Monday, 10 October 2016

The Queue

For audio click here 
It was one of those days that looked like it should have been warm but was actually pretty nippy. The sun shone but was not on full blast. Joe rubbed his arms and stamped his feet and wished he’d put on more than just a short-sleeved shirt. To make matters worse the queue was on the shadow-y side of the street and was at a standstill. Joe looked down at his trainers. He needed a new pair, but the shops were fairly sparse at the moment. He took another step forward. He was still at least thirty people from the front door, but that wasn’t even the front of the queue. God knows how long it was inside. He’d been waiting over four hours and had probably moved about twenty-five paces. That meant in another four hours he might just be inside the door. He wanted to scream and shout and cry out that it wasn’t fair, but it wouldn’t do him any good. If anything, he’d be marked as a trouble maker and making trouble was not in his best interests. So he told himself to be calm and collected; paint the stoical look on your face mate and don’t let the bastards grind you down.
The government office in front of him seemed to snarl and scowl, accepting people reluctantly into its bowels. He noticed no one ever came out. Joe looked at the people around him; no one spoke, no one looked at each other, everyone kept their heads down examining their own footwear. There were some people in this queue who wouldn’t even remember when this wasn’t normal practice. When you didn’t have to queue for a one trip passport, Joe could. Joe could remember having a ten-year passport. He’d backpacked across Europe with his mates, lived in Greece for three months working in a British bar, he’d holidayed in Spain, Portugal, France, stag-doed in Prague, Budapest, Riga. Jesus, it was so easy then. He rubbed his arms again feeling the goose pimples and then took a step forward.
It wouldn’t get any easier once he’d got inside. They’d ask questions about friends, family, lovers and pets. His trip was condemning them to a life of surveillance. Then they’d ask reason for travel, date of departure, date of return. The money burnt a hole in his pocket. He didn’t like carrying that much cash, but the rules were the rules and if he wanted to go abroad, he had to pay a deposit to ensure he’d be back.
He heard the engine before he saw the car.
“Fuckers,” the boys shouted out of the window. “Traitors!” The car screeched past skidded to a halt. The driver executing a perfect handbrake turn before revving up and passing the queue again. “Traitors, turncoats, Judus.”
Joe had been warned about this. Rumour had it these were the off-duty border guards letting their hair down. Letting those who wanted to leave this great country know that they were dirty low-down rats. Chances were they’d be processing Joe’s claims if he ever got inside the building.
Another skid, another rev and then the car came past again. Joe saw the missile arc through the sky. He instinctively ducked. It smashed into the wall next to him and showered everyone in his part of the queue with glass and liquid.

Miraculously no one was cut, hardly even scratched, but everyone was soaked and it hadn’t been water in that pint glass.  Joe looked forwards and waited. What else could he do?

Check out my new project, Topical Poems, find it here.
And why not invest in me. Buy my books :-) Details here 

Please if you enjoy these stories share them with friends, family, book agents, etc.. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram :-) Thank you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment