July 21

Returning To The Late Train Scene

If you are found anywhere near the inside of an English passenger train after 10pm on a Friday night, you better turn up ready and prepared.

Thankfully, I hadn’t joined the ‘late train’ gang for quite some time. The vivid memories of watching law-breaking teenagers terrorising painfully shy people and fearless pensioners vomiting their false teeth onto stained floors had vaguely faded into the distance.

Unfortunately to get from A to B on this fateful occasion, I would have to shake the dust from my unprivileged Railcard and brave an hour inside Britian’s harrowing underbelly.

Things got off to a rousing start. As I kept my head down and did my triumphant best to blend into my surroundings, a man opposite started shouting loudly in the direction of his newspaper.

I was undeterred. The last item I needed on my agenda was a raucous scene. Regrettably, my weak squirms didn’t convey this message. Before I knew it, he had lodged his fist directly through the middle of his complimentary London Evening Standard newspaper. Apparently, he was incensed by the crossword on page 43.

Such an episode barely registered on the Richter scale compared to what happened next. With a bevy of anti-social adolescents playing implausibly loud music from their mobile devices nearby, something improbable occurred.

A quiet man, who at a guess, was in his mid-30’s and went by the name ‘Trevor’, sat politely and patiently. I had shot Mr T a glance a couple of times. I could tell we were both on the same page. Neither of us wanted to be in this position of discomfort.

The carriage door swung open.

“WHO’S NEXT THEN??” exclaimed a confident, bullish thug.

Next for what? I was a little confused. Needless to say, I didn’t exactly pipe up and audibly enquire into the background of such an obscure statement.

A split-second later, the hoodlum remarkably got to his knees and absorbed his surrounding environment. There were only three individuals within earshot of his initial outcry. Me, Trevor and the angry newspaper man. Either way, one of us was apparently ‘next’.

With the neighboring vicinity outlined, I quietly prayed that I would be left alone. Likewise, I was hopeful that my mute polite friend would also be let off the hook. Quite frankly, I sat there hoping and willing that the crossword-hater would be placed on a proverbial chopping block.

Sadly, this was not the case. He was removed from the firing line as he waddled off into the direction of the onboard toilet.

It was down to me and Trevor. Before I could react, the bandit had leaned into Trev’s personal space. What on earth was going on?

In a nutshell, I soon learned what the “Who’s next” statement referred to. Trevor had been passionately licked on the cheek and had now been informed that he had contracted the deadly virus, Ebola.

Trevor looked aghast. I looked aghast. The miscreant wailed in laughter.

The laughter quickly stopped. Trev snapped and was now clutching the potential Ebola distributor by the throat.

I was caught in two minds. If Ebola really was being handed out in a willy-nilly fashion, did I really want to get involved? Quite frankly, I would have preferred to have jumped off the moving train – it would give me a higher chance of survival.

“I was only joking! JOKING! Stop! Sorry! I don’t really have it! It was just a prank!!”

Trev loosened his grip. The torment was over. No one had Ebola. It was just a pathetic moron trying to extend the happy slapping craze to Ebola allocation.

Ahhh, #BrokenBritain

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