“We’re on the wrong train!”
“Shit! This is on you, beard-face,” I replied, pushing the blame on my friend Mark, but also slightly grateful for the concise-yet-dramatic opening line his bearded face had just provided me with.
On the face of the situation, our story begins two days ago – a more innocent time, when summers were longer, and when you could only be nostalgic about things that happened several years ago. How times have changed.
My friend Mark and I were on our way to perform a comedy gig and were in particularly high spirits as I’d been rattling off James Blunt puns for most of the day. On the train there, we were both trying to concentrate on preparing our “sets” – lists of jokes – in order to give us the best possible chance of getting “laughs” – expressions of lively amusement and sometimes also of derision – from the audience. We were due to perform at a place called Market Harborough- a small market town near Leicester – and happy that I’d done enough preparation to at least be derided during my set, I let my concentration levels decrease as we got off at Leicester, ready to get another train taking us there. This was a bad move, as a few moments later we were accidentally boarding a train headed directly to London St Pancras – bare far from where we actually needed to go to.
This was a colossal error. However, when you look past the face of the situation and maybe into the sort of dry, flaky ear of it, (the kind of ear that people find disgusting even though they shouldn’t because it’s not the situation’s fault that he has problems with dry skin sometimes and anyway it’s personality that’s important and maybe he’s a funny guy so stop telling him he has ear-dandruff), our story begins much earlier. In my mind, the chain of events that lead to us getting on the wrong train began on 23rd June, when the electorate made it clear that they thought David Cameron and George Osborne were massive pricks. Unfortunately, people realised a few weeks later that the vote was actually about the EU; and this set a precedent for thoughtless people hurtling themselves in a direction were they will be financially worse off and made to feel stupid by a smarmy, metropolitan elite. London here we come.
“We’re on the wrong train!” Mark screamed again, trying to steer my attention away from my laptop, and a word document I’d just started working on, provisionally titled, ‘Train Fuck-Up Blog’.
“What do we do, Eric?’ He said.
“Well we’re fucked mate,” I replied. “The only thing to do now is to wait until we get to London, get off the train, find out when the next train home is, get on that, get off the train at the correct stop, go to our respective homes, brush our teeth, go to bed, sleep for eight hours, wake up, brush our teeth, eat some breakfast, plan the rest of the day, go for a walk, read for a bit, do some maths, think about life, worry about loneliness, watch pornography to forget about the loneliness, make a cup of tea, think about the loneliness some more because it wasn’t really a sexual thing, masturbate again because you think maybe there’s a chance it was a sexual thing and it will actually work this time, feel better for 0.0001 seconds, make another tea because the last one has gone cold now, take a sip, start thinking about loneliness again, resolve that you seriously need to think of a long term solution as you go to touch your dick again, read about mental wellbeing, go on youtube and watch motivational speeches from Rocky, get side-tracked and start watching that interview with Ed Miliband were he says “hell yeah, I’m tough enough”, laugh, feel better, think about how things might be great in the future, think about how in a lot of ways things are great now, have an epiphany, absolutely piss yourself laughing with joy at how good life is, go on Facebook, see a post from a girl you fancy, feel sad, think about loneliness, make another tea and go to bed. Repeat until dead”
When I stopped speaking, I looked at Mark and he was wearing earphones.
“Do you want a beer?” He said a few minutes later. “I’ve got some in my bag.”
He handed me a can and suddenly my comedy brain jumped into gear. This train may have been headed to St Pancras -but first we had to make a quick stop off at pun city.
Preparing my James Blunt voice and trying to supress my own laughter, I took a sip of beer and exclaimed “GOODBYE, MY LIVER.”
“Why are you not laughing, big boy?” I enquired.
“Because your stupid puns aren’t funny, Eric!” He said, absolutely losing his shit. “Just stop it – I was only laughing earlier out of politeness.”
I was shocked – it’s funny how stressful situations can turn even the most honest person into a liar.
Tensions were high, so we spent the rest of the journey in silence. Two train journeys later, I was back home in Leamington Spa. I entered the living room and turned the light on.
“You look awful –what’s happened to you?!” My flatmate Joe blurted (I dunno why he was sitting in the dark).
“Twenty-sixteen, Joe. Twenty-sixteen.”
Anyway, that’s about it.
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