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One day in who`s life

by nasha17 

Posted: 30 November 2004
Word Count: 751
Summary: This is not a mistake in the title, though i'm not really sure if it works. It's a day in who is life, but will that have its desired effect? I also want it to be a short story, but does it really fit the criteria? I would appreciate any comments at all!


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At the train station, in the morning, i held back in the queue, nor at the front, nor at the back, average, wanting a seat but not sure how to open those big Great Western doors. A weathered commuter revealed the entrance for the rest, stop-starting at the descent of the fugitives. I stumbled upon an aisle seat next to a grey man reading The Times and hoped he might discard the supplement with the easy crossword. He did not, but I managed to entertain myself, this being a non-habitual journey. Pinstriped arseholes gathered here, huffing when foreign ladies gently questioned the use of the window seat as a beige raincoat hanger. Laptops were slowly, slightly relocated with their accessories to allow the owner to cause enough disturbance to make the window-seater decide to stand next time.

I stared at a middle-aged woman opposite me; she had a highlighted plummy small bob and a certain aged beauty and she was proud of the Christian Dior compact she used to touch up her jerking crows' feet. Her eyes stayed still; she had no newspaper but wore commuterís clothes. I watched for a long time, shamefully diverting my eyes as she caught them, but she benevolently gave me a true smile and changed the trainís tone.

What a cacophony of departure! There was no chance of being near to first. I was early for my appointment and very unprepared for a battle.

On the tube a young man caught my attentions. I think he looked similar to an old friend of my brotherís, with atypically cropped brown hair. He wore a suit but no tie and balanced a battered briefcase between his legs, where I noticed he was wearing scarlet Converse basketball shoes, not typical of the IT employee he had grown up to become. I wondered if he had a long way to walk to the offices of his demise.

A four hour wait lay ahead of me and I thought I may tantalise the concealed tourist in me and visit the Covent Garden I imagined. I walked for a long time trying to find what I believed to be present but kept circling back to the very few stalls of fork-bracelets or Big Ben t-shirts. The cobbled centre held mostly foreign schoolchildren in shell-suits giggling and yawning alongside a few squatting student types eating baked potatoes from polystyrene. I needed to satisfy animal urges, my body rumbled and I decided on an outdoor area, fully peopled and looking onto the cobbled square. Hunger beckoned.

I sat alone in a lucky spot of winter sun. I slowly ate the spaghetti and absorbed the view. Many people wandered past, some very close. They did not take notice, occupied, but I saw them all. I saw a young man. He walked like all the others with a case in one hand and I had lost interest when he picked up a rubbish bin and shook it free of its contents.

He was a short man who followed this bizarre action by standing on the bin and shouting. Had this smartly dressed computer programmer lost his connection and would he soon ping and have to be programmed further, for the good of contemporary conformity? He was really shouting, almost barking and none of his words I heard. He leaped and now with his baggage, climbed aboard. His case seemed reluctant to reveal its guts but he forced repeatedly, nearly in a comic manner and then a knife was in his hand. I jumped and two more revealed their own shining ambitions. Machetes, twenty metres from me. How could the faceless population relax as this mad man cajoled the knives around his body? None had yet fallen into passersí hearts but so many children were milling. I was paralysed with confusion as the minders placed pennies in the young onesí hands. They started to throw their own shiny metal at a point I could not see and as they scattered, I saw an upturned trilby and the madmanís eyes pointing towards it. The red-shoed street performer wondered if he would have enough for his rent arrears.

I picked up my new passport and the expiry date said March 2013. A first ten-year passport is a frightening possession to hold. The following day I boarded a flight to a city of which I knew little, where I followed my passport to a city of which I knew nothing. I cried twice but remained at the median, always.






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Comments by other Members



Nell at 18:14 on 30 November 2004  Report this post
Hi nasha,

Welcome to WriteWords.
This is a strange little piece. Without having read any of your other work I can't really tell whether you're experimenting with language or whether your narrator's voice is original and different. It would seem, judging by the deliberate ambiguity in the title that this may well be the case, but to be honest it didn't quite work for me - there was a question mark hanging over the whole reading. The last para is tantalizing - I like that sentence The following day I boarded a flight to a city of which I knew little, where I followed my passport to a city of which I knew nothing... and the one following which seems to suggest that Who's is someone between worlds, or at least in the middle or the centre of something. I think for me slightly more information is needed about the mysterious Who's, some adjustment of language too, not necessarily to make it conform to standard English, but so that the reader could gauge your intent with certainty. In spite of all the above this has a certain charm.

Nell.

Dee at 14:13 on 01 December 2004  Report this post
Nasha, welcome to WW. As Nell says, this piece has charm Ė but it is very strange.

Itís good to experiment with language but if your readers have to work too hard to understand what you mean, youíll lose them. And beware of experimenting to the point where youíre saying something you donít mean. For instance:

He wore a suit but no tie and balanced a battered briefcase between his legs, where I noticed he was wearing scarlet Converse basketball shoes, not typical of the IT employee he had grown up to become. I wondered if he had a long way to walk to the offices of his demise.
Heís wearing shoes between his legs? I know (assume) thatís not what you mean but thatís what youíre saying. And how do you know heís an IT employee? Offices of his demise? Do you mean a dead-end job?

Youíve not indicated the level of comment you want so I apologise if this is too harsh. Itís meant to be helpful. You have a great flair for words and Iíd like to see you polish this up.

Dee


nasha17 at 14:55 on 04 December 2004  Report this post
Thank you both. This is the first thing I ever wrote spontaneously. It is based on the day I went to pick up my passport, just in time for my trip around the world. I have always wondered whether it works. Of course, I know exactly what I mean!

Dee, you are correct and I guess it should be either, "when I noticed" or "and I noticed". I will change it.

At the start of the day, the narrator is very judgemental about the commuters, all wearing the same clothes. The boy on the tube is considered another one of them, and despised because of it, but he turns out to be a street-performer. You must not judge people too much, I realised. Who is life? Nobody should criticise someone for doing an IT degree, although I will never understand it.

"One day at the races" is another story of mine. It's very different but I think the voice is similar. Not sure...

I will try a re-work, thank you very much and don't apologise!

Natasha


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