So here is my first chapter from my NaNoWriMo attempt. A warning, this has been written with no outline, no sense of where I am going with it and no edits. My writing style is just to get words down on paper, or in this case screen, so please bear with it. As I was writing I changed my mind as to where this literary exercise was going.
Any feedback is welcome (although please make it narrative/plot/syntax specific as spelling and grammar are pencilled in for the edits). So here we go…
Gets your attention, the mere thought of smut and filth acts like honey for a bear. It draws you in, grabs you and takes hold. Your curiosity is piqued and is insatiable. It is exciting, it makes you feel alive.
Feeling alive is not something the 7.43 to Canterbury provides.
Nothing about the Class 375 electric multiple unit train is erotic. Not it’s twenty point four metre length car nor the maximum speed of one hundred miles an hour can set the pulses racing. The Dellner coupling system is not as exciting as the Scharfenburg system and the selective door opening is unlikely to have that effect on any legs.
Indeed, the 7.43 was not as tantalising as a multi-page description of a high-end computer. It was after all a train, and trains are not sexy.
Trains are unlike sex in every way.
I wait fifteen minutes before getting on the train, my ride lasts a long time and I’ll do it every day. Twice. The only factor they have in common is the shine on my face from the sweating. Even a quick tumble doesn’t leave me dripping like being stuck in the poorly ventilated human tin can I commute on.
Like all public transport the morning commute is a mass of people who spend more time together than most couples, and in some cases closer proximity, yet do their upmost to avoid any meaningful glances that may suggest there is any recognition.
A glance towards the businessman, why yes I have seen you everyday for the last three years and never once thought to find out your name. Oh hello lady who wears a large broach, you seem to be walking a little awkwardly and I’ve noticed the ankle bandage id you have a fall and are you okay?
No, I must not speak or acknowledge anyone. This is a shared experience in loneliness. All of us here together but as distant as we can be. What if I died, will my fellow ignorers assume I have moved to another train because I think it would be unlikely that my obituary is broadcast amongst the warnings of gaps.
My train of thought was interrupted by the familiar call by the ticket collector.
“Tickets”, pleasantries on a morning commute are as rare as a seat or prompt train arrival, “Tickets.”
Something about the voice sounded strange, echoey. Normally the call is muffled as the anechoic chamber of massed bodies that fills the carriage. Today it seemed clearer, it was at this point I finally noticed. My mind had been running on that automatic operational sense every commuter has until they hit the desk at work, but the 7.43 to Canterbury was not over capacity. Instead of the hundred people normally clustered in aisles and doorways there was barely a soul on board.
I had stood squeezed up against the sliding door when there was not another human being within two metres.
“Tickets”, I fumbled quickly for my season pass. The reduced numbers had led to my carriage eligibility being questioned sooner than I anticipated, it was normally a few minutes after the first request that I would have to present but now I was on the spot.
“Train’s a bit empty today isn’t it”, I asked hoping to gain a few seconds of time.
I expected the collector to glare at me, who was I to be wasting his time with unnecessary chit-chat, instead I got a smile in return.
“Well we only take as many people as need to be on this train. It will always be full as it should, just because there may be seats today doesn’t mean it’s empty.”
Great, now I was faced with a cod philosopher and still no sign of my ticket.
“I have it” or did I, had I left my pass on the table as I stumbled from home this morning. Where was it?
Now I would have to commit to the charade of searching through pockets that had never been used, and removing items from my bag as though it was a forensic version of Operation.
“I did have it, I take this train everyday”, my voice trailed off as my imagination stalled with an abortive attempt at creating a believable tale.
Expecting the smile of the ticket collector to disappear I braced myself for having to make my way to work from the next station and a hefty fine. The smile remained.
“Tell you what, if you are on this train then you must be going somewhere. Here take a ticket and do me one favour?” he handed me a freshly printed stub.
“What is it”
“Go sit down, you are making the place look untidy”
How crazy must I have seemed standing by the door while there were plenty of seats left free, I picked up my work bag and made my way down the almost empty carriage.
Looking across the empty seats I could see only two other people, an old woman and young man sitting either side of a table in the middle of the train. I noticed the table on the opposite side was free and decided to take the opportunity to rest my head while the train continued on its travels.
As I placed my bag on the seat next to me, an act I would abhor should there be more passengers, the old lady looked up at me and smiled.
“Would you like to hear a story?”