Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Catching A Train (A Short Story)

It had been a silly row, the sort of argument that sneaks up on you unexpected. Quite why he snapped as he did was beyond him. He had fled the scene after cursing a series of alphabetical expletives starting with A and ending, as always in C. His curse word vocabulary was limited. He hated the C word. Not the sound of it but the inference behind it. It was a male word used to denigrate the most delicious, most beautiful of female body parts. He had thrown it out like a curse, as though it were something obscene. He had left the house wearing a jumper and jeans. The cold December air bit hard at his face and hands. He ignored common sense and walked on. Hands thrust deep in Levis. Red converse padding like poinsettia panther paws.


His anger carried him on. Rage fired at others was less offensive and more defensive. He knew his own faults all too well. Transferring guilt was a skill he had learnt as a child. ‘It’s not my fault, it’s his.’ That pointing, accusatory finger jabbed at anyone who was handy.



The roads, recently re-tarmacked, slid beneath his feet in black as bible ribbons. The stars above span and spangled but he ignored them feeling only the hurt of his own abusive soul. A crushing, coruscating wealth of self-pity that undulated through his five feet ten frame, Lacking either moral compass or sense of direction he found himself walking down roads which lead to where he knew not. They teased him with their names – the street signs and house numbers. Street lamps, indistinct shapes, leaped up and spread a diffused light; an unsteady, flickering halo that fell sort of illuminating anything apart from the vacuum of space captured between pavement and their crocked bent backs.



The sound of a train caught his ear, a rattling sound, a rushing of monstrous weight along sturdy metal tracks. He made his way toward that siren call. He became annoyed by the way the English build their railway lines - either up high and away from the road or buried deep in trenches that are defended by brambles and barbed wire. Fences make ladders when the desire to climb is there.



He stood by the track shivering. The night had turned cold, bitterly so. He wondered how long before hypothermia kicked in. Would it be painful? Would he shake and weep? A train would smash you like an insect against the windscreen. A momentary explosion of pain then scattered flesh fragments across the landscape. The driver? What of the driver? Would he feel horror, anger, resentment or guilt? Why should he care? 



He stood for perhaps half an hour getting colder by the minute. No train shot by. No release. All that remained was a nagging doubt. He waited for perhaps another five minutes then made his sore footed, stumbling way back home.

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Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

2 comments:

Illsa Gorrey said...

I've always rather hated the c-word for the major female body part, though if I'm not mistaken, Brits seem to use it much in the same way one uses dick as an insult. In the U.S., the c-word tends to be the worst insult that you can call a woman. I must admit, I've known a few in my time, and they truly earned the title!

Russell Duffy said...

You are right. It does seem a very Brit word. We use Dick too although it might be USA influence but it is thought pretty lame as swear words go. Bitch is the one word that caused me grief many years ago when talking to an an American. I used it in the correct sense for a female dog (we are talking late 60's here) and they went apeshit. I very nearly used the word again when visiting my Canadian cousin of Facebook. He had posted a pic with a girl in the centre surrounded by dogs. I was going to ask it they were all bitches. My question was not aimed at the girl at all and only the dogs but in view of the upset the word seems to cause thought better of it. Words eh?