Thursday, 22 April 2010

Long walk home

I stuff my feet into narrow shoes for the same reason I bin my glasses as soon as a I leave the office - foolish vanity. This, despite the fact I have the vision of a diabetic pensioner and feet as dainty as ham chunks.

Scaling the broken escalators at Earls Court is all it takes for my feet to bubble with blisters. On top of this, I have also come down with a bad case of horse-rider's bottom. It gets so bad that I cannot walk to the printers - the only break I get from my desk. And I thought my shifts couldn't get any more painful.

Finish at 11pm, then shuffle to the tube, passing the homeless man who is sleeping on pages of the newspaper I work for. Finally reach Ealing station and consider kicking my shoes off right there, but then I spot some fresh phlegm shining under a street lamp, surrounded by bits of broken beer bottle. I hobble on to the grassy Common, where I see that Bob Wilson's funfair has started to set up - there are helter skelters, ghost trains and wobbly rides with names like Kool Musik Xpress. Some carnies are sitting outside their caravans in the dark with a dog.

I take my shoes off and carry them, wincing in the moonlight, and stagger across the wet Common to the flat. I eye them suspiciously and think: 'If any of those carnies wanted to attack me, I would be toast.' They look at me, laugh and shout: 'Careful darlin!' They clearly think I am a drunk who has staggered out of Wetherspoon's. If only.

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