And there it goes, the train I’m supposed to be on, happily now jogging along to Brighton. Unfortunately I’m stuck on Shoreham train station now, its late at night and its a half an hour to the next train. Nothing for it but to sit on a seat and wait it out.
I have a secret weapon, Haruki Murakami’s book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. This book has been by my side during tribal drinking in Suffolk, funicular rides in Hastings, Ig and Ms Moons wedding and stazi grilling at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (It has an appalling new pay to enter policy except for residents assuming you carry a poll tax bill around with you for fun. Another place struck from my list.) . Now it finds itself on Shoreham train station but still it fits right in. I’m happily reading away when the two young men who have been drinking with a young woman down the end of the platform walk up to my end to point at something on the track they put there days ago. As they turn to go back to the girl the alpha male, boozed up on absinthe (he offers me some, I decline) asks me what the front of my book says. I say Murakami, they have fun trying to pronounce it and then ask what its about? I’ve been in situations like this before and its gonna be tricky to avoid conflict with the alpha male, he’s a little too far gone to reason with, I pause.
I decide to use the plot to Haruki’s book as my weapon of choice. I describe to them that its about a group of friends but that one day four of the friends decide to reject the fifth friend and banish him from the group. The plot appeals to my absinthe drinking friends, they’ve been here before and are familiar with such machinations. Its at this point that the absinthe shows its colour, without any pause or thought the alpha male says ‘he’s a rapist’. My jaw drops, how on earth did he come up with that (a fear grows in my mind, but no point in going there, I can’t do anything about it anyway). The plot does indeed accuse the fifth man of being a rapist and so alpha male is spot on. The beta male is beginning to like the sound of the book and if he’d been alone some work could have been done. But he’s not and there’s an alpha male still to deal with. I continue with the plot but my arrow has struck home and alpha male walks away, disarmed, beta follows. They go back to the girl and their chatter begins.
My train comes in and sitting on it waiting for it to pull out I’m tempted to throw my book out to them. I pause too long and the train whisks me away.