Part two of ‘Dude, Where’s My Class?’ – a series of stories by Andrew Gladman, looking at the forgotten British working class.
I’d be lying if I said some part of me didn’t feel sorry for the sod. Don’t get me wrong, he’s in the wrong here, he knows what he’s done, he knows what he should have done and he is pissing me off. So yeah, I’m annoyed and, to be honest with you, this is the last thing I needed today. I mean, it’s been every other bleeding passenger coming up n’ asking about delays and temporary timetables and all the rest of it. I don’t know what’s going on. They’re saying it’s Great Northern or GTR or something. Nobody seems to have a bloody clue, to be honest with you. It’s a right balls-up! But yeah, so, last thing I need is some greasy little git, “oh, I forgot to grab a ticket, I didn’t know, I can’t afford it, I don’t want to pay, that’s not fair, broken home, blah blah blah” and all the rest of it.
“I’m not being funny, mate, but that’s not my problem,” I tell him. “Your problems are not my problem. Yeah? Now, you want to come through here, you’ve got to pay.”
“Yea, but, like, to be honest wiv you, yea, I just got out a my foster dad’s place n’, like, I mean I didn’ ‘ave much money on me anyways, you know, but we had, like, this proper fuckin’ blowout, man, you get me? Like, ‘e is fucked up, fucked way up in the head n’ that-“
“No, but, listen, yea, right, cos, like, ‘e was yellin’ at me an’ fuckin’ ‘ittin’ me, man, n’all the rest ‘f it, yea? So I just, like, fuckin’ ran out a there, like bolted, yeh get me?”
“That’s not my-“
“I din’t ‘ave any cash though!”
“-problem, not my problem!”
“Well, but, right, you tell me then, ‘ow am I meant t’ pay for a ticket, yea, when I ‘aven’t got no cash on me, yeah?”
Why do these sods have to make it so difficult?
What the fuck is this geezer playin’ at tho’? I ain’t got no fuckin’ ticket and I ‘aven’t got any money, what does ‘e think I’m gonna do? Eyeing me up in ‘is poncey fuckin’ hi-viz jacket like ‘e couldn’t give a fuckin’ shit, mate! What the fuck am I menta do? I can’t go back, now, can I? And I can’t get through ‘ere without a ticket, apparently, so there’s nowhere for me to go, is there? Fuckin’ joke, mate.
“Sir,” ‘e says again, “listen to me.” Fuckin’ patronisin’ bellend. “You are not coming through here without a ticket. You can’t go through without paying.”
“Pay with fuckin’ what tho, mate? I got no cash! Do you get that, yeah?”
I feel for him, in a way. I do, even if he’s being a twat about it. He probably don’t have the money. You know, he’s all scruffy, like he’s dressed in a charity shop or something, know what I mean? Don’t even know if this guy’s not, like, homeless or something. I don’t know. But, point is, however thick he might be, he knows he’s got to pay for a ticket, right? Sorry, but you can’t just expect to jump on and off wherever you like for free. Life don’t work like that.
I’m backed in a fuckin’ corner, tho! Like, I don’t want to be a prick about it or nuffin’, yea, but what the fuck can I actually do tho? Know what I mean? Nobody wants to be a fuckin’ problem or put up with all this shit, but it’s like there’s no option, no nuffing, for people like me who’ve got no cash or anythin’, yea? Not even my fault, man. It’s not even my fault.
“Okay, sir, you will be charged with a penalty fare-“
“I can’t pay for that, mate! I got no cash!”
“You don’t have to pay now, you’ll have twenty-one days. I’ll issue you with a notice-“
“I’m not doin’ that! I can’t afford all these fares n’ things, mate! I’m fuckin’ broke, I got kicked out my last job for no good fuckin’ reason, I don’t need this!”
“Well, you’ll have to pay, mate!” I say, sort of chuckling to myself. “You can’t just get on and off trains wherever you fancy without paying for it.”
“You’re messin’ me around ‘ere tho, man! Can you not just let me through? This in’t even fuckin’ worth it, y’know? This is, like, what, you just gonna keep me trapped ‘ere? At the fuckin’ station? You can’t fuckin’ do that, man! I want the fuckin’ police ‘ere! See what they ‘ave t’ say!”
“You’re the one who hasn’t paid for your ticket and now you’re getting aggressive with staff-” he throws his arms out like he’s got no idea what I’m talking about “-so I can call the police if you’d like, but they’ll be along to sort you out, mate, not me.”
“Call ’em then! Go on!”
I don’t care anymore. I got nuthin’. Got kicked out the fuckin’ call centre for too many sick days, got beat by my psycho fuckin’ foster dad, got no cash, nowhere to go. Just hopin’ to meet up wiv muh mates here, see if they can help out, y’know, and now I got this shit to deal wiv. Might as well get the police up ‘ere, probably going to end up in prison sooner or later anyways, know what I’m sayin’?
“Alright, I will,” dis joker says, all smugly. “I will call them, then. You stay there, mate.” An’ ‘e’s on the phone to ’em.
It will be a bloody relief handing this over to the old bill, I don’t mind telling ya! I don’t know what to do with this poor sod. I mean, I know he’s meant to be hit with a fine and all the rest of it, but when he clearly can’t pay, is obviously up shit creek in one way or another, I don’t know what I’m meant to do. At least the coppers should have some clue. If the tosser had just said he’d pay the fine when it came in the post and left it at that without getting all shirty, I’d send him on his way and have done with it. I mean, just for my bloody sake, why not just take the damn fine and get on your way, you know? Save us both all this rigmarole.
Shouldn’t’a told ‘im, man. Shouldn’t’a told ‘im I couldn’t pay the fucking fine, y’know? I just panicked though, thought I don’t even know what my address is going to be or if I’m gonna have one. Might end up on the streets again, know what I’m sayin’? Couldn’t give ‘im my foster dad’s place, ‘e would flip the fuck out if ‘e got that shit through ‘is door. I’d be fuckin’ dead meat, you get me? And now this tosser’s on the phone to the police an’ I might as well just go with ’em, you know what I’m sayin’? No fuckin’ hope for me anywhere else. But then, yeah, there’s all these people comin’ off a train or whatever, all walkin’ down the platform and the guy, yea, well, ‘e’s wandered off a bit. This load a people come between us and he’s gettin’ distracted as ‘e hangs up the phone and people’s asking ‘im questions an’ stuff, y’know. And, I swear down, I dunno what fuckin’ comes over me but, man, I fuckin’ leg it. Well, not leg it ‘xactly, but sorta slip away, ‘ead down, quick walk, blendin’ in wiv the crowd and that, y’know? I’m right up close be’ind this woman in front, sorta fit but uptight-looking posh bird, y’know, an’ she’s in such a hurry like all those office types, she don’t even notice me run through the gates right on ‘er tail as they open for ‘er ticket. Some station bod catches me, must be, like, out the corner of ‘is eye though, cos there’s this confused sorta stammer out ‘is mouth, like ‘e ain’t sure of ‘imself, an’ then, when I’m practically at the door, ‘e’s shoutin’ after me. I think I can ‘ear the guy who was on the phone to the police too, y’know, but they’re both way be’ind me now, man. I’m out. I’m free. I fuckin’ did it! New city, new life, new me, y’know what I’m sayin’? Freedom, man. Just gotta find someone t’ gimme a hand gettin’ started, like, yea.