Nervous System

A large solid bowel movement is nestling in my lunchbox and there’s a smug expression on my son’s face, a face otherwise blanched from the eight cans of stout he’s drunk through the night.

I know the exact amount as I’d been saving them for my birthday next week, there being all mine.

Without a word he waddles out and I notice the bulge of my foil wrapped sardine sandwiches through his pink jogging bottoms, the ones he says make women quiver with heat, guilt and madness.

I don’t say anything though, I’m far too intimidated.

Mum insists on inspecting my ticket inspector’s uniform every morning before a shift. She’s a hair puller and is known to get quite feisty; I’m grateful for her dutiful attention and to show my appreciation I daren’t let standards slip.

Running a lint comb over my lapel the house phone rings and before I know what’s happening I’m in the hall speaking to mother;

“Henry, are you sitting down?”

“No.”

“I am: with your old boss.”

“Mr. Jo?”

“Hm.”

“But he used to send me home in tears.”

“Yes, that’s him.”

“We’ve not spoken in years.”

“No, you’ve had no reason to. And you won’t in the future. You’re not to come here anymore.”

“Well I’ll certainly miss you mother.”

“Please dry up, Son. You should be ashamed of yourself for coming round here, dressed up in your clown’s outfit, embarrassing the neighbors and harassing me.”

“Sorry.”

Click.

I’m only half surprised; good luck to her I say.

I don’t bother brushing my dentures, even though I forgot to soak them last night. I just munch them in from where they’re sat by the toaster.

Before I leave the house I stuff the custom made taser-gun (with the safety catch on) down the front of my frayed cotton briefs. The zapper feels empowering wrestling my nut-sack with each step.

It cost a month and a half worth of savings to obtain the thing. Met a man in a classic rock chat-room who claimed he could build me one for a fee.

He was right. On the way to pick it up last week I was worried he would just taser me then walk off with my cash – but it turns out not everyone’s a scoundrel out to take the rise.

I let close my front door, turn, and see my bicycle’s been brutally murdered in the night.

They’ve stolen the handlebars, seat and stamped on the spokes. What really hurts though; is after doing all that they took the time to let the tires down.

Also, my garden-gnome’s head has been used to smear dog waste into an offensive slogan that spans the entire drive.

I’m sad to see they’ve used Crikey Bill’s head – my ex-wife’s favorite.

Gingerly, with no undue disgust, I pick up Old Crikey and lay him feet first into the pond to clean up. It’s so sad seeing Bill half submerged, like he’s been slapped, tasered then thrown from a window. Then it dawns on me that I’m facing the long hard walk to work; the luxury of emergency minicabs being a folly of youth.

Rats.

And I’m in a world of wearisome discomfort due to ‘Meister Gigantean’.

‘MG’ is a golf-ball sized (and hardened) dome of pink and olive green flecked pus-water on my right ankle. I’ve tried stabbing it and burning it. I’ve promised it a ceremonial tasering on my birthday, as a treat.

It’s like a demon crustacean is perpetually sucking my ankle. Mother insists it’s the result of stress and as it doesn’t hurt – but just seems to grow – I‘m resigned to believe her.

So;

Uniform: Present (but without check).

Lunch: Absent.

Taser: Present.

Bike: Absent.

I steel my resolve as I’ve just about broken even and can afford to be optimistic about the shift. I love trains, the disrespectful, inpatient people I can do without but the lovely, docile trains can stay.

Arriving at the station, at the foot of the main steps, I see a commuter in an expensive suit. He is lying in a big pool of blood that’s leaking from his cranium. The man’s body is snapped to an unnatural angle and there is a crowed, captained by a policeman, gathered around the poor fellow.

I’m a little crestfallen to see the spectators are comprised of people I’ve fined over the past month, but I barge up to the policeman anyway and inform him that I know first aid.

At my heroic statement the commuter, whom I now recognize as a drinker on the late train, rolls his eyes in his bleeding skull up at me and frowns. The flustered policeman grabs me and screams,

“Sir, you’re being unduly distracting. Why don’t you stop pestering us here and just go do your job?”

As it’s an emergency, I ignore my innate drive to obey a voice in uniform and kneel down by the casualty. I selflessly rest my knee in the man’s cold blood and attempt to take his pulse.

The cop smacks a rigid claw onto my neck and yanks me up onto my feet. This violence is perpetrated with such vehemence my feet slip in the gunk and I kick a wet cigarette end into the prone chap’s eyeball.

The policeman barks something very mean, mingled with a tone that betrays an imminent recourse to mace. The sneering mob’s shouting at me so I abandon the rescue mission and slink off towards the over-priced platform café.

As I head away, I hear the constable shout, “And sluice your mouth out knob, your dentures are rotting.”

The café’s a tomb.

I treat Gem to a lithe beaming jig as I approach the counter. Once prostrated before her I take a moment to visually inhale her voluminous, sweat-paneled hamster cheeks and I feel a delicious nerve twitch down below.

Her expression betrays a certain disappointment at my presence which is reinforced by the fact she’s already readied my coffee. Gem shoves it over the counter and holds out her hand. I give her a ten pound note hoping to feel her fingertips when she hands me back my change, but the six pounds fifty is chucked onto the counter.

I don’t complain she’s charged me for a medium when mine’s clearly a small, as her hostile attitude is making me nervous.

Outside, as expected, the lukewarm coffee’s disgusting and into the bin it sails as I bound onto the train like a spring lamb, eager to bring order to an anarchic populace.

I’m greeted by a savage human funk of effluvium, enzymes and nitric acid which swiftly pops my altruistic bubble. Down through the carriages I see through streaming eyes a party of man, woman and child.

The little girl’s surreptitiously adding vodka to her carton of black-current – I pace over to them with purpose, determined to set a good example for this clearly bedeviled family.

She notices me and the vodka shoots back into the shopping bags and is replaced with an innocent-looking tangerine. For no reason I can see other than provoking me the kid spits a strawberry mushroom cloud over the window. I know she’s been drinking, so decide not to tussle.

Shockingly, there are no tickets on their person.

They serve me up some freeze-dried hokum about not seeing an inspector, then getting on at the last station and the ticket office being closed. I know that’s false, as I’m pleased to inform them, as the previous station has recently acquired activated barriers.

No play with me my friends, cough up, I tell them jovially.

Then the man starts swearing and the woman starts screeching and the kid spits again and eventually the girl takes out a twenty pound note from a red plastic purse with kitten’s face on it, muttering something about birthdays and pocket money as she hands it over.

I punch out the tickets and I’m glad to walk away but wouldn’t you know they can’t resist shouting at my back so I turn to tell them off, open my mouth to roar at them and the kid launches the tangerine in there: an impressive, once in a lifetime crack-shot which phases us all momentarily.

The man staggers towards me offering tittering apologies while the woman kills herself with hysterics. The man reaches me and invades my space with a rancid oil slick breath that I get a blast of the second I’ve spat the tangerine out.

He’s sorry enough but his big hands are busily squeezing and groping around my chest. When the train lurches I feel a few of my nipple hairs dislodge but I daren’t shove him away. He turns nodding his approval at the family unit and I use the lull to do something I’ve never done before:

I run full speed away from them and hide in the adjoining carriage. I will not move until they’ve hopped off at the next station, which no doubt they will, as they’ll think I’ve gone to summon the police.

I only get up from the floor between the seats when the train stops and the doors blast open.

I kneel on a seat-cushion and peer out of the window and gasp when a further tangerine bombs against the glass. The train moves off, thankfully without them.

And only then do I remember I’ve got a ruddy taser in my pants and that’s exactly where my hand disappears to next!

A surge of internal power later and I feel all supreme as I stalk my rocking carriages hunting for a rude swine to administer a darn good tasering to.

Just as I’m swearing on everything I hold dear, even saying I’ll propose to Gem if I’m presented a victim: I see him.

Hair lank and aura modest, he has doughy eyes and a calmness bordering on the sedate. His t-shirt is a mucky orange.

I stand above him – mentally preparing to reach into my pants at the slightest hint of insubordination.

“You. Ticket.”

“Oh, sorry – yes, here you are.”

Softly spoken, an easy target, I feel blessed.

“What’s this?”

“Sorry, you did want to see my ticket, didn’t you?”

“No I wanted to check your prostate, what costume am I wearing cock-head?”

Then, in his emerging, sweetly intimidated stammer; “it’s all correct isn’t it?”

“Think I’ll be the judge of that.”

I take the ticket from his slender pink fingers and tear it up in his face, slowly.

“That will be fifteen pounds forty pence.”

“But you don’t know where I’m going…”

“Eat Taser!” I scream ramming the crackle box onto his forehead and generously zapping him.

The effect of me finally getting to perpetrate and not absorb violence nearly detonates an orgasmic rupture to my internal structure. The train’s pulling in.

I flee whipping across the platform, up the stairs and vault the barriers. Outside I’m sprinting homewards determined to taser everyone that’s deemed me prey; my fat son, the dumb hooligans, my mother and the ex wife – I’ll stuff this righteous bolt-thrower up my boss’s rectum and sling the wretched parakeet down an escalator!

Then I hear the sirens.

I hope it’s the cold corned-beef sandwich that refused to let me help that banker at the station, so I can taser the helmet of Constable Conceited to cinders!

Hurdling the iron railing which splices the road – taser and throat cackling – my blistered ankle finally pops.

“Not now!”

And it’s like being shot.

Crumpled on the ground I see the police cars pull up beside me. It is indeed my least favorite acquaintance and I can see no other options than to sadly eat the taser.

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Mike Goddard works with the elderly and studied film in Cornwall. Besides writing, he is slowly unravelling the mysteries of Spanish cooking and developing the confidence needed to drive through London.