Monday, 28 September 2009

Down in the tube station at midnight

I avoided a noisy drunk as I wandered through the bus station after college. He had a bunch of flowers and a bad attitude, slumped at a bus stop and swearing. I wriggled inside my duffel coat, kept my head down, and walked on to my stop.

Buses on the hour and half hour meant I was in for a wait. The drunk showed up, and started hassling two young girls waiting for my bus. He eased his way in. To start with, resting his flowers on the empty bench near them, then trying to engage them in conversation, and then increasing his volume until he was almost shouting at them. I caught the eye of one of the girls. "Come here," I mouthed to her silently, "come on."

They stood, came to me. I put my hand on one girls shoulder, and moved them on to one side of me, with the drunk on the other. And he came over, growling at them. I put my body between the girls and the drunk. He growled at me too. I didn't say anything, but I didn't move either. He shouted. I didn't move. He shouted some more. I still didn't move.

Then he went.

"Thank you."

I wondered how Batman would reply, but realised I could never be that cool, so I just smiled.

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