Shiny Rails


I put on my skinny jeans, and I add my posh suit shirt – brilliant white with the black buttons – and my suit blazer.  The shoulder and the lapel is still dusted with her make up.  The hug was so tight, she left herself behind on me.

I look elegant in my suit.  It appears expensive but actually it was bought for peanuts.  Walking to the station I shield my eyes from a Spring Sun with aviators.  Behind dark lenses, I people watch with the relentlessness of an indecisive hunter.  One woman walks past and fixes her gaze on me; a mix of admiration and confused distain.  What’s a bum like you doing in that nice suit? I can almost hear her mind asking.  It’s a fair question, but to stop her in the street and explain everything would be…. well…. unbecoming.

At the train station’s pub, I sit outside.  It’s 11am and I’m already on my first beer.  A man in front of me loudly brings phlegm up from the depths of his anus, gargles it into a ball and spits onto the floor, all the while looking me straight in the eye.  I look back down to my book.  I’d bought it earlier to accompany me on the journey and hopelessly tried to flirt with the pretty cashier.  A middle aged couple look nervous and leave soon afterwards without buying anything.  Two guys are playing cards; or more specifically one guy is playing cards and the other is losing badly, constantly, incredulously.  Are You Fucking Serious?  Again?  None of them know anything about football, but they’re talking about it regardless.


Another bar, another part of town.  A young couple sit at a table opposite me with their little daughter Sophia and their grandmother.  The young couple are bad-tempered and jittery; his arms are pock-marked with little red holes and her eyes are sunk so far they peer nervously from behind cheekbones as though hiding behind cover in a gunfight.  Granny is protesting, she doesn’t want coffee! doesn’t like coffee! but Daddy insists, just sit down and fucking drink it.  Mummy and Daddy go into the disabled toilets together.

Gran pours several sugars and an entire jug of milk into her coffee until it almost overflows; then she has a sip but it’s still disgusting to her.  She turns to Sophia and starts talking about miscarriages.  Then she tries to get Sophia to say Grah-knee or So-fee-aah but the kid just gurgles happily and plays with her own feet.

Grah-nee?  Sew-fee-aaaah?

Mummy and Daddy return from the toilets.  They’re vibrating with new energy and eager to leave, come on COME ON leave the coffee to poor old Granny who prefers to move in minutes rather than seconds.  Granny tries to have another sip but Daddy insists they HAVE TO GO.


At the crossroads, I looked at a skyline I don’t really know.  I listened to a street busker playing a beautiful song.  I stared at people I don’t recognise.  The song finished and – I swear this is true – the light instantly switched from red to green so we could all cross, and I knew where I was going and I knew where I had to be, and I knew I was lost.

Author: jimmicampkin

Writer and photographer (and occasional other things) currently living in the North East of England. Everything is my own unless otherwise stated. So blame me.

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