Restraint

by Michael Conley

I am on a real train trying to build a metaphorical wall.  The trouble with metaphorical walls is that other people don’t respect them  the way they are forced to respect real walls.

I booked a table seat.  The couple opposite are looking at a copy of The Mail On Sunday, its pages spread out all over the table. I rest the spine of my novel against the edge of the table.  He prods an article, tuts and shakes his head. We’re living in a nanny state, he asserts.  Go on, he says to her, read that and tell me we’re not living in a nanny state.

She doesn’t tell him we’re not living in a nanny state.

There are other seats available but I’m not moving.  Those ones are not table seats and I booked a table seat.

Her crisps are deafening.  She finishes the article and tuts through sharp fragments of potato. He’s eating a ham baguette he got from the buffet car.  The crumbs are going all over our table.

I maintain a neutral expression as I metaphorically drop my trousers and do a metaphorical piss all over their Mail On Sunday and her crisps and his ham baguette, and there is an exquisite moment of horrified realisation on their faces; the last thing I see before a metaphorical conductor tackles me to the ground and metaphorically throws me off at the next platform, miles from home.

Michael Conley is a poet from Manchester who occasionally writes flash fiction too.

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