How it goes

345. 1am. Bottom deck, just behind the wheelchair space.

A man and a woman sat down behind me. They had a studenty, end-of-the-night look about them. I got the impression they were flatmates.

The man began to complain, in clean, crisp tones and using curiously sober-sounding phrases such as whereby, in fact and rightly so, about a friend of theirs called March. March was one of those people who everyone likes, even though they are frustratingly elusive most of the time and materialise only to invite you to things at very short notice. The man had just turned down one such invitation and clearly felt the need to workshop the decision. ‘I’m not cross with him, I’m really not, it’s just how it goes. But the problem is, you see, that home is warm, and once I’m there I don’t like to leave. It’s alright if it’s half an hour, but a three-hour journey is simply too much, don’t you think?’

The woman, now slumped foward so that her long hair draped over the back of my seat, slurred something unintelligible.

The man carried on, undeterred. There were evidently a lot of angles to this whole March situation that he needed to consider. The woman slurred a few more times and then started breathing heavily into my ear.

The man was now talking more or less to himself. He was on a mission to solve the riddle of March, with or without our help. But he was becoming a little repetitive.

I was about to intervene when the woman suddenly sat up and declared, ‘Listen. This will end in one of only two ways: complete disaster or capitulation.’

March had better watch out…

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