The bottom half of the bottle of Bell’s seemed to be an excellent proposition. The many strange sensations within my body at the moment remind me I am unable to have a good idea at any time. My life progress has proven this more times than I recall. Alcohol is supposed to subdue memories, it fails me every time.
The excuse needed to finish the bottle is this train. My eyes allow me to drive during the day. From dusk till dawn the optical distortion forbids the convenience of the car. There are other considerations. I cannot drink and drive and to attend a wedding without drink would be an impossible task. The City is a three hour drive the train takes one and a half. The choice had to be British Rail. Even so it will be a long day. The alarm went off at five, it hit the wall at one minute past. The taxi was on time, the driver could smell my breath and body odour, his disdainful look ruined his chances of a tip. There was no time for a shower and why I’d packed the small suitcase yesterday morning has no answer, it was though, an inspired and fortuitous idea. I will get the hotel laundry to clean these clothes whilst I am at the reception. I reflect for a moment on the advantage of wealth and five star hotels…
I drained the last drops in my glass at seven minutes to midnight. It is now seven minutes to seven. Perhaps it is a good thing I’m still wearing yesterdays clothes as alcoholic sweat is precipitating from my body. The carriage window has my condensation on it. Thank Christ my hair is middle age cropped, my handkerchief easily mops the excess moisture from my skull. I cannot see me getting to seventy at this rate. Blood pressure, six stones over-weight, cannot cope with the sight of salad. The attractive girl sat next to me for ten minutes, nine more than I guessed she would.
I had forgotten how much I loved train travel. The slicing of the steel wheels on the line. The balanced drone of the diesel motor. Acceleration, grinding brakes, slight vacuum in the tunnels darkness, followed by bright light carriage then out the other side wide open eyes into the sun. Thank goodness for this note book, nothing matters when I write, it is my life, there is nothing else now, was there ever?
Four travellers across the aisle sit opposite each other. I am guessing they are beginning a day of fun. I’m working them out using the usual methods I listen to accents, voices, sentences and watch their, clothes, jewellery, phones, It is the way of a writer to steal people and betray anyone. Friends, lovers, family, a man who falls, a woman who runs, a child abused. All of them, all of their lives, situations belong to me and to other writers, ours to distort, to make or break, survive or die.
Why do the young feel they need to subject the ageing to their music? I cannot remember anything about my teens or twenties, thirties and the memories of my forties are being dissolved by my friend Mr Bell’s. Their voices and the music agitate my soul. As a writer I can use them and the situation. As a late middle aged man I despise the situation. I am jealous of their youth. If your old and your honest the envy of the young is the hardest truth of all. The bastards. There is a need to compose myself. Hold the temper, the demon inside cannot be controlled if breaks out of the cage.
Their trainers are on opposite seats. You may not believe this but I have never put my feet up onto chairs. Never, when we walk in the city, the rats and drunks have pissed in the streets, the dogs, cats and pigeons crap on the pavements, the tramps and scum have spat their bacteria with indifference. Don’t you find it interesting a real human will wash their hands after their toilet in fear of bacteria, and yet the touch and take off their shoes without a second thought. The shoe on a seat is a dangerous and deadly habit.
The music, trainers on the seat, bastard scum.
Young love, so tedious. Why would anyone french kiss a spotty pus filled face at eight-fourteen in the morning? The girl is well spoken, spot face boyfriend a thug. I see the future, her lawyer, dentist, doctor or banker husband thinking he is sleeping with a virgin bride, we know different, husband betrayed by illusion. Nothing new here and its two way traffic.
The train is slowing the music stops. This situation is slipping further down the sewer. The quartet pick up their phones and exchange text messages. ‘My mum’s reminding me to get my own supper, she’s going out with Denny’ a pause ‘Denny’s her new friend’ The chums for some reason find it funny, lets hope mother’s Denny is a better looker than thug. ‘Lester says enjoy the day out’ all burst into laughter ‘He’d go crazy if he knew you were with me Hari’ says the lover boy next to her. She is silent for a moment, the truth of this concerns her, of this I am certain. Thug puts his old phone down, something has embarrassed him ‘Come on what’s it say’ ‘Nah, nothin, its one of me mates in trouble agin’ Hari looks at her friends, the connotations of the statement makes her look uncomfortable, she’ll have some trouble disposing of this fellow, no doubt about it, no doubt at all.
‘Daddy says I must be home by ten’ ‘You’ve no hope’ ‘Nothing to be done, it’s to late now’ The conspirators laugh in uncertain unity. The day, this moment is slipping before it has begun. The well spoken trio are within a special club. Harrow and Cheltenham Ladies are prime choice. Harriets phone calls for her attention ‘Its Lester!’ Christ she’s scared, it’s as if her betrayed boyfriend Lester is in the carriage. ‘Ignore him Hari’ whispers her friend. She silences the call and the idiots laugh.
I watch Harriet. She knows I’m watching, she does not know I am writing this. She knows what I am thinking. A girls body with a women’s intuition, I do not like her, although I know a little about her friends, she is the one in the group I understand. The troublesome young lady who will become betrayer, schemer, sly Judas woman. Hari reads my mind, she turns away in case I see more of her secrets. She reminds me of a girl I knew who used to have sex with the school gardener, she was only fourteen, mind you that was in the nineteen seventies.
The train is near the City. I reflect upon the poor beginning of my day, my nieces day, her wedding day and I must be calm, I must not drink before the speeches are over and the two hundred or so guests are on full steam and then my small contribution to the inevitable crap which will out pour into the room will be of no consequence.
I listen to the four and their nonsense. I know where the bastards are going. These know all know nothings. Three supported by family money. The loner supported by the State and probably better off if he did know it. The three degree’s will seemingly win in the social network. They will betray anyone for the second house in ‘Wherever’. Thug may discover he’s going nowhere as well. He is here today and will certainly be gone tomorrow or some time soon. In some way I feel sorry of his ignorance. It is a sure fire certainty he’ll be bragging with his mates about bedding the rich girl, she’ll become a ‘slag’ I know it for sure. Maybe he’ll become a drug or murder statistic, I’ll live in hope.
My journey’s at an end and so it seems is theirs. I’ll wait a moment letting them leave first. There it is Hari’s phone, nice new six S just like my own. Fallen out of her coat. I pick it up and fumble the ‘silence’ in my jacket pocket and now I turn it off. The train is leaving the station Hari is running toward me ‘Hey you didn’t see a iPhone on the seat where I was sitting?’ ‘No, I did not’ I answer in a weary voice so as not to alert her, to reenforce the sentiment I sigh.
‘All my contacts, my pictures, my texts are on that phone’
I walk away and throw it into the bin along with my half eaten breakfast sandwich. I have saved her, severed her past from the future.