Disgusting Insects


This train is full of creeps, disgusting insects.

A gaggle of teens are cackling away at an irritating frequency, passing around a juice bottle no doubt topped up with whatever spirit they could sneak from their parents’ collection.

There is a man, so obese that his gut hangs down past his groin, his legs spread wide to accommodate it. He dabs at his brow again and I can smell, almost taste, the sweat.

Behind him a businesswoman is on her mobile. I bet she’s just come from a liquid lunch. As she speaks, one hand flings back and forth like a disobedient mannequin. The conversation is about sex with a married man, loud enough and graphic enough for the entire carriage to be unable to ignore.

A child begins to wail from its push chair and its mother responds by shouting at it to shut up already, resulting, obviously, in the converse.

The first thing I’m going to do when I get home is shower and lather myself till their stench is eradicated from my skin and my soul. Disgusting insects. I despise them all.

I’ll spend the rest of the evening sitting in the dark and listening to some Wagner. It’ll be the only way to feel untainted once more. Three more hours to go before that’s even a possibility though.

I clear my throat then call: “Tickets please!”

Title image courtesy markhillary

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Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 8:50 AM  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a sad existence that can only be illuminated by classical music. I wonder if Wagner himself would have pleased this traveler.

    • I suspect nothing will ever really satisfy our “hero” in this piece. He’s a horrible human being.

  2. You’ve perfectly captured the experience of using public transport but that last line really nails it.

    • There really is nothing quite like being trapped for an hour in a tight, metal tube with strangers that make you feel physically uncomfortable!

  3. This guy worries me. Maybe if he intended to listen to Chopin…

    Anyway, I like this. First there’s a sense that the “insects” are more essentially human than our hero, but you never need to come right out and say it. Then you realize that the narrator is also acting in a characteristically human way. There’s a good bit of complexity for so short a story.

    • Thanks – glad you enjoyed it! I really wanted to ask who is worse, these horrible people or the one judging them?

  4. Excellent word choice to convey the feel of insectitude (yes I’m making that up).

    • If I’m being truly honest I stole the line “disgusting insects” from an old computer game called Blood (which incidentally still disturbs me). The disgusting insects referred to in that were street mimes. And they didn’t meet nice endings.

  5. Those girls were on my bus on Friday night. I won’t even tell you what they were doing with their Action Man toy. I’m still having nightmares. Great observation with satisfying last line.

    • They certainly get around this girls – I’ve encountered them a few times! Glad you enjoyed it.


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