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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  1. #1 by lynda Green on June 30, 2016 - 1:20 pm

    Oh I do like this, it makes me smile, and I sympathise too. I have often felt like asking people if they could possibly suck their crisps, my children were told to suck their cornflakes if they insisted on eating them at all.
    Cinemas are another nightmare but I keep going.

  2. #2 by Kathryn Smith on June 30, 2016 - 8:38 pm

    The Mail got what it deserved! Really enjoyed this….made me laugh out loud.

  3. #3 by grace palmer on July 2, 2016 - 6:42 pm

    Very enjoyable piece. I laughed too.

  4. #4 by Sarkis Antikajian on July 3, 2016 - 9:57 pm

    This is funny. I enjoyed the writing especially the description of the type of individuals sharing his table, what they think and how they behave. It’s not uncommon to encounter similar individuals in our daily life.

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