I must admit that the worst part about working for Transport For London has to be both the early and late shifts. Getting up early has never been my thing, and being up at 4 so that the station can be opened for commuters by 5 is just something I'd rather not do. Sure there are perks to being up early. Like getting to go home early but that's not exciting at all. And as for the late shift, locking up after you've managed to convince those last few drunks that there aren't going to be any more trains that night. The more raucous ones always want to put up a scuff, but luckily the fact that they can be fined rather heavily and there are CCTV cameras everywhere in the station are usually enough to subdue them. Usually.
But on the other had when it's still quiet you can watch people and it's rather amazing which ones you always pick up on. There are the seedy types that look like trouble and you keep an eye on them just in case they try slip past without paying their fare. There are the HUGE ones that need to have the gates opened for them cos they just wouldn't be able to fit through the turnstiles. And finally there are the completely non-descript ones that you just start to see so often that they eventually make an impression on you.
She was one of those. She was always the first person to arrive when I worked the early shift and the last to leave when I locked up on the late shift. I never really thought too much about it, well considering there about 16 million people living in London youčre bound to see the people that live in the area more often than the rest, and some people do tend to have weird schedules that they keep.
The funny thing was though. I always saw her, even when I worked double shifts (extra cash is always a good incentive), so it can't be that she just happens to work on a similar timetable to mine, cos my hours are erratic. So maybe she's stalking me and I should be afraid. Bwhahaha, that's ludicrous. Why would such a pretty thing stalk someone like me? I mean, really! It's not easily justifiable so I dismissed the thought quite readily.
But it kept nagging at me. It just wasn't something I could let go, if you know what I mean. So I decided that I needed to say hello to her just once, so see what she'd say and how she'd react. The thing is though, I'm deathly afraid of speaking to people, I have no problem if they come to speak to me first, then it's fine, but don't ask me to just walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. I become too self-conscious and start to mumble and stare anywhere but where the person I'm speaking to is standing. I'm not sure why that's the case, but it is and I've resigned myself to it. And then I can't speak to my mates about this kind of thing either cos I know I shan't hear the end of it. So I'm in a kind of predicament you see, and I really need to find a way out of it.
Anyway I digress, which is also something I do when nervous and speaking to people that I think would rather be being eaten alive by rats than having to deal with me.
I eventually got the courage to speak to her one morning. Actually it was more a case of Dutch courage. I'd been out with my mates the previous evening and didn't go home, and the only way make sure I got to work on time was to stay awake for the remainder of the night and keep drinking. Anyway, I kinda drawled, "How are you this chilly morning?" to her whilst opening up the locked gates to the station.
She was wearing a long trench coat on this damp morning, but then again even on a dry day it's rather damp at 5am on this isle. She actually looked good in it too, it suited her. Unlike some people that wear clothes they shouldn't even be seen near. Digressing again aren't I? Guess that's something I'm going to have to chastise myself about later, but right now back to the story at hand.
She smiled politely and said sweetly "I'm more sober than you appear to be" which was rather apparent from the way I was fumbling at the lock with the wrong key. We both had a chuckle about that and I pleaded with my life that she not tell anyone about this, else my balls would be in a sling, I couldn't say I was looking forward to that.
She agreed, and as way of thanks I asked if I could take her out for a drink after work that evening. And surprise, surprise. She accepted and then had to pick me up off the floor as I was lying on my back.
So I was shocked, deal with it! Stop laughing, it's not that funny.
You wanna hear the rest of this story or not?
No? Fine then, I'm going home.
You finished gaffing yet? Good! So I can continue now.
Well we went to some Gothic pub, no, not as is full of Goths but rather with plenty of gargoyles, tombstones and other medieval type things on the walls. OK it was also full of Goths and they played loads of slow doomy music, but still I was referring to the ambience there rather than the music. Regardless it was really nice there and we sat and chatted for hours and I was able to not make a complete git of myself for a change, so I was quite happy for a change.
As closing time approached I asked if I could accompany her to her front door, well to make it appear gentlemanly at least, but also cos I really wanted the night to carry on for as long as I could possibly draw it out.
When we reached her flat, she invited me up for a cuppa tea and a heart to heart before I was to make my way homeward. I couldn't not accept, after all this is what I was praying to have occurred!
Her place was really nice, not too cluttered with girly things, which is always good, but it was filled with faerie statuettes and candles and other strange little knickknacks which I couldn't really place, but they weren't pretty that's for sure.
I sat down on her huge soft couch and thought that if I wasn't so nervous about being up there that I'd have quite easily drifted off into slumber land, while she busied herself in the kitchen boiling up some water for the tea. Within a couple of minutes she was back with a pot of tea and some cookies (cupcakes to ya yanks).
Halfway through my second cup I started to feel as though I was sinking into the couch, it was nice and warm in her flat and the conversation was really laid back so I can't say I paid much mind to the sensation until she said: "They always say that the quickest way to a man's heart, is through his stomach. I disagree, I think it's with a scalpel just under the ribcage." And then she laughed, a nice hearty laugh, so I kinda relaxed again thinking she was joking. This is also when I noticed that she hadn't eaten any cookies, and was getting up off the couch.
Panic set in and I started to writhe like a worm on a hook, but to no avail. I was pretty stuck to the couch and I couldn't even lift my arms anymore. Fuck did I want to get the hell out of here.
She returned carrying a huge plastic tarp and a little medical suitcase. Writhing was no longer something I could do, but if it were you would've seen some major squirming on my part. I was slipped off the couch and onto the tarp that was now laid out on the floor after the coffee table had been moved and my shirt was coming off in pieces, I guess it was quicker going through it with a scalpel than removing it.
Surprisingly enough I felt no pain as I saw her slicing my chest open, all the while chanting some strange words which sounded like gibberish to me. What was even more of a surprise though was watching her hold my still beating heart in her hand and showing it to me. She dropped it into a jam jar and sealed the lid. Looking at me she said: "I'll hang onto this for now, you gave it to me willingly didn't you?"
Why are women always so much trouble? Mean even the cute innocent ones. All they want is to take our hearts and rip 'em out, or remove them surgically if they know how.
You don't believe my story do you? Well here's the frigging scar to prove that I'm not lying, and if I had an x-ray machine handy I'd show you that there's a nice black hole where my heart should be. Why do you think that I don't want to stop being single? Cos I'm afraid of losing my heart? Ha, ha, ha. Don't be silly that's long gone there isn't much I can do about that anymore, but since I no longer have a heart to lose women don't seem to find me as much fun as I would've been if I had one. Is there a lesson to be learned from this? Hey you tell me, it's too late from my side to learn anything.
I think I'm gonna go home now. Speak to you guys tomorrow.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
Da Toob © 2001 by Marco Gaminara
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