Bad day for Bunny
The train was pulling in just as he’d reached the platform. Thinking he’d finally caught a break, Seth hopped on the end carriage. The rest of the platform was absolutely rammed – he could see them pushing and shoving to get through the doors. He didn’t have a seat, but he did have a pole to hang on to – for there were some pretty mean bends on the long run to the next stop.
Deep in thought, Seth had mused how it had not only been one of those days, but a right pig of a day. He’d slept through his alarm, the milk in the fridge had gone off ahead of it’s best before date and, as he hated drinking black coffee, he’d arrived at work in the foulest of moods. Work had been it’s usual demanding and miserable self and, just before going home time, Morty had rung. Knowing he needed the money, Morty had persuaded him into an after-hours gig – some teen’s birthday bash where the waiting staff were required to be in costume. Deciding on the rabbit costume as his safest bet – as no-one could see his face – he’d rapidly come to regret it.
For some reason, those girls went wild for him. Whenever they wanted drinks, they’d call out in chorus “here bunny, bunny, bunny …” and they’d pulled on his fluffy tail so much, it had come off. He was run ragged while the rest of the waiting staff stood round chatting. It had really been the cream on the rubbish cake of his day when his take home pay had been no more than theirs.
So when he’d discovered his peg empty, he’d made quite the scene truth be told – but it was his work suit, and he didn’t have the sort of money to replace it easily. In the end, one of the girls had sheepishly slid into the room, handed him a bag, and mumbled some sort of apology. Checking everything was there, he’d had to dash before changing, for he was close to missing the last train. He didn’t care if he got the odd stare, and the girl of his dreams wasn’t usually on the train this late.
Sure enough, he’d got the stares – considerably more than he’d expected. People on the last train were usually too drunk or too sleepy to pay much attention, that or their heads were bowed reading a newpaper or a book so wouldn’t notice if an alien walked by. But, tonight – there were not only stares, but mutters. Seth had decided he wasn’t going to rise to it, so he’d kept his gaze down in an attempt to ignore them.
Even more surprising, had been a mass exodus at the next stop. As Seth had moved to take one of the empty seats, he’d noticed the photo on the front page of a discarded newspaper. Someone in a rabbit costume – worryingly like the one he had on – except the rabbit in the photo carried some serious hardware. As he’d sunk into a seat, Seth read the headline – “cop killer on the loose”.
That’s when he’d heard her voice enquiring if he was OK. What had he said to himself about the girls of his dreams? Yup – it was her. She was looking at him with a decided twitch at one side of her mouth and he’d briefly wondered if she was about to have some sort of fit. Then she’d smiled – and it had been as gorgeous as he’d remembered. She’d checked first his bag, then her watch, then instructed him to strip. She’d handed him items of clothing from his bag – in the right order – so at least he was dressed when they’d come for him.
For they did – they’d burst in through the doors at the next stop. She’d also instructed him to stand and put his hands behind his head, so there’d been no doubt he was giving himself up. Last, she’d tucked a piece of paper into his top pocket as she’d watched – with that gorgeous smile – as they’d taken him away in handcuffs.
Those days in the cells had been rough, but eventually they’d caught the right guy. First thing he’d done on being released was ring that number she’d slipped into his top pocket. These days he told the story of that day as one of the best days in his life … as she looked on with that smile.
© Debra Carey, 2020
Life in the big city
Peter glanced at his watch for the third time as he shuffled along with crowds heading towards the platform. Warm air whuffed up the tunnel and there was as much of a surge as a shoal of sardines could manage in these confines as commuters sensed the imminent arrival of the train and tried to get to the platform. But there was no where for people to go, and as Boyle would tell you, increase the temperature and decrease the volume, and you were heading for some serious pressure. Still, this bunch were far from being an ideal gas.
He could hear irate voices coming up the tunnel. People were trying to get off the newly arrived train, onto a platform that was already fuller than could be imagined. Further pressure was generated, but eventually the mass of people in the tunnel made progress as people were able to exit and another tranche made their way into the carriages. Further delays ensued as another entitled jerk tried to force their way onto the train that was trying to depart, and wouldn’t accept that they and there expensive backpack were just fouling the doors. Peter wasn’t sure if the situation was resolved by the people on the train being made even more uncomfortable or whether Backpack had given up the struggle. Why didn’t they operate a one way system? The platforms, built at a time when the population was a tenth of what it was now, weren’t really designed for it, Peter supposed.
He’d managed to reach the top of the last flight of stairs down to the platform with the relief created by that last train, but it took him another 15 minutes to actually get into a carriage himself. His phone pinged in his pocket a couple of times, whilst he was in the crowd, but there was too much of a crush to even think of getting it out. Maybe, he should think about getting one of those new Google watches. Maybe not.
He was so tired. You’d think a giant rabbit would get more respect, but no, he was left standing, desperately trying not to fall asleep as he held on to the upright. Harvey had a lot to answer for. The flip side of having taken so long to get to the platform was that the passengers had thinned out a bit and there was actually room to breathe, and the air quality wasn’t quite as bad. It was pretty bad, but it could have been worse. Peter remembered his phone and pulled it out. Text messages. One from Alice, saying that she had a giant problem, one from his buddy – a photo, little more than a smile, suggesting that perhaps he’d got the cream, and one from a colleague letting him know that the boss was on the warpath and threatening physical violence. Same old, same old.
Peter checked his watch again, and sighed. There was no doubt about it. He was late. Late, late, late. Late, in fact, for a very important date. Life in the big city really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
(C) David Jesson, 2020
Author’s note: clearly a pre-covid setting…