed appendages now resemble the fur of a badly stuffed animal. A car alarm goes off. I make good my escape…

…At the station I realise that my ticket has expired. So now I’m at the counter, trying to fish a wallet out of my pocket with my wolf hands and the cashier’s judging me and I’m thinking of clever things to say (‘Full moon last night’ or ‘you should see my sheets,) but not saying any of them…

…OK…on the train…good…only not good! The loo is semi-occupied by a large man, door ajar, his head angled so as to hold a phone against his neck and both hands working furiously to scrub food from his tie, carriage too packed to seek alternative means of hiding my shame.

‘My password?’ he bellows. ‘Sure. Are you listening carefully? it’s Asswipe123…Yes! I thought so too…I was gonna use Fu…Oh shit! I dropped my phone down the toilet!…Hello? Can you still hear we Jerry? Nope, he’s gone.’

He retrieves his phone from the U-bend, dries it as best he can on the septic rag that Great Western were kind enough to provide and places it in his pocket whereupon further bog water seeps into his crotch and midriff like a burst colostomy bag.

I go into the now vacated loo to find that Asswipe123 has used up all the water. So we stand side by side on our journey to London – a man who’s soiled himself and a man with terrible hygiene.

‘Were it not for social conventions,’ I think ‘I could put my hands down his pants where there’s moisture aplenty’…

…I tell the woman who now hates me. We should be on my leaving lunch, but instead we’re sitting on the floor of a tiny lift waiting for the emergency services to arrive. An hour previous she asked me to put into words what it felt like to leave the company. I jumped up and down in elation, the breaks kicked in and you’re all caught up.

‘Do you have enough air?’ a facilities guy shouts down the lift shaft.

‘What are you going to do if we don’t?’ my colleague replies…

…Thank God that’s over I’m thinking later in the check-out queue.

‘Planning on murdering someone?’ the cashier asks.

I look down at my shopping basket: penknife, bleach, bolt-cutters, gloves, plastic container, washing up liquid.

I consider the truth (‘I only came in for the washing up liquid,’) quirky (‘What was it that gave me away?’) and unhelpful (‘Imagine how much more incriminating this would be if I still had honey, web and dirt all over me!’) before opting for ‘You realize I cannot allow you to live?’

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Punchable Face…

…Or ‘My Expletive and Dwarf-laden journey home…’ (Certain words have been substituted to give this a PG-13(ish) rating).

Aldgate station, London 17:45, usually quiet, on this particular occasion – rammed to the gills: ‘We apologise for the congestion,’ droned the tannoy, ‘This was caused by a fight on a train and subsequent cancellations.’

A cursory glance at the board told me that I wasn’t getting home via the conventional route. I took the next available train going west and changed at Baker Street. As I reached the start of the escalator an incredibly short man cut in front and tripped over my feet. Temper-wise he went from zero to a zillion within the space of a nanosecond – peppering me with a barrage of C-bombs and spectacularly overreacting.

‘Charming,’ I replied like an imbecile. Further C-bombs abounded.

In addition to the man’s height deficiency he was also three rungs below me. As such my genitals bore the brunt of his fury;  an overarching thought throughout: I am perfectly positioned to kick you right in the face…but I’m not going to do that. Sure, you look like a midget with a Napoleon complex, but you might be a ninja. I can’t go out like that. It would be like choking on a marshmallow or getting run over by a segue.

A voice from behind came to my aid: ‘Mate, calm down, I saw – It was an accident – you pushed in.’ I turned. The voice belonged to a man in a three-piece suit

‘Well you can funf yourself as well,’ screamed the ninja.

‘Ok…’

Napoleon stormed off leaving me a little shaken.

‘Don’t worry about it mate,’ reassured Three-piece, ‘guy’s a douche – you handled it well.’

‘Thanks.’

‘I would’ve hit him!’

‘Fair enough.’

Far below Napoleon had clearly decided our encounter wasn’t over and was waiting for me at the bottom of the escalator.

‘If you ever deliberately trip me again I will slit your throat you C-bomb.’

‘Mate, it’s been a long day – I’m not doing this.’

‘You’ll do what I funfing well tell you you’ve doing.’

‘OK…’ I went to the right side of the platform, as did Three-piece. Napoleon followed.

Together we tried to placate the little man whilst he continued threatening and bombarding us with abuse. Eventually he lost interest and started to walk away.

‘Jeez,’ sighed Three-piece. ‘I bet you wished you’d pushed him down the escalator.’

‘What did you funfing say?’

‘Oh c’mon! No one can be this angry!’

The train arrived, packed to the rafters. No one got on board. It pulled away leaving us on the platform.

‘Yeah,’ snarled Napoleon, ‘you thought you’d escaped, but now you’re stuck with me.’

Three-piece made a strange noise. I looked to him and saw that he was laughing his ass off. He set me off.

‘This isn’t funfing funny!’ Napoleon declared.

‘It’s quite funny,’ Three-piece responded.

‘This is ridiculous,’ I added. ‘You’re ridiculous. Why are you so aggressive?’

‘If you don’t stop laughing…’

Before I knew what I was saying I’d stepped up to him. ‘I tell you what – Throw down or f*&% off.’

‘Oh, you want we to throw down? I’ll funfing throw down. I’ll throw you off the funfing earth.’

I am living proof that it is possible to find something hilarious whilst also fearing for your wellbeing. ‘No, I don’t want you to throw down. I want you to go away.’

Another train arrived. The three of us got into the same carriage and stood staring at one another for the next ten minutes . It was the closest I’ve ever come to an out of body experience in that I could sense how smug I must look, but was powerful to wipe the provocation from my lips. Three-Piece was clearly having the same issue.

At Paddington the two normal-sized people alighted.

‘Bye C-BOMBS!’ Napoleon yelled.

If I was going to smack him I’d left it a little late. I looked at Three-piece. He gave me a cheeky wink.

‘BYYYEEE,’ we both waved euphorically.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cheeky Bonus!

I knew today was going to be great. Had a feeling deep down in my bones right from the get-go…Alarm went off at bastard o’clock, leapt out of bed like I was in a musical and launched into my solo number ‘Who needs sleep when you’ve got work?’ My walking cane tapped out a jaunty tune as I skipped down the stairs – munched down my cornflakes like they were cocaine (just the three bowls – they’re so moreish!) and was out the door into a beautiful (albeit drizzly) morning.

My journey to the station took me alongside a dual-carriageway lined with hotels and B&Bs. From one such establishment loomed an incredibly tall, incredibly overweight man who walked straight into me.

‘Hey! Watch where you’re going,’ I said somewhat feebly.

Saddened by some poor life choices (It was 7am and he appeared to be eating a kebab) his response was somewhat colourful (lots of confectionary terms – ‘Fudge’,  ‘Muddy-funster’ and the like).

I wasn’t about to get into an altercation with a man who looked like he could snap me like a twig so I let the matter rest, but now we were walking in the same direction and at roughly the same pace – #awks (what have I become?)

For the remainder of this account imagine bullet-time as can be found in the film The Matrix. I shall revert to the present tense…

I spot a giant puddle stretching all the way along our side of the road. It is long and deep. The road is empty. I turn and see that the traffic is being held at a red light. The light changes to green. The traffic is 200 yards away, enough distance to get up to a respectable 35-40 miles an hour by the time it reached us. There is no way I can get past the puddle before they arrive and nowhere to seek cover…

Except there is…

Timing is everything…

At the last minute my pace quickens. The large man flinches. He turns to face me, clearly thinking my intentions to be hostile. I am not looking at his face. I am looking at his shoulders, making sure that we line up. I crouch slightly and brace for impact.

He realised that all is not well to his rear. He begins to turn back. He is a clown rotating to receive his pie more fully in the face. His timing is impeccable.

I don’t see the monstrous arc of water that annihilates him, but I hear it!

The traffic passes. I look down – not a drop of water on me.

‘Bonus!’ I definitely say out loud.

More confectionary terms come thick and fast. I give him the ‘I’m-only-this-dry-cos-you’re-that-fat look’ (A highly nuanced expression I’ll grant you). When this prompts abuse I shift gears and favour the ‘I-did-this-to-you-and-yet-I-did-nothing-at-all’ smile (Goddamn I’m good).

I get on the train – A man taps me on the shoulder as he passes and mutters ‘Very much enjoyed operation human shield – keep up the good work.’

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A town called Mortality…

It was with a certain degree of trepidation that I boarded the train at Reading and took the three-hour journey north to the once industrial but recently gentrified city of Sheffield. There I met with seven similarly wide-eyed souls. Nothing had physically barred us from returning, and yet it had taken a group of relatively motivated individuals fourteen years to get their acts together. There was understandable excitement, but also a little nervousness. Will it be how I remember it? Was this a good idea?

Cautiously we ventured out. The students (who had all been toddlers and foetuses when last we’d lived there) regarded our sensible, practical clothes with vaguely amused condescension, whilst the older locals were complicit in their acceptance where previously their had been only judgement.

We found our old stomping group much changed, but also strangely familiar. Large towers had arisen, and some intimate settings had been swallowed up, but the sense of rediscovery was palpable – What did that shop used to be? Oh look, that’s still there! 

Emboldened we sought out our most cherished haunts. First there was ‘The Broomhill Tavern,’ originally famed for having light fittings strong enough to swing off, then the fantastically named ‘Springvale Beer Engine,’ before finally our hall of residence ‘Tapton,’ a building that, when seen through objective eyes, was a garish (and now derelict) 1960’s monstrosity. But our eyes were anything but objective! To us glorious snap-shots in time had afforded the bricks and mortar an awkward kind of  grace. Speaking to a security guard we learned that demolition plans had once again been blocked by the surrounding neighbourhood. A great symbol of our past was to cling to existence a little while longer.

An Italian restaurant was the scene of our most shameless reminiscing. It was here that we proposed a series of increasingly self flagellating speeches and basked in the glory of having stayed in touch over the years; growing through various trials and tribulations, joys and disappointments, births, deaths, marriage triumphs and failures.

Returning to the place that was the making of you evokes feelings that go way beyond nostalgia. There is delight that streets not walked in over a decade can still be considered home, marvel that rose-tinted recollections really were as good as you remember them, and yet at the same time it’s as though it all happened to someone else – in my case a slighter, hairier, less cynical self. Having said all that, and despite its blandness, I find that the word ‘lovely’ seems to sum it all up just right.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized