Author's Note: This was pieced together from two stories - the first was a simple chance meeting between two strangers that was entirely innocuous and the other a highly charged rant by a bouncer. The two slowly became one when I realised that the narrator that appears in final version was, in fact, the same person in my head, but that I hadn't connected them in the plot. So, this is almost like two parts of the one story. I tried to be clever in the development of the story, and the three strands, but it almost doesn't work. I think this might've been a lot better with a different structure.
Look at them. The drones of the Great Saturday Pretend, the social life of a robot and the clueless abandon of the generation left behind. Their drinks glinting in the dark as the colourful un ironic disco lights bounce off the perspiring plastic pint and small measure glasses. There’s a sick twisted ballet to the floor as it sways and bounces and cheers in handed down love of material that was washed out and beige upon release. It’s always Summer of ’69, it’s always Like a Prayer, it’s always Dexy’s Midnight Runners. Come on Aileen, fuck off already. There’s no more blood for you to suck dry, these soulless social vampires are the un dead and the immortal.
“Hm”. Checked. “Thank you”
I looked back out the window. The country rolled past.
“Where are you heading”
“Home” I answer. The person asking me had been staring at me the whole time I had been on the train. I wondered when he would ask me something.
“Where’s home?” he asked.
“What’re you doing up in Fort William?”
“Was doing some sight seeing, some hill walking” I motion to the luggage rack above us and my big rucksack and walking poles.
“Professional walker, eh?” he asks.
“Sure looks like it!”
“Well, not really”
I look towards the other seats in the train.
“I used to do some walking a long time ago. Hurt my back and since then… not so much. Used to love it though.”
“Yeah?” I say noncommittally.
“Yes, back when I was younger and fit. I used to go most weekends. Ben Mac Dui, Ben More, Schiehallion, the Lairig Ghru…”
“Yeah, I’ve bagged a fair few.”
“Looks like it.”
Silence returned. I looked out the window. It was dark and overcast. It was threatening to rain. It was Scotland.
“Is this seat taken?”
“Nope, go ahead.” I looked at the coffee shop and it was busier than I remembered. I had been there for a while I guessed.
“No problem.” I rustled my paper and regained concentration on the words and lines.
“Great weather outside isn’t it?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah it’s okay. Better than rain.” I admitted. I glanced up at the stranger. He was looking at me directly.
“Are you reading this part?” he motioned to the sports section.
“No, on you go pal.”
I looked back at the paper.
“You know something… I recognise you.” he says. The train sounds it’s horn.
“Yeah, I am sure of it. Maybe we’ve spoke before.”
“No I’m certain of it. Oh well, maybe it’ll come to me.”
I smile at the guy. I have no idea who he is.
“Hey, have we met before?” he asks over the top of the sports section.
“No, I don’t think so.” I say.
“Oh right. I just… I just recognise you I think.”
“Ha, I get that a lot.”
“Oh well. Maybe I’m mistaken.”
I look back at my paper. He’s still looking at me.
“No, I’m certain I know you.”
“I get that a lot.”
“I am sure of it.”
“Do you know Clair and John Brae?”
“I don’t think so.”
He isn’t going to give up.
“Maybe I don’t know you.” he says. I am looking at my paper again. He looks up and sighs.
He then puts his head phones in and starts to read the sports section.
“Maybe I don’t know you.” he says. I am looking out of the train again. He looks up and sighs.
He then puts his head phones in and starts to read a book.
Here comes this prick Dan mentioned to me about. Looks bold as brass.
“Oi, you ya fucking cunt!”
“Fuck off pal” I say, turning my back on him.
“No, you, you prick, you were hassling my pal John weren’t you?”
“Fuck no, get a grip.”
“That’s his girlfriend.”
“I know that, I work with Clair!”
“Well why the fuck’d you try it on with her?”
“I didn’t, what the fuck is this?”
“She said that when you were on that hill walking trip you went to kiss her and grabbed her arse you cheating scumbag”
“I did nothing of the sort.” I push him away, into the crowd.
“Don’t fucking push me you prick”
“Maybe I did, but she wanted it too”
“Yeah, fucking bitch. John can probably do better than that piece of trash.”
“Fuck you pal.”
“No fuck you.”
I hit the cunt in the face. His nose explodes and the rest of my colleagues are looking at me. The music has stopped. The dancing has stopped. The room was looking.
“Jesus, look at my nose you fucker.”
I look at his nose. Its pretty badly bleeding. Probably broken. I look at the room.
“Fucking dance then!” I shout. “Fucking dance! What the fuck you all looking at? You… you are all shitless fucks. I hate you all. You speak about me, about my silent nature, and then you pretend you don’t know. You don’t see me. Well I see all of you as clear as day. You prod me and prod me and take the piss and take the piss, and then you watch as I take it. Well fuck off. Clair wanted it as much as I did, so there you go. Fuck you Clair, you broke me. You broke this. And it cannot be fixed.”
I look at the room. Fucking unoriginal bunch, dancing their little lives away in that fucking shitty little bubble they call normal life. I am out of here.
“Dance dance dance you cunts, dance. Dance till you forget what a waste you all are.”
I leave. It’s dark and overcast outside. It’s threatening to rain. It’s Scotland.
I look up at him reading his book. He looks at me.
I smile. “Dance dance dance.” I say. He keeps looking at me.I return to my thoughts.