Off the Rails


Off the Rails

Manners. That’s what this lot need. That, and throwing in front of me.

It’s not as though I can kick ’em.

Basic train manners. Surely that’s not too much to ask? That and what surely is now uncommon sense. Either one would do.

You let the passengers who are getting off the train go first, then you can board me. But, oh no, not this lot. It’s push, push, push. Never mind the kiddies in their push chairs, or the old men with hats, and walking sticks, or the folks with heavy, and/or awkward luggage. And, what do they think I’m going to do? Set off while people are still trying to alight?

Don’t even tempt me.

They’re bass-akwards. Do you like that one? I got it off an American passenger, some 30 years ago. Stereotyped to a T, but at least he recognised good – and bad – manners.

And will they learn to keep their hands to themselves? Will they Stevenson. And those dirty, filthy feet? It’s feet up on any empty seats; noses and fingers on what had been my beautifully shiny windows. As for graffiti, don’t even go there. And for their nasty gobs, oh my George, it was even worst. If it isn’t spit, it’s gum. If it isn’t gum, it’s coffee or tea that misses their mouths. A bumpy ride? On a train? No one could have foreseen that!

I wanted to be a steam train, you know. That’s what I told my Mum and Dad. They would say to me: “Dear little NRV 73964V, what do you want to do when you grow up? “

“A proper train – maybe even a steam engine,” I’d reply. “The sort that’s looked after by real rail enthusiasts, not those sad sacks with their anoraks, and their notebooks, and flasks. No, I want to have real brass fittings, and genuine leather seats. I want to be the sort of train that’s polished, and pampered.

“The sort that’s loved.”

But oh no. Here I am, all grown up, and what am I now? A shitty little two carriage number, who runs back and forth between Donny and Sheffield. The sort that carries talentless graffiti artists, lads with sick all down their football shirts, and hen parties whose ridiculous hairdos could hold whole colonies of nesting spuggies.

But, I’ve got plans. You see, there’s this bridge. If I time it, and angle it just right, there’s a chance I can end it all, and take this miserable lot with me.

Spit gum on my floor, will you?



About Sheila N

Enough about me. Art by Tom Brown.
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4 Responses to Off the Rails

  1. Angela Wren says:

    Interesting and well written piece. Love the ‘bass-ackward’ and I’m going to pinch that to use appropriately, if you don’t mind. Wasn’t expecting the ending, though. Scary.

  2. Tina M Stevens says:

    Quite an interesting, if not a bit disturbing, concept. Well done! Does it make me a bit odd that I sympatised with a despairing train?

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