Collecting tickets

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

From where he’s standing he can see right down the train. Each carriage hits the bumps in the track in turn, so that his view stutters and refreshes itself with every moment.

He has checked all the tickets and now he is standing with his hands up on the luggage racks, staring into that distance. The muscles in his jaw are set hard, as if perhaps he fancies himself as some gunslinger waiting for the bad guys to ride into shot.

He hadn’t intended to be here, collecting fares on this local train, but life deals out its cards and this is where he finds himself. It’s not a bad job really, and there’s not much he can’t deal with. He likes people, see. You have to, in this job. Give everyone a moment, catch everyone’s eye. The ladies love it, and the gents – well. It means they know who’s boss. They know he’s clocked them. He’s a good memory for a face.

The next stop is where that no-mark his daughter used to knock around with might get on. She has a baby now, and that means the lad has responsibilities, but nobody’s seen hide nor hair of him in weeks.

The conductor is waiting, because he knows that sooner or later the lad will show. They always do, one way or another – if not on the train, then under it.

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