11:15 Oxford Road

One of the lairy gang from before starts singing a Queen song. He’s a beady-eyed fucker with a cheap gold chain bulgin’ around his fat neck. Directly cross from me, and, it seems, oblivious to the fat bastard murdering the soft-rock ballad, two excited guys in their late teens discuss the gig they’ve just seen at the Ritz.

Now, that’s summat I can relate too. I’ve been doing this run for years. First as a kid to see gigs, then in my own band playin’ em. Fame was slow to come though, so I started flyering for a club, then did a bit of bar work and eventually, I became a bar manager. As is custom in that trade, I passed the nights of mopping up the piss and chucking out the cunts with a large amount of cocaine. Now, that is a shitty drug. Started taking out the till to keep up with the bills, and, well, you should not fuck with the kind of people who own places like tha. If you play with fire, you get burned. Then buried. If yer lucky.

So, to pay off the debt, I do what they tell me. Whatever they tell me. Courier mostly, stuff like this, swapping packages with the Mancs. I didn’t need to be told what the alternative would be. I’ve done other things too, things I’m not proud of, but you do what you need to survive in this life. I like to tell myself it beats the 9-5, but fuck knows what it’s doing for me soul.

Life’s funny like tha, simple dreams can lead you down strange, dark avenues till you don’t know which way is up anymore. I did used to think I was a good person. But you can slip downwards, and ye don’t realise it till ye hit the bottom. But eh, morals mean nothing. And gangsters at least, always pay on time – which is more than I can say for some of the ‘legitimate’ businessmen I’ve worked for in tha past. I’m not really profiting off anya this anyway, me one-room flat and dodgy space heater attests to that. But still, I’d rather be back home there than amongst the detritus of Warrington’s latest shotgun weddin’.

The train finally starts to drag its battered frame out of Manchester into the wilds of the Northwest. Through forgotten towns once dominated by anonymous mills and factories, now dominated by even more anonymous retail parks, wide and dead in the night.

As the train slips into its familiar rhythm, the weariest passengers stare straight ahead, eyes wide open, mind closed. The lucky few with MP3s close their eyes. A solitary, red-nosed drunk slumps forwards on his table, head in ‘is hands like a condemned man. Some posh goth girls headin’ home, having been to Manc to see their latest American idols, chatter quietly and look a little nervous. The few pints I managed in between picking up tha package have only added to me headache and the pain starts to move into me eyes under the garish lights of the train.

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One Response to “11:15 Oxford Road”

  1. January 04, 2012 at 9:25 pm, 11:15 Oxford Road « Kenn Taylor said:

    […] This story appeared on the website Rainy City Stories. […]


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