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Angela Watt, 02 Apr '13

Oh boy am I in trouble now. He told me to be so careful and I was. I dressed in everyday clothing – you know so that I’d fit in more. It felt weird but I did it because he said this was my chance to prove myself. I wore some flesh toned make-up to give myself a bit more colour so that I wouldn’t stand out in the crowd and I deliberately avoided eye contact. Thankfully there were no nutters on board – you know the sort who insist on talking to you. I tried to keep as far away from the others as I could too. They feel so warm. It makes me feel uncomfortable but mostly it’s the smell. Let me think how can I describe it to you. Oh, yes - it’s like the smell of bacon. You know – you didn’t think you were hungry until you smell bacon and then you want a bacon sandwich. See, you know exactly what I mean.

I only had three stops, so I thought I’d be able to hold it together for that long. I really kept myself to myself as I know how easily things can get out of hand. We’ve been there before on a couple of occasions and we could well do without the publicity. The Press like to blow things up and always paint us in a negative light. If only they’d take the time to get to know us or at least send someone to interview us for our perspective. We might get a few more supporters that way. Our business can be a tricky one to be in. It’s so easily misunderstood. We generally like to keep the organisation secret or as secret as possible. Naturally we have one or two die-hards (sorry no pun intended) that have infiltrated the system but let’s just say they were taken care of. We’ve stopped hiring new recruits at the moment. The boss says that it’s better to keep our numbers small for now. Well we can’t exactly downsize in our trade. He says he’s working on a plan for the future. We all attended the Vision and Values workshop. It looks like there’s going to be some dramatic growth which was why I was glad of this opportunity. I thought it might help me with the promotion I was after. He’d already told me I’d shown lots of initiative and tended not to follow the crowd like so many of the others. I’ve seen them at their worst. They’re so stereotypical. Not me though – I want to make something of myself. “You’re a long time dead,” as they say. We laugh at that all the time in the office. It really cracks us up.

I should have taken a taxi and now I’m kicking myself. That would have been the sensible option. However, I checked the traffic reports this morning and as usual London was on a go slow. Besides which I much prefer being underground. The boss had also told me that the bag needed to be delivered promptly. He told me that our client had a deadline and it was imperative that it was met.

Things would have been fine. They would have worked out, had it not been for the fact that there was an electrical failure somewhere near Sloane Square. The train slowed and then stopped for what seemed an interminable amount of time. Yes ok, I know that I’ve got all the time in the world ahead of me, but it’s still frustrating and the deadline was looming. And then the smell became unbearable – completely unbearable. All that bacon sizzling around me as the train got hotter and hotter. It was impossible and I was really worried about what I might do. I had to get off to avoid any shall we say “potential indiscretions.” The train suddenly jerked into movement and within minutes I felt the cool breeze as the doors opened and I rushed onto the platform to get myself together. I even heard the “Mind the Gap” announcement and watched as the doors snapped shut and saw the man who had been standing across from me holding up the black canvas bag and mouthing “Is this yours?” as the train pulled away. It was hard to take it all in. I can honestly say that “I really did want to die”. Impossible I know.

I make my way up to the street. I can’t possibly head to the Lost Property office, after all they’re going to ask me what I’ve lost and I can’t stand there and tell them it’s a black canvas bag full of human skulls. Or can I? Could I pretend that it’s of some historical or archaeological significance and fool them into returning it to me? Perhaps. I walk to a park and sit on a bench for what must be at least twenty minutes trying to work out my plan.

And there it is. He knows. My mobile is ringing and it’s him. No doubt the client has contacted him to say that we’ve missed the delivery deadline. Oh, well nothing ventured, nothing gained. I throw the mobile into the nearest bin and walk away. Perhaps it’s time for a new faction to begin and I know just the man to do it.

Comments · 2

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  • Angela Watt said...

    I wrote this after being given an exercise to do by my local writing group. The exercise was about things that had been handed in at the London Transport Lost Property office, one of which was a bag of human skulls. I really enjoyed writing it and had a lot of fun. I hope that you enjoy it too and welcome any feedback you might have.

    • Posted 8 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Hi Angela. Very enjoyable. There's a nice intimate tone to the character's internal dialogue, and I found myself quickly viewing things from his perspective. Seems like a good starting point as well, plenty of potential in a bag of skulls :)

    • Posted 8 years ago