Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Slough, Tuesday Evening

For audio click here 
Tuesday Evening.
Tommy fed another fifty pence piece into the slot machine and pressed start. The flashing lights bemused him. He pressed a few buttons and coins came coughing out of the machine. It wasn’t a life changing amount, but it meant he would leave with more than he arrived with. Men Without Hats Safety Dance was playing on the radio, Tommy hummed along, tapping the fruit machine with his finger.
“We are sorry to announce that the 18.50 service to Reading has been delayed by approximately fifteen minutes.” No one groaned, no one moaned, this was a normal British Rail Tuesday evening.
Tommy looked at his watch. The delay was good. It meant that he might be able to catch that train and not have to wait for the later one. He put one of the coins back into the machine, knowing that it was folly; they never pay out back to back. Again, the lights flashed, urging him to ‘nudge’. He did as he was told and again, the machine began to cough up coins. This was his lucky day. This time after scooping up the money, he finished his milky tea and left the smoky buffet, enjoying the cooler, fresher air of the platform. He walked towards the toilets and pushed the door open. He covered his mouth with his hand and blinked, when had they last been cleaned? He went into a cubicle, closed the door and waited. 
“We are sorry to announce that the 18.50 service to Reading has been delayed by approximately twenty minutes.”
It’d be thirty minutes late by the time it came in, he thought.
He could breathe a bit easier now but Tommy knew that if he looked down the toilet bowl again, he’d be losing the greasy bacon roll and tea that was already sitting heavily in his stomach. He was beginning to think they weren’t coming. That he’d been led up the garden path, that he would be going home empty handed. But then the toilet door opened and someone slipped into the cubicle next to his. He clicked play on his Dictaphone as gently as he could. Within a minute the door opened again and in came a second person.
“Do you have the money?” one voice said.
“Of course.” Tommy shivered, it was a voice from his past. His old head teacher who’d humiliated him in front of the whole school because of his sexuality.
“Let’s do it then.”
He could hear a clank of buckle then a soft moan. It was time.
Tommy inched open the door of his cubicle and pointed his camera at the two men.
Click, Tommy fumbled with the camera to wind the film on, click.
“Oi,” his old head shouted.

“Fuck you,” the younger man said, but Tommy was gone, out of the door and down the platform and there was the 18.50 chugging into the station. Perfect timing.

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