Lost ma ticket, says the shaggy-faced man, his voice fading in the curved iron cathedral of the station. He stinks of pee. He doffs his grime-shiny cap. A bluebottle finds the sore on his mottled crown. He fumbles, pulls out two rolled tenners from his sock and slides them back.
The train rumbles in. He totters across with flapping concertinaed heels. The orbiting fly accompanies him. Holding noses, passengers escape to the next carriage. He and I wait. The train should have left.
Lost ma ticket, he pleads with the policeman shepherding him off while another waits on the platform.
Judy Birkbeck’s work has appeared in Litro, Lampeter Review, Liars’ League, Unthology 9, East of the Web, Aesthetica, Manchester Review, Leicester Writes, Mechanics’ Institute Review #15 and Ellipsis Zine. Her novel, Behind the Mask is Nothing, is published by Holland House Books.