It had been a disappointing meeting with The Supplier. Their explanation about the elastic shortage in China cut no ice with my boss when I had reported back. She hinted that my quarterly bonus was at risk.
I needed the bonus too. The gambling debts had started to spiral again.
I turned on the laptop and scanned the quarterly sales figures. Men’s Y-Fronts were clearly down.
The Stone Roses gently washed into my brain via the iPod. I wondered how a man who looked like a monkey and couldn’t sing had been such an iconic part of my barbiturate filled youth.
Indeed how had I moved from those hedonistic times to working for a woman who was obsessed with the world of hosiery? I hummed along to the anthemic “This Is The One”.
There was a tap on my shoulder. A man clad in tweed and with a military air was pointing to the “Quiet Carriage” sticker. I smiled weakly and nodded. He raised his right index finger to his lips.
The train passed through Didcot as “I Am The Resurrection,” barreled through my head.
I had a Tenner in my pocket. Fuck it I would play some poker tonight. Needed an edge.
Passengers heads tossed and yawed with the motion of the train as they turned the pages of their broadsheet papers with great ceremony.
My silencer was glowering at a copy of The Daily Telegraph. The headline read, “Euro Threat To British Economy.” He folded the paper and with his right index finger began to pick his nose. Not pick. Excavate. With gusto.
His great thick digit muscularly scoured every nook, cranny and crevice. He dug deep. Beyond the finger joint. I was sure that at any moment the finger would waggle from his ear.
Finally he retracted. On his finger tip sat like a well fed pupa a large glistening bogie. “Fool’s Gold” chugged out its insatiable rhythm as I wondered what he would do with it.
Eat or Wipe?
He wiped. On the seat next to him. He began to excavate again. I watched. I felt dirty. Tainted by his picking.
The train jolted over some points. A fat bloke passing by, stabbed me in the face with a jumbo sausage roll he was carrying. It was a fine sausage roll. Deep filled and hand finished judging by the rich flakes of pastry that patterned my shirt upon impact.
There was a kerfuffle as chubster apologised for the accident.
Telegraph nose picker man looked over, “Excuse me. This is the Quiet Carriage. How many times do I have to tell you?”
Dangling from his nostril was a fat, glistening piece of snot.
There is a God after all.
I lost the Tenner in the first hand of poker.