by Rosie Sandler
The big wheel had been still for about half an hour when the lights went out in all the pods. It had happened again, then: he’d been forgotten. Dermot sat down on the bench in the middle and stared out. The lights of London spread before him like something he ought to care about. Instead, he was fighting a sudden urge to go to the toilet.
Dermot could recite a list of places in which he had been locked at closing time. They included Santa’s grotto in Hull, a train outside Inverness and a department store toilet in Liverpool; at least he’d been able to urinate in that one without worrying. He sighed and looked about him for a suitable receptacle. In the absence of anything better, he took a half-empty water bottle from his bag and aimed into it, splashing his shoes and the bottom of his trouser legs. He screwed the lid back on to the bottle, then wiped his shoes with a tissue, turned up his damp trousers and began to plan the time ahead.
He could easily pass an hour identifying landmarks by their illuminated silhouettes; Canary Wharf, with its flashing beacon, would be a good starting-point. Another hour could be spent finding ways to traverse the pod without touching the floor with his feet. He was emptying his pockets in search of a makeshift dinner, when the capsule lit up and the wheel crept back into motion.
‘I’m so sorry about that!’ blustered the attendant when he reached ground level. ‘We’ve never left someone onboard before.’
‘You remembered about me?’
‘Of course. Well – one of my colleagues did.’
Dermot had gone from inconspicuous to memorable in a turn of the wheel. He stumbled home, hoping it would never happen again.
Rosie Sandler‘s stories have been published in 34th Parallel magazine, The Local Writer 2007 collection, and an anthology of flash fiction called Jealousy (published by slingink.co.uk). She has been shortlisted for competitions in the Essex Chronicle newspaper and Essentials magazine. You can read more of her work here.