Friday, February 22, 2008

Brief encounter

I'm standing on the platform at Clapham Junction waiting for the doors of the train to open. Through the glass I can see a huge black man who looks as if he could beat up Mr T with his little finger. He has no discernible neck and seems to consist of pure muscle. During the five seconds that it takes for the doors to open, I have already managed to imagine a whole life for him and wonder what it must be like to know that you could beat the crap out of anyone you liked. What would I do with that power?

The doors open and I notice that he's holding a paperback in his right hand. A novel. As we pass each other I quickly look down to see what the book is. If I was locked in a room for a month, I would never guess the answer.

He's reading Catherine Cookson.

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